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Musical Passage: A Voyage to 1688 Jamaica

In 1707, Hans Sloane published a book entitled Voyage to the Islands of Madera, Barbadoes, S. Christophers, and Jamaica, in which the European traveler described his time in these islands during the late seventeenth century. Sloane writes of a 1688 music "festival" on the island of Jamaica, which was performed by individuals of African descent. Many of these musicians were survivors of the horrific Middle Passage. This digital humanities project, created by History scholar Laurent Dubois, composer David K. Garner, and English scholar Mary Caton Lingold, allows visitor to explore a remarkable artifact, which as Dubois notes, provides, "the earliest example of musical notation representing Afro-Caribbean and Afro-Atlantic music, and essentially the only one until the late eighteenth century." While it is impossible to know exactly what this music sounded like in 1688, visitors can listen to musical interpretations composed by Garner. Visitors will also find digitized passages from Sloane's book related to music, which have been annotated with both text and sound.
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