Why did African slaves use call and response songs on plantations?

As Africanized Christianity took hold of the slave population during the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, spirituals, a type of religious song typically sung in a call and response form with a leader improvising a line of text and a chorus of singers providing a solid refrain in unison, served as a way to …

What was the original purpose of call and response in African music?

Call-and-response originated in Sub-Saharan African cultures, which used the musical form to denote democratic participation in public gatherings like religious rituals, civic gatherings, funerals, and weddings.

What is the purpose of call and response?

In music, call and response is a technique where one musician offers a phrase and a second player answers with a direct commentary or response to the offered phrase. The musicians build on each other’s offering and work together to move the song along and create a sound that’s inventive and collective.

Why did slaves sing religious songs on the fields of the plantation?

If slaves couldn’t read the Bible, they would memorize Biblical stories they heard and translate them into songs. The songs were also used to communicate with one another without the knowledge of their masters.

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How did slaves use call and response?

One of the most distinctive forms of song among slaves was the “Call and Response.” According to The Sounds of Slavery, slaves would “sing in response to, and in ‘conversation’ with, one or more of the other singers.” Call and Response is just what it sounds like.

What is the African word for a call and response song?

Known as Coro-pregón, it is extensively used in Cuban music and derives from African musical elements, both in the secular rumba and in the African religious ceremonies (Santería).

What is another word for call and response?

Some common synonyms of response are answer, rejoinder, reply, and retort. While all these words mean “something spoken, written, or done in return,” response may imply a quick or spontaneous reaction to a person or thing that serves as a stimulus.

What is an example of call and response?

Examples of call and response include direct imitation between instruments, a questioning phrase and subsequent answer, a statement of affirmation from one instrument to another, or variations on a direct call by a series of instruments. Often, this call and response can be improvisational. Are you listening?

What are the 2 types of call and response?

Musical Categories



A teacher may initiate call and response communication to reemphasize an important point. Very broadly, musical call and response breaks down into two categories: classical and non-classical.

What language did slaves speak?

In the English colonies Africans spoke an English-based Atlantic Creole, generally called plantation creole. Low Country Africans spoke an English-based creole that came to be called Gullah.

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What songs did the slaves sing?

Singing was tradition brought from Africa by the first slaves; sometimes their songs are called spirituals.

What music did slaves listen to?

Although the Negro spirituals are the best known form of slave music, in fact secular music was as common as sacred music. There were field hollers, sung by individuals, work songs, sung by groups of laborers, and satirical songs.

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