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ro- American Folksongs 





Author of 












This book was written with the purpose of bringing a 
species of folksong into the field of scientific observation 
and presenting it as fit material for artistic treatment. 
It is a continuation of a branch of musical study for which 
the foundation was laid more than a decade ago in a series 
of essays with bibliographical addenda printed in the New 
York "Tribune," of which journal the author has been the 
musical reviewer for more than thirty years. The general 
subject of those articles was folksongs and their relation to 
national schools of composition. It had come to the writer's 
knowledge that the articles had been clipped from the 
newspaper, placed in envelopes and indexed in several 
public libraries, and many requests came to him from li- 
brarians and students that they be republished in book- 
form. This advice could not be acted upon because the 
articles were mere outlines, ground-plans, suggestions and 
guides to the larger work or works which the author hoped 
would the be the result of his instigation. 

Folksong literature has grown considerably since then, 
especially in Europe, but the subject of paramount interest 
to the people of the United States has practically been 
ignored. The songs created by the negroes while they 
were slaves on the plantations of the South have cried out 
in vain for scientific study, though "ragtime" tunes, which 
are their debased offspring, have seized upon the fancy of 
the civilized world. This popularity may be deplorable, 
but it serves at least to prove that a marvellous potency 
lies in the characteristic rhythmical element of the slave 
songs. Would not a wider and truer knowledge of their 
other characteristics as well lead to the creation of a better 
art than that which tickles the ears and stimulates the feet 
of the pleasure-seekers of London, Paris, Berlin and Vienna 
even more than it does those of New York? 

The charm of the Afro-American songs has been widely 
recognized, but no musical savant has yet come to analyze 
them. Their two most obvious elements only have been 
copied by composers and dance-makers, who have wished 


to imitate them. These elements are the rhythmical 
propulsion which comes from the initial syncopation com- 
mon to the bulk of them (the "snap" or "catch" which in an 
exaggerated form lies at the basis of "ragtime") and the 
frequent use of the five-tone or pentatonic scale. But 
there is much more that is characteristic in this body of 
melody, and this "more" has been neglected because it has 
not been uncovered to the artistic world. There has been 
no study of it outside of the author's introduction to the 
subject printed years ago and a few comments, called 
forth by transient phenomena, in the "Tribune" news- 
paper in the course of the last generation. This does not 
mean that the world has kept silent on the subject. On 
the contrary, there has been anything but a dearth of 
newspaper and platform talk about songs which the 
negroes sang in America when they were slaves, but most 
of it has revolved around the questions whether or not 
the songs were original creations of these native blacks, 
whether or not they were entitled to be called American 
and whether or not they were worthy of consideration as 
foundation elements for a school of American composition. 
The greater part of what has been written was the result 
of an agitation which followed Dr* Antonin Dvorak's 
efforts to direct the attention of American composers to 
the beauty and efficiency of the material which these 
melodies contained for treatment in the higher artistic 
forms. Dr. Dvorak's method was eminently practical; 
he composed a symphony, string quartet and string quin- 
tet in which he utilized characteristic elements which he 
had discovered in the songs of the negroes which had come 
to his notice while he was a resident of New York- To 
the symphony he gave a title "From the New World" 
which measurably disclosed his purpose; concerning the 
source of his inspiration for the chamber compositions he 
said nothing, leaving it to be discovered, as it easily was, 
from the spirit, or feeling, of the music and the character 
of its melodic and rhythmic idioms. The eminent com- 
poser's aims, as well as his deed, were widely misunderstood 
at the time, and, for that matter, still are. They called 

[ vi 1 


out a clamor from one class of critics which disclosed noth- 
ing so much as their want of intelligent discrimination 
unless it was their ungenerous and illiberal attitude toward 
a body of American citizens to whom at the least must be- 
credited the creation of a species of song in which an un- 
deniably great composer had recognized artistic poten- 
tialities thitherto neglected, if not unsuspected, in the land 
of its origin. While the critics quarrelled, however, a 
group of American musicians acted on Dr. Dvorak's sug- 
gestion, and music in the serious, artistic forms, racy of the 
soil from which the slave songs had sprung, was produced 
by George W. Chadwick, Henry Schoenberg, Edward R. 
Kroeger and others. 

It was thus that the question of a possible folksong basis 
for a school of composition which the world would recog- 
nize as distinctive, even national, was brought upon the 
carpet. With that question I am not concerned now. My 
immediate concern is to outline the course and method 
to be pursued in the investigations which I have under- 
taken. Primarily, the study will be directed to the music 
of the songs and an attempt be made by comparative 
analysis to discover the distinctive idioms of that music, 
trace their origins and discuss their correspondences with 
characteristic elements of other folk-melodies, and also 
their differences. 

The burden is to be laid upon the music. The poetry of 
the songs has been discussed amply and well, never so 
amply or so well as when they were first brought to the 
attention of the world by a group of enthusiastic laborers 
in the cause of the freedmen during the War of the Re- 
bellion. Though foreign travellers had written enthusias- 
tically about the singing of the slaves on the Southern 
plantations long before, and though the so-called negro 
minstrels had provided an admired form of entertainment 
based on the songs and dances of the blacks which won 
unexampled popularity far beyond the confines of the 
United States, the descriptions were vague and general, 
the sophistication so great, that it may be said that really 
nothing was done to make the specific beauties of the unique 

[ vii ] 


to imitate them. These elements are the rhythmical 
propulsion which comes from the initial syncopation com- 
mon to the bulk of them (the "snap" or "catch" which in an 
exaggerated form lies at the basis of "ragtime") and the 
frequent use of the five-tone or pentatonic scale. But 
there is much more that is characteristic in this body of 
melody, and this "more" has been neglected because it has 
not been uncovered to the artistic world. There has been 
no study of it outside of the author's introduction to the 
subject printed years ago and a few comments, called 
forth by transient phenomena, in the "Tribune" news- 
paper in the course of the last generation. This does not 
mean that the world has kept silent on the subject. On 
the contrary, there has been anything but a dearth of 
newspaper and platform talk about songs which the 
negroes sang in America when they were slaves, but most 
of it has revolved around the questions whether or not 
the songs were original creations of these native blacks, 
whether or not they were entitled to be called American 
and whether or not they were worthy of consideration as 
foundation elements for a school of American composition. 
The greater part of what has been written was the result 
of an agitation which followed Dr. Antonin Dvorak's 
efforts to direct the attention of American composers to 
the beauty and efficiency of the material which these 
melodies contained for treatment in the higher artistic 
forms. Dr. Dvorak's method was eminently practical; 
he composed a symphony, string quartet and string quin- 
tet in which he utilized characteristic elements which he 
had discovered in the songs of the negroes which had come 
to his notice while he was a resident of New York, To 
the symphony he gave a title "From the New World" 
which measurably disclosed his purpose; concerning the 
source of his inspiration for the chamber compositions he 
said nothing, leaving it to be discovered, as it easily was, 
from the spirit, or feeling, of the music and the character 
of its melodic and rhythmic idioms* The eminent com- 
poser's aims, as well as his deed, were widely misunderstood 
at the time, and, for that matter, still are. They called 

[ vi 1 


out a clamor from one class of critics which disclosed noth- 
ing so much as their want of intelligent discrimination 
unless it was their ungenerous and illiberal attitude toward 
a body of American citizens to whom at the least must be 
credited the creation of a species of song in which an un- 
deniably great composer had recognized artistic poten- 
tialities thitherto neglected, if not unsuspected, in the land 
of its origin. While the critics quarrelled, however, a 
group of American musicians acted on Dr. Dvorak's sug- 
gestion, and music in the serious, artistic forms, racy of the 
soil from which the slave songs had sprung, was produced 
by George W. Chadwick, Henry Schoenberg, Edward R. 
Kroeger and others. 

It was thus that the question of a possible folksong basis 
for a school of composition which the world would recog- 
nize as distinctive, even national, was brought upon the 
carpet. With that question I am not concerned now. My 
immediate concern is to outline the course and method 
to be pursued in the investigations which I have under- 
taken. Primarily, the study will be directed to the music 
of the songs and an attempt be made by comparative 
analysis to discover the distinctive idioms of that music, 
trace their origins and discuss their correspondences with 
characteristic elements of other folk-melodies, and also 
their differences. 

The burden is to be laid upon the music. The poetry of 
the songs has been discussed amply and well, never so 
amply or so well as when they were first brought to the 
attention of the world by a group of enthusiastic laborers 
in the cause of the freedmen during the War of the Re- 
bellion. Though foreign travellers had written enthusias- 
tically about the singing of the slaves on the Southern 
plantations long before, and though the so-called negro 
minstrels had provided an admired form of entertainment 
based on the songs and dances of the blacks which won 
unexampled popularity far beyond the confines of the 
United States, the descriptions were vague and general, 
the sophistication so great, that it may be said that really 
nothing was done to make the specific beauties of the unique 

[ vii ] 


songs of the plantations known until Miss McKim wrote 
a letter about them to Dwight's "Journal of Music," which 
was printed under the date of November 8, 1862. 

In August, 1863, H. G. Spaulding contributed some songs 
to "The Continental Monthly," together with an interest- 
ing account of how they were sung and the influence which 
they exerted upon the singers. In "The Atlantic Monthly" 
for June, 1867, Colonel Thomas Wentworth Higginson 
printed the texts of a large number of songs and accom- 
panied them with so sympathetic and yet keen an analysis 
of their psychology and structure that he left practically 
nothing for his successors to say on the subject. Booker 
T. Washington and W. E. Burghardt DuBois have only 
been able to echo him in strains of higher rhapsody. Much 
use was made of these articles by William Francis Allen 
in the preface of the first collection of the songs, entitled 
"Slave Songs of the United States," published by A. Simp- 
son & Co. in New York in 1867. The observations of these 
writers and a few others make up practically the entire sum 
of what it is essential to know about the social, literary and 
psychological side of the folksongs of the American negroes. 
None of these early collectors had more than a smattering 
of musical knowledge, and none of them attempted to 
subject the melodies of the songs to analytical study. 

Outside of the cursory and fragmentary notices of "The 
Tribune's" music reviewer called out by a few performances 
of the songs and the appearance of the collections which 
followed a popularization of the songs by the singing of the 
Jubilee Singers of the Fisk University and other choirs from 
the schools established for the higher education of the eman- 
cipated blacks, nothing of even a quasi-scientific character 
touching the melodies appeared during the last generation 
until M. Julien Tiersot, the distinguished librarian of the 
Paris Conservatory, published a monograph 1 (first in the 
Journal of the International Music Society, afterward sep- 
arately) giving the results of his Investigations into the folk- 
music of Canada and the United States made during a 

1 "La Musique chez les Peupks indigenes de 1'Ameriqtte du Nord Ktat?- 
Unis et Canada." Pans, Librame Fischbacher; Ltipsic and New York, Brcit- 
kopf & HartcL 


visit to America in the winter and spring of 1905-1906. 

A few months ago a book entitled "Musik, Tanz und 
Dichtung bei den Kreolen Amerikas," by Albert Frie- 
denthal, was published in Berlin. M.Tiersot concerned him- 
self chiefly with the Indians, though he made some keen 
observations on the music of the black Creoles of Louisi- 
ana, and glanced also at the slave songs, for which he 
formed a sincere admiration; the German folklorist treated 
of negro music only as he found it influencing the dances 
of the people of Mexico, Central America, South America 
and the West Indies. 

The writer of this book, therefore, had to do the work of 
a pioneer, and as such will be satisfied if he shall succeed in 
making a clearing in which successors abler than he shall 
work hereafter. 

The scope of my inquiry 'and the method which I have 
pursued may be set forth as follows: 

1. First of all it shall be determined what are folksongs, and whether 
or not the songs in question conform to a scientific definition in respect of 
their origin, their melodic and rhythmical characteristics and their psychology. 

2. The question, "Are they American?' 9 shall be answered. 

3. Their intervallic, rhythmical and structural elements will be inquired 
into and an effort be made to show that, while their combination into songs 
took place in this country, the essential elements came from Africa; in other 
words, that, while some of the material is foreign, the product is native; and, 
if native, then American* 

4. An effort will be made to disprove the theory which has been frequently 
advanced that the songs are not original creations of the slaves, but only the 
fruit of the negro's innate faculty for imitation. It will be shown that some 
of the melodies have peculiarities of scale and structure which could not 
possibly have been copied from the music which the blacks were privileged 
to hear on the plantations or anywhere else during the period of slavery. 
Correspondence will be disclosed, however, between these peculiarities and 
elements observed by travellers in African countries. 

5. This will necessitate an excursion into the field of primitive African 
music and also into the philosophy underlying the conservation of savage 
music. Does it follow that, because the American negroes have forgotten 
the language of their savage ancestors, they have also forgotten all of their 
music? May relics of that music not remain in a subconscious memory? 

6. The influences of the music of the dominant peoples with whom the 
slaves were brought into contact upon the rude art of the latter will have to 
be looked into and also the reciprocal effect upon each other; and thus the 
character and nature of the hybrid art found in the Creole songs and dances 
of Louisiana will be disclosed. 

To make the exposition and arrangement plain, I shall 
illustrate them by musical examples. African music will 


be brought forward to show the sources of idioms which 
have come over into the folksongs created by negroes in 
America; and the effect of these idioms will be demonstrated 
by specimens of song collected in the former slave States, 
the Bahamas and Martinique. Though for scientific 
reasons I should have preferred to present the melodies 
of these songs without embellishment of any sort, I have 
yielded to a desire to make their peculiar beauty and use- 
fulness known to a wide circle of amateurs, and presented 
them in arrangements suitable for performance under ar- 
tistic conditions. 

For these arrangements I am deeply beholden to Henry 
T. Burleigh, Arthur Mees, Henry Holden Huss and John 
A. Van Broekhoven. An obligation of gratitude is also 
acknowledged to Mr. Ogden Mills Reid, Editor of "The 
New York Tribune," for his consent to the reprinting of the 
essays; to Mr. George W. Cable and The Century Company 
for permission to use some of the material in two of the 
former's essays on Creole Songs and Dances published in 
1886 in "The Century Magazine;" and to Professor 
Charles L. Edwards, the American Folk-Lore Society, Miss 
Emily Hallowell and Harper & Brothers for like privileges. 

Blue Hill, Me. 
Summer of 1913. 



Preface i 

Chapter!. Folksongs in General 1 

The Characteristics of Folksongs. Folksongs De- 
fined. Creative Influences. Folksong and Suffering. 
Modes, Rhythms and Scales. Russian and Finnish 
Music. Persistency of Type. Music and Racial Ties. 
Britons and Bretons. 

Chapter n. Songs of the American Slaves 11 

Originality of the Afro-American Folksongs. Dr. 
Wallaschek and His Contention. Extent of the Imi- 
tation in the Songs. Allusions to Slavery. How the 
Songs Grew. Are They Entitled to be Called Ameri- 
can. The Negro in American History. 

Chapter HE. Religious Character of the Songs 26 

The Paucity of Secular Songs among the Slaves. 
Campmeetings, "Spirituals" and "Shouts." Work- 
Songs of the Fields and Rivers. Lafcadio Hearn and 
Negro Music. African Relics and Voodoo Ceremonies. 

Chapter IV. Modal Characteristics of the Songs 42 

An Analysis of Half a Thousand Negro Songs. 
Division as to Modes. Overwhelming Prevalence of 
Major. Psychology of the Phenomenon. Music as a 
Stimulus to Work. Songs of the Fieldhands and Rowers. 

Chapter V. Music Among the Africans 56 

The Many and Varied Kinds of African Slaves. 
Not All Negroes. Their Aptitude and Love for Music. 
Knowledge and Use of Harmony. Dahomans at 
Chicago. Rhythm and Drumming. African Instru- 

Chapter VI. Variations from the Major Scale 70 

Peculiarities of Negro Singing. Vagueness of Pitch 
in Certain Intervals. Fractional Tones in Primitive 
Music. The Pentatonic Scale. The Flat Seventh. 
Harmonization of Negro Melodies. 

Chapter VIL Minor Variations and Characteristic Rhythms 83 

Vagaries in the Minor Scale. The Sharp Sixth. 
Orientalism. The "Scotch" Snap. A Note on the 
Tango Dance. Even and Uneven Measures. Ad- 
justing Words and Music. 

CONTENTS Continued 

Chapter Vm. Structural Features of the Poems. Funeral 
Music 100 

Improvization. Solo and Choral Refrain. Strange 
Funeral Customs. Their Savage Prototypes. Mes- 
sages to the Dead. Graveyard Songs of the American 

Chapter IX. Dances of the American Negroes 112 

Creole Music. The Effect of Spanish Influences. 
Obscenity of Native African Dances. Relics in the 
Antilles. The Habanera. Dance-Tunes from Mar- 

Chapter X. Songs of the Black Creoles 127 

The Language of the Afro-American Folksongs. 
Phonetic Changes in English. Grammar of the 
Creole Patois. Making French Compact and Musi- 
cal. Dr. Mercier's Pamphlet. Creole Love-Songs. 

Chapter XL Satirical Songs of the Creoles 140 

A Classification of Slave Songs. The Use of Music 

in Satire. African Minstrels. The Carnival in Mar- 
tinique. West Indian Pollards. Old Boscoyo's Song 
in New Orleans. Conclusion. An American School 
of Composition. 

Appendix of Ten Characteristic Songs 157 

Index 171 



The purpose of this book is to study the origin and nature 
of what its title calls Afro-American Folksongs. To fore- 
fend, as far as it is possible to do so, against misconceptions 
it will be well to have an understanding at the outset as 
to terms and aims. It is essential? not only to an under- 
standing of the argument but also to a necessary limitation 
of the scope of the investigation, that the term "folksong" 
be defined. The definition must not include too much 
lest, at the lasti It prove too compass to little. So as far as 
possible the method of presentation must be rational and 
scientific rather than rhetorical and sentimental, and the 
argument be directed straight and unswervingly toward 
the establishment of facts concerning a single and distinct 
body of song, regardless of any other body even though the 
latter be closely related or actually derived from the former. 

It is very essential that the word folksong be understood 
as having as distinctive a meaning as "folklore," "myth," 
"legend" or "Marcken" which last word, for the sake of 
accuracy, English folklorists have been forced to borrow 
from the Germans. It will also be necessary in this ex- 
position to appeal to the Germans to enforce a distinction 
which is ignored or set aside by the majority of English 
writers on folksong popular writers, that is. The Germans 
who write accurately on the subject call what I would 
have understood to be folksong das Polkslitd; for a larger 
body of song, which has community of characteristics with 
the folksong but is not of it, they have the term volksthum- 

[ 1 1 


lichts Lied. This body of song embraces all vocal com- 
positions which have come to be so fondly liked, loved, 
admired by the people that they have become a native 
and nai've popular utterance. So generous, indeed, is the 
term that it embraces not only the simple songs based on 
genuine folksong texts which musicians have set to music, 
and the large number of artistic compositions which imi- 
tate the sentiment and structure of folksongs, but also 
many lyrics made with conscious art by eminent composers. 
In the family circles of Germany and at popular gatherings 
one may hear not only Silcher's setting of "Zu Strassburg 
auf der Schanz" (which is music set by an artist to a 
folkpoem), but the same composer's melody to "Ich weiss 
nicht, was soil es bedeuten" (an artificial folkpoem by 
Heine), Weber's "Wir winden dir den Jungfernkranz" and 
Schubert's "Am Brunnen vor dem Thore" (which are ar- 
tistic products in conception and execution). The English 
term "popular song" might well and properly be used as 
a synonym for the German term and be applied to the 
same kind of songs in English without prejudice to the 
scientific "folksong," were it not for its degraded and de- 
grading association with the vulgar music hall ditties. 
These ditties, which a wise Providence has cursed with the 
blessing of transientness, have companionship in this study 
with the so-called "coon songs" and "ragtime tunes" in 
which some of the elements of the Afro-American folksongs 
are employed. 

Only because I cannot see how a paraphrase would im- 
prove it in respect of sententiousness, clearness or compre- 
hensiveness, I make use of a definition which I wrote a 
decade ago for "The Musical Guide" a dictionary of 
terms and much else edited by Rupert Hughes and pub- 
lished by McClure, Phillips & Co.: 

Folksong is not popular song in the sense in which the word is most fre- 
quently used, but the song of the folk; not only the song admired of the people 
but, in a strict sense, the song created by the people. It is a body of poetry and 
music which, has come into existence without the influence of conscious arty 
as a spontaneous utterance, filled with characteristic expression of the feelings 
of a people. Such songs are marked by certain peculiarities of rhythm, form 
and melody which, are traceable, more or less clearly, to racial (or national) 
temperament, modes of life, climatic and political conditions, geographical 

[ 2 ] 


environment and language. Some of these elements, the spiritual, are elusive, 
but others can be determined and classified. 

Though the present purposes are almost purely musical, 
it will be well to consider that in the folksongs of the world 
there lies a body of evidence of great value in the study 
of many things which enter into the science of ethnology, 
such as racial relations, primitive modes of thought, 
ancient customs and ancient religions. On this point 
something shall be said later. 

^ Folksongs are echoes of the heart-beats of the vast folk, 
and in them are preserved feelings, beliefs and habits of 
vast antiquity. Not only in the words, which have almost 
monopolized folksong study thus far, but also in music, and 
perhaps more truthfully in the music than in the words. 
Music cannot lie, for the reason that the things which are 
at its base, the things without which it could not be, are un- 
conscious, unvolitional human products. We act on a 
recognition of this fact when we judgeTbf the feelings of 
one with whom we are conversing not so much by what he 
says to us as by the manner in which he says it. The feel- 
ings which sway him publish themselves in the pitch, 
dynamic intensity and timbre of his voice. Try as we 
may, if we are powerfully moved we cannot conceal the 
fact so we open our mouths for utterance. Involuntarily 
the muscles of the vocal organs contract or relax in obedi- 
ence to an emotional stimulus, and the drama of feeling 
playing on the hidden stage of our hearts is betrayed by 
the tones which we utter. These tones, without purpose 
on our part, have become endowed with the qualities 
of gravity and acuteness (pitch), loudness and softness 
(dynamics), and emotional color (timbre), and out of the 
union and modulation of these elements comes expressive 
melody. Herbert Spencer has formulated the law: "Feel- 
ings are muscular stimuli" and "Variations of voice are the 
physiological results of variations of feeling." In this lies 
the simple explanation of the inherent truthfulness and 
expressiveness of the music which a folk creates for itself. 

"The folksong composes itself" (Das Folkslied dichtet 
sick selbsi), said Grimm. This is true despite the obvious 

[ 3 ] 


fact that every folksong must once have been the utterance 
of an individual. What is meant by the axiom is that the 
creator of the folksong is an unindividualized representative 
of his people, himself a folk-product. His idioms are taken 
off the tongue of the people; his subjects are the things 
which make for the joy and sorrow of the people, and once 
his song is gone out into the world his identity as its creator 
is swallowed up in that of the people. Not only is his 
name forgotten, but his song enters at once upon a series of 
transformations, which (such is the puissant genius of the 
people) adapt it to varying circumstances of time and 
place without loss to its vital loveliness. The creator of a 
folksong as an individual is a passing phenomenon like 
a wave of the sea. His potentiality is racial or national, 
not personal, and for that reason it is enduring, -not ephe- 
meral. As a necessary corollary it follows that the music 
of the folksong reflects the inner life of the people that 
gave it birth, and that its characteristics, like the people's 
physical and mental habits, occupations, methods and 
feelings are the product of environment, as set forth in the 

If Herbert Spencer's physiological analysis of the origin 
of melody is correct, the finest, because the truest, the 
most intimate, folk-music is that provoked by suffering. 
The popular mind does not always think so of music. Its 
attitude is reflected in the phrase: "Oh, Pm so happy I 
could sing all day!" But do we sing when we are happy? 
Song, it is true, is a natural expression of the care-free and 
light-hearted; but it is oftener an expression of a superficial 
than a profound feeling. We leap, run, toss our arms, 
indulge in physical action when in an ecstasy of joy; in 
sorrow we sit motionless, but, oftener than we are our- 
selves conscious of the fact, we seek comfort in song. In 
the popular nomenclature of music the symbols of gayety 
and gravity are the major and minor moods. It is a 
broad characterization, and not strictly correct from a 
scientific point of view; but it serves to point a general 
rule, the exceptions to which (the Afro-American folk- 
songs forms one of them) invite interesting speculation. 


Comparative analysis of the folksongs of widely distri- 
buted countries has shown that some peoples are predis- 
posed toward the minor mode, and in some cases explana- 
tions of the fact can be found in the geographical, climatic 
or political conditions under which these peoples have 
lived in the past or are living now. As a general rule, it 
will be found that the peoples of high latitudes use the 
minor mode rather than the major. A study of one 
hundred songs from every one of twenty-two countries 
made by Carl Engel, 1 discloses that of the six most pre- 
dominantly minor countries of Europe five were the most 
northern ones, his figures being as follows: 

Major Minor Mixed 

Sweden 14 80 6 

Russia 35 52 13 

Norway 40 56 4 

Wallachia 40 52 8 

Denmark . 47 52 1 

Finland . . 58 50 2 

Melancholy is thus seen to be the characteristic note 
of Scandinavian music, which reflects the gloom of the 
fjords and forests and fearful winters of the northern 
peninsula, where nature makes human life a struggle and 
death an ever-present though not necessarily terrifying 

That geographical and climatic conditions are not the 
only determining factors in the choice of modes is evident, 
however, from the case of Russia, which extends over 
nearly 30 degrees of latitude and has so great a variety of 
climate that the statement that the mean temperature 
varies from 32 degrees Fahrenheit at Archangel to 58 de- 
grees at Kutais in the Caucasus, conveys only an imperfect 
notion of the climatic variability of the country. Yet 
the minor mode is dominant even in the Ukraine. 

If an attempt were made, therefore, to divide Europe 
into major and minor by drawing a line across the map 
from west to east along the parallel of the 5oth degree of 
latitude the rule would become inoperative as soon as the 
Russian border was reached. Thence the isomodal line 
would take a sharp southward 'trend of no less than 15 

1 See his "Introduction to the Study of National Music." 

[ 5 ] 


degrees. All Russia is minor; and Russian folksong, 
I am prone to think, is the most moving and beautiful 
folk-music in the world. Other influences than the ordinary 
are therefore at work here, and tjieir discovery need not 
detain the reader's mind long. ( Suffering is suffering, 
whether it be physical or spiritual, whether it spring from 
the unfriendliness of ^nature or the harshness of political 
and social conditions.^ 

While Russian folksong is thus weighted with sorrow, 
Russian folkdance is singularly energetic and boisterous. 
This -would seem to present a paradox, but the reason 
becomes plain when it is remembered that a measured and 
decorous mode of popular amusement is the normal ex- 
pression of equable popular life, while wild and desperate 
gayety is frequently the reaction from suffering. There 
is a gayety of despair as well as of contentment and happi- 
ness. Read this from Dr. Norman McLeod's "Note 
Book" :"My father once saw some emigrants from Lochaber 
dancing on the deck of an emigrant ship and weeping their 
eyes out! This feeling is the mother of Irish music. It 
expresses the struggle of a buoyant, merry heart to get 
quit of thoughts that often lie too deep for tears. It is the 
music of an oppressed, conquered, but deeply feeling, im- 
pressible, fanciful and generous people. It is for the harp 
in Tara's halls!" 

The rhythms of folksongs may be said to be primarily 
the product of folkdances, but as these, as a rule, are in- 
spired by the songs which are sung for their regulation, 
it follows that there is also a verbal basis for rhythms. 
Whether or not this is true of the rhythmical elements 
which have entered into Afro-American folksongs cannot 
be said, for want of knowledge of the languages spoken by 
the peoples (not people, for they were many and of many 
kinds) who were brought from Africa to America as slaves. 
An analogy for the "snap," which is the most pervasive 
element in the music which came from the Southern plan- 
tations (the idiom which has been degraded into "rag- 
time"), is found in the folk-music of the Magyars of Hun- 
gary; and there it is indubitably a product ,of the poems. 

[ 6 ] 


Intervallic peculiarities are more difficult to explain than 
rhythmic, and are in greater likelihood survivals of primi- 
tive elements. Despite its widespread use, the diatonic 
scale is an artistic or scientific evolution, not an inspiration 
or a discovery in the natural world of sound; and though 
it may have existed in primitive music before it became the 
basis of an art, there was no uniformity in its use. The 
most idiomatic music of the Finns, who are an older race 
in the northern European peninsula than any of the Ger- 
manic tribes which are their rulers, is confined to the first 
five tones of the minor scale; old Irish and Scotch songs 
share the familiar pentatonic scale (by which I mean the 
modern diatonic series omitting the fourth and seventh 
steps) with the popular music of China, Japan, Siam and 
other countries. It is of frequent occurrence in the melodies 
of the American negroes, and found not infrequently in 
those of North American Indians; it is probably the oldest 
tonal system in the world and the most widely dispersed. 

Cesar Cui remarks the prevalence in Russia of two 
major scales, one without the fourth and the other without 
the third and seventh. Hungarian melodies employ largely 
the interval called an augmented, or superfluous, second, 
which is composed of three semitones. The Magyars are 
Scythians and racially related to the Finns and Turks, and 
not to their neighbors, the Poles and Russians; yet the 
same peculiarity is found in Slavic music in the songs 
of the Serbs, Bulgarians, Montenegrins and all the other 
mixed peoples that inhabit the Balkan Peninsula. The 
idiom is Oriental and a marked feature of the popular 
and synagogal music of the Jews. 

Facts like these indicate the possibility of employing 
folksong as an aid in the determination of ethnological and 
ethnographical questions; for its elements have a marvellous 
tenacity of life. Let this be remembered when the specific 
study of American folksong is attempted. The persistency 
of a type of song in spite of a change of environment of 
sufficient influence to modify the civilization of a people 
has a convincing illustration in Finland. Though the Finns 
have mixed with their Germanic neighbors for many 

[ 7 ] 


centuries, there was originally no affinity of race between 
them and their conquerors. Their origin is in doubt, but 
it is supposed that they are Mongols and therefore relatives 
of the Magyars. The influence of the Swedes upon their 
culture began in the twelfth century, when Christianity 
was forced upon them, and it has never ceased, though 
Sweden was compelled by the allied powers to cede Finland 
to Russia in 1809. Now Russia, though she signed a solemn 
pact to permit the liberty of language, education and 
religion to the Finns, is engaged in stamping out the last 
vestiges of nationalism in the country so beautifully called 
Suomi by its people. 

The active cultivation of music as an art in the modern 
sense began in Finland toward the close of the eighteenth 
century, and the composers, directors and teachers were 
either Germans or Scandinavians educated in Germany. 
The artistic music of the Finns, therefore, is identified as 
closely as possible with that of the Scandinavian people, 
though it has of late received something of a Russian im- 
press; but the vigor and power of primitive influences is 
attested by the unmistakable elements in the Finnish 
folksongs. The ancient Finns had the Northern love for 
music, and their legendary Orpheus was even a more 
picturesque and potent theurgist than the Greek. His 
name was Wainamoinen, and when he 

tuned his lyre with pleasing woe, 
Rivers forgot to run, and winds to blow; 
While listening forests covered, as he played, 
The soft musician in a moving shade. 

To Wainamoinen was attributed the invention of the 
kantelt, a harp which originally had five strings tuned to 
the notes which, as has been said, are the basis of the 
Finnish songs, especially those called runo songs, which are 
still sung. The five-four time which modern composers are 
now affecting (as is seen in the second movement of 
Tschaikowsky's "Pathetic" symphony) is an element of 
the meter of the national Finnish epic, the "Kalevala," 
whence Longfellow borrowed it for his American epic, 
"Hiawatha." It, too, is found in many runo songs. 

I 8 ] 


Music is a marvellous conservator. One reason of this 
is that it is the most efficient of all memory-helps. Another 
is that among primitive peoples all over the world music 
became associated with religious worship at so early a 
period in the development of religion that it acquired even 
a greater sanctity than words or eucharistic posturing. 
So the early secular song, as well as the early sacred, is 
sometimes preserved long after its meaning is forgotten. 
In this particular, too, folksong becomes an adjunct to 
ethnology. A striking story is told of how in the middle 
of the eighteenth century a folksong established fraternal 
relations between two peoples who had forgotten for cen- 
turies that they were of one blood. The tale comes from 
a French book, 1 but is thus related in an essay on "Some 
Breton Folksongs," published by Theodore Bacon in "The 
Atlantic Monthly" for November, 1892: 

In September, 1758, an English force effected a descent 
upon the Breton coast, at Saint-Cast. A company of 
Lower Bretons, from the neighborhood of Treguire and 
Saint-Pol de Leon, was marching against a detachment 
of Welsh mountaineers, which was coming briskly forward 
singing a national air, when all at once the Bretons of the 
French army stopped short in amazement. The air their 
enemies were singing was one which every day may be 
heard sounding over the hearths of Brittany. "Electrified," 
says the historian, grandson himself of an eyewitness, 
"by accents which spoke to their hearts, they gave way to 
a sudden enthusiasm, and joined in the same patriotic 
refrain. The Welsh, in their turn, stood motionless in their 
ranks. On both sides officers gave the command to fire; 
but it was in the same language, and the soldiers stood as 
if petrified. This hesitation continued, however, but a 
moment: a common emotion was too strong for discipline; 
the weapons fell from their hands, and the descendants 
from the ancient Celts renewed upon the battlefield the 
fraternal ties which had formerly united their fathers." 

M. Th. Hersart de la Villemarque, in his "Barzaz- 
Breiz," a collection of Breton folksongs, prints two ballads, 

i "Combat de Saint-Cast, par M. de Saint-Pern Couelan," 1836. 

[ 9 1 


in one of which the battle of Saint-Cast is celebrated, to- 
gether with two other repulses of English invaders of the 
Breton coast (at Camaret, in 1486, and Guidel, in 1694). 
Concerning the encounter at Saint-Cast Villemarque ad- 
vances the theory that the singers were the French sol- 
diers, and that the reason why the Welshmen stopped in 
amazement was that they suspected treachery when they 
heard their own song. The point is of little consequence, 
but not so the melody which Villemarque prints as that to 
which the old ballad is sung. This, as it appears in "Bar- 
zaz-Breiz," is, note for note, the Welsh tune known as 
"Captain Morgan's March." The same melody is sung 
to another ballad describing the siege of Guingamp, which 
took place in 1488. Now, according to Welsh legend, the 
Morgan whose name is preserved in the ancient Rhyfel- 
gyrch Cadpen Morgan was "Captain of the Glamorganshire 
men, about the year 1294, who gallantly defended his 
country from the incursion of the Saxons and who dis- 
possessed the Earl of Gloucester of those lands which had 
formerly been taken from Morgan's forefathers." If the 
air is as old as that it may well be older still, and, indeed, 
may have been carried into ancient Armorica by the immi- 
grants from Great Britain who crossed the Channel in 
large numbers in the fifth and sixth centuries. Other relics 
of their earlier home besides those of language survive 
among the people of lower Brittany. Had the soldiers 
at Saint-Cast sat down together and regaled each other 
with hero legend and fairy tale they would have found 
that Arthur and Merlin and the korrigan (little fairies) 
were their common glory and delight. "King Arthur is 
not dead!"<rfiay be heard in Brittany to-day as often as in 
Cornwall. Moreover, the Welsh song which is sung to the 
tune of "Captain Morgan's March" and the Breton ballad 
"Emgann Sant-Kast" 1 have one vigorous sentiment in 
common: "Cursed be the Saxon!" 

1 See Appendix* 









It would never have occurred to me to undertake to 
prove the existence of genuine folksongs in America, and 
those the songs which were created by the black slaves of 
the Southern States, if the fact of such existence had not 
Been denied by at least one writer who has affected the 
scientific manner, and it had not become the habit of a cer- 
tain class of writers in this country, while conceding the 
interesting character of the songs, to refuse them the right 
Jtobe jcalled American. A foolish pride on the part of one 
class of Americans of more or less remote English ancestry, 
and a more easily understood and more pardonable pre- 
judice on the part of former slaveholders and their descend- 
ants, might explain this attitude in New England and the 
South, but why a foreign writer, with whom a personal 
equation should not have been in any degree operative, 
should have gone out of his way to pronounce against the 
originality of the songs of the American negroes, cannot 
be so readily understood. Yet, in his book, "Primitive 
Music," 1 Dr. Richard Wallaschek says: 

There still remains to be mentioned one race which is spread all over 
America and whose musical powers have attracted the attention of many 
Europeans the negro race. It may ^ seem inappropriate to treat of the 
negroes in this place, but it is of their capabilities under the influence of 
culture that I wish to make a few remarks. I think I may say that, generally 
speaking, these negro songs are very much overrated, and that, as a rule, they 
are mere imitations of European compositions which the negroes have picked 
up and served up again with slight variations. Moreover, it is a remarkable 

1 "An Inquiry into the Origin and Development of Music, Songs, Instru- 
ments, Dances and Fantomines of Savage Races" (London, 1893). 

r 11 ] 


fact that one author has frequently copied his praise of negro songs from 
another, and determined from it the great capabilities of the blacks, when a 
closer examination would have revealed the fact that they were not musical 
songs at all, but merely simple poems. This is undoubtedly the case with 
the oft quoted negro songs of Day and Busch. The latter declares that the 
lucrative business which negroes made by singing their songs in the streets 
of American towns determined the whites^tp imitate them, and with black- 
ened faces to perform their own "compositions" as negro songs. We must 
be on our guard against the selections of so-called negro songs, which are 
often offered us as negro compositions. 

