We tend to take for granted the labels we put to different forms of music. This study considers the origins and implications of the way in which we categorize music. Whereas earlier ways of classifying music were based on its different functions, for the past two hundred years we have been obsessed with creativity and musical origins, and classify music along these lines. Matthew Gelbart argues that folk music and art music became meaningful concepts only in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, and only in relation to each other. He examines how cultural nationalism served as the earliest impetus in classifying music by origins, and how the notions of folk music and art music followed - in conjunction with changing conceptions of nature, and changing ideas about human creativity. Through tracing the history of these musical categories, the book confronts our assumptions about different kinds of music.
"[This book] is a contribution of considerable substance because it takes a holistic view of the field of folk music and the scholarship that has dealt with it." -- Bruno Nettl "... a praiseworthy combination of solid scholarship, penetrating discussion, and global relevance." -- Asian Folklore Studies "... successfully ties the history and development of folk music scholarship with contemporary concepts, issues, and shifts, and which treats varied folk musics of the world cultures within the rubric of folklore and ethnomusicology with subtle generalizations making sense to serious minds... " -- Folklore Forum "... [this book] challenges many carefully-nurtured sacred cows. Bohlman has executed an intellectual challenge of major significance by successfully organizing a welter of unruly data and ideas into a single, appropriately complex but coherent, system." -- Folk Music Journal Bohlman examines folk music as a genre of folklore from a broadly cross-cultural perspective and espouses a more expansive view of folk music, stressing its vitality in non-Western cultures as well as Western, in the present as well as the past.
Inventing Folk and Pop Music in the Age of Jim Crow
Author: Karl Hagstrom Miller
Publisher: Duke University Press
In Segregating Sound, Karl Hagstrom Miller argues that the categories that we have inherited to think and talk about southern music bear little relation to the ways that southerners long played and heard music. Focusing on the late nineteenth century and the early twentieth, Miller chronicles how southern music—a fluid complex of sounds and styles in practice—was reduced to a series of distinct genres linked to particular racial and ethnic identities. The blues were African American. Rural white southerners played country music. By the 1920s, these depictions were touted in folk song collections and the catalogs of “race” and “hillbilly” records produced by the phonograph industry. Such links among race, region, and music were new. Black and white artists alike had played not only blues, ballads, ragtime, and string band music, but also nationally popular sentimental ballads, minstrel songs, Tin Pan Alley tunes, and Broadway hits. In a cultural history filled with musicians, listeners, scholars, and business people, Miller describes how folklore studies and the music industry helped to create a “musical color line,” a cultural parallel to the physical color line that came to define the Jim Crow South. Segregated sound emerged slowly through the interactions of southern and northern musicians, record companies that sought to penetrate new markets across the South and the globe, and academic folklorists who attempted to tap southern music for evidence about the history of human civilization. Contending that people’s musical worlds were defined less by who they were than by the music that they heard, Miller challenges assumptions about the relation of race, music, and the market.
In American music, the notion of "roots" has been a powerful refrain, but just what constitutes our true musical traditions has often been a matter of debate. As Benjamin Filene reveals, a number of competing visions of America's musical past have vied fo
Hamish MacCunn’s career unfolded amidst the restructuring of British musical culture and the rewriting of the Western European political landscape. Having risen to fame in the late 1880s with a string of Scottish works, MacCunn further highlighted his Caledonian background by cultivating a Scottish artistic persona that defined him throughout his life. His attempts to broaden his appeal ultimately failed. This, along with his difficult personality and a series of poor professional choices, led to the slow demise of what began as a promising career. As the first comprehensive study of MacCunn’s life, the book illustrates how social and cultural situations as well as his personal relationships influenced his career. While his fierce loyalty to his friends endeared him to influential people who helped him throughout his career, his refusal of his Royal College of Music degree and his failure to complete early commissions assured him a difficult path. Drawing upon primary resources, Oates traces the development of MacCunn’s music chronologically, juxtaposing his Scottish and more cosmopolitan compositions within a discussion of his life and other professional activities. This picture of MacCunn and his music reveals on the one hand a talented composer who played a role in establishing national identity in British music and, on the other, a man who unwittingly sabotaged his own career.
