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History of spirituals

kdharrisl@yahoo.com 01 Mar 99 - 06:55 AM
01 Mar 99 - 05:45 PM
wysiwyg 05 Sep 01 - 11:14 PM
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Subject: History of spirituals
From: kdharrisl@yahoo.com
Date: 01 Mar 99 - 06:55 AM

I would like to introduce my students to some spirituals, and need some history and suggested recordings or songs that I could download from the net. Thank-you for your help!


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Subject: RE: History of spirituals
From:
Date: 01 Mar 99 - 05:45 PM

kdharris,

You might try The Land Where the Blues Began by Alan Lomax. He spends some time talking about Spirituals and their evolution.

You might want to look at some of his Southern Journey Series. If you go to places like CDNow and Amazon.com you will get some "clips" from the CD's.

Vol. 4 Brethren We Meet Again
Vol, 5 61 Highway Mississippi (Blues & Spirituals)
Vol. 6 Sheep, Sheep, Doncha Know the Road?
Vol. 9 Harp of a Thousand Strings
Vol. 10 Glory Shone Around
Vol. 11 Honor the Lamb

The Smithsonian had a recent touring exhibition called Wade in the Water, a history of African-American spirituals. Recordings at available at their web site. There are many clips available here.

For information about the traveling exhibition click here.

Good luck!

Roger in Baltimore


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Subject: RE: History of spirituals
From: wysiwyg
Date: 05 Sep 01 - 11:14 PM

Here is a start on good resources for additional historical perspective on the genre:

CLICK HERE

Please post in that thread any great new links you have. But post what you find out, here, please!

Also please post here links to any other good thread info you know about. ~Susan


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Subject: RE: History of spirituals
From: wysiwyg
Date: 06 Sep 01 - 02:01 AM

Don't miss THIS GREAT THREAD with OUTSTANDING links, including a timeline of the relevant music history, found by Stewie.

~S~


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Subject: RE: African-American Spirituals Permathread
From: wysiwyg
Date: 08 Sep 01 - 02:45 PM

Information added here will eventually be edited into the new permathread on African-American Spirituals. Please post what you know, especially links to good past discussions, here-- until it gets brought together in the permathread.

Thanks!

~Susan


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Subject: RE: History of spirituals
From: wysiwyg
Date: 08 Sep 01 - 11:10 PM

Wish I had this one:

Cone, James H. The Spirituals and the Blues. New York: Orbis Books, 2000. This book reviews some important interpretations of slave songs by authors such as Allen (Slave Songs of the United States) and Richard Wallaschek (Primitive Music [1893]). Cone then goes on to discuss the theological interpretations of the spirituals in relation to the experience of black slaves. Cone states that his purpose is to, "Examine the statement of black experience in the blues as compared with that in the spirituals, investigating their similarities and dissimilarities from both theological and historical view points" (6). His work here is interesting because it examines the spirituals of slaves as an expression of their feelings and goes on to discuss the various meanings of God and Heaven in their songs.


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Subject: RE: History of spirituals
From: wysiwyg
Date: 08 Sep 01 - 11:13 PM

From: African-American History with Jessica McElrath

Spirituals For more than 25 years, the Georgia Sea Island Singers have sang slave spirituals to audiences interested in hearing this unique form of song. Upon hearing a spiritual, it is apparent that such song not only helped slaves endure life, but that it was an expression of their joys, sorrows, hopes, and dreams.

Spirituals were influenced by the culture of Africa. Africans used songs to recite history, express feelings about each other, and it was tied it to all aspects of life. Influenced by traditions of Africa, spirituals were created by individual and group contribution. Songs were constantly re-created from bits of old songs and then formed into new songs with new tunes and lyrics. They were not always created in church, but were often constructed and sung while working.

The most notable spirituals were those that described slaves as the chosen people. This idea provided slaves with the comfort that God was with them and freedom would soon come. They sang: "We are the people of God" and "To the promised land I'm bound to go." Although their master's had told them they were the lowest of all people, these lyrics reinforced the belief that God chose them.

Hope of liberation was also commonplace; it was expressed in spirituals that were created from the books of the Old Testament and from Revelations of the New Testament. Slaves sang about the Red Sea opening so the Hebrew slaves could pass the Pharaoh armies, David's victory over Goliath with a stone, Noah building the ark, and Jonah obtaining his freedom from confinement through faith. These songs not only provided hope in the future and examples of oppressed people from the past, but also confirmed that God helped oppressed people. Just as God had delivered the people of Israel from Egyptian slavery, they believed that He would also deliver them from slavery.

Sorrow was also a prevailing theme and was expressed in songs about death. Because slaves did not have control over their lives and were subjected to the whims of their master's, death was a constant threat. However, death was not feared since they believed that Christ had died for all sinners and those who believed in Him would be accepted into the Kingdom of Heaven. Instead, death was viewed as the end to suffering on earth. Therefore, it is not surprising that they sang songs such as, "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" which welcomed death.

After the Civil War, the prevalence of spirituals waned since many former slaves did not want to be reminded of the past. However, it was in the early 1870s when a group of students known as the Fisk University Jubilee Singers revived spirituals when they set out to raise money for the university. For the first time white people, non-southerners, and others were able to hear the significance of slave songs. Even today, spirituals provide a way to comprehend the joys, sorrows, and lives of slaves.


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Subject: RE: History of spirituals
From: wysiwyg
Date: 13 Sep 01 - 02:37 PM

The following material is adapted from material compiled by Jean Sturm in October of 1998, based on contributions from international subscribers to "choralist@lists.colorado.edu." Apparently he and a number of others discussed the nature and history of spirituals and how they differ from other types of gospel music.

Mudcat has permission to post the following material, edited together from the contributions received. (Other topic sections included in the original material are posted elsewhere.) It is offered as a starting point for your own comments.

Links to past Mudcat discussions would be especially helpful. Eventually, the best of ALL of this material will be edited together, and posted to the African-American Spirituals Permathread.

Although you are welcome to post links to other sites' information about the subject, I am MOST interested in your own writing based on specific information you can cite. It will be much easier to incorporate YOUR work (because we can presume permission as long as it stays in Mudcat), as opposed to securing permission from multiple websites which, themselves, cite others from whom permission should be asked.

~Susan


WHAT ARE AFRICAN-AMERICAN (NEGRO) SPIRITUALS?
A Spiritual is a sacred slave song, a rural, religious folksong of anonymous origin, often with some kind of biblical reference, conceived during the years of the slave era in America (late 1600's through 1860's), and passed on by oral tradition. They are usually considered to be songs which arose out of the slavery experience, and are direct descendents of African folk music.

In order to discuss this music, the terms Spirituals, Negro Spirituals, African-American Spirituals White Spirituals, and Gospel must be clearly delineated.

"Negro-Spiritual", "African-American Spiritual" and "Spiritual" are synonyms. Additional synonyms are "African-American Folk Song", "Afro-American Spirituals" and "Black Spirituals". All of these terms are used interchangeably in the following material, according to the usage of the individual contributor arising from their culture of origin.

These were originally called Negro Spirituals; when the word "negro" became unacceptable, these works were called African-American Spirituals or, to avoid such an unwieldy name, just "Spirituals". Many people now shun the term "Negro", as it comes from an era in which American black people were still considered sub-human and/or second-class citizens. In its place the term "African American" became more accepted, as it more accurately focused on the geographic origin (Africa) rather than on color (Negro = black). (Incidentally, "black" encompasses all black people, not just African Americans. It's interesting to note that the black race has been the only group anthropologists labeled by color, "Negro". All other groups have been referred to by geographic origin.) The most recent-- and therefore the "most acceptable"-- term seems to be "African-American".

These songs are known in the non-English speaking countries primarily as "negro-spirituals". Says Jean Sturm*, in Strasbourg, "The term [generally] used in Europe is definitively Negro-Spiritual. And there is no pejorative feeling at all by using the old term. I must point out that 'Afro-American Spiritual', [considered] as the correct term in USA, does not mean ANYTHING in Europe, except for people aware of your US problems in terminology."

CHARACTERISTICS
<> Limited texts-- often many stanzas where only a few words are different from other stanzas
<> Much repetition; more often than not with a refrain, stemming from the African call-and-response
<> Texts are often derived from Old Testament stories
<> Monophonic
<> Many of them were secret "signal songs," telling the slaves when the next escape attempt was planned

AFRICAN-AMERICAN SPIRITUALS (pre-1900)
According to Eileen Southern's Music of Black American" (3rd ed.,
W.W. Norton, NYC, 1997, p. 180): "It is not known precisely when the term spiritual was first used in print to apply to the religious folksongs of the black American. Obviously, the term points back to the three species of sacred song early set up in the history of Protestantism--psalms, hymns, and spirituals-- which, in turn, points to the Scriptures, Col. 3:16...."

Many spirituals refer to Jewish enslavement in Egypt; some have coded references to emancipation (crossing the river, last train's a-comin', etc.) These songs were often called "sorrow songs" because many of them express the lamentations of Africans kidnapped from their motherland and brought to America to a horrible life of slavery. With every aspect of their culture stripped from them, the Africans adapted their new "language" and religion into what would eventually be called the Spiritual.

Not until the Fisk Jubilee Singers toured the U.S. and Europe in the late 1800's, singing these songs, were they ever written down or arranged. Many blacks had regarded them as songs from a time they wished to forget, but the world was hungry to hear them.

Since then, they have been published, recorded, and performed as standard repertoire for many choral organizations. When we perform them in a choral arrangement, we're singing a piece of art music based on a spiritual theme-- singing a choral work, not really a spiritual. (This is similar to performing a symphony based on a folk tune; it's still a symphony, not a folk song.) There are really no performance practice considerations in the usual way, because spirituals weren't intended for public performance; to be authentic, they should be sung in unison while picking cotton. This is not to say there aren't some audience expectations about spirituals, based in part on stereotypes about black singers. It's up to the individual how to address those.

Songs that have been arranged for choirs are sometimes called "concert spirituals". The Fisk Jubilee Singers were the first to popularize the concept of performing spirituals in a concert.

WHITE-SPIRITUALS
Here the definitions become more imprecise and are even diverging for their origin; moreover there is some mixture with the definition of "white gospel" (see below).

Lots of what are called "white spirituals" are old Appalachian sacred works. Some people feel that since whites were not slaves, there is really no such thing as a white spiritual.

"White spiritual" generally connotes religious folk songs from the southern part of the United States. They are usually modal, frequently pentatonic, and sometimes have traceable roots in the British Isles. "White spiritual" is sometimes used to refer to composed sacred pieces from the white church tradition, sometimes called hymns, though they aren't the same as what we think of as hymns. They are old songs, like folk songs, but sacred. The were sung in rural churches and religious camp or "tent" meetings widely held in the 1800's.

GOSPEL
There is no short definition for Gospel music, any more than there is a short definition for classical music. For greater detail, read The Gospel Sound written by Tony Heilbut. It's a great comprehensive text on Gospel music.

Gospel hymnody is a development employing piano and other vernacular instruments in tent-meetings, pentecostal services, and actual concerts. They are late 19th or 20th century compositions, whereas the historic body of spirituals come from the slavery period (except of course the choral arrangements that are a later evolution).

Gospel's greatest early exponents are the Rev. Charles Tindley, Lucie Campbell, and the famous Thomas Dorsey (the first to use the term "gospel song"). As Gospel has progressed during the 20th century, it has incorporated all the features and traditions of contemporary pop styles-- electric guitars, synthesizers, heavy syncopation, etc.

There seems actually to be two kinds of Gospel: "white" and "black". Gospel music often contains many elements of the Spiritual: sacred text, syncopation, call and response.

There are white Gospel songs, again almost always with refrains, simple harmonies and repetitious rhythms, which arose out of the 19th century evangelistic meetings (often called camp meetings, because they were held in a large tent or other rustic
enclosure in a camp ground). One present-day extension of this music is what is now called Southern Gospel.

Black Gospel has many of the same characteristics, in some cases having arisen from the same source, but it is also heavily influenced by the "blues." Whether the blues originated in a sacred or very secular setting may be argued, but there certainly has been a lot of cross-fertilization. At first, many black churches of the time considered gospel "the devil's music" because it employed elements of secular music forms such as the blues, early jazz, and other popular idioms of the time.

By the 1920's, its popularity had grown, especially after Thomas A. Dorsey, an ex-jazz musician turned church musician and composer, revolutionized its development, and turned it into a marketable commodity by publishing and recording it. Gospel music developed through each decade into many genres (20s-30s focused on the solo gospel singer; 40's focused on male quartets; late 40's and 50's focused on male and female trios/quartets and radio choirs; 60's and 70's on mass choirs; the 80's and 90's brought just about every possibility with the incorporation of new secular styles (rock, country/ western, hip-hop, rap, new age, etc.)

Today's Black Gospel usually has a very heavy beat, a driving piano style bass, repetition ad infinitum, and a lot of opportunity for soloistic improvisational singing.
There are many "gospel style" pieces being composed today; although there are a few contemporary composers of songs in the style of Spirituals, Spirituals in general seem to be a fairly stable body of material upon which new arrangements continue to be based.

Credits for this contribution are due to:

*Jean Sturm (Strasbourg), Executive Director, Musica International ("The International Database of Choral Repertoire")

and

Jonathan Miller (Chicago), Peter Schleif (St. Anthony, MN), David Griggs-Janower (Albany), Bob Griffith (Memphis), Saundra Hall Hill (Los Angeles), Craig Hawkins, Timothy Olsen (Schenectady), David W. McCormick (Richmond, VA), Allen H. Simon (Bay Area Lutheran Chorale), Richard Mix, and David Monk (CA).


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Subject: RE: History of spirituals
From: wysiwyg
Date: 13 Sep 01 - 02:44 PM

The following material is adapted from material compiled by Jean Sturm in October of 1998, based on contributions from international subscribers to "choralist@lists.colorado.edu." Apparently he and a number of others discussed the nature and history of spirituals and how they differ from other types of gospel music.

Mudcat has permission to post the following material, edited together from the contributions received. (Other topic sections included in the original material are posted elsewhere.) It is offered as a starting point for your own comments. Links to past Mudcat discussions would be especially helpful. Eventually, the best of ALL of this material will be edited together, and posted to the African-American Spirituals Permathread.

