Negro Folk Rhymes Wise & Otherwise - online book

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

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These simple little songs,—the first made up of five notes, and the second of seven,—are typical Negro Play songs. I shall not describe the simple play which accompanied them because that descrip­tion would not add to the knowledge of the evolu­tion under consideration.
At a Negro Evening Entertainment several such songs would be sung and played, and some indi­vidual would be chosen to lead or sing the "calls" of each of the songs. The 'sponses in some cases were meaningless utterances, like "Holly Dink," given in the first song recorded, while others were made up of some sentence like " 'Tain't Gwineter Rain No Mo'!" found in the second song given. The "sponses" were not expected to bear a special con­tinuous relation in thought to the "calls." Indeed no one ever thought of the 'sponses as conveyers of thought, whether jumbled syllables or sentences. The songs went under the names of the various sponses. Thus the first Play Song recorded was known as "Holly Dink," and the second as " 'Tain't Gwineter Rain No Mo'."
The playing and singing of each of these songs commonly went on continuously for a quarter of an hour or more. This being the case, we scarcely need add that the leader of the Play Song had both