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Dialect and Messages of Negro Spirituals Presented by Clarence Jones.

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Presentation on theme: "Dialect and Messages of Negro Spirituals Presented by Clarence Jones."— Presentation transcript:

1 Dialect and Messages of Negro Spirituals Presented by Clarence Jones

2 NEGRO SPIRITUALS EMANATED  From the hearts of the Ante-Bellum Slaves The House/Field Negros  Religious Passion Overflowing Faith in God  Oral Tradition – One Generation to Another  The “Invisible Church”

3 THE PRE-LITERATE ERA OF SLAVERY PPreaching Inspired These Songs SSinging Sacred Songs Jubilees – “Great Day the Righteous Marching” Folk Songs – “Study War No More” Shout Songs – “Every Time I Feel the Spirit” Sorrow Songs – “Sometimes I Feel Like A Motherless Child” Slave Songs – “Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen” Minstrel Songs – “Cotton Pickin’ Songs” Religious Songs – “Were You There When They Crucified My Lord” Negro Spirituals – “Steal Away”

4 CONDITIONS THAT INFLUENCE NEGRO SPIRITUALS  Negative “The Blind Man Stood on the Road and Cried”  Degrading “Master Going to Sell Us Tomorrow”  Dyer Conditions 6,000 Independent Spirituals Exist Today

5 HANDED DOWN SPIRITUALS SPEAK OF…  Life – “Scandalize My Name”  Death – “I Want to Die Easy, When I Die”  Suffering – “I’ve Been ‘Buked”  Sorrow – “A City Called Heaven”  Love – “God is God! God Don’t Never Change!”  Judgment – “In That Great Getting Up Morning”  Grace – “Fix Me, Jesus”  Hope – “Heaven, Heaven”  Justice – “Didn’t My Lord Deliver Daniel”  Mercy – “Standing in the Need of Prayer”


7 AFRICAN’S LIVES CELEBRATED THOUGH MUSIC  Marriage – “ Marry a Woman Uglier Than”  Birth – “Mary Had A Baby”  Death – “I’m So Glad There’s No Dying Over There”  Work – “Children, Don’t Get Weary ‘Til Your Work Is Done”  Play – “All I Do the Church Keep A’ Grumbling”  Public Humor – “Jerry, The Arkansas Mule”

8 RHYTHM  Important to Music  Words Primary Derived From Particular Event  Content & Mood Dictated Instrumentation Use Ex. Hand clapping

9 NEGRO SPIRITUALS TELL OF…  Exile – “Let My People Go”  Trouble – “I Been in the Storm So Long”  Strife – “Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody turn Me ‘Round”  Hiding – “No Hiding Place Down There”  Groping (toward some unseen power) – “Over My Head I Hear Music in the Air”  Sigh For Rest (at the end of life) – “Soon I Will Be Done”

10 “But through all the sorrow of the sorrow songs there breathes a hope - a faith in the ultimate justice of things.” William E. B. Dubois

11 MUSICAL FORM OF THE NEGRO SPIRITUAL  Rhythm  Intricacy (of Rhythm)  Written in Quadruple & Duple Meter  Syncopation

12 3 CLASSIFICATIONS OF NEGRO SPIRITUALS  Call & Response Chant & Response By Choir  Syncopated Fast Tempos Body Movements Rhythm That Swings  Slow & Sustained Long-phrased Melodies Slow Tempos Long & Sustained Phrases, Nostalgic, Dignified

13 SPIRITUALS ARE…  Vocally Diatonic  Highly Ornamental  Plaintive  Nostalgic  Dignified  Beautiful  Appealing

14 TYPES OF SCALES USED IN SPIRITUALS  Conventional Major & Minor Scales  Pentatonic Scale  Mixed & Modal Scales

15  Flatted Thirds  Flatted Sevenths  Flatted Sixths  I, IV, and V7 Chords

16 MUSICAL TEXTUTES  Horizontal – Melodic  Vertical – Harmonic  Monophonic Single melodic line without accompaniment  Polyphonic 2 or more simultaneous melodies  Homophonic Single melody with accompaniment

17 VOCALIST/SOLOIST  Most vital factor  Techniques – Had No Bounds or Rules Chants Hums Wailings Shouts Glides Turns Groans & Moans Word Interjections

18 IMPROVISATION  Main Stylistic Feature/Tool of Folk Songs  Permitted in Lyrics  Words of the Negro Spiritual… Generally represent the feeling of the songs

19 HOWARD THURMAN SUGGESTS Majority of Text Came From…  Old Testament of the Bible “Go Down Moses” “Didn’t My Lord Deliver Daniel”  New Testament of the Bible “Were You There When They Crucified My Lord” “He Never Said a Mumblin’ Word” “Go Tell It On the Mountain” “De Glory Manger”

20  The World of Nature “Deep River” “Roll, Jordan Roll” “The Promised Land” “Heaven” “Over Jordan”

21 Freedom from slavery and freedom from life were often synonymous. “Oh Freedom” “Bound for Canaan Land” “Deep River” “Swing Low Sweet Chariot” “Steal Away to Jesus”

22 Release in death sometimes became the ultimate hope and goal. “Steal Away” “Swing Low Sweet Chariot” “I Want to Die Easy, When I Die”

23 HILDRED ROACH informs us that despite the overabundance of biblical words used in the majority of spirituals, their functions were not purely religious.

