James Weldon Johnson wrote the song entitled, “Lift Every Voice and Sing,”also known as“The Negro National Anthem, as a poem in 1900. (The Black National Anthem, 2012) This song was first performed in public in Jacksonville, FL., as part of a celebration of Abraham Lincoln’s commemorative birthday celebration February 12, 1900. This song quickly became a means by which African Americans could demonstrate their patriotism and hope for the future of America. Development
This song was originally written as a poem and performed by 500 schoolchildren. In 1905, Johnson’s brother John Rosamond Johnson set the words of this poem to music. It was not long after that this song ended up in almost every church hymnal across the country. Therefore, it was typically performed via organ or piano along with drums. The music to this song is well organized. Being that the song was originally written as a poem is does have some parts that rhyme. The song is broken up into three paragraphs. The first stanza of each part has a different melody than the second stanza. The set up is the same for the other two parts. I feel that the way the music was written for this poem it also portrays the lyrics. The song talks about the past and it seems as though on some of the parts the music tone is low which makes you think of something dark or depressing and the times this song was written in were dark and gloomy.
I think I was attracted to reviewing this piece of music because I attend a predominantly African American church and this song is sung every year the month of Black History. I was interested in learning more information about it. One thing I really like about this piece of music is the lyrics are truly meaningful. It describes where groups of people were and where they wanted to be in the future. One weakness I think this song has is sometimes as the music is being sung it makes it difficult to hear what the actual words are. This song does show that it possesses...
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