Spirit Rapping

Not every Halloween song has to be in a minor key! This rather happy piece, from the height of the Spiritualism movement in the mid-19th century in the United States, suggests that spirits are ready and willing to communicate with the living.

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The Spiritualist movement in the United States was at its peak from around 1840-1920. Adherents of spiritualism believe that those who have died have the ability and desire to communicate with those who are still living. This quite happy piece, from 1853, was a popular song during its time and is still sung in some modern Spiritualism congregations. (While students might be expecting some modern day rapping to be present, the word is used in its much older non-musical context.)

The piece, simplified for intermediate performers, keeps W. W. Rossington’s introduction and ending, and includes T. E. Garrett’s lyrics. Students will get practice with shifting hand positions, dotted-eighth-sixteenth-note patterns, and accents.

Key: F Major

Mood: happy, slightly mischievous

Pedagogy: dotted-eighth-sixteenth notes, accents, 2/4 time signature


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