Folk & Traditional Music of the Western Continents

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

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66 THE GERMANIC PEOPLES
tween Dutch and Scandinavian folk music are striking. Variants of the same tunes and dance movements are found in both areas, as well as in Scotland, which was at one time under strong Danish and Norse influence.
Samples of Scandinavian folk music
The folk music of Scandinavia is of great interest because in some ways it seems to exhibit very ancient traits, and in other ways it has been very much under the influence of the cultivated tradition of the cities. An example of ancient practice frequently cited is the use of parallel fifths in Iceland, which has evidently preserved some medieval traits of Norwegian culture. For a long time there raged an argument—mentioned in Chapter 3—about the origin of Icelandic "organum," whether it represents a case of medieval church music practice which trickled down to the folk tradition or whether it is an example of ancient and generally forgotten folk practice which in the Middle Ages was taken up by the Western church. Today the interest in primacy has dwindled, especially as various kinds of po­lyphony have been discovered in many European folk traditions, but we may still marvel at what must surely be a musical tradition of great age. Aside from simple parallel fifths, Icelandic music seems to have used other forms similar to the earliest polyphony in Western church music, such as the so-called free and melismatic types of organum.
There is no doubt that many of the folk dances of Europe were originally dances of medieval and later towns and courts. This is true of the square dances, which grew out of the quadrilles; of the polka, once a more stately*dance; and of the waltz, which originated in part in the slower and more dignified minuet. Frequently, of course, the dance almost completely changed character when it moved from court to countryside and vice-versa. Thus the sarabande, one of the slowest and most stately dances of seventeenth-century Western Eu­rope, is thought to have been derived from a Spanish folk dance which, in turn, was brought from the Spanish-American colonies in the sixteenth century and was quick and violent. More rarely, the music accompanying folk dances can also be traced to earlier forms of art music. In such cases we have musical instances of gesunkenes







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