The Impact of Negro Spirituals on Today's Music Essay

1707 Words7 Pages
The Impact of Negro Spirituals on Today's Music I believe that it would be difficult for someone to make the argument that Negro spirituals have not been influential in the field of music, much less the realm of gospel music today. However, church members often do not make the time to reflect on the heritage of a hymn or song to realize the meaning that the particular piece has carried with it through the decades, even centuries. With this in mind, I am going to look at the history of the Negro spiritual and then at specific hymns in the 1991 Baptist Hymnal, published by Convention Press, to see just what impact the Negro spiritual has had on today's church music. I believe that we will find that these songs have had a…show more content…
At first, however, slaves were not using their music to glorify the God worshipped by their masters. Obviously, they had brought their religion with them, one considered pagan and inappropriate by Christians in the American colonies. Christian missionaries were very disapproving regarding the religious practices of the slaves, and they began to verbalize their disapproval and work to convert the new African slaves. Seventeenth century author Morgan Godwin describes their religious practices thus: ". . . nothing is more barbarous, and contrary to Christianity, than their . . . Idolatrous Dances, and Revels; in which they usually spend the Sunday . . . And here, that I may not be thought too rashly to impute Idolatry to their Dances, my Conjecture is raised upon this ground . . . for that they use their Dances as a means to procure Rain: Some of them having been known to beg this Liberty upon the Week Days, in order thereunto" (qtd. in Maultsby 3). Apparently, slave owners did not immediately set out to influence the religious practices of their slaves; however, it would not be long before the masters began to insist that their slaves practice their religion, Christianity. I have found very little regarding the reception of the Africans to Christianity; nevertheless, they were converted, and their music changed to
Open Document