Folk & Traditional Music of the Western Continents

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NEGRO FOLK MUSIC IN THE NEW WORLD 185
also adopted by the early jazz bands that played blues. It consists of three parts, the first two similar in content (both musically and textu-ally), while the third contrasts. This form can be observed in such well-known blues as the "St. Louis Blues," but also in Lead Belly s songs, such as "Shorty George" and "Fort Worth and Dallas Blues. Other types of blues songs have different forms, some of them based essentially on one musical phrase. Thus, Example 9-3, "Now Your Man Done Gone," collected in Alabama, is essentially a descending set of variations on the first phrase. Typically, Negro songs use fewer different melodic phrases than do the songs of the American whites-another possible survival of African styles.
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example 9-3. U.S. Negro folk song, "Now your man done gone," col­lected in Alabama, from Harold Courlander, Negro Folk Songs from Alabama (New York: Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, 1960), p. 52. A frequently mentioned characteristic of U.S. Negro songs is the so-called "blue note," the flatted or slightly lowered third and seventh degrees in a major scale. The origin of this phenomenon is not known, but it probably cannot be traced to Africa. Here is a musical trait which may, possibly, have come into folk music from the practices of American Negro popular and jazz musicians.
Another group of North American Negro songs that is quite distinct from its counterpart among the whites is the counting-out rimes and other children's game songs and rimes. These, again, are performed with mannerisms perhaps derived from Africa, with strict adherence to metric patterns, some rhythmic complexity such







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