Throughout slavery, singing was a way slaves could express themselves and their emotions, and also the way they communicated- including to plan escape. Negro spirituals were the African American form of religious music. Much like folk, negro spirituals used call and response techniques. Many song spoke of the promised land and one’s journey to get there. Due to the harsh conditions or enslavement, one can only understand why one would want to sing about the end and freedom. The instruments that were used were stomping of the feet, using hands and handmade drums. A lot of the music was call and response. It can be seen in many early black churches, the lack of hymn books called for people to respond back to the caller to learn the song.
Today the spirituals are sang in places like concert halls by professional choirs as concert spirituals.