Negro Spiritual: H.T. Burleigh

Jesénia Jackson

Jiana Barnes

 

Negro Spirituals is a type of religious folksong that is associated with the African people in the South. Negro spirituals are usually sung in a call and response form; a musical form where the leader sings first and the group or background singers repeat what the leader has said harmoniously or in unison.

One famous Negro Spiritual composer that is still recognized today is Harry Thacker Burleigh (H.T. Burleigh). H.T. Burleigh was heavily influenced by the Czech composer, Antonin Dvoràk and composed song such as Ev’ry Time I Feel The Spirit, Wade In The Water, Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child, Weepin’, Deep River, and many more. In fact, Deep River is considered to be the one of the first Negro Spirituals that is known as a trained singers’ performance and still remains very popular.

Negro spirituals are considered to be a way to converse with and talk to God, however, many argue that Negro Spirituals were also a “codified” way in protesting against slavery. The text of songs, melody, timbre, and rhythm of many Negro Spiritual songs such as Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child suggest the above statement. Look at the following text of Sometimes I feel Like a Motherless Child (note: my notations are in parenthesis)

Sometimes I feel like a motherless child (taken away from their homeland or sold away from their family)
Sometimes I feel like a motherless child
Sometimes I feel like a motherless child
A long way from home (slaves taken away from their home), a long way from home

Sometimes I feel like I’m almost done
Sometimes I feel like I’m almost done
Sometimes I feel like I’m almost done
And a long, long way from home, a long way from home

True believer
True believer
A long, long way from home
A long, long way from home

Jesenia Jackson

Jesenia Jackson

Ragimte- Jesénia Jackson

Ragtime Ragtime music took its claim to fame in the late 1800s (1893-1917). The genre of Ragtime preceded jazz and was based on a structure

Read More »

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