appalachian music history
The ornamentation and vocal improvisation found in many Celtic ballads seems to have led to that particular tonal, nasal quality preferred by many traditional Appalachian singers. TO properly understand how traditional Appalachian music grew and dispersed it helps to have some understanding of how the Appalachians were formed. Early tunes tended to be more rhythmic as the fiddler was often playing alone. As a way to honor the region’s musical traditions, we launched our Music in the Garden concert series, which highlights Appalachian, blues and folk music performed by local artists. Originally the tonal and stylistic qualities of the fiddle mirrored those of the ballad. There were usually multiple ridges, and where an opening would cut through one, it was closed in others. Traditional Appalachian music is derived primarily from the English and Scottish ballad tradition and Irish and Scottish fiddle music. While the history of Appalachian music can be traced as far back as ballad singing, its high-energy, popular bluegrass style is a bit younger. One is less likely to find Scottish ballads of rape and dominance, or those with men as heroes. Over the years, the banjo became widely accepted by all Southerners, and the instrument’s physical structure also changed. There were other reasons that postponed settlement of this region than pure geography: The ridges were four thousand feet high and only crossable where rivers had cut transverse valleys. Ma Maybelle of the Carter Family introduced a guitar style where lead melodies were picked out by the thumb. In the Southern Mountains these and other now obscure musical genres are still thriving in the traditional folk music of the region. The guitar also greatly redefined singing traditions in the same way. The 'reel' is generally thought to have developed in the Scottish highlands in the mid-eighteenth century. The Great Depression of the 1930s put an end to the commercial viability of old-time music. Their simpler, repetitious text of verse and refrain was easier to sing and learn and produced an emotional fervor in the congregation. The slaves brought a distinct tradition of group singing of community songs of work and worship, usually lined out by one person with a call and response action from a group. These mountains were shaped over 500 million years in three separate building periods called oroginies. On Thursday, June 23 from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m., we are excited to host Zoe & Cloyd, a duo from Western North Carolina that perform a mix of original and traditional Appalachian style music featuring the fiddle, banjo, guitar and mandolin. Like other indigenous folktales, Appalachian Christmas stories, for the most part, can be traced back to the British Isles. Many followed. These ballads were from the British tradition of the single personal narrative, but the list was selective; most of the one hundred or so variations of the three hundred classic ballads found in American tradition are to do with sexual struggles from the female standpoint, as Barbary Allen, Lord Thomas and Fair Ellender, and Pretty Polly. From garden demonstrations, (including our signature Quilt Garden) to arts and craft, to exhibits, you can always find a bit of history and education on our 434-acre property. Henry Ford began to sponsor national contests for old-time music through his auto dealerships; a new interest in fiddling arose, especially as a decline in local dances started, probably owing to the radio's popularity. While some ballads are simply known as love songs, many are notorious for being dark and violent, telling tales of war, treachery and loss. TRADITIONAL Appalachian music is mostly based upon anglo-celtic folk ballads and instrumental dance tunes. The Center coordinates coursework leading to the only Master of Arts degree offered anywhere in Appalachian Studies, with three concentrations: Culture, Appalachian Music, and Sustainability in Appalachia, as well as a Graduate Certificate in Appalachian Studies. Still, many songs and tunes - for example, Fischer's Hornpipe - were of German ancestry and became anglicized over time. Lonesome Records is proud to present Appalachia: Music from Home, featuring traditional artists Jean Ritchie, Ralph Stanley, Dock Boggs, and Carl Martin along with contemporary songwriters Darrell Scott, Robin and Linda Williams, and Blue Highway—all celebrating the grand diversity of life and music in the magnificent Appalachian Mountains that they call home. The churches of America were also very influential and usually more puritan in nature. It is derived from various European and African influences, including English ballads, Irish and Scottish traditional music (especially fiddle music), hymns, and African-American blues. For … Broadside ballads, printed on cheap paper and sold on the street, were also popular up to the end of the nineteenth century. There were other ethnic pockets in