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Folk Music and Modern Sound

Publication Year: 2008

The essays in this collection range from the impact of technology on the British folksong revival to regional characteristics of early rock and roll in New Orleans. Attention is given to the blues, Sacred Harp singing, ethnic music, both black and white gospel, country music, and the polka. Other essays consider the relationship of music from the Yiddish-American theater with that of Broadway, the wide influence and commercialization of black music in today's popular music, myths about early black music, and Charles Ives as folk hero. Contributors include Amiri Baraka, Doris J. Dyen, Dena J. Epstein, David Evans, Kenneth S. Goldstein, Anthony Heilbut, William Ivey, Charles Keil, A. L. Lloyd, Bill C. Malone, Robert Palmer, Vivian Perlis, Mark Slobin, Richard Spottswood, and Charles K. Wolfe.

Published by: University Press of Mississippi

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pp. vii-xiv

The collection, study, and commercialization of American folksong in this century is a rich and varied tale. The folksong movement has roots in the romantic transcendentalist emphasis on return to nature and the common man as expressed in Thoreau's philosophy. Whitman's poetry in turn identifies...

The Anglo Connection

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The Impact of Recording Technology on the British Folksong Revival

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pp. 3-13

THE FOLKSONG REVIVAL in Britain, begun after World War II and continuing to the present, is a complex phenomenon. It is not an easy task to unravel the many strands which make up the warp and woof of its fabric. The few such...

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Electric Folk Music in Britain

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pp. 14-18

FROM NATCHEZ to New Guinea, all over the world, it seems to be the destiny of folksong to be changing from a domestic and ceremonial music for insiders into a public performance music for an audience including outsiders, perhaps comprised entirely of outsiders. Technological change means...

Ethnic Voices

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How the Fiddler Got on the Roof

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pp. 21-31

ACROSS THE WORLD the emergence of a commercial popular music based on folk sources is a sure sign of modernization. In Western Europe the impulse began as early as Elizabethan England, spreading out in wave-like fashion first to Eastern Europe, then to the vast global reaches of the colonial...

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Slovenian Style in Milwaukee

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pp. 32-59

WHEN OUR FRIEND, downstairs neighbor, colleague, and polka book collaborator, Dick Blau, left our American Studies in Buffalo to create and administrate some fine arts in Milwaukee, we looked forward to expanding our polka horizons. Sure enough, after a time, we were...

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Ethnic and Popular Style in America

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pp. 60-70

IT IS GOOD to note that the seventies have brought about an enlargement of the arena devoted to the study and discussion of American popular and folk music to include the current and historic activities of ethnic minority elements of our society. The survey of what, for want of...

The Religious Sound

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New Directions in Sacred Harp Singing

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pp. 73-79

I WANT TO SHARE with you some thoughts I have had on the subject of recent developments in Sacred Harp singing, and to invite comments and discussion on new trends that I perceive in this constellation of folk music traditions. I am particularly concerned with the relationship of Sacred Harp singing both...

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Gospel Goes Uptown: White Gospel Music, 1945-1955

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pp. 80-100

The gospel field includes a wide variety of music—hymns, popular gospel songs, religious folk tunes bearing a close relation to spirituals and religious adaptations of pop tunes. There is an even wider variety of gospel artists. They include large groups like the Chuck Wagonmany, many years; choruses such as the Anita Kerr singers on Decca,...

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The Secularization of Black Gospel Music

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pp. 101-115

IN THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY, John Wesley wondered in straightforward Methodist style, why the devil should have all the good tunes, as if saints and sinners could divide music up into spiritual and secular provinces. Perhaps in other times and places, sacred and worldly music comprised discrete entities. But the music of the black folk...

Pure Country

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Honky Tonk: The Music of the Southern Working Class

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pp. 119-128

THE COUNTRY CHURCH, the county schoolhouse, the village barn dance, and the family parlor all occupy honored places in the history of country music as shaping forces in the evolution of the genre. All of them mirror the pastoral origins of country music, just as their continued...

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Commercialization and Tradition in the Nashville Sound

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pp. 129-138

THE ENTIRE QUESTION OF TRADITION and its ability to survive in a contemporary urban context has certainly been of major significance to American folklorists. As filmmaker Jean Renoir stated, "it is practically the only question of the age, this question of primitivism and how it can be sustained in the face of...

Myths and Heroes

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Charles Ives: Victorian Gentleman or American Folk Hero?

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pp. 141-150

THERE IS AN AIR OF MYSTERY about Charles Ives, an unsolved riddle, an enigma. This is surprising, considering Ives was a contemporary figure—he lived until 1954, and there are still people alive who remember him and who worked directly with him. Ives's life, his music, and his place in twentieth-century history have been closely examined in...

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Myths About Black Folk Music

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pp. 151-160

THE MISSISSIPPI-BORN WRITER Irwin Russell lived only twenty-six years, from 1853 to 1879, yet he seems to have had a better grasp of black folk music than many of the scholars who have considered themselves authorities. His poem "Christmas Night in the Quarters" pictured a celebration on a plantation including dancing to the fiddle...

Blacks and Blues

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Blues and Modern Sound: Past, Present, and Future

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pp. 163-176

FROM ITS VERY BEGINNINGS as a musical form the blues has played a role in popular music and in various manifestations of the "modern sound." It has contributed to popular music at a general level as well as in specific ways to almost every major form and style of American...

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Black Music: Its Roots, Its Popularity, Its Commercial Prostitution

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pp. 177-193

MOST PEOPLE, by now, except for the very young, the willfully or conditionally ignorant, or racists, know the origins of two important American musics, blues and jazz. They are, historically and originally black musics, or part of Afro- American musical tradition. They are also, and...

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Folk, Popular, Jazz, and Classical Elements in New Orleans

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pp. 194-201

AS A PRACTICING CRITIC of popular music and a kind of amateur or ad hoc folklorist, I've noticed that among many folklorists and other academics concerned with American music, rock and roll still seems to be a dirty word (or words). This attitude has been around as long as rock and roll, and implicit in it is the idea that rock and roll is...


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pp. 202-204


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pp. 205-215

E-ISBN-13: 9781617030994
E-ISBN-10: 1617030996
Print-ISBN-13: 9781604731675
Print-ISBN-10: 1604731672

Page Count: 215
Publication Year: 2008