Jubilee Quartets Transformation of Negro Spirituals

By MacKenzie Fox

Jubilee Quartets Impact on Negro Spirituals

Jubilee Quartets helped to transform negro spirituals into gospel during its transitional period. Quartets first began in the 1800’s with 3 different periods, Jubilee (1880-1929), Transitional (1930-1945) and Gospel (1946-1949). Gospel quartets consisted of a group singing updated versions of negro spirituals by mixing blues and jazz with spiritual. One of the most popular gospel quartets created during this time were the Golden Gate Quartets. Music has its transitions all the time and Gospel music is still steadily changing and transforming today, this was just the start of change for gospel. Below is a video of The Golden Gate Quartet singing “When The Saints Go Marching In.”



The transformation of negro spirituals to Gospel offered many benefits, such as these gospel quartets being in song battles. These were singing competitions among different quartet groups who sometimes won trophies and gained attention/popularity from the audience. Members sometimes ended up gaining opportunities to be on the radio or interviewed and signing contracts. Being quartets had many promising experiences that were life changing.

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