Musical Borrowing
An Annotated Bibliography

Individual record

[+] Moses, Oral L. "The Nineteenth-Century Spiritual Text: A Source for Modern Gospel." In Feel the Spirit: Studies in Nineteenth-Century Afro-American Music, ed. George R. Keck and Sherrill V. Martin, 49-60. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1988.

African-American spirituals are one important textual source for contemporary gospel music. Gospel music addresses similar themes of hardship, struggle, and perseverance, all of which are prevalent in spiritual texts. At least three different twentieth-century gospel versions of the spiritual The Old Ship of Zion have been recorded by performers such as Wings Over Jordan and Modern Gospel. Although gospel performers sometimes change or omit words of a spiritual in gospel arrangements, the importance of the text and its ability to express the oral tradition of African American music remain in the foreground. An appendix lists examples of the various ways in which spiritual texts are borrowed for gospel songs, including chorus only, borrowed incipit, substitution of words, and chorus and stanza borrowed.

Works: Anonymous: Oh, Get Away, Jordan (51-52); Wings Over Jordan (performer): Old Ship of Zion (54-55); Thomas A. Dorsey: Old Ship of Zion (54-55); Modern Gospel (performers): Old Ship of Zion (54-55).

Sources: Anonymous: Oh, Give Way, Jordan (50-51); Anybody Here (52); Jacob?s Ladder (52-53); Keep Your Lamps Trimmed and Burning (52-53); Rise and Shine (52-53); Old Ship of Zion (54-55).

Index Classifications: 1800s, 1900s

Contributed by: Amanda Sewell

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