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March 11, 1923 - Image 1

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SUNDAY MAGAZINE
ANN ARBOR, MICHIG AN, SUNDAY, MARCH 11, 1923
INDIVIDUALITY IN NEGRO MUSIC
A feature of the modern vaudeville NORMAND LOCKWOOD It has been said that the national
is very often a gleeful negro "rat- music of America lies not necessarily
tling the bones" or going through the in the .old negro songs but in the
contortions of some sort of pantom- songs was he able to impart the con- rail workers should adopt their own western music. This is hardly feasi-
mime. What is more satisfying than ditions of his plight. It is my belief songs, for nothing so inspired them to hls ecause the Spanish and Mexican
a negro jazz orchestra among whose that through the enmancipation act, wield the pick as the constant syn-elemnt enters so strongly into the
members is a grinning, negro trap Abraham Lincoln brought a hal to copation of a song. In these "railroad elmustcenferse westrnyth toe
drummer who flings his drum sticks the develosment of negro music- in selections' the negro likened the . . .
In mid-air and oaintains fur theher words, America's national mus- Christian to a traveler on a train; the iotsifidin callingiAmerican
chestra a rhythm such as only a ne- ic, though the idea of such a cats,- Lord was the conductor and the serv- ticmeor an prtcuts era
7 . .. banal cause nar any particular era
gro dummer could succeed in doing? trophe probably never ientered his ants ot Christianity were the hbrake- .
Had we, in the sixteenth centur been mind, it will he well not to hoar men. sere made at the guspel no nistion, save perhaps a period
members of some mission or crusade against Lincoln any grudge because stations either to take on waiting not convincing because emigration is
sent out to Africa to spread the teach- of this serious over-sight, converts or to replenish the engine .ctinally bulging border lines into
ings of Christ, we would undoubtedly The sole means of the negro es re- boiler with the water of life. cli ster soiltie contact with the
have beheld the savagely grinnin onciliation with his apparently eter- In Louisana the negro music took
aesoterners and the Mexicans is very
countenance of Bert Williams' great, nat misery appeared to be through a on a special colour owing to the in- close
great grandfather, sitting astride a constant faith in a kingdom come, and fluene of the Creole masters. This is
hollow log, heating wildly on the 1n tbs is sishown in the lyrics of many of noticeable not only in the French and It may he true that Abraham Lin-
of it, over which had been stretched his songsvwhich plead more or less Spanish dialects of his songs but in ccli tid check the oregress of our na-
an animal akin; or perhaps 'Wilbur for an eventual land of Canaan. De- the character of both the music Of the tional mn;r. nbut nevertheless, he did
Sweatman's great, great grandani I, spite his Oppressions he seems not to song;sand dances. In this section of not destroy the music that had devel-
before a audience of nakeed natives, have discarded the thythums acquired the South seigs sewre almost invaria- opeot up to the time of the emani-
rattling with all dexterity a pair of from his African ancestors, for the bly accompanied by dancing. The pation of the slaves. Had slavery
"bones" and going through the wribh- syncopation ceaselessly employed in singer seas tchuseu for his skill in im- continued, the music of the negro
ings of a savage dance, which con- our beloved jazz found its source in prcvisation a well as for qualities of would undoub tedly have taien more
stitutes his voodooistic ceremonies. the negro melodies. The oldest of the the voice; his words were inspired by of a hold upon the American people;
Such is the virtue of the modern ne- slave songs to survive are the "Sor- the grace and beauty of a danseuse or but with the elmination of the negro
gro; but it is neither fitting nor fair row Songs". These, though pervaded by the bravado of some plantation cause, it is no wonder that the charac-
to stop at such a point as this. There with a strain of sadness, frequently hero. Thel dancers then selves did not teristic music of the negro is unap-
is i negro music and its development burst forth in a tone of triumph, as sing, but danced to the music of voices preiated and at present stagnant.
