What are Negro Spirituals?

Spirituals are the earliest form of religious music to develop among Black Americans in the United States. Considered to be the “music born of slavery”, this genre, which stemmed from the save population’s unique expression of Christian religious values, symbolized hope, resilience, and resistance. The musicality and text of spirituals reflect the social, cultural, emotional, and physical experience of enduring prolonged involuntary servitude. Most spirituals are inspired lyrically by the hymns and psalms introduced to the salves by European missionaries. The defining element of the traditional spiritual is the use of a call-response structure, a pattern stemming from regions of West and Central Africa from which much of the American slave population originated. Spirituals also utilize the body when performed or sung, including clapping, stomping, and many other unbridled expressions of religious extasy. The birthing of the spiritual was the spirit of freedom and hope manifested musically, unifying slaves and creating a foundation for what is known as Black American music. Spirituals were one of the earliest forms of resistance and revolution, ingraining music in the very DNA of the Black American’s who live on today.

Negro Spirituals live on today as many people have remastered the original songs. African American spirituals were basically articulations of religious faith(as shown below). With restricted vocabularies, slaves would utilize the words they knew to interpret scriptural information and actualities from their different experiences into tunes. Through religious services worshipers would sing, chant, dance and then enter a joyful noise. Along with spirituals, yells likewise rose in the Praise Houses. Yells start gradually with the stomping of feet and clapping (yet the feet never cross since that was viewed as moving, which was prohibited inside the church).

Negro spiritual songs gave us some type of sanity.

Examples of Negro Spirituals

Negro Spiritual Influencers

Page by Dominique Mosley

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