furious debate during the early years of the nineteenth century, exploration of them will be deferred until the next session on music.

     It is highly conceivable that Blacks, yet in the process of creating a functional language in the United States, found it convenient on occasion to communicate with each other by means of hollers. These utterances are obviously related to the tonal languages of West Africa. The translation of tonal speech into instrumental conversation and signaling was demonstrated in last week's lecture on African music. This process is carried a step beyond as instrumental signals are retranslated into vocal calls. The relationship between West African vocal calls and southern Black field hollers is obvious in the following recordings. One is particularly struck by the West African musical retentions in Afro-American field hollers: gapped scales, untempered intonation, and the use of simple repeated phrases. Note the following examples:

African Vocal and Instrumental Calls.

Folkways FE 4477. The Topoke People of the Congo.

Side 2, Band 4. "Vocal and Instrumental Signal Calls."


Afro-American Field Hollers.

Folkways FA 2691. Music Down Home.

Side 1, Bands 2-4. "Field Call; Children's Call;

Complaint Call."

The flower vendor's call which follows the blackberry man's cry on the recording to follow was taped by Walter C. Garwick in Charleston, South Carolina, around 1935. The flower seller's spiel reveals the dramatic effects which were possible in both rural and urban calls. Here, the vendor spins out a lengthy monologue in which she not only extols the beauty and value of her wares, but also chides the spectators for their bad manners in staring at her and not purchasing 


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February 2001