CALL/RESPONSE

Characteristics of African melody were ever-present in the music of American slaves. The alternation between soloist and chorus, named the call-response pattern, is evident in "Sold Off to Georgy" transcribed by James Hungerford (b. 1811) after having visited a plantation in 1832. Only one verse is reproduced here but such songs were sometimes quite lengthy. Improvisation often occurred in the solo which balanced the constant repetition of the chorus part: as the soloist developed the linear story line, the chorus provided circularity with its constant repetition.