Also songs used when people needed to work in rhythm. Many are familiar folk songs. Like

--sea chanteys where the lead singer's solo line would get everyone set, and then they'd all sing (and therefore exhale) when they put out their effort pulling on a line.

-- field hollers that were used to keep lines hoeing a field up with each other. (And field hollers, speeded up and with some rhythm and some guitar added, might have been one of the origins of the blues, and thus of most American popular music since 1920)

-- capstan chanteys that kept people pretty much walking in the same rhythm while they turned giant cranks.

Very often work songs were subversive, making fun of the boss, complaining about the conditions, and sometimes carrying instructions for prison breaks, union organizing, or the Underground Railroad.
Work songs examples:

Sea chantey,

Leader (while the end man belays, and everyone walks up the line and gets a grip): Reuben was no sailor ...

Crew (Singing while they pull the line back): Ranzo, boys ranzo!

(later in the song it turns out Reuben is now the captain ...)

Field holler ...

Leader: (while the crew picks up their hammers, stretches, and gets ready to swing): When Israel was in Egypt land ...

Crew (hitting on the drills on let, peop, and go): LET MY PEOPLE GO!

Capstan chantey, used to turn the winch to move the locks on the canal ...

Leader (while crew breathe and get set): I got a mule, her name is Sal ...

Crew (Walking forward, pushing on the capstan bars): FIFTEEN MILES ON THE ERIE CANAL!
by old lang guy September 23, 2006
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These songs were sung while slaves were at work. These songs told stories and helped them get through thier hard days of work.
Tell what the hobo told the bum,
If you get any corn-bread save me some.

A nickle's worth of bacon, and a dime's worth of lard,
I would buy more but the time's too hard.
by Kimberly Vaught July 8, 2004
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