Folk & Traditional Music of the Western Continents

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

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tunes of popular and art music origin. The main instruments of the American folk tradition are the guitar, the banjo, the mandolin, the dulcimer, the violin, and the mouth organ. The dulcimer appears in various forms, some of them similar to those of the Swedish dulcimer described in Chapter 4. As in Europe, the American string instru­ments are frequently used for music in which the drone principle somehow appears.
Just as many of the instrumental tunes came from the vocal rep­ertory, many tunes originally played were eventually sung. Again, this is a tendency found also in some European cultures. Example 10-3 is a fiddle tune with words; its large range suggests that it may have originated as an instrumental piece which only later began to be used vocally.
example 10-3. Fiddle rune and song, "Prettiest Little Gal in the County, O," collected in Florida, from Alton C. Morris, Folksongs of Florida (Gainesville, Florida: University of Florida Press, 1950), p. 226.
Finally, the Negro influence on the white American folk song tradition has been considerable. It can be felt in the occasional "hot rhythm" of singing and accompaniment, in the development of the so-called hillbilly style, in the tendency to stick to one meter (al­though many white singers do not do this but sing in the parlando-rubato style), in the use of rhythmic handclapping by white folk audiences, and, of course, in the many Negro songs that have become part of the white repertory. Although we do not always know whether a particular characteristic is of Negro or white origin, we

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