Folk & Traditional Music of the Western Continents

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THE GERMANIC PEOPLES 69
Another instrument prominent in Scandinavia is the dulcimer, which in Sweden exists in a great many forms. Unlike the dulcimer of the Southern United States, it is used more as a solo instrument than as an accompaniment to singing. It produces melodies with drone accompaniments, or tunes in parallel thirds. The dulcimer, basically, is a string instrument that lies flat on a table and is plucked; it has anywhere from three to over a dozen strings, and usually one or more of the strings are fretted. The shape varies from that of an oblong violin to rectangular and irregularly triangular. Sometimes it is bowed as well as plucked. It seems likely that the American dul≠cimer was brought from Scandinavia or Northern Germany, though similar instruments do, of course, exist elsewhere in Europe.
Throughout Europe, folk music enthusiasts are deploring the gradual disappearance of folk singing and the knowledge of folk music on the part of the rural population. Attempts to reintroduce folk music through schools and festivals have been only moderately successful. Nevertheless, there still seem to be many people who know and can sing folk songs from their family or village traditions. Denmark seems to be such a place, for we have available in a case study, made over a period of time by the Danish musicologist Nils Schi0rring,8 all of the songs known by one woman, Selma Nielsen. Mrs. Nielsen produced some 150 songs from her memory, including material of very diverse originóballads from the Middle Ages, sea shanties, soldiers' songs, humorous ditties. It is possible to see through≠out her repertory the close relationship between the development of folk and art music, for we find modal materials, jaunty songs in major and somewhat in the style of the lighter art songs of the pre-Classical period, and sentimental tunes obviously from nineteenth-century popular music. Scandinavia offers good illustrations of the interdependence of folk and art music in Europe.
German -folk song
Nowhere is the interrelationship between art and folk music stronger than in the German-speaking nations. The influence of the sophisticated musician on his rural counterpart has sometimes been so great there that the old practices of the German countryside seem
Nils Schi0rring, Selma Nielsens Viser (Copenhagen: Munksgaard, 1956).







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