CHapter 6

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Unformatted text preview: ere retained in the prison system to coordinate the labor of work gangs, and their influence can still be heard in prison work gangs and in the work drills of military groups. In this recording you can hear the call- and- response texture that characterizes these African- based work songs. Rosie, A Prison Work Song Recorded by Alan Lomax Calls, Cries and Hollers These terms are often used synonymously to describe a melodic tradition that was used as a means for communicating across the fields and even to nearby plantations. This tradition was common in West Africa and it was also used with the slaves to convey a great variety of messages, from calling people to work to bringing them in from the fields, from conveying news to attracting attention of a girl. Field hands did not usually need to coordinate their movement with other workers (as, for example, did laborers who were wielding axes and hammers) and hence cries were sometimes used spontaneously to express a range of emotions from loneliness and homesickness to contentment or exhilaration. Often these chant- like expressions were rhythmically free and began on a high note (since the singer 13 Crossroads: Music of American Cultures (Barkley) Kendall Hunt Publishers, 2013 would be able to project over longer distances if he at least began singing at the top of his range) and descended in patterns emphasizing the interval of a third. No Example Available Spirituals Black spirituals include three types of songs, spirituals, jubilees, and shouts. Spirituals acquired their name because they were religious songs that bore a close relationship to the “holy spirit.” The texts focused on the Christian themes of faith, love, humility, and salvation. Jubilees tended to be more exuberant than spirituals, because their origins were the jubilant expressions of "the heart" rather than "the spirit." The texts tell God of the singer's happiness. Shouts are songs used to accompany a specific type of dance in which the "shouters" formed and moved in a circle. Because these three types of songs are often difficult to distinguish from each other, we group all three under the rubric "spirituals." Here are examples of two famous spirituals. “Steal Away” is performed by a chorus in a more European style; “Swing Low” is performed by a solo singer in a style that is blues- influenced. “STEAL AWAY” AND “SWING LOW, CHARIOT” 14 Crossroads: Music of American Cultures (Barkley) Kendall Hunt Publishers, 2013 Key African American Musicians http://www.rhapsody.com/members/0yr6v2/playlists/mp.17204437 3 Important American music genres such as blues, jazz, soul, Motown, gospel, hip- hop and rap are examples of the significant contribution African American musicians have made to America’s music. We will cover representative musicians for these genres in later modules, but here will focus on one choral group and two solo musicians who represent examples of early African- American music that were also very influential on the development of the later genres. The Fisk Jubilee Singers The Fisk Jubilee Singers is a choral group that was founded at Fisk University, an institution that evolved out of one of the earliest schools for freed slaves after the Civil War. The chorus is important in African American history for three main reasons. First, it was through funds generated on a daring and dangerous fund raising tour that the chorus generated the funds to help the school survive financially and to build Jubilee Hall, the first permanent building erected in the United States for the education of black students. Second, their performances inspired other black schools to establish choirs, including Hampton Institute in Virginia and Booker T....
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This document was uploaded on 02/16/2014.

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