Folk & Traditional Music of the Western Continents

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

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some polyphonic yodeling with parallel thirds or triads, for poly­phonic singing of the type described for Germany is particularly strong in the Alps. The practice of yodeling has caused the emer­gence of a class of semiprofessional musicians in the Alpine region, for there are certain individuals who achieve fame as yodelers and who give paid performances.
Brief mention of European Jewish folk music is perhaps suitable in this section. The Yiddish folksongs are related to German folklore, for Yiddish is essentially a German dialect of the late Middle Ages that has been penetrated by loan words from Hebrew, Polish, Rus­sian, and other languages. During the late Middle Ages, the Jews were driven out of Germany and sought refuge in Eastern Europe, keeping their special brand of German folk culture. Thus the songs of the Yiddish-speaking Jews have retained some of the German me­dieval character. But to a greater degree their songs partake of the styles of the nations to which they moved—Russia, Poland, Rumania, etc. And there are also traces of Hebrew liturgical music in their folk songs. Thus, the styles of Yiddish folk song have great variety, and the whole corpus of Yiddish folk music is not a homogeneous one. A similar development, incidentally, occurred in the case of the Sephardic Jews who, during the Middle Ages, lived in Spain but were driven out in 1492 and carried with them a Spanish-derived language, Ladino, and songs partially Spanish in style. (For a discus­sion of Israeli folk music, see William P. Malm's book in this series, Music Cultures of the Pacific, the Near East, and Asia.)
The mixture of German and East European elements that we find in Yiddish folk music is an appropriate stepping-stone to a dis­cussion of Eastern European folk music. For while some of the Ger­manic-speaking peoples have close ties with the Romance-speaking cultures of Western Europe, there is also a great deal of interchange between Germans and Scandinavians on the one hand and Russians, Poles, Ukrainians, Hungarians, Czechs, and Yugoslavs on the other.
Bibliography and discography
Cecil J. Sharp is the author of a number of fundamental works on British folk music. One of his important works is English Folk Song, Some Conclusions, 3rd ed. (London: Methuen, 1954). A readable sur­vey of the British ballad is Evelyn Wells, The Ballad Tree (New York:

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