Miss McKim and Mr. Spaulding were the first to try to make negro 
songs known, the former of whom, in connection with Allen and Ware, pub- 
lished a large collection which for the most part had been got together by the 
negroes of Coffin's point and in the neighboring plantations at St. Helena. 
I cannot think that these and the rest of the songs deserve the praise given 
by the editors, for they are unmistakably "arranged" not to say ignorantly 
borrowed from the national songs of all nations, from military signals, 
well-known marches, German student songs, etc., unless it is pure accident 
which has caused me to light upon traces of so many of them. Miss McKim 
herself says it is difficult to reproduce in notes their peculiar guttural sounds 
and rhythmical effects almost as difficult, in fact as with the songs of 
birds or the tones of an aeolian har. "Still, the greater part of negro music 
is civilized in its character," sometimes influenced by the whites, sometimes 
directly imitated. After this we may forego the necessity for a thorough 
examination, although it must be mentioned here, because the songs are so 
often given without more ado as examples of primitive music. It is, as a matter 
of fact, no longer primitive, even in its wealth of borrowed melody. Feeling 
for harmony seems fairly developed. 

It was not Miss McKim, but Mr. Allen, who called 
attention to the "civilized" character of the music of the 
slaves. In what Miss McKim said about the difficulty 
of reproducing "the entire character" of the music, as she 
expresses it, by the conventional symbols of the art, she 
adduces a proof of the primitive nature of some of its 
elements. The study of these elements might profitably 
have occupied Dr. Wallaschek's attention for a space. 
Had he made more than cursory examination of them he 
would not have been so sweeping in his characterization 
of the songs as mere imitations. The authors whom he 
quotes 1 wrote before a collection of songs of the American 
negroes had been made on which a scientific, critical opin- 
ion might be based. As for Dr. Wallaschek, his critical 
attitude toward "Slave Songs" is amply shown by his 
bracketing it with a publication of Christy minstrel songs 
which appeared in London; his method is illustrated by 

Charles William Day, who published a work entitled "Five Years' 
Residence in the West Indies," in 1852, and Moritz Busch, who in 1854 pub* 
lished his "Wanderungen zwischen Hudson und Mississippi." 

[ 12 ] 


his acceptance in his resume of the observations of travel- 
lers among savage peoples (an extremely helpful book 
otherwise) of their terminology as well as their opinions 
in musical matters. Now, nothing is more notorious than 
that the overwhelming majority of the travellers who have 
written about primitive peoples have been destitute of 
even the most elemental knowledge of practical as well 
as theoretical music; yet without some knowledge of the 
art it is impossible even to give an intelligent description 
of the rudest musical instruments. The phenomenon is 
not peculiar to African travellers, though the confusion 
of terms and opinions is greater, perhaps, in books on 
Africa than anywhere else. Dr. Wallaschek did not per- 
mit the fact to embarrass him in the least, nor did he even 
attempt to set the writers straight so far as properly to 
classify the instruments which they describe. All kinds 
of instruments of the stringed kind are jumbled higgledy- 
piggledy in these descriptions, regardless of whether or 
not they had fingerboards or belonged to the harp family; 
bamboo instruments are called flutes, even if they are 
sounded by being struck; wooden gongs are permitted to 
parade as drums, and the universal "whizzer," or "buzzer" 
(a bit of flat wood attached to a string and made to give 
a whirring sound by being whirled through the air) is 
treated even by Dr. Wallaschek as if it were an aeolian 
harp. A common African instrument of rhythm, a stick 
with one edge notched like a saw, over which another 
stick is rubbed, which has its counterpart in Louisiana in 
the jawbone and key, is discussed as if it belonged to the 
viol family, simply because it is rubbed. He does not 
challenge even so infantile a statement as that of Captain 
John Smith when he asserts that the natives of Virginia 
had "bass, tenor, counter-tenor, alto and soprano rattles." 
And so on. These things may not influence Dr. Walla- 
schek's deductions, but they betoken a carelessness of 
mind which should not exist in a scientific investigator, and 
justify a challenge of his statement that the songs of the 
American negroes are predominantly borrowings from 
European music. 

[ 13 ] 


Besides, the utterance is illogical. Similarities exist 
between the folksongs of all peoples. Their overlapping is 
a necessary consequence of the proximity and intermingling 
of peoples, like modifications of language; and there are 
some characteristics which all songs .except those of the 
rudest and most primitive kind must have in common. 
The prevalence of the diatonic scales and the existence 
of march-rhythms, for instance, make parallels unavoidable. 
If the use of such scales and rhythms in the folksongs of the 
American negroes is an evidence of plagiarism or imitation, 
it is to be feared that the peoples whose music they put 
under tribute have been equally culpable with them. 
Again, if the songs are but copies of "the national songs 
of all nations, military signals, well-known marches, Ger- 
man student songs, etc./* why did white men blacken 
their faces and imitate these imitations ? Were the facilities 
of the slaves to hear all these varieties of foreign music 
better than those of their white imitators ? It is plain that 
Dr. Wallaschek never took the trouble to acquaint himself 
with the environment of the black slaves in the United 
States. How much music containing the exotic elements 
which I have found in some songs, and which I shall pres- 
ently discuss, ever penetrated to the plantations where 
these songs grew? It did not need Dr. Wallaschek's con- 
fession that he did not think it necessary to make a thorough 
examination of even the one genuine collection which 
came under his notice to demonstrate that he did not look 
analytically at the songs as a professedly scientific man 
should have done before publishing his wholesale charac- 
terization and condemnation. This characterization is 
of a piece with his statement that musical contests which 
he mentions of the Nishian women which are "won by the 
woman who sings loudest and longest" are "still in use 
in America," which precious piece of intelligence he proves 
by relating a newspaper story about a pianoforte play- 
ing match in a dime museum in New York in 1892. The 
truth is that, like many another complacent German savant, 
Dr. Wallaschek thinks Americans are barbarians. He is 
welcome to his opinion, which can harm no one but himself. 

[ 14 ] 


That there should be resemblances between some of the 
songs sung by the American blacks and popular songs of 
other origin need surprise no one. In the remark about 
civilized music made by Mr. Allen, which Dr. Wallaschek 
attributes to Miss McKim, it is admitted that the music 
of the negroes is "partly actually imitated from their 
music," i. *., the music of the whites; but Mr. Allen adds: 
"In the main it appears to be original in the best sense 
of the word, and the more! we examine the subject, the 
more genuine it appears to be. In a very few songs, as 
Nos. 19, 23 and 25, strains of familiar tunes are readily 
traced; and it may easily be that others contain strains 
of less familiar music which the slaves heard their masters 
sing or play." It would be singular, indeed, if this were 
not the case, for it is a universal law. Of the songs singled 
out by Mr. Allen, No. 19 echoes what Mr. Allen describes 
as a familiar Methodist hymn, 'Ain't I glad I got out of 
the Wilderness/ " but he admits that it may be original. I 
have never seen the song in a collection of Methodist 
hymns, but I am certain that I used to sing it as a boy to 
words which were anything but religious. Moreover, the 
second period of the tune, the only part that is in con- 
troversy, has a prototype of great dignity and classic 
ancestry; it is the theme of the first Allegro of Bach's 
sonata in E for violin and clavier. I know of no parallel 
for No. 23 ("I saw the Beam in my Sister's eye") except 
in other negro songs. The second period of No. 23 ("Gwine 
Follow"), as Mr. Allen observes, "is evidently 'Buffalo,' 
variously known as 'Charleston' or 'Baltimore Gals.' " 
But who made the tune for the "gals" of Buffalo, Charleston 
and Baltimore? The melodies which were more direct 
progenitors of the songs which Christy's Minstrels and 
other minstrel companies carried all over the land were 
attributed to the Southern negroes; songs like "Coal- 
black Rose," "Zip Coon" and "Ole Virginny Nebber 
Tire," have always been accepted as the creations of the 
blacks, though I do not know whether or not they really 
are. Concerning them I am skeptical, to say the least, 
if only for the reason that we have no evidence on the sub- 

[ 15 ] 


ject. So-called negro songs are more than a century old 
in the music-rooms of America. A song descriptive of the 
battle of Plattsburg was sung in a drama to words supposed- 
ly in negro dialect, as long ago as 1815. "Jump Jim 
Crow" was caught by Thomas D. ("Daddy") Rice from 
the singing and dancing of an old, deformed and decrepit 
negro slave in Louisville eighty-five years ago (if the best 
evidence obtainable on the subject is to be believed), and 
this was the starting-point of negro minstrelsy of the 
Christy type. "Dandy Jim of Caroline" may also have 
had a negro origin; I do not know, and the question is 
inconsequential here for the reason that the Afro-American 
folksongs which I am trying to study owe absolutely 
nothing to the songs which the stage impersonators of 
the negro slave made 1 popular in the United States and 
England. They belong to an entirely different order of 
creations. Forgone thing, they are predominantly re- 
ligious songs; it is a singular fact that very few secular 
songs those which are referred to as "reel tunes," "fiddle 
songs," "corn songs" and "devil songs," for which the 
slaves generally expressed a deep abhorrence, though 
many of them, no doubt, were used to stimulate them while 
at work in the fields have been preserved, while "shout 
songs" and other "speritchils" (spirituals "ballets" they 
were called at a later day) have been kept alive by the 
hundreds. The explanation of the phenomenon is psy- 

There are a few other resemblances which may be 
looked into. "Who is on the Lord's side?" 1 may have 
suggested the notion of "military calls" to Dr. Wallaschek. 
"In Bright Mansions Above" 2 contains a phrase which 
may have been inspired by "The Wearing of the Green." 
A palpable likeness to "Camptown Races" exists in "Lord, 
Remember Me." 8 Stephen C. Foster wrote "Camp- 
town Races" in 1850; the book called "Slave Songs of the 
United States" was published in 1867, but the songs were 
collected several years before. I have no desire to rob 

* "Slave Songs," No. 75. 

No. 78 of the Fisk Jubilee Collection 
No. 7 in "Slave Songs" 

[ 16 ] 


Foster of the credit of having written the melody of his 
song; he would have felt justified had he taken it from the 
lips of a slave, but it is more than likely that he invented 
it and that it was borrowed in part for a hymn by the 
negroes. The "spirituals" are much sophisticated with 
worldly sentiment and phrase. 

There are surprisingly few references to the servitude 
of the blacks in their folksongs which can be traced to 
ante-bellum days. The text of "Mother, is Massa Gwine 
to sell us To-morrow?" would seem to be one of these; 
but it is not in the earliest collection and may be of later 
date in spite of its sentiment. I present three interesting 
examples which celebrate the deliverance from slavery, 
of which two, "Many Thousands Gone" 1 and "Many 
Thousand Go" 2 are obviously musical variants of the 
same song (see pages 18, 19, 20). Colonel Higginson, who 
collected the second, says of it in his "Atlantic Monthly" 
essay: "They had another song to which the Rebellion 
had actually given rise. This was composed by nobody 
knew whom though it was the most recent, doubtless, 
of all these 'spirituals' and had been sung in secret to 
avoid detection. It is certainly plaintive enough. The 
peck of corn and pint of salt were slavery's rations." The 
editors of "Slave Songs" add: "Lieutenant-Colonel Trow- 
bridge learned that it was first sung when Beauregard took 
the slaves to the islands to build the fortifications at 
Hilton Head and Bay Point." The third song, "Done wid 
Driber's Dribin'," was first printed in Mr. H. G. Spauld- 
ing's essay "Under the Palmetto" in the "Continental 
Monthly" for August, 1863. The song "Oh, Freedom over 
Me," which Dr. Burghardt du Bois quotes in his "The 
Souls of Black Folk" as an expression of longing for 
deliverance from slavery encouraged by fugitive slaves 
and the agitation of free negro leaders before the War of the 
Rebellion, challenges no interest for its musical contents, 
since it is a compound of two white men's tunes "Lily 
Dale," a sentimental ditty, and "The Battle-Cry of Free- 
dom," a patriotic song composed by George F. Root, in 

1 Fisk Jubilee Collection, No. 23 
1 "Slave Songs," No. 64 

[ 17 ] 



I. Words and Melody from "Slave Songs of the 
United States"; II. From "The Continental Month- 
ly" of August, 1863, reprinted in "Slave Songs"; 
III. From "The Story of the Jubilee Singers." The 
arrangements are by H. T. Burleigh. 

Many Thousand Go 





r r p i . i r p ^^p 

1 No More peck o* corn for me, No more, no more, 


i j 


No more peck o* 

corn for me: 

Man-y th 



f f 



ir r ' 

2. No more driver's lash for me. 4. No more nundred laah for me. 

8 No more pint o' salt for me. 6. No more mistress' call for me. 

r is 


Done wid Briber's Dribin' 


JLDooe wid dri-berb 


Done wid dri - bet's 




if |- 



Done wid 






Jor- dan, 









.Doae wld Massa's hollerin?, 
Done wid Masses liollerio?, 
Bone wid Massafe hoUeria.'; 
Roll, Jordan, rolU 

S. Don* wid Missus' scoldin', 

Done wid Missus' scolding 
Roll> ^fordati} rolL 

I 19 ] 


Many Thousands Gone 


i.No more auc-tion- block for me, No more, no more. 

No more attc-tlon - block for me: Man-y thou- sands gone. 

3. No more peck o* com, etc. 4. No more pint o' salt, etc. 

3. No more drhredi lash* etc. 6. No more JmAdredlasa, etc. 

6* No more mistress* call, etc. 

[ 20 ] 


Chicago, and inspired by President Lincoln's second call 
for volunteers in the summer of 1861. There was time 
for the negro song to have grown up between 1861 and the 
emancipation of the slaves, but it is not likely that slaves 
anywhere in the United States outside of the lines of 
the Federal armies would have dared to sing 

O Freedom, Freedom, 

O Freedom over mel 
Before I'll be a slave. 
I'll be buried in my grave, 
And go home to my Lord, 

And be free! 

before 1863. Besides, the song did not appear in print, I 
believe, till it was published in "Religious Folk Songs of the 
Negro, as Sung on the Plantations," an edition of "Cabin 
and Plantation Songs as Sung by the Hampton Students," 
published in 1909. The early editions of the book knew 
nothing of the song. Colonel Higginson quotes a song 
with a burden of "We'll soon be free," for singing which 
negroes had been put in jail at the outbreak of the Rebel- 
lion in Georgetown, S. C. In spite of the obviously appar- 
ent sentiment, Colonel Higginson says it had no reference 
to slavery, though he thinks it may have been sung 
"with redoubled emphasis during the new events." It 
was, in fact, a song of hoped-for deliverance from the 
sufferings of this world and of anticipation of the joys 
of Paradise, where the faithful were to "walk de miry 
road" and "de golden streets," on which pathways 
"pleasure never dies." No doubt there was to the singers 
a. hidden allegorical significance in the numerous allusions 
to the deliverance of the Israelites from Egyptian bondage 
contained in the songs, and some of this significance may 
have crept into the songs before the day of freedom 
began to dawn. A line, "The Lord will call us home," 
in the song just referred to, Colonel Higginson says "was 
evidently thought to be a symbolical verse; for, as a little 
drummer-boy explained to me, showing all his white teeth 
as he sat in the moonlight by the door of my tent, *Dey 
tink de Lord mean for say de Yankees.* " 

If the songs which came from the plantations of the 

[ 21 ] 


South are to conform to the scientific definition of folksongs 
as I laid it down in the preceding chapter, they must be 
"born, not made;" they must be spontaneous utterances 
of the people who originally sang them; they must also 
be the fruit of the creative capacity of a whole and in- 
genuous people, not of individual artists, and give voice 
to the joys, sorrows and aspirations of that people. They 
must betray the influences of the environment in which 
they sprang up, and may preserve relics of the likes and 
aptitudes of their creators when in the earlier environment 
from which they emerged. The best of them must be felt 
by the singers themselves to be emotional utterances. 
The only considerable body of song which has come into 
existence in the territory now compassed by the United 
States, I might even say in North America, excepting 
the primitive songs of the Indians (which present an en- 
tirely different aspect), are the songs of the former black 
slaves. In Canada the songs of the people, or that portion 
of the people that can be said still to sing from impulse, 
are predominantly French, not only in language but in 
subject. They were for the greater part transferred to 
this continent with the bodily integrity which they now 
possess. Only a small portion show an admixture of In- 
dian elements; but the songs of the black slaves of the 
South are original and native products. They contain 
idioms which were transplanted hither from Africa, but 
as songs they are the product of American institutions; 
of the social, political and geographical environment within 
which their creators were placed in America; of the in- 
fluences to which they were subjected in America; of the 
joys, sorrows and experiences which fell to their lot in 

Nowhere save on the plantations of the South could 
the emotional life which is. essential to the development 
of true folksong be developed; nowhere else was there lie 
necessary meeting of the spiritual cause and the simple 
agent and vehicle. The white inhabitants of the continent 
have never been in the state of cultural ingenuousness 
which prompts spontaneous emotional utterance in music. 

[ 22 ] 


Civilization atrophies the faculty which creates this 
phenomenon as it does the creation of myth and legend. 
Sometimes the faculty is galvanized into life by vast cala- 
mities or crises which shake all the fibres of social and 
national existence; and then we see its fruits in the compo- 
sitions of popular musicians. Thus the War of the Rebel- 
lion produced songs markedly imbued with the spirit of 
folksong, like "The Battle-Cry of Freedom," "Tramp, 
Tramp, Tramp, the Boys- are Marching," and "Marching 
Through Georgia." But it is a singular fact that the 
patriotic songs of the American people during the War of 
the Revolution and the War of 1812 were literary and 
musical parodies of English songs. We took the music of 
"Yankee Doodle" and "The Star-Spangled Banner" from 
the lips of the enemy. 

It did not lie in the nature of the mill life of New England 
or the segregated agricultural life of the Western pioneers 
to inspire folksongs; those occupations lacked the romantic 
and emotional elements which existed in the slave life of 
the plantations in the South and which invited celebration 
in song grave and gay. Nor were the people of the North 
possessed of the ingenuous, native musical capacity of the 
Southern blacks. 

It is in the nature of things that the origin of individual 
folksongs should as a rule remain unknown; but we have 
evidence to show how some of them grew, and from it we 
deduce the general rule as it has been laid down. Colonel 
Thomas Wentworth Higginson, in his delightful essay 
"Negro Spirituals," published in "The Atlantic Monthly" 
for June, 1867, tells an illuminative anecdote. Speaking 
of "No More Peck of Corn for Me," he says: 

Even of this last composition, however, we have only the approximate 
date, and know nothing of the mode of composition. Allen Ramsey says of 
the Scotch songs that, no matter who made them, they were soon attributed 
to the minister of the parish whence they sprang. And I always wondered, 
about these, whether they had always a conscious and definite origin in some 
leading mind or whether they grew by gradual accretion in an almost un- 
conscious way. On this point I could get no information, though I asked 
many questions, until at last one day when I was being rowed across from 
Beaufort to Ladies' Island, I found myself, with delight, on the actual trail 
of a song. One of the oarsmen, a brisk young fellow, not a soldier, on being 
asked for his theory of the matter, dropped out a coy confession. "Some good 
sperituals," he said, "are start jest out o' curiosity. I bin a-raise a sing myself 

[ 23 ] 


My dream was fulfilled, and I had traced out not the poem alone, but the 
poet. I implored him to proceed. 

"Once we boys went for tote some rice, and de nigger driver, he keep a- 
callin' on us: and I say, 'O, de ole nigger driver!" Den anudder said, 'Fust 
t'ing my mammy tole me was not'in' so bad as a nigger driver.' Den I made 
a sing, just puttin' a word and den anudder word." 

Then he began singing and the men, after listening a moment, joined in the 
chorus as if it were an old acquaintance, though they evidently had never 
heard it before. I saw how easily a new "sing" took root among them. 
"0, de ole nigger driver! 

O, gwine awayl 
Fust t'ing my^ mammy tell me. 

O, gwine awayl^ 
Tell me 'bout de nigger driver, 

O, gwine away! 
Nigger driver second devil, 

U, gwine away! 
Best ring for do he driver, 

0, gwfne away! 
Blnbck he down and spoil he labor 

0, gwine awayl 

A similar story, which also throws light on the emanci- 
p | aticti songs which 'I have printed, was told by J. Miller 
<McKim in an address delivered in Philadelphia on July 
9, 1862: 

I asked one of these blacks, one of the most intelligent of them, where they 
got these songs. 

"Dey make 'em, sah." 

"How do they make them?" 

After a pause, evidently casting about for an explanation, he said: 

"I'll tell you; it's dis way: My master call me uo an' order me a short peck 
of corn and a hundred lash. My friends see it and is sorry for me. When dey 
come to de praise meeting dat night dey sing about it. Some's very good 
singers and know how; and dey work it in, work it in, you know, till dey get 
it right; and dat's de way." 

"In ancient Rome sick slaves were exposed on the island 
of Aesculapius, in the Tiber; by a decree of Claudius slaves 
so exposed could not be reclaimed by their master." 
(Encyclopaedia Britannica, art. "Slavery.") 

An incident which gave rise in Jamaica to a folksong, 
which is a remarkably fine example of dramatic directness 
and forcefulness, but of which, most unfortunately, the 
music has not been preserved, recalls this ancient regu- 
lation. Here is the song: 

"Take him to the gully! Take him to the gully, 
But bringee back the frock and the board." 
"0 mass a, massa! Me no deadee yet!" 
"Take him to the gully! Take him to the gully; 
Carry him along!" 

How this song came into existence is thus related in 

I 2* 1 


"A Journal of a Residence Among the Negroes in the 
West Indies," by Matthew Gregory Lewis: 1 

/The song alludes to a transaction which took place about fifty years ago 
on an^estate called Spring Garden, the owner of which is quoted as the crudest 
proprietor that ever disgraced Jamaica. It was his constant practice, when- 
ever a sick negro was pronounced incurable, to order the poor wretch to be 
carried to a solitary vale upon his estate, called the Golly, where he was thrown 
down and abandoned to his fate which fate was generally to be half-de- 
voured by the John crows^ before death had put an end to his sufferings.^ By 
this proceeding the avaricious owner avoided the expense of maintaining 
the slave during his last illness; and in order that he might be as little a loser 
as possible he always enjoined the negro bearers of the dying man to strip 
him naked before leaving the Gully, and not to forget to bnng back his frock 
and the board on which he had been carried down. 

One poor creature, while in the act of being removed, screamed out most 
piteously that he was not dead yet, and implored not to be left to perish in 
the Gully in a manner so horrible. His cries had no effect upon the master, 
but operated so forcibly on the less marble hearts of his fellow slaves that in 
the night some of them removed him back to the negro village privately and 
nursed him there with so much care that he recovered and left the estate un- 
questioned and undiscovered. Unluckily, one day the master was passing 
through Kingston, when, on turning the corner of a street suddenly, he found 
himself face to face with the negro whom he had supposed long ago to have 
been picked to the bones in the Gully. He immediately seized him, claimed 
him as his slave and ordered his attendants to convey him to his house; but 
the fellow's cry attracted a crowd around them before he could be dragged 
away. He related his melancholy story and the singular manner in which 
he had recovered his life and liberty, and the public indignation was so 
forcibly excited by the shocking tale that Mr. B was glad to save him- 
self from being torn to pieces by a precipitate retreat from Kingston and 
never ventured to advance his claim to the negro a second time. 

But the story lived in the song which the narrator heard 
hall a century later. Imagine the dramatic pathos of the 
words paired with the pathos of the tune which welled up 
with them when the singers repeated the harsh utterances of 
the master and the pleadings of the wretched slave! It is 
out of experiences like these that folksongs are made. 
There were, it is true, few cases of such monstrous cruelty 
in any of the sections in which slavery flourished in America, 
though it fell to my lot fifteen years after slavery had 
been abolished to report the testimony in a law case 
of an old black woman who was seeking to recover dam- 
ages from a former Sheriff of Kenton County, Ky., for 
having abducted her, when a free woman living in Cincin- 
nati, and selling her into slavery. A slave she remained 
until freed by President Lincoln's proclamation, and in 
measure of damages she told on the witness stand of 

1 London, 1845. 

[ 25 ] 


seeing a young black woman on a plantation in Mississippi 
stripped naked, tied by the feet and hands flat upon the 
ground and so inhumanly flogged that she died in a few 
hours. That story also might well have been perpetuated 
in a folksong. There was sunshine as well as gloom in the 
life of the black slaves in the Southern colonies and States, 
and so we have songs which are gay as well as grave; but 
as a rule the finest songs are the fruits of suffering under- 
gone and the hope of the deliverance from bondage which 
was to come with translation to heaven after death. The 
oldest of them are the most beautiful, and many of the 
most striking have never yet been collected, partly because 
they contained elements, melodic as well as rhythmical, 
which baffled the ingenuity of the early collectors. Un- 
fortunately, trained musicians have never entered upon 
the field, and it is to be feared that it is now too late. The 
peculiarities which the collaborators on. "Slave Songs of the 
United States" recognized, but could not imprison on the 
written page, were elements which would have been of 
especial interest to the student of art. 

Is it not the merest quibble to say that these songs are 
not American? They were created in America under 
American influences and by people who are Americans in 
the same sense that any other element of our population 
is American every element except the aboriginal. But 
is there an aboriginal element? Are the red men autoch- 
thones ? Science seems to have answered that they are not. 
Then they, too, are American only because they have come 
to live in America. They may have come from 
Asia. The majority of other Americans came from 
Europe. Is it only an African who can sojourn here without 
becoming an American and producing American things? 
Is it a matter of length of stay in the country? Scarcely 
that; or some negroes would have at least as good a claim 
on the title as the descendants of the Puritans and Pilgrims. 
Negroes figure in the accounts of his voyages to America 
made by Columbus. Their presence in the West Indies 
was noticed as early as 1501. Balboa was assisted by 
negroes in building the first ships sent into the Pacific 

[ 26 ] 


Ocean from American shores. A year before the English 
colonists landed on Plymouth Rock negroes were sold 
into servitude in Virginia. When the first census of the 
United States was taken in 1790, there were 757,208 negroes 
In the country. There are now 10,000,000. These people 
all speak the language of America. They are native born. 
Their songs, a matter of real moment in the controversy, 
are sung in the language of America (albeit in a corrupt 
dialect), and as much entitled to be called American songs 
as would be the songs, were there any such, created here 
by any other element of our population. They may not 
give voice to the feelings of the entire population of the 
country, but for a song which shall do that we shall 
have to wait until the amalgamation of the inhabitants of 
the/ United States is complete. Will such a time ever come ? 
Perhaps so; but it will be after the people of the world 
cease swarming as they have swarmed from the birth of 
history till now. There was a travelled road from Meso- 
potamia to the Pillars of Hercules in the time of Abraham. 
The women of Myksene wore beads of amber brought 
from the German Ocean, when 

"Ilion, like a mist, rose into towers." 

The folksongs of Suabia, Bavaria, the Rhineland, Fran- 
conia of all the German countries, principalities and 
provinces are German folksongs; the songs of the German 
apprentices, soldiers, huntsmen, clerks, journeymen giving 
voice to the experiences and feelings of each group are all 
German folksongs. Why are not the songs of the American 
negroes American folksongs? Can any one say?,/ It is 
deplorable that so pessimistic a note should sound through 
the writings of any popular champion as sounds through 
the most eloquent English book ever written by any one 
of African blood; but no one shall read Burghardt DuBois's 
"The Souls of Black Folk" without being moved by the 
pathos of his painful cry: 

Your country? How came it yours? Before the ^Pilgrims landed we were 
here. Here we have brought our three gifts and mingled them with yours 
a gift of story and song, soft, stirring melody in an ill harmonized and un- 
mSodious land; the gift of sweat and brawn to beat back the wilderness, 
conquer the soil and lay the foundations of this vast economic empire two 

[ 27 ] 


hundred years earlier than your weak hands could have done it; the third^ 
a gift of the Spirit. Around us the history of the land has centered for thrice 
a hundred years; out of the nation's heart we have called all that was best 
to throttle and subdue all that was worst; fire and blood, prayer and sacrifice, 
have billowed over this people, and they have found peace only in the altars- 
of the God of Right. Nor has our gift of the Spirit been merely passive. 
Actively we have woven ourselves with the very warp and woof of this nation- 
we fought their battles, shared their sorrows, mingled our blood with theirs, 
and generation after generation have pleaded with a headstrong, careless 
people to despise not Justice, Mercy and Truth, lest the nation be smitten* 
with a curse. Our song, our toil, our cheer and warning have been given to 
this nation in blood brotherhood. Are not these gifts worth giving? Is not 
this work and striving? Would America have been America without her 
negro people? 

Even so IB the hope that sang in the songs of my fathers well sung. If 
somewhere in this swirl and chaos of things there dwells Eternal Good, pitiful 
yet masterful, then anon in. His good time America^shall rend the veil and the 
prisoned shall go free free, free as the sunshine trickling down the morning 
into these high windows of mine; free as yonder fresh voices welling up to me- 
from the caverns of brick and mortar below swelling with song, instinct 
with life, tremulous treble and darkening bass. 

Greatly as it pains me, I should be sorry if one should' 
ask me to strike that passage out of "American" prose 

f 28 ] 






Having looked into the genesis of the folksongs of the 
American negroes, I purpose now to lay a foundation for 
examination into some of the musical idioms which charac- 
terize them, so that, presently, their origin as well as their 
effect may be discussed. Before then, however, something 
must be said about the various classes of songs and their 
use. Here the most striking fact that presents itself is 
the predominance of hymns, or religious songs.^ The reason 
for this will readily be found by those who are vHJling 
to accept Herbert Spencer's theory of the origin of music 
and my definition of folksong. Slavery was the sorrow 
of the Southern blacks; religion was their comfort and 
refuge. That religion was not a dogmatic, philosophical 
or even ethical system so much as it was an emotional 
experience. "These hymns," says Mr. Allen in his intro- 
duction to "Slave Songs of the United States," "will be 
found peculiarly interesting in illustrating the feelings, 
opinions and habits of the slaves. . . . One of their 
customs, often alluded to in the songs, ... is that of 
wandering through the woods and swamps when under 
religious excitement, like the ancient bacchantes." "Al- 
most all their sqngs were thoroughly religious in their 
tone," says Colonel Higginson, "and were in a minor key, 
both as to words and r^usic. The attitude is always the 
same, and, as a commentary on the life of the race, is 
infinitely pathetic. Nothing but patience for this life 

[ 29 ] 


nothing but triumph in the next. Sometimes the present 
predominates, sometimes the future; but the combination 
is always implied." 1 

"Though the words are sometimes rude and the strains 
often wild, yet they are the outpourings of an ignorant and 
poverty-stricken people, whose religious language and ideals 
struggled for expression and found it through limited 
vocabularies and primitive harmonies. They are not 
merely poetry, they are life itself the life of the human 
soul manifesting itself in - rude words, wild strains and 
curious, though beautiful harmonies," says Robert R. 
Moton, commandant of Hampton Institute. Booker T. 
Washington bears this testimony: "The negro folksong has 
for the negro race the same value that the folksong of 
any other people has for that people. It reminds the race 
of the 'rock whence it was hewn/ it fosters race pride, and 
in the days of slavery it furnished an outlet for the anguish 
of smitten hearts. . . . The plantation songs known 
as the 'spirituals' are the spontaneous outbursts of intense 
religious fervor, and had their origin chiefly in the camp- 
meetings, the revivals, and in other religious exercises. 
They breathe a childlike faith in a personal Father and 
glow with the hope that the children of bondage will ulti- 
mately pass out of the wilderness of slavery into the land 
of freedom." 

Writing in "The Century Magazine" for August, 1899, 
Marion Alexander Haskell said: "The musical talent of 
the uneducated negro finds almost its only expression in 
religious song, and for this there is a simple explanation. 
A race strongly imbued with religious sentiment, one rarely 
finds among them an adult who has not gone through that 
emotional experience known as conversion, after which 
it is considered vanity and sinfulness to indulge in song 
other than that of a sacred character. The new-found child 

1 Concerning the prevalent mode of the songs Colonel Higginson is 
in error; they are predominantly major, not minor. The mistake is a common 
one among persons who have no technical training in music and who have 
been taught that suffering always expresses itself in the minor mode. A 
great majority of those who write about savage or primitive music generally 
set it down as minor whenever it has a melancholy cast. 

[ 30 ] 


Ten. I 
Ten. II 

You May Bury Me in the East 

, Andante soetenuto 

hear the trumpet sound In that morn-ing*. In that morn-ing, my Lord, 
K h J\ -h t it . i J) J K 







p-i p p * f y k 1 K r pp '7 

I long 1 to go for to hear the trumpet sound in that morn- Ing-. 

K J^ Jts k k t 


2. Father Gabriel in that day, 
Hell take wings and fly away, 
For to hear the trumpet sound 

In that morning", etc. 
You may bury him, eto. 

8. Good old Christians m that day, 
They'll take.wings and By away, 

4. Good old preachers in that day, 
They'll take wings, etc. 

5. In that dreadful Judgment-day 
fU take wings, etc. 

lisbed here ty permission. 


of the church knows but little of that which he must forgo, 
for his mother before him sang only spirituals, and to these 
he naturally turns as to old friends whom his own religious 
experiences have clothed in new dignity and light/' 

There is nothing strange in the fact that the original 
collectors of slave songs and later students of slave life 
in America should thus recognize the psychological origin 
of negro song, for they were familiar with the phenomena 
which accompanied it; but it is worthy of note that a 
foreigner, who approached the subject on its scientific and 
artistic side only and to whom all such phenomena must 
have seemed strange, should have been equally apprecia- 
tive. In his monograph, "La Musique chez les Peuples 
indigenes de 1'Amerique du Nord," M. Julien Tiersot, 
after describing a campmeeting as he had learned to know 
it from the descriptions of others, says: 

It is indubitable, as all who have made a special study of the question 
agree, that it is in these superheated religious assemblies that the most genuine 
(plus clair) songs in the negro repertory had their origin. They use them on 
all occasions. ' Like all peoples of low culture, the negroes accompany their 
manual labors with song. ^Noteworthy are the "corn songs," which are sung 
in the harvest season to stimulate the gathering of the grain. The efficiency 
of these songs is so well recognized that the owners of the plantations pay 
extra wages to singers capable of leading the chorus oHaborers. These songs, 
however, have no distinctive character; they are religious hymns. The same 
holds true of the songs sung by negroes for their diversion, when at rest in 
their cabins, in the family circle or for the dance. Such a use need not surprise 
us when we have seen their religious meetings degenerate into dishevelled 
dances under the influence of the same songs. It is the hymn which must 
sanctify the dance. Carefully do they guard it against any admixture of the 
profane element! A superstitous dread in this regard is another convincing 
proof of how completely they have forgotten their African origin. They would 
believe themselves damned were they to repeat the songs of paganism; to 
do this would, in their eyes, be to commit original and unpardonable sin. 

The "dishevelled dance" to which M. Tiersot alludes 
is the "shout" which in the days of slavery flourished 
chiefly in South Carolina and the States south of it. 
"It appears to be found in Florida," says Mr. Allen in his 
preface to "Slave Songs," but not in North Carolina or 
Virginia." I have a hymn taken down from the lips of 
an old slave woman in Kentucky which the collector 1 
designated as a "shout," and it is probable that the custom 
was more widely extended than Mr. Allen and his collabora- 

1 Miss Mildred J. Hill, of Louisville, to whom I am indebted for several 
interesting specimens. 

[ 32 ] 


tors, who gleaned chiefly in South Carolina and the Gulf 
States, knew. Mr. Allen refers to the fact that the term 
"shouting" is used in Virginia "in reference to a peculiar 
motion of the body not wholly unlike the Carolina shout- 
ing," Very keenly he surmises, too, that it "is not unlikely 
that this remarkable religious ceremony is a relic of some 
native African dance, as the Romai'ka is of the classic 
Pyrrhic." A secular parody of it can easily be recalled by 
all persons who remember the old-fashioned minstrel shows, 
for it was perpetuated in the so-called "walk-around" of 
those entertainments. "Dixie," which became the war- 
.song of the Southrons during the War of the Rebellion, was 
written by Dan Emmet as a "walk-around" for Bryant's 
Minstrels in 1859. I shall let an eyewitness describe the 
"shout." It is a writer in "The Nation" of May 30, 1867: 

There is a ceremony which the white clergymen are inclined to discoun- 
tenance, and even of the colored elders some of the more discreet try sometimes 
to put on a face of discouragement; and, although if pressed for Biblical 
warrant for the "shout," they generally seem to think, **he in de Book," or, 
"he dere-da in Matchew," still it is not considered blasphemous or improper 
if "de chillen" and "dem young gal" carry it^ on in the evening for amuse- 
ment's sake, and with no well-defined intention of "praise." But the true 
"shout" takes place on Sundays, or on "praise" nights through the week, and 
either in the praise-house or in some cabin in which a regular religious meeting 
has been held. Very likely more than half the population of a plantation is 
gathered together. Let it be the evening, and a light wood fire burns red 
before the door of the house and on the hearth. For some time one can hear, 
though at a good distance, the vociferous exhortation or prayer of the pre- 
siding elder or of the brother who has a gift that way and is not "on the back 
*eat" a phrase the interpretation of which is "under the censure of the 
church authorities for bad behavior" and at regular intervals one hears 
the elder "deaconing" a hymnbook hymn, which is sung two lines at a 
time and whose wailing cadences, borne on the night air, are indescribably 

But the benches are pushed back to the wall when the formal meeting is 
.over, and old and young, men and women, sprucely dressed young men, 
grotesquely half-clad field hands the women generally with gay handker- 
chiefs twisted about their heads and with short skirts boys with tattered 
shirts and men's trousers, young girls bare-footed, all stand up in the middle 
of the fioor, and when the "spenchil" is struck up begin first walking and 
*by and by shufHing around, one after the other, in a ring. The foot is hardly 
taken from the floor, and the progression is mainly due to a jerking, hitching 
motion which agitates the entire shouter and soon brings out streams of 
perspiration. Sometimes they dance silently, sometimes as they shuffle they 
sing the chorus of the spiritual, and sometimes the song itself is also sung by 
the dancers. But more frequently a band, composed of some of the best 
singers and of tired shonters, stand at the side^of the room to "base"" the others, 
singing the body of the song and clapping their^hands together or on the knees. 
Song and dance are alike extremely energetic, and often, when the shout 
lasts into the middle of the night, the monotonous thud, thud of the feet pre- 
sents sleep within half a mile of the praise-house. 

