Essay on Where Words Fail, Music Speaks

1533 Words Dec 17th, 2015 7 Pages
“Where words fail, music speaks.”-Hans Christian Andersen (Phillip). Jazz was not born on a specific day. It formed over years of slavery, pain, and discrimination. Jazz music led to the exploration of the pain and troubles of slaves and African- Americans went through during the course of many years. Slave music is the basis of jazz music. In 1619, the first slaves arrived in America (Shmoop). Slaves could not speak poorly of their masters, so they used songs to speak in code (History). Often this was the only way slaves could speak to each other all day. No one else knew the meanings of their songs so slaves were free to sing anything they wanted (“Pathways”). Slaves used songs for more than just code. Work songs are the songs that slaves sang as they worked. These songs helped slaves work as a group because it combined the rhythm of work and singing together (Lawerence). Work songs also distracted them from the difficulty of the work (“History of Jazz”). Call and response is only one type of work song. It consisted of improvisation, slurs, moans and cries (“Pathways”). This is one example of how music helped them through hard times. Music was the main factor of slaves’ escapes. Harriet Tubman used songs to tell the slaves’ she was there to rescue them and help them escape. Harriet used the song “Wade in the Water” to tell slaves to get off the path because people were coming. It states, “Wade in the water… Gods gonna trouble the water.” (“Pathways”). Music to slaves…

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