The Object of Call–Response: The Signifyin(g) Symbol

Samuel A. Floyd

in The Power of Black Music

Published in print January 1997 | ISBN: 9780195109757
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199853243 | DOI:
                   The Object of Call–Response: The Signifyin(g) Symbol

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This chapter applies a theory of interpretation to works of music. Most of the works discussed are works of Call-Response, Signifyin(g) symbols. They are based on or refer to the essentials of Dance, Drum, and Song. Undergoing various degrees of Signifyin(g) revision, these dialogical musical orations are full of semantic value, “telling effect.” Springing from African myth and ritual in whole or in part, they are informed by the cultural memory of that tradition. They are cultural transactions that express the struggle–fulfilment pattern common to human existence in general, as well as that particular to the African American experience.

Keywords: Call-Response; Signifyin(g); Dance; Drum; Song

Chapter.  11874 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: American Music

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