[ 33 ] 


The editors of "Slave Songs" were liberal-minded per- 
sons, who, though engaged in philanthropic work in behalf 
of the freedmen, were prompted by cultural rather than 
religious motives in directing attention to negro songs. 
They deplored the fact that circumstances made the col- 
lection almost wholly religious. Mr. Allen wrote: "I 
never fairly heard a secular song among the Port Royal 
freedmen, and never saw a musical instrument among 
them. The last violin, owned by a 'worldly man/ dis- 
appeared from Coffin's Point *de year gun shoot at Bay 
Pint' (i. t., November, 1861). In other parts of the South 
'fiddle sings,' 'devil songs/ 'corn songs/ 'jig tunes' and 
what not, are common; all the world knows the banjo and 
the 'Jim Crow 9 songs of thirty years ago. We have succeed- 
ed in obtaining only a very few songs of this character. 
Our intercourse with the colored people has been chiefly 
through the work of the Freedmen's Commission, which 
deals with the serious and earnest side of the negro char- 
acter"; and, discussing the "civilized" character of the 
songs which he prints, he says: "It is very likely that if 
we had found it possible to get at more of their se- 
cular music we should have come to another con- 
clusion as to the proportion of the barbaric element." 
Then he makes room for a letter from "a gentleman 
from Delaware/' who makes a number of shrewd obser- 
vations, as thus : 

We must look among their non-religious songs for the purest specimens 
of negro minstrelsy. It is remarkable that they nave themselves transferred 
the best of these to the uses of their churches, I suppose on Mr. Wesley's 
principle that "it is not right that the devil should have all the good tunes." 
Their leaders and preachers have not found this change difficult to effect, or 
at least they have taken so little pains about it that one often detects the 
profane cropping out and revealing the origin of their most solemn "hymns'* 
in spite of the best intentions of the poet and artist. Some of the best pure 
negro songs I have ever heard were those that used to be sung by the black 
stevedores, or perhaps the crews themselves, of the West India vessels, 
loading and unloading at the wharves in Philadelphia and Baltimore. I 
have stood for more than an hour, often, listening to them as they hoisted 
and lowered the hogsheads and boxes of their cargoes, one man taking the 
burden of the song (and the slack of the rope) and the others striking in with 
the chorus. They would sing in this way more than a dozen different songs 
in an hour, most of which might, indeed, be warranted to contain "nothing 
religious" a few of them, "on the contrary, quite the reverse'* iut gener- 
ally rather innocent and proper in their language and strangely attractive 
in their music. 

I 34 ] 


A generation ago songs of the character described here 
were still to be heard from the roustabouts of the Missis- 
sippi and Ohio rivers, and two of them, together with a 
paddle song dating back to the time of the Acadians, 
showing unique characteristics, will be discussed later. 

M. Tiersot's generalizations on negro music, to which, 
it may be said, he denies all African attributes because the 
blacks have forgotten the language and customsjDf their 
ancestors, were based chiefly on reports of plantation life 
in which old French and Spanish influences were less 
potent than English. He recognizes the existence of a 
species of .dance-song in which French influences have 
been predominantly formative, however, and discusses 
them in an interesting and instructive manner. They are 
the patois songs of the black Creoles of Louisiana, concern- 
ing which I shall have something to say in due time. They 
are songs of sentiment and songs of satire the latter 
characteristic, I believe, a relic of their African source. 
There is another, smaller, body of songs outside of the 
religious domain to which the spirituals give expression 
which would, I am convinced, have been of large value in 
proving the persistence of African idioms in exotic Ameri- 
can songs if it had been possible to obtain a sufficient 
number of them to make a comparative study possible. Un- 
fortunately this is not the case, and I very much question 
whether it will ever be done. The investigation has been 
postponed too long. The opportunity would have been 
incalculably greater half a century ago, when the subject 
was new. I made an effort to get some of these songs 
thirty-five years or so ago, when much more of this music 
was in existence than now, and, though I had the help 
of so enthusiastic a folklorist as the late Lafcadio Hearn, 
they eluded me. A few specimens came into my hands, 
but they proved to be of no musical value, chiefly because 
it was obvious that they had not been correctly transcribed. 

The songs in question are those which were consorted 
with the mysterious voodoo rites practised by the blacks, 
who clung to a species of snake-worship which had been 
brought over from Africa. The preservation of relics, of 

I 35 ] 


this superstitious worship until a comparatively late date 
was no doubt due to the negroes who had been brought 
into American territory long after the abolition of the slave 
trade. At the outbreak of the War of the Rebellion the 
number of these people was by no means inconsiderable. 
Though the slave trade was abolished by the United 
States in 1808 and those who followed it were declared 
pirates in 1820, negroes brought over from Africa were 
smuggled into the States by way of the Antilles for many 
years. It was not until 1861 that a trader was* convicted 
under the law and hanged in New York. As late as 1888 
Professor Edwards, describing the negro inhabitants of the 
Bahamas, who had already enjoyed freedom for more than 
fifty years, could write: "There lives yet in Green Turtle 
Cay one old negro, *Unc' Yawk/ who, bowing his grizzled 
head, will tell you, 'Yah, I wa' fum Hafca.' " 

It is well to remember facts like these when it is urged, 
as it is even by so good a musical folklorist as M. Tiersot, 
that African relics are not to be sought for in the music of 
the American negroes because they have forgotten the 
languages (not language) of their African ancestors. In the 
songs which have been heard by the few people who have 
left us accounts of the voodoo rites, African words are 
used, though their meaning has been lost. The phenomenon 
is not at all singular. Plato found the Egyptian priests 
using in their prayers, instead of words, the sacred vowels 
of their language, which they said had been taught their 
ancestors by Isis and Osiris. Buddhist monks in China, 
I have been told, still recite prayers in Sanskrit, though they 
do not understand a single word; small wonder, for nearly 
two thousand years have passed since Buddhism was intro- 
duced into China from India. The Gothic Christians at the 
time of the venerable Bede recited the Lord's Prayer in 
Greek. Is it difficult to understand what this means? 
Religion is a wonderful conservator. A greater sanc- 
tity attaches in worship to sounds than to words, for the 
first prayers were exclamations which came straight from 
the emotions not words, but musical cries. It is for this 
reason that sacred music endures longer than articulate 

I 36 ] 


speech. A veneration which is very much akin to super- 
stition clings to both words and music in many organized 
religious systems to-day. Would it be irreverent to account 
on this ground for the attitude of the Pope and the Congre- 
gation of Rites toward the Gregorian Chant ? Why Is the 
effort making to ignore the wise reforms of the sixteenth 
century and revert to the forms of the tenth? Since it 
is more than likely that the old dances and superstitious 
rites of African peoples have left an impress upon the 
music of their descendants in America, regard must be 
had for these things, even though we must forgo such 
an analytical study of the music as we should like to make. 
In 1878, while Lafcadio Hearn and I were collaborating 
in an effort to gather material for a study of Creole music, 
I sent him (he was then living in New Orleans) the words 
of a song which I had got I do not remember where 
for interpretation. In reply he wrote: 

Your friend is right, no doubt, about the 
" Tig, tig, maldboin 
La chelema che tango 


I asked my black nurse what it meant. She only laughed and shook her 
head: "Mais c'est Voudoo, ca; je n'en sais rien!" "Well," said I, "don't you 
know anything about Voudoo songs ?" "Yes," she answered; "I know^Voudoo 
songs; but I can't tell you what they mean." And she broke out into the 
wildest, weirdest ditty I ever heard. I tried to write down the words: but as 
I did not know what they meant I had to write by sound alone, spelling the 
words according to the French pronunciation. 

He sent me the words and also the words of a creole 
love-song, whose words ran like this : "Beautiful American, 
I love thee! Beautiful American, I am going to Havana 
to cut sugar-cane to give thee money. I am going to 
Havana, friends, to cut sugar-cane, friends, to give thee 
money, beautiful woman, Cesaire! I love thee, beautiful 
American!" He got a German amateur musician to write 
down the music to both songs for him, but it was from his 
singing that the transcription was made, and when it was 
repeated to him he found it incorrect. Hearn was not 
musical. "As I heard it sung the voodoo melody was 
really weird, although simple," he wrote me afterward; 
"there were such curious linkings of long notes to short 
with microscopic ones. The other, 'Belle Americaine/ 

F 37 ] 


seemed to me pretty, but G. has put only two notes where 
I heard five distinctly." The nurse who sang for him was 
Louise Roche, "an old black woman of real African blood, 
an ex-slave having many tales of terror, suspected of 
voodooism, etc." 

Much later (it was in 1885), when I was contemplating a 
cooperation with Mr. George W. Cable in the articles 
which he published in the "Century Magazine" for Feb- 
ruary and April, 1886, on Creole songs and dances, Hearn 

I fear I know nothing about Creole music or Creole negroes. Yes, I have 
seen them dance; but they danced the Congo and sang a purely African song 
to the accompaniment of a drygoods box beaten with sticks or bones and a 
drum made by stretching a skin over a flour barrel. That sort of accompani- 
ment and that sort of music you know all about; it is precisely similar to what 
a score of travellers have described. There are no harmonies only a furious 
contretemps. As for the dance in which the women do not take their feet 
off the ground it is as lascivious as is possible. The men dance very different- 
ly, like savages, leaping in the air. I spoke of this spectacle in my short 
article in the "Century." . . . 

The Creole songs which I have heard sung in the city are Frenchy in 
construction, but possess a few African characteristics of method. The darker 
the singer, the more marked the oddities of intonation. Unfortunately, the 
most of those I have heard were quadroons or mulattoes. One black woman 
sang me a Voudoo song, which I got Cable to write but I could not sing it 
as she sang it, so that the music is faulty. I suppose you have seen it already, 
as it forms part of the collection. 

It was about this time (February, 1884, unless I am 
deceived by a postmark) that Hearn conceived the idea 
of a book on negro music, of which we were to be joint 
authors. He was to write "a long preface and occasional 
picturesque notes" to what he called my "learning and 
facts." He outlined what he would put in the preface: 
He would begin by treating of the negro's musical pat- 
riotism "the strange history of the griots, who furnish 
so singular an example of musical prostitution, and who, 
though honored and petted on one way, are otherwise 
despised by their own people and refused rites of burial." 
Then he proposed to relate: 

Something about the curious wanderings of these griotr through the yellow 
desert northward into the Maghreb country, often a solitary wandering; 
their performances at Arab camps on the long journey, when the black slaves 
came out to listen and weep; then the hazardous voyage into Constantinople, 
where they play old Congo airs for the great black population of Stamboul, 
whom no laws or force can keep within doors when the sound of griot music is 
heard in the street. Then I would speak of how the blacks carry their music 

t 38 ] 


with them to Persia and even to mysterious Hadramant, where their voices 
are held in high esteem by Arab masters. Then I would touch upon the 
transplantation of negro melody to the Antilles and the two Americas, where 
its strangest black flowers are gathered by the alchemists of musical science 
and the perfume thereof extracted by magicians like Gottschalk. (How is 
that for a beginning?) 

Having advanced thus far Hearn proposed to show a 
relation between physiology and negro music, and he put 
upon me the burden of finding out whether or not the 
negro's vocal cords were differently formed and "capable 
of longer vibrations" than those of white people. He had 
been led into this branch of the subject by the observation, 
which he found in some book, that the blood of the Afri- 
can black "has the highest human temperature known 
equal to that of the swallow though it loses that fire 
in America." I must have been lukewarm in the matter 
of the project which he outlined with great enthusiasm, 
despairing, as naturally a sobersided student of folk-music 
who believed in scientific methods would, of being able 
to make the physical data keep pace with so riotous an 
imagination as that of my fantastical friend. I did not 
even try to find a colored subject for the dissecting table or 
ask for a laryngoscopical examination of the vocal cords 
of the "Black Patti." His enthusiasm and method in our 
joint work are strikingly illustrated in another part of the 
sa'me letter. As has been intimated, we were looking for 
unmistakable African relics in the Creole songs of Louisiana: 

Here is the only Creole song I know of with an African refrain that is still 
sung don't show it to C., it is one of our treasures. 
(Pronounce "wenday," "makkiah.") 

Ouende, ouende, mac ay a! 

Mo pas barrasse, mac ay a! 
Oufnde, ouende, macaya! 

Mo bois bon divin, macaya! 
Ouende, ouende, macayal 

Mo mange bon poulet, macaya! 
Ouende, ouende, macaya! 

Mo pas barrasse, macaya! 
Ouende, ouende, macaya! 

I wrote from the dictation of Louise Roche. She did not know the meaning 
of the refrain her mother had taught her, and the mother had learned it 
from the grandmother. However, I found out the meaning, and asked her 
if she now remembered. She leaped in the air for joy apparently. Ouendai, 
or ouende, has a different meaning in the eastern Soudan; but in the Congo, 
or Fiot, dialect it means "to go," "to continue to," "to go on." I found the 

[ 39 ] 


word in Jeannest's vocabulary. Then macaya I found in Turiault's "fitude 
sur la Language Creole de la Martinique": "ca veut dire manger tout Ic 
temps" "excessivement." Therefore, here is our translation: 
Go on! go on! eat enormously! 

I ain't one bit ashamed fat outrageously! 
Go on! go on! fat -prodigiously! 

I drink good wine! eat ferociously! 
Go on! go on! eat unceasingly! 
I eat good chicken gorging myself! 

Go on! go on! etc. 

How is this for a linguistic discovery? The music is almost precisely like 
the American river music a chant, almost a recitative, until the end of 
the line is reached: then for your mocking music! 

There is a hint of an African relic in the allusion to the 
recitative-like character of the feasting song, as we shall 
see when we come to inquire into the structure of African 

For a description of the voodoo rites I draw, by per- 
mission, upon Mr. George W. Cable's article on "Creole 
Slave Songs," which appeared in "The Century Magazine" 
for April, 1886: 

The dance and song entered into the negro worship. That worship was as 
dark and horrid as bestialized savagery could make the adoration of serpents. 
So revolting was it, and so morally hideous, that even in the West Indian French 
possessions a hundred years ago, with the slave trade in full blast, and the 
West Indian planter and slave what they were, the orgies of the voudoos 
were forbidden. 

The Aradas, St. Mery tells us, introduced them from their homes beyond 
the Slave Coast, one of the most dreadfully benighted regions of all Africa. 
He makes the word vaudau. In Louisiana it is written vpudou and voodoo 
and is often changed on the negro's lips to hoodoo. It is the name of an 
imaginary being of vast supernatural powers, residing in the form of a harmless 
snake. This spiritual influence, or potency, is the recognized antagonist 
and opposite of Obi, the great African manitou, or deity, whom the Congos 
vaguely generalize as Zombi. In Louisiana, as I have been told by that learned 
Creole scholar, thejate Alexander Dimitry, Voodoo bore, as a title of greater 
solemnity, the additional name Maignan, and that even in the Calinda dance, 
which he had witnessed innumerable times, was sometimes heard at the height 
of its frenzy the invocation 

"Aie! Aie! Voudoo Maignan!" 

The worship of Voodoo is paid to a snake kept in a box. The worshippers 
are not merely a sect, but in some rude, savage way, also an order. A man and 
woman, chosen from their own number to be the oracles of the serpent-deity, 
are called the king and queen. The queen is the more important of the two, 
and even in the present dilapidated state of the worship in Louisiana, where the 
king's office has almost or quite disappeared, ( the queen is still a person of 
great note. It (voodoo worship) long ago diminished in frequency to once a 
year, the chosen night always being the eve of St. John. For several years 
past the annual celebrations have been suspended; but in the summer of 
1884 they were let^it be hoped only for the once resumed. . . . 

Now a new applicant for membership steps into the circle. There are a 
few trivial formalities and the voodoo dance begins. The postulant dances 
frantically in the middle of the ring, only pausing, from time to time, to 

[ 40 ] 


receive heavy alcholic draughts in great haste and return more wildly to his 
leapings and writhings until he falls in convulsions. He is lifted, restored, and 
presently conducted to the altar, takes his oath, and by a ceremonial stroke 
from one of the sovereigns is admitted a full participant in the privileges and 
obligations of the devilish free masonry. But the dance goes on about the 
snake. The contortions of the upper part of the body, especially of the neck 
and shoulders, are such as to threaten to dislocate them. The queen shakes 
the box and tinkles the bells, the rum bottle gurgles, the chant alternates 
between king and chorus: 

"Eh! Ehl Bomba hone, hone! 
Canga bafio tay. 
Canga moon day lay, 
Canga do keelah. 
Canga lil" 

There are swoonings and ^ ravings, ^nervous tremblings beyond control, 
incessant writhings and turnings, tearing of garments, even biting of the 
flesh every imaginable invention of the devil. 

r 41 





To lay a foundation for a discussion of the idioms of the 
folksongs created by the American negroes I have examined 
527 negro songs found in six collections, five of which have 
appeared in print. Of these five collections, four are 
readily accessible to the student. The titles of the printed 
collections are : 

"Slave Songs of the United States," edited by William 
Francis Allen, Charles Pickard Ware and Lucy McKim 
Garrison; published by A. Simpson & Co., New York, 
1867. This work, by far the most valuable and compen- 
dious source, as it is the earliest, is out of print and difficult 
to obtain. 

"The Story of the Jubilee Singers, with Their Songs," 
by J, B. T. Marsh. Published by Hough ton, Osgood & Co., 
Boston, 1880. This is a revised edition of two earlier 
publications, the music arranged by Theodore F. Seward 
and George L. White, of which the first was printed by 
Bigelow & Main, New York, in 1872. 

"Religious Folk Songs of the Negroes as Sung on the 
Plantations," arranged by the musical directors of the 
Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute from the 
original edition of Thomas P. Fenner. Published by the 
Institute Press, Hampton, Va., 1909. The original edition, 
entitled "Cabin and Plantation Songs as Sung by the 
Hampton Students," was published in 1874; an enlarged 
edition by Thomas P. Fenner and Frederic G. Rathbun, 
by G. P. Putnam's Sons, New York, in 1891. 

[ 42 ] 


"Bahama Songs and Stories. A Contribution to Folk- 
lore," by Charles L. Edwards, Ph. D. Boston and New 
York, published for the American Folk-Lore Society by 
Houghton, Mifflin & Co., 1895. 

"Calhoun Plantation Songs," collected and edited by ' 
Emily Hallowell; first edition, 1901; second edition, 1907; 
Boston, C. W. Thompson & Co. 

These books, as well as the author's private collection, 
have been drawn on not so much to show the beauty and 
wealth of negro folksong as to illustrate its varied charac- 
teristics. An analysis of the 527 songs in respect of the 
intervallic structure of their melodies is set forth in the 
following table: 

Ordinary major . . . . . 331 

Ordinary minor . . .62 

Mixed and vague . . . 23 

Pentatonic . . Ill 

Major with flatted seventh .. . 20 

Major without seventh 78 

Major without fourth . . 45 

Minor with raised sixth . ... 8 

Minor without sixth ... 34 

Minor with raised seventh (leading-tone) 19 

"Almost all their songs were religious in their tone, 
'however quaint their expression, and were in a minor 
key, both as to words and music," wrote Colonel Higgin- 
son, in "The Atlantic Monthly." "They that walked in 
darkness sang songs in the olden days sorrow songs 
for they were weary at heart. , . . They (the songs) 
are the music df an unhappy people, of the children of 
disappointment; and they tell of death and suffering and 
unvoiced longing toward a truer world, of misty wander- 
ings and hidden ways," says Dr. Du Bois, in "The Souls 
of Black Folk." "A tinge of sadness pervades all the melo- 
dies, which bear as little resemblance to the popular 
Ethiopian melodies of the day as twilight to noonday," 
wrote Mr. Spaulding, in "The Continental Monthly." 
Mr. Allen, in his preface to "Slave Songs," avoids musical 
terminology as much as possible, and has nothing to say 
about the modes of the melodies which he records, though 
his description of the manner of singing and some of the 
peculiarities of intonation, in which I recognize character- 

[ 43 1 


istic idioms of the music, is so lucid as to enable a scientific 
student to form definite conclusions on technical points 
with ease. Colonel Higginson evidently did not intend 
that the word "minor" should have any other than its con- 
ventional literary meaning, which makes it a synonym for 
melancholy. The musical terminology of explorers, as 
has been remarked, is not to be depended on, and little 
is to be learned from them as to the prevailing modal 
characteristics of the music of the many peoples of Africa. 
Hermann Soyaux, in his "Aus West-Afrika," says that the 
negroes of Sierra Leone always sing in minor. Friedrich 
Ratzel says that the Bongo negroes sometimes sing in 
minor. "Their style," says Richard F. Burton, in the 
"Lake Regions of Central Africa," "is the recitative 
broken by a full chorus, and they appear to affect the 
major rather than the interminable minor of the Asiatic. Jy 
Carl Engel, in his "Introduction to the Study of National 
Music," gives it out as a generalization that most of the 
African melodies are major. Of the seven African melodies- 
which Coleridge-Taylor utilized in "Twenty-four Negro- 
Melodies," five are major, two minor. Of the 527 melo- 
dies analyzed in the above table, less than 12 per cent are 
minor, the remainder either major or pentatonic, with a 
slight infusion, negligible at this stage of the argument, of 
melodies in which the mode is unpronounced. 

It is plain, therefore, either that the popular conception, 
which I have permitted to stand with a qualification, of the 
minor mode as a symbol of suffering, is at fault in respect 
of the folksongs of the American negroes, or that these songs 
are not so poignant an expression of the life of the black 
slaves as has been widely assumed. The question deserves 
looking into. As a matter of fact, musicians know that the 
major and minor modes are not unqualified expressions 
of plelsure and pain, gayety and gravity, happiness and 
sorrow. Funeral marches are never expressions of joy, 
yet great funeral marches have been written in the major 
mode Handel's Dead March in "Saul" for instance and 
some of the maddest scherzos are minor. It may be 
questioned, too, whether or not, as a matter of fact (the 

[ 44 ] 


physiological and psychological explanation of which is- 
not within the scope of this study), the life of the black 
slaves was, on the whole, so weighted with physical and 
spiritual suffering as necessarily to make its musical ex- 
pression one of hopeless grief. Perhaps an innate lightness 
of heart and carelessness of disposition, carefully cultivated 
by the slaveholders for obvious reasons, had much to do 
with the circumstance that there are few utterances of 
profound sadness or despair found in the songs, but many 
of resilient hopefulness and cheerful endurance of present 
pain in contemplation of the rewards of rest and happiness- 
hereafter. The two emotional poles in question are touched 
in the settings of the song "Nobody Knows." 

Colonel Higginson seems to have sounded the keynote of 
the emotional stimulus of the songs when he spoke of their 
infinitepathos as a commentary on the lives of theircreators : 
"Nothing but patience for this life nothing but triumph in 
the next/' This feeling was encouraged by the attitude, 
legal and personal, of the slave owners toward their human 
chattels. To let them acquire an education was dangerous, 
for, as a rule, insurrections were fomented by educated men; 
but to encourage them in their rude, emotional religious 
worship was not harmful and might be positively beneficial- 
Under such circumstances it was natural that the poetical 
expressions of their temporal state should run out in 
religious allegory, and here the utterance had to be pre- 
dominantly cheerful in the very nature of the case. They 
could not sing of the New Jerusalem, toward which they 
were journeying, in tones of grief. The Biblical tales and 
imagery, which were all of the book which seized upon their 
imagination, also called for celebration in jubilant rather 
than lugubrious accents. The rolling of Jordan's waters, the 
sound of the last trump, the overwhelming of Pharaoh's 
hosts, the vision of Jacob's ladder, the building of ttte Ark, 
Daniel in the den of lions, Ezekiel's "wheel in the middle of 
a wheel," Elijah's chariot of fire, the breaking up of the uni- 
verse all these things and the lurid pictures of the Apoca- 
lypse, whether hymned with allegoricalintentorasliteral con- 
ceptions, asked forswellingproclamation. And all received it. 

[ 45 ] 


istic idioms of the music, is so lucid as to enable a scientific 
student to form definite conclusions on technical points 
with ease. Colonel Higginson evidently did not intend 
that the word "minor" should have any other than its con- 
ventional literary meaning, which makes it a synonym for 
melancholy. The musical terminology of explorers, as 
has been remarked, is not to be depended on, and little 
is to be learned from them as to the prevailing modal 
characteristics of the music of the many peoples of Africa. 
Hermann Soyaux, in his "Aus West-Afrika," says that the 
negroes of Sierra Leone always sing in minor. Friedrich 
Ratzel says that the Bongo negroes sometimes sing in 
minor. "Their style," says Richard F. Burton, in the 
"Lake Regions of Central Africa," "is the recitative 
broken by a full chorus, and they appear to affect the 
major rather than the interminable minor of the Asiatic." 
Carl Engel, in his "Introduction to the Study of National 
Music," gives it out as a generalization that most of the 
African melodies are major. Of the seven African melodies 
which Coleridge-Taylor utilized in "Twenty-four Negro 
Melodies," five are major, two minor. Of the 527 melo- 
dies analyzed in the above table, less than 12 per cent are 
minor, the remainder either major or pentatonic, with a 
slight infusion, negligible at this stage of the argument, of 
melodies in which the mode is unpronounced. 

It is plain, therefore, either that the popular conception, 
which I have permitted to stand with a qualification, of the 
minor mode as a symbol of suffering, is at fault in respect 
of the folksongs of the American negroes, or that these songs 
are not so poignant an expression of the life of the black 
slaves as has been widely assumed. The question deserves 
looking into. As a matter of fact, musicians know that the 
major and minor modes are not unqualified expressions 
of pleisure and pain, gayety and gravity, happiness and 
sorrow. Funeral marches are never expressions of joy,, 
yet great funeral marches have been written in the major 
mode Handel's Dead March in "Saul" for instance and 
some of the maddest scherzos are minor. It may be 
questioned, too, whether or not, as a matter of fact (the 

[ 44 1 


physiological and psychological explanation of which is. 
not within the scope of this study), the life of the black 
slaves was, on the whole, so weighted with physical and 
spiritual suffering as necessarily to make its musical ex- 
pression one of hopeless grief. Perhaps an innate lightness- 
of heart and carelessness of disposition, carefully cultivated 
by the slaveholders for obvious reasons, had much to do 
with the circumstance that there are few utterances of 
profound sadness or despair found in the songs, but many 
of resilient hopefulness and cheerful endurance of present 
pain in contemplation of the rewards of rest and happiness, 
hereafter. The two emotional poles in question are touched 
in the settings of the song "Nobody Knows." 

Colonel Higginson seems to have sounded the keynote of 
the emotional stimulus of the songs when he spoke of their 
infinite pathos as a commentary on the lives of their creators : 
"Nothing but patience for this life nothing but triumph in 
the next. 59 This feeling was encouraged by the attitude, 
legal and personal, of the slave owners toward their human, 
chattels. To let them acquire an education was dangerous^ 
for, as a rule, insurrections were fomented by educated men; 
but to encourage them in their rude, emotional religious 
worship was not harmful and might be positively beneficial.. 
Under such circumstances it was natural that the poetical 
expressions of their temporal state should run out in 
religious allegory, and here the utterance had to be pre- 
dominantly cheerful in the very nature of the case. They 
could not sing of the New Jerusalem, toward which they 
were journeying, in tones of grief. The Biblical tales and 
imagery, which were all of the book which seized upon their 
imagination, also called for celebration in jubilant rather 
than lugubrious accents. The rolling of Jordan's waters, the 
sound of the last trump, the overwhelming of Pharaoh's 
hosts, the vision of Jacob's ladder, the building of ffle Ark, 
Daniel in the den of lions, Ezekiel's "wheel in the middle of 
a wheel," Elijah's chariot of fire, the breaking up of the uni- 
verse all these things and the lurid pictures of the Apoca- 
lypse, whether hymned with allegorical intent or as literal con- 
ceptions, asked forswellingproclamation. And all received it. 

[ 45 ] 


It is possible, of course, even likely, though the records 
are not convincing, that restrictions were placed upon the 
songs of the slaves, in which an explanation may be found 
for the general tone of cheer, not unmixed with pathos, 
which characterizes the music. There is a hint of this in 
a remark recorded by Mrs. Frances Anne Kemble in her 
"Journal of a Residence on a Georgian Plantation," name- 
ly: "I have heard that many of the masters and overseers 
on these plantations prohibit melancholy tunes or words 
and encourage nothing but cheerful music and senseless 
words, deprecating the effect of sadder strains upon the 
slaves, whose peculiar musical sensibility might be ex- 
pected to make them especially excitable by any songs 
of a plaintive character and having reference to their 
particular hardships." Examples of such restrictive regu- 
lations are not unknown to history. The Swiss soldiery 
in the French army were prohibited from singing the 
melody of the "Ranz des Vaches" because it produced 
homesickness, and the Austrian government has several 
, times forbidden the sale of the Rakoczy March and con- 
fiscated the music found in the shops in times of political 
disturbance in Hungary. 

Had the folksongs of the American negro been conceived 
in sorrow and born in heaviness of heart by a people 
walking in darkness, they could not have been used indis- 
criminately, as they were, for spiritual comfort and physical 
stimulation. It is the testimony of the earliest collectors 
that they were so used. Though it cannot be said that the 
employment of music to lighten and quicken work and in- 
crease its efficiency was peculiar to the slave life of America, 
it is nevertheless worth noting that this use, like some of 
the idioms of the music itself, was a relic of the life of the 
negroes in their aboriginal home. James Augustus Grant, 
in hisbok "A Walk Across Africa," as cited by Wallaschek, 
says that his people when cleaning rice were always sup- 
ported by singers, who accompanied the workers with 
clapping of hands and stamping of feet. George Francis 
Lyon, in his "Narrative of Travels in Northern Africa," 
says that at one place he heard the negro women singing 

[ 46 ] 


a national song in chorus while pounding wheat, always in 
time with the music. "Mr. Reade observed," says Walla- 
schek, citing W. Winwood Reade's "The African Sketch 
Book," 1 "that his people always began to sing when he 
compelled them to overcome their natural laziness and to 
continue rowing." Here the song, of course, had for its 
purpose the promotion of synchronism in movement, 
like the rhythm of the march all the world over. 

It is immaterial whether the use of song as a stimulant 
to work was brought from Africa* or was acquired in 
America; the significant fact is that wherever negro 
slavery existed on this continent there it was found. In 
his peculiarly fascinating book "Two Years in the French 
West Indies," Lafcadio Hearn says: "Formerly the work 
of cane-cutting resembled the march of an army first 
advanced the cutlassers in line, naked to the waist; then 
the amareuses, the women who tied and carried, and be- 
hind these the ka, the drum, with a paid crieur or crieuse, 
to lead the song, and lastly the black commandeur for 
general." In his preface to Coleridge-Taylor's "Twenty- 
four Negro Melodies" Booker T. Washington says: 
"Wherever companies of negroes were working together, 
in the cotton fields and tobacco factories, on the levees and 
steamboats, on sugar plantations, and chiefly in the fervor 
of religious gatherings, these melodies sprang into life. 
Oftentimes in slavery, as to-day in certain parts of the 
South, some man or woman with an exceptional voice was 
paid to lead the singing, the idea being to increase the 
amount of labor by such singing." And thus speaks the 
writer of the article entitled "American Music" in "The 
American History and Encyclopaedia of Music," published 
by Irving Squire: "Work on the plantations was often 
done to the accompaniment of songs, whose rhythmic 
swing acted as an incentive to steadier and better labor; 
especially was this true with the mowers at harvest. 
Charles Peabody tells of a leader in a band of slaves who 
was besought by his companions not to sing a certain 
song because it made them work too hard. Again, on the 

i Vol. II, page 313. 

[ 47 ] 


boats plying between the West Indies and Baltimore and 
the Southern ports, which were manned by the blacks, 
song was used for the same purpose. Later, on the South- 
ern river boats, the same method was utilized. These 
boat-songs usually were constructed of a single line followed 
by an unmeaning chorus, the solo being sung by one of 
the leaders and the rhythmic refrain repeated over and 
over by the workers." 

There is nothing especially characteristic of slave life 
in such "water music" except its idiom. The sailorman's 
"chanty," I fancy, is universal in one form or another. 
The singular fact to be noted here is that the American 
negro's "spirituals" were also his working songs, and the 
significance which this circumstance has with relation 
to their mood and mode. The spirituals could not have 
been thus employed had they been lugubrious in tone or 
sluggish in movement. The paucity of secular working 
songs has already been commented on. Of songs referring 
to labor in the field the editors of "Slave Songs of the 
United States" were able to collect only two examples. 
Both of them are "corn songs," and the first is a mere 
fragment, the only words of which have been preserved 
being "Shock along, John." The second defied interpre- 
tation fifty years ago and is still incomprehensible: 

Five can't ketch me and ten can't hold me 

Ho, round the corn, Sally! 
Here's your iggle-quarter and here's your count-aquils 

Ho, round the corn. Sally! 
I can bank, 'ginny bank, 'gmny bank the weaver 

Ho, round the corn, Sally! 

"The same songs are used for rowing as for shouting," 
says Mr. Allen, and adds: "I know of only one pure boat 
song, the fine lyric, 'Michael, row the boat ashore'; and 
this I have no doubt is a real spiritual it being the Arch- 
angel Michael that is addressed." 

My analytical table shows that three-fifths of the songs 
which I have examined contain the peculiarly propulsive 
rhythmical snap, or catch, which has several times been 
described as the basis of "ragtime," 

It- is this rhythm which helps admirably to make a 
physical stimulus of the tunes, and it is noteworthy that 

F 48 ] 


it is equally effective in slow and fast time. Essentially, 
therefore, it has nothing to do with the secular dance, 
though it plays a large part in the "shout." Mr. Ware 
mentions twelve songs as among the most common rowing 
tunes, and says of them: "As I have written these tunes 
two measures are to be sung to each stroke, the first 
measure being accented by the beginning of the stroke, 
the second by the rattle of the oars in the rowlocks. On 
the passenger boat at the (Beaufort) ferry they rowed 
from sixteen to thirty strokes a minute; twenty-four was 
the average. Of the tunes I heard I should say that the 
most lively were 'Heaven bell a-ring,' 'Jine 'em/ 'Rain 
fall,* 'No man/ 'Bell da ring' and 'Can't stay behin' '; and 
that 'Lay this body down,' 'Religion so sweet* and 'Michael, 
TOW,* were used when the load was heavy or the tide was 
against us." 

A few additonal comments seem to be justified by 
these songs. Of the twelve, only three contain references 
to a water passage of any sort. In "Praise member" 1 
two lines run: 

Jordan's bank is a good old bank, 

And I Hain't but one more river to cross. 

In "Michael, row the boat ashore" the archangel's boat 
is darkly described as a "gospel boat" and also as a "music 
"boat," but there is no connection betwen these epithets 
and the rest of the song. "Praise member" presented a 
riddle to the editors, which they might have solved had they 
reflected on the effect which its use as a rowing song may 
have had upon its text. 

Mr. Ware gives the last verse as "O I wheel to de right 
and I wheel to de left"; Colonel Higginson contributes a 
variant reading, "There's a hill on my leff, an* he catch 
on my right" and adds the only and unsatisfactoiy explana- 
tion given to him: "Dat mean if you go on de leff you go 
to *struction, and if you go on de right go to God for sure." 
Miss Charlotte L. Forten has another version, "I hop on 
my right an* I catch on my leff," and makes the shrewd 
observation that she supposes that "some peculiar motion 

No. 5 of "Slave Songs." 

[ 49 ] 


of the body formed the original accompaniment of the 
song, tut has now fallen into disuse." If the rowing singer 
meant "hold" or "stop" or "back" on my right and catch 
on my left, even a novice at the oars would have understood 
the motion as a familiar one in steering. 

This is interesting, I think, though outside of the parti- 
cular line of argument for which I introduced the working 
songs of the slaves namely, to explain their general cheer- 
fulness. Just as interesting is a singular custom which Mr. 
Reuben Tomlinson mentions in connection with the enig- 
matic song beginning "Rain fall and wet Becca Lawton," 
which has a refrain, "Been back holy, I must come slowly, 
Oh! Brudder, cry holy!" In place 1 of "Been back" there 
are as variants "Beat back," "Bent back" and "Rack 
back." When the song is used for rowing, Mr. Tomlinson 
says, "at the words 'Rack back holy* one rower reaches 
back and slaps the man behind him, who in turn does the 
same and so on." It is not impossible, or even improbable, 
that this form of the game which was played in my boy- 
hood, called "Pass it along," was an African survival. 

It may be, too, that there is another relic, an African 
superstition, in the song. Colonel Higginson heard it as 
"Rain fall and wet Becky Martin"; a variant of the first 
line of the song as printed in "Slave Songs" is "Sun shine 
and dry Becca Lawton." Colonel Higginson comments: 
"Who Becky Martin was, and why she should or should 
not be wet, and whether the dryness was a reward or a 
penalty, none could say. I got the impression that in 
either case the event was posthumous, and that there was 
some tradition of grass not growing over the grave of the 
sinner; but even this was vague, and all else vaguer." 
In their note on the song the editors of "Slave Songs" say: 
"Lieutenant-Colonel Trowbridge heard a story that Peggy 
Norton was an old prophetess who said that it would not 
do to be baptized except when it rained; if the Lord was 
pleased with those who had been 'in the wilderness*, he 
would send rain." To go into the wilderness was to seek 
conversion from sin, to go to "the mourners' bench," as 
our Methodist brethren say. Mr. Tomlinson said that the 

I 50 ] 


song always ended with a laugh, and he concluded from 
this that the negroes themselves regarded it as mere non- 

Not much else are the words of two Mississippi River 
songs, which are printed herewith, the music of which, 
however, has elements of unique interest. "Oh, Rock Me, 
Julie," (seep. 52) and "Fm Gwine toAlabamy" (see p. 53), 
are singularly alike in structure, with their exclamatory 
cadenza. They are also alike in bearing a resemblance 
to the stereotyped formula of the music of the North 
American Indians, with its high beginning and the repeti- 
tion of a melodic motif on lower degrees of the scale. But 
"Rock Me, Julie," is unique in being built on the whole- 
tone scale, which has caused so much comment since De- 
bussy exploited it in artistic music. 

