The concert spiritual is a form of music that has roots in African American religious traditions. It is a type of choral music that was performed by choirs in churches and other settings. The concert spiritual emerged during the period of American history known as the Reconstruction Era, which lasted from 1865 to 1877.
The Origins of the Concert Spiritual
The origins of the concert spiritual can be traced back to the African American slaves who were brought to America from West Africa. These slaves brought with them their own musical traditions, which included call-and-response singing and rhythmic drumming.
Over time, these musical traditions began to evolve and change as slaves were exposed to new forms of music, including European hymns and songs. This led to the development of new musical forms, including the spiritual.
Spirituals were religious songs that were sung by African American slaves in a variety of settings, including church services and work songs. These songs often had hidden meanings and double entendres, as they were used by slaves as a way to communicate with each other without their masters knowing.
The Development of the Concert Spiritual
As African Americans gained more freedom after the Civil War, they began to form their own churches and choirs. These choirs began performing spirituals in public concerts and other settings outside of church services.
This led to the development of a new type of spiritual called the concert spiritual. Unlike traditional spirituals, which were often performed in call-and-response style or soloist accompanied by a group or choir for harmony, concert spirituals were arranged for choral performances with complex harmonies.
The first recorded performance of a concert spiritual was in 1871 at Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee. The Fisk Jubilee Singers performed “Steal Away” at a fundraising event for their university. Their performance was a huge success and helped to popularize the concert spiritual as a new form of music.
The Legacy of the Concert Spiritual
The concert spiritual quickly became popular among African American choirs and was soon adopted by white choirs as well. The popularity of the concert spiritual led to the development of other forms of African American choral music, including gospel and blues.
Today, the concert spiritual is still performed by choirs around the world as a testament to its enduring legacy. Its influence can be heard in a wide range of musical genres, including jazz, R&B, and hip hop.
In conclusion, the concert spiritual developed during the Reconstruction Era in American history. It emerged from traditional African American musical traditions and evolved into a new form of choral music that is still performed today. The legacy of the concert spiritual can be heard in many different genres of music and serves as a reminder of the enduring influence of African American musical traditions.