The African American quartet tradition originated in the mid 1800s as an outgrowth of the African American university singing movement. They were African American acapella vocal groups that were called the jubilee quartets because of the personality and features of their style. Most of these groups were of black men. Due to the context of African American music, a quartet us a vocal ensemble that has a minimum of four voices and a maximum of of six voices singing 4 part harmony arrangements as a cappella or with limited instruments.

Jubilee has sacred or secular text and is sung in moderate or a fast tempo, there is also emphasis on a percussive and rhythmic style of singing. Normally, spiritual songs sang by jubilee quartets came from 3 different music sources: harmonized western influenced ensemble singing of jubilee singings, African american barbershop singing style and the African American folk spirituals and work songs.

Important performers are the Fisk Jubilee Singers:

These are the Fisk Jubilee Singers who came together in 1871 when George L White wanted to address the financial issues of Fisk University by publicizing and promoting the institution. It was the money from the concerts that helped the school become financially stable. In 2018, this choir still goes on tours and is very well known across the nation.

In my opinion, I think the style of jubilee quartet singing is very interesting. I like how they often speed up the tempo of the song in sometimes random places and times of the song. Even then, it doesn’t make the song sound less appealing.