Folklore | Black Religious Music
F354 | 2542 | Burnim
Using both a socio-cultural and a historical perspective, this course
explores the major forms of African American religious music
indigenous to the United States, (Negro Spirituals and gospel music),
as well as those Euro-American musical expressions that have emerged
as integral parts of the African American worship experience.
Students are engaged in multi-layered experiences of history,
aesthetics and ethnography through the frequent utilization of audio
and video recordings, as well as participant observation in African
American churches. The course format is both diachronic and
synchronic, so designed to assist students in recognizing
relationships between different forms of African American musical
expression, despite their differing time frames and contexts of
Bernice Reagon. We'll Understand It Better By and By: Pioneering
African American Gospel Composers. Washington & London: Smithsonian
Institution Press, 1992.
Southern Eileen, ed. Readings in Black American Music. New York:
Collated Xeroxed reading packet.
Horace Boyer. How Sweet the Sound: The Golden Age of Gospel.
Washington, D.C.: Elliott & Clark, 1995.
Jacqueline DjeDje and Eddie Meadows. California Soul: Music of
African Americans in the West. Berkeley: University of California,
Kirk Franklin. Church Boy: My Music and My Life. Nashville: Word,
Michael Harris. The Rise of Gospel Blues: The Music of Thomas A.
Dorsey in the Urban Church. New York: Oxford, 1992.
William B. McClain. Come Sunday: The Liturgy of Zion. Nashville:
Kip Lornell. Afro-American Gospel Quartets in Memphis. Urbana and
Chicago: University of Illinois, 1988.
Willa Ward-Royster. How I Got Over: Clara Ward and the World Famous
Ward Singers. Philadelphia: Temple. 1997.
Daniel Wolf. You Send Me: The Life and Times of Sam Cooke. New York:
Alan Young. Woke Me Up This Morning: Black Gospel Singers and the
Gospel Life. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 1997.
Evaluation: (365 points plus 20 points bonus)
200 points - Exams: Two equally weighted exams will be given, one at
the end of Segment II, the other at the end of Segment IV. Questions
will be multiple choice, which will include both questions related to
video and audio examples from classroom discussion. There is NO
130 points - Analysis of a Black Religious Music Event: This
assignment will require attendance at a Black worship service,
documentation of the service with an audio recording and with field
notes, generating an oral and written analysis of some dimension of
music in worship/ritual. Detailed guidance will be provided for the
execution of this assignment.
20 points - Assignments: Based on field trips to churches of various
denominations, students will evaluate the role of religious
affiliation, race, culture and class in defining the character of
worship and its accompanying musical expression. Observations will
be conducted in teams of three. Students will observe in a minimum
of two settings.
15 points - Attendance: 0-2 absences 15 points
3 absences 10 points
5 absences 5 points
6+ absences 0 points
20 points - Bonus: Various opportunities for earning extra points
will be given during the semester by submitting a one page analysis
of a designated Black musical/cultural event.
Fulfills a COAS Arts and Humanities, Traditions and Ideas
distribution requirement and is on List A of the COAS Culture Studies