“come Ye that Love the Lord”

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:
“come Ye that Love the Lord”

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The practice of Dr. Watts hymn singing among black Baptists in the nineteenth century both revitalized an existing ritual context for music performance and popularized among the black masses the forms and rhythms of English verse. African Americans have demonstrated an especially strong predilection toward speech-like song and its complement, song-like speech, as a deceptively simple means of evoking the divine presence. Two essays on black music by Olly Wilson underscore the interrelatedness of sound and movement not only in worship but in the whole of African-derived cultures. Walter Pitts has identified two ritual “frames” in black Baptist worship: the opening devotion, which may include lining-out hymns, prayers, and other cherished forms that have, over time, been formalized; and the service, including solo and choral performances, announcements, prayer, and scripture readings, all directed toward the sermon as the symbolic place of divine–human interaction and the focal point of celebration. This chapter focuses on what Pitts has called “a continuum of spiritual uplifting.”.

Keywords: Dr. Watts; hymn singing; black Baptists; worship; black music; African Americans; sound; movement; Walter Pitts; spiritual uplifting

Chapter.  8335 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: American Music

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