Jubilee Quartets: The African-American Rise to Fame

Jubilee Quartets originated in the late 1800s after the growth of the African American singing movement. The quartet groups began post slavery and incorporated some elements that were in Negro Spirituals such as call and response and the spiritual aspect. The Jubilee Quartets style of performance consisted of a group of between four and six individuals, typically men. In the quartet groups, there are always harmony arrangements and little to no instruments during the performances. The number of designated harmony parts define the African American quartet. Socially, the Jubilee Quartets have continued to remain vibrant within the Black community. Quartet style is also remains important due to its influence on modern day gospel music, such as lead singers, types of instruments used and the repetition of phrases.

Jubilee Quartet style music was important to black schools because it was a way for them to acquire money. Students participated in quartet groups and were sent on tours as a way to help the university financially. Later, professional groups were created and large record companies began signing male quartets as a way to make money. The Golden Gate Quartet group was also a very popular quartet group in the early 1900s. The Golden Gate Quartets were even featured on several television shows and movies. The Golden Gate Quartets were even used to spread war propaganda during World War 2 through a popular song. The Dixie Hummingbirds were also a famous jubilee quartet group that began in 1928. Similar to The Golden Gate Quartets, The Dixie Hummingbirds were very popular on the radio and during live performances that were later televised.

The Jubilee Quartet groups influenced future genres such as Rock and Roll, which Elvis stole the style of the Jubilee Quartets and made a huge profit. The Jubilee Quartet was one of the first genres to truly be ripped off by white America. Even though Negro Spirituals were copied and sold by whites, the Jubilee Quartets were ripped off on a different scale due to the advancing technology of the early 1900s. Groups such as The Golden Gate quartets were popular among whites but they were definitely being used for profit. Even though the groups were sometimes manipulated by whites, Black people truly enjoyed the sounds of the Jubilee Quartet groups and the growing culture of African Americans post-slavery. Since Black Jubilee Quartet groups were so popular in America, socially they gave other African Americans a way to see the creativity and growing diversity of African-Americans.

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