Afro-American Folksongs - online book

A Study In Racial And National Music, With Sample Sheet Music & Lyrics.

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CHAPTER I
FOLKSONGS IN GENERAL
The Characteristics of FolksongsFolksongs De­finedCreative InfluencesFolksong and SufferingModes, Rhythms and ScalesRussian and Finnish MusicPersistency of Type—Music and Racial TiesBritons and Bretons
The purpose of this book is to study the origin and nature of what its title calls Afro-American Folksongs. To fore-fend, as far as it is possible to do so, against misconceptions it will be well to have an understanding at the outset as to terms and aims. It is essential? not only to an under­standing of the argument but also to a necessary limitation of the scope of the investigation, that the term "folksong" be defined. The definition must not include too much lest, at the lasti It prove too compass to little. So as far as possible the method of presentation must be rational and scientific rather than rhetorical and sentimental, and the argument be directed straight and unswervingly toward the establishment of facts concerning a single and distinct body of song, regardless of any other body even though the latter be closely related or actually derived from the former.
It is very essential that the word folksong be understood as having as distinctive a meaning as "folklore," "myth," "legend" or "Mdrcken"—which last word, for the sake of accuracy, English folklorists have been forced to borrow from the Germans. It will also be necessary in this ex­position to appeal to the Germans to enforce a distinction which is ignored or set aside by the majority of English writers on folksong—popular writers, that is. The Germans who write accurately on the subject call what I would have understood to be folksong das Volkslied; for a larger body of song, which has community of characteristics with the folksong but is not of it, they have the term volksihum-
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E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III