“I Love the Lord, He Heard My Cries”

William T. Dargan

in Lining Out the Word

Published by University of California Press

Published in print June 2006 | ISBN: 9780520234482
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520928923 | DOI:
“I Love the Lord, He Heard My Cries”

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Not only in Dr. Watts hymns, but also in spirituals, blues, gospel, rhythm and blues, and jazz, African–European encounters have shaped a persisting core of relationships between language and music. From about 1800 to 1970, this sequence of genres emerged out of the cauldron of wars and disenfranchisement that marked the African American trek from autonomous existence to crossover with or assimilation into the American cultural mainstream. These observable continuities include a field of non-semantic, psycho-emotional expression in African American music that is analogous to language surrogates (or drum languages), speech-like song, and other synergies between speech and song in African ritual expression. This chapter examines the interrelationship between speech and song in the sound of Dr. Watts, while positing a conceptual model that places musical performances on a continuum of rhythmic styles, and looks at the book African Rhythm: A Northern Ewe Perspective (1995) by Kofi Agawu.

Keywords: Dr. Watts; hymns; language; African American music; speech; song; Kofi Agawu; assimilation

Chapter.  8820 words. 

Subjects: American Music

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