2010 Student Research Conference:
23rd Annual Student Research Conference

African American Spirituals: A Synthesis of African and European Musical Practices
Adam J. Ueltschy
Dr. Marc Rice, Faculty Mentor

African American spirituals have been hailed as Americans folk music, a unique creation of our country. These spirituals were not completely new inventions, but rather the coalescence of both African musical and cultural practices and those of the European tradition held by the slaveholders. From the African culture came aspects such as the use of complex polyrhythms, a leader and chorus antiphonal style, gestures and percussive effects, the use of music to send codes, and a variety of occasions in which to sing which were unique to those on the African continent. From the European culture came musical forms, harmonies, Christian themes, and eventually notation. Both cultures were highly developed and organized, and it was this synthesis that earned the American Spiritual its place in our cultural heritage.

Keywords: African American, Spirituals, Slave, Songs, Music

African Studies
African-American Studies

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 44-3
Location: VH 1010
Time: 1:45

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