the southern mountains - mostly Czech, German, and Polish - but their music, as well as other cultural aspects, was generally assimilated in an effort to become more 'Americanized'. In the 1740s, Neil Gow, a Scottish fiddler, is credited with developing the powerful and rhythmic short bow sawstroke technique that eventually became the foundation of Appalachian mountain fiddling. Admission to Music in the Garden is free; standard Arboretum parking fees still apply (including free parking for Arboretum Society members). Signature styles of banjo playing in old time and bluegrass music were pioneered and popularized by musicians from the North Carolina foothills. Too rarely has it been appreciated for what it is—the native speech of millions of Americans that has a distinguished history and that makes Appalachia what it is just as the region's extraordinary music does. At this time the Caledonia Mountains rose up and wore down before the Atlantic Ocean started to split the continent. It was populated by native Americans justifiably hostile to white settlement. African-American blues musicians played a significant role in developing the instrumental aspects of Appalachian music, most notably with the introduction of the five-stringed banjo —one of the region's iconic symbols—in the late 18th century. The sound of the pipes and their drones added a double-stop approach where two strings are usually played together. A. Barnhill, photographer, [between 1914 and 1917]. The term "Appalachian music" is in truth an artificial category, created and defined by a small group of scholars in the early twentieth century, but bearing only a limited relationship to the actual musical activity of people living in the Appalachian mountains. It also kept down the fights although, by the 1930s, liquor and fighting had ended most southern mountain dances. Personal stories, live music demonstrations, heartfelt memories of life with Bill Monroe and a lot of history. Radio stations started barn dances with live performances of local talent, and styles began to cross over. The Appalachians therefore tended to attract poorer people looking for cheaper or unwanted land. By the 1920s a whole body of parlour songs known as 'race music' became popular. Banjos. The North Carolina mountains have an unbroken tradition of ballad singing that is still going strong today. Please be aware of the following policies and changes in response to COVID-19. Many of the African-American spirituals were discovered by mainstream America, particularly with the collection Slave Songs from the Southern United States published in 1867 and popularized by a small choir of black students from Fisk University in Nashville. Instrumentation was used for dances and contests; food and drink and enjoyment were considered enough recompense. Many fairly explicit lyrics were softened and cleaned up. I love mountain music / William. If you love Appalachian music; if you're Scots-Irish and wonder about your roots; if you're curious about the words and traditions of the music and how many miles and years the songs have traveled to get here, this handsome book is your most trusted servant, your indispensable encyclopedia and your entertaining Bible." Today when ethnomusicologists discuss 'Appalachian music' they generally divide the term into two periods: the traditional music - including ballads and dance tunes, mostly brought over with anglo-celtic immigrants, and in evidence from the early eighteenth century through 1900 - and the 'old-time' music popular from around 1900 through 1930, a blend of that tradition with parlour and vaudeville music, … During the third period, the Alleghenian, the Laurentian and West African continents smashed together, causing the Appalachians to curve like a half moon, mirroring the bulge in Africa. Bluegrass incorporated many of the familiar instruments of an old-time string band, including the fiddle, guitar, banjo, mandolin and bass, but it also introduced new elements such as “breaks,” where band members would take turns playing the lead. But, even as content was changed to reflect American locations, contexts, and occupations, many nineteenth century versions of the Child Ballads still refer to Lords and Ladies, castles, and ghosts, and retain as their central theme love affairs and interpersonal relations. The impact of Appalachia’s people and culture is found in food and entertainment, industry and business, music and entertainment, literature, language, and history. Two other ballad types arose from the particular American experience, one from the African tradition, reflecting an actual event or action with real historical characters, and where the flow of text was highlighted by an emotional mood of grief or celebration, rather than a plot line. Today when ethnomusicologists discuss 'Appalachian music' they generally divide the term into two periods: the traditional music - including ballads and dance tunes, mostly brought over with