This is the first book to combine contemporary debates in ballad studies with the insights of modern textual scholarship. Just like canonical literature and music, the ballad should not be seen as a uniquely authentic item inextricably tied to a documented source, but rather as an unstable structure subject to the vagaries of production, reception, and editing. Among the matters addressed are topics central to the subject, including ballad origins, oral and printed transmission, sound and writing, agency and editing, and textual and melodic indeterminacy and instability. While drawing on the time-honoured materials of ballad studies, the book offers a theoretical framework for the discipline to complement the largely ethnographic approach that has dominated in recent decades. Primarily directed at the community of ballad and folk song scholars, the book will be of interest to researchers in several adjacent fields, including folklore, oral literature, ethnomusicology, and textual scholarship.
Northern Ireland remains a divided community in which traditional culture is widely understood as a marker of religious affiliation and ethnic identity. David Cooper provides an analysis of the characteristics of traditional music performed in Northern Ireland, as well as an ethnographic and ethnomusicological study of a group of traditional musicians from County Antrim. In particular, he offers a consideration of the cultural dynamics of Northern Ireland with respect to traditional music.
Unaccountably, Percy Grainger has remained on the margins of both American music history and twentieth-century modernism. This volume reveals the well-known composer of popular gems to be a self-described ‘hyper-modernist’ who composed works of uncompromising dissonance, challenged the conventions of folk song collection and adaptation, re-visioned the modern orchestra, experimented with ‘ego-less’ composition and designed electronic machines intended to supersede human application. Grainger was far from being a self-sufficient maverick working in isolation. Through contact with innovators such as Ferrucio Busoni, Léon Theremin and Henry Cowell; promotion of the music of modern French and Spanish schools; appreciation of vernacular, jazz and folk musics; as well as with the study and transcription of non-Western music; he contested received ideas and proposed many radical new approaches. By reappraising Grainger’s social and historical connectedness and exploring the variety of aspects of modernity seen in his activities in the British, American and Australian contexts, the authors create a profile of a composer, propagandist and visionary whose modernist aesthetic paralleled that of the most advanced composers of his day, and, in some cases, anticipated their practical experiments.
Schoenberg and Redemption presents a new way of understanding Schoenberg's step into atonality in 1908. Reconsidering his threshold and early atonal works, as well as his theoretical writings and a range of previously unexplored archival documents, Julie Brown argues that Schoenberg's revolutionary step was in part a response to Wagner's negative charges concerning the Jewish influence on German music. In 1898 and especially 1908 Schoenberg's Jewish identity came into confrontation with his commitment to Wagnerian modernism to provide an impetus to his radical innovations. While acknowledging the broader turn-of-the-century Viennese context, Brown draws special attention to continuities between Schoenberg's work and that of Viennese moral philosopher Otto Weininger, himself an ideological Wagnerian. She also considers the afterlife of the composer's ideological position when, in the late 1920s and early 1930s, the concept of redeeming German culture of its Jewish elements took a very different turn.
Divided into two parts, this book shows how human memory influences the organization of music. The first part presents ideas about memory and perception from cognitive psychology and the second part of the book shows how these concepts are exemplified in music.
How the Beatles Destroyed Rock 'n' Roll is an alternative history of American music that, instead of recycling the familiar cliches of jazz and rock, looks at what people were playing, hearing and dancing to over the course of the 20th century, using a wealth of original research, curious quotations, and an irreverent fascination with the oft-despised commercial mainstream.
