Signifyin’ in Song: How the Sounds of Slavery Changed Music Forever

African-American spirituals are not just a cornerstone of the American choral tradition, they have impacted countless genres of music heard everywhere from saloons to symphony halls. Dvořák’s Symphony No. 9 in E minor, “From the New World,” borrows heavily from African-American musical traditions and spirituals in particular. The composer once said: “I am convinced that the future music of this …