Go Down, Moses

Minor tonality, syncopation, and a raised dominate (Si) which functions as the leading tone to the parallel G Major.

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  • Grade: Fifth
  • Origin: USA - African American Spiritual, circa. 1862
  • Key: G minor (pitched in B Flat Major)
  • Time: 4/4
  • Form: staves: AABC - song AB, verse/refrain
  • Rhythmbeginners: | ta ta ta ta | ta ta ta/a | ta ta ti ta/ | syncopation, | ta/a/a ta | ta/a/a/a | ta ta/a ta | ta ta/a/a |
  • Pitchesintermediate: Mi Si* La Ti Do Re Mi - raised/sharp dominate (Si, G#), functions as the leading tone to the parallel Major, G
  • IntervalsintermediateMi/Do (M6), Do\La (m3), La\Mi (P4), Mi/Si (M3)Si/La (m2), La/Re (P4)
  • Musical Elements: notes: whole, dotted half, half, dotted quarter, quarter, eighth; pickup beat, melodic rhythm patterns, vocal slur, raised/sharped dominate (Si)
  • Key Words: USA history, African American history, sacred, world geography: Bible stories, Israel, Egypt, Canaan; contraband slave song, contraband slaves (escaped slaves working/fighting for the Union during the American Civil War) oppressed, Pharaoh, bondage, toil, spoil, flee, Christ, free, weep, mourn, chains, forlorn, foes, possess; contraction: you'll (you will); abbreviations: slav'ry (slavery); possessive: Egypt's, Canaan's
  • Recorderintermediate: introducing G#, A minor tonality

* Although composed in G minor, the raised 7th (5th in major tonality) ending the first, second, and fourth phrases gives the feeling of ending in G Major. This also supports the lyrics strong statement, "Let my people go!"


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