Negro spirituals are a genre of music that can be described as non-other than historical, powerful, and down right emotional. This genre of music came to be during the 18th century and slavery in the United States. They’ve been compared to hymns however what drives them apart is not only the religious different but the meaning of creation as well. Hymns are defined as metrical compositions in strophic form, typically eight bars of rhythmic couplets, loosely based on biblical scripture. These were normally sung in the slave owners churches while the spirituals were sung almost everywhere. Spirituals were created by the enslaved Africans as a form of expression for their deep spirituality, as well as a means of communication and solace. These spirituals are unique in American culture, showing a community’s tenacity, faith, and optimism in the face of inconceivable adversity.
These spirituals were also influential in the formation of numerous music genres such as gospel, blues, and jazz. They have influenced numerous artists and continue to inspire modern musicians. Negro spirituals are a monument to the tenacious human spirit, as well as a rich cultural heritage that deserves to be recognized and appreciated. They remind us of music’s ability to convey strong emotions and messages of hope in the midst of hardship.
In conclusion, what ultimately makes them so captivating is their power to transcend time and connect with people from all backgrounds. Songs like “Wade in the Water” and “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” have come to represent this long musical legacy. They portray the unfiltered feelings of a community’s fight for liberty and equality.