There is nothing in either words or music necessarily 
to connect a "Cajan" boat-song in my manuscript collection 
(see page 54) with the folksongs of the negroes, but the 
song is intrinsically interesting as a relic of the Acadian 
period in Louisiana. It was written down for me from 
memory a generation ago by Mrs. Wulsin, mother of the 
late Lucien Wulsin, of Cincinnati, a descendant, I believe, 
of one of the old couriers des bois. It is a canoe, or paddling, 
song, and there is no trace of the Creole patois in its text. 

Les marenquins nous piquent 

II faut pagayer; 
L'on ne passe sa vie 

Toujours en pagayant. 
Pagaie, pagaie, pagaie, mon enfant. 

(The mosquitoes sting us; we must paddle. One's life is not all passed in 
paddling. Paddle, paddle, paddle, my boy.) 

The lines in the second verse as they remained in 
Mrs. Wulsin's memory do not adjust themselves to the 
melody, but they, no doubt, preserve the sense of the old 

Toute la semaine 
L'on mange de la sacamite. 
Et le Dimanche pour se regaler 
L'on mange du gombo file. 
Pagaie, etc. 

(All the week we eat sacamite, and on Sundays, for good cheer, we eat gombo 
file. Paddle, etc.) 

[ 51 } 


Oh! Rock Me Julie 

Oh! rode me, Ja- lie, rock me, OEU 

rock me slow and ea - sy, Qhl 

1 'J JP-^U '* 
0* * "** ^ 

Words and melody received by the author from M& George W. Cable. The arrangement made. 
for this work by S.T. Burleigh, The melody ia based on the H whole. tone" scale. 


I'm Gwtfleto Alabamy 


L fin gwtoe to Al - * - bazny* 

9. She went from oto Vixginqr, 
And ^Vr* hfflr 

9..S&0 lives on the Toxribigbee, 
*I wish X had her wid xne. 

I fockoft I WwUtl git Digg^&f 
/S. But I'd like to see my mammy, 
Who lires in Alabamy. 

"A very food apecimen, so far as notes can give one? says the editor of*SIare Songs of the 
United States", M of fhe^trange bartarie songs, that one hears upon the Western Steamboats? 
The arrangement made for this work ty HT.Brlftigfe. 

I 'S3 ] 


Acadian Boatmen's Song 

COD mato 

ma -ren- quins nous pi-quent H ftwt 9*-ga 

yer, L'on ne pas-se b yl - e ion-jonn n ja-ga-yut. 


TJ 3) j> 

" I J ^ 

Pa - gal - e, pa. gal- e, pa~gai-e, moa en * fant. 

I J 

Written down M * ceoofleofloft of Ur ctUdhood in New 
late Lvctai Wtddn of Giadnaati, fat to wrtlior. Tke wr 


"Sacamite," Lafcadio Hearn wrote in my notebook, 
"is a favorite Creole (and, of course, Acadian) dish made 
of corn broken and boiled with milk into a sort of thick 
soup. I do not know the etymology of this word." 







So much for modes and moods. The analytical table 
in the last chapter showed several variations of both the 
major and minor scales, and these variations must be 
examined, for upon them, together with rhythmical and 
structural characteristics, frest the idioms which have been 
referred to as determining the right of the songs of the 
American negroes to be called original. These idioms are 
the crude material which the slaves brought with them from 
their African homes. This, at least, is the conviction of 
this writer, and the contention which he hopes to establish 
by a study of the intervallic and rhythmical peculiarities 
of the songs and by tracing them to their primitive habitat. 
Before then, for the sake of orderly argument, it may be 
well briefly to inquire into the musical aptitude of the 
Africans who created the idioms. Unfortunately, the 
inquiry cannot be made as particular as might be desirable, 
for want of specific evidence. 

The slaves in the Southern States were an amalgamation 
of peoples when the songs came into existence. Though 
they are spoken of as negroes, there were many among them 
who were not racially nigritians. The Slave Coast, from 
which the majority of them were brought to America, 
was the home of only a fraction of them. Many came from 
the interior of the continent. There were some Malays 
from Madagascar, some Moors from the northern portion 
of the continent. Among the negroes of Africa the diver- 
sities of tribe are so great that over a score of different 
languages are spoken by them, to say nothing of dialects. 

I 56 ] 


All was fish that came to the slaver's net. Among the 
Moors brought to America were men who professed the 
Mahometan religion and read and wrote Arabic. It is 
not impossible that to their influence in this country, or 
at any rate to Moorish influence upon the tribes which 
furnished the larger quota of American slaves, is due one 
of the aberrations from the diatonic scale which is indi- 
cated in the table the presence of the characteristically 
Oriental interval called the augmented or superfluous 
second. Among the peoples who crowded the plantations 
were Meens, who were of the hue of the so-called red men 
of America i. *., copper-colored. There were also Iboes, 
who had tattooed yellow skins. It does not seem to be 
possible now to recall all the names of the tributary tribes 
Congos, Agwas, Popos, Cotolies, Feedas, Socos, Awassas, 
Aridas, Fonds, Nagos; who knows now how they differed 
one from another, what were their peculiarities of language 
and music which may have affected the song which they 
helped to create in their second home? We must, per- 
force, generalize when discussing the native capacity for 
music of the Africans. 

Sir Richard Francis Burton, in his book on West Africa, 
says of the music of the Kroomen that "it is monotonous 
to a degree, yet they delight in it, and often after a long 
and fatiguing day's march will ask permission to 'make 
play* and dance and sing till midnight. When hoeing the 
ground they do it to the sound of music; in fact, every- 
thing is cheered with a song. The traveller should never 
forget to carry a tom-tom or some similar instrument, which 
will shorten his journey by a fair quarter." In his "Lake 
Region of Central Africa" (page 291) Burton describes 
the natives of East Africa as "admirable timists and no 
mean tunists." Wallaschek (page 140), citing Moodie, 1 says: 
"Another still more striking example of the Hottentots' 
musical talent was related to Moodie by a German officer. 
When the latter happened to pl^y that beautifully pathetic 
air of Gluck's, 'Che faro senza Euridice/ on his violin, he 
was surprised to observe that he was listened to by some 

1 "Ten Years in South Africa," by John W. D. Moodie, page 228. 

f 57 ] 


Hottentot women with the deepest attention, and that some 
of them were even affected to tears. In a day or two after- 
ward he heard his favorite melody, with accompaniments, 
all over the country wherever his wandering led him. At 
first it seems astonishing that there should be Hottentots 
apparently endowed with so great a musical gift; it is es- 
pecially surprising to hear of their repeating the air with 
accompaniments, since the German officer was certainly 
not able to play both on his violin at the same time." 
Wallaschek then continues: "This statement, however, 
will no longer appear to us incredible if compared with 
similar examples in the accounts of some other travellers. 
Theophilus Hahn, who lived in Africa for fifteen years, 
tells us that his father, the missionary, used to play some 
hymns before the tribe of the Nama Hottentots to the ac- 
companiment of a concertina. Some days afterward they 
would repeat the hymns with the Dutch words, which they 
could not understand. Hahn says: "They drawl the grave 
songs of the hymns, such as *0 Haupt voll Blut und 
Wunden,' "Ein Lammlein geht und tragt die Schuld,' 
with the same ardor as *O du mein lieber Augustin,' 1 
'My Heart's in the Highlands' or 'Long, Long Ago.' " 

This imitative capacity of the negroes frequently spoken 
of by travellers is amusingly described by Albert Frieden- 
thal in his book, "Musik, Tanz und Dichtung bei den 
Kreolen Amerikas." One day in October, 1898, he was 
engaged in writing while sitting on his veranda at Lourenf o 
Marques, on the east coast of Africa. Myriads of grass- 
hoppers were devasting the country, and every negro 
far and near was pounding on something to drive the pests 
away. The noise became unendurable, and Friedenthal 
grabbed a tin plate and spoon from the hands of the first 
negro he reached and cried: "If you must make a noise, 
do it at least in this way!'* and he drummed out the 
rhythmical motive of the Nibelungs from Wagner's te- 
tralogy. He repeated the figure two or three times. "Al- 
ready the negroes in my garden imitated it; then, amused 
by it, those in the neighborhood took it up, and soon one 
*The old German Landler, "0 du lieber Auguatin," is meant. 

[ 58 ] 


could hear the Nibelung rhythm by the hour all over 
Delagoa Bay/' 

This author makes several allusions to the innate fond- 
ness of the negro for music and the influence which he has 
exerted upon the art of the descendants of the Spaniards 
in North and South America. On page 38 he writes : 

But there is another race which has left its traces wherever it has gone 
the African negroes. As has already been remarked, they have a share in the 
creation of one of the most extended forms, the Habanera, Their influence 
has been strongest wherever they have been most numerously represented 
in the Antilles, on the shores of the Caribbean Sea and in Brazil. In places 
where^the negro has never been in the interior of Mexico, in Argentina, 
in Chili and the Cordilleran highlands nothing of their influence is to be 
observed, except that in these countries the beautiful dance of the Habanera 
and numerous songs with the Habanera rhythm have effected an entrance. 

On page 93 : 

From a musical point of view, the influence of the African on the West 
Indian Creole has been of the greatest significance, for through their coopera- 
tion there arose a dance-form the Habanera which spread itself through 
Romanic America. The essential thing in pure negro music, as is known, is 
to besought in rhythm. The melodic phrases of the negroes consist of endless 
repetitions of short series of notes, so that we can scarcely speak of them as 
melodies in our sense of the word. On the other hand, no European shall 
escape the impression^ which these rhythms make. .They literally bore them- 
selves into the consciousness of the listener, irresistible and penetrating to 
the verge of torture. 

On the same page again: 

Whoever knows the enthusiastic love, I might almost say the fanati- 
cism, of the negro for music can easily imagine the impression which the music 
of the Spaniards, especially that of the Creoles, made upon them. It can 
easily be proved how much they profited by the music of the Europeans, how 
gradually the sense of melody was richly developed in them, and how they 
acquired and made their own the whole nature of this art without surrendering 
their peculiarity of rhythm. This Europeanized negro music developed 
to its greatest florescence in the south of the United States. 

Friedenthal mentions a number of musicians who at- 
tained celebrity, all of them of either pure or mixed African 
descent. They are Jose White, Brindis de Salas, Albertini, 
Gigueiroa and Adelelmo, violinists ; Jimenez, pianist, and 
Coleridge-Taylor, composer. Of Adelelmo he says that 
though he was never heard outside of Brazil he was "an 
eminent virtuoso and refined composer; and, to judge by 
his surname (do Nascimento), probably the son of a former 

Wallaschek formulates his conclusion touching African 
music, after considering the testimony of travellers, as 

[ 59 ] 


The general character of African music, then, is the preference for rhythm 
over melody (when this is not the sole consideration); the union of song and 
dance; the simplicity, not to say humbleness, of the subjects chosen; the 
great imitative talent in connection vrith the music and the physical excite- 
ment from which it arises and to which it appears appropriate. 

la this characterization he might have included at least 
a rudimentary knowledge of, or feeling for, harmony. There 
is evidence of a harmonic sense in the American songs 
themselves, though the testimony of the original collectors 
does not make it clear that the slaves sang the character- 
istic refrains of their songs in parts. On this point some- 
thing will have to be said presently; but the evidence of 
African harmony is summarized by Wallaschek himself 
in these words: 

Kolbe at the beginning of the eighteenth century heard Hottentots playing 
their gom-goms in harmony. "They also sang the notes of the common 
chord down to the lower octave, each one beginning with the phrase whenever 
the former one had already come to the second or third tone, thus producing a 
harmonious effect." 1 Burchell describes the harmonious singing of the Bachapin 
boys: Sometimes one of them led the band and the rest joined in at different 
intervals and, guided only^by the ear, attuned their voices in correct harmony. 
The elder boys, whose voices were of a lower pitch, sang the bass, while the 
younger produced in their turn the higher tones of the treble. 2 The Bechuanas 
also sing in harmony. The melody of their songs is simple enough, consisting 
chiefly of ascending and descending by thirds, while the singers have a sufficient 
appreciation of harmony to sing in two parts. 8 Moodie tells us that he very 
often heard the Hottentot servant girls singing in two parts; they even sang 
European tunes which were quite new to them with the accompaniment of 
a second of their own. 4 The same is said by Soyaux of the negro girls of 
Sierra Leone. 5 

Examples of harmony in the music of the Ashantees and 
Fantees, from Bowditch's "Mission from Cape Coast Castle 
to Ashantee," may be seen in the examples of African 
music printed in this chapter (pp. 61-62). That the Daho- 
mans, who are near neighbors of the people visited by Bow- 
ditch, also employ harmony I can testify from observations 
made in the Dahoman village at the World's Columbian 
Exhibition held in Chicago in 1893. There I listened re- 
peatedly during several days to the singing of a Dahoman 

1 Peter Kolbe, "Caput Bonae Spei Hodiernum," Nurexnburg, 1719; page 

8 W. T. Burchell, "Travels in the Interior of Souther* Africa " London, 
1822-'24; Vol. II, page 438. 


4 Op. cit. II, 227. 

5 Hermann Soyaux, "Aus West-Afrika," Leipsxc, 1879; II, 174. 

[ 60 J 


African Music 

No.1. Drum Call from West Africa 

No.. Tuning of a Zanze from South Africa 

Na 8. Melody from the BaJlonga District 

_ . 

No. 4. A Melody of the Hottentots 

No.B. A Melody of the Kaffirs 

11 r r 

n i n 

i ^ jja 

r if r ir r n 

i 11 

No. 6. A War-Dance of the Dahoma&s 

1 _ .1,1 

lit 1 

Drums ft f P f fff *fff Pff 'fCf fff 


No. 71 Ashantee Air 




No.8. FanteeAir 

No. 9. A^antee Dirge 

(Drums, pongs, etc.) 


(Drums, etc.) 


Specimens of African Music disclosing Elements Found in the 
Songs of the Negro Slaves in America. 

No 1 A drum call from West Africa, utilized by Coleridge -Taylor in "Twenty, four Negro 
Melodies transcribed for the Piano" (Boston, Oliver Ditson Co ). The specimen exhibits the 
rhythmical "snap" or "catch", an exaggerated use of which has produced "rag- time"; also the, 
fact that African drums are sometimes tuned. No. 2. The tones given out by a xemxe of 
the Zulus in the posession of the author; shows the pentatonic scale with, two notes strange- 
to the system at the end.- No. 8. A pentatonic melody from "Les Chants et les Costesdes Ba- 
Honga? by Henri Jttnod, utilized by Coleridge -Taylor, who remarked of it that' It was "cer- 
tainly not unworthy of any compeser- from Beethoven downwards?* No. 4. A melody of the 
Hottentots, quoted by Engel in his "Introduction to the Study of National Music". It is it* 
the major mode with the fourth of the scale omitted. The aH-pervasive "snap" is present>as 
ft is in* No. 5 A Kaffir melody, also quoted by Bngel; in the major mode CD) without the 
leading*- tone.- No. 6. Music of a dance of the Dahomans heard at-the Colombian 1 Exhibition 
in Chicago in 1898, illustrating- the employment of the flat seventh and cross* rhythms be- 
tween singers and drummers.- No. 7. According to Bowdich ("Mission from Cape Coast Cas- 
tle to AshanteeV London, 1819), the oldest air in his collection. Bowdich saysfl could tratift 
it through four generations, but the answer made to my enquiries will give the best idea of its 
antiquity: 'It was made whjfe the country was made 1 ." It was played on the ttaJto,avjftde guj- 
tar. It demonstrates the use of thirds.- Ko.8. A Fantee air from Bowdich's w |txssion,eter r show, 
ing thirds, fifths and the "snap?- No. 9. A Fantee dirge for flutes and instruments of percus- 
sion. Also from Bowdich, who says:"In venturing the intervening and concluding bass-chord, 
I merely attempt to describe the castanets, gong-gongs, drums, etc., bursting in after tfr* 
soft and mellow tone* of the flutes; as if the ear was not to retain a vibwtiob of the iww* 


Round about the Mountain 


' ' I .I'll 

Round a-bout tlie mountain, 
8tm$re arpeggiando 

round a-bout the 




P P. P P. ' 

round -a -to 

and she'll rise in His arms, 





The Lord lores the sta-ner, the Lord loves the sln.ner, The 



Lord lores the rin-ner, and she'n rise in His arms. O 




i'rj j. 

A funeral hymn from Boyle Co^ Kcntedky, taken from the staging of a former slave by Kiss 
Mildred J. ffi&, for the aathor. Amused \ry Arthttf Meee. Mist HfflrwMrked on tt. "Dont let 
tnto get to going inyoitr mind, for it will grre you no peace. It is worse than the 'A pink trip 

I 63 ] 


minstrel who was certainly the gentlest and least assertive 
person in the village, if not in the entire fair. All day long 
he sat beside his little hut, a spear thrust in the ground by 
his side, and sang little descending melodies in a faint high 
voice, which reminded me of Dr. George Schweinfurth's 
description in his "Heart of Africa" of the minstrels of 
the Niam-Niam who, he said, are "as sparing of their 
voices as a worn-out prima donna," and whose minstrelsy 
might be said to have the "character of a lover's whisper/* 
To his gentle singing he strummed an unvarying accom- 
paniment upon a tiny harp. This instrument, primitive 
in construction (like the ancient Egyptian harps it lacked 
a pole to resist the tension of the strings), was yet consider- 
ably developed from an artistic point of view. It was about 
two and a half feet high and had eight strings accurately 
tuned according to the diatonic major system, but omitting 
the fourth tone. With his right hand he played over and 
over again a descending passage of dotted crochets and 
quavers in thirds; with his left hand he syncopated in- 
geniously on the highest two strings. 

A more striking demonstration of the musical capacity 
of the Dahomans was made in the war-dances which they 
performed several times every forenoon and afternoon. 
These dances were accompanied by choral song and the 
rhythmical and harmonious beating of drums and bells, the 
song being in unison. TChe harmony was a tonic major triad 
broken up rhythmically in a most intricate and amazingly 
ingenious manner. The instruments were tuned with excel- 
lent justness. The fundamental tone came from a drum 
made of a hollowed log about three feet long with a single 
head, played by one who seemed to be the leader of the 
band, though there was no giving of signals. This drum was 
beaten with the palms of the hands. A variety of smaller 
drums, some with one, some with two heads, were beaten 
variously with sticks and fingers. The bells, four in number, 
were of iron and were held mouth upward and struck with 
sticks. The players showed the most remarkable rhyth- 
mical sense and skill that ever came under my notice. 
Berlioz in his supremest effort with his army of drummers 

[ 64 ] 


produced nothing to compare in artistic interest with the 
harmonious drumming of these savages. The fundamental 
effect was a combination of double and triple time, the 
former kept by the singers, the latter by the drummers, but 
it is impossible to convey the idea of the wealth of detail 
achieved by the drummers by means of exchange of the 
rhythms, syncopation of both simultaneously, and dynamic 
devices. Only by making a score of the music could this 
have been done. I attempted to make such a score by en- 
listing the help of the late John C. Fillmore, experienced 
in Indian music, but we were thwarted by the players who, 
evidently divining our purpose when we took out our 
notebooks, mischievously changed their manner of playing 
as soon as we touched pencil to paper. I was forced to 
the conclusion that in their command of the element, which 
in the musical art of the ancient Greeks stood higher than 
either melody or harmony, the best composers of to-day 
were the veriest tyros compared with these black savages. 

It would be easy to fill pages with travellers' notes on 
the drum-playing and dancing of the African tribes to 
illustrate their marvellous command of rhythm. I content 
myself With a few illustrative examples. African drums , 
are of many varieties, from the enormous war drums, for 
which trunks of large trees provide the body and wild 
beasts the membranes which are belabored with clubs, 
down to the small vase-shaped instruments played with} 
the fingers. The Ashantees used their large drums to make 
an horrific din to accompany human sacrifices, and large 
drums, too, are used for signalling at great distances. 
The most refined effects of the modern tympanist seem 
to be put in the shade by the devices used by African 
drummers in varying the sound of their instruments so 
as to make them convey meanings, not by conventional 
time-formulas but by actual imitation of words. Walla- 
schek 1 says: 

"Peculiar to Africa is the custom of using drums as a 
means of communication from great distances. There 
are two distinctly different kinds of this drum language, 

i Page 112. 

[ 65 ] 


as is shown in an example by Mr. Schauenburg. x He saw 
at Kujar a negro beating the drum with the right hand 
and varying the tone by pressing his left on the skin, so 
as to imitate the sound of the Mandingo words. During 
the wrestling match it sounded 'Amuta, amuta' (attack) ; 
during the dance 'ali bae si/ and all the participants 
understood it. 2 .... Sir A. C. Moloney observed 
this system of language among the Yorubas. . . and 
says it is an imitation of the human voice by the drum. 
To understand it one has to know 'the accents of pro- 
nunciation in the vernacular and to become capable of 
recognizing the different and corresponding note of the 
drum.' " 

The art of making the drum talk is still known in the 
Antilles. In "Two Years in the French West Indies," 8 
Lafcadio Hearn says: 

The old African dances, the^Caleinda and the Bele (which latter is accom- 
panied by chanted improvisation), are danced on Sundays to the sound of 
the drum on almost every plantation in the land. The drum, indeed, is an 
instrument to which the countryfolk are so much attached that they swear 
by it, Tambou! being the oath uttered upon all ordinary occasions of surprise 
or vexation. But the instrument is quite as often called ka because made out 
of a quarter-barrel, or guart, in the patois ka. Both ends of the barrel 
having been removed, a wet hide, well wrapped about a couple of hoops, is 
driven on, and in drying the stretched skin obtains still further tension. The 
other end of the ka is always left open. Across the face of the skin a string is 
tightly stretched, to which are attached, at intervals of about an inch apart, 
very thin fragments of bamboo or cut feather stems. These lend a certain 
vibration to the tones. 

In the time of Pere Labat the negro drums had a somewhat different form. 
There were then two kinds of drums a big tamtam and a little one, which 
used to be played together. Both consisted of skins tightly stretched over 
one end of a cylinder, or a section of a hollow tree-trunk. The larger was 
from three to lour feet long, with a diameter of from 15 to 16 inches; the 
smaller, JBaboula, was of the same length, but only eight or nine inches in 

The skilful player (M tambovye), straddles his ka stripped to the waist, 
and plays upon it with the finger-tips of both hands simultaneously, taking 
care that the vibrating string occupies a horizontal position. Occasionally 
the heel of the naked foot is pressed lightly or vigorously against the skin 
so as to produce changes of tone. This is called "giving heel" to the drum 
bailly talon. Meanwhile a boy keeps striking the drum at the uncovered 
end with a stick, so as to produce a dry, clattering accompaniment. The 
sound of the drum itself, well played, has a wild power that makes and masters 
all the excitement of the dance a complicated double roll, with a peculiar 

1 Eduard Schauenburg, "Reisen in Central-Afrika," etc. Lahr, 1859, 1, 93. 

* Sir Alfred Moloney, "Notes on Yoruba and the Colony and Protectorate 
of Lagos," in The Proceedings of the Royal Geographical Society, New Series, 
XII, 596. 

Harper & Bros.; 1890. 

I 66 ] 


billowy rising and falling. The Creole onomatopes, b'lip-b'lip-b'lip-b'lip, 
do not fully render the roll; for each stands really for a series of sounds too 
rapidly flipped out to be imitated by articulate sjjeech. The tapping of a 
ka can be heard at surprising distances; and experienced players often play 
for hours at a time without exhibiting wearisomeness, or in the least diminish- 
ing the volume of sound produced. 

It seems that there are many ways of playing different measures familiar 
to all these colored people, but not easily distinguished by anybody else; and 
there are great matches sometimes between celebrated tambouye. The same 
commands whose portrait I took while playing told me that he once figured 
in a contest of this kind, his rival being a drummer from the neighboring 
burgh of Marigot. . . . 

"die, aie, aie! mon che y fai tambou-a pale!" said the commande, describing 
the execution of his antagonist; "my dear, he just made that drum talk! 
I thought I was going to be beaten for sure; I was trembling all the time 
ait, yaie, yaie. 1 Then he got off that ka. I mounted it; I thought a moment; 
then I struck up the 'River-of-the-Lizard'-y-wtftj, mon ckf, yon larivie-Leza 
toutt pi! such a 'River-of-the-Lizard,* ah! just perfectly pure! I gave heel 
to that ka; I worried that ka; I made it mad; I made it crazy; I made it 
talk; I won!" 

In Unyanebe, James Augustus Grant says, the large drum 
is played by the leader, while a youth apparently rattled a 
roll like the boy in Hearn's description. In my notebook I 
find a postcard, written by Hearn from New Orleans thirty 
years ago, which indicates that the manner of drumming 
described by Grant and also in the above excerpt was also 
common in Louisiana. Hearn writes: "The Voudoo, Congo 
and Caleinda dances had for orchestra the empty wooden 
box or barrel drum, the former making a dry, rapid rattle 
like castanets. The man sat astride the drum." Max 
Buchner 1 says that the drummer in Kamerun does not beat 
the time, but a continuous roll, the time being marked by 
the songs of the spectators. An example of the harmonious 
drumming such as I heard in the Dahoman village is men- 
tioned by Hermann Wissmann in his book "Unter deut- 
scher Flagge durch Af rika," 2 who says that "when the chief 
of the Bashilange received the European visitors he was 
accompanied in his movements by a great drum with a 
splendid bass tone. When he declared friendship four 
well-tuned drums began to play, while the assembly sang 
a melody of seven tones, repeating it several times." 8 

The musical instruments used in Africa do not call for 
extended study or description here, since their structure 

* "Kamerun," Leipsic, 1887, page 29. 

* Berlin, 1889, page 72. 
> Wallaschek, page 115. 

[ 67 1 


has had nothing to do with influencing the forms of Afro- 
American folksong. The drum has received such extended 
attention only because it plays so predominant a role in 
the music of America as well as Africa. As the rhythmical 
figure which is characteristic of the Habanera (which dance 
Friedenthal asserts is indubitably of African origin) domin- 
ates the dance-melodies of Spanish America, so the "snap" 
which I have found in 315 of the 527 melodies analyzed, 
in its degenerate form of "ragtime 3 * now dominates the 
careless music of two great countries the United States 
and England. 

Two instruments which would have been of incalculable 
value in determining the prevalent intervallic systems of 
African music, had the travellers who have described them 
been musically scientific enough to tell us how they were 
tuned, are the marimba and the zanze, both of which are 
found widely distributed over the Dark Continent. In these 
instruments the tone-producing agency is fixed when they 
are made and remains unalterable. The marimba, which 
has become a national instrument in Mexico, is an instru- 
ment of the xylophone type, the tones of which are struck 
out of sonorous bars of wood and intensified by means 
of dry calabashes of various sizes hung under the bars. 
The accounts of this instrument given by travellers do not 
justify an attempt to record its tunings. The zanze is 
a small sound-box, sometimes reinforced by a calabash 
or a block of wood hollowed out in the form of a round 
gourd, to the upper side of which, over a bridge, are tightly 
affixed a series of wooden or metal tongues of different 
lengths. The tongues are snapped with the thumbs, the 
principle involved being that of the familar music-box, and 
give out a most agreeable sound. I find no record'in the 
accounts of travellers as to any systematic tuning of the in- 
strument, but a specimen from Zululand in my possession is 
accurately tuned to the notes of the pentatonic scale, with 
the addition of two erratic tones side by side in the middle 
of the instrument a fact which invites speculation. 

In the table showing the results of an analysis of 527 
songs, seven variations from the normal, or conventional, 

[ 68 ] 


diatonic major and minor scales were recorded, besides 
the songs which were set down as of mixed or vague tonality. 
They were (i) the major scale, with the seventh depressed 
a semitone, i.e., flatted; (2) the major scale, without 
the seventh or leadings-tone; (3) the major scale, without 
the fourth; (4) the major scale, without either seventh of 
fourth (the pentatonic scale); (5) the minor scale, with 
a raised or major sixth; (6) the minor scale, without the 
sixth, and (7) the minor scale, with the raised seventh 
the so-called harmonic minor. Their variations or aber- 
rations shall occupy our attention in the next chapter. 
For the majority of them I have, found prototypes in 
African music, as appears from the specimens printed in 
this chapter. 

I 69 ] 








O the 527 songs examined I have set down in my table 
331 as being in the major mode. To these, as emphasizing 
the essentially energetic and contented character of Afro- 
American music, notwithstanding that it is the fruit of 
slavery, must be added in which are pentatonic. Of 
the 331 major songs twenty, or a trifle more than one- 
sixteenth, have a flat seventh; seventy-eight that is, 
one fourth have no seventh, and forty-five, or nearly 
one-seventh, have no fourth. Fourth and seventh are 
the tones which are lacking in the pentatonic scale, and 
the songs without one or the other of them approach the 
pentatonic songs in what may be called their psychological 
effect. These are the only variations of the major scale 
which can be set down as characteristic of the songs. In 
the case of the songs in the minor mode, eight, a fraction 
under one-eighth, have a major sixth; over one-half have 
no sixth at all, and over one-third have the leading-tone 
(major seventh), which is not an element of the minor 
scale proper, but with the major sixth has been admitted 
through the use of accidentals to what musicians call the 
harmonic minor scale. In the case of twenty-three songs 
I have set down the mode as mixed or vague, because the 
scales do not conform to either the major or minor system, 
but, in part, to both, or have elements which are obviously 

It is necessary for a correct understanding of the nature 
of negro songs that the testimony of the collectors touch- 

[ 70 ] 


ing some of these aberrant intervals be heard. As I have 
set them down, the flat seventh in the major and major 
sixth in the minor are more or less approximations to the 
tones as they are sung; but the circumstances justify 
the classifications which I have made. In my own 
defence, though it may not be necessary to make one, 
I may say that here I am entirely dependent upon the 
evidence adduced by others; I did not hear the songs 
sung in slavery, nor did I come in closer touch with 
the generation which made them generally known than 
many of my readers who heard the Jubilee Singers 
of Fisk University on their first concert tour. It was 
their singing which interested me in the subject, and 
it was forty years ago that I began my observations, 
which I was not permitted to extend personally into 
the regions where research should have been made, and 
where I vainly tried to have it made through other agencies, 
v "It is difficult," said Miss McKim, 1 "to express the 
entire character of these negro ballads by mere musical 
notes and signs. The odd turns made in the throat and 
the curious rhythmic effect produced by single voices 
chiming in at different irregular intervals seem almost as 
impossible to place on the score as the singing of birds or 
the tones of an seolian. harp." 

"Another obstacle to its rendering is the fact that tones 
are frequently employed which we have no musical characters 
to represent. Such, for example, is that which I have indi- 
cated as nearly as possible by the flat seventh in 'Great 
Camp Meetin', 'Hard Trials/ and others," says Thomas 
P. Fenner, in the preface to "Cabin and Plantation Songs," 
and he continues: "These tones are variable in pitch, 
ranging through an entire interval on different occasions, 
according to the inspiration of the singer. They are rarely 
discordant, and even add a charm to the performance/* 
Miss Emily Hallowell's "Calhoun Plantation Songs" bear 
evidence of having been more carefully noted than the 
Fisk or Hampton collections, though made at a much later 
date. In her preface Miss Hallowell says: "I have tried 

1 "Slave Songs," page 6, 

[ 71 I 


to write them down just as they were sung, retaining 
all the peculiarities of rhythm, melody, harmony and text; 
but those who have heard these or other like songs sung 
by the colored people of the South will realize that it is 
impossible to more than suggest their beauty and charm; 
they depend so largely upon the quality of voice, the un- 
erring sense of rhythm and the quaint religious spirit 
peculiar to the colored people who have spent their lives 
on Alabama cotton plantations, untouched by civilization." 
Miss Mildred J. Hill, of Louisville, who gathered for me 
some of the most striking songs in my collection from the 
singing of an old woman who had been a slave in Boyle 
County, Ky., was careful to note all deviations from just 
intonation, and from her songs I came to the conclusion 
that the negroes were prone to intervallic aberrations, 
not only in the case of the seventh, but also in the third. 
This is a common phenomenon in folk-music. It was the 
observation of the composer Spohr that rural people intone 
the third rather sharp, the fourth still sharper, and the 
seventh rather flat. Vagaries of this kind emphasize the fact 
that the diatonic scale the tempered scale, at any rate 
as used in artistic music is a scientific evolution, and not 
altogether a product of nature, as some persons assume, who 
in consequence attribute the slightest fractional variation 
from its tones to exquisite appreciation of tonal differences. 
The speculations on this point in which some professed 
students of the music of the North American Indians 
have indulged have reached a degree of absurdity almost 
laughable. In one case changes of pitch, which were 
most obviously the result of differences of speed in the 
revolution of the cylinder of the phonograph used in the 
collection of Zuni songs, were gravely declared to be evi- 
dence of a musical sense which could not be satisfied with 
the semitones of civilized musicians. The melodies had 
been recorded by treadle power and transmitted for no- 
tation by electric. To prove the valuelessness of music 
thus obtained I experimented with a pitch-pipe and a 
phonograph, and by varying the speed of the revolutions 
of the cylinder in making the record easily ran the pitch 

[ 72 ] 


of my C up and down an octave like the voice of a siren. 
Why savages who have never developed a musical or any 
other art should be supposed to have more refined aesthetic 
sensibilities than the peoples who have cultivated music 
for centuries, passes my poor powers of understanding. 
But the contemplation of savage life seems to have a 
tendency to make the imagination (especially that of 
sympathetic people) slip its moorings. My own experience 
with Indian music has convinced me that the red man 
is markedly unmusical. That appears to me to be amply 
proved by the paucity of melody in the songs of the Indians, 
their adherence to a stereotyped intervallic formula, regard- 
less of the use to which the song is put, and their lack of 
agreement in pitch when singing. To the Indian music is 
chiefly an element of ritual; its practice is obligatory, and 
it is not per se an expression of beauty for beauty's sake 
or an emotional utterance which a love for euphony has 
regulated and moulded into a thing of loveliness. It reaches 
its climax in the wild and monotonous chants which 
accompany their gambling games and their ghost-dances. 
There is a significance which I cannot fathom in the 
circumstance that the tones which seem rebellious to the 
negro's sense of intervallic propriety are the fourth and 
seventh of the diatonic major series and the fourth, sixth 
and seventh of the minor. The omission of the fourth and 
seventh intervals of the major scale leaves the pentatonic 
series on which mofthe 527 songs analyzed are built. 
The fact is an evidence of the strong inclination of the 
American negroes toward this scale, which is even more 
pervasive in their music than it is in the folksongs of 
Scotland, popularly looked upon as peculiarly the home 
of the pentatonic scale. On this imperfect scale the 
popular music of China, Japan and Siam rests; it is 
common, too, in the music of Ireland, and I have found 
many examples in the music of the American Indians 
.and the peoples of Africa. The melody of the "Warrior's 
Song" in Coleridge-Taylor's fine book of pianoforte tran- 
scriptions entitled "Twenty-four Negro Melodies," 1 is a 
1 Boston: Oliver Ditaon Company. 

t 73 ] 


pentatonic tune from the Ba-Ronga country, and Cole- 
ridge-Taylor says of it that its subject "is certainly not 
unworthy of any composer from Beethoven downward. 
It is at once simple, strong and noble, and probably stands 
higher than any other example of purely 'savage' music in 
these respects." Except that it lent itself so admirably 
to artistic treatment, I cannot see why this melody should 
have been singled out by Mr. Coleridge-Taylor for such 
extraordinary praise; many of the American slave songs 
are equally simple, strong and noble and more beautiful. 
Yet it is a specially welcome example because it comes 
from Africa. 

The temptation is strong to look upon the pentatonic 
Scale as the oldest, as it certainly is the most widespread 
and the most serviceable, of intervallic systems. It is the 
scale in which melody may be said to be naturally innate. 
Play it at random on the black keys of the pianoforte, 
and so you keep symmetry of period and rhythm in mind 
you cannot help producing an agreeable melody; and it will 
be pentatonic. (See "Nobody Knows de Trouble IVe 
Seen," page 75.) 

The history of the pentatonic scale has baffled investi- 
gators, for it is older than history. China has a musical 
instrument called hiuen, the invention of which is said 
(fantastically, no doubt) to date back to B. C. 2800. It 
emits only the five tones of the pentatonic scale. Instru- 
ments with the same limitations and qualities have been 
found among the remains of the lost civilizations of Mexico 
and Peru, and are still in existence in Nubia and Abyssinia. 
I have mentioned a Zulu zanze which is in my possession 
a little instrument so stoutly built that it is likely to survive 
centuries. It has pentatonic tuning down to two middle 
tongues, which emit strangely aberrant tones. The key is 
D-flat. The tongues on one side emit the descending order, 
D-flat, E-flat and B-flat; on the other, B-flat, F, D-flat and 
A-flat, The instrument is played by plucking and snap- 
ping the metal tongues with the thumbs; any two plucked 
by a thumb simultaneously produce an agreeable con- 
cord. Between the right and left rows of tongues lie 

[ 74 ] 


Nobody Knows de Trouble I've Seen 

seen, fflo.fyhal-Ie - ta - jail 


i. Some- 


times Im up, some - 
makes old Sa tan 

i , , j =1 

times tin dowti! 
hate me so? 

o ye> 
O ye, 

Lord! Some- 
Lord! Be. 

IJ, J 1 


J* JLt ._ . 




v times 13 
cause he gx 

^< ^ 

oa al * most 
t me once, but he 

to de groun'j 
let me go; 

1 1 t j i 








An ezamplflr of a melody In fto pentatoulo scale (without tbe fovrfli and serenfh 
From "Sim Songv of ttoDUtod Stote; the a*niigttert r 1tt> wwk *y B.T, 


the two which give out the strange, wild notes A and B. 
How these tones were melodically introduced only a musi- 
cian hearing the instrument played by a native could teU. 

