Mudcat Café message #1884899 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #96348   Message #1884899
Posted By: Azizi
13-Nov-06 - 03:10 PM
Thread Name: Why do our songs last so long ?
Subject: RE: Why do our songs last so long ?
And, since I'm on a roll, let me also share this longest quote about call & response music:

Also, {since I'm on a roll}, I'd like to share this long excerpt from

"In West African cultures, call and response is a pervasive pattern of democratic participation -- in public gatherings in the discussion of civic affairs, in religious rituals, as well as in vocal and instrumental musical expression. It is this tradition that African bondsmen and women brought with them to the New World and which has been transmitted over the centuries in various forms of cultural expression -- in religious observance; public gatherings; sporting events; even in children's rhymes; and, most notably, in African-American music in its myriad forms and descendents including: gospel, blues, rhythm and blues, jazz and jazz extensions.

These forms also possibly influenced the evolution of call and response in the ancient Indian Classical Music technique of Jugalbandi.

Call and response is likewise widely present in other parts of the Americas touched by the trans-Atlantic slave trade. Known under the Spanish term coro-pregon, it can be found in Afro-Latin music based on religious chants.

Folk music
It is common in folk traditions of choral singing of many peoples, especially in African musical cultures. In the West, it is most readily seen in the sea shanty, African-American work songs, and the dance-songs of various European countries including France (particularly Brittany) and the Faeroe Islands.

Classical music
In classical European music it is known as antiphony.

Popular music
The phenomenon of call and response is pervasive in modern Western popular music, as well, largely because Western music has been so heavily shaped by African contributions. Cross-over rhythm and blues, rock 'n' roll, and rock music exhibit call-and-response characteristics, as well. One example is The Who's song, My Generation."

The entire comment can be found at

"Call & Response" is a living tradition. Although this is definitely off topic, as a matter of information, the children's performance activity that I've named "foot stomping cheers" uses a modified form of call & response which I have termed "group/consecutive soloists" pattern. The group voice always starts off the cheers. The soloist responds to the groups' question. The cheer may 'end' with the soloist statement or it may end with the group voice. However, a signature of this type of cheer is that the cheer is repeated again and again until every member of that informal group has a chance to be the soloist.

Here's an example of the text of a foot stomping cheer from the mid 1980s, Pittsburgh, Pa; African American girls {about 8-12 years old}, compliments of my daughter and her friends:

All:      I saida D-O-W-N.
          That's the way we get down.
          That's the way we get down.
Group:    Hey, Danielle.
Danielle: What?
Group:    Show us how you get down.
Danielle: No way.
Group:    Show us how you get down.
Danielle: Okay.
          I said D-O-W-N
          And that's the way.
          That's the way.
          That's the way.
          I get down.
Group:    She saida
          And that's the way.
          That's the way.
          That's the way.
          she gets down.

{Repeat the entire cheer with the next soloist, and continue repeating from the beginning without pausing until everyone has a turn as soloist.}

Cheers are recited with drama and attitude while performing a syncopated syncronized routine made with bass sounding foot stomps, and {individual} handclaps. Sometimes body patting also is added to the mix. This particular cheer is reminiscent of "let me see your motion} children's ring {circle} games.

For more information & examples about foot stomping cheers, your welcome to visit this page of my website: