Jubilee Quartets

Jubilee Quarters were religious music groups full of Black people and there were three major periods of Jubilee Quartets from the late 1880s to the late 1960s. those periods were Jubilee, Transitional, and Gospel Periods. More musical elements were incorporated over time. That helped Jubilee Quartet groups gain more awareness and recognition, which paved the way for other styles of music. 


The Jubilee Period was from the years 1880 through 1929. This period was when many Jubilee Quartet groups were formed and became popular at HBCUs, including Hampton University, Fisk University, and others. The groups were community-based and the musical elements included timbre, harmonies and melodies, and syncopation. While the popularity of Jubilee Quartet groups grew, there were unfortunately white people performing in blackface mocking these groups, which were known as minstrel jubilee quartets.


The Transitional Period went by a lot quicker than the Jubilee Period, which was from 1930 through 1945. As this period was going on, the areas became more urban as Black people traveled more within the latter half of the Great Migration. Black churches began creating Jubilee Quartets. Additionally, this period was during the Harlem Renaissance, which was about black artistic excellence and musical experimentation. Thus, Jubilee Quartets were revealed more through entertainment, especially when they started to tour and compete against each other. Because quartets became more involved in shows, there were more musical instruments and elements included, such as the piano, guitar, and others. 


Now the Gospel Period lasted from the years 1946 through 1969. As Jubilee Quartets continued to focus more on entertainment purposes, their performing and style of delivery changed, while they were singing their religious message. The instruments also influenced the popularity and tone of the Gospel music in general. Then after that period, Contemporary Gospel emerged, which can be shown in the well-known documentary “Summer of Soul” Harlem Cultural Festival in 1969. 

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