Cover image for An index to African-American spirituals for the solo voice
An index to African-American spirituals for the solo voice
Abromeit, Kathleen A., 1962-
Publication Information:
Westport, Conn. : Greenwood Press, 1999.
Physical Description:
xiii, 199 pages ; 24 cm.
Reading Level:
1230 Lexile.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
ML128.S4 A27 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Grosvenor Room-Reference-Music

On Order



Spirituals were an intrinsic part of the African-American plantation life and were sung at all important occasions and events. This volume is the first index of African-American spirituals to be published in more than half a century and will be an important research tool for scholars and students of African-American history and music. The first collection of slave songs appeared in 1843, without musical notation, in a series of three articles by a Methodist Church missionary identified simply as c. Collections that included musical notation began appearing in the 1850s. The earliest book-length collection of spirituals containing both lyrics and music was published in 1867 and entitled Slave Songs of the United States . Not since the 1930s, with the publication of the Index to Negro Spirituals by the Cleveland Public Library, has an index of spirituals been compiled.

The spirituals are neatly organized in four indexes: a title index, first line index, alternate title index and a topical index that includes twenty major categories. A bibliography of indexed sources serves as a guide for further research.

Author Notes

Kathleen A. Abromeit is the Conservatory Public Services Librarian at Oberlin Conservatory of Music in Oberlin, Ohio

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Beginning with an in-house index to some 60 collections of scores for solo voice held in the Oberlin Conservatory of Music library, Abromeit (Oberlin Public Services Librarian) has expanded the index considerably based on a comprehensive review of online databases. James Weldon Johnson (1871-1938) called Negro spirituals "noble . . . without any qualifications." Solely the creation of American Negros, spirituals rank among the US's finest artistic contributions. Although the first collection of slave songs appeared as early as 1843 (20 years before the Emancipation Proclamation), the first index did not appear until the Cleveland (OH) Public Library published its Index to Negro Spirituals (1937). The present work will be welcomed by singers, choir directors, and reference librarians. Some 65 collections (including many titles out of print) were analyzed for this index, the first published in more than half a century. The main body is an alphabetical list of spirituals, and there are indexes of first lines, alternate (variant) titles, and topics. Highly recommended for all libraries. G. T. Johnson; formerly, Central State University (OH)

Table of Contents

Dr. Francois S. Clemmons
Forewordp. vii
Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Introductionp. xi
Bibliographyp. 1
Title Indexp. 9
First Line Indexp. 77
Alternate Title Indexp. 145
Topical Index
Admonition/Judgementp. 179
Aspirationp. 181
Christmasp. 182
Churchp. 182
Deathp. 182
Deliverancep. 184
Easterp. 185
Faith/Assurancep. 185
Heavenp. 188
Jesusp. 190
New Testamentp. 191
Old Testamentp. 191
Praisep. 192
Prayerp. 193
Rituals of Preparation for Renewal/Regenerationp. 194
Satanp. 195
Songs of Spiritual Journeyp. 195
Sufferingp. 197
Womenp. 198
Work Songsp. 198