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Grand Ole Opry (Grand Old Opera) which starts along about dinnertime on Saturday night and keeps right on going. It spread over the nation so fast that for a while college presidents and deans were sprinkling their wisdom with professional hillbilly jargon. Hillbilly music emphasizes the lovelorn, the country fiddler, the camp meeting and occasionally the goings-on of country bumpkins (both sexes and all ages). The tunes and the harmonies are all about the same, rearranged to fit the words, some fast, some slow. The hillbilly racket begets some of the poorest music that ever entered human ears and yet it seems to give pleasure to many people.
But genuine folk song is another matter. Great melodies are to be found in this field, great by the highest aesthetic tenets; varied, balanced, asymmetrical, long and deeply expressive of the entire gamut of man's emotions. The words of a folk song are generally better than the music and quite naturally so. Many people can speak and understand, read and write folk stories; few can make a folk tune and still fewer write it down when they hear it.
Many books are being written about folk songs these days. Some authors claim that once a folk song has been filed in the proper archive, it becomes venerable history— not to be tampered with. Some believe that since folk songs grew amongst the folk, they cannot be frozen in time any more than can society; and that folk songs may be used any way by anyone who can accommodate them to the changing tastes of the people. Still others believe that a folk song is like an apple; It grew to its natural state and may be eaten in the raw or pressed for cider, or cooked into a cullinary delection.
But these academic concerns and pursuits need worry no one. Mankind is as resilient, tough and illusive as the willows in the storm. Like the willow, the human spirit will continue to be the first to bloom in the spring and the last to lose its foliage in the fall; and wherever spirited men and women live, song will celebrate their aloneness and their togetherness.