Music is a great form of a historical source that tells us about people, places and histories of different civilizations and generations. Songs are generally divided into 3 categories: classical, popular and folk. The word song is divided into two categories; music which is the common ground between all songs and rendition which refers to the performance of the song. A song is not simply composed of lyrics and tunes, but the context in which the song is created is also extremely important. A key factor for songs is the enjoyment of its listeners and the factors that contributed to make the listener like the song. .
American history is greatly reflected in music that started since the arrival of Europeans and Africans. The first American popular song tradition was the minstrel show, with songs that survived over 60 years and are still sung today. These songs emerged from the styles of African-Americans. Eventually African Americans eventually created its own all-black minstrel show. However African culture was not the only influence on American popular music, Irish and Italian cultures also greatly contributed to American music. Mid 19th Century American music changed to appeal to the commercial markets. At first they sold sheet music so that song could be enjoyed within a person's home, but with the changing technology music was sold in a form of sound recordings and played on radios. Music became some of the most profitable items on market that was sold both within the United States and exported to other countries. At this point song writing and performing became extremely culturally diverse. Today music is used in almost every industry, and has become a colossal industry all on its own. One of the biggest purposes of pop songs is for the function of profit. Very often pop music is written to send out a message that is usually hard to put into word. .
One type of popular music is minstrel music, which was a show usually performed by white men pretending to be black and making derogatory statements toward the African American community.