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
there is usually more than one version of each Negro Folk Rhyme. In many cases the exercising of a choice between many versions was difficult. I can only express the hope that my choices have been wise.
There are two American Negro Folk Rhymes in our collection: "Frog in a Mill" and "Tree Frogs," which are oddities in "language." They are rhymes of a rare type of Negro, which has long since disap­peared. They were called "Ebo" Negroes and "Guinea" Negroes. The so-called "Ebo" Negro used the word "la" very largely for the word "the." This and some other things have caused me to think that the "Ebo" Negro was probably one who was first a slave among the French, Spanish, or Portu­guese, and was afterwards sold to an English-speak­ing owner. Thus his language was a mixture of African, English, and one of these languages. The so-called "Guinea" Negro was simply one who had not been long from Africa; his language being a mixture of his African tongue and English. These rhymes are to the ordinary Negro rhymes what "Jutta Cord la" in "Nights with Uncle Remus," by Joel Chandler Harris, is to the ordinary Negro stories found there. They are probably representa­tive, in language, of the most primitive Negro Folk productions.
Some of the rhymes are very old indeed. If one
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