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 HISTORY OF AMERICAN MUSIC JAZZ AND GOSPEL SPIRITUALS

 

THE HISTORY OF AMERICAN ENTERTAINMENT, MUSIC, JAZZ, FOLK AND GOSPEL SPIRITUALS FROM THE 17th CENTURY TO PRESENT

BY MAXIMILLIEN de LAFAYETTE

CONDENSED EDITION FROM THE ORIGINAL HARDCOPY PREVIOUSLY PUBLISHED BY THE LONDON MONTHLY HERALD.

 

 

History and Early Origin of American Music, American Song, American Composers and American Singers from the Colonial Era to the 21st century

THE REVOLUTIONARY WAR /POST-COLONIAL ERA MUSIC AND SONGS

EARLY AMERICAN SCHOOLS “CONSERVATORY OF MUSIC AND VOICE”

 

 

 

 

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

History of The American Music and American Singers-Entertainers from the 17th Century to the 21st  Century.

History and Early Origin of American Music, American Song, American Composers and American Singers from the Colonial Era to the 21st century: The Afro Slaves and English Pilgrims Brought Music to America. The Colonial Era. Music and Songs from 1606 to 1776 . America’s First Songs Book. The First Singing Schools in America. Early American Conservatories of Music and Voice for Teachers. Ballads and Political Songs in American Musical History. Sea Shanties and Songs of the Sea. The Early Afro American Music. The Spirituals. The Camp Songs. The Work Songs. The Underground Railroad Songs. The Leaders and the Pioneers. 

THE REVOLUTIONARY WAR /POST-COLONIAL ERA MUSIC AND SONGS: American Music and American Songs from 1776 To 1860. The Early Afro-American Music and Songs. Negro Spirituals and Slave Songs. The First Singers in America. History of Slaves “Spirituals”. Songs and Music Before 1865. Negro Spiritual Songs Development. The Three New Kinds of Negro Songs. Black Singers Sing in Code. Music and Songs Between 1865 and 1925. Music and Songs Between 1925 and 1985. The Black Renaissance. The Gospel Music in America. From the Early Days to Present: The Dorseys. Different kings of "Gospel Music" and "Gospel Songs". Characteristics of  black gospel music. Alex Bradford, James Cleveland, Thomas Andrew Dorsey, Mahalia Jackson, Sister Rosetta Tharpe. Gospel music and Jazz and Blues. 

Gospel Music in the 19th century: The Fisk University Gospel Chorus. Elvis Presley and Gospel music. Eva Jessey. William Grant Still  HISTORICAL RETROSPECTIVE: Early 20th century. The history of American gospel music from its dawn to present. The songs, the music, the lyrics, the composers, the singers. Albertina Walker. The Caravan. The RUN DMC Group. The Staple Singers. Kirk Franklin. 1860-1900 civil war/reconstruction eras. Metrical psalmody. The great awakening. Revivalism movement. Fundamentalism. Evangelicalism. Sunday school songs. Camp meeting songs. Romanticism. D. L. Moody. Sacred songs. Ira Sanker. Frances Jane Crosby. Gospel hymnody. Specifics of the 19th and early 20th centuries gospel song. Evangelical standards for church music. Contemporary gospel music

AMERICA’S FIRST SONGS BOOK.......................................................................7      

FIRST SINGING SCHOOLS IN AMERICA..............................................................................11 

EARLY AMERICAN SCHOOLS “CONSERVATORY OF MUSIC AND VOICE”..........11

The Sacred Harp Singing” .....................................................................11

Ballads and Political Songs in American Musical History:..................................13

THE REVOLUTIONARY WAR /POST-COLONIAL ERA MUSIC AND SONGS ......................21

From  1776 To 1860: The Early Afro-American Music....................................21  

Negro Spirituals and Slave Songs: THE FIRST SINGERS IN AMERICA....................21

 

 

HISTORY OF SLAVE SPIRITUALS..23

Music of SALVATION , RELIGIOUS FAITH AND HOPE..................24

NEGRO SPIRITUALS AND WORK SONGS....................................25  

The Three New and Different Kinds of Negro Songs................................25

The Singing in Code....................................25

Between 1865 and 1925 ........................................25

 

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Between 1925 and 1985 ........................................................................29

THE BLACK RENAISSANCE ...........................................................29

Harmonizing the “Spirituals”.....................................................................................29

