Oh Mary Don’t You Weep

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Fisk Jubilee Singers

  • stylistically different, thematically similar
  • more structured
  • classical aspects: harmony, vibrato, very smooth and clear timbre, tonality, no improvisation

Deep River

Harry T Burleigh, spiritual

  • standardization of song – act of preservation
  • stable, written score (instead of variation, improv)

Rain Song

Will Marian Cook

  • popular music, catcy
  • tonality more characteristic of blues scale
  • bent pitches
  • syncopation

Dance Juba

R. Nathaniel Dett

  • typically classical form (follows patterns of different movements)
  • syncopation of top melody – swinging feeling, looser sense of time
  • elements of ragtime piano (jumping octaves)

St. Louis Blues

W.C. Handy, perf.;Bessie Smith w/Louis Armstrong – Classic/urban blues

  • 12 Bar Blues
  • AABC
  • call and response
  • heavy use of blue notes and dips (written and improvised)
  • mimicking of speech;by instruments
  • lyrics: lament over love gove wrong;


Tom Rushen Blues

Charlie Patton, Country blues (Mississippi Delta blues)

  • complete story, personal experience – typical blues themes (despair, poverty, alcoholism, oppression)
  • guitar mimicking speech
  • call and response
  • loose version of 12 bar blues
  • aab line structure
  • gritty timbre – evidence of folk tradition
  • encoded lyrics

That Black Snake Moan

Blind Lemon Jefferson, Country blues (East Texas Style)

  • AAB verse
  • vocalizations
  • clearer lyrics (;high lonesome sound;)
  • guitar: linear melody, call and response, mimicking voice
  • irregular rhythm, phrasing
  • poetic metaphor, sexual innuendo
  • NOT based on 12 Bar Blues

Cross Road Blues

Robert Johnson, Delta Blues

  • frequent use of blue notes (express tension, anguish)
  • AAB line structure
  • crossroads as a place of uncertainty, danger, opportunity, destiny (West Afr mythology)
  • guitar style: slide/bottle neck, finger picking, plays rhythm and lead (method attributed specifically to Johnson)

Maple Leaf Rag

Scott Joplin, Ragtime

  • prototype for all other rags
  • stride (some walking bass)
  • form follows basic WAM traditions (ABAC…)
  • lively, syncopated, but straight 1/8ths – NOT swung

King Porter Stomp

Jelly Roll Morton, Ragtime

  • looser style but more harmonically complex (move into jazz)
  • blues tonality
  • swung sound, but still steady rhythm in left hand
  • overall more complex than Maple Leaf Rag

West End Blues

Louis Armstrong, New Orleans classic jazz

  • prominent cornet solo at the beginning
  • call and response btwn clarinet and voice
  • close relationship btwn sound of instruments and sound of voices
  • slower feel

Sugar Foot Stomp

Fletcher Henderson, Early Big Band

  • orchestrated sound, reflects influence of classical art music
  • sm section that harkens back to collective improv



It Don’t Mean A Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing)

Duke Ellington, Big Band Swing

  • virtuosic playing (set the standard)
  • growling trumpet
  • vocalizations, scat-feel (in instruments)

Jumpin’ at the Woodside

Count Basie, Kansas City Swing

  • piano intro
  • riffs

Froggy Bottom

Mary Lou Williams

  • repetition of syncopated riffs, introduced at the beginning
  • antiphony btwn reeds and brass
  • polyrhythm
  • ensemble texture, trading solos
  • 12 bar blues
  • longer paino intro, greater depth
    • ragtime practices (left hand stride bassline)


Schubert, perf. Marion Anderson

Ol’ Man River
Paul Robeson in Show Boat