cover of book

Sinful Tunes and Spirituals: Black Folk Music to the Civil War
by Dena J. Epstein
University of Illinois Press, 1981
Cloth: 978-0-252-00520-6 | Paper: 978-0-252-07150-8
Library of Congress Classification ML3556.E8
Dewey Decimal Classification 784.756009

From the plaintive tunes of woe sung by exiled kings and queens of Africa to the spirited worksongs and "shouts" of freedmen, enslaved people created expansive forms of music from the United States to the West Indies and South America. Dena J. Epstein's classic work traces the course of early black folk music in all its guises. Anchored by groundbreaking scholarship, it redefined the study of black music in the slavery era by presenting the little-known development of black folk music in the United States. Her findings include the use of drums, the banjo, and other instruments originating in Africa; a wealth of eyewitness accounts and illustrations; in-depth look at a wide range of topics; and a collection of musical examples. This edition offers an author's preface that looks back on the twenty-five years of changes in scholarship that followed the book's original publication.
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