Afro-American Folksongs - online book

A Study In Racial And National Music, With Sample Sheet Music & Lyrics.

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"Bahama Songs and Stories. A Contribution to Folk­lore," by Charles L. Edwards, Ph. D. Boston and New York, published for the American Folk-Lore Society by Houghton, Mifflin & Co., 1895.
"Calhoun Plantation Songs," collected and edited by "' Emily Hallowell; first edition, 1901; second edition, 1907; Boston, C. W. Thompson & Co.
These books, as well as the author's private collection, have been drawn on not so much to show the beauty and wealth of negro folksong as to illustrate its varied charac­teristics. An analysis of the 527 songs in respect of the intervallic structure of their melodies is set forth in the following table:
Ordinary major. .      . . . 331
Ordinary minor. .                                    .62
Mixed and vague . .   . 23
Penta tonic . .                       Ill
Major with flatted seventh.. .                        20
Major without seventh                                        78
Major without fourth .                       . 45
Minor with raised sixth .                      ... 8
Minor without sixth...                          34
Minor with raised seventh (leading-tone)....... 19
"Almost all their songs were religious in their tone, however quaint their expression, and were in a minor key, both as to words and music," wrote Colonel Higgin-son, in "The Atlantic Monthly."—"They that walked in darkness sang songs in the olden days—sorrow songs— for they were weary at heart. . . They (the songs) are the music 6i an unhappy people, of the children of disappointment; and they tell of death and suffering and unvoiced longing toward a truer world, of misty wander­ings and hidden ways," says Dr. Du Bois, in "The Souls of Black Folk."—"A tinge of sadness pervades all the melo­dies, which bear as little resemblance to the popular Ethiopian melodies of the day as twilight to noonday," wrote Mr. Spaulding, in "The Continental Monthly." Mr. Allen, in his preface to "Slave Songs," avoids musical terminology as much as possible, and has nothing to say about the modes of the melodies which he records, though his description of the manner of singing and some of the peculiarities of intonation, in which I recognize character-
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