Although you are welcome to post links to other sites' information about the subject, I am MOST interested in your own writing based on specific information you can cite. It will be much easier to incorporate YOUR work (because we can presume permission as long as it stays in Mudcat), as opposed to securing permission from multiple websites which, themselves, cite others from whom permission should be asked.

~Susan


SPIRITUALS AS CODES
According to Nina Gilbert (1994, GILBERTN@scholar.wabash.edu): "Last week I posted a question about codes in Spirituals texts. I had read that 'Follow the Drinkin' Gourd' was a secret 'map song,' suggesting that people could 'follow' the Big Dipper as they headed northward, and I wondered if other Choralist subscribers knew further examples.

"Here's what I've learned:

I. General:

Michael Shasberger (Butler University) made the general suggestion that texts about journeys and such can be imaginatively traced to the immediate idea of escape. Also, I've seen suggestions that the "Jordan River" and "heaven" were direct allegorical references to the Ohio River and Canada. References to trains and chariots can also mean the Underground Railroad, of course, although I don't know about more specific details.

II. Specific songs:

Mallorie Chernin (Amherst) and Joshua Golbert (Music Teacher, Woodward Parkway Elementary School, Franklin Square NY) both mentioned Jeanette Winter's book Follow the Drinking Gourd (Dragonfly Books/Alfred Knopf). Joshua quotes the book:

"The drinking gourd is the Big Dipper, which points to the North Star. 'When the sun comes back and the first quail calls' meant spring, when travel might be least hazardous. As the runaway slaves followed up north, they would come across marks Peg Leg Joe had made in the mud... and they would know they were on the right trail. The river that 'ends between two hills' was the Tombigbee River. The second was the Tennessee River and the 'great big river' was the Ohio River, where Peg Leg Joe would be waiting to ferry them to the free states". Joshua adds, "According to Winter, Peg Leg Joe was a white man who helped the slaves escape (left foot, peg foot, traveling on)." And Mallorie comments, "'Drinkin' gourd' we sing every Passover (freedom and all that)."

Joan Sampson (The State Literacy Resource Center, Central Michigan University) adds a possibility about another song: "I don't know if it is proven, but I have heard that 'Michael Row the Boat Ashore' is a specific reference to the New England
Abolitionist Movement of returning slaves to Africa (Liberia) in the mid-1800's. The reference to 'Sister' is the woman (I've forgotten her name) who was active in the movement. I have also heard that many of the references to dying and going to heaven are also code for freedom or the North."

Cliff Ganus recalls: "We sang, a number of years ago, George Lynn's arrangement of 'Little black train,' the refrain of which says, 'Set your house in order, for the train's gonna be here tonight.' The verses refer to the 15-year extension on life given to Hezekiah, and the arrival of the train ostensibly represents death (in case any of the slaveowners were listening)."

According to Negro Slave Songs in the United States, M. M. Fisher (Russell & Russell, 1968):

"The song 'Deep River' originated in Guilford County (NC), where it was the name of both a body of water and of a meeting house of Quakers. A conservative slave told his Quaker benefactor that he wanted to `cross over' to Africa, the home of camp meetings." (p41) [the reference given is a ms. at Guilford College]

" [a letter] published in the report of the American Colonisation Society...asked...`Do you not know that the land where you are is not your own? Your fathers were carried into that to increase strangers' treasure, but God has turned it all to good, that you may bring the gospel into your country.' He added that Negro ministers were not doing the will of God by remaining in the US." (p43)

" Proslavery people tried their hands at making `spirituals'...Strangely enough, this song called the Atlantic an `ocean'. Previously , that body of water had been likened to the Red Sea... the Jordan...but it was never an `ocean'." (p63)

(Not exactly watertight reasoning but plausible enough. Of course it would be nice to see the source material or at least more extensive quotes, particularly from the ms. above, titled "Minutes of the Manumission Society of Northern Carolina". )

I have a bit of general reading to catch up on. In the archives books by Southern, Roach, and Dixon were recommended. Epstein (Sinful tunes & Spirituals) and Ricks (Social Implications...) may be valuable also? The series titled `Studies in 18th cent. Afro-American Music' on LaBrew's "Black Musicians..."(1977) is intriguing as well.

Saundra Hall Hill says: "This following is in response to the question regarding the African American spiritual, 'Steal Away', the text of which is:

Steal away to Jesus.
I ain't got long to stay here.
My Lord calls me,
He calls me by the thunder;
The trumpet sounds
Within-a my soul.
I ain't got long to stay here.

"Although this song is sacred in nature, it can also be described as a dual-message spiritual (or signal song).

"On one level, it's heard as evidence of the slaves' resignation to be content by meditating and praying (stealing away) to Jesus, who would pacify them through their hard times. Also, on the surface, it expresses a realization that some slaves felt: there could be no earthly reward to justify their horrible plight, and that they hoped their prayers would hasten them to Heavenly peace.

"On the other hand, slaves who were discontented with their misery, and intent on doing something 'earthly' about it, used songs such as 'Steal Away' to transmit 'coded' messages to one another: 'steal' (run away), 'to Jesus' (the North U.S. or Canada, or some passage via the Underground Railroad or other venue that would eventually get the runaway to the North); 'thunder' and 'trumpet' -- some pre-designated physical symbol such as the ringing of a bell, a field holler, calling the hogs-- or whatever could be used in the midst of the unsuspecting slavemasters
or overseers."


Credits for this contribution are due to:

Credits for this contribution are due to:

*Jean Sturm (Strasbourg), Executive Director, Musica International ("The International Database of Choral Repertoire")

and

Jonathan Miller (Chicago), Peter Schleif (St Anthony, MN), David Griggs-Janower (Albany), Bob Griffith (Memphis), Saundra Hall Hill (Los Angeles), Craig Hawkins, Timothy Olsen (Schenectady), David W. McCormick (Richmond, VA), Allen H. Simon (Bay Area Lutheran Chorale), Richard Mix, and David Monk (CA).


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Subject: RE: History of spirituals
From: wysiwyg
Date: 13 Sep 01 - 04:20 PM

The following material is adapted from material compiled by Jean Sturm in October of 1998, based on contributions from international subscribers to "choralist@lists.colorado.edu." Apparently he and a number of others discussed the nature and history of spirituals and how they differ from other types of gospel music. The list below represents materials thought to be particularly helpful in that regard.

Mudcat has permission to post the following material, edited together from the contributions received. (Other topic sections included in the original material are posted elsewhere.) It is offered as a starting point for your own comments. Links to past Mudcat discussions would be especially helpful. Eventually, the best of ALL of this material will be edited together, and posted to the African-American Spirituals Permathread.


Mudcat has permission to post the following material, edited together from the contributions received. (Other topic sections included in the original material are posted elsewhere.) It is offered as a starting point for your own comments. Links to past Mudcat discussions would be especially helpful. Eventually, the best of ALL of this material will be edited together (duplicates removed), and posted to the African-American Spirituals Permathread.
~S~

RECOMMENDED BOOKS AND RESOURCES

American Negro Spirituals, Johnson, James Weldon & J. Rosamond, New York, NY: DaCapo Press 1989

The Songs Are Free, video, PBS Documentary
"? Bernice Johnson Reagan, a curator at the Smithsonian Institution, is interviewed by Bill Moyer. Ms. Reagan is a wonderful scholar but also the founder of the female ensemble called Sweet Honey in the Rock. Get some of the group's recordings and you'll also learn about the music. Unfortunately, I'm afraid that the PBS program may no longer be available for sale but try your best to find a "pirated" video of the program. You'll learn more about the music than you can find time to put in effect. If you can get a copy of the video, you'll probably want to show it to your singers. It is rich in wisdom and history." (Roger O. Doyle, University of Portland OR)

Performing the Musics of the Americas ",four video set, Music Educator's National Conference (MENC) "One is a 40 minute talk given by Bernice Johnson-Reagan. " (John Crever , Westminster Choir College, Princeton, NJ)

Black American Music: Past And Present (Second Edition-1992), Hildred Roach, Krieger Publishing Company, Box 9542, Malabar, FL 32902-9542

The Gospel Sound - Good News and Bad Times, Anthony Heilbut.

Negro Spirituals/from Bible to Folksong, Christa K. Dixon, 1976, Fortress Press, Philadelphia, ISBN 0-8006-1221-3.

The Music Of Black Americans: A History, Eileen Southern, New York, W.W.Norton & Company. 1971/1983. ISBN: 0-393-95279-7. (When the book was written, Ms. Southern was affiliated with Harvard University.)

Black American Music: Past and Present. Hildred Roach, Melbourne, FL, Krieger Publishing Co. 1992, ISBN: 0-89464-580-3. (When the book was written, Ms. Roach was affiliated with the University of the District of Columbia.)

Negro Slave Songs in the United States, M. M. Fisher (Russell & Russell, 1968) Credits for this contribution are due to:

Jean Sturm (Strasbourg), Executive Director, Musica International ("The International Database of Choral Repertoire") , and Jonathan Miller (Chicago), Peter Schleif (St Anthony, MN), David Griggs-Janower (Albany), Bob Griffith (Memphis), Saundra Hall Hill (Los Angeles), Craig Hawkins, Timothy Olsen (Schenectady), David W. McCormick (Richmond, VA), Allen H. Simon (Bay Area Lutheran Chorale), Richard Mix, and David Monk (CA).


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Subject: RE: History of spirituals
From: wysiwyg
Date: 13 Sep 01 - 04:44 PM

Again, credit goes to the choralist cited above.

~S~

SOURCE:
Date: Wed, 14 Jan 1998 07:51:55 -0700 (MST)
From: Terri Karlsson, Subject: Spirituals Compilation

"There is a large body of Spirituals that were sung
(a) as encouragement for those who were deciding to leave,
(b) that alerted people that a group would be leaving or
(c) gave directions to those making the journey.

"Some examples are:
Run Mourner, Run
I'm on my way to Canaan Land
Steal Away to Jesus
Wade In The Water
I'm Gonna Sit at the Welcome Table
Keep Your Lamps Trimmed and Burning
Git on Board Lil Children
Moses, Moses Don't let Pharoa O'ertake You
I've Been In The Storm So Long
I Am a Poor Pilgrim of Sorrow
I am Bound for the Promised Land
Walk Together Children, Don't you get Weary
This May be the Last Time
Free At Last, Free At Last
Come and Go With Me To That Land
Many Thousands Gone
Run, Mary, Run
All Night, All Night Angels Watchin Over Me
Oh, Freedom
Sheep Sheep Don't You Know the Road
Follow the Drinking Gourd


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Subject: RE: History of spirituals
From: katlaughing
Date: 16 Sep 01 - 02:40 AM

Just came across a fantastic website that seems to fit in here. Looks really informative, even the Guestbook is worth a read. There is a woman, in Colorado Springs, with a book from the 1830s, who has offered anyone to come to her office and make copies of her very fragile book. Anyway, here it is: Negro Spirituals

kat


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Subject: RE: History of spirituals
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 16 Sep 01 - 11:37 AM

The compilation by Jean Sturm is a good one (13Sept01, 237PM) but has an error. The Fisk Singers were important to the modern revival, but the Hampton Singers, in their tours of the 1870s, hampered by lack of money and discrimination, were the first to bring the public's attention to the Negro spirituals. At the time, they were called "Cabin and Plantation Songs," not spirituals. The Hampton story and 50 of the songs are given on this site: http://docsouth.unc.edu/church/armstrong/armstrong.html#ham171. This is a big site, and may take long to load if you don't have a large drive. The songs start on p. 171. The institution is extremely important to Black education.


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Subject: RE: History of spirituals
From: wysiwyg
Date: 16 Sep 01 - 11:40 AM

Thank you Dicho.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: History of spirituals
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 16 Sep 01 - 01:24 PM

For anyone who knows enough music to set midi's (the bare bones), the sheet music for these songs on the Hampton site is invaluable, since it was set in print in 1874. Some of these songs I've never heard. I wish I had the recordings of the Fisk and Hampton singers, I don't know how many are still available. One more comment- the dialect is called Negro, but the uneducated whites also used many of these pronounciations, e. g. gwine and jine. Misguided attempts to politically sanitize the language overlook this. Of course, even now the terminal "g" on many words is not always pronounced. I think I usually say goin' unless I am speaking formally.


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Subject: RE: History of spirituals
From: wysiwyg
Date: 16 Sep 01 - 02:05 PM

Dico, I am prepared to do NWC files for anyone who requests on individual items, if they don't know how-- I am working first to be sure any in the DT that tuneless are identified and tune files made.

~S~


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Subject: RE: History of spirituals
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 16 Sep 01 - 06:19 PM

Susan, would an alphabetized list of the songs in the older works be useful (with alternate titles as well)? Or have you already done that? There are 136 entries on the North Carolina site, but duplication and elimination of non-spiritual songs will yield perhaps 100. I think I have found a late ed. of Jubilee songs (about 139), which may just about be the verifiable total of older ones; at least it is a start. Any others will be scattered through a number of references. First lines may also help. Such a list might show the size of your project and help you to assign particular songs or song groups to people to work up. It will be an interesting task putting the data on the songs together because of the different versions used and different titles. Tain't easy, I'm thinkin'. As the songs are worked up, lyrics can be put in DT, followed by midi.


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Subject: RE: History of spirituals
From: wysiwyg
Date: 16 Sep 01 - 06:54 PM

Dicho, let's move to PM's or to the Permathread to scope out the work-- maybe the permathread since it is editable and we can zap out the stuff later?

~Susan


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Subject: RE: History of spirituals
From: wysiwyg
Date: 16 Sep 01 - 07:08 PM

Message responding to Dicho HERE.

~S~


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Subject: RE: History of spirituals
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 18 Sep 01 - 02:04 PM

Thread on Lyr. add You hear the lamb a-crying: If you look at the sheet music given by Fenner (he should be acknowledged as the 1870's compiler in references to the Hampton site), It is difficult to sing the line "Oh, shepherd feed my sheep" unless feed is rendered as feed-a, as in the 1870'lyrics Fenner gives. "fe-ed" just doesn't sing right. I fear Work's sanitization of the language in some cases creates a problem with the flow of the song.


