Negro Spirituals

Negro Spirituals by Nina Lee

Negro Sprituals is one of the first genres recorded as being accredited to African-Americans. This music can be traced back to the starts of enslavement and is still song today. 

– The music is considered spiritual not secular because of the content. Most of the songs had to do with 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 their excitement to meet the lord.

– 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. 

– Negro Spirituals are something that is a staple of African-American culture. Many of us know the songs even if we don’t frequent church.

– Today the spirituals are song in places like churches and many choirs sing it which then we would call it concert spirituals. To the right you will see an example of a spirituals “Wade in the Water” be song in a typical setting the church, and a concert spiritual. 

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