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Columbia College Chicago
Children's Game Songs

Children's Game Songs

Definition of Style

Children's game songs from the African-American tradition include rhymed and unrhymed chants and songs that typically include some type of movement or bodily kinesthetic accompaniment. The physical accompaniments may include (1) actions that physically depict a story or narrative, (2) improvised movements or motions, (3) simple hand clapping used to accompany the song by providing a steady beat, or (4) more complex patterns of hand clapping and other types of body movement or body percussion.

Introductory Bibliography

Jones, Bessie, and Bess Lomax Hawes. Step It Down: Games, Plays, Songs, and Stories from the Afro-American Heritage. New York: Harper & Row, 1972. A classic and unparalleled source of African-American folk song material, specifically focused on materials from the Georgia Sea Islands. An accompanying cassette tape, titled Step It Down: Games for Children by Bessie Jones has been produced by Rounder Records (Rounder C-8004).