Archive for the ‘American Folk lore’ Category

butler

Author: Melvin L. Butler

Source: “Ethnomusicology and the African Diaspora” African Diaspora Studies and the Disciplines. Eds.
Tejumola Olaniyan, James Sweet, Madeleine Wong. Bloomington: University of Indiana Press

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“Clearly, there is much more to say about ethnomusicological approaches to Africa and its diaspora. This essay has really only scratched the surface of inquiry into the contributions of music scholars to an enhanced understanding of black  expressive  cultures around the globe. In ethnomusicological fieldwork and writing, there remain many unresolved issues. Perhaps some of the longest-standing debates among those who endeavor to study the world’s musical traditions revolve around the issues of epistemology, fieldwork, and representation. What is required for a scholar to “know” a piece of music? To what extent can ethnomusicologists gain an “insider’s” understanding of a musical tradition? In what ways does a scholar’s national, racial, and/or gender identity impact how African diasporic musical forms are represented visually and ethnographically?”

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Author: Thomas W. Talley
Source: The MacMillan Company, 1922

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The book contains more than 400 rhymes (some with music) collected in the early 1900s by Thomas W. Talley, a black chemistry professor from Tennessee. The rhymes are mostly American, but there are a few from Africa, Jamaica, and elsewhere. The book “Negro Folk Rhymes” is one of the great American poetry anthologies.

A. Calhoun: “White collectors who also published in the 1920’s, Newman I. White, Dorothy Scarborough, Howard Odum, weren’t able to collect this quality and kind of material. White commented that “the negro’s songs about his women makes an unflattering exhibit.” Talley collected another kind of song, a song that possibly would never have been sung for white people in the 1920’s. Many of these animal “nonsense” songs carry a double message about racism and injustice; and there is also a wealth of tender and beautiful love songs from both sexes, and the sweetest lullabies. (…). This is a brilliant production and best read aloud; many rhymes are riddles which are better apprehended by the ear than the eye. “Milly Biggers” is as great a folksong as we have, from deep in slavery times.”

READ THE BOOK HERE

Author: Timothy Rice

Source: Ethnomusicology, 7-2007

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“Abstract:

The relationship between music and identity became a commonplace theme in ethnomusicology beginning in the early 1980s. This article surveys all 17 articles published in the journal Ethnomusicology in the last 25 years with the word “identity” in the title in order to understand how ethnomusicologists have treated this subject. The survey reveals that the authors of these articles neither cite the general literature on identity nor one another. As
a consequence, this article takes on the task of analyzing the ethnomusicological  literature around basic questions found in the general literature, including what is identity, where does identity come from, how many identities do we
possess, how is identity created, and who defines and institutionalizes identity. It concludes with some reflections on what music contributes to the construction and symbolization of identity.”

READ THE ARTICLE HERE

Author: Dorothy Scarborough

Cambridge, Harvard University Press, 1925

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Dorothy Scarborough, January 27, 1878–November 7, 1935

Dorothy Scarborough, a native Texan, spent several childhood years in Sweetwater, but lived most of her career in New York, yet all seven of her novels were set in Texas. She was however not only a novelist but also a respected folklorist. She called herself a “song catcher.” She believed radio threatened the survival of folk songs, and she traveled around the Appalachian Mountains recording centuries-old ballads with a hand-powered Dictaphone. Scarborough believed these folk songs told stories about a community’s values and its collective history.

Novelist, folklorist, a catcher of songs, Dorothy Scarborough took inspiration from America’s regional cultures and, in doing so, preserved the creative expressions of ordinary people from times past. In “On the trail of Negro Folk-Songs” she combines scholarship and entertainment to tell the story about the difficulties and pleasures of a ten-year ballad search among the Negroes of Texas and other Southern States.  The book is a valuable witness of her keen interest in the lore of the Negro, and a must have for any serious student on the subject.

(see also: http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fsc01)

READ THE BOOK HERE

Author: Richard Wallaschek

Subtitle: AN INQUIRY INTO THE ORIGIN AND DEVELOPMENT OF MUSIC, SONGS, INSTRUMENTS, DANCES, AND
PANTOMIMES OF SAVAGE RACES

LONDON, LONGMANS, GREEN, AND CO. AND NEW YORK: 15 EAST i6th STREET, 1893

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In the last decades of the 19th century,  music research was already being carried out in a wide range of contrasting disciplines. The best music researchers at that time were German-speaking. One of them was Richard Wallaschek, a comparative musicologist and music psychologist who developed some theories of musical emotion and cognition.

In his 1893 book “Primitive Music”, he puts some questions to the African origin of “black” music in America.

Read the book HERE

Author: Howard W. Odum

Source:

The Journal of American Folklore, Vol. 24, No. 93 (Jul. – Sep., 1911), pp. 255-294 (part I)

The Journal of American Folk-lore, VoL. 24. No. 94 (Oct.-Dec., 1911), pp. 351-396 (continued)

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Howard W. Odum was not only a pioneering Amercian sociologist, but also one of the first scholars to take notice of the rich repertory of African-Amercian secular songs.

Read the articles :

PART I

PART II

Author: Louise Rand Bascom

Source: The Journal of American Folklore, Vol. 22, No. 84, Apr. – Jun., 1909

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The first written record of the legend of John Henry.

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The following broadside, from the Guy Benton Johnson Papers, represents what is thought to be the oldest printed version of the ballad of John Henry. A note that accompanies the broadside reads:

“This is a copy of the oldest known printed form of the John Henry ballad. It was obtained in 1927 by Dr. Guy B. Johnson from Mrs. C.L. Lynn of Rome, Georgia, who said ‘It is very old and has been in our family for many years’. This copy appears in Dr. Johnson’s book, John Henry: Tracking Down a Negro Legend, which was published by the University of North Carolina Press in 1929.”

(source: http://www.lib.unc.edu/blogs/sfc/index.php/category/collections/guy-b-johnson-papers/)