cover of book

Folk Songs from the West Virginia Hills
foreword by Emily Hilliard
West Virginia University Press, 2017
Paper: 978-1-946684-03-5
Library of Congress Classification M1629.F688 2017
Dewey Decimal Classification 784.49754

First published in 1975 and long out of print, Folk Songs from the West Virginia Hills is a major work of folklore poised to reach a new generation of readers. Drawing upon Patrick Ward Gainer’s extensive ethnographic fieldwork around West Virginia, it contains dozens of significant folk songs, including not only the internationally famous “Child Ballads,” but such distinctively West Virginian songs as “The West Virginia Farmer” and “John Hardy,” among others.
Folk Songs from the West Virginia Hills stands out as a book with multiple audiences. As a musical text, it offers comparatively easy access to a rich variety of folk songs that could provide a new repertoire for Appalachian singers. As an ethnographic text, it has the potential to reintroduce significant data about the musical lives of many West Virginians into conversations around Appalachian music—discourses that are being radically reshaped by scholars working in folklore, ethnomusicology, and Appalachian studies. As a historical document, it gives readers a glimpse into the research methods commonly practiced by mid-twentieth-century folklorists. And when read in conjunction with John Harrington Cox’s Folk Songs of the South (also available from WVU Press), it sheds important light on the significant role that West Virginia University has played in documenting the state’s vernacular traditions.

See other books on: Fiddle tunes | Folk & Traditional | Folk songs | Hymns, English | West Virginia
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