since early African stages a sounid though the Savious had arrived to and crude instruments afforded by the however, several composers of note
vlue, which enables us to recognize distribute among the righteous a set asdience itself. The early Creole ne- have recognized and utilized it. An-
it as the only music in America that of keyp to the gates of heaven. The groes often sang of animal life. Just ton Dvoraks "New World" symphony
can be candidly called our national negro has a highly imaginative mind why, I cannot say. Perhaps they still and his "American Quartet" are of
music. which is apparent in his "Railroad renmenmsered the wilderness of their exceptional worth, It is decidedly a
Songs". When the railway first came native Africa; maybe they stole the novelty to hear the negro chants and
Among the undeveloped races, the into use, scores of negroes were em- idea from the Indians, for it is found airs manipulated in such a manner
African negro seems to have been the plyed in layin.g the tracks; and as that their legends deal largely with as to form such serious compositions
most gifted musically. He possessed they worked year after year on the animal life rather than with their as theso. Coleridge-Taylor, an Eng-
not merely crude rhythm, but also a railroad, it was only natural that the own, hipla negro. has also taken our negro
melodic sense. Like many uncultur- tunes for his compositions, and G. W.
ed peoples, his melodies, though. very Chadwick owes the themes in his sec-
crass, were based upon the pentatonic oni symphony to the American ne-
scale, in which the fourths and sev gro. Dvorak's compositions remain the
enth tones are ossitted. is Thomas fOO K SJnS 1 est in every sense, probhably dce to
Jefferson'a Notes on Virginia lie nen- I"' the fact that he possesses the extra-
tions the negro s being natiurally ordinary gift of putting himself into
musical, and adds: "The instrument the spirit of a remote race.
proper to them is the banjar, whichl SAMUEL MOORE, JR. Shortly after the Civil war an at-
they brougit hither from Africa." - tempt was being made to establish
This "banjar" or banjo, as it is calledl Tle hoikshep sovumnet his reach- Th owners, or as the fshhswers of the a Fisk university at Nashville, Tenn.,
today, is not unlike the instrument ed An Arior. A slop on East Uni- Morley prefer to style them, "hook- for the education of negroes. A ne-
used at present by the Chinese. At first versyag has had built a sort of gro choir or rather a minstrelsy of
it had two strings, and later two more .sya h ders" usualhy conceal their shops nie mixed voices was organized, and
side room off the main store, which is on some secluded side-street where
were added. The drum head was oft- t it travelled far and wide to raise
en made of rattle-snake skin. IHow- hook and sil he en to hiesioph thes re is little possibility of a business funds for the university. The older
boks ndwllh oe t ibiphls a hsligin for a Lefax notebook cutiso uoeaesqikt
ever, some authorities declare that at any time of the day. All manner of sg countries of Europe were quick to
the banjo was not originated by the books will be stored in this little al- or some carbon paper. Nor do these realize the fact that these coloured
negro because his efforts were essen- cove, but most of them will be the booksellers hang out a blatant shingle vocalists sang a folk-music peculiarly
tially melodic, while the banjo of to- work of contemporary authors; new proclaiming to the world at large that and entirely their own-music which
day is commonly employed as a har- books, in short. George Wahr has had Christopher Batik is the proprietor had sprung into existence under his-
inole instrsnent. Another native in- smething of this sort for a great of this bookstore and that they have torical conditions-and for tao ces-
struent of the negro was a device tre a wle ntebreso
osany years. I refer to the bench in stationery at $t.89 today only, and that tunes had dwelled on the borders of
made of cane and quills similar to a the front of his Stote street store, they will stamp your name in gold civilization and culture and yet had
Pan's pipe, but its existence does not not participated in their development.
