An award-winning museum showcases the history of Clay County in Appalachian Kentucky. Immigrants from England, the Scottish lowlands, and Ulster arrived in Appalachia in the 17th and 18th centuries, and brought with them the musical traditions of these regions, consisting primarily of English and Scottish ballads— which were essentially unaccompanied narratives— and dance music, such as reels, which were accompanied by a fiddle. Originally from Arabia, and brought to western Africa by the spread of Islam, the banjo then ended up in America. There was heavy rivalry between the English and French over the fur trade there. 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. The early mountain settlers, who were largely Scotch-Irish immigrants, probably brought … To the absolute amazement of the urban record companies, recordings made by groups from the mountains sold in huge numbers and an 'industry' was born. 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 … Over the years, the banjo became widely accepted by all Southerners, and the instrument’s physical structure also changed. The term 'old-time music' began to show up in the early twentieth century. The banjo – originally brought to America by enslaved Africans – was initially made of gourd bodies or pots, and covered in animal hide. Having a chordal structure also evened out irregularities as the guitar produced the even backup of a measured beat. 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. 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. There were usually multiple ridges, and where an opening would cut through one, it was closed in others. April 28, 2017 Appalachian music / Banjo / Coal mining / Fiddlers/fiddling / Virginia. 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'. For more information, please click here. 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. Sammy Shelor is a quiet, soft-spoken man who has a lot of fascinating stories to share once you get him started. The art and influence of fiddler Henry Reed. Appalachian music is the music of the region of Appalachia in the Eastern United States. 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." Appalachian Christmas stories, folklore, history and people. TUNES changed a lot, first with the introduction of the banjo after 1860, and then with the popularity of the guitar, starting in 1910. October 31, 2019 Appalachian music / Bluegrass / North Carolina “Plenty of people can read music, but can’t really make music” “There’d be a group of men working together, and they’d ask if my dad could sing and if they could sing he’d learn it from them.” Their simpler, repetitious text of verse and refrain was easier to sing and learn and produced an emotional fervor in the congregation. Most of the Scots-Irish coming to Pennsylvania came as indentured servants. In fact, according to the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area, no other place has had more influence on the development of the banjo in America than Western North Carolina. Please be aware of the following policies and changes in response to COVID-19. Still, communities were settled rather late; at the time of the Civil War (1860s) most settlements did not average more than three generations back. This is a collection of words, photos and video clips about The Appalachian People. There were three types of religious music: ballads, hymns, and revival spiritual songs. Many Appalachian songs sung today that allude to 'children' in the fields or 'mother' have been changed from 'pickaninnies' or 'Mammys'. This new style was different from the unison approach of old-time string music. Clogging, flatfoot dancing, and square dancing are three of the more popular dancing styles in Appalachian history. Admission to Music in the Garden is free; standard Arboretum parking fees still apply (including free parking for Arboretum Society members). Broadside ballads, printed on cheap paper and sold on the street, were also popular up to the end of the nineteenth century. Instrumentation was used for dances and contests; food and drink and enjoyment were considered enough recompense. 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. Its origin dates back to the 1700s, and it was first introduced to the region by immigrants from the British Isles. 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. The folk music of rural Appalachia -- primarily concentrated in western Pennsylvania, West Virginia, western North Carolina, eastern Kentucky, and Tennessee -- provided much of the basis for bluegrass and country music. Religious music, including white Country gospel, was probably the most prevalent music heard in Appalachia. 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. 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. Singing was used for personal and group enjoyment and continuation of historical narrative. 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. The Great Depression of the 1930s put an end to the commercial viability of old-time music. 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. Although a large physiographic area, a body of behaviors and cultural identities based upon speech and dialect, building practices, folk music and dance, crafts, superstitions and religion, and concepts like feuding and moonshining link all 1500 miles of these mountains. the history of both Appalachian music and country music occurred. In the Southern Mountains these and other now obscure musical genres are still thriving in the traditional folk music of the region. The 'reel' is generally thought to have developed in the Scottish highlands in the mid-eighteenth century. Traditional Appalachian music typically features a fiddle. Fiddlers' Conventions, house parties, and back-porch jams kept the music alive. Bands were able to quit their day-jobs and make a living from music, although their audiences preferred versions of popular songs played in an old-time manner over the old traditional songs heard at the kitchen table. A string band was usually one or more fiddlers, a banjo, bass, and guitar, with possibly a piano. Today, the two most popular banjos are the resonator banjo, often called the bluegrass banjo, due to its importance in the traditional style of bluegrass music, and the open-back banjo, which is sometimes referred to as the old-time banjo. TRADITIONAL Appalachian music is mostly based upon anglo-celtic folk ballads and instrumental dance tunes. One is less likely to find Scottish ballads of rape and dominance, or those with men as heroes. The first sounds of bluegrass were aired over the radio on February 2, 1939, by Bill Monroe, a Kentuckian known as the father of bluegrass music, and his band the Blue Grass Boys. The churches of America were also very influential and usually more puritan in nature. 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. 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. 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. A visit to the Southern Appalachians, particularly Virginia, West Virginia, and North Carolina, will still find singers and musicians holding forth on banjo and fiddle, still playing Soldier's Joy and Arkansas Traveler with love and gusto. The Many old songs, originally written for commercial reasons, are now considered traditional, their composers gradually forgotten. Many Appalachian songs were traditional English, Welsh, or Scottish ballads that simply became prominent in the Appalachians. It also kept down the fights although, by the 1930s, liquor and fighting had ended most southern mountain dances. Contact was limited regionally as travel was difficult. A. Barnhill, photographer, [between 1914 and 1917]. The banjo originated from stringed instruments with gourd bodies that were brought over … Many fairly explicit lyrics were softened and cleaned up. 