Anonymous Writing Styles in Swing Low Sweet Chariot

Anonymous
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As pointed out by John Wesley Work in his book American Negro Songs and Spirituals, African­American songs often retain forms that originated in African tribal customs. "Swing Low Sweet Char­iot" belongs to the largest group, a class of spiri­tuals that use the African "call and response chant form." Work described it as "interesting as well as distinctive. Its feature is a melodic fragment sung repeatedly by the chorus as an answer to the chal­lenging lines of the leader which usually change." The chorus, "Comin' for to carry me home," re­peats every second and fourth line of each stanza, It was intended to be sung by a group in answer to an individual voice that sings the first and third lines of each stanza. This repetition not only provides structure for the song, it also enables the lyrics to be...

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This section contains 173 words
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Poetry for Students
Swing Low Sweet Chariot from Poetry for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.