Afro-American Folksongs - online book

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

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MUSIC AMONG THE AFRICANS
could hear the Nibelung rhythm by the hour all over Delagoa Bay."
This author makes several allusions to the innate fond­ness of the negro for music and the influence which he has exerted upon the art of the descendants of the Spaniards in North and South America. On page 38 he writes :
But there is another race which has left its traces wherever it has gone— the African negroes. As has already been remarked, they have a share in the creation of one of the most extended forms, the Habanera. Their influence has been strongest wherever they have been most numerously represented— in the Antilles, on the shores of the Caribbean Sea and in Brazil. In places wherethe negro has never been—in the interior of Mexico, in Argentina, in Chili and the Cordilleran highlands—nothing of their influence is to be observed, except that in these countries the beautiful dance of the Habanera and numerous songs with the Habanera rhythm have effected an entrance.
On page 93 :
From a musical point of view, the influence of the African on the West Indian Creole has been of the greatest significance, for through their coopera­tion there arose a dance-form—the Habanera—which spread itself through Romanic America. The essential thing in pure negro music, as is known, is to be sought in rhythm. The melodic phrases of the negroes consist of endless repetitions of short series of notes, so that we can scarcely speak of them as melodies in our sense of the word. On the other hand, no European shall escape the impression which these rhythms make. They literally bore them­selves into the consciousness of the listener, irresistible and penetrating to the verge of torture.
On the same page again:
Whoever knows the enthusiastic love, I might almost say the fanati­cism, of the negro for music can easily imagine the impression which the music of the Spaniards, especially that 01 the Creoles, made upon them. It can easily be proved how much they profited by the music of the Europeans, how gradually the sense of melody was richly developed in them, and how they acquired and made their own the whole nature of this art without surrendering their peculiarity of rhythm. This Europeanized negro music developed to its greatest florescence in the south of the United States.
Friedenthal mentions a number of musicians who at­tained celebrity, all of them of either pure or mixed African descent. They are Jose White, Brindis de Salas, Albertini, Gigueiroa and Adelelmo, violinists; Jimenez, pianist, and Coleridge-Taylor, composer. Of Adelelmo he says that though he was never heard outside of Brazil he was "an eminent virtuoso and refined composer; and, to judge by his surname (do Nascimento), probably the son of a former slave."
Wallaschek formulates his conclusion touching African music, after considering the testimony of travellers, as follows:
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E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III