The Development of Jubilee Quartets

By: Autumn Johnson

What is a Jubilee Quartet?

Jubilee Quartets were religious music groups comprised of African Americans. There were three major time periods of Jubilee Quartets from 1880 to 1969, which are the Jubilee, Transitional, and Gospel Periods. Jubilee Quartets have changed and other elements have been added over these time periods. The elements added over time have helped Jubilee Quartet groups gain more recognition and have influenced other styles of music that are popular today.

The Jubilee Period

The Jubilee period lasted from 1880-1929. During this period, there were many universities that had jubilee quartets, such as Fisk University, Hampton University, Tuskegee University, and more. There were also minstrel jubilee quartets which were very racist. Minstrel shows consisted of white people mocking black people in black face. A lot of the groups during this time period were very community based.

The Transitional Period

The Transitional Period lasted from 1930-1945. This period coincided with the Harlem renaissance and the great migration north. During this time, the areas were becoming more urban. Black churches started creating Jubilee Quartets. Jubilee Quartets started to become showcased more as the quartets began touring and battling each other.

The Gospel Period

The Gospel period lasted from 1946-1969. During this period, Jubilee Quartets started to focus on entertainment, like how they were performing, and the addition of instruments, rather than focusing on the religious aspects of Jubilee Quartets. The spirit performance style began to dominate during this time.

Jubilee Quartet

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