The paper contains three questions and three answers on them regarding blues: Why are the words of the blues so important? Why were work songs important to the slaves and later to African Americans who worked in the fields? What roles does music play in the religious service described in the first part of the chapter in your text? …
Blues are normally characteristic of songs that convey the deep struggles of the black people in several aspects of life, particularly the ones that occur to reflect the bitter past on account of their historical and racial conflicts during the times of the Civil War and the War on Independence prior. Through world history, it has become widely known that blacks had a significant number of excruciating encounters of slavery, social injustice, sex and labor abuse, as well as other forms of oppression, being treated as an inferior race and all these, apparently, constitute the lyrical blues quite specific to them. On this ground, the words of the blues acquire profound essence as they collectively embody the nature and identity of the blacks in association to their ordeals, sufferings, adventures, and indifference to the superior race through times. As a concrete instance, when Bill Lucas sings “I’m just a poor boy; people, I can’t even write my name / Every letter in the alphabet to me they look the same … I just been a poor boy; ain’t caught nothing but hell”, he sings to the true beat of black rhythm that speaks of poverty and lack of academic opportunity due to color discrimination, affecting many black communities including his family whose main wage source comes from farming. 2. Why were work songs important to the slaves and later to African Americans who worked in the fields? Look at the lyrics of Rosie. What do these lyrics say about the African American culture of the time? (6 points) Based on J.T. Titon’s findings, “the song ‘Rosie’ was used to regulate the axe blows when the workers were felling large trees .. Without work songs, the white and Latino inmates chopped two to a tree – With work songs, the black inmates chopped four, six, eight, or ten to a tree.” This scenario illustrates how the prison workers derive inspiration to do heavy work or duty efficiently through work songs. In the song ‘Rosie’, the lines “Be my woman, gal, I’ll be your man … When she walks she reels and rocks behind” indicate the fondness of African American culture on love and romance, especially the manner in which men express intense devotion to the women they love so that romantic themes in work songs enhance the motivating effect of rhythms. Similarly, in the past, black slaves and African Americans of the later age had sung work songs for the positive influence these songs create on their attitude, becoming disposed to higher level of productivity at work and gaining more sense of solidarity and fulfilment as music brought workmates together toward warm companionship in order to drive away anxieties and accomplish larger amount of tasks. 3. What roles does music play in the religious service described in the first part of the chapter in your text? What is the Deacon’s Devotional? What is whooping? How is this type of religious service connected to African rituals we’ve looked at? (8 points) In the religious service music, as music of worship, functions as a powerful element of devotion and a means to grow further in spiritual faith and loyalty to the church as such music guides and moves the people of the church to solemn thoughts and positive energy levels by which to expel the daily troubles of life. Black churches normally possess the most compelling music of worship out of “modern gospel quartets, powerful massed choirs, and soloists” whose enthusiastic and emotional singing performance may be observed as highly ...
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