Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Lining Out the WordDr. Watts Hymn Singing in the Music of Black Americans$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

William Dargan

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780520234482

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520234482.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 28 September 2021

“Father, I Stretch My Hands to Thee”

“Father, I Stretch My Hands to Thee”

The Tradition of Dr. Watts in African Historical Perspective

(p.103) Chapter 4 “Father, I Stretch My Hands to Thee”
Lining Out the Word

William T. Dargan

University of California Press

The first illustration in Black Art and Culture in the Twentieth Century, by Richard Powell, is of a late-seventeenth-century slave drum whose unchanging appearance is significant because African rituals and music making were legally suppressed after the Stono Rebellion of 1739 in South Carolina. A century later, ministers taught slaves to turn from their own “heathenish” songs to the hymns of Isaac Watts. The continuity of unaccompanied congregational singing in congregations where Dr. Watts remains vital suggests the importance of lining out to subsequent genres and forms. Lining out became the primary slave model for Standard English-language singing in Christian worship. The history of Dr. Watts hymn singing balances between persistent African continuities and the perpetual change factors—such as migration and especially language contact—that have shaped the practice of Christianity among African Americans. Although the consistent importance of speech rhythms to black music is clear at least as far back as nineteenth-century congregational singing, the specifics of the African and Anglo-American origins of speech rhythms are not as clear.

Keywords:   Isaac Watts, hymns, Dr. Watts, hymn singing, slaves, congregational singing, lining out, worship, speech rhythms, black music

California Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.