anglo-celtic immigrants, and in evidence from the early eighteenth century through 1900 - and the 'old-time' music popular from around 1900 through 1930, a blend of that tradition with parlour and vaudeville music, African-American styles, and Minstrel Show tunes. This music is often accompanied by mountain dancing, which is a mixture of Scottish, Irish, English, and Dutch folk dances combined with African and Native American traditions. The music of Appalachia has deep roots in Western North Carolina. With emancipation, black music began to move outside the South. This produced a long range of accordion-like steep ridges, full of foliage entanglements like mountain laurel, and therefore difficult to transverse, alongside valleys and 'hollers' full of generally agriculturally useless soil. The second ballad type was from the popular music source of the parlour or sentimental ballad, mostly from the Victorian or Edwardian eras, presented in the Minstrel Show or Music Hall, and eventually passing into a folk tradition through sheer repetition. British paganism was frowned upon, and this censorship resulted in ballads where repentance and doom supplanted sinful behavior. Therefore, most settlement started north in Pennsylvania and drifted south down the long valleys, rather than west over the mountains. Appalachian Mountains, North American highland system that extends for almost 2,000 miles from the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador to central Alabama in the United States, forming a natural barrier between the eastern Coastal Plain and the vast Interior Lowlands of North America. Musicians from North Carolina’s western Piedmont and mountain region, including Earl Scruggs, Charlie Poole and Snuffy Jenkins, are recognized as the creators and popularizers of modern banjo styles. The fiddle was at first the main instrument, often alone, as a piano would have been too expensive to purchase. Singing was usually a single male voice; duet harmonies became more prevalent during the 1930s. The early mountain settlers, who were largely Scotch-Irish immigrants, probably brought … Appalachian Folk Music Background and History The Appalachian Mountains extend 1,500 miles from Maine to Georgia. First recorded in the 192 Dances changed: American squares and promenades featured a change of partners more often than their British counterparts, as it was often a couple's only chance to meet in such isolated communities. In addition to the being the oldest mountain chain in North America, the Southern Appalachian region is full of old traditions enriched by a wide variety of people and culture. A joyous celebration of life and free sexuality was coupled with improvisation as lyrics were constantly updated and changed to keep up the groups' interest. The banjo originated from stringed instruments with gourd bodies that were brought over … The percussion of the African music began to change the rhythms of Appalachian singing and dancing. Mail order and mass production made instruments more accessible. An award-winning museum showcases the history of Clay County in Appalachian Kentucky. Penned by professional composers, they often became part of the folk tradition. Political intrigues before unification of the states made land rights uncertain. This new style was different from the unison approach of old-time string music. Still, communities were settled rather late; at the time of the Civil War (1860s) most settlements did not average more than three generations back. Two other record companies had found success with “hillbilly” recordings and Victor hoped to follow them. Before the Civil War, the banjo, which was often paired with the fiddle, was a popular instrument for white and black musicians living in the Appalachian mountain region. Charlie Poole's popularity was based upon parlour pieces, race songs, and vaudeville material, with the guitar and finger-picked banjo following each other in carefully orchestrated progressions. Appalachian music is a fitting metaphor for American history because it emerged from a blend of various musical influences stewing together in the remote Appalachians. In late July and early August 1927, Ralph Peer, a representative of the Victor Talking Machine Company, visited Bristol, Tennessee to record musical talent from the region. During the Colonial period the press was controlled by a clergy which had no interest in the spread of secular music, therefore, not much of the latter survived in written form. Religious music, including white Country gospel, was probably the most prevalent music heard in Appalachia. Vast financial empires have taken advantage of the myths of Appalachian history; these can be found in Gatlinburg, Tennessee as well as neighboring Pigeon … Music now known as 'old-time' became prominent in the Appalachians. The population explosion in Ireland (from four million in 1780 to seven million in 1821), coupled with a lifting of travel restrictions from that