ERIC Number: ED426628
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1997-Apr-22
Spirituals: A Historical and Linguistic Analysis.
Sirinides, Thomas W.
A study of Black American spirituals focuses on African linguistic patterns that have persisted in them. The analysis begins with a brief account of the history and nature of Black spirituals, the sacred songs created by Americans of African descent during the time of slavery (1619-1864). Six elements of spirituals are identified and discussed, including the distinctive rhythm and percussion, melodies derived from African melodies, typical harmonies, repetition patterns, use of improvisation, and group participation. Three categories of spirituals are distinguished: the call and response chant; slow, sustained, long-phrase melody; and syncopated, segmented body. Multiple levels of meaning in the songs are also examined. An analysis of African linguistic elements in spirituals, based on older and contemporary recordings in both formal and informal settings, looks at specific phonological and grammatical features that have been preserved. (Contains 27 references.) (MSE)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A