American Ballads and Songs

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XXVI
INTRODUCTION
columns in which "old favorites" are reprinted for readers, or texts are called for by those who have forgotten them, or the search is stimulated for the complete texts of songs recalled in fragments. Many scrap-books have been made and handed on into which clippings from newspapers of old favorites have been pasted. Most of these sources of circulation are now declining, and some of them are no longer existent. For that matter, the handing on of songs by oral tradi­tion has become more and more curtailed. It is far from extinct, and it is not to be expected that it will ever completely die out from the human race; but with the spread of literacy, the increasing circulation of printed matter, the introduction of phonographs, and the removal of old-time isolation, through the agency of railroads, automobiles, and (in these days) of air­planes, the singing of traditional songs plays a lessened r61e.
American folk-song as a whole has been imported from the Old World. This is becoming less true, but it still holds. Folk-songs are still brought across the Atlantic by newcomers; and a large percentage of the most striking and persistent pieces current in America are derived from Old World originals, English, Scottish, or Irish. Many survive which were brought over long ago, or they enter in new form with some shipload of immigrants. Songs recently imported still win foot­hold and then wander from community to community.
VII. Sometimes collectors of ballads and folk-songs preserve the music to which the texts are sung, but more often the words only are recorded. The salvage of melodies is desirable; for folk-music, like folk-literature, has its interest and its distinctive ways. Generally the melody and the words are so associated in the minds of the singers that the one cannot be recalled without






E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III