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
If one looks at Number i under the Tennessee calls or responses, there is nothing to indicate espe­cially that it was ever other than the whole as it is here written. But when he looks at Number 2 un­der Tennessee calls or responses he is struck with the remarkable fact that it changes right in the midst from the rhythm of the 9/8 measure to that of the 6/8 measure. Now if there be any one char­acteristic which is constant in Negro music it is that the rhythm remains the same throughout a given production. In a very, very few long Negro produc­tions I have known an occasional change in the time, but never in a musical production consisting of a few measures. The only reasonable explanation to be offered for the break in the time of Number 2, as a Negro production, is that it was originally a "call" and "response"; the "call" being in a 9/8 measure and the "response" being in a 6/8 measure. Here then we have "call" and "sponse." It would look as if the Negroes in Tennessee had combined the "calls" and "sponses" into one and had used them as a whole. When we accept this view all the differ­ences, between the Alabama and Tennessee produc­tions, before mentioned are accounted for. Then looking again at Number 1 under Tennessee calls or responses, one sees that it would conveniently
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