Today there is often a misunderstanding about the genre of spirituals. Many persons, even educated musicians at times, assume that the genre is limited to black spirituals. Born out of a rich but tragic and oppressive experience, the black spiritual is a wonderful type of spiritual. Yet there are many other types as well.
Here are a few of the many classifications of spirituals along with a couple of representative pieces:
Black spiritual examples: “Deep River,” “Go Down, Moses”
White spiritual examples: “On Jordan’s Stormy Banks,” “Bright Canaan”
Appalachian spiritual examples: “I’m Just A Poor Wayfaring Stranger,” “Down To The River To Pray”
Second Advent spiritual examples: “You Will See The Lord A Coming,” “How Far From Home?”
Spirituals are not an antiquated art form, but these songs of hope can be and still are written today.
Over the past 15 years I’ve written and arranged many spirituals. For me, they are a tangible expression of my faith. The second advent of Jesus, when he will come and put an end to the suffering of this world, especially has been one of my favorite topics.
Currently, among several composition projects, I am working on another SATB second advent spiritual. I am super excited to share the piece when it is finished. It is thoroughly jubilant. I hope to have it ready to introduce by June or July!
Click the Spirituals link to check out my available spirituals.
Here is a recording of my well loved piece, Are You Ready? SATB (original spiritual, performed by Andrews University I Cantori, 2011)