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Chapter 9. The Influence of “Shape-Note” Singing

Chapter 9. The Influence of “Shape-Note” Singing Chapter 9 The Influence ol "Shape-Note" Singing One of the greatest hindrances to the growth of Negro music both in a creative sense and as an expressional medium has been the advent of the "shape-note" hymn book in the rural church and the life of rural Negroes. This is a case of great misfortune in a twofold sense, insofar as it affects the spirituals that are already a part of the Negro's musical repertoire.1 First, it causes the Negro to confuse his tradi­ tional songs with the shape-note songs. Second, it places in his hands an inferior substitute for his folk songs. These forces tend to cause a deterioration in the very singing itself, insofar as they rob the singer of his wonted melodic development . Shape-note songs are designed to suit the market requirement, so that the few songs that are worth­ while in some of the shape-note books are not able to offset the dis­ advantages of the majority of the songs. The question has been asked many times why the Negro can be so easily persuaded to lay aside his own music and take up that of the shape-notes. The answer has something to do with http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Black Sacred Music Duke University Press

Chapter 9. The Influence of “Shape-Note” Singing

Black Sacred Music , Volume 9 (1-2) – Sep 1, 1995

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Copyright
Copyright © 1995 by Duke University Press
ISSN
1043-9455
eISSN
2640-9879
DOI
10.1215/10439455-9.1-2.175
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Chapter 9 The Influence ol "Shape-Note" Singing One of the greatest hindrances to the growth of Negro music both in a creative sense and as an expressional medium has been the advent of the "shape-note" hymn book in the rural church and the life of rural Negroes. This is a case of great misfortune in a twofold sense, insofar as it affects the spirituals that are already a part of the Negro's musical repertoire.1 First, it causes the Negro to confuse his tradi­ tional songs with the shape-note songs. Second, it places in his hands an inferior substitute for his folk songs. These forces tend to cause a deterioration in the very singing itself, insofar as they rob the singer of his wonted melodic development . Shape-note songs are designed to suit the market requirement, so that the few songs that are worth­ while in some of the shape-note books are not able to offset the dis­ advantages of the majority of the songs. The question has been asked many times why the Negro can be so easily persuaded to lay aside his own music and take up that of the shape-notes. The answer has something to do with

Journal

Black Sacred MusicDuke University Press

Published: Sep 1, 1995

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