Troping the Blues: From Spirituals to the Concert Hall

Samuel A. Floyd

in The Power of Black Music

Published in print January 1997 | ISBN: 9780195109757
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199853243 | DOI:
                   Troping the Blues: From Spirituals to the Concert Hall

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Throughout its history in the United States, black music has been through the repetition and revision of texts, through the interplay of black language and black music in a long chain of Signifyin(g) tropes, such that African American peasants became and continue to be poets in a land that initially denied them the right to be called artists of any stripe. It is clear from the nature of their texts and their tunes that the makers of this music—the repeaters and revisers of the musical derivatives of the ring—have privileged and honored the spirit of Esu as, for example, that spirit is personified in the redoubtable Harriet Tubman, who bid many thousands to come ride her train.

Keywords: Signifyin(g); African American Music; Esu

Chapter.  5611 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: American Music

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