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Subject: RE: History of spirituals
From: wysiwyg
Date: 18 Sep 01 - 04:41 PM

Dicho, that's a good example of the folk (and de-folking) process at work, isn't it? I love it that you have a different source-- the more we look at different sources the more we can learn. I love it that through all the people working on this monstrously-sized project, none of us has to own all the books! Thanks for looking at yours-- this time and for others as they come in.

BTW, I copied your comments abovve, in this thread, in the thread the song appears in, as well. Hope that's OK?

There are, I am sure, comments needed on a lot of the spirituals already posted. Could you find the time to look at the list of those already posted, and go to the threads for them, and add commentary? (In their individual threads, not in the index thread.)

~Susan


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Subject: RE: History of spirituals
From: wysiwyg
Date: 20 Sep 01 - 12:02 AM

EXCELLENT old thread here:

Songs on, or about slavery?


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Subject: RE: History of spirituals
From: wysiwyg
Date: 20 Sep 01 - 12:06 AM

Here is a great discussion of Deep River & Steal Away.

CLICK!

~S~


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Subject: RE: History of spirituals
From: wysiwyg
Date: 22 Sep 01 - 12:41 AM

Originally posted here:

Subject: RE: Links on Spirituals
From: masato sakurai
Date: 21-Sep-01 - 11:14 PM

From the announcement of Culture on the Margins: The Black Spiritual and the Rise of American Cultural Interpretation by Jon Cruz.

In Culture on the Margins, Jon Cruz recounts the "discovery" of black music by white elites in the nineteenth century, boldly revealing how the episode shaped modern approaches to studying racial and ethnic cultures. Slave owners had long heard black song making as meaningless "noise." Abolitionists began to attribute social and political meaning to the music, inspired, as many were, by Frederick Douglass's invitation to hear slaves' songs as testimonies to their inner, subjective worlds. This interpretive shift--which Cruz calls "ethnosympathy"--marks the beginning of a mainstream American interest in the country's cultural margins. In tracing the emergence of a new interpretive framework for black music, Cruz shows how the concept of "cultural authenticity" is constantly redefined by critics for a variety of purposes--from easing anxieties arising from contested social relations to furthering debates about modern ethics and egalitarianism.

In focusing on the spiritual aspect of black music, abolitionists, for example, pivoted toward an idealized religious singing subject at the expense of absorbing the more socially and politically elaborate issues presented in the slave narratives and other black writings. By the end of the century, Cruz maintains, modern social science also annexed much of this cultural turn. The result was a fully modern tension-ridden interest in culture on the racial margins of American society that has long had the effect of divorcing black culture from politics.

Jon Cruz is Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He is the coeditor of Viewing, Reading, Listening: Audiences and Cultural Reception.

Review: "Culture on the Margins brilliantly [unravels] . . . a crucial strand in the history of how the white investment in the black came to organize not only culture and politics in the United States but also social science. . . .This theoretically exigent and beautifully written account also turns on claims about the meaning and use of spirituals for the slaves. For the emergence and disappearance of the black subject is the hinge of the story Cruz has to tell."--Michael Rogin, American Journal of Sociology

Endorsement: "A splendid and important book that clearly establishes Jon Cruz as one of the most significant cultural sociologists of his generation. The scope, depth, and originality of his theoretical analysis contributes to the general project of understanding cultural production, cultural `objects,' and cultural interpretation and appropriation. The richness of his deployment of historical materials--whether travel diaries, sermons, or early journal articles--brings his analytic framework alive. Because his book engages crucial debates in history, ethnic studies, and cultural studies as well as in sociology, it should have a wide readership among academics in many fields."--Elizabeth Long, Rice University

Masato


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Subject: RE: History of spirituals
From: wysiwyg
Date: 29 Sep 01 - 03:40 PM

This post also appears in the thread, "Blues Related to Spirituals."

~S~

What is Gospel Music?

According to the New Harvard Dictionary of Music, Belknap Press, 1986:

Gospel.
[Lat. evangelium].

(1) In all of the Christian liturgies, a reading or lesson from one of the four Gospels of the Bible. In the Roman Catholic Mass, it may be chanted to a simple tone (Tonus Evangelii, LU, pp. 106-9). A liturgical book in which such lessons are copied in the order of the liturgical year is called an evangeliary.

The Gospels have been the source of texts for much music, including motets and, especially, Passion music.

(2) Anglo-American Protestant evangelical hymns from the 1870s to the present; also gospel hymns, gospel song.

In revival meetings, preacher Dwight Moody (1837 - 99) and singer Ira Sankey (1840 - 1908) popularized simple, strophic melodies set homophonically to strong tonal progressions in major keys.

The sentimental poetry of Fanny Crosby (1820-19115) exemplified the texts, each assembled around a biblical idea. Texts are often in the first person and concern the Christian life and the anticipated joys of heaven. Among the best-known examples is George Bernard's "The Old Rugged Cross" (1913)

(3) Black American Protestant sacred singing and an associated 20th-century sacred genre; also gospel music, gospel song.

In this style, vocalists radically embellish simple melodies, and in full and falsetto voice, they shout, hum, growl, moan, whisper, scream, cry. By adding florid melismas and tricky syncopations, altering given pitches with blue notes and glissandos, and interpolating formulaic phrases ("Lord have mercy," "well, well, well"), they freely extend or repeat any fragment of the text. Spontaneous or choreographed dancing, clapping, and stomping may accompany the singing.

Mingled functions, performing media, and repertories confuse stylistic distinctions within the genre "black gospel music." Musicians perform for religious stimulation and for commercial profit, in boisterous services and concerts or in silent recording studios.

Vocalists may be a preacher and congregation (as in the mono and heterophonic music of numerous Holiness and Sanctified sects), soloists (Mahalia Jackson, Marion Williams), singer-guitarists (Blind Willie Johnson, Rev. Gary Davis, Rosetta Tharpe), quartets and quintets (the Dixie Hummingbirds, the Soul Stirrers, the Clara Ward Singers, the Mighty Clouds of Joy), or choirs (led by James Cleveland, Alex Bradford). Accompanying instruments, if present, are piano, Hammond organ, or guitar, alone or with bass, drums, and tambourine.

Performances may include open-ended ostinatos, in which a soloist's improvised comments alternate with a repeated phrase of text. Many "gospel songs" (exemplified by the compositions of Thomas A. Dorsey) have 16-bar antecedent and consequent tonal schemes. These structures represent only two facets of a repertory that initially drew upon 18th- and 19th century hymns, Negro spirituals, blues, barbershop singing, ragtime, pop tunes, country and western, and jazz. Later, after creating (through male quartets) the basis for rhythm and blues and Soul, black gospel drew upon those secular genres for new material.

Commercial white gospel recordings have sacred texts and occasional imitations of black gospel singing. They are otherwise stylistically indistinguishable from pop, country and western, or rock.

Bibl.:
(2) Sandra S. Sizer, Gospel Hymns and Social Religion (Philadelphia: Temple U Pr, 1978).

(3) John Godrich and Robert Dixon, comps., Blues and Gospel Records 1902-1942 (London: Storyville Pubs, 1969). Tony Heilbut, The Gospel Sound (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1971). Cedric J. Hayes, A Discography of Gospel Records 1937-71 (Copenhagen: Knudsen, 1973). David Evans, "The Roots of Afro-American Gospel Music," Jazzforschung 8 (1976): 119-35.


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Subject: RE: History of spirituals
From: masato sakurai
Date: 29 Sep 01 - 10:52 PM

The above bibliography should be updated.

Revised and later discographies are:
Robert M.W. Dixon, John Godrich & Howard W. Rye, eds., Blues and Gospel Records 1890-1943, 4th edition (Oxford, 1997)
Cedric J. Hayes & Robert Laughton, eds., Gospel Records 1943-1969: A Black Music Discography, 2 vols. (Record Information Services, 1993). [Hayes' discography above is far from comprehensive]
Other gospel books include:
Horace Clarence Boyer, How Sweet the Sound: The Golden Age of Gospel (Elliott & Clark, 1995)[republished as The Golden Age of Gospel, by University of Illinois Press; good introduction]
Viv Broughton, Black Gospel: An Illustrated History of the Gospel Sound (Blandford Press, 1985)
Bernice Johnson Reagon, ed., We'll Understand It Better By and By: Pioneering African American Gospel Composers (Smithsonian Institution Press, 1992) [collection of essays, with detailed bibliography]
Michael W. Harris, The Rise of Gospel Blues: The Music of Thomas Andrew Dorsey in the Urban Church (Oxford UP, 1992)

~Masato


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Subject: RE: History of spirituals
From: wysiwyg
Date: 29 Sep 01 - 11:16 PM

That's excellent, Masato. The biblio I gave was from the dictionary entry-- in other words, part of the entry. How did you get your list?

~Susan


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Subject: RE: History of spirituals
From: masato sakurai
Date: 29 Sep 01 - 11:36 PM

Susan, I made it myself. I've been consulting those discographies, and have read the books (actually, only parts of them).

~Masato


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Subject: RE: History of spirituals
From: wysiwyg
Date: 29 Sep 01 - 11:41 PM

Thanks, Masato.

rich r just sent me a list of his holdings... I think I will add them, and a few other lists I have.

There may be some duplication-- I am just going to dump them in here and edit them into a single list later, for the permathread.

So if anyone else has sources not already posted, please go ahead and post them. Please give full biblio info, and specify whether you have them or just know of them.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: History of spirituals
From: wysiwyg
Date: 30 Sep 01 - 12:11 AM

I can strongly recommend this one.

~Susan


Index to Negro Spirituals, published in 1937 by the Cleveland Public Library and reissued through The Center for Black Music Research, Columbia College, Chicago, 1990.

FOREWORD TO THE REVISED EDITION
The first collection of Negro slave songs appeared in 1843, without musical notation, in a series of three articles by a Methodist Church missionary known only as "c." Collections that included musical notation began to appear in the 1850s, and such collections proliferated following the Civil War. Many of the collections are not represented in this Index-The Harp of Freedom (1859), by George Washington Clark, and the Old Plantation (1859) by James Hungerford, among them. In 1864 the anonymous article titled "The Original Negro War" included eleven spirituals among its thirteen songs. In 1867, what would become the most important of all collections of spirituals was published-- Slave Songs of the United States, by William Frances Allen, Charles Pickard Ware, and Lucy McKim Garrison.

In 1871 The Fisk Jubilee Singers of Fisk University, Nashville, Tennessee, which had been founded just five years earlier, began to introduce the spirituals to the public in their concert tours in order to raise money for their financially troubled school. Beginning in 1872, editions of the slave songs ''as sung by the Jubilee Singers" began to appear, and in that same year a proliferation of such collections began, with publications of the songs by other Fisk-inspired college and professional singing groups, including those of Hampton Institute and Tuskegee Institute.

Later, black collectors and composers such as John and Frederick Work, at Fisk University, and the brothers James Weldon and I. Rosamond Johnson began to anthologize the spirituals, and Harry T. Burleigh began to treat them as art songs. Singers such as Roland Hayes, Paul Robeson, Marian Anderson, and others began to include them on art song recitals and even, in Robeson's case, to present entire recitals made up of spirituals. Composers of concert music had also begun to use the spirituals and other slave songs in their extended works. R. Nathaniel Dett, for example, used them in his The Chariot Jubilee, a cantata, in 1919, and William Grant Still based the themes in the last movement of his AfroAmerican Symphony on spirituals. The slave song had become acceptable to the black middle class and to the larger society and was important to performers, composers, and scholars alike.

So it was apropos, in the 1930s, that the WPA saw fit to sponsor a project to index the songs that had been included in collections. The result was Index to Negro Spirituals, published in 1937 by the Cleveland Public Library. The Center for Black Music Research is pleased and honored to bring out this publication in a new printing, newly typeset for the use of scholars, performers, and other users. This revised edition is dedicated to the Cleveland Public Library for its
early sponsorship of such a project, its guardianship of the publication, which was never widely distributed, and for granting permission for its reissue.

The original edition of the Index to Negro Spirituals included call numbers of the books, referencing locations in The Cleveland Public Library. This revised edition has omitted the call numbers because they are no longer valid for the Cleveland library, due to reclassification of the collection, and because of our intention to provide information that is useful to a wider audience. All other editing has been guided by the intention of providing consistency of style throughout the work and has been limited strictly to stylistic matters.

Samuel A. Floyd, Jr.
Center for Black Music Research
Columbia College, Chicago
September 1, 1990


PREFACE
The aim in arranging this Index to Negro Spirituals has been threefold: First, to list the books in which any given spiritual may be found; second, to aid in locating quickly a song that is requested under a different title; and third, to note as variants spirituals which, though they may have identical titles, are slightly different.

Cross references are given to songs similar in theme, tune, or wording but not enough alike to be listed as variants under the same title. The same treatment is given spirituals in no way related but having similar titles. If several entirely different spirituals have an identical title, a Roman numeral has been placed after the title to indicate these different songs.

Thirty popular collections, including those most widely duplicated in branches, have been indexed. No attempt has been made to compile an exhaustive index. The work of indexing was initiated at Sterling Branch Library and supplemented and duplicated for general distribution as a Works Progress Administration project.

Detailed information, such as the locality in which a song originated, has not been included. Supplementary information of this type may readily be found in the collections themselves as many of the books indexed contain both music and exposition.