In an article on Scottish music in Grove's "Dictionary 
of Music and Musicians" Mr. Frank Kidson observes 
that "whether this pentatonic series was acquired through 
the use of a defective instrument, or from the melodic 
taste of a singer or player, must remain mere matter of 
conjecture." Scarcely, so far as its hypothetical instru- 
mental origin is concerned. The first melodies were 
vocal, and among primitive peoples instruments are made 
for the music not music for the instruments. Defects 
in instruments are the results of faulty adjustments of 
mechanical means to desired ends. Prehistoric whistles, 
with finger-holes to produce five tones only, were made 
so that melodies with five tones might be played on them. 
The melodies were not invented because the makers of 
the whistles neglected to make a larger number of finger- 
holes or to dispose them differently. 

Many years ago the Rev. Dr. Wentworth, the editor of 
"The Ladies' Repository," a magazine published by the 
Methodist Episcopal Church, who had been a missionary 
in China, told me that he had observed that his congrega- 
tion became singularly and unaccountably dissonant at 
certain places in every hymn-tune adopted from the 
Methodist hymnal. When I told him that the Chinese, 
while admitting the theoretical existence of the fourth 
and seventh intervals of the diatonic scale, eschewed them 
in practice, and asked him whether or not they had been 
the troublesome tones, he expressed the opinion that I had 
explained a fact which he had looked upon as inexplicable. 
Not having made the experiment myself, I could not say 
whether or not he was right; but it is certainly conceivable 
that centuries of habit might atrophy the musical faculty 
of a people so as to make the production of a tone as part 
of an intervallic system difficult and lead to its modification 
when occasion called for its introduction. In some such 
manner it is not unlikely that the flat seventh of the major 
scale in the music of the American negroes may be ac- 

[ 76 ] 


counted for. This, however, is~a mere hypothesis. Though 
not a common feature of the folksongs of other peoples, 
it "does occur here. It is found in a Servian kolo dance 
printed by Engel in his "Introduction to the Study of 
National Music," and also in some Arabic tunes. Students 
of the old ecclesiastical modes recognize it as an element 
of the Mixolydian mode, with its intervals G, A, B, C, D, 
E and F-natural. 

Whether the employment of the flat seventh is due to 
an innate harmonic sense on the part of its users, which 
sometimes discloses itself very markedly in an evident 
feeling for the subdominant relationship, or is a purely 
melodic factor (as in Gregorian music), is a question which 
I shall not undertake to determine. In the case of a very 
stirring hymn, "Dere's a Great Campmeetin' " (see page 
78), the harmonic impulse seems to me most obvious, 
though there is no other song which I have found in which 
the flat seventh strikes the ear with such barbaric force 
as it does in this. Here the first section of the melody 
closes with a perfect cadence in the key of E-flat; the 
second section begins abruptly with an apparently unrelated 
shout on D-flat "Gwine to mourn, and nebber tire" 
which leads directly, as the effect shows, into the key of 
A-flat, the subdominant of E-flat. The transition has 
a singularly bright and enlivening effect and the return 
to the original key is easy and natural. 

The specimen illustrating the use of the flat seventh 
given in the examples of African prototypes in the pre- 
ceding chapter was noted at the Chicago World's Fair 
by Heinrich Zoellner, the German composer. I was neve; 
fortunate enough in my visits to the Dahoman Village 
to hear the dancers sing. Mr. Zoellner witnessed two choral 
dances and wrote down the vocal music, which he placed 
at my disposal. In the first dance the Dahomans sang 
a slow phrase of two measures in C major without the 
seventh over and over again, while the band drummed in 
double time and the dancers advanced and retreated 
without particular regard to the rhythm, some individuals 
indulging in fancy steps ad lib. Then there came a change 

[ 77 ] 


A Great Campmeetin' 

chil-dren, Doaft you get* a wear-y, 

chil-drea, Dofftyott pet wear-y, Watte 

P P P ' P P K P ' 
uft y<raget-awear-y,Dereb a g 


p | ' | y 'I I 

mourn an? nebber tire; Dereb a great campmeet-k* In de promised land.' 

From the Hampton collection, "ReUgiotw Folk-Song* of theKen-o7 A fine example of the e& 
feet produced by the ftatwrcnllu 

[ 78 ] 


of tempo and rhythm, and also in the manner of singing 
and dancing. The drummers changed from double to 
compound-triple time, the singers separated into two 
choirs and sang the antiphonal Allegro phrase printed in 
the table of examples, and began to keep step with absolute 

In wfiat key is this phrase? Not in C minor, as the 
prevalence of C, E-flat and G would seem to suggest at 
first sight; the A is too disturbing "for that. But if one 
should conceive the phrase as being in F, the explanation 
is at hand. Then it will be seen that the phrase illustrates 
the use of the flat seventh. This E-flat is now felt as 
the essential element of the dominant seventh-chord of the 
subdominant key, B-flat. In "A Great Campmeetin' " 
the corresponding tone leads into this key as the song is 
sung and as it appears in the books; but it must be observed 
that the harmonization was made by Mr. Fenner, who 
has not told us to what extent he received hints from his 
singers. The Dahomans seemed satisfied to treat the E-flat 
as a grace-note and found gratification for their sense of 
repose in the F major triad suggested by the concluding 
C. When I consulted Mr. Arthur Mees, who gave parti- 
cular attention to the ecclesiastical modes when a student 
of Weitzmann, in Berlin, as to his opinion on the subject 
under consideration, he wrote me: "The use of the flat 
seventh seems to be quite common to old melodies. Just 
such a one as you quote as being Dahoman I found in an 
attempted deciphering of Hebrew melodies from Hebrew 
accents. It is, I think, true that the dropping into the 
subdominant is a sort of relaxation of musical fancy (For- 
stellung), while modulation into the dominant is a climb- 
ing up process, which can be accomplished by not less 
than two chords. (I mean two different roots.) I do not 
feel a modulation with the introduction of. the low seventh, 
but a melodic peculiarity which is enforced and made 
piquant by the mental effort (unconscious) to retain the 
original tonality after the flat seventh has been heard." Mr. 
Mees added that he felt the scale of the phrase just as he 
felt the scale of the Mixolydian mode. 

[ 79 ] 


Weeping Mary 

Ten. I 
Ten. II 

Bats I 
Bast II 

/weep- Ing- Ma- ry,\ 
If thereof an-y-bod-y here like {pray -ing- Sam-uelJ 

( doubt -ing- Thomas,) 

Call up- on your Je- sue, and He'll dfawfilgb. He'll drew nlgfc. 
K K K K . k I k . . I 

(V glo-ry, glo-ry hal-le- to -jab, Glo-ry be to 

J K K \ K 1 . i K K k w . k i 

Arranged for meaSiToieM ftyArtlntrMte*, for tlicM 

Cfob of ffewtork. By 

I 80 ] 


Some time afterward Mr. Mees arranged several negro 
songs for men's voices and performed them at a concert 
of the Mendelssohn Glee Club of New York. One of them 
was "Weeping Mary," which is reproduced in this chapter. 
(See page 80.) This brought the topic of how the negro 
songs ought to and might be harmonized into discussion, 
and Mr. Mees wrote me: 

It is a most interesting subject^ The first question that arises in examining 
a tone-succession so strange to us is this: Did the people to whom a particular 
one is credited intuitively feel a harmonic substratum to the melodies they 
invented? So far as the negroes are concerned, I believe that the intuition 
of harmony was peculiar to them. I have spoken with many Southern 
people, and they all speak of the love of harmony that is peculiar to the 
negroes. If that is true, the altered tones they introduce in the scales on 
which their melodies are constructed have a harmonic significance, and the 
frequent introduction of a minor seventh would point to a tendency toward 
the subdominant, as you suggest. This ^ would be true of melodies in the 
major mode only, for the seventh in the minor mode, according to Weitzmann 
and his followers, is the normal tone in the minor mode, and the large seventh 
the variant, introduced because of the requirement in modern music of the 
leading-tone to make the cadence authoritative. . . . 

In "Weeping Mary," which in my arrangement is in G minor, the E 
natural is very interesting and produces a fine effect. It is the raised sixth 
in minor. Ziehn in his "Harmonielehre" quotes a striking example of the 
same progression from Beethoven. 

Mr. Mees's letter has brought us around again to the 
subject of the use of harmony in the Afro-American folk- 
songs. In "Slave Songs of the United States" the tunes 
only are printed, and of their performance Mr, Allen said 
in his preface: 

There is no singing in parts, as we understand it, and yet no two appear 
to be singing the same thing; the leading singer starts the words of each verse, 
often improvising, and the^ others, who "base" him, as it is called, strike in 
with the refrain, or even join in the solo when the words are familiar. When 
the "base" begins^ the leader often stops, leaving the rest of the words to 
be guessed at, or it may be they are taken up by one of the other singers. 
And the "basers" themselves seem to follow their own whims, beginning when 
they please and leaving off when they please, striking an octave above or 
below (in case they have pitched the tune too high), or hitting some other 
note that chords, so as to produce the effect of a marvellous complication and 
variety and yet with the most perfect time and rarely with any discord. And 
what makes it all the harder to unravel a thread of melody out of this strange 
network is that, like birds, they seem not infrequently to^strike sounds that 
cannot be precisely represented by the gamut and abound in "slides from one 
note to another and turns and cadences not in articulated notes/ 9 

The peculiar style of singing described in the concluding 
words has been made familiar by several singers who have 
used the songs on the concert platform, particularly by Mrs. 

[ 81 ] 


Jeannette Robinson Murphy. In a personal letter to the 
writer, dated July 16, 1913, Miss Emily Hallowell says 
of her book: 

I have always thought that the time would come when some student 
would find the "Calhoun Collection" of greater service than most of the 
other publications, for two reasons: As far as my ability allowed they were 
written precisely as they were sung, while in most collections they have been 
arranged for ordinary quartet singing; and as the people of Calhoun are so 
much more remote than in most localities, their singing in 1900 was almost 
exactly as it was before the war. . . I got most of the songs from young 
people, too young to remember slavery, but I have heard many of them sung 
by the old people, and the melodies .were the same, but the harmonies I have 
written were aU taken from the pupils in the Calhoun school. The old people's 
harmonies seem to arise from each holding to their own version of the melodies 
or from limitation of compass. 

I have cited instances of the employment of harmony 
in Africa?. In my notebook I find an interesting example, 
which I obtained from Mr. George L. White, teacher and 
manager of the Jubilee Singers after their return from their 
memorable trip to Germany in 1877. It is a hymn which 
Dr. Wangemann heard sung, with great effect, as he 
testified, by a congregation of three hundred Kaffirs ia a 
Presbyterian mission in Emgravali. Its composition was 
attributed to a Kaffir named U-Utrikana, the first member 
of his tribe to embrace Christianity, who became a sort 
of black Sankey and travelled all over his country as a 
singing evangelist. "He was honored as a prophet by his 
people," wrote Dr. Wangemann on the transcript of the 
hymn which he made from memory for Mr. White. What 
the words mean I do not know, but musically the song 
consists of two solos and refrains, the solos sung in unison, 
the refrains in full harmony, consisting of the tonic and 
dominant triads. As a rule, the songs of the Afro-Americans 
are so obviously built on a harmonic basis and show so 
plainly the influence of civilized music that I have no 
doubt the majority of them were sung in simple harmony 
at least the refrains. The phrases containing the "wild 
notes," as I call them, were just as certainly sung in 
unison and are most effective when left without har- 
mony, as is the rule (though I have made a few exceptions) 
in this collection. 

I 82 ] 




The frequent aberrations from the major scale in the 
songs of the American negroes, which I have pointed out, 
serve effectually to disprove Wallaschek's contention that 
they are nothing more than imitations of European songs 
"unmistakably arranged" or "ignorantly borrowed" from 
the national songs of European peoples. There is but one 
body of specifically national song with which the slave of 
the United States could by any possibility have become 
familiar the Scottish, with its characteristic pentatonic 
scale and rhythmical snap; but the singing of Scottish 
ballads was not so general in the South that their pecu- 
liarities could become the common property of the field 
hands on the plantations. The negroes in the Antilles 
and South America were in a very different case. Reci- 
procal influences were stronger there, where social lines 
were more loosely drawn and where the races amalgamated 
to an extent which threatened the institution of slavery 
itself; but even there the impress of African music is 
unmistakable and indelible. Spanish melody has been 
imposed on African rhythm. In the United States the 
rhythmical element, though still dominant, has yielded 
measurably to the melodic, the dance having given 
way to religious worship, sensual bodily movement to 
emotional utterance. 

The demonstration of independence of European in- 
fluence is still more striking in the case of the minor songs 
and those of mixed or vague tonality. The variations 
from the minor scale which I have classified are those dis- 

[ 83 J 


closing the major seventh (the leading-tone), the use 
of the major sixth and the absence of the sixth. Other 
aberrations are not pronounced enough to justify being 
set down as characteristic features. 

There is no special significance in the prevalence of the 
leading-tone in minor melodies (it was found in nineteen 
songs out of sixty-two), beyond the evidence which it may 
offer of the influence of the European system in which the 
seventh step of the minor scale is arbitrarily raised a semi- 
tone for the sake of a satisfactory harmonic cadence. To 
avoid the abnormal interval of a. second consisting of 
three semitones European theorists also raise the sixth, 
thus obtaining the conventional ascending minor scale 
the melodic minor. It cannot be without significance 
that what I am prone to consider a primitive melodic 
sense seems to have led the negroes to rebel at this pro- 
cedure. In thirty-four out of sixty-two minor melodies 
the troublesome sixth (the avoided fourth in the major 
mode) is omitted entirely, and in eight it is raised to a 
major interval without disturbing the seventh. The major 
sixth in the minor mode presents itself as an independent 
melodic element, the effect of which is most potently felt 
when it is left unharmonized which is not the case in one 
of the illustrative examples which I present. 1 The minor 
tunes with the major sixth are thus without the leading- 
tone, and the physiological effect of the errant interval is 
even more striking than the flat seventh in the major tunes. 

No one who heard Miss Jackson, the contralto of the 
original Fisk Jubilee choir, sing "You May Bury Me in 
the East/' 2 without accompaniment of any sort, is likely 
to have forgotten the clarion sound of her voice on the 
word "trumpet." This was the only song of its kind in 
the repertory of the Jubilee Singers, the other minor songs 
either having no sixth or having the leading-tone. A fine 
example in my manuscript collection excited the admira- 
tion of M. Tiersot, who sets it down in his brochure as an 
illustration of the first Gregorian tone. It is a revival 
hymn, "Come tremble-ing down," and in it the "wood- 

1 See "Come tremble-ing down," page 85. 
8 See page 86. 

I 84 ] 


"Come trembleing 1 down" 


p J 

JH j 

Come tremble-ing down, g-o shout-ing home,Safe in the sweet arms of 


Je stts,Come Je - stisj'Twaajtist a-bout the break of da^KiagJe-sus stole my- 




iJ8 j ^irpi 1 ^11' "I 1 i\tivOii\$ (1 

heart a^WBjfj^Twasjust au-botrt the break of da^Eang- Je-sus stolemy heart a-way. 

M'3 *IJ^ 

A spiritual from Boyle Co., Kentucky, transcribed from the'iiiiginff of a former slave for 
the author by Hiss Mildred J. Hfll, of LotdrdHe. A fine example of the raised sixth in the 
minor mode. Arranged by the author, 


You May Bury Me in de Eos' 



LYottmay bur-y me in deBatf,yottmay bur- y me in 

hear de trumpet sottnL in dat morn - in'; In dat morn - in',myLord, 






How I long 1 to go For to hear de trumpet sotm* in dat morn - in'. 

2. Father Gabriel in dat day, & Good ole Christians in dat day, 
Hell take wings and fly away,, Dey*U take wings and fly away, 

For to hear de trumpet soua' etc. 

In dat tnornln'. 4. (rood ole preachers in dat day, 
You may b;ary him, etc. Dejrtl take wings, etc. 

5. In dat dreadful jtidgmen' day 
111 take wings, etc. 

Melody from"Tfte Story of the Jtfcflee Singers*; arrangement for this work by H.T.Bttr- 
leigh. One of the finest examples extant of the effect of the major sixth in the minor mode. 

I 86 ] 


note wild" has a barbaric shout of jubilation to which 
correct verbal accent has been sacrificed: 

Come tremble-ing down, go shouting home, 

Safe in the sweet arms of Jesus. 
"Twas just about the break of day 
King Jesus stole my heart away. 

Concerning the text of this song it may be said that it 
is scarcely to be wondered at that the amorous sentiment 
of many Methodist and Baptist revival hymns finds its 
echo in the hymns of the negroes. 

The interval containing three semitones, which the in- 
ventors of modern Occidental harmony avoided by arbi- 
trary alteration of the minor scale, is so marked an element 
in the music of Southeastern Europe and Western Asia 
that the scale on which much of this music is based is 
called the Oriental scale in the books. It is found in the 
melodies of the Arabs, of the peoples of the Balkan penin- 
sula, of the Poles and Magyars. The ancient synagogal 
hymns of the Jews are full of it. In some cases it results 
from raising the fourth interval of the minor scale; in 
others from raising the seventh. In many cases, of which 
the "Rakoczy March" is a familiar and striking example, 
the interval occurs twice. The peculiar wailing effect of 
the Oriental scale, most noticeable when the intervals are 
sounded in descending order, is also to be heard in the song 
of the priestesses and their dance in "Aida" and in Rubin- 
stein's song, "Der Asra." 

One of the songs in my manuscript collection shows a 
feeling for the augmented, or superfluous second, as 
Engel calls it, though the interval is not presented directly 
to the eye or ear because of the absence of a tone which is 
a constituent part of it the sixth. It is the baptismal 
hymn, "Freely Go" (see page 88), which makes a startling 
effect with its unprepared beginning on the leading-tone. 
An instance of the creation of the interval by the raising 
of the fourth is found in the extremely interesting song 
"Father Abraham," in the arrangement of which Mr. 
Burleigh has retained the effect of a unique choral ac- 
companiment as sung at the Calhoun school. (See page 90.) 
Notable, too, in this song is the appreciation of tone- 

t 87 ] 


Baptizing Hymn 

Allegro moderate 

Brae - ^-_ ^0, marchfrig aJony,Lflte Zi-oiSs sons and dangt-ters, 

[ 88 ] 


Ev-'ry time I 

I ftfr J 

look tip to the 

House of God, The 








J j J IJJ 

An - g-els cry out do - ry! Gio-ry be to my God whp 




From Boyle Co^Kentecky. CoUected for the author ty Hiss Mildred J. Hill, of LotdflviUe; 
lutrmoaized by Henry Holden Hvss. An extraordinary instance of a feeling for the scale of 
Oriental peoples, with its augmented second. Hie effect of ibis interval may be observedby 
sounding D4harp,C and Bat the beginning. Tto Interval of the sixth, Cisse<takmsly avoid- 
ed fax the minor portion of the melody. 

t 89 ] 


, Andante 

Father Abraham 

'Tell it" 


a 4 f I r r ' i J| " r ^^ 

Fa-ther A. 

ait-tin' down side-a ob de Land), 

ir F=F 

r r r p=s=< 

up on de motin-tain - top; My Lord spoke an* < 

r r r 

r r r 


Tell it, tett it, 

teU it, tell it, 

tell it, ten. it, 

i j rn 

char- lot stop, Sit- tin' down side-a ob de ho-lyLambj Ea-iher 

A - bra, - liaia. sit . tin' down side - a ob de ho - 3|y Lamb. 

"Words aad melody from "CaHumn Plantation Songs'! Collected and edited by Batty Hal- 
lowen (Boston, C.W. Thompson & Co.). Published here by pemdssion. Azranged by H.f.Br^ 
lei^h. An example of the use of the Oriental interval called Hie augmented, or atmerflnowteo. 


[ 90 ] 


painting exemplified in the depiction of the sojourn on the 
mountain-top by persistent reiteration of the highest note 
reached by the melody. 

I have no disposition to indulge in speculations touching 
the origin of either the conventional scales or the departures 
from them which I have pointed out in these songs. There 
are other variations, but they do not present themselves 
in sufficient numbers or in a sufficiently marked manner 
to justify their discussion as characteristic of the music 
of the people who employed them. They may be sporadic 
and due only to some personal equation in the singer who 
sang them to the collector. In no case, however, do they 
occur in songs which are commonplace in structure or 
sentiment. I should like to say that the melodies which 
seem to be based on the Oriental scale prove the persistence 
in the Afro- American folksongs of an element, or idiom, re- 
tained from their original Eastern home or derived from 
intercourse between the ancestors of the black slaves and 
some of the peoples of western Asia to whom the scale is 
native; but to make such an assertion would be unscientific; 
we lack the support here of such a body of evidence as we 
have to prove the African origin of the aberrations from the 
major scale which I have discussed. Nevertheless, it is 
significant in my eyes that the few songs which were 
gathered for me by Miss Hill in Kentucky and the songs 
collected by Miss Hallowell also presented themselves 
to the apprehension, though not to the comprehension, of 
the collectors of the "Slave Songs of the United States." 
The intermediate collectors those who made the Fisk 
and Hampton -collections having a more popular purpose 
in view were, I fear, indifferent to their value and beauty. 

It is a pity that students are without adequate material 
from which the natural history of the scales might be 
deduced a pity and a wrong. Governments and scien- 
tific societies backed by beneficent wealth are spending 
enormous sums in making shows out of our museums. 
For these shows men go to Africa actuated by the savage 
propensity to kill, and call its gratification scientific r6- 
search. Who has gone to Africa to capture a melody? No 

L 91 ] 


one. Yet a few scores or hundreds of phonographic records 
bf music would be worth more to science and art to-day 
than a thousand stuffed skins of animals robbed of life 
by the bullets of a Roosevelt. 

It is unfortunate that musical scholars are unable, for 
want of material, to deduce a sound theory concerning 
the origin of the scale; it is also unfortunate that a knowl- 
edge of African languages and dialects does not come to 
our assistance in accounting for the most marked rhyth- 
mical characteristic of the songs of the American negroes. 
This characteristic is found in the use of a figure in which 
the emphasis is shifted from the strong to the weak part 
of a time-unit by making the first note of two into which 
the beat is divided take only a fraction of the time of the 
second. This effect of propulsion when frequently repeated 
becomes very stirring, not to say exciting, and, as has been 
disclosed by the development of "ragtime," leads to a 
sort of rhythmical intoxication exemplified in the use of 
the device not only in the first beat of a measure, but in the 
other beats also, and even in the fractional divisions of a 
beat, no matter how small they have been made. When 
this species of syncopation, known as the Scotch, or 
Scot's, snap, or catch, became popular in the Italian opera 
airs of the eighteenth century it was held to be the offspring 
of a device commonly found in the popular music of 
Scotland. It is a characteristic element of the Strathspey 
reel, and the belief has been expressed that it got into 
vocal music from the fact that Burns and other poets wrote 
words for Scottish dance-tunes. "It was in great favor 
with many of the Italian composers of the eighteenth 
century," says J. Muir Wood (writing in Grove's "Diction- 
ary of Music and Musicians") "for Burney, who seems to 
have invented the name, says in his account of the Italian 
opera in London, in 1748, that 'there was at this time too 
much of the Scotch catch, or cutting short of the first 
two notes in a melody.' He blames Cocchi, Perez and 
Jommelli, all three masters concerned in the opera *Volo- 
geso,' for being lavish of the snap." Adding to his article 
on the subject in the second edition of Grove's work, he 

[ 92 ] 


says: "In the hands of Hook and other purveyors of the 
psuedo-Scottish music which was in vogue at Vauxhall 
and elsewhere in the eighteenth century, it became a 
senseless vulgarism, and, with the exception of a few songs 
. . . and the Strathspey reel, in which it is an essen- 
tial feature, its presence may generally be accepted as 
proof that the music in which it occurs is not genuine." 

What Wood here remarks about the pseudo-Scotch 
music of the eighteenth century as it was cultivated in the 
music halls may be said of latter-day "ragtime," which, 
especially in the "turkey-trot" and "tango" dances, 
monopolizes the music almost to the exclusion of melody 
and harmony. There is no reason why drums and gongs 
should not give these dances all the musical impulse they 
need. Though it is at the expense of a digression, it is 
not out of place to point out that in this year of pretended 
refinement, which is the year of our Lord 1913, the dance 
which is threatening to force grace, decorum and decency 
out of the ballrooms of America and England is a survival 
of African savagery, which was already banished from the 
plantations in the days of slavery. It was in the dance 
that the bestiality of the African blacks found its frankest 
expression. The Cuban Habanera, which has an African 
rhythmical foundation (the melodic superstructure having 
been reared by the white natives of the southern countries 
of America), grew into the most graceful and most polite 
of the Creole dances. Concerning it and its depraved 
ancestor, the tango, Friedenthal says in his "Musik, Tanz 
und Dichtung bei den Kreolen Amerikas" : 

But the habanera is not only danced by the cultivated Creoles, but also* 
by preference in the West Indies bv the colored plebs. In such cases not a 
trace of grace is longer to be found; on the contrary, the movements of the 
dances leave nothing to be desired in the line of unequivocal obscenity. It 
is this vulgar dance, popularly called tango (after an African word "tangana"), 
which sought vainly to gain admission to our salons under the title of "tango 
argentino, by way of Argentina. It was shown to the lower classes of Ar- 
gentina last year the jubilee year of the republic. To the honor of the great 
country on the Silver River it may be said at once that there the habanera 
is never danced except in the most decent form. It is indubitable, however, 
that the Cuban tango was the original product and the danza-habanera its 
refined copy prepared for cultured circles, the Creoles having borrowed not 
only the rhythms but also the choregraphic movements of the dances from 
the Africans. * 

[ 93 1 


It can scarcely be set down to the credit of American 
and English women that in adopting the tango they are 
imitating the example, not of the ladies of Argentina, but 
of the women of the Black Republic. Friedenthal says : 

The Haytian salon dance, Meringue, is identical with the danza of the 
Spanish islands; but there is this difference, that even in the higher circles 
of Port-au-Prince, in which decorum and tact prevail and where the young, 
light colored women are of fascinating amiability, the gestures of the dance are 
never so unobjectionable as is the case with the Spanish Creoles; from which 
it is to be seen that the dance, consciously or unconsciously, has a different 
purpose among these peoples. All the more undisguised is the crude sensuality 
among the lower classes of the Haytian population. Here every motion is 
obscene; and I am not at all considering the popular merrymakings or dance 
festivals secretly held partly in the open, partly m the forests, which are 
more like orgies, in which the African savagery,, which has outlived centuries, 
has unbridled expression. 

The rhythmical device under discussion is also found 
in the popular music of Hungary, where it is called alia 
%oppa (limping). Here it is unquestionably the product 
of poetry. Dr. Aurel Wachtel, discussing the music of the 
Magyars 1 says that the rhythmical construction of their 
ballads is most closely allied to the peculiarity of the Magyar 
language, which distinguishes the short and long syl- 
lables much more sharply than any other language spoken 
by the peoples of Germanic-Slavic-Romanic origin. The 
character of the Magyar tongue does not tolerate that 
prosodically long syllables in song shall be used as short, 
or vice versa. 

Now, whether tEe rhythms of dance-music be derived 
from the songs which gave time to the feet of the original 
dancers, or the rhythms of poetry were borrowed from 
the steps of the dance, it would seem as if the determining 
factor was the word. The most primitive music was vocal. 
Poetical song had its origin in improvization, and impro- 
visation would be clogged unless musical and verbal 
rhythm could flow together. The rhythmical snap of the 
American negroes is in all likelihood an aboriginal relic, 
an idiom which had taken so powerful a hold on them that 
they carried it over into their new environment, just as 
they did the melodic peculiarities which I have investigated. 
It was so powerful an impulse, indeed, that it broke down 
1 "Musifcalisches Wochenblatt," July 5, 1878. 

t 94 ] 


the barriers interposed by the new language which they 
were compelled to adopt in their new home. For the 
sake of the snap the creators of the folksongs of the Ameri- 
can negroes did not hesitate to distort the metrical structure 
of their lines. In scores upon scores of instances trochees 
like "Moses," "Satan," "mother," "brother," "sister," 
and so forth, become iambs, while dactyls become amphi- 
brachys, like "NoJodTy," "Nobody knows" (see page 96), 
"These are my," "No one can," etc. A glance into any 
one of the collections mentioned will furnish examples by 
the score. Of the 527 songs examined, 315 contain the 
rhythmical snap which is as well entitled to be called 
African as Scottish. 

"Another noticeable feature of the songs," says Theo- 
dore F. Seward in his preface to the Fisk Jubilee collection, 
"is the rare occurence of triple time, or three-part measure, 
among them. The reason for this is doubtless to be 
found in the beating of the foot and the swaying of the 
body, which are such frequent accompaniments of the 
singing. These motions are in even measure and in per- 
fect time; and so it will be found that however broken and 
seemingly irregular the movement of the music, it is 
always capable of the most exact measurement." 

Triple time is, indeed, of extremely rare occurence in the 
melodies; taking as a standard the collection to which my 
observations have been directed, less than one-tenth of the 
tunes are in simple and compound triple time. The regular 
swaying of the body to which Mr, Seward refers might 
better be described as an effect than as a cause of the even 
movement of the music. It is no doubt an inherited pre- 
dilection, a survival of a primitive march-rhythm which, 
in the nature of the case, lies at the bottom of the first 
communal movements of primitive peoples; uneven meas- 
ure is more naturally associated with a revolving movement, 
of which I find no mention in the notes of my African 
reading. The "shout" of the slaves, as we have seen, 
was a march circular only because that is the only kind 
of march which will not carry the dancers away from the 
gathering-place. Pantomimic dances, like those which I 

[ 95 ] 


Nobody Knows the Trouble I See 


Nobody knows the trouble I see,Lord, Nobody knows the 

trouble I see; Nobody knowsthe trouble I see,Lord, Nobody knows but 



P P P P i p-^EfeEi 



for me, Brothers,win you pray for me, 

T . r 




Brothers, will you pray for me, And help me to drive old Satan a-way? 

^ JD.C.alFin* 


7 "<F 

* Qtt repfetiUon l a Si3ters7 a Mother^ a Prwidier8? r 

Words and melody from "The Story of the Jubilee Singers with their Soogsf by J.RT.Mrth. 
Arrangement IjyttieAatlioi; , 

[ 96 ] 


witnessed in the Dahoman village at the Columbian Exhi- 
bition, in 1 893, are generally martial and consist of advances 
and retreats in linear formation with descriptive gestures. 

The innate rhythmical capacity of the Africans has 
been sufficiently dwelt upon. In the American songs it 
finds its expression in the skill with which the negroes 
constrain their poetry to accept the rhythms of the music. 
Two authors, the Rev. J. Richardson and the Rev. James 
Sibree, jr. (the former of whom wrote on the hymnology 
of the Malagasy, the latter on their children's games and 
songs), agree (assuming that Wallaschek has quoted them 
correctly) in the statement that the poetry of the natives 
of Madagascar is not rhythmical, though their music is. 
Mr. Allen writes, in his preface to the "Slave Songs": 
"The negroes keep exquisite time in singing, and do not 
suffer themselves to be daunted by any obstacle in the 
words. The most obstinate scripture phrases or snatches 
from hymns they will force to do duty with any tune they 
please, and will dash heroically through a trochaic tune 
at the head of a column of iambs with wonderful skill." 
A glance into any collection of Afro-American songs will 
provide examples of Mr. Allen's meaning; but if the reader 
wishes to see how an irregular line can be made to evolve a 
characteristically rhythmic musical phrase he need but look 
in "O'er the Crossing" (pages 98-99), at the line "Keep 
praying! I do believe." Despite its rudeness, this song, 
because of its vivid imagery, comes pretty near to being 
poetry of the genuine type. To learn what word it was 
that in the process of oral transmission became corrupted 
into "waggin' " I have hunted and pondered in vain. Per- 
haps "We're a long time waggin' at the crossin' " was 
originally "We're a long time lagging at the crossing." 
Perhaps the word was once "waggoning." In the song 
"My body rock 'long fever," 1 is a line, "Better true be long 
time get over crosses," which may have reflected a similar 
idea, though it is all vague now. In "I've been toilin' 
at de hill so long" of the Hampton collection there seems 
to be another parallel; but the feong is very inferior. 

i "Slave Songs," No. 45. 

[ 97 ] 


O'er ftfc Crossing 


J) M J 

1. Bend - in* knees a ach - in', 



Bod-y rack'd wid pain, I wish I was a 



ip *< \, 

child of God, I'd git home bime by. Keep 



[98 ] 


ffpf r 



pray-in*, I do believeWe're a long time waggfcrV de cross-to'. Keep 





pray-in*, I do beJieveWe'U git home. 




9* O yonderf? my old mudder, 8. hear dat taxdberitf thunder 

Been a-waggln' at tfaj9 hill so long; A-rott from do* to do', 

Ifs about .time she cross over, 
Git home bime-by. 
Keep prayis?, I do believe; etc. 

A callin* de people home to God} 
Dey 7 !! git home bime-by. 
Little chil'a> I do believe* etc. 

4. O see dat forked lig-htnin' 

A. jump from cloud to cloud, 
A-pickirf up God's chitia; 
Dey 1 !! git home bime-by. 
Pray, mourner, I do believe, etc. 

Words and melody from "Slave Songs of the United States"; arranged for the author fcy & 
thtir Mees.- The following note en the song appears in the collection from which it was taken: 
"This 'infinitely Attaint description of the length of the heavenly road', as Cot Eigginson styles 
it, is one of the most peculiar and wide-spread of the spirituals. It was sting as given above- 
in Caroline Co., Virginia, and probably spread southward from this state variously modified 
in different localities." 

I 99 ] 








The general structure of the simpler (and therefore 
older) American songs shows a stanza containing an al- 
ternating solo verse and refrain, with sometimes a chorus. 
"The most common arrangement," say the editors of 
"Slave Songs," in their directions for singing, "gives the 
second and fourth lines to the refrain and the first and third 
to the verse; and in this case the third line may be a 
repetition of the first or may have different words. Often, 
however, the refrain occupies only one line, the verse 
occupying the other three, while in one or two songs the 
verse is only one line, while the refrain is three lines in 
length. The refrain is repeated with each stanza; the 
words of the verse are changed at the pleasure of the 
leader, or fugleman, who sings either well-known words, 
or, if he is gifted that way, invents verses as the song goes 
on. In addition to the stanza, some of the songs have a 
chorus, which usually consists of a fixed set of words, 
though in some of the songs the chorus is a good deal 
varied. The refrain of the main stanza often appears in 
the chorus." 

There is nothing peculiar to these American folksongs 
in this recurrent refrain, but it is worth noticing that the 
feature in the form of an alternating line of improvization 
and a reiterated burden is found throughout Africa. "Their 
style is the recitative broken by a full chorus," says Sir 
Richard Burton, speaking of the people of the lake region 



of Central Africa. Carl Mauch, in his "Reisen in Siid- 
Afrika" says of the music of the Makalaka that it usually 
consists of a phrase of eight measures, repeated ad infinitwn, 
to which are sung improvized verses with a refrain. Walla- 
schek cites Eduard Mohr 1 as saying that the Damaras 
rarely dance, in fact, only on extraordinary occasions; and 
they sing together just as rarely, although fond of solo 
singing, the words for which they extemporize, while the 
refrains are taken up by a chorus. Wallaschek also says 
(page 4), "The Balatpi reminded Weber 2 of Venetian gon- 
doliers or of the lazzaroni in Naples. One would improvise a 
stanza which others would immediately sing in chorus to a 
charming melody. Each in turn improvises thus, so that 
all have an opportunity of exhibiting their talents for 
poetry and wit. The fact that all words ended in a vowel 
sound simplified the extemporization of verses, which are 
not invariably accurate as regards rhythm. The general 
singing of these stanzas seemed to afford the greatest 
amusement to the singers as they sat in a circle around 
the campfire." In "Across Africa/' by Verney Lovett 
Cameron, C. B., D. C. L., 8 we read this of the fortune- 
telling by a fetich man: "On arrival he seated himself on 
the ground, surrounded by his friends, and then commenced 
a monotonous recitative. In this he accompanied himself 
by shaking a rattle made of basketwork shaped like a 
dumbbell, while the circle of attendants joined in a chorus, 
sometimes striking their bells and at others laying them 
down and clapping their hands in a kind of rhythmic 

Speaking of the Zulu-Kafirs, the Rev. Louis Grout says 
in Chapter XIV of his book "Zulu-Land; or, Life Among 
the Zulu-Kafirs of Natal and Zulu-Land": 4 

The most of their songs consist of only a few words, which they repeat 
over and over again with such variations as their national taste and habit 
or individual fancy may dictate. . . . Their songs often have a special 
tness for the occasion, as when a man in search of a cow goes hamming: 

* "Nach den Victoriafallen des Zambesi," I, 160. 
> Ernst von Weber, "Vier Jahre in Afrika," I, 221. 

New York, Harpers, 1877. 

4 Philadelphia: The Presbyterian Publication Company, 1864. 



"M a i ze inkomo yetu f si ya yi biza; 

Si ti, ma i ze, ma i zeka; 

Ma i ze kumi, ma i zeke; 
Ma i ze inkomo yetu, si ya yi biza." 
That is: 

"Our cow, let her come, we are calling her; 

We say, let her come, let her come, so let her come; 

Let her come to me, then let her come; 

Our cow, let her come, we are calling her." 

Several natives spent a rainy day hard at work digging out and killing 
three or four porcupines which had made them trouble in their gardens; 
and the next morning one of them passed my door singing the following song, 
which I was told he indited for the occasion: 

"Truly, oh, truly, they'll perish anon. 

The land of the Zulu so slyly they leave. 
All the people, they come, they come, 

The land of the Zulu so slyly they leave. 
Truly, oh, truly," etc. 

From Denham and Clapperton's "Narrative of Travels 
in Northern and Central Africa," 1 Carl Engel quotes the 
following extemporaneous song of negro bards in Bornou 
in praise of their Sultan : 

Give flesh to the hyenas at daybreak 

Oh, the broad spears! ^ 
The spear of the Sultan is the broadest 

Oh, the broad spears! 
I behold thee now I desire to see none other 

Oh, the broad spears! 
My horse is as tall as a high wall 

Oh, the broad spears! 
He will fight against ten he fears nothing! 

