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The true musical _expression in song of the enslaved African assuaging the sorrows of the horrific situation he endured in his every day existence.

Additional readings below will provide more definitive research of the meaning of these complex expressions in song.

LUCY McKIM GARRISON: (1842-1877)

As to the Music, I have done the best I could to reduce it to notes - but I fear I have not expressed the melody truly -.....Perhaps by fancying the rich tones which a colored congregation can throw into their musical performances, and the various embellishments of Appoggiaturas & after notes they are so fond of - especially of making a decided fall on the last note of the air - "

F. Bremer: (1850) Cincinnati, Ohio

"I found in the African Church African ardor and African life. The church was full to overflowing, and the congregation sang their own hymns. The singing ascended and poured forth like a

melodious torrent, and the heads, feet and elbows of the congregation moved all in unison with it, amid evident enchantment and delight in the singing.....

The hymns and psalms which the negroes have themselves composed have a peculiar naive character, childlike, full of imagery and life. Here is a specimen of one of their popular church hymns:

"what ship is this that's landed at the shore

Oh, glory halleluiah!

It's the old ship of Zion, halleluiah,

It's the old ship of Zion, halleluiah,

Is the mast all sure, and the timber all sound?

Oh, glory halleluiah!

She's built of gospel timber, halleluiah,

She's built, etc."

"Would your marster allow you to hold prayer-meetings on his place?"

"No, my child; if old marster heard us singing and praying he would come out and make us stop.... Marster used to say God was tired of us all hollering to him at night."..... None of us listened to him about singing and praying .... Sometimes when we met .... we would put a big wash-tub full of water in the middle of the floor to catch the sound of our voices when we sung. When we all would sing easy and low, so marster could not hear us ... Aunt Jane used to sing, "Jesus! the name that charms our fears"...... [and] "Guide me, O thou great Jehovah"......

Fredrika Bremer observed the evening worship of the Negroes of Columbia, south Carolina, in May, 1850:

One evening..... I was present at the evening worship of the negroes, in a hall which that good, right-thinking minister had allowed them to use.....{It was not} until the singing of one of the hymns composed by the negroes themselves, such as they sing in their canoes...that the congregation became really alive. They sang so that it was a pleasure to hear, with all their soul and with all their bodies in unison; for their bodies wagged, their heads nodded, their feet stamped, their knees shook, their elbows and their hands beat time to the tune and the words which they sang with evident delight. One must see these people singing if one is rightly to understand their life.

I cannot more than indicate the chorus attending every effective pause [in the exhortation]; a curious monotone vocal symphony, which, like some long-drawn congregational "Amen!" responded in a sort of humming chant. The rhythmic melody of this low refrain of mingling voices cannot be realized without a hearing of it. It is not so much an audible of syllablizing as a suppressed hum, like inward singing.

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