Folk Song Of The American Negro - Online Book

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AMERICAN FOLK SONG.
31
than the Indian music does." On the other hand, however, it is passing strange that with the same skies above them, the same earth be�neath them, the same mountains, valleys, and streams round about them, with the same environs touching them at so many points, the Negro and the Indian produced music different in every respect save that in which the music of all primitive peoples resembles.
The strongest resemblance between the Negro's music and that of the Scotchman is at the point of melody. Melody with flow is common to both, but the Scotch melody is the more developed. The Scotch music, also, sometimes strikes that wild note Ave find so com�monly in the Negro music; in one or two instances the "Scotch Snap" has been found in the Southern Melodies, but it is not at all clear why these facts should prove that the Negro got his music from the Scot. Evidence that in essentials and peculiarities there is ;marked difference, in truth that there is no resemblance, seems irrefutable. Then even a casual examination will show the impossibility of the very thought of Scotch origin of Negro song. The Scot sang of war and vengeance. A man of blood, he sang of the sword. He sang the song that the Negro could not sing, for the Negro had faith in Him who said, "Vengeance is mine." When the black man sang of the sword, it was of the "Sword of the Spirit." Furthermore, the Scot's song is lacking in the element of sacredness which we find pervading all the Negro's music. For psychological and ethnological reasons, it is not strange that there are great differences.
How the African could have received his music from the Portu�guese is beyond reason. It is true that Portugal is near one point of Africa, but how was this transmission accomplished? Did the Por�tuguese go among the Africans transplanting their music, or did the African come to Portugal and imbibe Portuguese melody? Suppose, however, there were such intercourse and opportunity for such trans�mission. Is it believable that the Portuguese song was so strong and so pervasive that it supplanted whatever music the African possessed, or gave to all African music characteristics the Portuguese music itself does not possess? The strongest evidence against a Portuguese source of African music is that the likenesses are so few and so slight and the differences are so many and so marked. Furthermore, when, where, or how did the Indian, the Scot, the Portuguese come into such powerful contact with the Negro as to teach him a song which accurately expresses the Negro's soul and the Negro's








E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III