THE BIRTH OF THE GOSPEL SONGS: THE GOSPEL MUSIC.............................30

The Dorseys .........................................................30

THE DIFFERENT KINDS OF “BLACK  MUSIC” ...................................................31

HISTORICAL RETROSPECTIVE OF THE AFRO AMERICAN GOSPEL MUSIC .......36

IN THE LATE 19th CENTURY.........................................36

 

The Fisk University Gospel Chorus .......................36

PORTRAIT OF SOME OF THE MOST EMINENT AFRO AMERICAN LEGENDS.....38

Eva Jessey....................................................................................38

THE GOSPEL MUSIC: HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE .......................................44

EARLY 20th CENTURY...............................................................................................44

GOSPEL MUSIC IN THE 1950s ...................................................................................45

ALBERTINA WALKER .................................................46

ALBERTINA WALKER....................................................................47

1860-1900 CIVIL WAR / RECONSTRUCTION ERAS ....................................50

“THE GRAND AWAKENING MOVEMENT” ............................................50

“THE AMERICAN WHITE GOSPEL SONGS AND MUSIC” ......................50

HISTORICAL ORIGIN OF THE WHITE GOSPEL SONG ...................................50

HOMER RODEHEAVER.........................................................................56

 

 

 

 

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Chronological History Of                                           

American Music And American Songs  

The Afro Slaves and English Pilgrims Brought Music to America

By Maximillien  de Lafayette

                                                                                           THE COLONIAL ERA: From 1606 To 1776

The very first kind of music and songs in America was the “Religious Music” of the early colonists. This early kind of music and songs consisted of hymns brought to America by English settlers and pilgrims from Plymouth and Southhampton. They were first published in Holland in 1612 and were referred to as  “The Ainsworth Psalter”.

In 1612 in Amsterdam, Henry Ainsworth published his “Book of Psalms” for the use of English  congregations and included 39 tunes from England, France and Holland. The “Ainsworth Psalter” was brought to Plymouth Colony in 1620 by pilgrims and was used by those congregations which separated from the mother church in the homeland. At that time in history, another kind of psalmody was developed in other regions in the form of a non-metrical Anglican chant. 

 

The non-metrical system was created in order to avoid any alteration in the biblical texts. An Anglican chant usually begins with a first portion of a line to be “harmoniously” sung on a sustained pitch ending with final syllables in minimal series of chords. The Anglican chant was strictly observed and highly recommended, for it preserved the authenticity of the Hebraic psalms. In America, a metrical system was used by the Episcopal Church until the 19th century.

Photo: You are looking at America’s first priceless treasure: “The Bay Psalm Book” which is the very first book of hymns printed in America in 1640 in Cambridge, Massachusetts, by Stephen Daye, first printer of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. This is the very first book ever printed in the United States.

The very first Christian Illuminated Manuscripts Book (Psalms and Biblical Texts) was printed in 1521 in Yerevan, Armenia. The earliest Christian Religious Songs and Psalms was printed in 1100 in Antioch, Syria and Byblos, Lebanon by the Early Christian Lebanese monks in Syriac (A Form of Aramaic, the native tongue of Jesus Christ. Jesus did not speak Hebrew. He spoke Aramaic). In all cases, the religious hymns in all the Christian countries were the very first form and kind of songs ever sang by an individual, a choir or a community.

 

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AMERICA’S FIRST SONGS BOOK

The first American Psalter, “The Whole Book of Psalms Faithfully” known also as “The Bay Psalm Book” was  translated into English Metre in 1640. Historically, It is the first book to be printed in English-speaking North America. The original book was translated by twenty nine traditional and very conservative clergymen and noted scholars such as Thomas Weld, John Cotton and  Richard Mather. The very first edition of the book did not include music. However, it did recommend the usage of songs in Thomas Ravenscroft's Psalter of 1621. This Psalter contained ninety seven songs. In the years to come, the quality of music and songs got better and better, for a greater interest in individual and collective “chanting” began to develop in England. This was evidenced by the publication of new editions and new versions of the original hymns and psalms books, to name a few: Tate and Brady’s 1696 “New Version” which incorporated for the first time a very fine and up-beat songs such as “Saint Anne” written by William Croft and the very popular tune “Hanover”. Isaac Watts in his 1719 “Psalms of Davidopened new doors and paved the way to innovative interpretation of religious hymns, and originated the first lyrical and “romantic” aspect of religious chanting.

