Afro-American Folksongs - online book

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

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MINOR VARIATIONS; CHARACTERISTIC RHYTHMS
note wild" has a barbaric shout of jubilation to which correct verbal accent has been sacrificed:
Come tremble-ing down, go shouting home,
Safe in the sweet arms of Jesus. 'Twas just about the break of day King Jesus stole my heart away.
Concerning the text of this song it may be said that it is scarcely to be wondered at that the amorous sentiment of many Methodist and Baptist revival hymns finds its echo in the hymns of the negroes.
The interval containing three semitones, which the in­ventors of modern Occidental harmony avoided by arbi­trary alteration of the minor scale, is so marked an element in the music of Southeastern Europe and Western Asia that the scale on which much of this music is based is called the Oriental scale in the books. It is found in the melodies of the Arabs, of the peoples of the Balkan penin­sula, of the Poles and Magyars. The ancient synagogal hymns of the Jews are full of it. In some cases it results from raising the fourth interval of the minor scale; in others from raising the seventh. In many cases, of which the "Rakoczy March" is a familiar and striking example, the interval occurs twice. The peculiar wailing effect of the Oriental scale, most noticeable when the intervals are sounded in descending order, is also to be heard in the song of the priestesses and their dance in "Aida" and in Rubin­stein's song, "Der Asra."
One of the songs in my manuscript collection shows a feeling for the augmented, or superfluous second, as Engel calls it, though the interval is not presented directly to the eye or ear because of the absence of a tone which is a constituent part of it—the sixth. It is the baptismal hymn, "Freely Go" (see page 88), which makes a startling effect with its unprepared beginning on the leading-tone. An instance of the creation of the interval by the raising of the fourth is found in the extremely interesting song "Father Abraham," in the arrangement of which Mr. Burleigh has retained the effect of a unique choral ac­companiment as sung at the Calhoun school. (See page 90.) Notable, too, in this song is the appreciation of tone-
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E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III