AN AMERICAN ART FORM: PERFORMANCE PRACTICES OF SELECTED COMPOSITIONS AND COMPARISONS TO GOSPEL The Negro Spiritual Dr. Sonja Sepúlveda
African Music to the Concert Spiritual Dr. Sonja Sepúlveda
AFRICAN CHARACTERISTICS • Complex rhythms • Percussion and movement • Harmony in open fifths and fourths • Call and Response • Beat emphasis that moves the melody forward • Singers need to move
Jesu Waca / African Chant Praise the name of Jesus, for the name is high.
Ahuna Ya Tswanang Le Jesu Sotho tradition There’s no one like Jesus. There’s no one like Him. I looked around everywhere. I turned around everywhere. I finally found my Jesus. There’s no one like Him. L=Z, H=silent, NG=nasal
Ezatele / Uyaimose Congo/ Zimbabwe Hymn Tune Ezatele: Come here. Uyaimose: Come all ye people, come and praise the Most High. Come now and worship the Lord.
CONCERT AFRICAN FOLK • African song arranged into a European traditional choral arrangement • Wana Baraka: • Stacks African melodies • Call and response • Open 5ths • Unbridled joy • Latin vowels • Word stress
Wana Baraka Kenyan religious tune They have blessings, those who pray; Jesus himself said so. Alleluia! They have peace, joy and well-being.
Bawo Thixo Somandla South African song, in Xhosa dialect, arranged into European choral style Stacking melodies Call and response Open 5ths Unbridled joy because of hope Th=T, X=Click or K, S=Z, ND=spoken, 2nd consonant most important. Q=k
Bawo Thixo Somandla Father God Almighty what are our sins? What have we done that we kill each other thus? This world is full of troubles. On this earth we carry a heavy burden. I have a continuous cry in my heart. Let this be over. Let this cup pass from me.
Dubula, a Xhosa folk song Stacking of melodies Secular Polyrhythms Energy Movement Added sounds
Dubula, Stephen Hatfield The honey bird carries sour milk. It is no good for my child. Let us chase him away with a big bang. XH=click (K sound at back of throat and click backwards like a “kuh” sound), PH=f, TH=t, ND=like hand, NT=plant, G=always hard, even before an “e”, Latin vowels, percussive consonants.
Noel Kituba dialect, Congo Call and answer Movement Drums Polyrhythms Added sounds Passion Vowels like Latin
Noel Noel, Jesus has come to live with us. If you want to know the Child, you have to come kneel.
CONCERT SPIRITUAL • Keeps African characteristics • Concert Spirituals are arranged in European choral format retaining African characteristics • Combines African music with European hymn tune
How to Sing the Concert Spiritual Dr. Sonja Sepúlveda
Performance Concerns in the SpiritualAccording to Jester Hairston • Dialect/ Style • Use it. All people can do it, no matter their color • Tempo and Rhythm • It is the rhythm that sells the songs • Spirituals bring people together • Unity through purpose with song • Vocal Color • Sing fully and beautifully… • “Sing it with your heart”
Purposes of Slave SongsAccording to Jester Hairston • Religious Spirituals • Images of King Jesus, the devil, judgment day, the Lord, and Heaven • Freedom Spirituals • Refers to Moses, the Hebrews, the people of Israel, and earthly deliverance • Escape Spirituals • Coded or telegraphed spirituals with messages of escape • The Shout and Hollers • Instruction, hypnotic song and dance • Work Songs • Passes time for people who worked in the fields
Spiritual Style Categories According to John Work • Call and Response • Rapid in tempo and fiery spirit • Slow sustained, long-phrase melody • Most beautiful • Most popular as solos • Syncopated, segmented melody • Segments of melody or rhythmic patterns • Syncopated figures • Repeated words or word phrases • Fast tempo, usually
In Dat Great Gittin’ Up Mornin’Soloist: Herbert Johnson Call and response Religious purpose style Some dialect, body percussion Improvisation at the end Rising keys represent going to heaven Phonetic decay adds buoyancy Terrace dynamics, driving energy
Angels Rolled De Stone AwaySoloist: Michael Loredo Easter Spiritual Very chordal Solo and choir accompaniment Improvisation at the end Accompanied concert spiritual-not gospel Similar to the solo spiritual with piano
Birth of the Concert Spiritual Original Fisk University Singers
Birth of the Concert Spiritual George L. White First Arranger of the Concert Spiritual Ella Sheppard Fisk Jubilee Soprano, Pianist, Choral Assistant and Arranger
My Lord, What a Mourning • Hymn tune texture • This original text had the word “mourning” which changes the meaning of the song • This was changed by oral tradition • This is the basis of the arrangement by H.T. Burleigh
Performance Concerns of the Spiritual According to H.T. Burleigh • Sing with deep feeling • Rhythm is more important than the voice • Never make them funny…serious music
My Lord, What a Mornin’by H.T. Burleigh • Tempo changes • Added parts • Word stress • Dialect for the word “my” • Use of portato for lilt and energy • Changing “mourning” to “mornin’”
We Shall Walk Through the Valley in Peace arr. Moses Hogan Religious spiritual that has a slow, sustained melody. These are most beautiful and used many times as solos. The use of word stress is still very important. It also has a climax point that changes the energy and that is stylistic of most slow, melodic spirituals.
