The author describes `Music of the Common Tongue' as a celebration of that form of music making which came into existence as a result of the enslavement of millions of Africans in the Americas. The author outlines the history of the encounter between the two great musical traditions of Africa and Europe, showing how musicians of African descent have, over nearly five centuries, made themselves at the home in the European tradition, and have taken from it what they needed to serve their search for an identity and a community that they could call their own. In return musicians of European descent have found in this music of African origin and its musicians, models and identities they needed. He goes further, to show how, in contrast to the now degenerate European classical tradition, Afro-American music can become for all people a tool for the exploration, affirmation and celebration of identity, and a weapon or resistance against the increasingly oppressive power of the modern industrial world. Afro-American music, the author says, is about survival, and may well be greatly needed to that end in the years to come; this book is unique in offering to non-specialist readers a social, historical and aesthetic framework in which to place their experience of that music.