folk music and spirituals

Folks Of Negro Spirituals 

Origin Of The Genre:

Negro Spirituals were formulated by African Slaves who were brought into America through the slave trade. The slaves were accustomed to a different type of lifestyle in Africa. Some of the lifestyles the slaves were accustomed to in Africa consisted of catering to their families which may have consisted of daily activities such as singing to communicate, preparing food, and more.When they came to America they brought over some cultural practices.  Some of their cultural practices involved unique forms communication, such as using music to tell stories to other members of the community. The music would be songs sung that focused on important life events and their daily activities. Negro Spirituals were recited during weddings as a celebration of unity, or during long hours working in the field as a ways to pass the time and talk without the overseers knowing what they were speaking about.  Negro Spirituals were songs that told a story about the lives of African slaves.

Characteristics of the Genre:

Negro Spirituals are sung in a call and response form. In this act the leader improvises a line of text and a chorus of singers provide a solid refrain in unison. Some spirituals were known as sorrow songs which are intense, slow, and melancholic. Some examples of sorrow songs are “sometimes I feel like a motherless child” and “Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen”. These songs spoke about slave struggles. Some spirituals are joyful such as the song “Jubilees”.

Social Implications:

Slaves were not socially happy with their condition. The Negro Spirituals helped them get through there tough times. Some Negro spirituals were a form of code as a way for a slave to escape from slavery. For example, the song “Wade in the Water” is a representation of the slaves escaping from there plantation and using the water as a source to hide in.

Important Performers:  

This is a clip on Mahlia Jackson. She was  one of the most revered gospel figures. It is important to mention her as a negro spiritual performer because gospel derives from negro spirtuals. In this clip she is singing amazing grace which was a spiritual sung during slavery days


Negro Spirituals are still used in modern society. Spirituals are often sung at church or at funerals. They are still used for some of the same reasons back then. Some reasons they were used for back then that still exist now is in times of sorrow. For example, at funerals a spiritual that is still sung today is “Swing Low Sweet Chariot”.

Influences of Future Genres:

Negro Spirituals left back an impact of future genres of music. The characteristics of Negro spirituals are still seen in some songs of today. For example, these spirituals told a story of an African American and other African Americans were able to relate to it. The genres of music today such as R&B and Hip Pop tell stories of people. Artist write their music for their fans to relate or understand their personal struggle. J,Cole is a famous rapper that writes about his life story and hopes for his fans to relate or understand his struggle

Conclusory Opinions:

Negro Spirituals have left a huge impact in modern society. The music is still played and used in church of today. It also influenced future artist how to write their music. I believe that Negro Spirituals was an insight to Europeans on how black people use music to communicate how they truly feel. This led to a creation of musical artist and an entertainment industry.

What's your password?

Login to your account

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website.