Spirituals Africanized America Claudia Androgen Vega Barstow Community College When people talk about music, do they ever wonder where all these great expressions come from? Music Is general Is such a broad subject, but In the case of American music, there Is one Important root: The African American Spirituals. These Negro Spiritual songs like, “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot,” “The Wings of Atlanta,” “Been a -listening,” and “The Dawn of freedom” express the sorrow and suffering of African American people to the world (Dills, Hansen, Parfait, 2011).
In the late 18th and early 19th century these songs became popular and have influenced future American music genre (Jones, 2004)). This Influence can be seen in blues, Jazz, rock and roll, hip-hop, and rap. Spirituals relegated from the encounter between African slaves and Christianity. These slaves thought Charlatanry hypocritical due to the love white Americans professed and the slavery they applied. Regardless of the actions of white Americans, slaves still believed in the wonderful stories of the Bible. This is what led them to express themselves in songs Ones, 2004).
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Of the Negro spiritual, like Du Bois said, “the Negro folk-song-?the rhythmic cry of the slave-?stands etc-day not simply as the sole American music, but as the most beautiful expression of human experience born this side the seas” (Talks, Hansen, Parfait, 2011, peg. 137). Spirituals were the first manifestations of their newly African American culture. These songs were passing a message from the past to Du Bois’ present; therefore he did not identify them as African songs but sole American music. Spirituals were not like the songs people know now.
They were more like a ;call and response” method; improvising a phrase followed by a repeat response which sometimes became the chorus of the song (Origins of Jazz, n. D. ). These songs became popular at the end of the eighteen- century and during the last years of legalized slavery (Jones, 2004). Du Bolls explains that thanks to a blacksmith’s son. Who defended once Cincinnati from a Confederate General, these songs became known all over the U. S. , Ireland, Scotland, Holland, and Switzerland. He formed a school for black children in Nashville. In 1866, He passed n to these children the spirituals he had learned as a child.
Once these children sang and passed into his soul with their voices, He knew they were ready to let the world hear them. There were four poor black boys and five girls who traveled fighting cold and hunger. Until they had the opportunity to sang to the Congregational Council at Oberlin (Dills, Hansen, Parfait, 2011). People were amazed by the message of these children that finally surfaced to the world. They sang for seven years in the United States and Europe, and finally returned home with a hundred and fifty housing dollars to give rise to Fish University (Dills, Hansen, Parfait, 2011).
After Slavery ended and couple years after spirituals surfaced, the songs started to fade past. Thus, they were still used for worship at African American churches Cones, 2004). Finally American music started to take a new turn. It was called Blues. This new genre of music had many similarities with the spirituals because it rose from similar conditions: hardship. Early blues had the same structure as the “call and response” of the spirituals. An example of early blues is “Good Morning Blues” by Leadenly. It emphasized “call and response” with the new blues rhythm (Blues Roots, n. D).
Though these songs delivered a different message, they talked about their visions of the future and success rather than complaints. With the European influence, black people created a new genre of American music called Jazz. They followed some of the “call and response” pattern but with the help of European instruments (Origin of Jazz, n. D). Some of these instruments were trombone and, piano and they kept African instruments like the banjo and fiddle (Origin of Jazz, n. D). In the early twentieth century, Jazz was considered to be a low class genre. This is because it went against the regular classic standards of the music of the time.
Early jazz’s similarity with spirituals is that their lyrics were not written. Its lyrics were improvised and so was its rhythm. Jazz played a huge role in southern culture and identity (Origin of Jazz, n. D). An example of early Jazz is “Sobbing’ Blues” by King Oliver’s Creole Jazz Band. Spirituals influenced Rock n’ Roll in a similar way. After the end slavery, the new songs that were written did not speak of freedom anymore until the Civil Rights Movement. This movement was started by the minorities in order to have the same civil rights as every other American Cones, 2004).