Oh, the broad spears! 
He has slain ten; the guns are yet behind 

Oh, the broad spears! 
The elephant of the forest brings me what I want 

Oh, the broad spears! 
Like unto thee, so is the Sultan 

Oh, the broad spears! 
Be brave! Be brave, my friends and kinsmen 

Oh, the broad spears! 
God is great! I wax fierce as a beast of prey 

Oh, the broad spears! 

God is great! To-day those I wished for are come- 
Oh, the broad spears! 

It would be an easy matter to multiply parallels of this 
song in the matter of form from among the religious songs 
of the American negroes. Let two suffice: 

I want to be my fader's chil'en 

Roll, Jordan, roll! 
O say, ain't you done wid de trouble ob de world? 

Roll, Jordan, roll! 

London, 1826, II, 19. 

[ 102] 


I ask de Lord how long I hold 'em 
Roll, Jordan, roll! 

My sins so heavy I can't get along. Ah! 
Roll, Jordan, roll! 

I cast my sins in de middle ob de sea- 
Roll, Jordan, roll! 

Here the second: 

Hurry on, my weary 'soul 

And I yearde from heaven to-day! 

My sin is forgiven and my soul set free- 
And I yearde from heaven to-day! 

A baby born in Bethlehem 
And I yearde from heaven to-dayl 

De trumpet sound in de odder bright land- 
And I yearde from heaven to-day! 

My name is called and I must go 
And I yearde from heaven to-day! 

De bell is a-ringin' in de odder bright world 
And I yearde from heaven to-dayl 

Relics of ancient ceremonies connected with death and 
burial have survived amongst the American negroes and 
have been influential in producing some strangely beautiful 
and impressive songs. One of these, "Dig My Grave" 
(see page 104), from the Bahamas, where the songs, though 
they have much community of both poetical and musical 
phrase with them, yet show a higher development than 
do the slave songs of the States, is peculiarly impressive. 
The first period of its melody it might be called tripartite 
is fairly Schumannesque in breadth and dignity. An- 
other, "I Look o'er Yander (see page 105), is not com- 
parable with it from a musical point of view, but derives 
peculiar interest from the ceremony with which it is 
associated. This function is one of those which I call 
a relic of ancient ceremonies, because, like the peculiar 
idioms of the melodies, it cannot have been copied from 
any of the funeral rites which the slaves saw among their 
white masters, but does show affinity with Old World 
and oldtime ceremonies. 

Like the ancient Romans, the slaves were in the habit 
of burying their dead at night. Like their savage ancestors 
in Africa, they expressed their sorrow in nocturnal song. 
It is remotely possible, too, that once they indulged in 
funeral dances, even in such wild orgies as travellers have 
described. These dances, like most others, have passed 

r 103 1 



Dig My Grave 

Dig my grave long- an? oar- row, Make 

long* an* strofig-.Bright aorg-els to my 

Pocoplt mosso 


me when lin dead.* Ohxni : 
(I die). 

soul goiaf tibiae like 4 rtahr) Ohmi 

shine like .a stahr,Good Lawd, 

Words and melody from "Bahama Soup and Stories 1 ,' ty Chaxtes.L.Edwards t ML D^ 
listed for the American FoUt-Lore Society ty Hongliton, MifflinA Co., Borton, and reprint. 
4 by permifBioa. The arrangement mode for tola bpc* by H,T. 


I Look o'erYander 



J) J> I 

look o'er yan-der,what I see? Some-body's dy. ing ev . *ry day. 
See bright an- g-el stand-in* dere; Some-body's ev.*ry day. 



P. R I 

p r* i 

day, pass-In' a . vay, 

Ev . *ry day, pass-iif a - vay, 


^ ry day, pass- In* a * vay, Somebody^ 4y * lag* r ,ry day. 

Aa **ntbem rt which Is nag la the Bahama* at a 'setttt up", a sort of aU-night watch ia and 
arotiad the hat of a dying person. Words and melody from "Bahama Songs and Stories'; by 
Charles L. Edwards, Ph. D^ published for the American Polk -Lore .Society by Hottgfrton,Mifc 
ffinA Co. aad reprinted by permisaiba. The arrangement made tor this wosfcbyfl.T.Brlei(0i, 



away in communities in which Protestant influences were 
dominant, especially where the teachings of the Methodists 
and Baptists took strongest hold. There the "shout" 
provided vent for the emotions to which their ancestors 
gave expression in mad and lascivious dancing, 

Paul B. du Chaillu 1 describes a nocturnal funeral chant 
whose wailing seemed burdened with a sense of absolute 
hopelessness and whose words ran thus: 

Oh, you will never speak to us any more, 
We can not see your face any more, 
You will never walk with us again, 
You will never settle our palavers for us. 

Edwards, in his history of the West Indies, 2 says of the 
slaves in those islands: 

At other times, more especially at the burial of such among them as were 
respected in life or venerable through age, they exhibit a sort of Pyrrhick or 
war-like dance, in which their bodies are strongly agitated by running, leaping 
and jumping, with many violent and frantick gestures and contortions. Their 
funeral songs, too, are all of the heroick or martial cast, affording some colour 
to the prevalent notion that the negroes consider death not only as a welcome 
and happy release from the calamities of their condition, but also as a passport 
to the place of their nativity; a deliverance which, while it frees them from 
bondage, returns them to the society of their dearest, long lost and lamented 
relatives in Africa. 

From the description by Francisco Travassos Valdez, 8 
it appears that in Loanda, Lower Guinea, when a death 
occurs the friends of the dead person not only sing and 
dance at the funeral, but repeat the rites at intervals of a 
week and a month. In the songs the good deeds of the 
departed are celebrated and his virtues extolled. The 
eulogies are interrupted at intervals by one of the mourners 
exclaiming, "He is dead!" whereupon all the others reply 
in chorus, "Woe is me!" 

Itf some sections of Africa the period of mourning is, or 
was, a period of cessation from musical performances; in 

song is quoted by Prof. Edwards from Du Chaillu's "Explorations 
and Adventures in Equatorial Africa," and Prof. Edwards refers for similar 
examples to Major A. G, Laing*s "Travels in Western Africa," London, 1825, 
pp. 233 and 237; Theodor Waltz's "Anthropoloeie der Naturvolker " Leiosic. 

"The History, Civil and Commercial, of the British Colonies in the West 
Indies," by Bryan Edwards, Esq., F. R. S., S. A., Vol. II, p. 103. 

"Six Years of a Traveller's Life in Western Africa," London, 1861, cited 
by Engel. 



others death and burial were accompanied by noisy 

The Abbe Proyart, in his "History of Loango, Kakongo 
and Other Kingdoms of Africa," 1 tells of a custom, when 
a native is sick, of summoning, with the physician, a band 
of musicians, who assemble around his house and play 
on instruments incessantly day and night, presumably till 
the patient is recovered or dead. It is not unlikely that in 
this custom (which, in a way, suggests the practices of the 
shamans of the North American Indians) is to be found 
the origin of the singular custom of "settin* up," which is 
described by Professor Charles L. Edwards in his "Bahama 
Songs and Stories." This nocturnal song-service, which 
Jenny Woodville described as a feature of slave life in the 
Southern States, 2 is held when a negro is supposed to be 
dying. "The singers, men, women and children of all 
ages," says Professor Edwards, "sit about on the floor 
of the larger room of the hut and stand outside at the 
doors and windows, while the invalid lies upon the floor 
in the smaller room. Long into the night they sing their 
most mournful hymns and 'anthems/ and only in the light 
of dawn do those who are left as chief mourners silently 

The "anthem" which is most often used on these occa- 
sions is "I Look o'er Yander." A notable thing about it 
is that it is one of the rare examples of a negro melody 
in three-part measure (compound); but there is no sug- 
gestion of a lightsome mood on that account in the melody. 
"With all the sad intonation accented by the tense emo- 
tion of the singers," says Professor Edwards, "it sounds 
in the distance as though it might well be the deatfi, tri- 
umph of some old African chief: 

Each one of the dusky group, as if by intuition, takes some part in the 
melody, and the blending of aft tone-colors in the soprano, tenor, alto and 
bass, without reference to the fixed laws of harmony, makes such peculiarly 
touching music as I have never heard elsewhere. As this song of consolation ac- 
companies the sighs of the dying one, it seems to be taken up by the mournful 
rustle of the palm and to be lost only in the undertone of murmur from the 
distant coral reef* It is all weird and intensely sad. 

1 In the Pinkert Collection. 

* "Lippincott's Magazine" for November, 1878. 



Closely related to this custom of "settin* up" apparently 
is one to which Mrs. Jeannette Robinson Murphy called 
attention in an interesting article, accompanied by songs 
and stories, which she published some years ago in "The 
Independent." In this custom the hymns which are sung 
at the deathbed become messages to loved ones gone 
before, which the departing soul is charged tobear to heaven. 
"When a woman dies," wrote Mrs. Murphy, "some friend 
or relative will kneel down and sing to the soul as it 
takes its flight. One of the songs contains endless verses, 
conveying remembrances to relatives in glory." Here, 
surely, is a lovely and truly exalted variant of the primitive 
custom of placing coins in the mouths of the dead to pay 
the Stygian ferryman, or slaughtering dogs, horses and 
slaves for a chiefs companionship on the journey into 
the next world. 

And yet even this affecting ceremony may have had 
its origin in the awful practice which prevails in Dahomey, 
to which every year a large number of lives are, or used 
to be, sacrificed. On the death of a Dahoman king the 
"grand custom," as it is called, is celebrated, at which at 
times as many as five hundred captives have been slain 
to make up the household of the departed monarch in the 
other world. Besides this sacrifice there is an annual one 
at which from sixty to eighty are killed and sent as bearers 
of messages and news from the new king to his predecessor. 
Into the ear of each unfortunate the king whispers the 
words which he wishes to have reported, whereupon the 
executioner immediately strikes off the ghostly postman's 
mortal head. 

Much more singular than this singing to the soul, is a 
custom which is said to have prevailed in South Carolina, 
where, on the death of the father of a family, his relatives, 
assembled around the coffin, ranged in order of age and 
relationship, sang the following hymn while marching 
around the body: 

Dese all my fader's children. 

Outshine de sun! 
My fader's done wid de trouble o' de world 

Outshine de sunl 

[ 108] 


The youngest child was then taken and passed first 
over, then under the coffin, whereupon two men took it 
on their shoulders and carried it to the grave "on the run"* 

Among the songs which Colonel Higginson imprisoned 
in his notebook writing it down, perhaps, in the darkness, 
with his hand, as he says, in the covert of his pocket, as 
he overheard it from dusky figures moving in "the rhyth- 
mical barbaric chant called a 'shout' " beside the campfire, 
then carrying it to his tent "like a captured bird or insect" 
was a nocturnal funeral song which surprised him most 
because its images were furnished directly by external 
nature. "With all my experience of their ideal ways of 
speech," he says, "I was startled when first I came on such 
a flower of poetry in the dark soil." 

I know moonlight, I know starlight; 

I lay dis body down. 
I walk in de moonlight, I walk in de starlight; 

I lay dis body down. 
I know de graveyard, I know de graveyard, 

When I lay dis body down. 
I walk in de graveyard, I walk troo de graveyard 

To lay dis body down. 
I lay in de grave and stretch out my arms; 

I lay disjbody down. 
I go to de judgment in de evenin' of de day 

When I lay dis body down. 
An* my soul an 9 your soul will meet in de day 

When we lay dis body down. 

And Colonel Higginson comments : " Til lie in de grave 
and stretch out my arms.' Never, it seems to me, since 
man first lived and suffered, was his infinite longing for 
peace uttered more plaintively than in that line." The 
phrase of melody which the editors of "Slave Songs" ap- 
pended to Colonel Higginson's words is altogether too 
banal to be accepted as the one to which a poem bearing 
such a burden of pathos could possibly have been sung. 
The music is much more likely to have been something 
like that of "O Graveyard" (see page no), which I have 
included in my list the words a variant of "0 Moon- 
rise/' the tune quite worthy of being described as a flower 
of melody floating on dark waters in the shifting shadow* 
of the moon: 

* "Slave Songs/' page 101. 



O GraveyardI 


r r i 

1. grave-yard! 

O grave-yard! I'm 

li U I 

walk-in' fzdo de grave-yard; 

2. 1 know moonllg-ht, I know starliglxt, 
An walkirf troo de starlight; 
Lay dls body down. 

3. OxnysotOl Oyowsoult 

fm walkixf troo de graveyard; 
Lay dls body down. 

The 9ft angement ma^ f<Jr this work by H. T. Burlelgb. Word* end melody from "Slave 
.8ongs of the United Statee," New York, 1867. 



graveyard! graveyardl 
I'm walkin* troo de graveyard 
Lay dis body down. 

It was Mr. Allen's ingenious surmise that this was the 
song which was heard by Mr. W. H. Russell, war corre- 
spondent of the London "Times" and which he described 
in Chapter XVIII of "My Diary, North and South." 
He is telling of a midnight row from Potaligo to "Mr. 
Trewcott's Estate" on Barn well Island: 

The oarsmen, as they bent to their task, beguiled the way by singing in 
unison a real negro melody, which was as unlike the works of the Ethiopian 
Serenaders as anything m song could be unlike another. It was a barbaric 
sort of madrigal, in which one singer beginning was followed by the others 
in unison, repeating the refrain in chorus, and full of quaint expression and 

Oh, your soul! Oh, my soul! 

I'm going to the churchyard 

To lay this body down; 

Oh, my soul! Oh, your soul! 
We're going to the churchyard 
To lay this nigger down. 

And then some appeal to the difficulty of gassing the "Tawdan" constituted 
the whole of the song, which continued with unabated energy during the 
whole of the little voyage. To me it was a strange scene. The stream, dark 
as Lethe, flowing between the silent, houseless, rugged banks, lighted up near 
the landing by the fire in the woods, which reddened the sky- the wild strain 
and the unearthly adjurations to the singer's souls as though they were pal- 
pable, put me in mind of the fancied voyage across the Styx. 





The world over there is a most intimate relationship 
between folksong and folkdance. Poetical forms and 
rhythms are the effects as well as the causes of the re- 
gulated movements and posings of the dance. Peoples, 
like those of Africa, who have a highly developed sense 
of rhythm also have a passionate fondness for the dance, 
and it was to have been expected that the black slaves 
would not only develop them in their new environment, 
but also preserve the rhythms of those primitive dances 
in the folksongs which they created here. This was the 
case, in a measure, but the influence which was most potent 
in the development of the characteristic folksong was 
prejudicial to the dance. 

The dances which were part and parcel of the primitive 
superstitions which the slaves brought with them from 
Africa necessarily fell under the ban of the Christian 
Church, especially of its Protestant branch. In Louisiana, 
the Antilles and Spanish America the Roman Catholic 
Church exercised a restrictive and reformative influence 
upon the dance; in other parts of the continent the Metho- 
dist and Baptist denominations, whose systems were most 
appealing to the emotional nature of the blacks, rooted 
it out altogether, or compelled the primitive impulse to 
find expression in the "shout" just as the same influences 
led the white population to substitute the song-games, 
which are now confined to children, for the dance in many 
sections of the United States. 

F 112] 


Practically all of the dances described by African travel- 
lers were orgies in which the dramatic motif, when not 
martial, was lascivious. Dr. Holub, in his "Seven Years 
in South Africa," 1 says that the Mabunda dance is of 
so objectionable a character that the negroes refuse to 
dance it, except in masks. In "From Benguela to the 
Territory of Yucca," by H. Capello and R. Ivens, of the 
Royal Portuguese Navy, 2 the authors say of the native 
dances: "As a rule, these are of the grossest kind, which 
the women, more particularly, try to make as obscene as 
possible; without grace, without cachet, but simply in- 
decent and fitted only to inflame the passions of the 
lowest of our sex. After three or four pirouttes before 
the spectators, the male dancer butts his stomach violently 
against the nearest female, who, in turn, repeats the 
action, and thus brings the degrading spectacle to an end." 
Dr. Georg Schweinfurth, in his "Heart of Africa," 3 describ- 
ing an orgy of the Bongo, says: "The license of their 
revelry is of so gross a character that the representations 
of one of my interpreters must needs be suppressed. It 
made a common market-woman droop her eyes, and called 
up a blush even to the poor sapper's cheeks." In "Across 
Africa," by Verney Lovett Cameron, C. B., D. C. L., com- 
mander in the Royal Navy, 4 the author writes: "Dancing 
in Manyuema" a cannibal country "is a prerogative of 
the chiefs. When they feel inclined for a terpsichorean per- 
formance they single out a good-looking woman from the 
crowd, and the two go through much wriggling and curious 
gesticulation opposite each other. The village drums are 
brought out and vigorously beaten, the drummers mean- 
while shouting 'Gamello! Gamello!' If the woman is 
unmarried the fact of a chief asking her to dance is equi- 
valent to an offer of marriage, and many complications 
often occur in consequence." 

There was none of this bestiality on exhibition in the 
dances of the Dahomans, which I saw at the World's 

1 London, 1881. 

* London, 1882. 

Vol. I, page 355. 

* New York: Harper's, 1887. 



Fair in Chicago in 1893, for reasons which can easily be 
imagined; such spectacles as the travellers describe would 
not be tolerated in a civilized community anywhere in the 
world at the present time, though the equally frank 
danse du venire, which the Latin satirists scourged cen- 
turies ago, was to be seen in the Midway Plaisance 
under circumstances which seemed to have been accepted 
as a palliative, just as the "tango" and the "turkey-trot," 
the former African in name and both African in dramatic 
motif and purpose, are tolerated in circles which call 
themselves polite to-day. The dances of the Dahomans 
were war dances. These people have been in constant 
contact with white traders for more than a hundred years, 
but they probably take the same "delight in singing, 
dancing and cutting off heads" now that they did when 
Forbes visited them three-quarters of a century ago. 
Indeed, a bit of pantomimic action, which I saw repeated 
several times at the fair, testified, in a way almost too 
vivid to be amusing, to the love of decapitation which has 
been so much commented on by travellers. 

A dozen or more names of dances, all of vague meaning 
and etymology, have come down to us in the books of men 
who have written about the negroes in the Western Hemi- 
sphere, and so far as can be learned all these dances were 
more or less wild and lascivious. Lascivious they have 
remained, even in the forms which they have assumed 
under the influence of French and Spanish culture. There 
is no doubt in the mind of Friedenthal, whose observations 
were wide and whose descriptions are sympathetic, that 
the rhythmical foundation of the fascinating Habanera 
is a negro product upon which graceful melodies were 
imposed. "We shall make no error," he writes, 1 in assum- 
ing that the Habanera, as its name already indicates, 
originated in Havana. Thence it conquered all of Spanish 
and Portugese America (i. e., Brazil), and also the European 
settlements in the West Indies, Central and South America. 
But it is to be particularly observed that only the real 
Habanera, the dance with simple rhythms, penetrated 
1 Op. dt., pp. 115-116. 



to these lands. Extended and complicated rhythms are 
known only where the negroes are to be found outside 
of the West Indies, in Brazil and on the coasts of Venezuela, 
Colombia, Central America and Mexico. In other 
countries, as, for instance, the interior of Mexico, the 
Plata states and ' Chili, where there are no negroes, ex- 
tended and complicated rhythms are entirely unknown." 
Commenting in another place 1 on the influences which 
created the dances of the American Creoles, he says : 

Not much less can have been the share, on the other hand, which the 
Spaniards and Creoles took in the dances of the blacks. Every day in their 
hours of rest they had opportunities to see the partly sensual, partly grotesque 
and wild dances of their black slaves, and to hear their peculiar songs. What 
impressions may not these fascinating, complicated and bizarre and yet trans- 
parent rhythms of the negroes have made upon the Spaniards who themselves 
possess a refined sense of rhythm. Added to this the strange instruments 
of percussion which, while marking the rhythm, exerted an almost uncanny 

Here, then, two races confronted each other, both highly musical 'but 
reared in different musical worlds. No wonder that the Spaniards also bene- 
fited from and promptly took up these remarkable rhythms into their own 
music. Of all these rhythms, however, the simplest which can be heard from 
all negroes is this: 


which, we have already learned, is the rhythm of the Habanera. The melody 
of the Habanera, which we would derive from Middle or Southern Spain, and 
the rhythm which accompanies it and had its origin in Africa, therefore re- 
present, in a way, the union of Spanish^ spirit with African technique. We 
thus get acquainted with a hybrid art in the Habanera, or Danza, but as 
must at once be said here, the only hybrid art-form of Creole music. 

The Habanera, as a dance, is not vocal, but its form has 
been used most charmingly in vocal music, and in two 
of its manifestations, Carmen's air in the first scene of 
Bizet's opera and the Mexican song "Paloma," 

it is universally familiar. I have found a few Afro-Ameri- 
can songs in which the characteristic rhythm is so persist- 
ently used as to suggest that they were influenced by a 
subconscious memory of the old dance; but the evidence 

1 Page 95. 



is not sufficient to authorize such a statement as a scientific 
fact. I make room for one, "Tant sirop est doux," an 
erotic song from Martinique, which M. Tiersot says is 
widely known among French colonies inhabited by the 

The origin of the Habanera is perpetuated in its name, 
and in this respect it stands alone. Other dances of which 
writers on the Antilles have made mention are the Bam* 
boula, Bouene, Counjai (or Counjaille), Calinda (or Calien- 
da, possibly from the Spanish Que Undo), Bele (from the 
French bel air), Benguine, Babouille, Cata (or Chata) and 
Guiouba. The last word seems preserved in the term"juba," 
which is now applied to the patting accompaniments of 
negro dance-songs made familiar by the old minstrel shows. 
The word Congo, as applied to a negro dance which is 
still remembered in Louisiana, is, I fancy, a generic term 
there, though it is also used in French Guiana for a dance 
called Chica in Santo Domingo and the Windward 
Islands. The Bamboula is supposed to have been so called 
after the drum of bamboo, which provided its musical 
stimulus. An African word seems to lie at the bottom of 
the term Counjai. Long years ago Lafcadio Hearn wrote 
me from New Orleans: "My quadroon neighbor, Mamzelle 
Eglantine, tells me that the word Koundjo (in the West 
Indies Candio or Candjo) refers to an old African dance 
which used to be danced with drums/* Perhaps some such 
meaning is preserved in the Song "Criole Candjo." (See 
page 118.) 

The etymology of the other terms baffles me, but it is 
of no consequence in this study; the dances were all alike 
in respect of the savage vigor and licentiousness which 
marked their performance. "The Calinda," say the 
editors of "Slave Songs of the United States," "was a sort 
of contradance which has now passed entirely out of use." 
Bescherelles describes the two lines as "avanfant et recuLant 
en cadence et faisant des contortions fort singulieres et des 
gestes fort lascifs." It is likely that the Calinda disappeared 
from Louisiana as a consequence of the prohibition of the 
dances in the Place Congo in New Orleans, about 1843; 



Tant sirop est doux 

Allegro rlsoluto 



p ijt J\M', 



Tant sirop est dome, Made4eUne, Taut sirop est douxf 


fai pas tant de bruit, Made-leiu\ ne 
cri - er pas "si fort, Made-lein', ne 

fai pas tant de bruit, 
cri-ez pas si fort, 

i rf* 

Madelein', . 




7 f 




r 1 " 



mai-sdna'estpas & vans, Made-lein', La mai-sonn'est pas 2 now. 

7 r 

A Martinique Song. Words and Melody collected by Lafcadio Eearn, Arrangement by fhc 



Oriole Candjo 

. . Moderate 

la yo, 
vhite beau, 

Li te tout tans a - pe 
Kip all de time meck-in' 

Vi - ni, za - mie, pou' nous 



r ' 

Non> Mi . ,ohe, m'pas ou - le ri - - re 
"Naw sah; I dawn't want meek mer - - rie, 









Non Mi . ohl, m'pas on - le ri - 
sah, I daWt vantmeck mer. 


Non, Mi - ch6, m'pas ou - U ri - 
sab, I dawnt want meek mer- 

- n 


rr r ' 

moin, Non, HI - ch6, m'pas on - IS ri- 

me, Naw sah, I daWt want meek mer - 

- re. 




Mo court! dans youn bois voisin, 
Mais Criole la prend meme ci min, 
Et tous tans li m'ape dire, 
"Vini, zamie, pou' nous rire." 
"Non, Miche, m'pas oule rire moin, 
Non, Michc, m'pas oule rire." 


Mais H te tant cicane moi, 
Pou li te quitte moin youn fois 
Mo te 'blize pou' li dire, 
"Oui, Miche, mo oule rire. 
Oui, Miche, mo oule rire moin, 
Oui, Miche, mo oule rire." 


Zaut tous qu'ap'es rire moin la-bas 
Si zaut te conne Candjo la, 
Qui belle fa? on li pou 9 rire, 
Die pini moin! zaut s're dire, 
"Oui, Miche, mo oule rire moin, 
Oui, Miche, mo oule rire." 


(I go teck walk in wood close by, 
But Creole teck same road and try 
All time all time to meek free 
"Swithawt, meek merrie wid me." 
"Naw, sah, I dawn't want meek merrie, me, 
Naw, sah, I dawn't want meek merrie." 


But him slide 'round an 'round dis chile. 
Tell, jis fo' sheck 'im off lill while 
Me, I was bleedze fo' say: "Shoo! 
If I'll meek merrie wid you? 
(X yass, I ziss leave meek merrie, me, 
Yass, sah, I ziss leave meek merrie." 


You-alls wat laugh at me so well, 
I wish vou'd knowed dat Creole swell, 
Wid all 'is swit, smilin' trick. 
'Pon my soul! you'd done say, quick, 
"0, yass, I ziss leave meek merrie, me. 
Yass, sah, I ziss leave meek merrie.") 

The melody as written down by Mr. W. Macrum of Pittsburgh; English 
paraphrase by George W. Cable, used by his permission and that of The Cen- 
tury Company. A note to the author from Lafcadio Hearn (who, at that 
time, was a resident of New Orleans), says: "My quadroon neighbor, Mam- 
zelle Eglantine, tells me that^the word koundjo (in the West Indies Candio 
or Candjo} refers to an old African dance which used to be danced with drums. 
The'Cnole Candjo' is, therefore, a sort of nigger Creole dandy who charms and 
cajoles women by his dancing what the French would call un beau valseur" 



but it and other dances of its character have remained in 
existence in the West Indies. Hearn says, 1 "Two old African 
dances, the Caleinda and the Bele (which, later is accom- 
panied by chanted improvization) are danced on Sundays 
to the sound of the drum on almost every plantation in 
the island" (Martinique). As Hearn saw the Calinda 
it was danced by men only, all stripped to the waist and 
twirling heavy sticks in a mock fight. "Sometimes,'* he 
adds, "especially at the great village gatherings, when the 
blood becomes overheated by tafia, the mock fight may be- 
come a real one, and then even cutlasses are brought 
into play." The surmise lies near that the Calinda may 
originally have been a war dance. Its name and measures 
survive in some Creole songs, one of which will occupy my 
attention when the use of song for satirical purposes is 

TheCounjai ("Caroline," p. 139) evidently cameunder the 
personal observation of the lady who collected some secular 
Creole songs in St. Charles Parish, La., which found their 
way into "Slave Songs of the United States." They were 
sung, she says, "to a simple sort of dance, a sort of minuet." 
But they are in duple time, while the minuet is in triple 
measure. The songs have a refrain, which is sung by the 
chorus, and solo verses which are improvized by a leader 
distinguished by his voice and poetical skill, who, in them, 
compliments a dusky beauty or lauds a plantation hero. 
The dancers do not sing, and the accompaniment seems 
to be purely instrumental a mere beating on a drum made 
of a flour barrel and a rasping on the jawbone of an animal 
with a key. This singular instrument has a prototype in 
Africa in the shape of a notched board, which is rubbed 
with a stick. Livingstone describes what he calls a "cas- 
suto," a "hollow piece of wood about a yard long, covered 
with a board cut like a ladder. Running a stick along it 
gives a sound within which passes for a tenor." The de- 
scription is Wallaschek's; the Chinese have a temple instru-* 
ment embodying the same principle a wooden tiger with 
a serrated spine. Hearn mentions primitive drums as used 

* "Two Years," etc., p, 143. 

[ 121] 


Aurore Praddre 


Ail - rare Pra- dire, belle Hi fcfle, An - rore Pra-dere, 
Aa - rare Pra-dere, pret-ty maid, Aa- rore Pra-dere, 

belle Hi fiJle, 
pret - ty maid) 

- rore Pra - ddre f belle Hi fine, 

- rore Pra - dere, pret - 17- maid, 



p 'P p p 

li mo on-16, c'est U ma pron. Ta moun qui dit li 
Just what I want and her til hare. Some say that she'? too 

[ 122] 




9 V i . p ip ir p-a 

trop zo - lie, Ya moun qoi dit 13 pas po - lie; Tout 
pret - ty, quite, Some folks they say she's not po-lite; All 

oa ya dit (Sia!) bin fon bin, 
this they say, no fool am I, 

C'est li mo ou-16, o'est li mapren. 
For she's what I want, and her ill hare. 

fi. Aurora Pradere, beUe Hi fine/rftfr.j 

O'est H mo oull, tfest 11 ma pren. 
Li pas mande* robe monssUine, 
la pas mand6 deba brod^, 
Li pas mandd soolier prineUe> 
O'est li mo ool6, tfest li ma pren* 

Anrore Pr&dere, pretty 

She's just what I want and her I'll hare- 
A muslin grown She does x& choose, 
She does n't ask for broldered hose> 
She does nt want prunella shoes; 

O s&efe what I want and her I*U hare. 

The melody in the rhythm of a ^o^ai. Melody and words of the second stanza from a Slave> 
Songs of the United States," having been collected on the Good Hope plantation 2n St Charles 
Parish in Louisiana. The arrangement was made by the author for George W. Gable's essay 
entitled "The Dance in the Place Congo y which appeared in the Century Magazine for Febru- 
ary, 1886. Reprinted by permission of Mr. Gable and the Century Go. 



Remon, Rftmm 

I *' r J ' r " P P ' P r J =i 

r r ' * r_ * A. fit 

Mo par-16 R^.aum, R^ - mon, li par- 16 61 - mon, 



j J U U 

mon, ii par-le Ti-tine, Ti - tine, li tom-b* dans cha-grin. 

Belle femme, gni ^a von- lez mo 

A Coonjai. i( I spoke to Remon, he spoke to Simon, he spoke toTitlne.wlio was stricken with 
grief. O, woman Romulus, beautiful woman Romulus, you have done tome what yon wished" 
Words and melody from "Slave Songs of the United States'. 1 The arrangement by John Van 
firoekhoven, printed in the Century Magazine in George W. Cable's essayi'The Dance in Place 
Congo 1 ,' is here reprinted by permission of Mr Cable and the Century Co. 


in New Orleans in a letter to me dated January, 1885: "Yes, 
I have seen them dance, but they danced the Congo, and 
sang a purely African song to the accompaniment of a 
drygoods box beaten with a stick or bones and a drum 
made by stretching a skin over a flour barrel. As for the 
dance in which the women do not take their feet off the 
ground it is as lascivious as is possible. The men dance 
very differently, like savages leaping in the air." 

To Mr. Hearn I owe several examples of Martinique 
folk-music, which were written down for him by a band- 
master in St. Pierre. (Page 126.) A fascinating combi- 
nation of African and Spanish elements is found in the 
melody, which the collector called "Manmam Colette" 
unquestionably a dance-song. On the bandmaster's 
transcription he had written directions that the first part 
(allegretto) be sung eight times; then comes the dance 
(allegro) ten times. The same directions probably applied 
also to "Ou beau di moin tete ou bien pomadee." The 
second part of the tune, to which the bandmaster gave 
the title "Dessan mouillage acheter daubanes," has a 
curious resemblance to a Tyrolean "yodel." It is probably 
the melody to which a ballad to which Hearn makes refer- 
ence is sung: 

Moin descenne Saint-Pie, 

Achete dobannes; 

Aulie ces dobannes 

C'est yon lei Ms menmoin monte. 

The spelling of the soft and musical Creole patois is a 
matter of individual case, taste and fancy. The ballad 
tells the story of a youth of Fort de France who was sent 
to St. Pierre to buy a stock of earthenware water-jars 
(dobannes) , but who fell in love with a colored girl and spent 
his father's money in buying her presents and a wedding 
outfit. Hearn cites the song to illustrate a pretty simile. 
The phrase "bel bois" is used to designate handsome people. 
"Toutt bel bois ka alle," said Manm-Robert, meaning that 
all the handsome people are passing away. "This is the 
very comparison made by Ulysses looking upon Nausicaa, 
though more naively expressed," comments our author. 

[ 125 j 


Three Dance-tunes from Martinique 

N9 i. Manmam Colette 

N9 2. Ou beau di moin tete ou bien pomad6e 

N9 8. Dessan mouillage acheter daubanes 

transcribed ty a Bandmaster at St Pierre and sent to the author ty Ufcadio He 








The circumstance that the folksongs of the slaves were 
preserved by oral tradition alone until nearly fifty years 
ago, when the first collection was printed, gives peculiar 
interest to a study of their language or rather their 
languages, for the songs of the black Creoles of Louisiana 
and the Antilles are also American folksongs, though they 
are sung in French patois and not in English. In both 
cases a fundamental phenomenon confronts us: The 
slave had to make the language in which he communicated 
with his master, or rather he had to reconstruct it orally 
without the help of written or printed books. Having 
made his patois, he forgot his own native tongue and per- 
petuated the new medium of communication in the same 
way in which he had learned and perpetuated the African 
language. After this had been done and the new tongue 
had become to him a vehicle for his rude artistic utter- 
ances, those utterances had to be retained by tradition 
and transmitted by word of mouth entirely. This brought 
with it a phenomenon with which students of ballads are 
familiar the corruptions of texts due to the hab'it of accept- 
ing sound for sense. The slaves of the States in which the 
masters spoke English, under Protestant influences, heard 
the Biblical expressions which appealed powerfully to their 
imagination and emotions from their preachers, some of 
whom were as illiterate as the multitude they sought to 
enlighten. They heard their masters use many words of 
which they could only surmise the meaning, but which also 
appealed to them as resounding and mouth-filling. Like 

I 127] 


children they accepted the sounds without inquiring into 
the sense, or gave them meanings of their own. Such 
terms as "iggle-quarter," "count-aquils" and "ginny-bank" 
in the working song "Ho, round the corn, Sally," may be 
corruptions of French words heard from the Huguenot 
refugees. (Unless, indeed, "iggle-quarter" be eagle-quarter, 
"ginny-bank," the Bank of Virginia, and the lines have 
a financial sense.) Others have a more or less obvious inter- 
pretation. "Oh, my body rock 'long fever" may have 
well been carried away from a sickroom as the remark 
of master or mistress: "My body has long been racked 
by a fever." "Body racked wid pain" is a line in one of 
the songs which I have printed "O'er the Crossing." I 
cannot accept the interpretation of "Daniel rock de lion 
joy" as "Daniel racked the lion's jaw," given in a footnote 
of "Slave Songs"; "locked the lion's jaw" is too obviously 
the correct reading. "An' de nineteen wile in his han*" 
is pretty plainly indicated as once having read: "The anoint- 
ing oil in his hand" by the context, and "John sittin' on 
de golden order" was probably "John sitting on the golden 
altar" a picture which could not fail to appeal to the 
fancy of the negroes, though I do not know where they 
found it. 

The survival of words from African languages seems 
much smaller in the songs than in the folktales from Ba- 
hama which Professor Edwards prints in his book. 1 As I 
have intimated, these words would naturally be retained 
in songs connected with superstitious ceremonies , and 
forbidden dances. 

In his preface to "Slave Songs" Mr. Allen points out 
that "phonetic" decay had gone very far in the speech of 
the slaves, and with it "an extreme simplification of ety- 
mology and syntax." Th and v or f had been softened 
into d and i; v and w had been interchanged; words had 
been shorn of syllables which seemed redundant as illus- 
trated in "lee' bro' " for "little brother." The letters n, v 
and r were sometimes used euphonically, perhaps to grat- 
ify a melodic sense, as the vowel a frequently was for 
1 "Bahama Songs and Stories." 

[ 128] 


rhythmical effect. Mr. Allen gives an example of the 
euphonic n : "He de baddes' little gal from yere to ^'Europe" ; 
the interjection of a, as in "settin' side-a ob de holy Lamb," 
is very common. 

There were contractions which scarcely call for comment, 
in view of what still happens every day among cultured 
white people in colloquial speech. The progress of "How 
do you do?" through "How d'ye do?" and "How dy'?" 
to "Huddy" is very patent, and we can scarcely deplore 
it in view of the singularly mellifluous and brisk line "Tell 
my Jesus huddyO." The grammatical simplifications were 
natural enough in a people who hadtospeak alanguage^vhich 
they were not permitted to learn to read or write. Em was a 
pronoun which applied to all genders and both numbers; 
been and done as the past tenses of verbs are familiar 
to-day among other than the blacks in the South, as are 
many other peculiarities of grammar of which we cannot 
say whether the slaves borrowed them from the illiterate 
whites or the whites from them. 

