Popular music - such as ragtime - at the turn of the century started the rocking of the bow, another distinctive Appalachian feature. 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. 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. 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. Appalachian music is a fitting metaphor for American history because it emerged from a blend of various musical influences stewing together in the remote Appalachians. Broadside ballads, printed on cheap paper and sold on the street, were also popular up to the end of the nineteenth century. I love mountain music / William. TUNES changed a lot, first with the introduction of the banjo after 1860, and then with the popularity of the guitar, starting in 1910. BUT the traditional old-time Appalachian music never really died off; it just reverted back to being a participatory 'folk' music. Many followed. The guitar also greatly redefined singing traditions in the same way. 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. 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 … 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. 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. Players began to use tunings different from the standard classical - sometimes one for each tune - to heighten the 'high lonesome' sound. Music now known as 'old-time' became prominent in the Appalachians. The 'reel' is generally thought to have developed in the Scottish highlands in the mid-eighteenth century. Fiddlers' Conventions, house parties, and back-porch jams kept the music alive. Its origin dates back to the 1700s, and it was first introduced to the region by immigrants from the British Isles. Originally from Arabia, and brought to western Africa by the spread of Islam, the banjo then ended up in America. One is less likely to find Scottish ballads of rape and dominance, or those with men as heroes. Before the advent of electrical recording mediums, instrumental music in Appalachia was transmitted directly from person to person. Ma Maybelle of the Carter Family introduced a guitar style where lead melodies were picked out by the thumb. Signature styles of banjo playing in old time and bluegrass music were pioneered and popularized by musicians from the North Carolina foothills. 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. These two artists were founding members of the acclaimed bluegrass band, Red June, and are long-time veterans of Asheville. Bluegrass incorporated many of the familiar instruments … In 1908 a newspaper, the Iredell North Carolina Landmark used the term to describe fiddling and dancing at Union Grove. Singing was usually a single male voice; duet harmonies became more prevalent during the 1930s. the history of both Appalachian music and country music occurred. ONE of the greatest influences on Appalachian music, as well as many popular American music styles, was that of the African-American. During the first period, the Taconic, and the second, the Acadian, North America, Greenland, Ireland, and Scotland were all one land mass called Laurentia. Musical traditions from home were important links to the past and were cherished and passed down to the next generation. The churches of America were also very influential and usually more puritan in nature. 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. Many old songs, originally written for commercial reasons, are now considered traditional, their composers gradually forgotten. Admission to Music in the Garden is free; standard Arboretum parking fees still apply (including free parking for Arboretum Society members). 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. --Charlotte Observer Most of the Scots-Irish coming to Pennsylvania came as indentured servants. 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. 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. 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. 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. Penned by professional composers, they often became part of the folk tradition. 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. Banjos. 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. The 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'. 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. Since the region is not only geographically, … 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. in Appalachian Studies was approved the following year. Appalachian music is the music of the region of Appalachia in the Eastern United States. The 1930s and '40s brought in an individual star system with people like Hank Williams, and the advent of Brother Groups like the Delmores, Stanleys, and the Louvins, and the introduction of swing, horns, electricity, and bluegrass. The M.A. Political intrigues before unification of the states made land rights uncertain. For more information, please click here. 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. April 28, 2017 Appalachian music / Banjo / Coal mining / Fiddlers/fiddling / Virginia. 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. It evened out rhythms and gave singers a 'floorboard' to mount their songs. 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 also kept down the fights although, by the 1930s, liquor and fighting had ended most southern mountain dances. But late nineteenth century industrialization produced mobility, and the advent of recorded sound in the 1920s brought popular music to the mountains. Please be aware of the following policies and changes in response to COVID-19. 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. This new style was different from the unison approach of old-time string music. 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. TRADITIONAL Appalachian music is mostly based upon anglo-celtic folk ballads and instrumental dance tunes. 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. Many tunes acquired words, so the caller could take over and give the fiddler a break by singing the calls. While some ballads are simply known as love songs, many are notorious for being dark and violent, telling tales of war, treachery and loss. Few old-time musicians can, or want to make a living playing a style now considered archaic by the general public. 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 early mountain settlers, who were largely Scotch-Irish immigrants, probably brought … 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. Two other record companies had found success with “hillbilly” recordings and Victor hoped to follow them. 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 1920s was a decade of string band popularity. Still, many songs and tunes - for example, Fischer's Hornpipe - were of German ancestry and became anglicized over time. At this site you'll find a wealth of information and resources about Appalachian English (aka Appalachian Speech). In the earliest days of commercial recording each band had its own regional sound; later there was a great deal of experimentation with crossovers. 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. 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. The introduction of the banjo to the Southern Mountains after the Civil War in the 1860s further hastened this process. A string band was usually one or more fiddlers, a banjo, bass, and guitar, with possibly a piano. 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. 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. This is why the mountains of the Scottish Highlands and the Appalachians seem so similar; they were the same range! Mountain music is the foundation of Old-Tyme and Bluegrass Music that originated from these ancient mountains. 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'. Ballads are typically stories set to music and usually sung unaccompanied. Most musicians were also unable to read or write notated music, and therefore relied on personal instruction and memory to acquire new tunes. 