By: Ciara Terry 9.25.19

Jubilee Quartets was the era following Negro Spirituals. Jubilee Quartets was a known quartet (usually four males, some had one women, or even had more than four) that sung old negro spirituals together.

They sung the Negro Spirituals in harmony, but everyone in the group served a designated purpose. 1st tenor (high voice), 2nd tenor (middle), Baritone (lead singer), and the bass.

Jubilee Quartets gain popularity and notoriety by traveling with minstrel shows throughout the US. Even though minstrel shows was created in mockery of African Americans, this was the only way that the quartet groups could survive and get paid. After many years of traveling with minstrel shows, some popular groups were able to be on radio shows, and talk shows .

Everyone loved Jubilee Quartets, but the love of the quartets lead to the other races of people to try to take ownership/ commodify the sound and production. Gentrification of the Jubilee Quartets swiftly happened, where white groups started to take credit for the sound.

But Jubilee Quartets started to fade away and then gospel and ragtime started to rise.

Image result for fisk university quartet
Fisk Jubilee Quartet

Different Types of Quartets

  • University Quartets: Fisk University and Morgan State University
  • Minstrel Jubilee Quartets: Black face, They were singing in the back of minstrel shows. They had no way of monetary support because it was during the 1930’s. So black quartets had to sing for these shows.
  • Community-Based Quartets: They were singing in neighborhoods, street corners. Some community quartets had six people or had women.
  • Sharpe Notes/ Sacred Harp Quartets: Church music.
  • Barbershop Community Quartets: started in the barbershop, golden gate quartets started in a barbershop.
Image result for golden gate quartets
Golden Gate Quartets
Image result for black minstrel shows
Minstrel Shows
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