Folk & Traditional Music of the Western Continents

The folk & traditional music of Europe, Africa & the Americas explored.

Home Main Menu Singing & Playing Order & Order Info Support Search Voucher Codes

Share page  Visit Us On FB

Previous Contents Next
pentatonic scale illustrated hereóbe considered as primarily a Eu≠ropean phenomenon. This type of scale is one that Europe shares with a large part of the world, particularly with Northern Asia, with the American Indians, and with Negro Africa. The same is true of the songs with two or three tones, illustrated in Example 3-6.
example 3-6. Tritonic children's ditty, found in various nations with different sets of words.
This restricted kind of scale is found in repertories throughout the world. There are some tribes that have little beyond such a simple configuration of tones in their whole repertory, and most of the world's cultures seem to have at least a few songs with diatonic or tritonic scales. In most cases, these are children's songs, game songs, lullabies, and the songs of simple rituals. It is the widespread distribu≠tion of this type of scale, coupled with the simplicity of its songs in other respects, that has led folklorists to assume that in Europe they constitute a remnant of an ancient musical culture. These scholars believe that all music must at some time have been as simple as this, and that the simple songs were driven into a corner of the repertory, as newer, more complex music was invented or brought in under outside influence. Again, in these simple two-tone and three-tone songs, the tendency is for the intervals to be major seconds and minor thirds. In summary then, the seven-tone scales, with their modal arrangements, are a hallmark of European folk music; the pentatonic and the two- and three-tone scales are important in the European tradition and are found in many if not all European folk cultures, but thev are equally important elsewhere.
Meter and singing style
Most European folk music adheres to the concept of meter. This means that some regularity of recurrence in the accent pattern of the music is present, though such regularity does not by any means imply the predominance of common or triple meters without deviation. A good deal of European folk music can indeed be classed

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