Negro Folk Rhymes Wise & Otherwise - online book

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

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mission were: "You sing the 'call' and we'll sing the 'sponse.' " Of course the sentence was not quite so well constructed grammatically, but "call" and "sponse" were the terms always used. This being true, I have felt that I ought to use these terms, though I recognize the probability of there being communities where the word answer would be used. All folk terms and writings have different versions.
The "sponses" in most of the Negro Folk Rhymes in our collection are wanting, and the Rhymes them­selves, in most cases, consist of calls only. As ex­amples of those with "sponses" left, may be men­tioned "Juba" with its sponse "Juba"; "Frog Went A-courting," with its sponse "Uh-huh!"; "Did You Feed My Cow?" with its sponse "Yes, Ma'am," etc., and "The Old Black Gnats," where the sponses are "I cain't git out'n here, etc."
I shall now endeavor to show why the Negro Folk Rhymes consist in most cases of "calls" only, and how and why the "sponses" have disappeared from the finished product. I record here the notes of two common Negro Play Songs along with sam­ple stanzas used in the singing of them. I hope through a little study of these, to make clear the matter of Folk Rhyme development, to the point of dropping the "sponse."

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