The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #81179   Message #1484907
Posted By: GUEST,Azizi
14-May-05 - 10:17 AM
Thread Name: African American Secular Folk Songs
Subject: RE: African American Secular Folk Songs
Abby and Russ, thank you for your comments.

It is my hope that I will not be alone in responding to the critical question "What counts as sufficient evidence that an item should be classified as "African American Secular folk song?"

My initial thoughts would be to examine how the record of collectors of folk songs, and what the earliest documentation about the song says about who and where the song came from.

I would also look at the structure and text of songs from the Southern USA and elsewhere in the USA to determine if they meet the common elements of African American {African} music-for instance:

Is the song made up of short often ryhming [or near rhyming] phrases or sentences?

Is the song utilize a call & response structure?

Is the song open ended?

Is improvision a part of the performance of the song?

Is the song highly percussive?

Is dance and other body movements closely associated with the performance of the song?

Does the song contain floating verses that have been associated with other established African American songs?

Does the song include vernacular phrases and words that are most closely associated with African Americans from that time period?


Again, I would very much welcome your thoughts on what guidelines should be used to categorize a song as a secular African American folk song.