Negro Folk Rhymes Wise & Otherwise - online book

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

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—"Promises of Freedom," and "Hawk and Buz­zard."
Since all Negro Songs with a few exceptions were written in 4/4 measures and 2/4 measures, and Negro rhymed "calls" were also written in the same way, the rhymed "calls" which may have originated with one song were transferred to, and used with other songs. Thus the rhymed "calls" becoming detached for use with any and all songs into which they could be fitted, gave rise to the multitude of Negro Folk Rhymes, a small fragment of which multitude is recorded in our collection. Negro Dances and Dance Rhymes were both constructed in 2/4 and 4/4 measures, and the Rhymes were propa­gated for that same reason. Rhymes, once detached from their original song or dance, were learned, and often repeated for mere pastime, and thus they were transmitted to others as unit compositions.
We have now seen how detached rhymed "calls" made our Negro Folk Rhymes. Next let us con­sider how and why whole little "poems" arose in a Play Song. One will notice in reading Negro Folk Rhymes that the larger number of them tell a little story or give some little comic description, or some little striking thought. Since all the Rhymes had to be memorized to insure their continued existence,