Choral Arrangements of the African-American Spirituals: Historical Overview and Annotated Listings

Choral Arrangements of the African-American Spirituals: Historical Overview and Annotated Listings

Choral Arrangements of the African-American Spirituals: Historical Overview and Annotated Listings

Choral Arrangements of the African-American Spirituals: Historical Overview and Annotated Listings

Synopsis

Although the choral arrangements of the African-American spirituals constitute the largest group of folk song arrangements in western literature, they have received little scholarly attention. This book provides the needed historical and stylistic information about the spirituals and the arrangements. It traces the history and cultural roots of the genre through its inception and delineates the African and European characteristics common to the original folk songs and arrangements. Ensembles that have perpetuated the growth of the spiritual arrangements--from the Fisk Jubilee Singers of the 1870s through those currently active--are chronicled as well.

Excerpt

Existing text and reference books chronicling choral literature in the western world do little to recognize the contribution of the choral arrangements of the African-American Spirituals to choral art music in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Except in books and scholarly articles on African-American music, mention of these arrangements and their arrangers is largely non-existent.

This book is a resource document that seeks to rectify this paucity of information for both choral directors and scholars. The Introduction and first three chapters trace the development of the genre and describe its musical characteristics. The annotated list of arrangements in Chapter 4 includes publisher, ranges, subject, key, meter, tempo, form, treatment, and comments enabling choral directors to access the music based upon the performance needs and capabilities of their ensembles. Chapter 5 contains biographical information which can help researchers trace the stylistic evolution of the genre and assess how it relates both to western folk-song arrangements as well as to western choral art musics created concurrently. In addition to the Title and Arranger indexes, a Subject Index groups titles in categories to assist conductors with liturgical and concert performance planning. Titles, arrangers and page locations appear across the indexes to assist directors who are using multiple criteria to make performance selections.

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