Folk & Traditional Music of the Western Continents

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

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There are various percussion instruments (clappers, rattles), conch trumpets, the Jew's harp, panpipes, simple bagpipes with up to three drone pipes, recorder-like plugged flutes, reed pipes, and ocarinas made of fired clay. One of the most intriguing is the kuneddas, found mainly in Sardinia, which consists of three reed pipes. The longest and shortest of these are fastened together and held in the left hand (these are called tumbu and mancosedda, respectively); the middle-sized one, fnancosa, is held in the right hand. The launed-das is used for polyphonic music of the drone type, similar to that played on the Yugoslav dvojnice. One of the problems faced by the player is the need to keep blowing without pausing for breath; it is solved by a technique of blowing air out of the mouth while inhaling with the nose. A boy learning to play the launeddas learns this tech­nique, as have Mediterranean musicians since Egyptian antiquity, by practicing blowing through a straw into a pail of water. The teacher can see whether the pupil is succeeding by observing the bubbles in the water.
The close relationship between Italian folk and art music during the past few centuries is also illustrated by the sources of the words of some of the songs. In Central Italy, a type of song (or perhaps a sequence of songs) known as maggio is sung during May. Its words are frequently taken from the works of famous poets—Ariosto, Tasso, Dante, even Classical poets such as Virgil and Ovid. Its struc­ture is evidently related to some of the earliest manifestations of opera around 1600. The form of the maggi consists of a choral or instrumental introduction, recitatives, and instrumental or choral in­terludes which recur, functioning rather like refrains or ritornellos (instrumental refrain-like pieces in early opera). In thematic con­tent the various parts of a maggio are not necessarily related- the recitative may be in the modal style of ancient Italian folk music, the choral section may have some features found in the part-songs of Renaissance Italian art music, and the instrumental sections may be popular dances such as polkas or tarantellas.
Peculiarities of the Basque heritage
Legend has it that the Basques are the oldest people in Europe, but they seem to have retained little of their ancient heritage of folklore. On the contrary, they seem to have partaken of the tradi-

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