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
that I hesitate to touch it. One of the very few gratifying things that has come to Negroes is the unreserved recognition of their highly religious char­acter. There is a truth, however, about the rela­tion between the Negro Folk Rhyme and the Negro's banjo and fiddle music which ought to be told even though some older, nicer viewpoints might be a little shifted.
There wrere quite a few Rhymes sung where the banjo and fiddle formed what is termed in music a simple accompaniment. Examples of these are found in "Run, Nigger, Run," and "I'll Wear Me a Cotton Dress." In such cases the music consisted of simple short tunes unquestionably "born to die."
There was another class of Rhymes like "Devilish Pigs," that were used with the banjo and fiddle in quite another way. It was the banjo and fiddle pro­ductions of this kind of Rhyme that made the "old time" Negro banjo picker and fiddler famous. It has caused quite a few, who heard them, to declare that, saint or sinner, it was impossible to keep your feet still while they played. The compositions were comparatively long. From one to four lines of a Negro Folk Rhyme were sung to the opening meas­ures of the instrumental composition; then followed the larger and remaining part of the composition,
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