Folk Music in The United States


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Suggestions for further reading and study.

Chapter I

There are not many books about folk music in general or about the definition and the concept of folk music. Several of the articles, especially that on "Folklore," in Funk and Wagnall's Standard Dictionary of Folklore and Mythology (New York, 1949), can be recommended. The research side of folk music is explained in Charles Seeger, "Systematic Musicology: Viewpoints, Orientations, and Methods," in Journal of the American Musicological Society, IV (1951), 240-248, and in Bruno Nettl, "Historical Aspects of Ethnomusicology," in American Anthropologist LX (1958), 518-532.

A number of important bibliographies, which list collections and studies, have been published. Among them should be mentioned Charles Haywood's Bibliography of North American Folklore and Folksong (New York, 1951), which lists materials in Anglo-American, Indian, Negro, and all other groups; also Bruno Nettl, "Musicological Studies in American Ethnological Journals," Notes, XIII (1955), 205-209. A List of American Folksongs Currently Available on Records was published by the Archive of American Folksong, Library of Congress, Washington, in 1953.

The standard bibliography of non-Western music is Jaap Kunst, Ethno-musicology, 3rd ed. (The Hague, 1959). A bibliography of current publications appears in each issue of Ethnomusicohgy, journal of the Society for Ethnomusicology.

Chapter II

The function of folk music in society is discussed by George Herzog in the articles, "Song," in Funk and WagnaU's Standard Dictionary of Folklore and Mythology (New York, 1949) and in a series by Bruno Nettl in the various issues of Etude, 1956-57. A short book by Russell Ames, The Story of American Folk Song (New York, 1955), gives a picture of American history as it appears in folk songs but deals only with the British tradition and makes little mention of the musical side of folk songs.

The variety and the common features of musical structure in European folk song are illustrated in an anthology, Europdischer Volksgesang, by Walter Wiora (Cologne, 1953). There is no book in English wMch discusses the musical aspects of folk music in detail; in German there is one, though it is already somewhat obsolete: Werner Danckert, Das europdische Volkslied (Berlin, 1939).


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