Folk Music in The United States


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Some of the schemes for notating exotic music modify the staflF system in favor of a different arrangement of lines. The use of graph paper, which can show note length and pitch variation logically, seems promising for some purposes. Another method uses a conventional staff of large proportions, which enables the transcriber to place the notes at various points between the Hnes

and spacesFrances Densmore^ has tried writing

Indian songs in simplified form by representing only the overall melodic contour. The diflSculty with these methods is that most people learn with a certain amount of effort to read conventional music notation, after v^^hich they are not amenable to learning others. While these special schemes do have some value for presenting material to specialists and students, it seems best for the general reader and for educational purposes to continue with the conventional system aided by a few special modifications like those mentioned above.

Classifying the recordings of folk and primitive music and making them available for study is an important aspect of research. This is especially true because one cannot positively identify a song in all its versions, and one does not always know whether two recordings are actually performances of the same song or not. Consequently, some special tune techniques of conservation have had to be invented. There are a number of important archives of recordings in the United States, the largest being the Archives of American Folksong in the Library of Congress, which specializes in American material. The Archives of Folk and Primitive Music at Indiana University has music from all continents and includes the world's largest collection of North American Indian recordings. The Laboratory of Comparative Mu-sicology of Northwestern University is especially strong in Afri-

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