Negro Folk Rhymes Wise & Otherwise - online book

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

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his memory and ingenuity taxed to their utmost, In devising enough "calls" to last through so long a period of time of continuous playing and singing. The reader will notice under both of the Play Songs recorded, that I have written under "(a)" two stanzas of prose "calls." I would convey the thought to the reader, by these illustrations, that the one singing the "calls" was at liberty to use, and did use any prose sentence that would fit in with the "call" measures of the song.
Of course these prose "calls" had to be rhythmic to fit into the measures, but much freedom was al­lowed in respacing the time allotted to notes, and in the redivision of the notes in the "fitting in" process. Even these prose stanzas bore the mark of Rhyme to the Negro fancy. The reader will no­tice that, where the "call" is in prose, it is always repeated, and thus the line in fancy rhymed with itself. Examples as found in our Second Play Song:
"Hail storm, frosty night. Hail storm, frosty night."
Now, it was considered by Negroes, in the days gone by, something of an accomplishment for a leader to be able to sing "calls," for so long a time, when they bore some meaning, and still a greater accomplish-