Motherless Child

The tolling bell that begins this setting of the spiritual, Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child, announces another child being removed from his/her mother. A solo instrument – in this case, trumpet – begins the mournful tune, as the tolls continue. After the initial verse, the entire band picks up the melody, adding harmony and rhythmic accents. As was typical practice in some Black American churches, this arrangement abruptly modulates into a new key with additional rhythmic accents and a harmonic twist before the plaintive final line, and concludes with the classic “A-men!”

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