List of Books Fully or Partially Analyzed in the Index

Abbot, F. H. Eight negro songs. New York: Enoch & Sons, 1923.
Allen, W. F. Slave songs of the United States. New York: A. Simpson & Co., 1867.
Ballanta-Taylor, N. G. Saint Helena Island spirituals. New York: G. Schirmer, 1925.
Burleigh, H. T. Negro spirituals. London: G. Ricordi, 1917-1919.
------------ . Plantation melodies old and new. New York: G. Schirmer, 1901.
Burlin, N. C. Hampton series negro folk-songs. New York: G. Schirmer, 1918-1919.
Dann, H. E. Fifty-eight spirituals for choral use. Boston: C. C. Birchard, 1924.
Dett, R. N. Religious folk-songs of the negro, as sung at Hampton Institute. Hampton, Va.: Hampton Institute Press, 1927.
Diton, Carl. Thirty-six South Carolina spirituals: Collected and harmonized by Carl Diton for church, concert, and general use. New York: G. Schirrner, 1928.
Fenner, T. P. Religious folk songs of the negro. Hampton, Va.: The Institute Press, 1909.
Fisher, W. A. Seventy negro spirituals. Boston: Oliver Ditson Co., 1926.
-----------------.Ten negro spirituals. Boston: Oliver Ditson, 1925.
Frey, Hugo. Collection of 25 selected famous negro spirituals. New York: Robbins-Engel, 1924.
Grey, Gerald. Fifty negro spirituals. York, Nebr.: J. A. Parks Co., 1930.
Grissom, M. A. Negro sings a new heaven. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 1930.
Jessye, E. A. My spirituals. New York: Robbins-Engle, 1927.
Johnson, Hall. The Green pastures spirituals. New York: Carl Fischer, 1930.
Johnson, J. R. Utica jubilee singers spirituals. Boston: Oliver Ditson, 1930.
Johnson, J. W. The book of American negro spirituals. New York: Viking Press, 1925.
---------------. The second book of negro spirituals. New York: Viking Press, 1926.
Jubilee and plantation songs: Characteristic favorites, as sung by the Hampton students, Jubilee Singers, Fisk University students, and other companies; also a number of new and pleasing selections. Boston: Oliver Ditson, 1887.
Kennedy, R. E. Mellows: A chronicle of unknown singers. New York: Albert and Charles Boni, 1925.
-------------------. More mellows. New York: Dodd, Mead & Co., 1931.
Krehbiel, H. E. Afro-American folksongs: A study in racial and national music. New York: G. Schirmer, 1914.
McIlhenny, E. A. Befo' de war spirituals: Words and melodies. Boston: Christopher Publishing House, 1933.
Niles, J. J. Seven negro exaltations. New York: G. Schirmer, 1929.
Noble, G. C. Most popular plantation songs. New York: Hines, Noble & Eldredge, 1911.
Sandburg, Carl. The American songbag. New York: Harcourt, Brace & Co., 1927.
White, C. C. Forty negro spirituals. Philadelphia: Theodore Presser, 1927.
Wier, A. E. The Scribner radio music library, volume seven. New York: C. Scribner's Sons, 1931.
Work, F. J. Folk songs of the American negro. Nashville: Work Bros. & Hart Co., 1907.


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Subject: RE: History of spirituals
From: wysiwyg
Date: 30 Sep 01 - 12:19 AM

I received the following via PM. Thanks, Rich!

~S~

Hi,
Below is a listing of books I have that might be related to your assemblage of spirituals. You have some and maybe all of them, so pull out what you can use for your bibliography.
Rich





Listing Created 29 Sep 101, at 21:56
Belden, Henry M; Hudson, Arthur Palmer (Eds.) (1952): The Frank C. Brown Collection of North Carolina Folkore. Vol. III, Folk Songs From North Carolina. Duke Univ. Press, Durham, NC. 703 pages. (lib. cong. 52-10967)
Silverman,Jerry (Ed.) (1994): Slave Songs. Chelsea House, New York. 64 pages. (ISBN 0-7910-1853-9)
Scarborough,Dorothy (1925 (reprint 1963)): On The Trail of Negro Folk-Songs. Harvard University Press (reprint Folklore Associates), Cambridge, MA (Hatboro, PA). 295 pages.
Courlander,Harold (1960, 1963): Negro Songs From Alabama. Oak Publications, New York NY. 111 pages.
Parrish,Lydia (1942 (reprint 1992)): Slave Songs of the Georgia Sea Islands. Creative Age Press (Brown Thrasher Books, University of Georgia Press), (Athens, GA). 256 pages. (ISBN 0-8203-1389-0)
Odum, Howard W; Johnson, Guy B (1926 (reprint 1969)): Negro Workaday Songs. Univ. of North Carolina Press (reprint Negro Universities Press), Chapel Hill, NC (New York). 278 pages. ((ISBN 8371-1938-3))
Odum, Howard D; Johnson, Guy B (1925): The Negro and His Songs, A Study of Typical Negro Songs in the South. University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, NC. 306 pages.
Allen, William Francis; Ware, Charles Pickford; Garrison, Lucy McKim; Schlein, Irving (1965 (1867)): Slave Songs of the United States. Oak Publications, New York. 176 pages. (Lib Cong 6522693) (reprint of 1867 original with new piano scores by Schlein)
Work, John W (1940): American Negro Songs and Spirituals. reprint Bonanza Books, 259 pages.
Johnson, James Weldon (1925): The Book of American Negro Spirituals. Viking Press, New York. 187 pages.
Solomon, Olivia; Solomon, Jack (Eds.) (1991): "Honey In The Rock", the Ruby Pickens Tartt Collection of Religious Folk songs from Sumter County, Alabama. Mercer Univ. Press, Macaon, GA. 176 pages. (ISBN 0-86554-336-4)


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Subject: RE: History of spirituals
From: wysiwyg
Date: 30 Sep 01 - 12:51 AM

Throughout these discussions, we have often referred to the wonderful SLAVE SONGS OF THE UNITED STATES. I thought I would share the discussion of historic matters and performance styles from the front of the Oak Publications edition-- which also includes guitar arrangements by Jerry Silverman.

~S~


SLAVE SONGS OF THE UNITED STATES
Piano score, Irving Schlein; Guitar chords and music editing, Jerry Silverman
© 1965 Oak Publications
165 West 46th St., New York, N.Y
Library of Congress Catalogue Card Number: 6522693


FOREWORD
The Slave Songs are in large measure a reflection of the suffering and deprivation the Negro slaves had to endure before their emancipation. "...the wild, sad strains tell, as the sufferers themselves could, of crushed hopes, keen sorrow, and a dull, daily misery which covered them as hopelessly as the fog from the rice swamps." They achieved in song what was denied them in real life: salvation and release from the daily, inhuman torture they had to endure at the hands of their white masters.

Strange indeed, that these identical Slave Songs should become the bedrock out of which our American music grew. The fructifying influence of the "sperichels" had its effect on no less a composer than Anton Dvorak, a Bohemian by birth, who came to this country in the late [18]90's, wrote the "New World" Symphony, in which he used Negro folk songs; this in turn became the beacon-light for the native American composer whom he awakened to the realization that in the Negro folk songs was embedded a rich source of inspiration.

The Slave Songs were first collected in book form by Allen, Ware and Garrison, in 1867. They appeared in their natural, melodic state without accompaniment, or any indication of chords. Since then they have remained in their pristine state, most of them as oddities encased in the archives of folklore societies. The venture was, according to the editors, the first attempt "to collect and preserve their (the Negro people's) melodies." For the most part, the melodies were "taken down...from the lips of the colored people themselves...some may even appear as variants of older melodies acquired in darkest Africa, and brought here by the slaves. As for the words, only one set was arranged by the editors to each melody; for the rest, one must make them fit the best he can, as the negroes themselves do."

My aim, at present, is to bring the Slave Songs out into the light, to release them from their one-hundred-year imprisonment by adding piano accompaniments to them. Singers can now sing the songs, with or without the comforting support of a piano background.

The question arises as to what would be the most appropriate type of accompaniment. There are generally two kinds: the arranger's and the composer's. The former writes a simple, unobtrusive harmonic background that permits the melody to soar freely, while the latter creates an original accompaniment that is more a reflection of the composer's mood and feeling engendered by the melody. The harmony becomes more colorful, with the added danger however that the simplicity and charm of the original melody may be lost amidst a welter of 'modernisms'. In these harmonizations I have tried to steer a middle course: I have allowed my imagination to expand within the bounds of reason and restraint. I have never lost sight of the simplicity of melody and words, which are of utmost importance in the Slave Songs. Nonetheless, modernisms may creep in as they do, very subtly. Perhaps, in future editions, other writers will refashion the songs in quite different harmonies, but the innate beauty of the Slave Songs themselves will always emerge through any kind of accompaniment. They are a tribute to a people who, one hundred years after their emancipation from slavery, are still fighting to secure the rights and privileges due every American citizen, regardless of the color of his skin.
~IRVING SCHLEIN

Irving Schlein is a composer, arranger and a conductor whose musical career has encompassed the concert hall, the stage, the screen, and the recording. He has composed orchestral works, chamber music, choral works, band pieces, stage music, film scores, and operettas. Patrons of the Broadway musical stage have seen him on the podium conducting the orchestra for such shows as "Silk Stockings," "Lost In The Stars," and the revival of "Knickerbocker Holiday."

PUBLISHER'S FOREWORD
Slave Songs of the United States is one of the great documents of America. Published shortly after the end of the Civil War, the songs were collected during the war, mostly from among Negroes living on the Islands off the coast of Georgia and South Carolina.

This new edition of SLAVE SONGS OF THE UNITED STATES is published at a most appropriate moment in our history. The tremendous tasks undertaken by the Emancipation Proclamation and Reconstruction are closer to fulfillment than at any other time. There is renewed interest in the life and culture of the Negro slaves. In particular, there is interest in the music of that period-- since so much contemporary musical expression of jazz, swing, rhythm-and-blues, rock-and-roll, and modern gospel song has its roots in these songs.

Because of this, we have not attempted to' 'translate" the original songs from the transcribed dialect into a more commonly-accepted usage. Rather, we believe that those who will sing these songs will make their own adaptations of the words. Similarly, the introduction has been photographically reproduced from the original edition. This section has remained intact, even to the archaic spelling of the word "Negro" with a small "n."

Today, when the songs of the Freedom Movement are heard in the churches and on the highways of the South, these songs serve as an inspiration and a memory of the living heart of history.


Printed in the United States of America for the Publisher by Faculty Press, Inc., Brooklyn, N.Y.
Paste-Up and Production, Jean Hammond; Illustrations selected by Irwin Silber.


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Subject: RE: History of spirituals
From: masato sakurai
Date: 30 Sep 01 - 02:27 PM

The most detailed history of African-American spirituals up to the publication of Slave Songs of the United States is librarian/musicologist Dena J. Epstein's Sinful Tunes and Spirituals: Black Folk Music to the Civil War (University of Illinois Press, 1977). The last 2 chapters are about the 3 editors and the publication of the historic collection.

~Masato


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Subject: RE: History of spirituals
From: wysiwyg
Date: 01 Oct 01 - 01:06 AM

Wish I had these. Anyone else have them?

~S~

Audio Tape:
Music of the Underground Railroad by Kim and Reggie Harris.
Without doubt one of the most wonderful resources available. Kim and Reggie Harris present the history of the Underground Railroad from a nationwide perspective interspersed with songs and spirituals once used as "code songs" within the UGRR and slave communities. This is very, very well done. The tape is sold in a set with a well-conceived board game and video done by the Harris's. This is available through Chatham Hill Games, Box 253, Chatham, NY 12037. 1-800/554-3039. Prices are surprisingly reasonable and the game seems informative and fun to play. The game and tape can be purchased without the video. The video is new and has not been reviewed by this writer.

The Drinking Gourd by Manjo. An "I Can Read History" Book.

Our Song, Our Toil: The Story of American Slavery as Told by Slaves by Michele Stepto, Milbrook Press, 1994. Written using Federal Writers Project slave narratives gathered in the 1930's as resource material.

SOURCE FOR THE ABOVE:
The Menare Foundation's North Star Website
The Menare Foundation is a national non-profit organization dedicated to the documentation, preservation, and restoration of Underground Railroad safe-houses. The Menare Foundation was created from historian Anthony Cohen's work on the Underground Railroad.


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Subject: RE: History of spirituals
From: wysiwyg
Date: 01 Oct 01 - 01:22 AM

CODED SLAVE SONGS

The fact that contemporary soul descended from an amalgam of Gospel music and R&B is beyond question, but if we trace its roots back still further we come to the point from which all Afro-American music evolved, the slave songs. Before the Civil War, the crime of helping slaves to escape, or even inciting them to escape was punishable by death. For this reason the slaves started to put coded messages into their songs, so that they could communicate in ways that the 'massa's' could not understand.

Marlena Shaw's excellent 'Wade in the Water' has long been a big soul favourite of mine, so when I discovered a snippit in a book, which described a gospel version of it my interest was aroused.

'"Wade in the Water", one of the most common slave songs and still a gospel standard, provided literal escape instructions' (A Change is Gonna Come- Craig Werner (P7))

This 'Gospel' version was allegedly a derivation of a coded slave song. My first task was to find out if Marlena Shaw's song was a secular re-work of this gospel favourite or not. Thankfully John Glassburner, a contact on the internet, who has three versions of the Gospel original, and the contemporary version was able to confirm that it was. Furthermore he was able to provide me with the lyrics of the gospel variant.

Wade in the water (children)
Wade in the water
Wade in the water
God's gonna trouble the water

If you don't believe I've been redeemed
God's gonna trouble the water
I want you to follow him on down to Jordan stream
(I said) My God's gonna trouble the water
You know chilly water is dark and cold
(I know my) God's gonna trouble the water
You know it chills my body but not my soul
(I said my) God's gonna trouble the water

(Come on let's) wade in the water
Wade in the water (children)
Wade in the water
God's gonna trouble the water

Now if you should get there before I do
(I know) God's gonna trouble the water
Tell all my friends that I'm comin' too
(I know) God's gonna trouble the water
Sometimes I'm up lord and sometimes I'm down
(You know my) God's gonna trouble the water
Sometimes I'm level to the ground
God's gonna trouble the water
(I Know) God's gonna trouble the water

Wade in the water (children)
Wade out in the water (children)
God's gonna trouble the water


To try and de-code this song now is difficult. Firstly we don't know what the code is but which must have been quite sophisticated if it was to fool the Massa's and the bounty hunters. The second problem is that there is no guarantee that these are indeed the original lyrics. The slave songs were passed on by word of mouth and never written down. There may well have been several other variants before we arrived at the gospel version we see here. None the less there are still enough references for us to say it was originally about escape. The very title of 'Wade in the Water' is advice to the runaways on how to avoid being tracked by bloodhounds. The reference to 'Jordan' could well be the Promised Land, in this case Canada where slavery did not exist. 'It chills my body, but not my soul' is reference to the physical discomforts that the journey will take, but at the same time is trying to bolster the spirits. 'Now if you should get there before I do' and 'Tell my friends that I'm a comin' too' are much more obvious allusions to a journey.

