Negro Folk Rhymes Wise & Otherwise - online book

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

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divide right in the middle to make a "call" and "sponse." Now look at Number 3 under Tennessee calls. It was usually cried off with the syllable ah and would easily divide in the middle. I remember this "call" very distinctly from my childhood because the men giving it placed the thumb upon the larynx and made it vibrate longitudinally while uttering the cry. The thumb thus used produced a peculiar screeching and rattling tone that hardly sounded human. But the words "I want a piece of hoecake, etc.," as recorded under the "call," were often rhymed off in song with it. Thus we trace the form of "call" and "sponse" from the friendly mu­sical greeting between laborers at a distance to the place of the formation of a crude Rhyme to go with it. I would have the reader notice that these words finally supplied were in "call" and "sponse" form. The idea is that one individual says: "I want a piece of hoecake, I want a piece o' bread," and an­other chimes in by way of response: "Well, I'se so tired and hongry dat I'se almos' dead."
"Ole Billie Bawlie" found as Number 4 was a little song which was used to deride men who had little ability musically to intonate "calls" and "sponses." The name "Bawlie" was applied to em­phasize that the individual bawled instead of sound-

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