Ballads & Songs of Southern Michigan-songbook

A Collection of 200+ traditional songs & variations with commentaries including Lyrics & Sheet music

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4             Ballads and Songs of Michigan
cratic spirit, her sympathetic understanding, and her sense of humor is an unusually successful fieldworker. She began her collection in 1931 as material for a term paper required in a college course which she was taking at the time. She added to her collection until in 1933 she used it as the basic material for her master's thesis at Wayne University.
Since 1934 Mrs. Chickering and I have continued gathering, cur­sorily rather than exhaustively it must be admitted, until at the present time we have obtained from approximately one hundred and twenty-three singers distributed over thirty counties in the Lower Peninsula around nine hundred ballads and songs, and about one hundred and twenty tunes which are probably representative of others yet to be collected. Although people of Kent, Ionia, Kal­kaska, Macomb, Arenac, Huron, and Ogemaw counties have made most of the contributions, we are assured that other regions arc equally rich in song if a collector chances upon helpEul informants. In spite of the fact that all our songs were gathered in Michigan, probably only three of them, so far as we are able to determine, originated in the state. And this is natural, because the older people who constituted our sources are lineal descendants or friends of those who came from Europe or from other parts of America and who naturally brought their songs with them. Thus it is that there is no form of history which reveals more of the social background and the culture of a people than do its traditional songs transmitted from generation to generation by the lip-to-ear method. As an il­lustration, the present collection contains many comparatively un­changed English, Scotch, and Irish songs; many pronouncedly localized American variants of such songs; and some others of a flavor which shows them to have sprung from American life and conditions.
Through their striking similarity to songs and ballads collected in New England, the Middle Atlantic States, Ohio, Canada, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland, those of the present collection show scarcely less convincingly than docs factual history that the pioneers of Michigan came to the state by way of those regions.3 Not only did the rich pine forests, about which many songs have been* sung, and
8 The facts revealed by historical research arc stated as follows by George New­man Fuller, Economic and Social Beginnings of Michigan (Lansing, Michigan, 1916), p. 469: "It was exceptional for a .settler to emigrate directly from his place of birth to Michigan. He was much more hkcly to have a number of intermediate stopping places; for example, he might be born in England, migrate with his parents to Connecticut, be educated in Vermont, engage in business in New York, and then spend some years on the frontier in Ohio and perhaps return to New York before finally settling in Michigan."

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