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. Radio stations started barn dances with live performances of local talent, and styles began to cross over. Bluegrass incorporated many of the familiar instruments … 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. With the luxury of percussive rhythm from other instruments, tunes became more elaborate and melodic. 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. Ma Maybelle of the Carter Family introduced a guitar style where lead melodies were picked out by the thumb. Singing was usually a single male voice; duet harmonies became more prevalent during the 1930s. The fiddle was at first the main instrument, often alone, as a piano would have been too expensive to purchase. Southern Appalachia includes three hundred counties covering most of West Virginia and parts of Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Maryland, North and South Carolina, and Virginia, an area called today the Southern Highlands or Upland South, or, in Colonial times, the 'Back Country'. Personal stories, live music demonstrations, heartfelt memories of life with Bill Monroe and a lot of history. 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. Music now known as 'old-time' became prominent in the Appalachians. The banjo may be one of the oldest instruments used in traditional Appalachian music, but ballad singing is considered one of the earliest styles. 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. By the 1920s a whole body of parlour songs known as 'race music' became popular. The percussion of the African music began to change the rhythms of Appalachian singing and dancing. 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. 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. The length of recording time also shortened songs to a few verses. In the earliest days of commercial recording each band had its own regional sound; later there was a great deal of experimentation with crossovers. All through the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries this music was truly 'folk'. These were popularized among the white inhabitants after the revival circuit started in Kentucky in 1800. The latter directly arose out of the call and response of the African song tradition. 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. At The North Carolina Arboretum, we work hard to pay tribute to the region’s rich natural and cultural heritage. Any good farm land that did exist was annexed by land companies. Popular music - such as ragtime - at the turn of the century started the rocking of the bow, another distinctive Appalachian feature. Traditional songs by Cherokee Indians and African Americans influenced the Anglo/Celtic music brought on by these new settlers, and many singers begun to chronicle the current events of their day in the new ballad-style format. Players began to use tunings different from the standard classical - sometimes one for each tune - to heighten the 'high lonesome' sound. 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. 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. I love mountain music / William. Shape-note and revivalist gospel still flourished in the southern mountains after being eliminated in northern churches by the new 'scientific' music led by Lowell Mason and Thomas Hastings. It evened out rhythms and gave singers a 'floorboard' to mount their songs. 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. These mountains were shaped over 500 million years in three separate building periods called oroginies. The impact of Appalachia’s people and culture is found in food and entertainment, industry and business, music and entertainment, literature, language, and history. The sound of the pipes and their drones added a double-stop approach where two strings are usually played together. The music of Appalachia has deep roots in Western North Carolina. The first sounds of bluegrass were aired over the radio on February 2, 1939, by Bill Monroe, a Kentuckian known as the father of bluegrass music, and his band the Blue Grass Boys. The Appalachian song may have been of Scots-Irish ancestry, but Appalachian music was totally Southern. Two hundred million years of erosion turned the Appalachians from high, Alp-like peaks into rounded hills, but ridges of hard quartz sandstone survived, forming long valleys of softer shale. Banjos. Musical traditions from home were important links to the past and were cherished and passed down to the next generation. Most musicians were also unable to read or write notated music, and therefore relied on personal instruction and memory to acquire new tunes. 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. A large percentage, perhaps almost half, of the American variations tend to be about pregnant women murdered by their boyfriends. The M.A. All this tended to produce communities that were isolated geographically and unstable, at least compared with the higher degree of order, law, and precedent found on the Eastern Seaboard. When their terms of service were over they found local land too expensive and so went south into the mountains. 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. During the first period, the Taconic, and the second, the Acadian, North America, Greenland, Ireland, and Scotland were all one land mass called Laurentia. 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. BUT the traditional old-time Appalachian music never really died off; it just reverted back to being a participatory 'folk' music. 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. Few old-time musicians can, or want to make a living playing a style now considered archaic by the general public. ONE of the greatest influences on Appalachian music, as well as many popular American music styles, was that of the African-American. TO properly understand how traditional Appalachian music grew and dispersed it helps to have some understanding of how the Appalachians were formed. The guitar also greatly redefined singing traditions in the same way. 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. By 1790 any good land was taken or too expensive for most. 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. The county’s history includes Daniel Boone, Civil War action, coal mining and feuds. Since the region is not only geographically, … They pass through 18 states and encompass the Green Mountains of New Hampshire and Vermont, the Berkshires of Connecticut, New York's Catskills, the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, and the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. 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. --Charlotte Observer Early tunes tended to be more rhythmic as the fiddler was often playing alone. Vast financial empires have taken advantage of the myths of Appalachian history; these can be found in Gatlinburg, Tennessee as well as neighboring Pigeon … But late nineteenth century industrialization produced mobility, and the advent of recorded sound in the 1920s brought popular music to the mountains. Bands that used exclusively to play tunes gradually added songs, mostly from popular and commercial sources. 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 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. Political intrigues before unification of the states made land rights uncertain. 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. The introduction of the banjo to the Southern Mountains after the Civil War in the 1860s further hastened this process. Appalachian Folk Music Background and History The Appalachian Mountains extend 1,500 miles from Maine to Georgia. This collection, that is a companion to the 4-part PBS Special "Appalachia: History of Mountains and People" and includes music from a variety of artists. Therefore, most settlement started north in Pennsylvania and drifted south down the long valleys, rather than west over the mountains. Like other indigenous folktales, Appalachian Christmas stories, for the most part, can be traced back to the British Isles. 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