Negro Folk Rhymes Wise & Otherwise - online book

A detailed study of Negro folk music, includes lyrics & sheet music samples.

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NEGRO FOLK RHYMES
It is interesting to note along with these that the "Song of the Great Owl," the "Negro Sol­dier's Civil War Chant," and "Destitute For­mer Slave Owners," are seemingly the only ones in our Folk Rhyme collection which wrould call for a % or 6/8 measure. Such a measure is rare in all literary Negro Folk productions.
The Negro, then, repeated or sang his Folk Rhymes, and danced them to 4/4 and 2/4 meas­ures. Thus Negro Folk Rhymes, with very few ex­ceptions, are poetry where a music measure is the unit of measurement for the words rather than the poetic foot. This is true whether the Rhyme is, or is not, sung. Imaginary measures either of two or four beats, with a given number of words to a beat, a number that can be varied limitedly at will, seems to be the philosophy underlying all Negro slave rhyme construction.
As has just been casually mentioned, the Negro Folk Rhyme was used for the dance. There are Negro Folk Rhyme Dance Songs and Negro Folk Dance Rhymes. An example of the former is found in "The Banjo Picking," and of the latter, "Juba," both found in this collection. The reader may won^ der how a Rhyme simply repeated was used in the dance. The procedure was as follows: Usually
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