American Ballads and Songs

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in tli6 late nineteenth century, and they do not please the earlier twentieth, century. The sentimental songs of the present do not show the elegiac or "complaint" turn of the older songs but tend to be humorous or happier. On the whole, the emotional pitch of Ameri­can pieces is low, especially when they are placed in comparison with their xLuropean analogues. This is true both for earlier pieces and for songs of the present day. It is of interest to trace the waves of popularity which arise and^ fade for types of popular song as they do for verse which is to be read. The types of leading interest to be noted for the nineteenth century include the^ slave songs, comic songs, and general negro songs which were popularized by troupes of negro singers and by the old-time minstrel troupes of whites. There was a wave of temperance songs of which a few pieces remain, uKe Dottt ixu out TOfiiQ/itj Dear FQin&rj Tn6 DruTikoLTd s Lo7i6 Child, The TeetoUxllers ovre Coming. Ballads and songs of the drunkard, and especially of the drunkard s child, once played q> considerable role. There were many campaign and camp songs of the Civil War period, but they have nearly disappeared. Stiii rememberaDie is the rise to popularity of coon songs, one of which, 1 cl-tcl-tci-tcl boom cLb c?/, found its way into European circulation. ^ Coon ^ songs proved, iiowever, so slight in text and so indennite in structure that they retained little foothold in traditional song. .Nor are the succeeding rag-time songs, or jazz songs hkely to leave much of a legacy. There is little in their texts which is distinctive enough to lodge in the memory. No clear-cut story holds them together, and the taste^ to which they appeal is transitory. Some contribution to folk-tradition should be made by the songs which were universalized in the days of the World War; but it is yet too early to predict which, if any of them, will endure. A characteristic whichi

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