It is perhaps a little singular, though not impossible 
of explanation, that the negroes who came under the 
domination of the French colonists of Louisiana and the 
West Indies should have developed a patois or dialect, 
which is not only more euphonious than the language from 
which it was derived, but also have created a system of 
grammar which reflects credit upon their logical capacity 
and their musical instincts. The peculiarities of the 
English songs referred to are nearly all extinct, but the 
creole patois, though never reduced to writing for its users, 
is still a living language. It is the medium of communica- 
tion between black nurses and their charges in the French 
families of Louisiana to-day, 'and half a century ago it 
was exclusively spoken by French Creoles up to the age of 
ten or twelve years. In fact, children had to be weaned 
from it with bribes or punishment. It was, besides, the 
language which the slave spoke to his master and the 
master to him. The need which created it was the same as 
that which created the corrupt English of the slaves in 
other parts of the country. The Africans who were brought 

[ 129] 


to America had no written language. Among them there 
was diversity of speech as well as of tribes and customs. 
The need of a medium of communication between them and 
their masters was greater than that of a communal lan- 
guage for themselves; and in its construction they had the 
help of their masters, who were not averse to a simplifica- 
tion of their colloquial speech. The African languages were 
soon forgotten. Dr. Alfred Mercier, who wrote a de- 
lightful brochure on the grammar of the Creole patois 
some forty or more years ago, 1 says that there were then 
not more than six or seven African words in the language 
spoken by the Creoles. His meaning, no doubt, was that 
only so many words were employed colloquially, for a 
great many more were in use in the incantations which 
formed a part of their superstitious rites and in some of 
the songs which accompanied their orgiastic dances, 
though their meaning was forgotten. How the black 
slave proceeded in the construction of a grammar for the 
speech which he took from the lips of his master is most 
interestingly described by Dr. Mercier in his pamphlet, 
on which I have drawn for the following notes: 

In the first place, the negro composes the verb. For 
his present indicative he takes a pronoun and the adjective 
which qualifies a state of being. He says Mo contan (Je 
suis content) for "Moi etre content"; he suppresses the 
infinitive (etre). The present indicative tells us that the 
action expressed by the verb is doing. You present your- 
self at the door of a house and say to the negress who opens 
to your knock that you want to speak to her master. She 
replies that he dines (qu'il dine); L *., he is dining (qu'il 
est dinant); to form the present participle she makes use 
of the pronoun lui (which she pronounces If) and places 
it before the preposition apres (ape). Of these two words 
she makes one, lape, to which she adds the infinitive diner 
lape dinin (il est apres diner). 

The preposition apres plays an important role in the 
Creole patois. Dr. Mercier points out that it is used by the 

1 *'tude sur la Langue Creole en Louisiane," evidently printed for private 
circulation, and bearing neither imprint nor date. 



negroes in the same sense in which it was employed long 
ago in France: etre apres faire quelque chose, to be after 
doing something a locution found in Languedoc. 1 The 
creole negro takes the word indicating a state of being and 
prefixes the pronoun: 

Mo Je suis I am 

To Tu es Thou art 

Li II eat He is 

Nou Nous sommes We are 

Vou Vous etes You are 

Ye Us sont They are 

malade ill. 

malades ill. 

To express an act in the course of accomplishment re- 
course is had to the pronoun joined to the preposition 
apres (ape) which is followed by the infinitive: Moi 
apres, i. e., Mo ape, which is contracted into mape, and so 
on with the rest: 



the equivalent of 




Nous sommes 

Vous etes 

Us sont 

apres diner. 

Nothing remains of the pronoun, except the sound of 
the initial letter, and these people having no written 
language, even the letter does not exist for them. When 
the black slave heard his master speak of things in the past 
tense it was the sound te which fell most frequently and 
persistently into his ear: J'etais, tu etais, il etait, ils 
etaient. Upon this te the negro seized as representing 
or figuring the past, and joining it to the pronoun he 
formed his imperfect indicative of the verb etre: 

Tots TV Stais. 
Lite II 6tait. 
Noute Nous etions. 
route Vous etiez, 
Yete -Us etaient. 

1 I might add that Jt is a form with which the English language has been 
enriched by an Irish idiom. 



The negro hears some one say to the white man who is 
expecting an arrival, "II va venir." He recognizes that 
"va" as the sign of the future. For "Ce gros bateau a 
vapeur ne pourra pas descendre quand 1'eau sera basse" 
he says : Gro stimbotte-ldpas capab decende can lo va basse. To 
"va" he attached the infinitive of the verb to determine the 
kind of action, and the pronoun to indicate the actor. 
Thus va chante tells us that there is to be singing. Who is 
to sing? The pronoun gives the information: 



va chante. 


This is the primitive stage of the process which in the 
mouth of the future Creole undergoes two changes: The 
sound va is combined with the pronoun (mova, tova, liva, 
nouva, vouva, yeva chante) , and then for economical con- 
traction the sounds ov, iv, ouv, ev are elided, the initial 
letter of the pronoun is united with the radical sound a, 
and we have: 



Sometimes there is a still further contraction, the pro- 
nominal consonant disappearing, leaving the vowel a alone 
to represent the future. For the imperative mood the Creole 
uses the infinitive, preceded by the noun or pronoun; for 
"Que Jules vienne avec vous" he says: Jule vini ave vou. 
The first person plural in the Creole imperative is curious 
in that to form it he calls in the help of the imperative 
verb "aller," which he pronounces anon; "Traversons cette 
rue" becomes anon traverse larue cila. He escapes such 
embarrassments as "buvons," "dormons," "cousons" with 
the help of his ever-ready anon anon boi, anon dormi, 
anon coude. 

"In its transformation into Creole," says Dr. Mercier, 
"French is simplified and acquires either grace or strength. 

[ 132] 


In many cases the verbs c to be' (etri) and 'to have' (avoir) 
disappear: Li vaillan (il est vaillant); Li pas peur (il 
n'a pas peur). In French the negative particles are over- 
abundant; it is one of the faults of the language. In the 
phrase *I1 n'a pas peur' there are two negatives, e ne' and 
'pas.' The Creole uses only one and says in three words 
what the speaker of French says in five. The difference 
is still more apparent in the phrases "Je commence a etre 
fatigue; je crois qu'il est temps de nous en retourner" 
fourteen words; Mo comance lasse; mo ere tan nou tournin 
eight. Moreover, fleetness is acquired by the suppression 
of the preposition 'a* and the conjunction *que.' " 

Obeying the law of laziness, or following the line of 
least resistance, the Creole elides the letters which are 
difficult of pronunciation, or substitutes easy ones for 
them. The letter r is as difficult for the negro as it is for 
the Chinaman; he elides it and says pou for pour, ape 
for apres, di for dire, cate for quatre. In Martinique, if I 
am to judge by my songs, when he does not dispense with 
the letter altogether he gives it a soft sound, like an in- 
fusion of w into on: ouoche for roche. The French sound 
of u is as difficult for the negro as it is for the Ameri- 
can or Englishman; he does not struggle with it, but sub- 
stitutes the short sound of i: torti for tortue, jige for juge, 
or he uses the continental sound (oo) : la nouite for la nuit, 
ton souite for tout de suite. Eu he changes to ai, as in air; 
lonair for Phonneur; j and g giving him trouble, he changes 
them to z: touzou for tou jours, zamais for jamais, manze 
for mange. He has no use for the first person pronoun 
"je," mo sufficing him; and "tu" he replaces with to and 
toi. Words which are too long to suit his convenience he 
abbreviates at pleasure: barace, embarrasse; pelt, appele; 
blie, oublie. 

Thus, then, grew the pretty language, soft in the mouth 
of the Creole as bella lingua in bocca toscana, in which the 
Creole sang of his love, gave rhythmical impulse to the 
dance, or scourged with satire those who fell under his 
displeasure the uses to which the music was put which I 
purpose now to discuss. It should be borne in mind that 

[ 133 ] 


the popular notion in the United States that a Creole is a 
Louisiana negro is erroneous. Friedenthal discusses the 
origin of the word and its application in the introduction 
to his book "Musik, Tanz und Dichtung bei den Kreolen 
Amerikas." The Spanish word criollo, from which the 
French Creole is derived, is a derivation from the verb 
criar, to create, bring up, breed. From this root other 
words are derived; not only substantives like cria (brood), 
crianza (education, bringing up), criatura, criador, etc., but 
also criada (servant), which in other languages has a 
very different etymology (Diener, serviteur, domestique, 
servo, etc.). The term criado is a relic of the old patriarchal 
system, under which the servants of the household were 
brought up by the family. Children of the servants became 
servants of the children of the master. So on the plan- 
tations of the Southern States slaves were set apart from 
childhood to be the playmates and attendants of the 
children of the family. Criollo also signifies things bred 
at home but born in foreign lands, and thus it came about 
that the Spaniard called his children born in foreign lands 
criollos; and as these foreign lands were chiefly the American 
colonies, the term came to be applied first to the white 
inhabitants of the French and Spanish colonies in America 
and only secondarily to the offspring of mixed marriages, 
regardless of their comparative whiteness or blackness. 

When Lafcadio Hearn was looking up Creole music for 
me in New Orleans in the early 8o's of the last century, he 
wrote in one of his letters : "The Creole songs which I have 
heard sung in the city are Frenchy in construction, but 
possess a few African characteristics of method. The 
darker the singer the more marked the oddities of into- 
nation. Unfortunately, most of those I have heard were 
quadroons or mulattoes." In another letter he wrote: 
"There could neither have been Creole patois nor Creole 
melodies but for the French and Spanish blooded slaves 
of Louisiana and the Antilles. The melancholy, quavering 
beauty and weirdness of the negro chant are lightened by 
the French influence, or subdued and deepened by the 
Spanish." Hearn was musically illiterate, but his powers 



of observation were keen and his intuitions quick and 
penetrating. He felt what I have described as the imposi- 
tion of French and Spanish melody on African rhythm. 

This union of elements is found blended with the French 
patois in the songs created by the Creole negroes in Louisiana 
and the West Indies. Hearn came across an echo of the 
most famous of all Creole love-songs in St. Pierre and in his 
fantastic manner gave it a habitation and a name. De- 
scribing the plague of smallpox in a chapter of "Two Years 
in the French West Indies," he tells of hearing a song com- 
ing up through the night, sung by a voice which had "that 
peculiar metallic timbre that reveals the young negress." 

Always it is one "melancholy chant": 

Pauv' ti Lele, 

Pauv' tj Lele! ^ 

Li gagnin doule, doule, doule, 

Le gagnin doule 

Tout pa tout! 

I want to know who little Lele was, and why she had pains "all over" 
for however artless and childish these Creole songs seem, they are invariably 
originated by some real incident. And at last somebody tells me that "poor 
little Lele had the reputation of being^the ^most unlucky girl in St. Pierre; 
whatever she tried to do resulted only in misfortune ; when it was morning 
she wished it were evening, that she might sleep and forget; but when the 
night came she could not sleep for thinking of the trouble she had had during 
the day, so that she wished it were morning. ..." 

Perhaps "Pov* piti Lolotte" (a portion of whose melody 
served Gottschalk, a New Orleans Creole of pure blood, for 
one of his pianoforte pieces), came from the West Indies 
originally, but it is known throughout Creoleland now. It 
fell under the notice of Alphonse Daudet, who,Tiersot says, 
put it in the mouth of one of his characters in a novel. Out 
of several versions which I have collected I have put the 
song together, words and melody, in the form in which 
Mr. Burleigh has arranged it. (See page 13 6.) It is worth 
noting that the coda of the melody was found only in the 
transcript made from the singing of the slaves on the 
Good Hope plantation, in St. Charles Parish, La., and 
that this coda presents a striking use of the rhythmical 
snap which I have discussed in connection with the "spirit- 
uals," but which is not found in any one of them with so 
much emotional effect as here. In his essay in "The Cen- 

[ 135] 


PoV piti Lolotte 

Andante cantabfle 

n*7ujn' f^ TJ> Jtjjj J'r ' 

PoT'pl-ti Lolotte amouti, PoVpi-ti Lolotte aaundn, 


T '.''.'Ptf .'".'! 

Li gagnin bo-bo, Iw-bo, Li ga-gnto douJe. Por'pi-ti Lo-lotte amonln, 


J> J 

i i 

Poypi4i Lolotte amomn, Li gagnia bo-Hbo-bo, Li ga^xdn doitle. 

I 136] 


p p r 

f\ *' I 

po-te ma-draese, u po - 16 Ji - pon- Ca-la* 
qnand po-te" la ohaute, A -dien eonr-ri tont boa-henr, Dfe-monr 

** Ion po - f ma. drasse, fi po . 
qnand po - t6 la chaine, A - dien 

t6 JI - pon gar - ni. 
oonr-ri tbnt bou-henr* 

^ 4 4 * i 

) ip a 

Li gag&inbo4o.lio-boi gagnin 

PoVpii Lolotteamouin,Pov J pi4i Lolotieamouin, Li gagninbo4jo,ljo-bo^i gagnin 

don-16, Li gagaln dou-le dans ker 4 11. 

Words and melody collate4 tetom various sources by the author. The arrangement made by 


tury Magazine" on Creole songs Mr. Cable wrote: 

One of the best of these Creole love-songs ... is the tender lament 
of one who sees the girl of his heart's choice the victim of chagrin in beholding 
9. female rival wearing those vestments of extra quality that could only be 
the favors which both women had courted from the hand of some proud 
master whence alone such favors should come. "Calalou," says the song, 
"has an embroidered petticoat, and Lolotte, or Zfei," as it is often sung, "has 
a heartache.*' Calalou, here, I take to be a derisive nickname. Originally 
it is lie term for a West Indian dish, a noted ragout. It must be intended 
to apply here to the quadroon women who swarmed into New Orleans in 
1809 as refugees from Cuba, Guadaloupe and other islands where the war 
against Napoleon exposed them to Spanish and British aggression. It was 
with this great influx of persons, neither savage nor enlightened, neither 
white nor black, neither slave nor truly free, that the famous quadroon caste 
arose and flourished. If Calalou, in the verse, was one of these quadroon 
fair ones, the song is its own explanation. 

In its way the song "Caroline" (see page 139) lets light 
into the tragedy as well as the romance of the domestic 
life of the young creole slaves. Marriage, the summit of 
a poor girl's ambition, is its subject that state of blissful 
respectability denied to the multitude either by law or 
social conditions. I have taken words and melody from 
"Slave Songs," but M. Tiersot, who wrote the song down 
from the singing of a negress in New Orleans, gives the 
name of the heroine as Azelie and divides the poem into 
two stanzas separated by a refrain: 

Papa dit non, maman dit non, 

C'est li m'oule, c'est li ma pren. (Bis) 

Un, deux, trois, Azelie. 

Pas pare com ca, ma cher! (Bis) 

Sam'di 1'amour, Dimanch' marie, 

Lundi matin piti dans bras; * 

N'a pas convert', n'a pas de draps, 

N'a pas a rien, piti dans bras! 

(Papa says no, mama says no. 

It is he whom I want and who will have me. 
One, two, three; don't talk that way, my dear! 
Saturday, love; Sunday, married^ 

Monday morning, a little one in arms. 
There is no coverlet, no sheets, nothing little one in arms!) 

Tiersot gives the melody of the stanzas in 5-8 time, of the 
refrain in 2-4, and describes the movements of the dancers 
(the song is a Counjai) as a somewhat languorous turning 
with a slight swaying of the body. I have translated 
"cabanne" cabin, but in Martinique "caban" signifies a bed, 
and in view of M. Tiersot's variant text this may also 
have been the meaning of the term in Louisiana. 

I 138] 





r c p p i K p p p m& 

m. ._ *._ __ __ f _ _T _ ._ 

Aine, do, trois, Ca-ro-Iine, ^a, oa, ye oomme o^a, ma oheret 

r 'J 'J 'J " 

Aine, de", trois, Ca-ro-line, $a, ga, y^comme oa, ma chftr*! 

Pa - pa di non, man-man di oui, 

pas lar.zan potf a-ohete cabanne, O'est Umoj)u-le, o*est U mapren. 

Words and melody from w Slav<i Song* of the United State*? The arrangement, by John Van 
BrodchOYen, to a variant of the pom, wa* printed by MR OaUe in his essay onTTie Dance 
in Place Conffo" and is here reprinted by permission of Mr. Cable and the Century Co, the 
words as song on the Good Hope Plantation, St Charles Parish, La,beinff restored. The mew 
ing of the words is; "One, two, three, that's the way, my dear. Papa says no, mama says yes; 
"Rs him I want and he that win hare me. There will be no money tobtiy a cabin! 1 




In an appendix to his "Bahama Songs and Stories" 
Professor Edwards cites John Mason Brown as giving the 
following classification of the songs of the slave in an 
article printed in "Lippincott's Magazine" for Decem- 
ber, 1868: 

1. Religious songs, *. g., "The Old Ship ol Zion," where the refrain of 
"Glory, hafieloo" in the chorus keeps the congregation well together in the 
singing and allows time for the leader to recall the next verse. 

2. River songs, composed of single lines separated by a barbarous and 
unmeaning chorus and sung by the deck hands and roustabouts mainly for 
the howl. 

3. Plantation songs, accompanying the mowers at harvest, in which the 
strong emphasis of rhythm was more important than the words. 

4. Songs of longing; dreamy, sad and plaintive airs describing the most 
sorrowful pictures of slave life, sung in the dusk when returning home from 
the day's work. 

5. Songs of mirth,^ whose origin and meaning, in most cases forgotten, 
were preserved for the jingle of rhyme and tune and sung with merry laughter 
and with dancing in the evening by the cabin fireside. 

6. Descriptive songs, sung in chanting style, with marked emphasis and 
the prolongation of the concluding syllable of each line. One of these songs, 
founded upon the incidents of a famous horse race, became almost an epidemic 
among the negroes of the slave-holding States. 

In this enumeration there is a significant omission. On 
the plantations where Latin influences were dominant, in 
New Orleans and the urban communities of the Antilles, 
the satirical song was greatly in vogue. It might be said 
that the use of song for purposes of satire cannot be said 
to be peculiar to any one race or people or time; in fact, 
Professor Henry T. Fowler, of Brown University, in his 
"History of the Literature of Ancient Israel," 1 intimates 

1 New York: The Macmillan Company, 1912, page IS. 

[ 140] 


that a parallel may exist between the "taunt songs" of 
primitive peoples, the Israelitish triumph songs, like that 
recorded in Numbers, xxi, 27-30, the Fescennine verses 
of the early Romans, and the satirical songs of the negroes 
of the West Indies. Nevertheless, there is scarcely a 
doubt in my mind but that the penchant for musical 
lampooning which is marked among the black Creoles of 
the Antilles is more a survival of a primitive practice 
brought by their ancestors from Africa than a custom 
borrowed from their masters. What was borrowed was 
the occasion which gave the practice license. 

This* was the carnival, which fact explains the circum- 
stance that the creole songs of satire are much more 
numerous in the French West Indies than in Louisiana. 
The songs are not only more numerous, but their perform- 
ance is more public and more malicious in intent. The 
little song "Musieu Bainjo" (see page 142), melody and 
words of which came from a Louisiana plantation, though 
not wholly devoid of satrical sting, is chiefly a bit of 
pleasantry not calculated deeply to wound the sensibilities 
of its subject; very different are such songs as "Loema 
tombe" (see page 147) and "Marie-Clemence" (see page 
148), which Mr. Hearn sent me from Martinique. The 
verse-form, swinging melodic lilt and incisive rhythm of 
"Michie Preval" (see page 152) made it the most effective 
vehicle for satire which Creole folksong has ever known,'and 
Mr. Cable says that for generations the man of municipal 
politics was fortunate who escaped entirely a lampooning 
set to its air; but it is doubtful if even Mr. Preval, cordially 
hated as he was, had to endure such cruel and spectacular 
public castigation as the creators of the pillard still inflict 
on the victims of their hatred. These songs will come up 
for detailed consideration presently, but first it may be well 
to pursue the plan which I have followed in respect of the 
other elements of Afro-American folksong and point out 
the obvious African origin of this satirical element. 

In many, perhaps in the majority of African tribes, 
there are professional minstrels whose social status now 
is curiously lik that of the mountebanks, actors and secular 

[ 141] 



Voy-e* oe ma-let . . 

Lock at that darkey there, Mister Ban-jo, Does-rft lie put on 



*' sr 

**eeo, aBa 



1 J J * i 1 

* i ' 


Gha.pean sor c3 
Hat cockfcon one 


. Mn.aim Pi 


Xiaoanne i la 
Walking-, stick In 

side, Mister JBan- jo, 

.Jtfj > 

'' ' J 'j 




i ^ * * 

v main, Ma~atea Bain- Jo, 
hand,Mistr Ban -jo., 

f f i ,i 

Botte qai faitcrin, 
Boots that go "crank, 

u y-" t . 


crani?MIster B) 

Iv f - - 

in- jo; 


LJ 4- 





v Voy-es oe ma-let - 
Lookat thatdarkey 



wnrmfl^nftKn-j^, ( 


ll ntjb.te. 
A he |nrt on 


Mister Ban- jo, ] 






i * J 

Words and melody of thte song were noted on a plantation in Si. Charles Parish, Lotgsiana, 
and first printed 1ft "Slave Sons of the United States," the editor remarking that it is an 
"attempt of some enterprising negro to write a French song." The particularly propulsive 
fttfect of the African "snap "at the beginning is noteworthy. The translation, printed by yr. 
tfcble in tike "Century Magazine'/ is used with his permission and that of the Century Go. In 
his comment on the song Mr. Cable remarks: "We have to loso the sancy double meaning be- 
ttraen m*M (nnle> and nvl&tre (mulatto) Arrangement by the author. 

[ 142 ] 


musicians in Europe a few centuries ago. That these black 
minstrels are not "beggars with one consent" is due to the 
fact that their powers of improvization are so great and 
their willingness to employ them to mercenary ends so well 
known that that they are feared as well as hated, and 
conciliated in the manner universal by those who can 
afford to do it. These men, who are called Lashash by 
the Soudanese, Nzangah (a term also applied to prosti- 
tutes) by the Niam-Niam, griots, or guiriots, in Sene- 
gambia and Guinea, and guehues in West Africa, are syco- 
phants attached to the bodies of kings and chiefs, for whom 
they exercise bardic functions. They are extremely sharp 
of tongue and have no hesitation in putting their skill to 
the basest of uses. Hence it comes that persons near 
enough to the sources of power and preferment approach 
them in the same manner in which supplicants for royal 
favor have approached the mistresses of kings and poten- 
tates in civilized countries time out of mind. Moreover, 
as their shafts are as much dreaded as their encomiums are 
desired, they collect as much tribute for what they withhold 
as for what they utter, and many of them grow rich. 
Thomas Ashley, in a book of travels published in 1745,* 
says that they are "reckoned rich, and their wives have 
more crystal blue stones and beads about them than the 
king's wives." But, like the mediaeval European actors, 
jugglers and musicians, they are not recognized as repu- 
table; they are even denied the rite of burial, and in some 
places their dead bodies are left to rot in hollow trees. 

The weapon which these griots use against those whom 
they wish to injure is satire, and this species of poetical 
composition is a feature of the improvizations of the blacks 
in the Antilles to-day and long has been. Bryan Edwards 
says in his history of the English colonies in the West Indies : 

Their songs are commonly impromptu, and there are among them indivi- 
duals who resemble the improvisaton. or extempore bards of Italy; but I 
cannot say much for their poetry. Tneir tunes in general are characteristic 
of their national manners; those of the Eboes being soft and languishing; of the 
Koroxnantyus, heroick and martial. At the same time there is observable in 
most of them a predominant melancholy, which, to a man of feeling, is some- 
times very affecting. 

1 Cited by Engel. 



At their merry meetings and midnight festivals, they are not without 
ballads of another kind, adapted to such occasions, and here they give full 
scope to a talent for ridicule which is exercised not only against each other 
but also, not infrequently, at the expense of their owner or employer; but most 
part of their songs at these places are fraught with obscene ribaldry and ac- 
companied with dances in the highest degree licentious and wanton. 

That was in the eighteenth century, when vast numbers 
of the slaves were African by birth. At the end of the 
nineteenth century Hearn found that satire was still a 
prominent element in the songs of the black people of 
Martinique. He is speaking of the blanchisseuses, hard 
at work early in the morning in the rushing river at St. 

The air grows warmer; the sky blue takes fire; the great light makes joy 
for the washers; they shout to each other from distance to distance, jest, 
laugh, sing. Gusty of speech these women are; long habit of calling to one 
another through the roar of the torrent has given their voices a singular 
sonoritv and force; it is well worth while to hear them sing. One starts the 
song, the next one joins her; then another and another, till all the channel rings 
with the melody from the bridge of the Jardin des Plantes to the Pont-bois: 

"C'est, motn qui if, ka lave, 

Passe, raccommode; 


Qv, mette moin derho, 

Yche moin assous bouas moin; 

Laphe te ka tombe 

Lffan moin assous tete motn; 

Doudoux, ou m'abandonng; 

Moin pa ni pesonne pou soigne moin." 

("It was I who washed and ironed and mended; at 9 o'clock at night thou 
didst put me out of doors, with my child in my arms; the rain was falling, 
with my poor straw mattress upon my headl Doudoux! thou dost abandon 
mel^ . . . I have none to care for me.") ... A melancholy chant 
originally a carnival improvisation made to bring public shame upon the 
perpetrator of^a cruel act; but it contains the story of many of these lives 
the story of industrious, affectionate women temporarily united to brutal 
and worthless men in a country where legal marriages are rare. Half of the 
Creole songs which I was able to collect during a residence of nearly two years 
in the island touch upon the same sad theme. 

Of the carnival, at which these satirical songs spring 
up like poisonous fungi, Hearn draws a vivid picture, pro- 
jecting it with terrible dramatic effect against an account 
of a plague of smallpox. There is a last masquerade before 
Lent, on Ash Wednesday the carnival lasts a day longer 
in Martinique than anywhere else. Since January there 
has been dancing every day in the streets of St. Pierre; 
such dancing as might be indulged in, presumably, by 
decorous persons; but in the country districts African 

[ 144] 


dances have been danced such dances as the city never 
sees. Nevertheless, a cloud rests upon the gayety because 
La Verette^ a terrible and unfamiliar visitor to the island, 
has made her advent. The pestilence, brought from Colon 
on the steamer in the preceding September, has now begun 
to sweep St. Pierre, as it had already swept Fort de France, 
as by a wind of death. Hundreds are dying, but there must 
be the usual procession of maskers, mummers and merry- 
makers. Three o'clock. There is a sound of drums. The 
people tumble into the streets and crowd into the public 

Simultaneously from north and south, from the Mouillage and the Fort, 
two immense bands _ enter the Grande Rue the great dancing societies 
these the Sans-Souci and the Intrepides. They are rivals; they are the 
composers and singers of those carnival songs cruel satires most often, of 
which the local meaning is unintelligible to those unacquainted with the inci- 
dent inspiring the improvisation, of which the words are too often coarse or 
obscene whose burden will be caught up and re-echoed through all the burghs 
of the island. Vile as may be the motive, the satire, the malice, these chants 
are preserved for generations by the singular beauty of the airs, and the victim 
of a carnival song need never hope that his failing or his wrong will be for- 
gotten; it will be sung long after he is in his grave. 

All at once a hush comes over the mob; the drums stop 
and the maskers scatter. A priest in his vestments passes 
by, carrying the viaticum to some victim of the dreadful 
scourge. "Cest Son-Die ka passe" "It is the Good-God 
who goes by." Then the merriment goes on. Night 
falls. The maskers crowd into the ballrooms, and through 
the black streets the Devil makes his last carnival round: 

By the gleam of the old-fashioned oil lamps hung across the thoroughfares 
I can make out a few details of his costume. He is clad in red, wears a hideous 
blood-colored mask and a cap on which the four sides are formed by four 
looking-glasses, the whole headdress being surmounted by a red lantern. He 
has a white wig made of horsehair to make him look weird and old since the 
Devil is older than the world. Down the street he comes, leaping nearly his 
own height, chanting words without human significance and followed by some 
three hundred boys, who form the chorus to his chant, all clapping hands to- 
gether and giving tongue with a simultaneity that testifies how strongly the 
sense of rhythm enters into the natural musical feeling of the African a 
feeling powerful enough to impose itself upon all Spanish- America and there 
create the unmistakable characteristics of all that is called "creole music." 

"Et Zimbolo!" 
"Et bolo-po!" 



sing the Devil and his chorus. His chant is cavernous, abysmal booms from 
his chest like the sound beaten in the bottom of a well. . . "Ti manmaitte- 
la, baill mom lavoixl" ("Give me voice, little folk, give me voice.") And all 
chant after him in a chanting like the rushing of many waters and with triple 
clapping of hands: "TV manmailMa haul moin laooixl". . . Then he 
halts before a dwelling in the Rue Peysette and thunders: 
"Eh! Marie-sans-dent! Mi! diabe-ta derho!" 

That is evidently a piece of spite work; there is somebody living there 
against whom he has a grudge. . . 

"Hey! Marie-without-teethl Look! The Devil is outsidel" 

And the chorus catch the dew. 

Devil: "Eh! Marie-sans-dent!" 

Chorus: "Marie-sans-dent! Mi! diabe-la derho!" 

Devil: "Eh! Mane-sans-dent!" 

Chorus: "Marie-sans-dent! Mi! diabe4a derho!" 

Devil "Eht Marie-sans-dent!" etc. 

The Devil at last descends to the main street, always singing the same song. 
I follow the chorus to the Savanna, where the route makes for the new bridge 
over the Rozelane, to mount the high streets of the old quarter of the Fort, 
and the chant changes as they cross over: 

Devil: "Oti one diabe-la passe larivie?" ("Where did you see the Devil 
going over the river?") And all the boys repeat the words, falling into another 
rhythm with perfect regularity and ease: "Oti out diabe-la passe larivie?" 

February 22d. 
Old physicians indeed predicted it, but who believed them? 

February 23d. 

A coffin passes, balanced on the heads of black men. It holds the body of 
Pascaline Z. 9 covered with quicklime. 

It is thus that the satirical songs are made in Martinique, 
thus -that they are disseminated. Latin civilization is less 
cruel to primitive social institutions than Anglo-Saxon 
less repressive and many times more receptive. Some- 
times it takes away little and gives much, as it has done 
with African music transplanted to its new environment. 
It has lent the charm of graceful melody to help make the 
sting of Creole satire the sharper; but through the white ve- 
neer the black savagery sometimes comes crashing to pro- 
claim its mastery in servitude. So in the case of the song 
"Loema tombe"; so also in "Marie-Clemence." (See p. 148.) 
The latter is a carnival song which, if Hearn was correctly 
informed, was only four years old when he sent it to 
me. It is a fine illustration of that sententious dramaticism 
which is characteristic of folk-balladry the world over 
that quick, direct, unprepared appeal to the imaginative 




Allegro moderato 

Loema tomb 

OS ti man.: 

- lal Zantt 




n J ' i 


Ou'a di moin conm 1 ca: 81 ond Lo - 4 - ma torn . 



I I 1 
Rtfrain continued tut Mb. growing mar* and mor* rapid 

J) J> Ji J 


j j) j' jn,s 

di moin conm* oat Lo- e" ma torn - 

Gtafe dimoin oonm> 


f 3 ? 




e -ma torn - bAOAfflmolnooiiiif yj Lo-^-ma torn - 










bviftard (satirioal song) from Martinique, collected for the author in 1887 by Lafcadlo 
He&n nd published by him in the appendix to his book"Two Tears in the FrendiVest Indiet 9 
(BTarp'er & Bros., 1890). Arrangement by Prank van der Stuclcen. Reprinted by permission of 
Harper & Bros.- In sending tfce song to the author Mr. Hearn wrote : '"Loema tombi' is a pil - 
lard, a satirical chorus chanted with clapping of hands. Loema was a girl who lived near the 
Pont-Bas and affected virtue. It was learned that she received not one but many lovers, 
the women came and Mog: (Solo) You little Children there 

Who live by the riverside, 

You tell me truly this: 

Did you see Loema fall? 
<CJ)0.) Tell me truly this: Lo&na fall (ad Ubj n 





Ma-rieXlamenoe awudi, La-moti fritt U mn-41, 


IJ\ jLj J^ 


man . di, Ttfutt baggtufe.H man - dil 

J hr 'J ' it 

r ft . 


P' V P p. 

fl J 1 * JVTg 

Ma * rie-Ole-menoC 

fj*^ *J. 

La-mo-ri frltt II man-dl, 






i ' ' i ''.~n 

Totttt baggafo 11 mau-dlf Alel 


IMeo rtt 


y.r ' 

P i j ^ i 

A ^ "lit arf/. ftT ^ 

lagnemoin! Moin k6n6-yl co moin, 





i j 


Moin ke 

co moln, En-tasgouSspile ou3che - 

Wprds jtnd melody from Lafcadlo Hearni "Two Tears in fto Flrench, West Indies," for whicb 
work they were arranged by this author. They were written down by a. bandmaster in Mar. 
tmigti*. In transmitting them to Mr. Krenblel Bin Hearn wrote: "'Marie- Cl&nence is a caral- 
Tal satire composed not more than four years ago. The song was sung to torment MarieJde. 
menee, who was a Tender of cheap cooked food." The exclamation 'Aftl' is an example of the 
yen which occurs frequently In African music. The words mean: "Marie-Clftnence is cnrsedi 
cursed, too, is her fried salt codfish ftutoertf./HW.Aer gold bead necklace (collier-cho**), 
an her load." Now Marie speaks: *A3fel Let me be, or I shaU drown myself behindyonpUeof 
The song is reprinted by permiMion of Harper & Bros. 



comprehension of a people whose life is full7 expressed 
in the song of its own creation. Marie-Clemence was a 
Machanne lapacotte, a vendor of cooked food; chiefly, it 
would seem from the text, of salt codfish (lamori fritt). 
Why she should have been made the victim of popular 
hatred I do not know perhaps never shall know, now 
that the ashes of La Pelee have made a winding-sheet for 
St. Pierre; but one day the devil pointed his finger at the 
poor woman and pronounced her codfish accursed, also 
her gold-bead necklace (collier-choux) and everything that 
she carried in the wooden bowl above her gay madrasse. 
An agony of pain and rage bursts out in the African ex- 
clamation "Ai'e!" only to give way to her pitiful plaint: 

Lague moin, lague main, lague moin! 
Main ke neye co main, 
Enbas gouos pile oudcMa! 

("Let me be, let me be, let me be I I shall drown myself behind yon pile 
of rocks!") 

Sometimes the people of the Antilles do not wait for the 
coming of the carnival and its devil to punish those who 
have fallen under their displeasure. The custom of the 
fillard prevails in Martinique and can be practised at any 
time. Hearn writes: "Some person whom it is deemed 
justifiable or safe to annoy may suddenly find himself 
followed in the street by a singing chorus of several hundred, 
all clapping their hands and dancing or running in perfect 
time, so that all the bare feet strike the ground together. 
Or, the pillard chorus may even take up its position before 
the residence of the party disliked and then proceed with 
its performances." The song "Loema tombe" (see page 
147) provides an illustration. "Loema," wrote Mr. Hearn, 
in sending me the words and melody of the song, "was 
a girl who lived near the Pont-Bas and affected virtue. 
It was learned that she received not one but many lovers. 
Then the women came and sang: 

Solo: You little children there 
Who live by the riverside, 
Tell me truly this: 
Did you see Loema fall? 

Chorus: Tell me truly this: LoSma fall, etc. 



Local tradition in New Orleans may have preserved the 
date of the incident which gave rise to what in one of my 
notes I find called "Old Boscoyo's Song" (seepage 152), but 
it has not got into my records. Mr. Cable calls the victim 
of the satire "a certain Judge Preval," and old residents 
of New Orleans have told me that he was a magistrate. 
If so, it would seem that he not only gave a ball which 
turned out to be a very disorderly affair, but also violated 
a law by giving it without a license. Many of the dancers 
found their way into the calaboose, and he had to pay a 
fine for his transgression and live in popular contumely 
ever afterward. From various sources I have pieced to- 
gether part of the song in the original, and in the translation 
have included several stanzas for which at present I have 
only the English version in an old letter written by Hearn: 

Michie Preval li donnin gran bal, 
Li fe neg' paye pou sauter in pe. 

Dans 1'ecui vie la yave gran gala, 
Mo ere soual la ye te bien etonne. 

Michie Preval li te Capitaine bal, 
Et so coche, Louts te maitr' ceremonie. 

Y'ave de negresse belles passe maitresse, 
Qui vole belpel dans 1'ormoire momselle. 

"Comment, Sazou, te vole mo cuilotte?" 

"Non, no maitr*, mo di vous mo zes prend bottes." 

Ala maitr 9 geole li trouve si drole, 
Li dit: "Mom aussi mo fe bal id." 

Ye prend maitr* Preval ye mette li prison, 
Pasque li donnin bal pou vole nous rarzan. 

Monsieur Preval gave a big ball; he made the darkies pay for their little hop. 

The grand gala took place in the stable; I fancy the horses were greatly 

M. Preval was Captain of the ball; his coachman, Louis, was Master of 

(He gave a supper to regale the darkies; his old music was enough to give 
one the colic 1) 

(Then the old Jackass came in to dance; danced precisely as he reared, on 
his hind legs.) 

There were negresses there prettier than their mistresses; they had stolen 
all manner of fine things from the wardrobes of their young mistresses. 

(Black and white both danced the bamboula; never again will you see 
such a fine time.) 

(Nancy Latiche (?) to fill out her stockings put in the false calves of her 

"How, now, Sazou, you stole my trousers?" "No, my master, I took only 
your boots." 

(And a little Miss cried out: "See here, you negrcss, you stole my dress.") 



Michie Preval 

Allegro moderate 

y "P Ir 

Mi . ohtf Pro. ral 11 don . nln gnaf bal, Li fatt 

f i' i i' In 


if i/ j 11 1- i at- ji j) j. 

ttfcgr* pay- 6 potfsau. tar in p6. Dan- se, 


J^ r ->' 

r ^' r 

lif'i J I M 


^^ii r j " n f ,11 f== 

Oa-lln- da, bon-dodm. boa-daom. 

doom, boa-domn, Daa - 


I i r 




the Century Co^ melody written down by ibe author at one of Mr.Cattefci**4jagi arnoff* 



It all seemed very droll to the keeper of the jail; he said, "I'll get up a dance 
(of another sort) for you here." 

(At Mr. PrevaPs,xn Hospital street, the darkies had to pay for their little 

He took M. Preval and put him in the lock-up, because he gave a ball to 
steal our money. 

(Poor M. Prevail I guess he feels pretty sick; he'll give no more balls in 
Hospital street.) 

(He had to pay #100 and had a pretty time finding the money.) 

