Negro Folk Rhymes Wise & Otherwise - online book

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

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Under all the classes of Negro Rhymes, with the exception of the one Marriage Ceremony Rhyme, there were those which were sung and played on in­struments. Since instrumental music called into ex­istence some of the very best among Negro Rhymes it seems as if a little ought to be said concerning the Negro's instruments. Banjos and fiddles (violins) were owned only limitedly by antebellum Negroes. Those who owned them mastered them to such a de­gree that the memory of their skill will long linger, These instruments are familiar and need no discus­sion.
Probably the Negro's most primitive instrument, which he could call his very own, was "Quills." It is mentioned in the story, "Brother Fox, Brother Rabbit, and King Deer's Daughter" which I have al­ready quoted at some length. If the reader will no­tice in this story he will see, after the singing of the first stanza by the rabbit and fox, a description in these words, "Den de quills and de tr'angle, dey come in, an' den Br'er Rabbit pursue on wid de call." Here we have described in the Negro's own way the long form of instrumental music composition which we have hitherto discussed, and "quills" and "tr'angles" are given as the instruments.
In my early childhood I saw many sets of "Quills." They were short reed pipes, closed at one