"Wade in the Water" is an important soul record because of its historical links. It has a clear and traceable lineage way back to the cotton fields. A record which the soul fraternity now dance the night away to was once a song which pointed the way to freedom, and may even have saved lives.

Probably the most famous slave song was entitled, 'Follow the Drinking Gourd' which to my knowledge has no contemporary version. What made it special was that it not only gave hidden advice but also contained a complete coded map with full details of how to escape to Canada. The Monty Python team, probably wholly unaware of its hidden agenda, skitted the song in 'The Life Of Brian' as they included a sketch where demented Jews trailed a physical gourd.

For those who haven't already worked out what 'The Drinking Gourd' is, it is a reference to 'the big dipper' a constellation very close to the North Star itself. The North Star can be very difficult to recognise, but 'The Big Dipper' is easily identifiable, looking like a massive drinking gourd, and a clear indication of a northerly direction. The series of routes and safe houses, which were often run by Quakers, was known as 'The Underground Railway'. This is the railway, which James Carr was singing about in his 'Freedom Train'. By 1861 there were about 500 abolitionists, helping slaves find this invisible network of pathways, safe houses and signals. Probably the most courageous of these was known as 'Peg Leg Joe' who moved from one plantation to another teaching slaves the lyrics to 'Drinking Gourd' and helping them interpret it.

A full interpretation of the song was posted in the 'Detroit News' on Tuesday 25th. February 1997:

'When the sun comes up and the first quail calls, follow the drinking gourd.
For the old man is a-waiting to carry you to freedom,
If you follow the drinking gourd.'

(With the beginning of winter on Dec. 21, the sun starts climbing higher in the sky each day. And in winter, the call of migratory quail echoes across southern fields. So Peg Leg Joe's ingenious song advised slaves to escape in winter and head north toward the Big Dipper -- code name, drinking gourd. A guide will be waiting at the end of the line. )

' The riverbank makes a very good road.
The dead trees show you the way,
Left foot, peg foot, travelling on
Follow the drinking gourd. '

(This verse directs fugitives to the Tombigbee River, where special "Peg Leg" markings on fallen trees will show they're on the correct northerly course. Travelling under cover of darkness, slaves could find their way along a river even on nights too overcast for the Big Dipper's stars to shine through. The Tombigbee River, which empties into Alabama's Mobile Bay on the Gulf of Mexico, originates in northeast Mississippi. Perhaps as many as 200,000 enslaved people lived near that river, according to Gloria Rall, producer of a children's planetarium show, Following the Drinking Gourd, about the escape route. )

'The river ends between two hills.
Follow the drinking gourd.
There's another river on the other side,
Follow the drinking gourd.'

(When the Tombigbee ends, the runaways who'd memorized the song knew to walk north over a hill until they came to another river, the Tennessee, then go north on it as well.)

'Where the great big river meets the little river,
Follow the drinking gourd.
For the old man is a-waiting for to carry you to freedom,
If you follow the drinking gourd.'

(The song ends by instructing slaves that at the end of Tennessee River they must cross over to the north side of the big Ohio River, where someone from the Underground Railroad would ensure their passage to the first of a string of safe houses reaching all the way to Canada.)

GETTING ACROSS
But how were slaves to ford the huge Ohio? Swimming across was all but impossible. Although boats on the Illinois side of the river did cross over to pick up riders, planetarium show producer Rall has noted, an escaped slave who waited long risked meeting up instead with a bounty hunter.

The solution was to walk across the Ohio River when it was frozen. Because Underground Railroad engineers calculated that the trip from the Deep South to the Ohio normally took about a year, their "Drinking Gourd" song suggested beginning the journey north in winter in order to get to the Ohio by the next winter.

Eliza Harris, the heroine of Harriet Beecher Stowe's famous abolitionist novel, Uncle Tom's Cabin, was "modelled on a real woman who crossed the ice of the Ohio River in winter," Underground Railroad scholar Blockson explained in a National Geographic article. By the time Eliza reached the river, its ice was breaking up.

"In desperation as her pursuers closed in, Eliza darted into the river, holding her child in her arms. Springing from one floe to another, she lost her shoes in the icy waters but struggled on with bleeding feet to the opposite shore and the safety of the Ohio underground," Blockson recalls.

With her heart-stopping story of Eliza's flight to freedom, Stowe fuelled anti-slavery sentiment in the North and became, in the words of Abraham Lincoln, "the little woman ... who wrote the book that made this great war."


SOURCE:
THE SOUL REVIEW by JOHN PONOMARENKO

To see the complete article follow this link
http://detnews.com/1997/accent/9702/25/02250025.htm

[unfortunately the link is now no good... ~S~]


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Subject: RE: History of spirituals
From: wysiwyg
Date: 01 Oct 01 - 09:29 AM

NOTE--

The foregoing posts are going to be summarized and indexed in the African American Spirituals permathread...

Please do NOT start a "Part Two" on this thread till that has been done, despite possible long loading time on this thread. I may add another one or two items here first.

Thanks--

~Susan


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Subject: RE: History of spirituals
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 01 Oct 01 - 09:36 PM

Those interested in the history should read Dobie, J. Frank, FOLLOW THE DRINKING GOU'D (also given as Foller de Drinkin' Gou'd), published by the Texas Folklore Society, # 7, 1928 reprinted 1965.


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Subject: RE: History of spirituals
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 01 Oct 01 - 09:47 PM

Two parallel discussions on the Drinking Gou'd, McGrath had already given the reference to Dobie in the thread on the Drinking Gou'd.


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Subject: RE: History of spirituals
From: wysiwyg
Date: 02 Oct 01 - 11:00 PM

Originall posted in another thread:

Subject: RE: Deep River or Steal Away?
From: Dicho
Date: 02-Oct-01 - 10:52 PM

Spiritual, of course, is an old word, but its first general application to Negro religious song probably occurred after the tours by Fisk and Hampton singers, and may have resulted from an article in Harpers Mag. 1866, May 775/1. A brief entry in the OED under Negro 7, spiritual reads "Maum Rima flavored all her dishes with these 'spirituals' as they are called among the Negroes." If someone has access to a library with a Harpers Mag. file, this article would be worth looking up.


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Subject: RE: History of spirituals
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 02 Oct 01 - 11:12 PM

In adding a note to Wysiwyg (above) about when the term Negro Spiritual was first applied, I got lost re-reading some of the interesting material above, clicked around and posted under the Deep River thread, so with apologies here it is again. In the OED, under Negro, 7, spiritual, is the entry "Maum Riva flavored all her dishes with these 'spirituals' as they are called among the Negroes." 1866 Harper's Mag., May 775/1. The term probably came into general use later as a result of the tours by Fisk and Hampton singers.


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Subject: RE: History of spirituals
From: wysiwyg
Date: 03 Oct 01 - 11:32 AM

CLICK HERE for photo and the following, from Bill Steber:

While most contemporary churches have abandoned river and lake baptisms in favor or indoor baptismal tanks, the rural congregations of the Northwest Delta still gather together on the first Sunday in September to baptize yearly candidates in Moon Lake, just as they have for generations. It is at these baptism ceremonies where one can still hear spirituals sung in a style that predates modern gospel music. Songs are begun spontaneously by women song leaders and the congregation sings the lines as they are introduced in the classic call and response style which is the hallmark of African-American music, from spirituals to work chants to blues and jazz.


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Subject: RE: History of spirituals
From: Burke
Date: 03 Oct 01 - 10:01 PM

The Harper article is the first found print recording of the usage of spiritual in the sense used. I'd think that since the author put 'spirituals' in quotes & sort of defined, it was not expected that the readers would already know what it meant, but that it was already in use & not being coined.

The Harper quote comes from a short story & Maum Riva is being described as singing while she's working in the kitchen. It's pretty buried in the middle of the story so I can't imagine that it would be reponsible for introducing the term to general usage.

I'd say the Fisk singers got the term from the same place the Harper's writer did, oral usage.


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Subject: RE: History of spirituals
From: wysiwyg
Date: 03 Oct 01 - 10:04 PM

That's wonderful, Burke. EXCELLENT thinking.

Keep that up, though, and you run the risk of being recruited for the Disorgaized Spirituals Team. (In other words, PM me if you want to get the e-mails the others are getting.)

~S~


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Subject: RE: History of spirituals
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 04 Oct 01 - 04:12 PM

It is my understanding that the Fisk Singers and their arranger referred to the songs as "Jubilee Songs," not spirituals. Correct me if I am wrong. We need to look at the newspaper accounts of the time the tours by Fisk and Hampton to get a better handle on the word "spiritual." The arranger for the Hampton singers apparently called them Cabin and Plantation Songs, but again verification is needed, it may not be the only appelation they applied.


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Subject: RE: History of spirituals
From: wysiwyg
Date: 04 Oct 01 - 04:14 PM

Go for it, guys.

~S~


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Subject: RE: History of spirituals
From: wysiwyg
Date: 04 Oct 01 - 08:34 PM

Anybody have these?

~S~

=========================================================

de Lerma, Dominique-Rene. Concert Music and Spirituals: A Selected Discography. Black Music Research, Occasional Papers, 1. Nashville: Fisk Univ., Institute for Research in Black American Music, 1981.

Jackson, Irene V. Afro-American Religious Music: a bibliography. Westport CT: Greenwood Press, 1979.

Oliver, Paul, ed. New Grove Gospel, Blues and Jazz: with Spirituals and Ragtime. New York: W. W. Norton, 1986.

Allen, Ray. Singing in the Spirit: African-American Sacred Quartets in New York City. Philadelphia: Univ. of Pennsylvania Press, 1991.

Bishop, Selma L. Isaac Watts' Hymns and Spiritual Songs (1707): A Publishing History and a Bibliography. Ann Arbor, MI: The Pierian Press, 1974.

Harris, Michael W. The Rise of Gospel Blues - The Music of Thomas Andrew Dorsey in the Urban Church. New York: Oxford University Press, 1992.

Lorenz, Ellen Jane. Glory, Hallelujah: The Story of the Camp Meeting Spiritual. Nashville: Abington, 1980.

Maultsby, Poetia K. Afro-American Religious Music: A Study in Musical Diversity. (Papers of the Hymn Society of America, 35.) Springfield, OH: The Hymn Society of America, 1981.

Peters, Erskine, ed. Lyrics of the Afro-American Spiritual - A Documentary Collection. Westport CT: Greenwood Press, 1993.

Pitts, Walter F. Old Ship of Zion: The Afro-Baptist Ritual in the African Diaspora. NY & London: Oxford Univ. Press, 1993.

Sutton, Joel Brett. The Gospel Hymn, Shaped Notes, and the Black Tradition. Continuity and Change in American Traditional Music. Chapel Hill, NC: MA Thesis in Folklore, 1976.


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Subject: RE: History of spirituals
From: wysiwyg
Date: 04 Oct 01 - 08:37 PM

Or these?

~S~

=========================================================

Carney, George O., ed. The Sounds of People and Places: readings in the geography of American Folk and Popular music. University Press of America, 1987.

Lomax, Alan. Folk Song Style and Culture. Wash., DC: 1968.

Nettl, Bruno. An Introduction to the Folk Music of the United States. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1960.

Patterson, Daniel W., ed. Sounds of the South. Durham NC: Duke University Press, 1992.


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Subject: RE: History of spirituals
From: wysiwyg
Date: 04 Oct 01 - 08:46 PM

Some of these may duplicate the above.

~S~

====================================================

Abrahms, Roger D. Singing the Master: The Emergence of African-American Culture in the Plantation South. New York: Penguin Books, 1993.

Baraka, Imamu Amiri (Le Roi Jones). Blues People: Negro Music in White America. orig. 1963; Westport Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1980.

Brooks, Tilford. America's Black Musical Heritage. Eng Cliffs NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1984.

Dennison, Sam. Scandalize my name - Black imagery in American popular music. Garland Publishing, 1982.

Ewens, Graeme. Africa O-YE! - A Celebration of African Music. New York: Da Capo Press.

Floyd, Samuel A., Jr. The Power of Black Music: Interpreting Its History from Africa to the United States. Oxford University Press, 1995.

Lott, Eric. Love & Theft - Blackface Minstrelsy and the American Working Class. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 1993.

Maultsby, Poetia K. Afro-American Religious Music: A Study in Musical Diversity. (Papers of the Hymn Society of America, 35.) Springfield, OH: The Hymn Society of America, 1981.

Naipaul, V. S. A Turn in the South. NY: 1989.

Nathan, Hans. Dan Emmett and the Rise of Early Negro Minstrelsy. Norman, OK: 1977. (1st ed., 1962).

Roach, Hildred. Black American Music: Past and Present. Melbourne, FL: Krieger Publ. Co., 1994. a textbook

Sampson, Henry T. Blacks in Blackface: A Source Book on Early Black Musical Shows. Metuchen, N.J.: Scarecrow Press, 1980.

Southern, Eileen, ed. Readings in Black American Music. New York: W.W. Norton, 1971; 2nd ed., 1983.

Southern, Eileen. The Music of Black Americans. New York: W.W. Norton, 1971; 2nd ed., 1983.

Toll, Robert C. Blacking Up: the minstrel show in nineteenth century America. New York: Oxford University Press, 1974.

Wake Up Dead Man: Afro-American Worksong from Texas Prisons. Coll. and Edited by Bruce Jackson. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1972.

The African-American Mosaic: A Library of Congress Resource Guide for the Study of Black History and Culture. Ed. Debra Newman Ham, with contributions by Beverly Brannan, Dena J. Epstein, et. al. Wash, DC: Library of Congress, 1993. An extended bibliographic essay citing LC sources.

de Lerma, Dominique-Rene and Marsha J. Reisser. Black Music and Musicians in the New Grove Dictionary of American Music and the New Harvard Dictionary of Music (CBMR Monographs No: 1). Chicago: Columbia College Center for Black Music Research, 1989.

de Lerma, Dominique-Rene. Concert Music and Spirituals: A Selected Discography. Black Music Research, Occasional Papers, 1. Nashville: Fisk Univ., Institute for Research in Black American Music, 1981.

de Lerma, Dominique-Rene. Bibliography of Black Music: Vol. 1: Reference Materials, (1981); Vol. 2: Afro-American Idioms, (1981); Vol. 3: Geographical Studies, (1982); Vol. 4: Theory, Education, and Related Studies, (1984). Westport Conn.: Greenwood Press.

