Folk & Traditional Music of the Western Continents

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64 THE GERMANIC PEOPLES
board, two as drones—which was usually bowed. It evidently accom­panied the songs of the bards, whose importance among the Welsh and Irish was very great, much as a similar instrument, the tallharpa, was used in Finland and Estonia.
Some Netherlandish folk dances
Of course, the ballads are not the only kinds of folk songs in the British Isles; we have chosen them as one representative group. The same sort of thing is true of the Dutch and Flemish folk dances, which are briefly discussed here because we can discuss only one of the categories of Dutch music, and because we need to pay some attention to the dance music of the Germanic-speaking nations.
Evidently folk dancing has indeed been a prominent activity in the Low Countries for centuries. An edict of Charlemagne outlawed dancing in churches and ceremonies, indicating the popularity of such activities. The practice of religious dance, including dances on the occasion of death, particularly of young girls, is attested by vari­ous documents from history, and appears to have remained in the folk tradition until relatively recent times. The religious dances are almost always round dances.
In other ways, also, Dutch folk music seems to have had a close relationship to the practices of Christian worship. There are many religious folk songs and carols of various kinds (Christmas and Easter), and the style of a great deal of Dutch folk music reminds us of the styles of the Christian monophonic hymns and the Lutheran chorales. To a considerable degree this is true of German folk music, as well, for it in many instances also adheres to the style of the hymn, with its typical lines consisting mainly of quarter notes except for the final long tone.
Many European folk dances have their origin in pre-Christian ritual dancing. An example from Holland is the "Seven Sauk" dance, described by Kunst,7 and known also in other parts of Western Europe. It was evidently once a sacrificial dance, but after the intro­duction of Christianity it was danced at harvest festivals, fairs, and wedding parties. These functions are, of course, residual of pre-
7Jaap Kunst, "On Dutch Folk Dances and Dance Tunes," Studies in Ethnomusicology I (1961), 35.







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