(He said : "Here's an end of that; no more balls without a permit/') 

In conclusion, a word on the value of these Afro-Ameri- 
can folksongs as artistic material and their possible con- 
tribution to a national American school of music. In a 
large sense the value of a musical theme is wholly indepen- 
dent of its origin. But for a century past national schools 
have been founded on folksongs, and it is more than likely, 
in spite of the present tendency toward "impressionism" 
and other aesthetic aberrations, that composers will con- 
tinue to seek inspiration at its source. The songs which 
I have attempted to study are not only American because 
they are products of a people who have long been an 
integral part of the population of America, but also be* 
cause they speak an idiom which, no matter what its 
origin, Americans have instinctively liked from the begin- 
ning and have never liked more than now. On this point 
Dr. Dvorak, one of the world's greatest nationalists, is 
entitled to speak with authority. In an essay on "Music 
in America," which was printed in "The Century Maga- 
zine" for February, 1895, he said: 

"A Awhile ago I suggested that inspiration for truly national music might 
be derived from the negro melodies or Indian chants. I was led to take this 
view partly by the fact that the so-called plantation songs are indeed the most 
striking and appealing melodies that have been found on this side of the water, 
but largely by observation that this seems to be recognized, though often 
unconsciously, by most Americans. All races have their distinctive national 
songs, which they at once recognize as their own even if they have never 
heard them before. . . It is a proper question to ask, What songs, then, 

belong to the American and appeal more strikingly to him than any others? 
What melody would stop him on the street if he were in a strange land, and 
make the home feeling well up within him, no matter how hardened he might 
be, or how wretchedly the tune were played? Their number, to be sure, seems 
to be limited. The most potent, as well as the most beautiful among them, ac- 
cording to my estimation, are certain of the so-called plantation melodies 
and slave songs, all of which are distinguished by unusual and subtle har- 
monies, the thing which I have found in no other songs but those of Scotland 
and Ireland/ 9 

[ 153] 


Dr. Dvorak's contention that material for music in the 
highest artistic forms might be found in the songs of the 
American negroes, which was derided by quite a number 
of American musicians, was long ago present in the appre- 
ciative and discriminating mind of Mrs. Kemble, who, in her 
life on a Georgian plantation, wished that some great 
composer might hear the "semi-savage" performances of 
the slaves, and said: "With a very little skilful adaptation 
and instrumentation I think one or two barbaric chants 
and choruses might be evoked from them that would make 
the fortunes of an opera." The opera is not yet forth- 
coming, but Dr. Dvorak's "From the New World," which 
drew its inspiration from Afro-American songs, is the most 
popular of his symphonies, and his American quartet has 
figured on the programmes of the Kneisel Quartet oftener 
than any other work in its repertory. 

In the sense which seems to be playing hide and seek 
in the minds of the critics and musicians who object to 
the American label, there is no American music and can 
be none: Every element of our population must have its 
own characteristic musical expression, and no one element 
can set up to be more American than another. But sup- 
pose the time come when the work of amalgamation shall 
be complete and the fully evolved American people have 
developed a fondness for certain peculiarities of melody 
and rhythm, which fondness in turn shall disclose itself in 
a decided predilection for compositions in which those pe- 
culiarities have been utilized; will that music be American? 
Will it be racy of the soil? Will such compositions be 
better entitled to be called American than the music of 
Dr. Dvorak, which employs the same elements, but con- 
fesses that it borrows them from the songs of the Southern 
negroes? The songs are folksongs in the truest sense; 
that is, they are the songs of a folk, created by a folk, 
giving voice to the emotional life of a folk; for which life 
America is responsible. They are beautiful songs, and 
Dr. Dvorak has shown that they can furnish the inspira- 
tion for symphonic material to the composer who knows 
how to employ it. To use this material most effectively 

[ 154] 


it is necessary to catch something of the spirit of the peo- 
ple to whom it is, or at least it seems, idiomatic. A na- 
tive-born American ought to be able to do this quicker 
and better than a foreigner, but he will not be able to do 
it at all unless he have the gift of transmuting whatever 
he sees or feels into music; if he have it not, he will not 
write music at all; he might as well be a Hottentot as an 

Though it has been charged against me, by intimation 
at least, it has never occurred to me in the articles which I 
have written on the subject to claim that with his sympho- 
ny Dr. Dvorak founded a national school of composition. 
The only thing that I have urged in the matter is, that he 
has shown that there are the same possibilities latent in 
the folksongs which have grown up in America as in the 
folksongs of other peoples. These folksongs are accom- 
plished facts. They will not be added to, for the reason that 
their creators have outgrown the conditions which alone 
made them possible. It is inconceivable that America shall 
add to her store of folksongs. Whatever characteristics of 
scales or rhythm the possible future American school of com- 
position is to have must, therefore, be derived from the 
songs which are now existent. Only a small fraction of 
these songs have been written down, and to those which 
have been preserved the scientific method has not yet fully 
been applied. My effort, as I have confessed, is tentative. 
It ought to be looked upon as a privilege, if not a duty, to 
save them, and the best^equipped man in the world to do 
this, and afterward to utilize the material in the manner 
suggested by Dr. Dvorak, ought to be the American com- 
poser. Musicians have never been so conscious as now 
of the value of folksong elements. Music is seeking new 
vehicles of expression, and is seeking them where they are 
most sure to be found in the field of the folksong. We 
have such a field; it is rich, and should be cultivated. 



Weeping Mary 


(weep - Ing-. Ma - ry, 

If fhereb an-y-bod-y here like J pray- ing-- Sam-uel, 

( doubt -lng-_ Thom-aS; 

, ) 


J> JU> J> 


Call up-onyotir Je-stis, and He'n draw nlgli. O,_ glo-i 






glo-ry hal-te . 2n - jahl G2o-ry be to nor God, who rales on high! 

A "pirlttiU tl ffOfli Boyld Co., Kentucky, Beted by lUas Mildred J. Hill, of LoaJsrilto; haraool* 
ition by Henry Holdffl HUM, otNre York. Artrfldic example of themjortixthin * niiaot 



Some Come Cripple 

AHegro consplrlto 


,] Ij.jjjsgsp 

( Some come cripple and 
(Some come cripple and 
(Some comeprayin? and 
<Some come sor-rin' and 




Hal - 10 - In! 

Hail the crown Of Hie LoroT of am 

Hi 'AH 








Mff from Boyle Co n Kentucky, coUected lor the avthor by Miss Mildred J. ffiff, 
of LottbriOe. Acnuged for this publication by Arthur Mee*. The old wonaa, an x.teie, 
whawng it for Hits H2U had forgotten the second line of the first staasa, and repeat** the 
first as indicated. 



Neve* a Man speak like this Man 


("Oflook-adeatii 1 ') 


IP. j 

Oh! look- a death, look- a death, Sh& trav*- Urf thro* the 

B g' fl' 

' -t^-t y Y Y - . i . - i . i^ y u w 
latf, She's trav- lin* thro* the Ian 1 , For I aer- e > sawhr a 

for to sp^alclilce *M ft 

r Y y^ 

\ wish ole Sa-tanwouldbe still, I 
An* let me do- my Mas-ter^ will, 


tLrrrt r p 




P P. P 

' p r I* |g 

nev- e* sawhr a man for to speak like this 
nev - e> sawhr a man for to speak like this 

g j. a? d . i a 

p^T 1 3 r 

Words and melody from "Bahama Songs and Stories'/ by Charles L. Edwards, Ph, IX, pt*. 
lished for the American Folk- Lore Society by Hottghtoa, MlffUn & Co., Boston* aod reprint- 
ed by permission. The arrangement by H.T. Bttrleigh. 

"Then came the officers to the chief priests and Pharisees; and they said unto them,Why 
have ye not brought him? The officers answered, Never man spake like this man? St Johs. 




Jesus Heal' de Sick 

Andent eon moto 


TF r # i 

sick, gw dgltt to de bllrf, Arf'e made de erfp-pto to 



K .1 



' ' I ' 

i J 

grare Ait e gwe them com - mis- shun to fly, Bow 

* ' ' - *T 1 r ' ' ' ^' ^' ^i 

low! Ax? 'e gare them comnnisshtm to fly, Bro4he* Lasftr&a, An* 'e 

gre them com- mtedbnn to fly, Si-mon Pc-ter,Atf e gare mem com- 

fly f Atf ' * tiwm com T ffito-afaan to fly! 

and Stotiet" by CkarlML.Bdiru4b t Vk]K v ptdiUk6 



Opon de Rock 

Andante cantabfle 

n r 

V K3 

watt-fa* for rain. 


p '9 P . , P r i 

bin when de dry weataV come? Bin, on de rock, say*, wait-in* for rain. 



Op -on de rocky op- on de rock, op- on de 


J i 

i i 


IP r f i 'is=i 

J N I 

de wa-ter roa out pp. on de rock, 


T r 

1 . i 


u '4. 


Words nd ttrto43rffom"BJuun4 Songs ndStoritwVt7 Charles I^Bdward*,] 
for ttw. Amfdteft Folk-tore Society try Hotfgfrton, WntoVCw ejttrepsiatAd ty 



Nobody Knows the Trouble I See 

Tag. I 




No-bod-y knows the trotible I see, Lord, Nobod-y knows the 
b K K b ts l fcv A fc> k 



Tn/h b 




p T r 

trou-ble I see; Nb-bod-y knows the trott-ble I see, Lord, 



A J> Ji A Jii J^ 
^ P f P' g '^^ 

b ^i ^ l> Mi h 

p g iLj/P rr 

P ^ ^K J> J"J) ^"g 

/IUJ. v ts K > ff ^ ,T> 

> Vif 1r y V r lf 



No-bod -y knows like Je-sus. Brothers, will you pray for me, 

J> J> 

Broth . ers, will you pray for me, Broth - ere, will you 

Aifanffed for men's voices by Arfltur Meet for the Mendelsohn (HeeCOUb of New Tort. Printed 
hare by permission. 



Ten. I 
Ten. II 

Baas II 


. Allegro + 1 

Atf he year-dewhenjor-daa 
t K-k KkL k N 

L Bty brudde^sittin on de tree oblife,r r V ** 

r r 

Hear- en, Lord, For to year- de^when Jor-dan roll. O roll. 

**Parson Fuller," "Deacon Hendunr," "Braider Mosey? "Massa Llntaunf- etc 
. Little dUl'en, learn to fear de Lord, i 8. O, let no false nor spiteful Word 
And let your days be long*; Be found upon your tong-uej 

Roll, Jordan, etc. I Roll, Jordan, etc. 

Words and melody front "Stare Songs of &e" United States" Arranged for men's voices by 
Arthur Meet for the Mendelssohn GUee dub of New York, and published here by permission 
Bis an interesting example of the me of the flat aerenth 





Mo oon-nin, zhta sens, ma mour-ri, 
Well I fcnow, young 1 mea, I moat die, 

ovi, 'no - cent, 
yes, era. - zy, 


fr-'f P ' ' 

ma moup-ri; 
I most die} ' 

Mo oon-nin, sins sens, 
Wefl I know.yotuig'men, 

ma moor, ri 'no-cent, 
I must, cra-zy, die, 

oni, ^tit>-oent, 
yes, cra-zy, 

y*LT r 

i 1 i 



ma BOUT 



l*otf la 



'joa mour-ri 'no-oent, 

I must 



for the 



I must cra-zy dio, 



oui, 'no-cent, ma mow-ri. Mo oon-nin, zins zens, ma mour-rf, 
yes, cra-sgr, I must die. Well I knowjyounyinen, I mu*t <Ue, 


J) J) I 

*no . cent, ma mour - ri. Mo con - nia, 

era - zy, I must die. Well I know, 

r Jl 

) Jl J^ J> 

ma mour- ri 'ao-ceirt, ma aour.- ri pott* la belle La-yotter 
I must, cra-zy, die> I oust die for the fair La-ybttel 

^Tords and fflttrio rom the^Ccnttuy Magul&e"of FebntAry, 1886, where crectttfor the- uftfl^ 
meat wa* iftadrertently ^ivea to tho wrthpjrj it belongs to JohnVanBroekhov^ The traniU- 



Martinique Love-Song 

Poco lento 



To, to, to! 

e'en moin-menme 1'anniou, 
Our la pote ba moip. 

To, to, to! 

O'est moin-memne 1'anmou, 
'La pile ka moniUS moin. 

To, to, to! 


C'est moin-menme I'anittOTi, 
Qui ka ba on rh& moin! 

t tap, tap! 

> taps there? 
f< Bis 107 own self, love, 
Open the 4oor for me. 

, tap, tap! 
ho Japs there? 
'Tis my own self, love, 
The rain is wetting- me. 

Tap, tap, tap! 

Who taps tnere? 
Tis my own self; lore, 
Who give wy heart to theef 



Collected for the anthor by Laf cadio Heara, who says of ft In Ms "Two Years la the Rrcncfe 
West Indies":"'^, to, to 1 is very old- dates back, perhaps, to the time of th *2*^0*oK* 
It is seldom swiff now except by survivors of the old regime: the sincerity and tenderness of 
the emotion that inspired it- the old sweetness of heart and simplicity of thought** are MSS> 
fcff for ever away.' The arrangement was made ty Frank vto der Stucken and Isaere reprSt* 
^y, permission of Harper A Bros* 



Emgann Sant-Kast 
(The Battle of St. Cast) 

Fa Yawn ' kous - ket, era- noz vex all, B kle . vis 
Night fell a . roxmd me, deep in my sleep I heard the 

Son at dfcom bn - hal, 
Thro' hall and for - est 

Sao. ion!- Sao -son faH! 
"Curafefae the Salons,- Sax-ons aUI" 

Rliyvelgyrcli Cadpen Morgan 

(Captain Morgan's March) 

A Ji J 

wrtn dy wye gys? glsdd yf gwyo 3y dadj 

Forth to the bat - He! on - ward to the fight! 

y jen-tr*f ydd fyf - yd gyd * a*c g^ynt, 

not the atux * light o'er our path - way < 


r r i 1 1 

Sydh dy dda raft) 

troi ^y wUd. 6yoh . _ 

in his flight! Strong- as ycm-der 

ant yn gynt, %9Wh ty fw - a, 

*TOl w* oWtttrow otur Sax- on foes. Be ye read-y. 

jit yni fy MM 
Swift a* th* * 

* * *T j*-rwy *W^ , 

fbmmJtar tkU, RnNbi - ing- *">- ^ 

kyBwaAhfraicfcyn fr4 Oof - i am dy dad, f el ba f ar - w efl 

4M *pW> 3Potaytu up o&n^ ""^ 



Acadian Boat-Song, 51, 54. 

Adelelmo, 59. 

African travellers, musically illiterate, 
13; idioms in American folksongs, 
22; music, 56 et seq.; music charac- 
terized, 60; recitative in, 100; 
languages, survival of words from, 

Agwas, 57. 

Jtda, Oriental melodies from, 87. 

Airft I glad I got out of the Wilderness, 

Albertini, 59. 

AUa xoppa, 94. 

Allen, William Francis, vi, 29,32, 34, 

American Folk-Lore Society, viii; 

Indian music, 51. 
Americans, what are they?, 26. 
And I yearde from heaven to-day, 103. 
Aridas, 57. 
Ashantee music, 61. 
Ashley, Thomas, quoted, 143. 
Asra, Der, song by Rubinstein, 87. 
Atlantic Monthly, quoted, 43. 
Anrore Pradere, 123. 
Awassas, 57* 

Babotrille, dance, 116. 

Bach, Sonata in E, 15. 

Bacon, Theodore, "Some Breton 

Folksongs/* 9. 
Balatpi, songs of the, 101. 
Balboa, his ships built by negroes, 26. 
Ballets, 16. 
Baltimore Gals, 15. 
Bamboula, dance, 116. 
Bar%ax*Br<i*; 9. 
Battlff-Cry of Freedom, 17, 23. 
BechuAn**, 60. 
Bede, the Venerable, 36* 
Beethoven, use of the major sixth 

in minor, 81. 
Bclc, dance, 66. 116. 

Bettgain, dance, 
Bescherelle, quoted, 116. 
Biblical allusions in songs* 45* 
BlanchUseuset of St. Pierre, their 

songs, 144. 
Bongo negroes, tongs and dances of, 

44, 113; 
Boraou. song in praise of the Sultan 

of, 102* 

B<m&n, dance. 116. 
Bowditch, "Mission from Caye Coast 

Castle to Ashantee," 60, 62. 
Brittany, folksongs of. 9. 
Bryant's Minstrels, 33. 

Buchner, Max, "Kamerun," quoted, 


Buffalo Gals, 15. 
Bulgarians, folksongs of the, 7. 
Bunal customs of the Africans and 

slaves, 103 et sea. 
Burleigh, Henry T., his help ac- 

knowledged, viii. 
Burney, Dr. Charles, quoted, 72. 
Burtchell, W. T., "Travels in the In- 

terior of Africa," quoted, 60. 
Burton, Richard F., "Lake Regions 

of Central Africa/' quoted, 44, 57, 

Busch, Moritz, "Wanderungen zwi- 
schen Hudson und Mississippi," 
quoted, 12 

Cable, George W., credited and 

quoted, viii, 38, 40, 138, 141. 
Calhoun School Collection of Plan- 

tation Songs, quoted. 43, 71, 82, 87. 
Calinda fon<f Caleinda), a dance, 66, 

67, 116. 
Cameron, Veraey Lovett, "Acroes 

Africa, 5 ' quoted, 101, 113. 
Camptoton Races, 16. 
Canada, folksongs of, vi, 22. 
Can't stay behind, 49. 
Capello and Ivens, "From Benguela 

to the Territory of Yucca, "quoted, 

Captain Morgan's March, 10, 169. 
Carnival celebration and songs in 

Louisiana and the French West 

Indies, 141 ft sea. 
Caroline, 138, 139. 
Cassuto, 121. 

Cata (or Chata), a dance, 116. 
Century Company and Magazine, 

credited and quoted, viii, 30, 38, 

40, 138, 152. 

Chadwick, George W., writes Ameri- 

can music, v. 
Charleston Gals, 15. 
China,^ use of pentatonic scale in its 

music, 7; a missionary's experience 

with hymns, 76. 
Christy's Minstrels, 12. 15. 
Classification of Slave Songs, 140. 
Coleridge-Taylor* Samuel, composer, 

44, 4?, 59, 73. 

Collections of Slave Songs, 42, 43. 
Columbus, negroes come with him to 

America, 26. 

Combat de SainfrCast, 9, 169. 
Come tremble-ing down, 84, 85, 87. 
Congo, a dance, 126. 
Congos, their music, 57. 


INDEX Continued 

Continental Monthly, quoted, 43. 

Counjai (or Counjaille), a dance, 

116 ft seq. 
Creole, meaning of the term, 134; 

grammar of the patois, 127 ft seq.; 

songs of, 35, 37, 38 et seq.; use of 

satire, 140. 

Cnole candjo, 116, 118. 
Cruelty to slaves, 25. 
Cui, Cesar, on Russian folksongs, 7. 

Dahomans, 60, 61, 67, 77, 79; death 

customs of, 108; dances of, 133. 
Dances of the American negroes, 95, 

112 et seq. 

Dandy Jim of Caroline, 16. 
Daudet, Alphonse, his use of a Creole 

song, 135. 
Day, Charles William, "Five Years' 

Residence in the West Indies," 

quoted, 12. 
Denham and Clapperton, "Narra- 

tive of Travels in Northern and 

Central Africa," quoted, 102. 

Denmark, folksongs of, 5. 
Dese all my fader's children, 108. 
Dfssan mouillage, etc., a Martinique 

dance, 125, 126. 
Devil, in Carnival dances of Martini- 

que, 145. 

Devil songs, 16. 34. 
Dig my Grave, 103, 104. 
Dimitry, Alexander, 40. 
Dixie, 33. 

Done wid driber's drilin 9 , 17, 19. 
Drums and drumming, 61, 65: as 

signals, 65; in Martinique, 66; in 

Unyanebe, 67; in New Orleans, 67; 

in Voodoo, Congo and Calinda 

dances, 67; in Kamerun, 67; in 

Bashilonga, 67. 
Du Bois, W. E. Burghardt, "The 

Souls of Black Folk," quoted, vi, 17; 

on the negro in America, 27; 43. 
Du Chaillu, Paul B., "Explorations 

and Adventures in Equatorial 

Africa," quoted, 106, 
Dvorak, Antonin, use of American 

idioms, iv; 153 et seq. 

Edwards, Bryan, "The History, Civil 
and Commercial, of the British 
Colonies in the West Indies," 
quoted, 106, 107. 

Edwards, Charles L.. 36; "Bahama 
Songs and Stories/' 43, 106, 107, 
128, 140. 

Ein Ldmmlein gekt und tragt die 

Sckuld, 58. 

Emancipation, songs of, 17 et seq. 
Emgann Sant-Kast, 169. 
Emmet, Dan, 33. 
Endemann, K., "Mittheilungen uber 

die Sotho-Neger," 106. 
Engel, Carl, "Introduction to the 

Study of National Music," quoted. 

5, 44, 77, 87, 102, 143. 
Exposure of slaves, 24. 

Fante6s, music of, 62. 

Father Abraham, 87, 90. 

Feedas, 57. 

Fenner, Thomas P., 42, 71. 

Fescennine verses of the Romans, 141. 

Fetich man's fortune-telling, 101. 

Fiddle sings, 16, 34. 

Fillmore, John C., 65. 

Finland, folksongs of, 5, 7; racial re- 
lation of its people, 7; its Orpheus, 
8; its epic, 8; its runo songs, 8. 

Fisk Jubilee Singers and their Collec- 
tion, 16, 17, 42, 71, 82, 84, 91, 95. 

Five-four time, 8. 

Folkdances, rhythms of, 6. 

Folksongs defined, 2; how composed, 
3, 4, 23; parallelisms between, 14; 
are the American slave songs folk- 
songs?, 26 ft seq.; of Sweden, 5; 
Russia, 5; Norway, 5; Wallach- 
ia, 5; Denmark, 5; Finland, 5; 
Serbs, 7; Bulgarians, 7; Montene- 
grins, 7; Bretons, 9; Canadians, 
22; created by national crises, 23. 

Fonda, 57. 

Forten, Miss Charlotte L., quoted, 49. 

Foster, Stephen C, 16. 

Fourth, the interval omitted, 69, 70. 

Fowler, Prof. Henry T., "History of 
the Literature of Ancient Israel/' 
quoted, 140. 

Freely go, marching along, 87, 88. 

Friedenthal. Albert, "Musik, Tanz 
und Dichtung bei den Kreolen 
Amerikas," quoted, 38, 59, 68, 

Funeral music and customs, 103 ft seq. 

Gigueiroa, 59. 

Gluck, Che faro senza Euridice, 57. 

Gottschalk, his use of a Creole 

melody, 135. 
Grant, James Augustus, "A Walk 

Across Africa," quoted, 46, 67. 
Great Campmeetin',71, 7/, 78, 79* 
Gregorian Chant, conservatism re- 

garding the, 37. 


INDEX Continued 

Grimm, on the origin of folksongs, 3. 

Griots, 38, 143. 

Grout, the Rev. Louis, "Zulu-Land, 

etc.", quoted, 101. 
Grove, "Dictionary of Music and 

Musicians," quoted, 76, 92. 
Guehues, African minstrels, 143. 
Guiouba (or Juba), dance, 116. 
Gwine follow, 15. 

Habanera, dance, 59, 68, 93, 114, 115. 
Hahn, Theophilus, quoted, 58. 
Hallowell, Miss Emily, quoted, viii, 

Hampton Institute and Collection of 
Songs, 21, 30, 42, 91, 97. 

Handel, Dead march in "Saul," 44. 

Hard Trials, 71. 

Harmony in African and slave music, 
60, 64, 81. 

Harper & Brothers, acknowledgement 
to, viii. 

Haskell, Marion Alexander, quoted,30. 

Haytian dances ? 94. 

Hearn, Lafcadio, his letters, and 
"Two Years in the French West 
Indies," quoted, 35, 37, 47, 55, 66, 
121, 125, 134, 135, 141, 144, 145, 
149, 151 

Heaven bell airing, 49. 

Hebrew music, 7. 

Hiawatha, 8. 

Higginson, Col. Thomas Wentworth, 

Hill/ Miss 'Mildred J., quoted, 32, 
72, 91. 

Hiuen, Chinese instrument, 74. 

Holub, Dr., "Seven Years in South 
Africa," quoted, 113. 

Hook, quoted, 93. 

Ho, round the corn, Sally, 48, 128. 

Hottentots, singing of, 58, 60, 61. 

Hughes, Rupert/The Musical Guide," 
quoted, 2. 

Hungary, folk-music of, 87. 

Huas, Henry Holden, acknowledge- 
ment to, 8. 

Iboes, 57. 

Idioms of folksongs, 56 et seq. 

I Know Moonlight, 109, 

/ Look o'er Yander, 103, 105, 107. 

Pm gwine to Alabamy, 51, 52. 

Imitations in songs of American 
negroes, 14 ft seq. 

Imitative capacity of negroes, 58. 

In bright mansions above, 16. 

Indians, American, their pentatonic 
scale, 7; their songs, 72. 

Influence of Negro music on American 
peoples, 59. 

Instruments, African, 68. 

Intrepides, Martinique dancing so- 
ciety, 145. 

I saw ike beam in my sister's eye, 15. 

Israelitish taunt and triumph songs, 

/ want to be my Fader's chiFen, 102. 

Jackson, Miss, original Jubilee sing- 
er, 84. 

Japan, pentatonic scale in, 7. 

Jesus heaF de sick, 160. 

Jews, their synagogal music, 7. 

Jim-Crow songs, 34. 

Jiminez, pianist, 59. 

Fine 'em, 49. 

jubilee Singers of Fisk University. 
(See FISK.) 

Jump Jim Crow, 16. 

Kaffirs, music of 61; singing of, 82. 

Kalewala, Finnish epic, 8. 

Kantele, Finnish harp, 8. 

Kemble, Mrs Frances Anne, "Jour- 
nal of a Residence on a Georgian 
Plantation," 46, 154. 

Kidson, Frank, on the pentatonic 
scale, 76. 

Kolbe, Peter, "Caput Bonae Spei 
Hodiernum," quoted, 60. 

Kolo dance of Servians, 77. 

Kerrigan, 10. 

Kounajo, 116 et sea. 

Kroeger, Edward R., v. 

Kroomen, music of, 57. 

Labat, Pere, quoted, 66. 

Laing, Major A. G., "Travels in 
Western Africa," 106. 

Language, forgotten, 36; corrupted by 
slaves, 127 et stq. 

Lashash, Soudanese minstrels, 143. 

Lay this body down, 49. 

Leading-tone (seventh), 84. 

Lewis, M. G., "A Journal of a Resi- 
dence among the Negroes of the 
West Indies/' quoted, 25. 

Lily Dale, 17. 

Lippincott's Magazine, quoted, 107. 

Livingstone, quoted, 12 L 

Lofma tombe, 141, 149, 150. 

Longfellow, "Hiawatha " 8. 

Lyon, George Francis, "Narrative of 
Travels in Northern Africa," 
quoted, 46. 

Mabunda, dance, 113. 
McKim, Miller, quoted, 



INDEX Continued 

McKixn, Miss Lucy, quoted, 12, 71. 
McLeod, Norman, on Irish music, 6. 
Macmm, W., song^quoted, 120. 
Magyars (Hungarians), rhythm of 

their songs, o; are Scythians, 7; 

their music, 87, 94. 
Mahrchen, 1. 
Major Mode, a symbol of gayety, 

4; in Russia, 7: prevalence of 5; 

in negro songs, 43 etseq., variations 

of, 70 et seq. 
Makalaka, 101. 
Malagasy, rhythms of, 97. 
Ma mourri, 167. 
Manmam Colette, Martinique dance, 

125, 126. 

Manyuema, dances of, 113. 
Many thousand go, 17, 18. 
Many thousands gone, 17, 20. 
Marching through Georgia, 23. 
Marie-Clemence, 146, 14/. 
Marimba, 68. 
Marriage forbidden to black Creoles, 

Marsh, J. B. T., "Story of the Jubilee 

Singers," 42. 

Martinique, dances, 125, 126. 
Mauch, Carl, "Reisen in Sud-Afri- 

ka," quoted, 101. 
Meens, 57. 
Mees, Arthur, credited, vii; on the 

flat seventh and harmony, 79. 
Melancholy in folkmusic, 5. 
Mercier, Dr. Alfred, "Etude sur la 

Langue Creole en Louisiane," 

quoted, 130 et seq. 
Meringue, Haytian dance, 94. 
Michael row the boat ashore, 49. 
Michie Prhal, 141, 151, 152. 
Minor Mode, a symbol of gravity, 

4; prevalence, 5; 29, 30; 43 et seq.; 

70, 83 etseq.; sixth omitted in scale, 

70> 84; leading-tone in, 84. 
Mixolydian mode, 77, 79. 
Modes of slave songs in America, 

43 ft seq. 

Mohr, Eduard, "Nach den Victoria- 
fallen des Zambesi." quoted, 101. 
Moloney, A. C, "Notes on Yoruba, 

etc.," quoted, 66. 
Moodie, John W. D., "Ten Years in 

South Africa," quoted, 57. 
Moors, as slaves, 5/. 
Mother, is Massa gioine to sell us *o- 

morrowf, 17. 
Moton, Robert R., 30. 
R^urphy, Mrs. Jeannette Robinson, 

quoted, 82, 108. 

Musjeu Bainjo, 141, 142. 
Musikalisches Wochenblatt, quoted, 

My Hearts in the Highlands, 58. 

Nagos, 57. 

"Nation, The," quoted, 33. 

Negroes in America, 26, 27; census 

reports, 27. 

Nevr a man speak like this man, 159. 
Niam-Niam minstrels, 64, 143. 
Nobody knows the trouble I see, 74, 

75, 96, 164. 

Nocturnal songs and dances, 103. 
No Man, 49. 

No more peck of corn. 18, 23. 
Norway, folksongs of, 5. 

O da lieber Augustin, 58. 
Ver the Crossing, 97, 98, 128. 
O Graveyard, 109, 110. 
Haupt voll Slut und Wunden, 58. 
Oh. Freedom over me, 17. 
0, Rock me, Julie, 51, 52. 
()le Tirginny nebber tire, 15. 
Opon de Rock, 162. 
Oriental scale, 87, 91. 
Ou beau di moin fete, Martinique 
dance, 125, 126. 

Paloma, La, Mexican song, 115. 
Parallelisms between folksongs, 14. 
Pauv' ti Ule, 135. 
Peabody, Charles, on working songs, 

Pentatonic scale, 7, 43, 69, 70, 73 
et seq. 

Pillard, satirical song of the Creoles, 
141 et seq. 

Pitch, frequently vague in the sing- 
ing of slaves, 70 et seq. 

Plain-Song, 64. 

Plantation Life, influence of, 22. 

Plato and the sacred chants of the 
Egyptians, 36. 

Plattsburg, battle of. 16. 

Poles, folksongs of, 87. 

Popos, 57. 

Prt piti lolotte, 135, 136. 

Praise Member, 49. 

Proyart, Abbe, "History of Lotngo, 
Kakongo, etc.," quoted, 107* 

Ragtime, Hi: 2, 6, 48, 92, 93. 

Rain fall and wet Becky Martin, 49, 


Rakoczky March, 46, 87. 
Ranz des Vaches prohibited, 46. 
Reade, W. Winwood, "The African 

Sketchbook," quoted, 47. 
Recitative in African song, 100 et seq. 


INDEX Continued 

"Reel Tunes," 16. 

Reid, Ogden Mills, Editor of the 

N. Y. Tribune, acknowledgements 

to, viii. 

Religion and music, 9, 29. 
Religion so sweet, 49. 
Religious character of the plantation 

folksongs, 42, 
Remon, Remon, 122, ^ 
Rhythm and rhythmical distortions, 

6, 95. 

Rhyvelgyrch Cadpen Morgan, 10, 169. 
Rice, < f Daddy" 16. 
Richardson, the Rev. J., quoted, 97. 
River, roustabout and rowing songs, 

34, 48, 49, 51. 
Roche, Louise, 38, 39. 
Roll, Jordan, rott, 102, 165. 
Romaika, 33. 
Roosevelt, Theodore, 92. 
Root, George F., The Battle-Cry of 

Freedom, 17. 

Round about the mountain, 63. 
Runo songs of the Finns, 8. 
Russell, W. H., "My Diary, North 

and South," quoted, 111. 
Russia, folksongs of, 5; influence of 

suffering, 6; dances, 6. 

Saint-Cast, Battle of, 9, 169. 
Salas, Brindis de, 59. 
Sanko, African instrument, 62. 
Sanskrit prayers in^China, 36. 
Sans-Souci, Martinique dancing so- 
ciety. 1&. 
Satire in songs of the Creoles, 140 

ft stq. 

Scales, origin of, 91) Oriental, 91. 
Schauenburg, "Reisen in Central- 

Afrika," quoted, 66. 
Schweinfurth, Dr. Georg, "Heart of 

Afrika," quoted, 64, 113. 
Scotch songs, 83. 
Second, the augmented interval in 

folksongs, 7, 84. 
Secular songs, paucity of, among 

American slave songs, 28, 34. 
Serbs, augmented second in their 

music, 7. 

"Settia' up'* in the Bahamas, 107. 
Seventh (interval), flatted, 69, 70, 

71; omitted, o9, 70; raised to 

leading-tone in minor, 69. 
Seward, Theodore F 42, 95. 
Shamans of the North American 

Indians, 107. 
Shock along, John, 48. 
"Shout" and "Shouting," 32 

95, 106, 109, 112. 

Sibree, the Rev. James W., quoted, 

Sierra Leone, singing of the negroes 
in, 44, 60. 

Silcher, Friedrich, Zu Strasslurg auf 
der Schanz, 2; Ich weiss nicht, was 
soil es bedeuten, 2. 

Sixth (interval), major in minor 
scales, 69, 70, 81, 84; omitted, 69, 

Slavery in America, 36, 56 et seq. 

Slaves, American, not all negroes, 56. 

"Slave Songs of the United States" 
(collection), vi, 16, 17, 26, 29, 32, 
34, 42, 43, 48, 49, 50, 53, 71, 81, 
91, 97, 100, 109 116, 121, 138. 

Smith, Captain John, on rattles in 
Virginia, 13. 

Snap (Scots', Scotch, Scottish, etc.), 
6, 48, 68, 83, 92 et seq., 135. 

Socos, 57. 

Some come cripple, 158. 

Soyaux, Hermann, "Aus West-Afri- 
ka," quoted, 44, 60. 

Spanish melody on African rhythm, 83. 

Spaulding, H. G., credit, vi; "Under 
the Palmetto," quoted, 12, 17, 43. 

Spencer, Herbert, his theory on the 
origin of music, 3, 4, 29. 

Spirituals, 16. 

Spohr, Louis, on intervals in folk- 
song, 72. 

Squire, Irving, "American History 
and Encyclopaedia of Music, 
quoted, 47. 

Strathspev reel, 92. 

Structural forms of the Afro-Ameri- 
can folksongs, 100 /* seq. 

Suffering, provocative of folksong, 4. 

Sweden, folksongs of, 5. 

Take him to the gully, 24. 

Tango, 93, 114. 

Tant sirop est doux, 116, 117. 

Tiersot, Julien, his monograph on 
American folksongs, quoted, vi, 
32, 35, 36, 84, 135, 138? 

Tomlinson. Reuben, 50. 

To, to, to, 166. 

Tramp, tramp, tramp, 23. 

Tribune, New York newspaper, cre- 
dited, iii, iv. 

Triple time in negro songs, 95. 

Trowbridge, Col., quoted, 50. 

Tschaikowsky, "Pathetic" symphony, 

Turiault, "fitude sur la Langue 
Creole," quoted, 40. 

Turkey-trot, 93, 114. 


INDEX Continued 

Valdez, Francisco Travassos, "Six 
Years of a Traveler's Life in West- 
ern Africa," quoted, 106. 

Van Broekhoven, John A., acknow- 
ledgments to, viii. 

Variations from conventional scales, 

Villemarque, Th. Heraart de la, 
Barzaz-Breiz, 9. 

Volkslied, 1. 

Volksthiimliches Lied, 1. 

Fologeso, Italian opera, 92. 

Voodoo songs, 35, 37, 40, 67. 

Wachtel, Dr. Aurel, quoted, 74. 

Wagner, Nibelung rhythm in Africa, 

Wainamoinen, Finnish Orpheus, 8* 

Waitz, Theodor, "Anthropologie der 
Naturvolker," 106. 

Wallachia, folksongs of, 5. 

Wallaschek, Dr. Richard, "Primi- 
tive Music," 11; his arguments 
traversed, lift seq.; a careless in- 
vestigator. 12; 46, 47, 57, 58, 59, 
60, 115, 121. 

Wangemann, Dr., 82. 

Ware, Charles Pickard, 49. 

Washington, Booker T., vi, 47. 

Wearing of the Grtrn, 16. 

Weber, Carl Maria von, Wir winden 
dir, 2. 

Weber, Ernst von, "Vier Jahre in 

Afrika," quoted, 101. 
Weeing Mary, 80, 81, 157. 
Weissmann, Hermann, "Unterdeut- 

scher Flagge durch Afrika," quoted, 


We'll soon be free, 21. 
Welsh and Bretons, 9, 10. 
Wentworth, the Rev. Dr., 76. 
Wesley, the Rev. John, on the Devil 

and good tunes, 34. 
White. George L., manager of the 

Tubiles Singers, 42, 82. 
White, Jose, violinist, 59. 
Who is on the Lord's side?, 16. 
Whole-tone scale, 51. 
Wood, T. Muir, 72. 
Woodvflle, Jenny, quoted, 107. 
Working songs of the slaves, 46 et seq. 
Wulsin, Mrs., her copy of an Acadian 

song, 51, 

You may bury me in the east, 31, 

84, 86. 

Zanze, African instrument, 61, 68, 74. 
Ziehn, Bernhard, "Harmonielehre," 

quoted, 81. 
Zip Cooft, 15. 

Zoellner, Heinrich, quoted, 77. 
Zombi, 40. 

Zulu-Kafirs, songs of, 101. 
Zufii Indians, singing of, 72.