He went one step further (one very daring step for the era), he introduced “new” translation of the old books. One of his most famous tunes is still en vogue today and frequently sung in America’s churches. You guess it: “Joy To The World, The Lord Is Come”. As such, Isaac Watts became America’s First Christian Gospel Composer. Yet, at that time in history, those marvelous tunes were not adopted by the Anglican Church! He was very avant garde for his generation, he appeared to his generation as exactly Elvis Presley appeared to American families and broadcasters in the early sixties! However, liberal and independent believers welcomed the style and creative innovation of Watts and began to sing his songs in their churches and at home. The greatest hit of the era was Gloria Patri which enjoyed success in all Christian congregations and affiliations. At one time, this song became the favorite of the Anglican Church. Back to the “Bay Psalm Book”, a few years after its first publication date, the book knew  numerous editions and finally, it was used by several congregations for  over one hundred years. Yet, the earlier editions did not include songs! The third edition of 1651 which was revised by Henry Dunster and Richard Lyon promised new additions such as poetic lyrics and tunes. But, unfortunately, it failed to deliver and protect its promises. Religious music lovers or frankly all music and singing lovers of any style and genre had to wait for the ninth edition of 1698 to see some good tunes and good stuff included for the first time in any religious hymns book. The third edition did contain music and songs by John Playford's  composed in 1654 and taken from his book “A Brief Introduction To The Skill Of Music”, published in Great Britain in 1654. Finally, we are going somewhere! The religious hymns became more vivacious, more lyrical, more rhythmic and most certainly more appealing to the masses. Call it by today’s standards “the Fake Book Of Songs” of the era! One important thing to remember: It was Old Time Religion! Old Time Music. No composer, writer or musician dared to shake and bake while writing or composing a religious hymn. Otherwise, he/she will end up having his/her super alone with his/her dog!

 

 

 

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Poster of a Musical Act by An Afro-American Pianist: Self Explanatory!

Hymns and Psalms were the songs of du jour. They were widely used by colonists between 1606 and 1667. At that time in history, few could read and write. Therefore, hymns were learned, recited and chanted through “vocal tradition”. Clergymen, pastors, preachers and school teachers taught the populace how to sing those religious songs. In comparing the “White Religious Music and Songs” with the early “Negro Music” or the “Slave Spiritual Music”, we find striking similarities such as:

 

1-Learning the songs by heart;

2-Chanting the hymns (songs) in fields, churches and family gatherings;

3-The majority of songs were not written but verbally transmitted;

4-One single aspect dominated and defined the character and nature of songs; The Religious aspect for the White Colonists and the Spiritual aspect for the Afro-Americans (The Slaves).

5-The best singers of the era were women; black and white women alike. At that time in history, men never learned how to sing properly!

6-No songs were accompanied by musical instruments, except Afro-Americans who used home made drums, and tam tams. Sometimes, Afro-American will substitute drums with thick trees branches and sticks.

Photo: Portrait of May C. Hyers. A 1898 catalog issued by the Kansas City Talking Machine Company. May C. Hyers was the first Afro-American female singer to make recordings. Hyers’s records were cut as brown wax cylinders. Unfortunately, none of her recordings survived! May C. Hyers sang in a variety of styles and genres, ranging from sentimental favorites such as "Ben Bolt" to hits like "Pumpkin Colored Coon".

Photo: May C. Hyers

 

Photo, below: Early Afro-American Recording Artists

    

                                                                                Sara Martin             Mamie Smith   Clarence Williams

Photo: Benjamin Franklin, America’s first songwriter, lyricist and composer.

 

Historically, the English settlers and pilgrims and the Afro slaves brought music to America. The slaves had their verbal musical tradition which was carried out and vividly expressed wherever they went and wherever they could sing. Originally, it was created in Africa and cemented its roots in America in its corn and cotton fields…in fact, in any field or any place where the Afro slaves worked, lived and desperately hoped for a better future!

     

The colonists had their “Ainsworth Psalter”, the traditional English collection of hymns. But, in 1667, the English religious songs were largely replaced by “The Bay Psalter” when it was officially and dearly adopted by Benjamin Franklin who began to write the First American Songs and Ballads. In that, sense, Franklin was the first American composer and lyricist, as well as the first publisher of  an American Book of American songs and music sheets. The publication of Franklin’s book gave birth to the first “American Folkloric Operas” also referred to as “Popular Operas”. In fact, at that very particular moment in history, the very first “legitimate opera” came to life with “Yankee Doodle” and “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God” .

