Folk & Traditional Music of the Western Continents

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as isometric; that is, a single metric pattern, such as 4/4, 3/4, 6/8, but also 5/8, 7/8, etc., dominates the song. When several meters are used, these tend to appear in recurring sequences; thus a song, par­ticularly one in Eastern Europe, may have a meter consisting of the regular alternation of 3/8, 4/8, and 5/8 measures (see Example 5-3). But music in which no metric pattern can be detected is not common in European folklore. Deviation from a metric pattern—for example, the elongation of tones at points of rest, near the endings of lines or of phrases—are common, as shown in Example 3-7; but these devia­tions tend to reinforce the metric character of the music rather than to negate it.
example 3-7. English folk song, "Lady Isabel and the Elf Knight," from Cecil Sharp, English Folk Songs from the Southern Appalachians (Lon­don, New York: Oxford University Press, 1952), vol. 1, p. 7.
Thus another trait, found also, to be sure, elsewhere in the world, ties European folk music into a homogeneous unit.
The manner of singing—use of the voice, movements and facial expressions, types of tone color—is another important feature. We have few guidelines according to which we can describe this phe­nomenon. Alan Lomax2 is one of the few scholars who have paid at­tention to this important aspect of music. Lomax believes that it is possible to divide the world into relatively few areas each of which has a particular manner of singing that exists independent of the geographic distribution of other aspects of musical style such as melody, rhythm, and form. Europe, he finds, is rather complicated, for it possesses a number of singing styles that do not have con­tiguous distribution.
2 Alan Lomax, "Folk Song Style," American Anthropologist LXI (1959), 927-54.

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