An Extensive Encyclopedic Music Dictionary

An Extensive
Traditional and Folk Music
Encyclopedic Dictionary

Home Main Menu Singing & Playing Order
A1 A2 B1 B2 B3 B4 C1 C2 C3 C4 C5 D1 D2 E F1 F2 G1 G2 H1 H2 H3 I J K L M1 M2 M3 M4 N O P1 P2 P3 P4 Q R1 R2 S1 S2 S3 S4 T1 T2 T3 U V W X Y Z

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(Section XYZ)

xylophone its use in folk music is exceedingly rare, except as a beginner’s learning aid, but it did provide an entry for the Xs. It’s a series of tuned metal bars mounted in a frame - variants are the marimba and the vibraphone. 2. The xylophone, a percussion instrument with sets of horizontally arranged wooden bars to be struck by wooden sticks is used by composers from the 19th century onwards for special effects, as in the Danse macabre of Saint-Saëns, with its dancing skeletons, and in Puccini's opera Madama Butterfly.


yan, tan, tethera an ancient counting system, said to be Celtic in origin, and used until recently by shepherds in the north of England. It can be found in such songs as "Old Molly Metcalfe" and "A Lincolnshire Shepherd". The words for the numbers from one to ten are: yan, tan, tethera, pethera, pimp, sethera, methera, hovera, covera, dik. These terms, or at least a likeness of them, turn up in children’s skipping songs. You can hear the echo of a thousand years or more.

Yankee Doodle Lomax, Alan wrote, "British redcoats first sang ‘Yankee Doodle’ as a satire upon the bumpkin American militia they defeated in early battles of the American Revolutionary War. Later on, as one British soldier wrote, ‘After the affair at Bunker’s Hill, Americans glory in it.’ ... Despite much research, the origin of the melody has never been precisely determined." The "macaroni" of the lyrics refers to an 18th century British craze for all things European, with the word a somewhat disparaging reference to anything sophisticated or trendy.

yin (Scot., also "yen") one.

Young Tradition important singing group from England who recorded powerful, up-tempo versions of many traditional English songs. A lot of their songs were taken from the repertoire of the Copper Family. They did a great deal to expose the richness of English folksong. Peter Bellamy’s vibrato dominated their a cappella sound (see Bellamy, Peter). The other members were Royston Wood and Heather Wood (no relation).

Young, Izzie (1928- ) Israel Young ran the Folklore Center in NYC during the folk revival, using it as a focal point for the folk community and featuring weekly concerts there. He was involved in the editorial and financial side of Sing Out! and wrote a column for it, "Frets and Frails". In 1961, he arranged Bob Dylan’s first concert. He left for Stockholm, Sweden, in 1973, where he opened a store similar to the Folklore Center.

Young, Neil (1945- ) Toronto singer/songwriter/guitarist who moved to California; he was a member of Buffalo Springfield, and then Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young. He then went solo for a while in the early 70s before joining Crazy Horse. In 1985, he made an album called "Old Ways" in which he acknowledged folk roots. He had a hit with "Four Strong Winds" by Tyson, Ian.

yowes (UK) ewes.


Zimmerman, Bob see Dylan, Bob.

Zimmermann, Charles inventor of the autoharp.

zither a European instrument, somewhat like a harp, but with the sound board under the strings. It’s plucked like the autoharp, but includes a small fretted fingerboard for the melody, while the accompaniment is plucked on the main strings. Its claim to fame is being the lead instrument in the "Third Man Theme".

zorico see Cajun.

Z-related pair. (Forte) (set-theory, nonlinear) a pair of sets with the same interval-vector, but are not reducible to the same prime-form. Note that inversely related sets always have the same interval-vector. In Forte's The Structure of Atonal Music, Yale, 1973) inverse sets are reduced to the same prime-form; i.e., are not Z-related. However, in Solomon (Interface, 1982) inverse sets are not reduced to the same prime-form; i.e., are Z-related. Z hexachords have special properties; e.g. one is always the complement of the other. Thus, Z hexachord pair set-complexes are unified.

Zug. (Schenker: directed motion) a linear, directed stepwise motion towards a goal in the structure.

zydeco see Cajun.