 

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Photo: Cine-Musical 1942 Poster of “Yankee Doodle Dandy”. Cast: Michael Curtiz, James Cagney, Joan Leslie, Walter Huston, Richard Whorf, Irene Manning, George Tobias, Rosemary DeCamp and Jeanne Cagney.

Note about Yankee Doodle:

Tradition has it that Yankee Doodle found its origins in the Indian and French War, at the time, when New England troops joined Braddock's forces in Niagara. The British army was well equipped and well outfitted, remarkably polished and very well dressed up. The colonials outfits and costumes were miserable and a la cave man moda. Many of them, if not the majority were wearing wild animal furs and buckskins! Not really very attractive or a propos for military troops!. Dr. Richard Schuckburg, a British Army surgeon allegedly wrote the famous song ridiculing the American “quasi-military men” in  early 1750s. The fact is that the song Yankee Doodle was adopted from the nursery rhyme Lucy Locket. The song began as ridicule, but the Americans took it as their own. A considerable number of countless variations and versions (approx. 185 verses) metamorphosed and new interpretations evolved. The Americans, thanks to their great sense of humor began to use this song to ridicule their own officers, including George Washington!

Almost, at the end of the war, when Cornwallis surrendered at Yorktown, it was reported that, while the British played The World Turned Upside Down, the Americans played Yankee Doodle.  

FIRST SINGING SCHOOLS IN AMERICA:                                                                     

EARLY AMERICAN SCHOOLS “CONSERVATORY OF MUSIC AND VOICE” FOR SINGERS

Photo: Ananias Davisson

“The Sacred Harp Singing” is a non-denominational musical event participation. Participant singers sit in a hollow square and face inward and each singer takes a turn as a leading solo performer while beating with his or her hands. Songs were chosen from The Sacred Harp a songbook published in 1844 by B. F. White and E. J. King. The music in the singing book is printed in "patent notes". The  musical note head represents the syllables FA (right triangle), SOL (oval), LA (rectangle), and MI (diamond)..This style of singing originated in the colonial era. It was practiced in singing schools which were established in 1700 and were considered as America’s first music institutes. They were known also as the “Shape-Note Singing Schools”. They offered short course in note-reading and sight-singing which lasted two or three months. The curriculum focused primarily on “sacred music”.   In 1816, Joseph Funk (1777-1862) and Ananias Davisson (1780-1857) both from Rockingham County in Virginia, became the first Southern singing masters to publish their own songs. Others followed suit. William Walker’s “The Southern Harmony”  became a national best seller, over 600,000 copies were sold between 1835 and the beginning of the American Civil War. The Sacred Harp a songbook published in 1844 by B. F. White and E. J. King enjoyed a very large popularity in the Southern states and was number two on the “sale bill board. Around 1840,  new folkloric tunes were added to the repertoire
of the Southern singing masters and were called  the “ folk hymns” in the tradition of “Amazing Grace”. After 1841, several musical organizations and groups were officially established and prospered rapidly. Organizations like the “Southern Musical Association” which was created in 1845 and “Chattahoochie Musical Association” which was chartered in 1852. Unfortunately, those singing schools lost popularity just after the American for obvious reasons.
There are three different kinds of singing schools: 1- Shape-note singing schools are associated with the "little-book" seven-shape gospel repertoire. 2-"Tune book" schools are associated with surviving 19th-century books such as The Christian Harmony and the Sacred Harp. 3- Denominational schools which are affiliated with churches, such as The Primitive Baptist and The Church of Christ

 

 

 

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Ballads and Political Songs in American Musical History

In addition to singing religious songs, Early Americans wrote political ballads and songs. They were a captivating novelty as well as a unique passé-temps tool. Some of the most popular and memorable ones came to life in the 17th century. Songs like: “The Bold Soldier”, “The Bailiff's Daughter Of Islington”, “Blow, Ye Winds, Blow”, “The Farmer’s Curst Wife”, “The Girl I Left Behind Me”, “Barbara Allen”, “The Deceived Maid”, “The Bold Pedlar And Robin Hood”, “The Golden Vanity”, “Greensleeves”, “Soldier, Soldier, Will You Marry Me?”, “The Willow Tree”, “The Three Butchers”, “Fair Margaret And Sweet William”, this one became a hit, so some songwriters had to release a second variation for their customers ! Probably, this was the first “Golden Album” of the era! The music was pure and the lyrics were sentimental and polite. The words of the songs did not need offensive expressions, words and phrases to launch a song, as unfortunately, is the case with today’s Rap Crap music!! And grandma had to approve the song before the kids and the parents were allowed to sing it a home. It was a beautiful, pure and innocent moment in our past history. Here are the lyrics of the song:

The Girl I Left Behind Me

I'm lonesome since I crossed the hill,
And o'er the moorland sedgy
Such heavy thoughts my heart do fill,
Since parting with my Betsey
I seek for one as fair and gay,
But find none to remind me
How sweet the hours I passed away,
With the girl I left behind me.

O ne'er shall I forget the night,
the stars were bright above me
And gently lent their silvery light
when first she vowed to love me
But now I'm bound to Brighton camp
kind heaven then pray guide me
And send me safely back again,
to the girl I left behind me

Her golden hair in ringlets fair,
her eyes like diamonds shining
Her slender waist, her heavenly face,
that leaves my heart still pining
Ye gods above oh hear my prayer
to my beauteous fair to find me
And send me safely back again,
to the girl I left behind me

The bee shall honey taste no more,
the dove become a ranger
The falling waters cease to roar,
ere I shall seek to change her
The vows we made to heaven above
shall ever cheer and bind me
In constancy to her I love,
the girl I left behind me.

 

 

 

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Note about that song: The tune was popular during Queen Elizabeth's the first. It was frequently played every time a regiment left town or a soldier or a seaman set sail. Others historians claim that the song originated in 1758 when Admiral Hawke was observing w the French fleet. A noted hostorian, Theodore Ralph  claims that the song was popular in early America in 1650. In Ireland, it was called “The Rambling Laborer” and sometime “ The Spailpin Fanach” and was published in 1791 in Dublin. During the American Revolution, “The Girl I Left Behind Me” became extremely popular.

 

Photo: The young woman in this picture called “The Girl I Left Behind Me” (1870-75; oil, 42 x 34 7/8 in) by Eastman Johnson. The catalogue of the Smithsonian Museum stated that this painting may be the most passionate portrayal in all nineteenth-century American art. It is even more openly romantic than Winslow Homer's pictures of women. Everything about her is animated by an inner intensity. The estate sale catalogue of 1907 described the figure as a young school girl on her way to recite a lesson. The hand clutching the books, however, wears a wedding ring. Even apart from this telling detail, the way she confronts the elements on a high cliff, like a figure on a ship's prow, suggest something much more momentous than a trip to school. The title of the painting, The Girl I Left Behind Me, is taken from an old Irish song that was a popular regimental ballad in the Civil War. We know that Johnson followed the Union troops of General George McClellan in the early years of the war and he witnessed the battle of Manassas in 1862. When the war was over, he painted a picture based on his memories, showing a black family on a horse, racing for their freedom.  Perhaps The Girl I Left Behind Me also refers to the Civil War.”

Lyrics Of The Song “The Deceived Girl”

As she walked past the jailhouse door,
She spied a man with head hung low,
And all because of bolts and bars,
His homeland he would never know.

'I am a prisoner far from home,
But if you'll only steal the key,
I'll take you were the grass grows green,
And make of you a great lady.'

'I cannot go, I will not go,
And be your great lady,
For you have got a Scotland wife,
And you've got babies three.'

She's done to her father's stable,
She's done to her mother's till,
She's got the jailhouse key so large,
And she's galloped o'er the hill.

And as they galloped o'er the plain,
It was my darling dear,
But as they came to Scotland,
Well changed was this cheer.

'Oh pity, pity, pity, please,
As I did pity thee,
Or fling me from your castle's walls
And break my slim body.'

'But how can I have pity
When you are just a whore?
Now get you back to England
Where I'll see you no more!'

'Oh false and faithless knight,' said she,
'I'll to my father's door,
And he will prove to Scotland
That I have never been whore.'

Her mother, who was truly queen,
She gently then did smile:
'You're not the first, nor only one,
The Scotsmen did beguile.'

Come all ye maidens, young and old,
Pray come, be warned of me -
Scots were never, never true.
And Scots will never be.

Note about that song: Historically, the ballad was referred to there as “The Maiden's Song” and it is assumed that it was written in 1597. It was a favorite in Scotland. Years later, the song became extremely popular in Poland and Germany. CONTINUES NEXT