In the tradition of Patrick Leigh Fermor and Geoff Dyer, a Grammy-winning producer discovers a powerful and ancient folk music tradition. In a gramophone shop in Istanbul, renowned record collector Christopher C. King uncovered some of the strangest—and most hypnotic—sounds he had ever heard. The 78s were immensely moving, seeming to tap into a primal well of emotion inaccessible through contemporary music. The songs, King learned, were from Epirus, an area straddling southern Albania and northwestern Greece and boasting a folk tradition extending back to the pre-Homeric era. To hear this music is to hear the past. Lament from Epirus is an unforgettable journey into a musical obsession, which traces a unique genre back to the roots of song itself. As King hunts for two long-lost virtuosos—one of whom may have committed a murder—he also tells the story of the Roma people who pioneered Epirotic folk music and their descendants who continue the tradition today. King discovers clues to his most profound questions about the function of music in the history of humanity: What is the relationship between music and language? Why do we organize sound as music? Is music superfluous, a mere form of entertainment, or could it be a tool for survival? King’s journey becomes an investigation into song and dance’s role as a means of spiritual healing—and what that may reveal about music’s evolutionary origins.
Drawing on a mass of unpublished writings and archival sources from prerevolutionary Russian conservatories, this book offers an insightful account of the Jewish search for a modern identity in Russia through music, rather than politics or religion.
From Tin Pan Alley to grand opera, player-pianos to phonograph records, David Suisman explores the rise of music as big business and the creation of a radically new musical culture. Provocative, original, and lucidly written, Selling Sounds reveals the commercial architecture of America’s musical life.
Johannes Brahms was a consummate professional musician, and a successful pianist, conductor, music director, editor and composer. Yet he also faithfully championed the world of private music-making, creating many works and arrangements for enjoyment in the home by amateurs. This collection explores Brahms' public and private musical identities from various angles: the original works he wrote with amateurs in mind; his approach to creating piano arrangements of not only his own, but also other composers' works; his relationships with his arrangers; the deeper symbolism and lasting legacy of private music-making in his day; and a hitherto unpublished memoir which evokes his Viennese social world. Using Brahms as their focus point, the contributors trace the overlapping worlds of public and private music-making in the nineteenth century, discussing the boundaries between the composer's professional identity and his lifelong engagement with amateur music-making.
When We Were Good traces the many and varied cultural influences on the folk revival of the sixties from early nineteenth-century blackface minstrelsy; the Jewish entertainment and political cultures of New York in the 1930s; the Almanac singers and the wartime crises of the 1940s; the watershed record album Folkways Anthology of American Folk Music; and finally to the cold-war reactionism of the 1950s. This drove the folk-song movement, just as Pete Seeger and the Weavers were putting "On Top of Old Smokey" and "Goodnight, Irene" on the Hit Parade, into a children's underground of schools, summer camps, and colleges, planting the seeds of the folk revival to come. The book is not so much a history as a study of the cultural process itself, what the author calls the dreamwork of history. Cantwell shows how a body of music once enlisted on behalf of the labor movement, antifascism, New Deal recovery efforts, and many other progressive causes of the 1930s was refashioned as an instrument of self-discovery, even as it found a new politics and cultural style in the peace, civil rights, and beat movements. In Washington Square and the Newport Folk Festival, on college campuses and in concert halls across the country, the folk revival gave voice to the generational tidal wave of postwar youth, going back to the basics and trying to be very, very good. In this capacious analysis of the ideologies, traditions, and personalities that created an extraordinary moment in American popular culture, Cantwell explores the idea of folk at the deepest level. Taking up some of the more obdurate problems in cultural studies--racial identity, art and politics, regional allegiances, class differences--he shows how the folk revival was a search for authentic democracy, with compelling lessons for our own time.
"Music" referred only to the artistic, classical tradition of Western Europe and North America at the beginning of the twentieth century. However, several different traditions emerged by the end of the century. Written by experts in the field, this book surveys how the Western tradition was affected by the development of jazz, popular music, and world music and links the history of music with that of its social contexts.
The life of blues legend Robert Johnson becomes the centerpiece for this innovative look at what many consider to be America's deepest and most influential music genre. Pivotal are the questions surrounding why Johnson was ignored by the core black audience of his time yet now celebrated as the greatest figure in blues history. Trying to separate myth from reality, biographer Elijah Wald studies the blues from the inside -- not only examining recordings but also the recollections of the musicians themselves, the African-American press, as well as examining original research. What emerges is a new appreciation for the blues and the movement of its artists from the shadows of the 1930s Mississippi Delta to the mainstream venues frequented by today's loyal blues fans.