seemto aveperistd. hentheus-where sue can at and read the nug- free of charge if you buy a leathertoHladthrben nouio-
seem to have persisted. When the nc znes ad books without charge. This notebook. No, that sort of thing is all Inas ofsuf there being no auditor-
swr t had become thoroughly familir is not such an obvious effort at hos- right for the owner of a bookstore, the curious crowds size to accommodate
with the music of the whites, the v:D- iai o. vr n the mjrtofCurious crowds, cathedral doors
pt iy, hwvr n h aoiyo but for a bookseller to mae that
lin came to be the most suit dmedium -. t were opened to the ninistrels. At The
ta h save never observed Mr. sort of an announcement would dis-
through which he was a~'c to exr c :...3 Hague the singers were received by
his emotions. Wahr'v ireviston for them. Perhaps grace im with his entire clientele. the queen and the nobility. to Berlin
it, is 1 cause h is so much in advance Morley's "Roger Mifflin" of the the Donkirche, the church in which
happyTheerfu isudivturt, host - , c ft,, bokahop msovemoent, which "Haunted Bookshop" and "Parnassus the emperor and his family worship-
ap re: 1.a said, is only now penetrating on Wheels" been the prototype of the ed, was placed at their disposal,
ndlaughter fnd liittle chance fo cedwa~pl'e atAhir isAra.
a Ahuhb >or. bookseller; and his bookshop has also Throughout its journey the choir won
pression in the song of i people so The bookshop movement originated been the model bookshop. "Where the admiration and favourable newspaper
long depressd wIth thoughts of c:i ta few years ago in England, and quick- corncob smoke is thickest you'll find criticism. A critic in the Berliner
and no apparent promise of allevia ly crossed to this country, where, un- me" is the watchword of this hustling Musik-Zeitung closes his article
tio, to the sass of Poland, Chotin der the tender ministrations of Chris- business man. And then the horrible thus: "Not only have we had a rare
(in his Mazurkas) is a perfect repre- topher Morley and other persons who get-to-gethers of Mifflin and his con- musical treat hut our musical ideas
sentative of the people. Poland, so read in bed and smoke corncob pipes, freres over the jolly old eoer and have sais received largensent and
long picked upon by the gcat tpowero it has thriven exceedingly. New York gingerbread, where they discussed we feel that something may be learn-
of Europe, entered into a stage of de. is now packed with little bookshops, literature and the art of running a ed of these negro singers, if ae only
presson, snub Chopi's Mazurkas are where before there were only relative- bookshop.. . . . And read Dickens' consent to break through the fetters
an extraordinary picturization of the ly few bookstores. These little shops "Christmas Stories." Mifflin attract- and tustos of long usage." Such
ari hidfsthenb k s O Tht a aOth allti n d hyf heth rSult

spirL oi e race. i'ey are 41 r en u yalknso epe
rebng rnb "knd fpoled me rather in spite of his (,harming would undotibtedly be the result
beautiful and nearly all of them con- varying from eccentric millionaires eccentricities than because of them. should negro organizations pertorn
lain raceful and joyous passages, but who want to get in touch with the lit- The bookshop epidemic has induubit- Lbroad again. It is with little, doubt
veiling these strains of joy is a pre- erati and book-lovers of the city, to ably spread throughout the land. In to say that many eminent and ca-
dominant atmosphere of sadness. The nice impecunious old ladies who are Cambridge there is a little place that 'uble composers of h day have never
combination of these two extremes poets, give readings for their custom- nobody in town but the elect know been introduced to the negro folk-
cannot he truly sexpressd in words, ers at a dollar a reading. There are about. It is on a side street, in a music, and like Dvorak, they would
hut for the sake of a definite tern old dealers in rare books who grouch private house, with no sign. The srobably respond to the appeal in the
let us call it "contentedness". Suchweeedsrsetv pto oe
salt henever a prospcctivi patron comes proprietor sells rare books, which are miusic, ana_ construct compositions on
ngsbalso the spirit of the American in, such a trial it is for them to give scattered all over the house, and chats ie negro melodies; but if a compos-
neigro before his liberation, Me had. .
n up their wares. with his customers-although I sup- er's temperament demands Russian
throughmsi es of his sufferings, but 'This last is one of the most striking pose lie has some other name for then' type of music or tends toward this
through sa general character in his f0a:pra u tssof the so called b shcai':p. C i(Continued on Pag fThrec) i-uad ash on iagh 'fohe)

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