The spirituals began with a moan and groan…….
The slaves created a new rhythm, not to make music for music’s sake instead a cry, a moan or groan was enough to tell God what the slave wanted God to know. The music was not created to be a musical art form, the slave was just having that human moment we all take to let our voice be heard. Essentially with the spirituals, the slaves in America were not allowed to use drums because the slave masters knew the slaves were able to send signals or communicate with the drums, so it was strictly forbidden. Communication was limited amongst the slaves and they needed to find a safe way to communicate their feelings. So the slaves created a music without the drums or external beat that would also express what they felt inside their souls and some how tell their story. What the slaves did was ingenious, they allowed their bodies to feel and replicate the sound they were feeling in their souls transferring that rhythmic feeling to the heels of their feet to keep the rhythm going. Their own vibrational sound from within their souls, would move through their bodies, steadied by the heels of their feet allowing the true essence of their souls to be revealed using direct quotes from the Bible to distract the master from catching on to what they were really talking about. Interestingly, the essence of a spiritual for the slave was expressing his/her innermost feeling to God in an attempt to at least free their souls. If their bodies were in bondage at least their souls could be free. After all freedom is a powerful thought.