This genre of music erupted from the aching souls of slaves during the 1800s. The beats and tunes of Negro Slave songs were influenced by the environment and the struggle of African Americans during Slavery. These spirituals allowed slaves to express themselves in a time when they were utterly oppressed. It also provided them with a way to communicate with one another without the master raising hell.
The sound of Negro Spirituals as far as rhythm and beat were similar to African hymns. The “lyrics”, this term being used loosely, took a call and response form; Similar to folk music. The lyrics expressed the slaves sorrow and desire for a better life. In the spirituals you can hear the longing for freedom. They longed for God to save them and that is why they are called Spirituals. This genre is religious.