Lucy McKim Garrison, who was the first to collect, transcribe, notate and publish the music of African Americans said the following:
"it is difficult to express the entire character of these negro ballads by mere musical notes and signs. The odd turns made in the throat; and the curious rhythmic effect produced by single voices chiming in at different irregular intervals, seem almost as impossible to place on score, as the singing of birds, or the tones of an Aeolian harp. Their airs however can reached. They are too decided not to be easily understood, and their striking originality
would catch the ear of any musician. Besides this, they are valuable as an expression of the character and life of the race which is playing such a conspicuous part in our history. The wild sad strains tell, as their sufferers themselves never could, of crushed
hopes, keen sorrow, and a dull daily misery which covers them as hopelessly as got from the rice swamps...."