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Lining Out the WordDr. Watts Hymn Singing in the Music of Black Americans$
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William Dargan

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780520234482

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520234482.001.0001

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“God Moves in a Mysterious Way”

“God Moves in a Mysterious Way”

The Lining OutȔRing Shout Continuum beyond Church Walls

Chapter:
(p.214) Chapter 9 “God Moves in a Mysterious Way”
Source:
Lining Out the Word
Author(s):

William T. Dargan

Publisher:
University of California Press
DOI:10.1525/california/9780520234482.003.0010

While the primary focus of this book is black Baptist ritual, its general significance extends to non-church forms and contexts that developed in the generations immediately following the ascendancy of Dr. Watts among black Baptists. The black music forms that emerged in the twentieth century—blues, gospel, rhythm and blues, and jazz—all drew upon the common body of ritual and musical elements which developed along with nineteenth-century congregational singing. Though reinterpreted in terms of their secular settings, signifying parallels and allusions to black worship permeate secular genres as well as the concert music of many composers, both white and black. This chapter discusses the interrelationships between these style traditions in terms of several classic blues performances. It then describes and critiques three seminal jazz tracks as embodiments of the ritual form and styles included in the continuum between lining out and ring shout: Billie Holiday's signature song, “Strange Fruit”; Charlie Parker's modern jazz improvisation on the blues, “Parker's Mood”; and the landmark collective improvisation led by Ornette Coleman, “Free Jazz.”

Keywords:   Dr. Watts, black Baptists, lining out, ring shout, black music, blues, jazz, congregational singing, Billie Holiday, Charlie Parker

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