Encylopedia of African-American culture and history. edited by Jack Salzman, David Lionel Smith, Cornel West. 1996.

Floyd, Samuel A. Jr. and Marsha J Reisser. Black Music in the United States: An Annotated Bibliography of Selected References and Research Materials. Millwood NY: Kraus International Pubs., 1983.

Guinness Encyclopedia of Popular Music, The. Colin Larkin, compiler and editor. 2nd ed. NY: Stockton Press, 1995. 6 v.

Meadows, Eddie S. Theses and Dissertations on Black American Music. Beverly Hills: Theodore Front Musical Literature, 1980.

Skowronski, JoAnn. Black Music in America: A Bibliography. Metuchen, N.J.: Scarecrow Press, 1981.

Southern, Eileen. Biographical Dictionary of Afro-American and African Musicians. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1982.

Vann, Kimberly R. Black Music in Ebony: An Annotated Guide to the Articles in Ebony Magazine. Chicago: Columbia College Center for Black Music Research, 1990.


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Subject: RE: History of spirituals
From: wysiwyg
Date: 04 Oct 01 - 08:50 PM

Organizations:

Center for Black Music Research at Columbia College, Chicago; 600 South Michigan Ave. Chicago, IL 60605 (312) 633-1600, ext. 559; email: CBMR@mail.colum.edu

Institute for Research in Black American Music, Fisk University, Nashville, TN.


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Subject: RE: History of spirituals
From: wysiwyg
Date: 10 Oct 01 - 09:27 PM

Via link from Dicho:

PITTMAN, PORTIA MARSHALL WASHINGTON (1883-1978). Portia Washington Pittman, musician and teacher, was born in Tuskegee, Alabama, on June 6, 1883, the only daughter of Booker T. and Fanny (Smith) Washington. Her father was the founder of Tuskegee Institute. Upon her mother's death in 1884, Portia's care came from nursemaids and two stepmothers. Already a fairly accomplished pianist by the age of ten, she entertained her family by playing spirituals and simple classical pieces. Washington arranged for her to attend New England's finest boarding schools, including Framingham State Normal School in Massachusetts in 1895. After grammar school she returned home to take classes at Tuskegee Institute, and in 1901 she attended Wellesley College in Massachusetts. In New England she continued her piano studies and received a degree from the Bradford Academy (now Bradford Junior College) in 1905, the first black to obtain a degree from that institution. Upon graduation Portia traveled to Berlin to study under Martin Krause, master pianist and former student of Franz Liszt. Complicating her time in Europe, however, were the persistent attentions of William Sidney Pittman,qv a Tuskegee student and teacher she had met in 1900. Now, five years later, Pittman determined to marry Portia, and persuaded her through a passionate correspondence. Portia sacrificed her piano studies, returned to the United States, and married Sidney Pittman on Halloween, 1907, in the chapel of Tuskegee Institute.

Pittman decided that he and Portia should begin afresh in Washington, D.C. There he set up an architectural practice and built their home in Fairmont Heights, Maryland. Between 1908 and 1912 Portia gave birth to her three children. Portia made her concert debut in a joint recital with Clarence Cameron White in May 1908 in Washington, and periodically toured on a concert circuit. Despite family happiness, money problems plagued the Pittmans. Sidney's architectural contracts dried up, and Portia began giving private piano lessons in order to maintain the family income. Pittman's vanity was wounded by his wife's having to work as well as by her family's fame. He moved the family in 1913 to Dallas, Texas, where he thought Booker T. Washington's shadow would be less oppressive. They settled on Juliette Street. After Pittman's contracts again dropped off, partly because Dallas blacks who could afford his services preferred to hire white architects, financial difficulties again plagued Portia's life. On November 14, 1915, her father died. A fire in 1918 destroyed the Pittmans' second Dallas home on Germania Street, and they moved to Liberty Street. Improvement in the family's fortunes began at this time, however, and continued for nearly ten years. Pittman became the president of the Brotherhood of Negro Building Mechanics of Texas, and Portia began teaching music at Booker T. Washington High School in 1925. She also chaired the education department of the Texas Association of Negro Musicians. In March 1927 the National Education Association held its annual convention in Dallas. Almost 7,500 teachers attended. A 600-voice choir from Booker T. Washington High School, under Portia's direction, sang a medley of popular and spiritual songs. It was the first time in history that a black high school group had appeared on the NEA program. Tremendous applause and cries of "encore" rose after the performance, and a spontaneous sing-along erupted as audience and choir together sang spirituals and folk songs. NEA president Randall J. Condon, a Los Angeles, California, principal, judged the performance a "complete success." Later that summer Portia traveled to Columbia University in order to acquire academic credentials to allow her to continue teaching in the Dallas public schools.

In 1928 a violent quarrel between Pittman and his daughter, Fannie, culminated in his striking the girl. Portia packed, took Fannie, and left Pittman and Texas. She began teaching at Tuskegee that same year. Her classes included piano, public school music, glee club, and choir. Tuskegee had changed, however, since her father s death. The new administration demanded that all faculty members have academic degrees in order to teach. Lacking such credentials, Portia was removed from the faculty by 1939, but opened her own private music studio in her home in order to support herself. In 1944, at age sixty-one, she retired. She now dedicated herself to a campaign to have her father's Virginia birthplace preserved as a national monument. Before the success of that effort in May 1949, her efforts to memorialize her father bore fruit on May 23, 1946, when a bust of her father was installed in the Hall of Fame in New York, and also on August 7, 1946, when President Harry Truman signed a bill "authorizing the minting of five million Booker T. Washington commemorative fifty-cent coins." She also oversaw the establishment of the Booker T. Washington Foundation to provide academic scholarships for black students. Though she had resolved to leave Texas behind her, she traveled to Dallas one last time to attend the funeral of her former husband, who died on February 19, 1958. Although Portia suffered financial and health problems during the last years of her life, she remained interested in the ongoing effort of black Americans to acquire their civil rights. She was heartened by the rediscovery of black history during the 1960s and the assurance that her father would be remembered as a great African-American leader. She died on February 26, 1978, in Washington, D.C.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Eileen Southern, Biographical Dictionary of Afro-American and African Musicians (Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood, 1982). Ruth Ann Stewart, Portia: The Life of Portia Washington Pittman, the Daughter of Booker T. Washington (Garden City, New York: Doubleday, 1977).

Peggy Hardman

SOURCE:
"PITTMAN, PORTIA MARSHALL WASHINGTON." The Handbook of Texas Online.


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Subject: RE: History of spirituals
From: wysiwyg
Date: 10 Oct 01 - 09:32 PM

Via link from Dicho:

CRAWFORD, ROBERTA DODD (1897-1954). Roberta Dodd Crawford, black contralto, also known as Princess Kojo Tovalou-Houenou, was born in 1897 in the black Tank Town section of Bonham, Texas, the oldest daughter among eight children born to Joe and Emma (Dunlap) Dodd. As a child she attended Washington School and later worked as a waitress at Curtis Boarding House. Her singing talent brought her to the attention of several Bonham women who arranged for her to perform at the Alexander Hotel and at several Bonham churches. With help from benefactors, she attended Wiley College at Marshall for two years, then entered Fisk University, where she studied with Roland Hayes. About 1920 she entered the University of Chicago, where for the next six years she studied voice with Madame Herman Devries. In 1926 she debuted at Kimball Hall and received favorable reviews from the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Defender. While in Chicago she married Capt. William B. Crawford of the Eighth Illinois Regiment.

Two years later she performed at the First United Methodist Church in Bonham, where her program combined Italian, French, German, Spanish, and English art songs and operatic arias with Negro spirituals and at least one "primitive African melody." She then left for France to become a student of Blanche Marchessi in Paris. In 1931 she made her French debut by singing selections in five languages at the Salle Gaveau. Now widowed, she met Kojo Marc Tovalou-Houenou (or Marc Tovalou Quenum), a doctor and lawyer and Pan-African activist from Porto Novo, the capital of Dahomey in French West Africa. Some sources also refer to him as a prince. They married in 1932; he died about 1938. After his death, his widow returned to Paris. Unable to secure funds from her African property, she worked in the National Library of Paris and during World War IIqv joined the Red Cross and sang in churches and canteens for American soldiers. Suffering from anemia, she relied on friends for financial help and credited a Fort Worth physician with saving her life by getting surplus food coupons for her. She reportedly spent time in a concentration camp during the German occupation of France, but was released. In 1948 she returned to Bonham, but her poor physical and emotional health left her unwilling to perform again. She later moved to Dallas.

Roberta Crawford sang in several cities in the United States and at Spellman and Tuskegee universities as well as in Europe. She had no children. She died on June 14, 1954, in Dallas and was buried in Gates Hill Cemetery in Bonham.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Bonham Daily Favorite, June 15, 1954, November 25, 1973. Fannin County Folks and Facts (Dallas: Taylor, 1977). Juanita C. Spencer, Bonham-Town of Bailey Inglish (Wolfe City, Texas: Henington, 1977). Pat Stephens, ed., Forgotten Dignity: The Black Community of Bonham...1880-1930 (Bonham, Texas: Progressive Citizens, 1984).

Nancy Baker Jones

SOURCE:
"CRAWFORD, ROBERTA DODD." The Handbook of Texas Online.


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Subject: RE: History of spirituals
From: wysiwyg
Date: 10 Oct 01 - 09:35 PM

Via link from Dicho:

BLEDSOE, JULIUS LORENZO COBB (1897-1943). Julius (Jules) Bledsoe, black baritone and composer, was born on December 29, 1897, in Waco, Texas, the son of Henry L. and Jessie (Cobb) Bledsoe. He attended Central Texas Academy in Waco from about 1905 until his graduation as class valedictorian in 1914. He then attended Bishop College in Marshall, where he earned a B.A. in 1918. He was a member of the ROTC at Virginia Union University in Richmond in 1918-19 and studied medicine at Columbia University in New York City between 1920 and 1924. While attending Columbia, he studied voice with Claude Warford, Luigi Parisotti, and Lazar Samoiloff. He was sponsored by the impresario Sol Hurok for his professional singing debut on April 20, 1924, at Aeolian Hall in New York. As a concert artist Bledsoe performed in the United States and Europe. He was praised for his ability to sing in several languages, for his vocal control and range, and for his power to communicate through music.

His best-known achievement was his portrayal of Joe in Florenz Ziegfeld's 1927 production of Jerome Kern's Showboat. His interpretation of "Ol' Man River" made the song an American classic. In his versatile career of nearly twenty years Bledsoe performed with such distinguished musical organizations as the Boston Symphony Chamber Players (1926), the BBC Symphony in London (1936), and the Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam (1937). He also sang for vaudeville and radio and in opera. He sang the role of Amonasro in Giuseppe Verdi's Aïda with the Cleveland Stadium Opera (1932), the Chicago Opera Company at the Hippodrome in New York (1933), and the Cosmopolitan Opera Company, also at the Hippodrome (1934). A highlight of his career was his performance in the title role for the European premiere, in Amsterdam, of Louis Gruenberg's opera The Emperor Jones (1934). In 1940 and 1941 Bledsoe worked in films in Hollywood. He played the part of Kalu in Drums of the Congo, and, although his name did not appear in the credits, he probably played in Safari, Western Union, and Santa Fe Trail.

He wrote several patriotic songs and songs in the style of spirituals and folk songs. Some of his compositions were "Does Ah Luv You?" (1931); "Pagan Prayer" (date unknown), on a poem by Countee Cullen; "Good Old British Blue" (1936); and "Ode to America" (1941). He wrote an opera, Bondage (1939), based on Harriet Beecher Stowe's novel Uncle Tom's Cabin. Bledsoe's African Suite, a set of four songs for voice and orchestra, was featured with the Concertgebouw Orchestra, directed by Wilhelm Mengelberg. After a war bond tour Bledsoe died, on July 14, 1943, in Hollywood, from a cerebral hemorrhage. He is buried in Greenwood Cemetery in Waco.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Musicians. Jules Bledsoe Papers, Texas Collection, Baylor University. Maud Cuney-Hare, Negro Musicians and Their Music (Washington: Associated Publishers, 1936). Lynnette Geary, The Career and Music of Jules Bledsoe (M.Mus. thesis, Baylor University, 1982). Dayton Kelley, ed., The Handbook of Waco and McLennan County, Texas (Waco: Texian, 1972).

Lynnette Geary

SOURCE:
"BLEDSOE, JULIUS LORENZO COBB." The Handbook of Texas Online.


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Subject: RE: History of spirituals
From: wysiwyg
Date: 10 Oct 01 - 09:39 PM

Via link from Dicho:

GUION, DAVID WENDEL (1892-1981). David Wendel Guion, composer and musician, son of John I. and Armour (Fentress) Guion, was born on December 15, 1892, in Ballinger, Texas. His mother was an accomplished singer and pianist, and his father was a prominent judge. Guion's parents discovered his musical ability when he was five years old; consequently he started his musical education early. He studied first in nearby San Angelo, then at the Whipple Academy in Jacksonville, Illinois, and further at Polytechnic College in Fort Worth. His parents sent him to Vienna, Austria, to study with Leopold Godowsky at the Royal Conservatory of Music. After the outbreak of World War Iqv Guion returned to the states, where he began teaching and composing.

Throughout the 1920s and 1930s he composed and performed music that reflected his Texas heritage. For a time he hosted a Western-oriented weekly radio show in New York City, for which he wrote the scripts and music. But Guion, at one time himself an accomplished cowboy, became most famous for his arrangement of the cowboy song "Home on the Range," which was performed for the first time in his New York production Prairie Echoes. It became a favorite of President Franklin D. Roosevelt and the nation. In 1936 Guion was commissioned to write Cavalcade of America for the Texas Centennialqv celebration, and in 1950 he received a commission from the Houston Symphony Orchestra,qv for whom he completed the suite Texas in 1952. His wide range of compositions numbers over 200 published works and includes orchestral suites, music for ballets, piano pieces, and secular and religious songs. His music has been performed around the world.