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 North Carolina mountains have an unbroken tradition of ballad singing that is still going strong today. The Appalachian song may have been of Scots-Irish ancestry, but Appalachian music was totally Southern. 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. These were popularized among the white inhabitants after the revival circuit started in Kentucky in 1800. All through the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries this music was truly 'folk'. Contact was limited regionally as travel was difficult. Bands that used exclusively to play tunes gradually added songs, mostly from popular and commercial sources. Any good farm land that did exist was annexed by land companies. Instrumentation was used for dances and contests; food and drink and enjoyment were considered enough recompense. Therefore, most settlement started north in Pennsylvania and drifted south down the long valleys, rather than west over the mountains. The banjo may be one of the oldest instruments used in traditional Appalachian music, but ballad singing is considered one of the earliest styles. Early tunes tended to be more rhythmic as the fiddler was often playing alone. Religious music, including white Country gospel, was probably the most prevalent music heard in Appalachia. Mail order and mass production made instruments more accessible. The Appalachians therefore tended to attract poorer people looking for cheaper or unwanted land. (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. Clogging, flatfoot dancing, and square dancing are three of the more popular dancing styles in Appalachian history. 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. 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, … The length of recording time also shortened songs to a few verses. The fiddle was at first the main instrument, often alone, as a piano would have been too expensive to purchase. Personal stories, live music demonstrations, heartfelt memories of life with Bill Monroe and a lot of history. 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. 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 originated from stringed instruments with gourd bodies that were brought over … 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. Many Appalachian songs were traditional English, Welsh, or Scottish ballads that simply became prominent in the Appalachians. The sound of the pipes and their drones added a double-stop approach where two strings are usually played together. Traditional Appalachian music typically features a fiddle. This produced a long range of accordion-like steep ridges, full of foliage entanglements like mountain laurel, and therefore difficult to transverse, alongside valleys and 'hollers' full of generally agriculturally useless soil. There were usually multiple ridges, and where an opening would cut through one, it was closed in others. 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. 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. Like other indigenous folktales, Appalachian Christmas stories, for the most part, can be traced back to the British Isles. 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'. Traditional Appalachian music is derived primarily from the English and Scottish ballad tradition and Irish and Scottish fiddle music. An award-winning museum showcases the history of Clay County in Appalachian Kentucky. Appalachian Culture Explained in 40 Facts. Sammy Shelor is a quiet, soft-spoken man who has a lot of fascinating stories to share once you get him started. By the 1920s a whole body of parlour songs known as 'race music' became popular. The music of Appalachia has deep roots in Western North Carolina. A large percentage, perhaps almost half, of the American variations tend to be about pregnant women murdered by their boyfriends. 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. 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. Many fairly explicit lyrics were softened and cleaned up. 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. 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." This is a collection of words, photos and video clips about The Appalachian People. 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 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. 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 latter directly arose out of the call and response of the African song tradition. With emancipation, black music began to move outside the South. Radio stations started barn dances with live performances of local talent, and styles began to cross over. Having a chordal structure also evened out irregularities as the guitar produced the even backup of a measured beat. When their terms of service were over they found local land too expensive and so went south into the mountains. 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. With the luxury of percussive rhythm from other instruments, tunes became more elaborate and melodic. The percussion of the African music began to change the rhythms of Appalachian singing and dancing. In 1922 the first recording of a rural performer, Eck Robertson, was made. 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. British paganism was frowned upon, and this censorship resulted in ballads where repentance and doom supplanted sinful behavior. Okeh and Vocalion Record catalogs listed Old-Time Tunes as a category, and the Sears Catalog of 1928 used Old-Time in its advertising. 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.” Singing was used for personal and group enjoyment and continuation of historical narrative. There was heavy rivalry between the English and French over the fur trade there. 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. 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. 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. Originally the tonal and stylistic qualities of the fiddle mirrored those of the ballad. TO properly understand how traditional Appalachian music grew and dispersed it helps to have some understanding of how the Appalachians were formed. 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. 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. Many Appalachian songs sung today that allude to 'children' in the fields or 'mother' have been changed from 'pickaninnies' or 'Mammys'. The banjo – originally brought to America by enslaved Africans – was initially made of gourd bodies or pots, and covered in animal hide. 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. 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. 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. 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. The term 'old-time music' began to show up in the early twentieth century. By 1790 any good land was taken or too expensive for most. The art and influence of fiddler Henry Reed. Unlike the British theme of love affairs, the American broadsides tended to showcase male-dominated occupational experiences, such as logging, ranching, and mining, as well as sensational topics like disasters, murders, and tragedies. At this time the Caledonia Mountains rose up and wore down before the Atlantic Ocean started to split the continent. Appalachian music is markedly influenced by religious themes and hymns, since religion was such a strong influence on the daily lives of Appalachian inhabitants. Often it is in the form of parody. The county’s history includes Daniel Boone, Civil War action, coal mining and feuds. Their simpler, repetitious text of verse and refrain was easier to sing and learn and produced an emotional fervor in the congregation. First recorded in the 192 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. Still, communities were settled rather late; at the time of the Civil War (1860s) most settlements did not average more than three generations back. 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. "Appalachia: Music From Home" is a wonderful collection of today's mountain music. 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. 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. 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