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. Many fairly explicit lyrics were softened and cleaned up. 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. Okeh and Vocalion Record catalogs listed Old-Time Tunes as a category, and the Sears Catalog of 1928 used Old-Time in its advertising. 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, … Originally from Arabia, and brought to western Africa by the spread of Islam, the banjo then ended up in America. Banjos. Broadside ballads, printed on cheap paper and sold on the street, were also popular up to the end of the nineteenth century. the history of both Appalachian music and country music occurred. By 1790 any good land was taken or too expensive for most. Many tunes acquired words, so the caller could take over and give the fiddler a break by singing the calls. 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 banjo – originally brought to America by enslaved Africans – was initially made of gourd bodies or pots, and covered in animal hide. Signature styles of banjo playing in old time and bluegrass music were pioneered and popularized by musicians from the North Carolina foothills. 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. Often it is in the form of parody. Music now known as 'old-time' became prominent in the Appalachians. The old traditional music of the mountains gave way to the beginnings of modern commercial country-western music. Appalachian Culture Explained in 40 Facts. 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. 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. The art and influence of fiddler Henry Reed. The Appalachians therefore tended to attract poorer people looking for cheaper or unwanted land. 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. Early tunes tended to be more rhythmic as the fiddler was often playing alone. 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. There was heavy rivalry between the English and French over the fur trade there. The percussion of the African music began to change the rhythms of Appalachian singing and dancing. 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. Asheville and Western North Carolina may be known for their thriving modern-day music scene, but traditions of old-time string band music, ballad singing and bluegrass date back well into the 1700s. These two artists were founding members of the acclaimed bluegrass band, Red June, and are long-time veterans of Asheville. Sammy Shelor is a quiet, soft-spoken man who has a lot of fascinating stories to share once you get him started. In 1922 the first recording of a rural performer, Eck Robertson, was made. While some ballads are simply known as love songs, many are notorious for being dark and violent, telling tales of war, treachery and loss. TO properly understand how traditional Appalachian music grew and dispersed it helps to have some understanding of how the Appalachians were formed. 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. Traditional Appalachian music typically features a fiddle. The M.A. That is the only way to explain the modern phenomenon of finding the banjo in current Scots-Irish bands, which was never part of traditional Scots-Irish music. The North Carolina mountains have an unbroken tradition of ballad singing that is still going strong today. The music of Appalachia has deep roots in Western North Carolina. In 1908 a newspaper, the Iredell North Carolina Landmark used the term to describe fiddling and dancing at Union Grove. The sound of the pipes and their drones added a double-stop approach where two strings are usually played together. 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. 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. Contact was limited regionally as travel was difficult. 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. 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. The banjo originated from stringed instruments with gourd bodies that were brought over … Few old-time musicians can, or want to make a living playing a style now considered archaic by the general public. 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. Mostly denigrated as a 'slave instrument' until the popularity of the Minstrel Show, starting in the 1840s, the banjo syncopation or 'bom-diddle-diddy' produced a different clog-dance and song rhythm by the turn of the century. The former were almost always sung unaccompanied, and usually by women, fulfilling roles as keepers of the families' cultural heritages and rising above dreary monotonous work through fantasies of escape and revenge. 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. Two other record companies had found success with “hillbilly” recordings and Victor hoped to follow them. The county’s history includes Daniel Boone, Civil War action, coal mining and feuds. In most parts of America songs of the Civil War, the minstrel and medicine shows, and early vaudeville have long since disappeared. During the first period, the Taconic, and the second, the Acadian, North America, Greenland, Ireland, and Scotland were all one land mass called Laurentia. 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. 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. For … Most of the Scots-Irish coming to Pennsylvania came as indentured servants. Please be aware of the following policies and changes in response to COVID-19. Bands that used exclusively to play tunes gradually added songs, mostly from popular and commercial sources. The length of recording time also shortened songs to a few verses. Many followed. But late nineteenth century industrialization produced mobility, and the advent of recorded sound in the 1920s brought popular music to the mountains. 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. First recorded in the 192 The introduction of the banjo to the Southern Mountains after the Civil War in the 1860s further hastened this process. Still, communities were settled rather late; at the time of the Civil War (1860s) most settlements did not average more than three generations back. For more information, please click here. Appalachian Folk Music Background and History The Appalachian Mountains extend 1,500 miles from Maine to Georgia. 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. There were three types of religious music: ballads, hymns, and revival spiritual songs. Players began to use tunings different from the standard classical - sometimes one for each tune - to heighten the 'high lonesome' sound. Ballads are typically stories set to music and usually sung unaccompanied. More modern repertoires took shape in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, with the waltz showing up at the beginning of the 1800s. 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 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. 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. Personal stories, live music demonstrations, heartfelt memories of life with Bill Monroe and a lot of history. 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. 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. TUNES changed a lot, first with the introduction of the banjo after 1860, and then with the popularity of the guitar, starting in 1910. 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. Appalachian Christmas stories, folklore, history and people. The latter directly arose out of the call and response of the African song tradition. Mountain music is the foundation of Old-Tyme and Bluegrass Music that originated from these ancient mountains. Political intrigues before unification of the states made land rights uncertain. Musical traditions from home were important links to the past and were cherished and passed down to the next generation. Their simpler, repetitious text of verse and refrain was easier to sing and learn and produced an emotional fervor in the congregation. It evened out rhythms and gave singers a 'floorboard' to mount their songs. Like other indigenous folktales, Appalachian Christmas stories, for the most part, can be traced back to the British Isles. The guitar also greatly redefined singing traditions in the same way. IN the 1763 Treaty of Paris the French gave up their American land rights to the English, causing the start of a larger expansion through and into the Appalachians from 1775 through 1850. When their terms of service were over they found local land too expensive and so went south into the mountains. A string band was usually one or more fiddlers, a banjo, bass, and guitar, with possibly a piano. 