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21L.423 / 21M.223J Introduction to Anglo-American Folkmusic, Fall 2002

Photograph of a banjo.
A banjo.  (Image courtesy of U.S. Bureau of Land Management.)

Highlights of this Course

This course includes a list of the music clips used as examples in class, which is located in the study materials section.

Course Description

This subject will introduce students to scholarship about folk music of the British Isles and North America. We will define the qualities of "folk music" and "folk poetry," including the narrative qualities of ballads, and we will try to recreate the historical context in which such music was an essential part of everyday life. We will survey the history of collecting, beginning with Pepys' collection of broadsides, Percy's Reliques and the Gow collections of fiddle tunes. The urge to collect folk music will be placed in its larger historical, social and political contexts. We will trace the migrations of fiddle styles and of sung ballads to look at the broad outlines of the story of collecting folk music in the USA, especially in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.



Prof. Ruth Perry
Prof. George Ruckert

Course Meeting Times

Two sessions / week
1.5 hours / session




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