Guion is significant as one of the first American composers to collect and transcribe folk tunes, including Negro spiritual music, into concert music. He is well-known for his arrangements of "Turkey in the Straw" and "The Arkansas Traveler," as well as "The Yellow Rose of Texas," "The Lonesome Whistler," "The Harmonica Player," "Jazz Scherzo," "Barcarolle," "The Scissors Grinder," "Valse Arabesque," and the "Mother Goose Suite." He was a master at musically representing the history and heritage of early Texas with such works as "Ride, Cowboy, Ride," "The Bold Vaquero," "Lonesome Song of the Plains," "Prairie Dusk," and the "Texas Fox Trot." A collection of his waltzes, "Southern Nights," was used in the movie Grand Hotel.

Guion was a member of the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers, the Texas Composers Guild, and the Texas Teachers Association. In 1955 the National Federation of Music Clubs announced that Guion was one of America's most significant folk-music composers. Guion, a Presbyterian and a Democrat, had a teaching career spanning over sixty years. He influenced young musicians at numerous colleges and conservatories including Howard Payne University (which in 1950 awarded him an honorary doctorate in music), Fort Worth Polytechnic College, Fairmont Conservatory, Chicago Musical College, Daniel Baker College, and Southern Methodist University.

Guion died on October 17, 1981, in Dallas and was buried at Evergreen Cemetery in Ballinger. Upon his death, his large collection of furniture, glassware, music recordings, books, and memorabilia was donated to the International Festival-Institute at Round Top.qv The Crouch Music Library at Baylor University, the Dallas Public Library, and the Fine Arts Library at the University of Texas at Austin have portions of his archives.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Sam Hanna Acheson, Herbert P. Gambrell, Mary Carter Toomey, and Alex M. Acheson, Jr., Texian Who's Who, Vol. 1 (Dallas: Texian, 1937). Donna Bearden and Jamie Frucht, The Texas Sampler: A Stitch in Time (Austin: Governor's Committee on Aging, 1976?). Houston Chronicle, October 21, 1981. Vertical Files, Barker Texas History Center, University of Texas at Austin.

James Dick

SOURCE:
"GUION, DAVID WENDEL." The Handbook of Texas Online.


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Subject: RE: History of spirituals
From: wysiwyg
Date: 10 Oct 01 - 09:42 PM

Via link from Dicho:

LOMAX, JOHN AVERY (1867-1948). John Avery Lomax, folklorist, the son of James Avery and Susan Frances (Cooper) Lomax, was born at Goodman, Mississippi, on September 23, 1867. In August 1869 his parents set out for Texas in two covered wagons. They arrived in Bosque County before Christmas and settled on a farm above Meridian. Young Lomax learned to do farm work and attended short terms of school between crops. As his home was located on a branch of the Chisholm Trail,qv he heard many cowboy ballads and other folk songs; before he was twenty, he began to write some of them down. In 1887 he had a year at Granbury College. With that training he taught for a year at Clifton and for six years at Weatherford College; he spent a summer in study at Eastman Business College at Poughkeepsie, New York, and three summers at Chautauqua. In 1895 he enrolled at the University of Texas, from which he graduated in 1897. He remained at the university as secretary to the president, as registrar, and as steward of the men's dormitory. In 1903 he taught English at the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas (later Texas A&M University). On June 9, 1904, he married Bess B. Brown; they had two sons and two daughters. In 1906 Lomax received a scholarship at Harvard University, where Barrett Wendell and George L. Kittredge encouraged him to take up seriously the collection of western ballads he had begun as a youth. He collected by means of an appeal published in western newspapers and through his own vacation travel, financed in part by Harvard fellowships. In the back room of the White Elephant Saloon in Fort Worth he found cowhands who knew many stanzas of "The Old Chisholm Trail." A Gypsy woman living in a truck near Fort Worth sang "Git Along, Little Dogies." At Abilene an old buffalo hunter gave him the words and tune of the "Buffalo Skinners." In San Antonio in 1908 a black saloonkeeper who had been a trail cook sang "Home on the Range." Lomax's first collection, Cowboy Songs and Other Frontier Ballads, was published in 1910.

From 1910 to 1925 Lomax was secretary of the Alumni Association, which became the Ex-Students Association of the University of Texas, except for two years, 1917-19, when he was a bond salesman in Chicago. He was active in the fight to save the university from political domination by James E. Ferguson.qv From 1925 until 1931 he was vice president of the Republic National Company in Dallas. His first wife died on May 8, 1931, and on July 21, 1934, he married Ruby R. Terrill. Lomax was one of the founders of the Texas Folklore Societyqv and was president of the American Folklore Society. In his collecting of folk songs, he traveled 200,000 miles and visited all but one of the states. Often accompanied by his son, Alan, he visited prisons to record on phonograph disks the work songs and spirituals of black inmates. At the Angola prison farm in Louisiana, he encountered a talented black minstrel, Huddie Ledbetter,qv better known as Leadbelly. Upon Leadbelly's release from prison, Lomax took him on a tour in the north and recorded many of his songs. In 1919 Lomax published Songs of the Cattle Trail and Cow Camp; it was republished in 1927 and in 1931. With his son he edited other collections: American Ballads and Folk Songs (1934), Negro Songs as Sung by Lead Belly (1936), Our Singing County (1941), and Folk Song: U.S.A. (1947). In 1947 his autobiographical Adventures of a Ballad Hunter (1947) was awarded the Carr P. Collinsqv prize as the best Texas book of the year by the Texas Institute of Letters.qv Beginning in 1933 Lomax was honorary curator of the Archive of Folksong at the Library of Congress, which he helped establish as the primary agency for preservation of American folksongs and culture. He died at Greenville, Mississippi, on January 26, 1948.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Dallas Morning News, January 27, 1948.

Wayne Gard

SOURCE:
"LOMAX, JOHN AVERY." The Handbook of Texas Online.


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Subject: RE: History of spirituals
From: wysiwyg
Date: 12 Oct 01 - 11:30 AM

CLASSISM, INTERNALIZED OPPRESSION, AND THE SPIRITUALS


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Subject: RE: History of spirituals
From: Uncle Jaque
Date: 13 Oct 01 - 12:23 PM

From Previous Posting on related thread, Sept. 5, '01:

Subject: RE: Spirituals Posted at Mudcat From: Uncle Jaque Date: 05-Sep-01 - 10:22 PM

I get the impression that the "Spiritual" genre of musical expression was typically spontanious, constantly evolving, and interwoven with other forms of hymns, gospel and even popular secular music. That, combined with a tendancy to be orally transmitted rather than written down or published in the early years make them somewhat challenging to collect.

I have a reprint of "Slave Songs" and have seen various articles in "Harper's Weekly" and similar periodicals from the 1870's in which white musicians - probably during the Civil War - heard these songs being sung down South and recognizing their musical and cultural significance, tried to transcribe and preserve them as best they could. Somebody from within the Black American Southern culture probably has published some of this music, but I'm not aware of any - certainly not before the 1880's, at least, when the "Spiritual" tradition seems to have been evolving strongly toward the "Blues".

It seems that some early recording and "collection" was done in the 1930's by the WPA from some of the elderly, rural Blacks around Virginia & Tenn. who remembered some of the old Spirituals, and there seems to have been a subsequent revival of sorts when some of them were put out on albums. During the Folk Revival of the 1960's quite a few Folk Artists adapted and recorded some Spirituals successfully, and I'm glad to see continuing interest in them... but as I said, digging the really old ones out from obscurity can be considerably more difficult than collecting "Euro-American" works of the same period.

I recently recorded an album on which was an arrangement of "Old Ship Of Zion"; a version of it was found in "Southern Harmony" of 1835, another in a Methodist Hymnal, and again in that collection of "Negro Spirituals" from the 1870's. They were all different although obviously related, suggesting that some of these tunes were likely "borrowed" and "shared" back and forth between races, cultures, and denomonations. Remember, back then it was not uncommon for songwriters to wander around the countryside or hang around in local taverns listening for local ditties. When they heard one they liked, they jotted it down in a notebook and pretty soon a song bearing a strong resemblance would be published under his name in Boston of New York... Just where they started or by who may never really be known.


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Subject: RE: History of spirituals
From: wysiwyg
Date: 13 Oct 01 - 12:46 PM

Thanks, Jaque.

~S~


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Subject: RE: History of spirituals
From: sian, west wales
Date: 26 Sep 03 - 06:45 AM

I know this doesn't address the original question, but I've just seen this at the online Globe and Mail:

A study into the roots of gospel music by a U.S. professor -- an accomplished musician who has played with Duke Ellington and Dizzy Gillespie -- has led him to conclude that the "good news" music sung in black American churches originated in Scotland, not Africa. Willie Ruff of Yale University said the roots of the music derived from evangelical spirituals and had more to do with the crofters of the Outer Hebrides than slaves on U.S. plantations. Prof. Ruff, 71, a Baptist from Alabama, told Britain's Independent newspaper: "I, like everyone else, assumed [the music] was unique to black congregations in the United States . . . but I began to wonder if it was performed by white congregations in the same way." He discovered that some black U.S. slaves owned by Scottish immigrants spoke only Gaelic. However, it wasn't until he travelled to Scotland, and heard psalm singing in Gaelic, that he became convinced of the common roots: "I was struck by the similarity, the pathos, the emotion, the cries of suffering and the deep, deep belief in a brighter, promising hereafter."

*********

I think he's being just a teeny bit simplistic here ...

sian


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Subject: RE: History of spirituals
From: masato sakurai
Date: 26 Sep 03 - 11:04 PM

There was much debate over the origins in the first half of the 20th century. D.K. Wilgus discussed it in a chapter titled "The Negro-White Spiritual" in his Anglo-American Folksong Scholarship Since 1898 (Rutgers UP, 1959, pp. 344-364); the chapter is reprinted in Mother Wit from the Laughing Barrel: Readings in the Interpretation of Afro-American Folklore, edited by Alan Dundes (U. Pr. of Mississippi, 1990, pp. 67-80). Wilgus quotes from Bruno Nettl a position of the "compromise theorists", who "do not hold that the melodies of the American Negroes originated in Africa, but assume that the Negroes have taken over tunes of the whites and combined with them African stylistic traits--hot rhythm, much variation, preference for part-singing, antiphony, and response," saying that "study is revealing that a simple cencept of origin is not only misleading, but nonsensical."


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Subject: RE: History of spirituals
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 27 Sep 03 - 12:16 AM

Bruno Nettl's idea is probably correct in essence, but perhaps a bit of "independent invention" should be added.
Origins are never simple.


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Subject: RE: History of spirituals
From: GUEST,JeMelle J.
Date: 12 Feb 06 - 02:05 AM

Does anyone have information about Bishop Isaac Watts or

Dr. Isaac Watts ?


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Subject: RE: History of spirituals
From: GUEST,cececree
Date: 15 Apr 06 - 10:01 PM

do you know the history of wade in the water?


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Subject: RE: History of spirituals
From: Azizi
Date: 16 Apr 06 - 12:04 AM

Greetings, cececree.

Here are my theories on the song "Wade in the Water":

"Wade in the water" is an African American spiritual [Negro spiritual] that dates from at least the mid 19th century. This song was probably composed by more than one person. As is the case with other folk songs, the composers are unnamed and unknowable.

"Wade In The Water" was probably sung in the call & response patterns that are common to many Africans, African Americans, and other people of the African Diaspora.This religious song is made up of a refrain and floating verses [meaning verses that can be, probably were, and are still used in other spirituals].

It has become popular to describe "Wade In The Water" as a religious song that had an underlying practical use. The commonly held theory is that the "wade in the water" lyrics were a coded lesson for slaves as to how they could avoid capture when and if they ran away {i.e. if they walked in the water then the dogs and men chasing them would lose their scent}.

See http://www.negrospirituals.com/history.htm for this explanation.

However, I think that explanation-and the explanation of other
so-called coded "Negro" spirituals such as "Swing Low Sweet Chariot" and "Train A-Comin" are far too simplistic to me. As I have written on other Mudcat threads, though these songs may have been used sometimes as coded signals that a slave was preparing to run away, how many times could they have been sung and another slave disappeared before the massa and missus noticed the connection?

Not to mention that there were always snitches [house slaves or field] so it seems unlikely that no Black person ever told his or her "master" the secret meaning of these songs.

I believe that "Negro" spirituals probably more often than not were sung for their both their spiritual messages and the comfort they provided. At least after emancipation if not before, "Wade In The Water" was sung by church members as part of outdoor water immersion baptisms. And baptisms are occassion in which this song is still sung by some African Americans [if not others].

Water immersion and the spiritual power of water is very much a part of traditional West African religions. Different colors were also used in traditional West African religious practices to represent and distinquish one diety and his/her followers from another.

Therefore it seems to me that the references to colors in these often quoted Wade In The Water verses have more significance than just rhymes:

See that host all dressed in white
God's a-going to trouble the water
The leader looks like the Israelite
God's a-going to trouble the water

See that band all dressed in red
God's a-going to trouble the water
Looks like the band that Moses led
God's a-going to trouble the water

-snip-

Click http://www.wemba-music.org/orisha.htm
to read about the color symbolism used by the Yoruba {Nigeria}orishas {dieties/forces of nature}.

---

River dieties are very central to Akan {Ghana, West Africa}religions. See this excerpt from an online article about Akan religious beliefs:

" Earlier traditional beliefs also held that the future child, who is already formed from the blood, Mogya, of it's mother's family and endowed with the Ntro, spirit of its father, is led by an akragya to Nyame. The akragya, or Kra progenitors, are seven planetary deities who assist the Supreme Being. A golden bath is brought in, which the akragya bathes the child by pouring water over it. Nyame then utters the Nkrabea, the message of destiny, then lets fall a sparkling drop of water from an adwera leaf into the child's mouth, which is very similar to an African naming ceremony.