Deep River, arr. Norman LuboffSoloist: Byron Barr Like the last two spirituals, this is a slow melodic style that is based on Psalm 23. It is full of hope and also has a contrasting center section. “My” is sung in a dialect and word stress with contrasting dynamics continues to be very important to the style. This spiritual has a solo built into the middle with the choir accompaniment.
Performance Issues in the SpiritualAccording to William Dawson • Recreate Spiritual motivations • Dialect • Rhythms are highly syncopated • Keep the tempo • Spirituals are serious music • Observe markings of arranger • Seek the real music
Accents of William Dawson • Legato or tenuto - • Strong or marcato۸ • Normal Accent ﺤ • fzor forzandofz • Staccatissimo ▼ • Staccato • • Normal and Staccato ﺤ •
Portato Device It achieves a kind of pulsation or undulation, rather than separating the notes. It has been notated in various ways. Not as heavy as a fp. The pulse of the meter is one of the most important things in performing the Spiritual.
Soon Ah Will Be Done by William Dawson Soloist: Carla Thomas Combining the two tempos that speak of two different stories Terrance dynamics Accents for energy Unbridled enthusiasm at the climaxes Portato
Performance Issues in the SpiritualAccording to Roland Carter • Dialect • Don’t over do it • Tempo and Rhythm • There is a direct correlation between the tempo and the purpose of the song • All strong beats are not equal • Understand all the accents • Don’t interrupt rhythmic flow • Vocal Color • Use Italian vowels • Be careful that dark sound does not hurt pitch • Dynamics are relative • Lilt must be flexible • Clipping should not be too harsh
In Bright Mansions by Roland Carter • Thicker texture than White’s arrangement • Use Italian vowels • Lilt of phrases • Combination of Madrigal style & dark tone • Changing meter to accommodate the text • Word stress • Anthem style
Performance Issues in the SpiritualAccording to Undine Moore • Tempo and Rhythm are important • Vocal Color: timbres should be chosen carefully • Scales and their awareness are important • Harmonies with 4ths and 5ths prominent • Sing climax with unrestrained fullness
Daniel, Daniel, Servant of the Lord by Undine Moore Soloists: Paul Nutter and David Simmons Accents on unusual parts of words Use of two soloists gives contrast in vocal color Driving rhythms Parallel 4ths in soprano and 5ths in the bass and alto
Hall Johnson • “The Negro spiritual is a distinct type of music which resembles no other and therefore requires special treatment in performance.” • “The singer who has not first-hand acquaintance with the authentic racial style should have, for the best results, either an intelligent model or a coach who is thoroughly familiar with this music at its source.”
Ain’t Got Time to Die Soloists: Byron Barr and David Simmons Extreme syncopation Sharp accents Imploded consonants like the “t” in “ain’t” Rest after “takes” so you can attack “all” Clip the “s” on Jesus Features “lining” by the soloist