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A powerful form of communication rooted in African religious and cultural traditions, call-and-response is a spontaneous verbal or nonverbal alternating pattern of single leading voice or action and ensuing individual, choral, or group reaction that has shaped the music genres, religious ceremony, cultural arts, and civic interactions of much of the African diaspora. This entry reviews the roles of call-and-response in social interaction and performance.

What Is Call-and-Response?

Call-and-response is a method of democratic engagement between an individual and group for the purpose of interactive participation. It may also be used to compel mass movement to spiritual higher ground, intellectual enlightenment, collective advancement, or an ideal sociopolitical end. Its formula involves an initiating statement or physical action, rapidly followed by a second, sometimes ...

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