This is the "water of life", nkwan suo, which is believed to contain a living image of Nyame, like the figure of a person in a mirror. The water then penetrates the whole body of the child until it is filled with Honhom (divine breath) and wakes up alive. Before the child leaves Nyame, it is given the Hybea or the command to perfect and complete its Kra. Because only a pure and unsullied Kra, consisting entirely of goodness, can become one again with the Supreme Being, otherwise it must be reincarnated."
Source: Akan religion

-snip-

The Christian practice of baptism [as represented by John the Baptist and Jesus]thus merged very well with traditional African practices and beliefs. Lyrics in African American spirituals that refer to crossing a river may symbolize moving from one "state of being" to another {from "un-saved"-a non-believer/not a member of the church-to "saved", meaning a believer/a member of the church} But a higher {more traditional African} meaning of baptism meant that a person was receiving some of the spiritual power inherent in the water..and symbolized that that person was newly born.

Lyrics in African American spirituals that speak of "crossing a river" also meant moving from earthly existence to life after death. The Jordan river also symbolized the Ohio river which led to the free states. The "Jordan river" then could have both a religious meaning and a secular meaning {"moving" from life as an enslaved person to life as a free person}.

If you don't believe I've been redeemed
God's a-going to trouble the water
Just follow me down to the Jordan's stream
God's a-going to trouble the water

-snip-

Cececree, I encourage you to take what I have written as thoughts in rough draft form. I'm interested in hearing your and other thoughts about these theories.

Best wishes,

Azizi


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Subject: RE: History of spirituals
From: GUEST,Amy
Date: 24 Jun 06 - 03:04 PM

Yes indeed. Thank you Susan~WYSIWYG for all the work and knowledge you have put into this Topic over the Years here on the Mudcat and beyond.
A true Labor of Love.


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Subject: RE: History of spirituals
From: wysiwyg
Date: 31 Dec 06 - 12:16 PM

However, I think that explanation-and the explanation of other
so-called coded "Negro" spirituals such as "Swing Low Sweet Chariot" and "Train A-Comin" are far too simplistic to me. As I have written on other Mudcat threads, though these songs may have been used sometimes as coded signals that a slave was preparing to run away, how many times could they have been sung and another slave disappeared before the massa and missus noticed the connection?


I think that accounts by former slaves who made it North (and later by their descendants) are probably responsible for the contemporaneous and historical views that codes were used.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: History of spirituals
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 31 Dec 06 - 01:05 PM

These accounts of codes are very few. Most accounts credit the underground railway, and a few describe escapes either carefully planned or a combination of planning and luck.
See especially threads 17760 and 61356.
Origins follow
African runaway

Most of the code stories are imaginings of later writers; specific
instructions passed by word of mouth and diagrams in the dirt
helped direct escapees to safe houses, hiding places and people who would help.

The major constellations, e. g., Big Dipper (Drinkin' gourd, Bear, Wain) not only would be widely known, but offer no real help to a prospective escapee, who would have to be incredibly stupid (they were not), to try to follow such nebulous directions.


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Subject: RE: History of spirituals
From: Severn
Date: 31 Dec 06 - 02:29 PM

Try some of these:

Books:

Lovell, John Jr. "Black Song: The Forge And The Flame" The Story Of How The Afro American Spiritual was Hammered Out, (Macmillan, 1972)

Higginson, Thomas Wentworth "Army Life In A Black Regiment" (Wherein a white officer "collects" tunes heard in the camp of the Ist South Carolina Infantry. Specifically, Chapter 9, "Negro Spirituals")

Joyner, Charles "Down By The Riverside:A South Carolina Slave Community" (U. of Illinois Press 1984-Specifically Chapter 5, "Come By Here, Lord" Includes information on how English-born Alexander Glennie first set up an Episcopal mission to the plantations of All Saints Parish and the spread and merger with existing cultures, as well as some song lyrics.)

LP:

An Introduction To Gospel Song comp. and edited by Samuel B. Charters
(RBF Records RBF 5-Issued through Folkways, so if not reissued yet, can be ordered as a custom tape or CD from them)

CD:

The English labels JSP and Proper specialize in reissuing old music at affordable prices in boxes sets, all with dates and annotation.

JSP7733 "Spreading The Word:Early Gospel Recordings (4 CDs-105 cuts)
JSP7737 "Blind Willie Johnson and the Guitar Evangelists" (4 CDs-96 cuts)
JSP7755 "Mountain Gospel: The Sacred Roots Of Country Music" (4 CDs-100 cuts)

www.jsprecords.com

PROPERBOX42 "Good News-100 Gospel Greats" ((4CDs)
PROPERBOX51 "Sister Rosetta Tharpe: The Original Soul Sister (4CDs)


www.propermusic.com

I didn't see them listed previously. Sorry if I duplicated anything.
Hope this stuff might help.


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Subject: RE: History of spirituals
From: GUEST,John Garst
Date: 31 Dec 06 - 03:10 PM

"...from Bill Steber

"While most contemporary churches have abandoned river and lake baptisms in favor or indoor baptismal tanks, the rural congregations of the Northwest Delta still gather together on the first Sunday in September to baptize yearly candidates in Moon Lake, just as they have for generations. It is at these baptism ceremonies where one can still hear spirituals sung in a style that predates modern gospel music. Songs are begun spontaneously by women song leaders and the congregation sings the lines as they are introduced in the classic call and response style which is the hallmark of African-American music, from spirituals to work chants to blues and jazz."

I'm glad to hear about Moon Lake but I object to the implication that one must travel to some such place to hear spirituals sung "in a style that predates modern gospel music." Just about any southern African American congregation can do that and does on occasion.

Also, "the congregation sings the lines as they are introduced" doesn't sound like spiritual singing but rather "Dr. Watts" singing, the very slow and ornamented singing of hymns led by a precentor who chants each line or two before the congregation sings them. These are not spirituals but rather hymns, often composed by Isaac Watts or another of the classic hymnists (Wesley, Newton, Cowper, and many others).

Much of what has been written about spirituals is romanticized after the fact. Literature on the subject should be approached with great caution.


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Subject: RE: History of spirituals
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 31 Dec 06 - 04:17 PM

Dena J. Epstein, 1977, "Sinful Tunes and Spirituals," University of Illinois Press, discusses Black folk music and its development, especially up to the Civil War, not a simple topic because of the interweaving of roots from Africa, influence of various formal churches, camp meetings and evangelists, distinctions in practices allowed, regional culture (the spiritual largely developed in the southeast, almost unknown in slave-days in Louisiana where the Catholic religion was dominant).

White observers complained of camp meeting excesses and their influence on 'illiterate blacks.' Watson (1819) deplored the music, often sung in "merry chorus-manner" with "affirmations, ... repetitive choruses," ... body movements, etc. ("an early reference to what came to be known as Negro spirituals"(?). Sir Charles Lyell commented on the movements at Black Methodist prayer meetings.
Distinctions between sacred and secular music often blurred, with images "wholly foreign to nineteenth-century Protestant hymnody.

Much of interest in a well-researched book with many references.


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Subject: RE: History of spirituals
From: GUEST,dutch girl
Date: 05 Jan 07 - 09:43 AM

Hello
Does anybody know how slaves were able to make music, because I read somewhere that slaveowners stripped slaves of their culture and even mixed them with people who spoke different languages so they couldn't communicate.. So I wonder why slaveowners would me 'nice' enough to let them make music.
Greetings from a dutch girl


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Subject: RE: History of spirituals
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 05 Jan 07 - 01:01 PM

Dutch Girl, ignore the overblown tales and find useful references such as Epstein's.
Treatment of slaves varied from region to region and from owner to owner.


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Subject: RE: History of spirituals
From: Azizi
Date: 05 Jan 07 - 07:07 PM

Q, in my opinion, the issue is not whether the treatment of enslaved people in the US South varied, but how, why & when enslaved people made music, and what kind of music was it that they made.

I believe Dutch girl's has used a faulty premise by implying that enslaved people needed permission to make music.

I also believe that if some slave owners encouraged their slaves to make music [i.e. singing, dancing, playing musical instruments usually excluding the drum], that does not mean that these slave owners were necessarily "nice"...

To paraphrase a Tina Turner R&B song, "What's nice gotta do with it?"

**

Dutch Girl, to gain a perspective about the world of African American slaves, another book you might want to read is Sterling Stuckey's "Slave Culture: Nationalist Theory and the Foundations of Black America" {Oxford University Press, 1988}

Here's one review of this book:
         
"In this ground-breaking study, Sterling Stuckey, a leading cultural historian and authority on slavery, explains how different African peoples interacted on the plantations of the South to achieve a common culture. He argues that, at the time of emancipation, slaves still remained essentially African in culture, a conclusion with profound implications for theories of black liberation and for the future of race relations in America.
Drawing evidence from the anthropology and art history of Central and West African cultural traditions and exploring the folklore of the American slave, Stuckey reveals an intrinsic Pan-African impulse that contributed to the formation of the black ethos in slavery. He presents fascinating profiles of such nineteenth-century figures as David Walker, Henry Highland Garnet, and Frederick Douglass, as well as detailed examinations into the lives and careers of W.E.B. Du Bois and Paul Robeson in this century."

Review of Sterley Stuckey's book "Slave Culture"


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Subject: RE: History of spirituals
From: GUEST,Dutch Girl
Date: 06 Jan 07 - 11:57 AM

Thank you very much for your response. For your information, I am a dutch high school girl and I'm working on a essay about the emancipation of African-Americans and the influence their music had on this.


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Subject: RE: History of spirituals
From: wysiwyg
Date: 30 Jan 07 - 03:27 PM

Post moved here from:
Subject: RE: African-American Spirituals Permathread
From: GUEST,The Stage Manager - PM
Date: 02 Feb 04 - 12:06 PM


Researching Scots Gaelic music in the Carolinas I came accross this: Origins

So Gospel music has its origins in the Hebrides? If this hadn't come from such a reputable source I would have discounted it.

Subsequently I have come accross other similar references to black slaves both speaking and singing Scots Gaelic. Some of it in contemporary literature, including Rudyard Kipling of all people.

Anyone else come accross similar references?

Strange stuff music.

I might have a crack at throwing this wider a bit later on. I'n still trying to assimulate the bits and pieces I've found so far. This connection came as something of a surprise to say the least. I was trying to get a feel for how much Scots Gaelic history was preserved in song and poetry, rather than in the received wisdom of the history we are/were taught in school. Too little seems left in Scotland, I've been staggered at what is scattered through the Diaspora, on other sites this discussion has prompted people to remember stories told by their grandparents.

Interesting too how this ties in with the persistent stories, and some contemporary textual references (1700- 1800) to a white slave trade between the Gaelic speaking homelands and the Carolinas.

SM

Subject: RE: African-American Spirituals Permathread
From: WYSIWYG - PM
Date: 02 Feb 04 - 12:40 PM


OK, SM. Please know that I am interested in whatever you find that pertains to the spirituals, and keep me informed whatever way makes sense for you. As I come across anything of use to you I'll pass it along.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: History of spirituals
From: Goose Gander
Date: 30 Jan 07 - 09:31 PM

The Gospel / Gaelic theory was flogged like the proverbial dead horse in this thread and I think that while most of us can agree gospel is not specifically Gaelic, its various forms do have at least one foot planted in the music of the British Isles.


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Subject: RE: History of spirituals
From: GUEST,creed
Date: 18 Aug 07 - 09:17 PM

Can anyone help me find a source for published sheet music to "Wade in the Water" prior to 1923? I need to establish its public domain status, and I'm trying to do it without paying someone else to do it for me.
Thanks!


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Subject: RE: History of spirituals
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 18 Aug 07 - 11:12 PM

Some references:
Index to Negro Spirituals, Cleveland Public Library cites Work, 1915, Folk Songs of the American Negro, p. 8.

Fisher, William Arms, 1926, "Seventy Negro Spirituals, cites "Wade in the Water," New Jubilee Songs, 1902. He provides a musical score of a version collected in Arkansas, pp. 184-185, arr. by Edward Boatner, and copyright 1925. The collected version, of course, is of an older song.
McIlhenny, E. A., 1930, "Befo' De War Spirituals," p. 57, Baptizin'.
Krebiel, Henry Edward, 1913, Afro-American Folk Songs, p. 88, "Baptizing Hymn,"-
Freely go marching along,
Down into the water,
Freely go, marching along,
Like Zion's sons and daughters.

Probably other references; have you looked at the Spirituals Permathread?


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Subject: RE: History of spirituals
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 18 Aug 07 - 11:34 PM

Saw in the Permathread-
Work, Frederick, 1902, New Jubilee Songs as sung by the Fisk Jubilee Singers. I have not seen this book and I don't know if the reference is valid.


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Subject: RE: History of spirituals
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 19 Aug 07 - 01:29 PM

Wade in the Water-
Published sheet music prior to 1923- Everything published up to about 1940 was collected in the field, of a traditional song and its variants. It is not a composed song by a known author, and musical scores of some collected versions were printed in books by the collectors. A good example:
Lydia Parrish, 1942 and reprints, "Slave Songs of the Georgia Sea Islands," University of Georgia Press. Songs collected from Gullah culture. Original copyright Lydia Parrish 1942, with later copyrights by Maxwell Parrish and Brown Thrasher Editions.
1992 edition, pp. 170-171, lyrics and musical score.

WADE IN NUH WATUH CHILDUN
chorus:
Wade in nuh watuh childun
Wade in nuh watuh childun
Wade in nuh watuh
Gawd's go'nah trouble duh watuh.
How long this song had been sung by the Georgia Sea Island inhabitants is unknown.
As long as you ask permission to use a version in your work, I don't think you will have any problems.
Allmusic.com lists almost 150 versions- as long as you don't exactly copy the version or style of these various people, you 'should' be all right (he, he!).


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Subject: RE: History of spirituals
From: GUEST,creed
Date: 27 Aug 07 - 02:24 PM

Thanks, Q, for your help with pre-1923 publication of "Wade in the Water"! I'll get right on it...


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Subject: RE: History of spirituals
From: GUEST,wys on vacay w kindle
Date: 25 Jul 11 - 10:10 PM

have whole af am spi permathred on kindle

very kewl


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