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books about Fiddle tunes
The Crooked Stovepipe: Athapaskan Fiddle Music and Square Dancing in Northeast Alaska and Northwest Canada
University of Illinois Press, 1993
Library of Congress ML3557.M6 1993 | Dewey Decimal 781.62972
Named for a popular local fiddle tune, The Crooked Stovepipe is a rollicking, detailed, first-ever study of the indigenous fiddle music and social dancing enjoyed by the Gwich'in Athapskan Indians and other tribal groups in northeast Alaska, the Yukon, and the Northwest Territories. Though the music has obvious roots in the British Isles, French Canada, and the American South, the Gwich'in have used it in shaping their own aesthetic, which is apparent in their choice of fiddle tunings, bowing techniques, foot clogging, dances, and a distinctively stratified tune repertoire.
Fiddling for Norway: Revival and Identity
University of Chicago Press, 1997
Library of Congress ML3704.G64 1997 | Dewey Decimal 787.21623982
Fiddling for Norway is an engrossing portrait of a fiddle-based folk revival in Norway, one that in many ways parallels contemporary folk institutions and festivals throughout the world, including American fiddling. It is a detailed case study in the politics of culture, the causes and purposes of folk revivals, and the cultivation of music to define identity.
The book begins with an investigation of the people and events important to Norwegian folk fiddling, tracing the history of Norwegian folk music and the growth and diversification of the folk music revival. The narrative takes us to fiddle clubs, concerts and competitions on the local, regional, and national levels, and shows how conflicting emphases—local vs. national identity, tradition vs. aesthetic qualities—continue to transform Norwegian folk music. Goertzen utilizes a large anthology of meticulously transcribed tunes to illustrate personal and regional repertoires, aspects of performance practice, melodic gesture and form, and tune relationships. Ethnomusicologists and readers who fiddle will enjoy both the music and the stories it tells.
Folk Songs from the West Virginia Hills
PATRICK W. GAINER
West Virginia University Press, 2017
Library of Congress M1629.F688 2017 | Dewey Decimal 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.
Ole Hendricks and His Tunebook: Folk Music and Community on the Frontier
Amy M. Shaw
University of Wisconsin Press, 2020
Library of Congress ML418.H46S53 2020 | Dewey Decimal 787.21620977
Ole Hendricks was an immigrant both representative and exceptional—a true artistic talent who nevertheless lived a familiar immigrant experience. By day, he was a farmer. But at night, his fiddle lit up dance halls, bringing together all manner of neighbors in rural Minnesota. Each tune in his repertoire of waltzes, reels, polkas, quadrilles, and more were copied neatly into his commonplace book.
Such tunebooks, popular during the nineteenth century, rarely survive and are often overlooked by folk scholars in favor of commercially produced recordings, published sheet music, or oral tradition. Based on extensive historical and genealogical research, Amy Shaw presents a grounded picture of a musician, his family, and his community in the Upper Midwest, revealing much about music and dance in the area. This notable contribution to regional music and folklore includes more than one hundred of Ole's dance tunes, transcribed into modern musical notation for the first time. Ole Hendricks and His Tunebook will be valuable to readers and scholars interested in ethnomusicology and the Norwegian American immigrant experience.
Play Me Something Quick and Devilish: Old-Time Fiddlers in Missouri
Howard Wight Marshall
University of Missouri Press, 2012
Library of Congress ML3551.7.M68M37 2012 | Dewey Decimal 787.2162130778
Play Me Something Quick and Devilish
explores the heritage of traditional fiddle music in Missouri. Howard Wight Marshall considers the place of homemade music in people’s lives across social and ethnic communities from the late 1700s to the World War I years and into the early 1920s. This exceptionally important and complex period provided the foundations in history and settlement for the evolution of today’s old-time fiddling.
Beginning with the French villages on the Mississippi River, Marshall leads us chronologically through the settlement of the state and how these communities established our cultural heritage. Other core populations include the “Old Stock Americans” (primarily Scotch-Irish from Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, and Virginia), African Americans, German-speaking immigrants, people with American Indian ancestry (focusing on Cherokee families dating from the Trail of Tears in the 1830s), and Irish railroad workers in the post–Civil War period. These are the primary communities whose fiddle and dance traditions came together on the Missouri frontier to cultivate the bounty of old-time fiddling enjoyed today.
Marshall also investigates themes in the continuing evolution of fiddle traditions. These themes include the use of the violin in Westward migration, in the Civil War years, and in the railroad boom that changed history. Of course, musical tastes shift over time, and the rise of music literacy in the late Victorian period, as evidenced by the brass band movement and immigrant music teachers in small towns, affected fiddling. The contributions of music publishing as well as the surprising importance of ragtime and early jazz also had profound effects. Much of the old-time fiddlers’ repertory arises not from the inherited reels, jigs, and hornpipes from the British Isles, nor from the waltzes, schottisches, and polkas from the Continent, but from the prolific pens of Tin Pan Alley.
Marshall also examines regional styles in Missouri fiddling and comments on the future of this time-honored, and changing, tradition. Documentary in nature, this social history draws on various academic disciplines and oral histories recorded in Marshall’s forty-some years of research and field experience. Historians, music aficionados, and lay people interested in Missouri folk heritage—as well as fiddlers, of course—will find Play Me Something Quick and Devilish an entertaining and enlightening read.
With 39 tunes, the enclosed Voyager Records companion CD includes a historic sampler of Missouri fiddlers and styles from 1955 to 2012.
With Fiddle and Well-Rosined Bow: A History of Old-Time Fiddling In Alabama
Joyce H. Cauthen
University of Alabama Press, 2001
Library of Congress ML3551.7.A3C38 2001 | Dewey Decimal 787.209761
Relying on extensive archival research and on sixty interviews with
fiddlers and their families and friends, Cauthen tells the rich, full story
of old-time fiddling in Alabama.
Writing of life in the Alabama Territory in the late 1700s,
A. J. Pickett, the state's first historian, noted that the country abounded
in fiddlers, of high and low degree. After the defeat of the Creek Indians
at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend in 1813, the number of fiddlers swelled
as settlers from the southern states surrounding Alabama claimed the land.
The music they played was based on tunes brought from Ireland, Scotland,
and England, but in Alabama they developed their own southern accent as
their songs became the music of celebration and relaxation for the state's
pioneers. Early in the 20th century such music began to be called "old-time
fiddling," to distinguish it from the popular music of the day, and the
term is still used to distinguish that style from more modern bluegrass
and country fiddle styles.
In With Fiddle and Well-Rosined Bow, Cauthen focuses
on old-time fiddling in Alabama from the settlement of the state through
World War II. Cauthen shows the effects of events, inventions, ethnic groups,
and individuals upon fiddlers' styles and what they played. Cauthen gives
due weight to the "modest masters of fiddle and bow" who were stars only
to their families and communities. The fiddlers themselves tell why they
play, how they learned without formal instruction and written music, and
how they acquired their instruments and repertoires. Cauthen also tells
the stories of "brag" fiddlers such as D.Dix Hollis, Y. Z. Hamilton, Charlie
Stripling, "Fiddling" Tom Freeman,"Monkey" Brown, and the Johnson Brothers
whose reputations spread beyond their communities through commercial recordings
and fiddling contests. Described in vivid detail are the old-style square
dances, Fourth of July barbeques and other celebrations, and fiddlers'
conventions that fiddler shave reigned over throughout the state's history.