country, increased immigration to the US. Madison County, North Carolina, which is located about an hour north of The North Carolina Arboretum, is home to one of the longest, unbroken ballad singing traditions in America, first documented by English folk song collector Cecil Sharp prior to World War I. Fiddlers' Conventions, house parties, and back-porch jams kept the music alive. More modern repertoires took shape in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, with the waltz showing up at the beginning of the 1800s. The resurgence in Appalachian music and the folk revival of the 1950s and 1960s was aided by the country radio station WWVA, one of the first in West Virginia, and the rural folk music that has developed in the mountains has had a lasting impact in the development of bluegrass, country and rock and roll. Square dances slowly developed out of mostly a middle or upper class dance tradition, based upon the cotillion; black cakewalks were a burlesque of formal white dancing; and the Virginia Reel was a variation of an upper class dance called Sir Roger de Coverly. In the earliest days of commercial recording each band had its own regional sound; later there was a great deal of experimentation with crossovers. Many tunes acquired words, so the caller could take over and give the fiddler a break by singing the calls. Appalachian music is markedly influenced by religious themes and hymns, since religion was such a strong influence on the daily lives of Appalachian inhabitants. Okeh and Vocalion Record catalogs listed Old-Time Tunes as a category, and the Sears Catalog of 1928 used Old-Time in its advertising. This is a collection of words, photos and video clips about The Appalachian People. The county’s history includes Daniel Boone, Civil War action, coal mining and feuds. MOST Europeans consider the Appalachians to be mountains of the southeastern region of the United States, but in truth they encompass eighteen states, reaching from Maine to Georgia, and include, among others, the Berkshires of Connecticut, the Green Mountains of New Hampshire, the Catskills of New York, the Blue Ridge of Virginia, and the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. Popular music - such as ragtime - at the turn of the century started the rocking of the bow, another distinctive Appalachian feature. Originally from Arabia, and brought to western Africa by the spread of Islam, the banjo then ended up in America. the history of both Appalachian music and country music occurred. It is generally perceived that this 'lower' class of immigrant resulted in the 'poor white trash' or 'hillbillies' of Deliverance fame, although the truth is that to survive in the Southern Mountains you needed to be resourceful, healthy, and knowledgeable. Most of the Scots-Irish coming to Pennsylvania came as indentured servants. Many Appalachian songs were traditional English, Welsh, or Scottish ballads that simply became prominent in the Appalachians. Players began to use tunings different from the standard classical - sometimes one for each tune - to heighten the 'high lonesome' sound. --Charlotte Observer April 28, 2017 Appalachian music / Banjo / Coal mining / Fiddlers/fiddling / Virginia. ONE of the greatest influences on Appalachian music, as well as many popular American music styles, was that of the African-American. "Appalachia: Music From Home" is a wonderful collection of today's mountain music. Appalachian mountain music includes many instruments, styles and sounds, but bluegrass music is often honored and celebrated as a piece of Appalachian history in almost every part of this East coast mountain range. The world premiere of Weintraub’s new film, "A Great American Tapestry: The Many Strands of Mountain Music," featuring the history of Appalachian song and … Gid Tanner and the Skillet Lickers were more spontaneous, with multiple fiddlers, and more of the 'rough and ready' sound heard in earlier string bands. But late nineteenth century industrialization produced mobility, and the advent of recorded sound in the 1920s brought popular music to the mountains. The instrumental tradition of the Appalachians started as anglo-celtic dance tunes and eventually was reshaped by local needs, African rhythms, and changes in instrumentation. Few old-time musicians can, or want to make a living playing a style now considered archaic by the general public. Clogging, flatfoot dancing, and square dancing are three of the more popular dancing styles in Appalachian history. In 1922 the first recording of a rural performer, Eck Robertson, was made. Musical traditions from home were important links to the past and were cherished and passed down to the next generation. In 1908 a newspaper, the Iredell North Carolina Landmark used the term to describe fiddling and dancing at Union Grove. With the luxury of percussive rhythm from other instruments, tunes became more elaborate and melodic. 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