Folk and Negro Spirituals

Folk Music

Folk music is traditional music is passed down from families and other small groups. This specific type of music is learned through ear rather than through reading. 

It can be characterized by:

  • Transmitted orally
  • Having an unknown original composer.
  • Played on traditional instruments
  • Having themes of cultural identity
  • Changed between generations

The delivery of this music can be seen through call and response, syncopation, shouts, and etc. 

Negro Spirituals

Negro Spirituals are religious music of African Americans during slavery and came into circulation during the Great Awakening in the 1740s, where there was a religious revival that was brought about in the American colonies.

These pieces of music came about because slaves were not allowed to worship without white supervision so they did in secret in defiance of laws that prohibited the assembly. 

Negro Spirituals contain double entendres, songs with double meaning. Meaning, while the lyrics were religious, the meaning behind the lyrics contained messages for slaves. 

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