24 FUNCTIONS OF BIBLICAL WORDS USED IN SPIRITUALS (According to Hildred Roach)  Search of Freedom  In Religious Services  To Teach - To Gossip  To Scold - To Signal  To Delight in the Telling of Tales  Relief in the Minds & Bodies of the Enslaved  Inform Slaves of Their Own Affairs  Social Politics - Deliverance - Escape - Satire

25 SPECIALIZATION IN MESSAGE OF SPIRITUALS “God is a God” “God don’t never change!” “God is a God” “An’ He always will be God!”

26 SPIRITUALS WITH DUAL OR DECODED MEAINGS  “There’s a Great Camp Meeting”  “Walk Together Children”  “Children Don’t Get Weary”  “Steal Away”  “O Mary, Don’t You Weep, Don’t You Mourn”

27 SPIRITUALS WITH AMAZING MEANINGS OR “WORD PAINTINGS”  “Hush, Hush, Somebody’s Calling My Name”  “Keep A-Inchin’ Along”  “Somebody’s Knocking at Your Door”

28 RELIGIOUS SONGS WITH SPIRITUAL SIGNIFICANCE  “De Gospel Train” “Get on Board Little Children”  “Steal Away”  “Didn’t My Lord Deliver Daniel”  “Deep River”

29 EARLY SPIRITUALS…  Not Just Songs  Unceasing Variations on a Theme  Religious (& Social) Songs Sung by group of people  Expressions of Feelings Miniscule regard for sound effect, vocal beauty, or proper harmonic progression

30 SPIRITUALS BEYOND THE ACT OF EMANCIPATION  The Fisk Jubilee Singers Artistic metamorphosis in 1870’s Became permanent American art form  George L. White Caucasian music instructor at Fisk Organized, trained, and named original “Fisk Jubilee Singers”  “The Invisible Church” Praise house songs artistic & “concertized” in choral form in U.S. and beyond

31  “The Hampton Institute Singers” Guidance of R. Nathaniel Dett Became extremely popular  Black Colleges & Churches Sacred music of the painful past  Anthemizes Spiritual Developed by black composers & musicians who studied in conservatories

32  R. Nathaniel Dett “Listen to the Lambs” – 1914 Harry T. Burleigh One of the first to arrange & perform spirituals Style of the European Art Song “Deep River” Became model for others


34 Dorothy Maynor Mattiwilda Dobbs

35 Roland Hayes Paul Robeson George Shirley Leontyne Price

36 Simon Estes Shirley Verrett Robert McFerrin Todd Duncan

37 BLACK COMPOSERS OF VOCAL & INSTRUMENTAL SPIRITUAL ARRANGEMENTS  Edward Boatner Native of New Orleans, LA Music Director, National Baptist Convention  Harry T. Burleigh Erie, PA Singer, Composer, Arranger  Clarence Cameron White Clarksville, TN Taught at West Virginia State & Hampton Institute

38  Willis Laurence James Montgomery, AL Music Educator, Violinist, Musicologist Alabama State, Fort Valley State, Spellman, Leland College  Hall Johnson Athens, AL Composer, Arranger Conductor of Famous “Hall Johnson Choir” Wrote Music for “Green Pastures” & “Run, Little Chillun”

39  William Dawson Annestomn, AL Composer, Arranger Conductor of Famous Tuskegee Choir  John W. Work Tullahoma, TN Fisk Jubilee Singers Director  Frederick Hall Atlanta, GA Director of Music at Clark, Morris Brown, Alabama State, and Dillard Universities

40  R. Nathaniel Dett Drummondville, Ontario Taught at Lane College, Lincoln, and Hampton Institute  Eva Jessye Coffeyville, KS Composer, Conductor  James Weldon & Rosamond Johnson  Samuel Coleridge-Taylor

41  William Grant Still Woodville, MS Conducted Major Symphony Orchestras  Florence Price Little Rock, AK Conductor, Arranger, and Composer for Instrumental & Vocal Ensembles  Margaret Bonds Chicago, IL Pianist & Choral Arrangements

42  Undine Smith Moore Jarrat, VA Music Educator, Composer, Arranger Taught at Virginia State an VA Union  Lena McLin Chicago, IL Composer, Arranger, Music Educator

43 WHITE SYMPHONIC COMPOSERS  Anton Dvorak Czechoslovakian composer Greatly influenced by student - Harry T. Burleigh  George Gershwin American Composer “Porgy & Bess”  First successful American Opera  Written about the life of blacks  Written in style of the Spiritual

44 SPIRITUALS: INFLUENCE & DEVELOPMENT  Messages & Emotions  Penetrating in Popular & Classical Music Minstrel SongsJazz BluesCountry Music Popular SongsRing-Game Songs SwingWhite Rock Soul MusicGospel R&BRap

45 OUT OF RESERVOIR OF NEGRO SPIRITUALS CAME…  Freedom Songs of “The Nonviolent Movement”  Songs that Demonstrate Justice & Human Dignity  The Foundation for Black Music in U.S.

46 SONGS of the SOUL AND OF THE SOIL ENRICHED AMERICAN MUSIC  Syncopated rhythm  The Art of Jazz Music  A Wealth of Materials used by Great Composers  They Articulate the Message of an Oppressed People  An Artful Expression that Enhanced Christianity  Patience  Love, Freedom  Faith  Hope

47 IN CONCLUSION… The slaves were NOT simply singing a song; they were expressing a point of view: “Go Down, Moses; Way Down in Egypt Land. Tell Ol’ Pharaoh to Let My People Go.”

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