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92413 92413 Presentation Transcript

  • Introduction to Fredara M. Hadley, Ph.D. The Rise of Black Churches & Their Music Oberlin College
  • Objective • Understand the context in which black churches are born • Learn the music genres included in mainline churches and black churches
  • Timeline • 1750-1865 View slide
  • People • Isaac Watts • Charles and John Wesley • Richard Allen • Absalom Jones View slide
  • Places • Camp Meetings • Revivals • Praise Houses
  • Things • Great Awakening • Psalms • Hymns • Folk Spirituals • Lined-hymns
  • The 2nd Great Awakening • 1790-1840 • post-Revolutionary War • Led by Methodists and Baptists • Converted Southern Whites and enslaved Blacks through huge camp meetings • Led to the abolitionist movement and the suffragist movement • Tied to enslavers salvation to that of his enslaved
  • Religion and Enslavement • Both colonialist constructs • Religion was mostly at the service of the state
  • THE BLACK CHURCH??
  • Independent Black Churches: • Were autonomous spaces in which Black people used Christianity to establish their own religious customs and cosmology. • Structures that created a relatable language, cultural experience, and musical canon in which large numbers of Black people could participate. • Gave rise to a new form of music called gospel hymns and spirituals
  • Roles of the Black Church • Spiritual • Social • Educational • Political
  • The First Black Churches • WE HAVE TENSION IN THE METHODIST CHURCH IN PHILADELPHIA BECAUSE WHILE THE CHURCH WAS LIBERAL ENOUGH TO BAPTIZE AFRICAN AMERICANS, IT WASN’T REALLY INTERESTED IN DESEGREGATING THEIR SANCTUARIES. • IN 1787 A SLAVE WHO BOUGHT HIS FREEDOM NAMED RICHARD ALLEN WALKED OUT OF ST. GEORGE METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH AND IN 1794 FOUNDED THE “A.M.E.” DENOMINATION: AFRICAN METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH (WHICH IS STILL AROUND TODAY) AND ABSALOM JONES FOUNDED THE AFRICAN EPISCOPAL CHURCH, ST. THOMAS
  • Black Liberation Theology • A term coined in 1966 • It is the opposite of White Christianity’s religion of suppression as it places the “black liberation” and freedom at the center of its message of salvation. • The music is is a tool of subversion that supports its theological bent.
  • Antebellum Theological Differences White Churches • Used scripture to validate enslavement, White racial superiority Black Churches • Used gospels as a source of hope and exodus as an indictment of slavery
  • Important African American Christians/Revolutionaries • Nat Turner • Denmark Vesey • David Walker • Harriet Tubman
  • Antebellum Religious Music White Churches • Psalms • Hymns • Lined-Hymns Black Churches • Folk Spirituals • Ring Shouts • Lined Hymns
  • EUROPEAN RELIGIOUS MUSIC TRADITION
  • Important Hymnists • Martin Luther (1483-1546) – “A Mighty Fortress is Our God” • Isaac Watts (1674-1748) – “A Charge to Keep I Have” • John and Charles Wesley (1703-1791) (1707- 1788) – “Father I Stretch My Hands to Thee”
  • Psalms • Psalms is a book in the Bible written by the musician David • It contains 150 poems – many of which have musical instruction.
  • Psalm 23 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pasturues: he leadeth me besides the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art is with me, thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou annointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.
  • Hymns • A religious poem that is not necessarily based on scripture • Structure: 3-4 verses and may or may not have a refrain • Found in a hymnal with or without musical notation • Example: “A Mighty Fortress is Our God” by Martin Luther (1529)
  • AFRICAN AMERICAN RELIGIOUS MUSIC TRADITIONS
  • Folk Spirituals • Source material: psalms, hymns, works songs, field songs, and protest songs • Born out of a reinterpretation of Christianity to suit their own realities • Often included dancing and weren’t only secular
  • Ring Shout • A “shout” is a dance in which the participants “shuffle” their feet while moving in a counter- clockwise circle. • The McIntosh County Shouters perform a ring shout
  • Lined-Hymn • Based on tradition hymn, but the preacher or deacon feeds the lines to the congregation • Born out of necessity when most congregants could not read • Unmetered and unaccompanied
  • “Am I a Soldier of the Cross” • Traditional singing of “Am I a Soldier of the Cross” • The lined-hymn singing of “Am I a Soldier of the Cross” Am I a soldier of the cross, a follower of the Lamb, And shall I fear to own his cause, Or blush to speak his name? Must I be carried to the skies on flowery beds of ease, While others fought to win the prize, And sailed through bloody seas?
  • The Current State of Lined-Hymns • Short Documentary
  • The Commodification of Black Music • Negro spirituals were the first musical product sold in the US (other than the enslaved themselves). • The money was used to raise funds for abolitionist causes in the North.
  • Transcription Exercise • Apply Olly Wilson’s Heterogenous Sound Ideal to what you hear • Attempt to transcribe the lyrics • Attempt to transcribe/describe the music