English Folk Songs from the Southern Appalachians

122 Songs and Ballads, and 323 Tunes With Lyrics & sheet Music - online book

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XX
Introduction
one type, and that the national type. And this national type is always to be found in its purest, as well as in its most stable and permanent form, in the folk-arts of a nation.
Although this theory of nationalism in art is now very generally accepted, the fact that it is based upon the intimate relationship which the art of the folk must always bear to that of the self-conscious, culti­vated and trained individual artist is too often overlooked. But, bearing this in mind, the significance and value of the contents of such a book as this become immediately apparent. We talk glibly of the creative musician, but, however clever and inspired he may be, he cannot, magi­cian-like, produce music out of nothing; and if he were to make the attempt he would only put himself back into the position of the primi­tive savage. All that he can do and, as a matter of fact, does, is to make use of the material bequeathed to him by his predeces­sors, fashion it anew and in such manner that he can through it, and by means of it, express himself. It is my sober belief that if a young composer were to master the contents of this book, study and assimilate each tune with its variants, he would acquire just the kind of education that he needs, and one far better suited to his requirements than he would obtain from the ordinary Conservatoire or College of Music.
Again, the value of such songs as these as material for the general education of the young cannot be overestimated. For, if education is to be cultural and not merely utilitarian, if its aim is to produce men and women capable, not only of earning a living, but of holding a dignified and worthy position upon an equality with the most cultivated of their geneiation, it will be necessary to pay at least as much attention to the training and development of the emotional, spiritual and imaginative faculties as to those of the intellect. And this, of course, can be achieved only by the early cultivation of some form of artistic expression, such as singing, which, for reasons already given, seems of all the arts to be the most natural and the most suitable one for the young. Moreover, remembering that 'the primary purpose of education is to place the children of the present generation in possession of the cultural achieve­ments of the past so that they may as quickly as possible enter into their racial inheritance, what better form of music or of literature can we give them than the folk-songs and folk-ballads of the race to which they belong, or of the nation whose language they speak? To deny them these is to cut them off from the past and to rob them of that which is theirs by right of birth. To put it another way, the aim of the






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