LESSON 1 - Negro Spirituals and Work Songs

Jazz was created by merging African and European musical traditions. African music provided the rhythmic element while European music provided the melody and harmony. The chief rhythmic element heard in Jazz is syncopation.

Class Discussion - what is syncopation?
               Strong accents on weak beats; Rests on stong beats; Tied notes over barlines

Exercise 1: Half the class claps Ex 1a; the other half claps it at the same time but starts a beat later and adds an extra beat at the end of each repetition, Ex 1b. After 8 repetitions everyone is in unison.
Exercise 2: Another short 2-part rhythmic idea. One half of the class keeps a steady pulse or beat while the other half claps the syncopated part. Then swap over. 

Assignment 1: Spirituals Worksheet 1 on Swing Low Sweet Chariot
Assignment 2: Work songs Worksheet 2 on Cotton needs a-picking
Assignment 3: Song titles http://www.negrospirituals.com/news-song/index.htm Find 12 songs that include one of these names in the title - Jesus, Mary, Moses, Gabriel, Daniel, Ezekiel, Joshua, Jacob, John, David, Michael and Peter. Write down the full titles in your notebook.
Assignment 4: Song themes On the same website, find 12 songs that refer to the following themes and write the full titles in your notebook: Water, Railway, Home, Heaven, Marching, Walking, Running, Going, Rising, Climbing, Wading, Freedom.
Assignment 5: The Historical Context Websearch Find information about the lives of the slaves in the cotton plantations in 18th and 19th Century North America. Refer to the map that may be downloaded on the Student page. Name the States where slavery was strongest. Take notes.

Click here for Homework.