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. Irish immigration also added its own flavor. 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. 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. 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. 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. At The North Carolina Arboretum, we work hard to pay tribute to the region’s rich natural and cultural heritage. Over the years, the banjo became widely accepted by all Southerners, and the instrument’s physical structure also changed. These mountains were shaped over 500 million years in three separate building periods called oroginies. Bluegrass incorporated many of the familiar instruments … 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. 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. The Great Depression of the 1930s put an end to the commercial viability of old-time music. 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. 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. These were popularized among the white inhabitants after the revival circuit started in Kentucky in 1800. Any good farm land that did exist was annexed by land companies. Frontier life was rigorous and a struggle; people needed to rely upon each other, and anything social, including religion, was highly important, producing a generally deeply religious population. 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.” April 28, 2017 Appalachian music / Banjo / Coal mining / Fiddlers/fiddling / Virginia. Most musicians were also unable to read or write notated music, and therefore relied on personal instruction and memory to acquire new tunes. 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. Many Appalachian songs sung today that allude to 'children' in the fields or 'mother' have been changed from 'pickaninnies' or 'Mammys'. In 1750 an opening called the Cumberland Gap was discovered, leading to the fertile bluegrass country of Kentucky, but the mountains in that area were still not successfully settled until 1835, when President Jackson relocated the local native population to Oklahoma under a spurious 'treaty'. Many old songs, originally written for commercial reasons, are now considered traditional, their composers gradually forgotten. One is less likely to find Scottish ballads of rape and dominance, or those with men as heroes. At this time the Caledonia Mountains rose up and wore down before the Atlantic Ocean started to split the continent. 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 churches of America were also very influential and usually more puritan in nature. Instrumentation was used for dances and contests; food and drink and enjoyment were considered enough recompense. Penned by professional composers, they often became part of the folk tradition. The banjo may be one of the oldest instruments used in traditional Appalachian music, but ballad singing is considered one of the earliest styles. 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. 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. Religious music, including white Country gospel, was probably the most prevalent music heard in Appalachia. 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. 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. 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. It also kept down the fights although, by the 1930s, liquor and fighting had ended most southern mountain dances. 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. All through the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries this music was truly 'folk'. Still, many songs and tunes - for example, Fischer's Hornpipe - were of German ancestry and became anglicized over time. Singing was usually a single male voice; duet harmonies became more prevalent during the 1930s. 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. In the earliest days of commercial recording each band had its own regional sound; later there was a great deal of experimentation with crossovers. (Atlantean Gardens) While the Appalachian Mountains stretch from parts of Canada to Alabama, the cultural region of Appalachia typically refers only to the central and southern portions ranging from the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, south-westerly to the Great Smoky Mountains, and is called home by approximately 25 million people. Appalachian music is markedly influenced by religious themes and hymns, since religion was such a strong influence on the daily lives of Appalachian inhabitants. Admission to Music in the Garden is free; standard Arboretum parking fees still apply (including free parking for Arboretum Society members). An award-winning museum showcases the history of Clay County in Appalachian Kentucky. 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. 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. 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. 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. Its origin dates back to the 1700s, and it was first introduced to the region by immigrants from the British Isles. The term 'old-time music' began to show up in the early twentieth century. In the Southern Mountains these and other now obscure musical genres are still thriving in the traditional folk music of the region. The fiddle was at first the main instrument, often alone, as a piano would have been too expensive to purchase. Since the region is not only geographically, … 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. 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. There were usually multiple ridges, and where an opening would cut through one, it was closed in others. 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. This is why the mountains of the Scottish Highlands and the Appalachians seem so similar; they were the same range! Singing was used for personal and group enjoyment and continuation of historical narrative. 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. Originally the tonal and stylistic qualities of the fiddle mirrored those of the ballad. 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. 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. Many Appalachian songs were traditional English, Welsh, or Scottish ballads that simply became prominent in the Appalachians. From quilting, to farming, to arts and craft, these longtime traditions have been passed down throughout the region from generation to generation, including music. It was populated by native Americans justifiably hostile to white settlement. Mail order and mass production made instruments more accessible. 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. Traditional Appalachian music is derived primarily from the English and Scottish ballad tradition and Irish and Scottish fiddle music. With the luxury of percussive rhythm from other instruments, tunes became more elaborate and melodic. 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." "Appalachia: Music From Home" is a wonderful collection of today's mountain music. in Appalachian Studies was approved the following year. 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. Appalachian music is the music of the region of Appalachia in the Eastern United States. Before the advent of electrical recording mediums, instrumental music in Appalachia was transmitted directly from person to person. Popular music - such as ragtime - at the turn of the century started the rocking of the bow, another distinctive Appalachian feature. 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. 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. 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