Ghosts in the Appalachian Mountains

Mountain Talker

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Appalachian Mountain Culture and Ghost Stories

Ask many longtime residents of the Southern Appalachian Mountains whether they believe in ghosts and the answer is likely to be an emphatic “no.” In this strongly Protestant region of the South, humorously called the “buckle of the Bible Belt,” such beliefs are considered by some to be against the teachings of Scripture. “Th’ Bible preaches that when somethin’ dies, it’s gone,” they might say. “If you don’t believe th’ Bible, you don’t believe nothin’.”

But to others, ghost stories have become legends passed down from the family hearth to the country store porch and beyond. Unlike folk tales, which are recognized as fiction by both storyteller and audience, legends are accounts of events that the storyteller believes to have actually occurred, either to himself or to someone else in the past.

These legends generally contain a human character who comes into contact with the supernatural. How this character chooses to deal with this encounter enables the storyteller to teach a lesson about society’s ethical and moral codes. Therefore, although a belief in revenants (returners from the dead) may contradict Biblical teachings, ghost stories still contains life lessons that were important to this Appalachian mountain community.

The fear and isolation associated with early mountain life helped give birth to many paranormal accounts that, in turn, evolved into ghost stories. As in other regions of the South, however, modern influences have diluted the art of storytelling in the mountains. This is why some old-timers are likely to tell you that “there used t’be more ghosts then than now.”

Southern Appalachian Mountains

The Appalachian Mountains are a narrow and extensive mountain system that parallels the eastern coast of North America for approximately 1,212 miles. Formed about 250 million years ago, it is one of the oldest mountain systems on Earth.

The Appalachian Mountains stretch from Newfoundland all the way down to the northern sections of Alabama and Georgia. They are separated from the eastern Coastal Plain by a massive fall line. The system is a mixture of mountains, valleys, high ridges and wide, dissected plateaus. Dense forests cover much of the system, and some rock structures date back to the Precambrian and early Paleozoic eras.

Two of the most prominent Appalachian ranges can be found in the Southern United States. The Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee and North Carolina have some of the tallest and most rugged peaks in the system, with some towering over 6,000 feet (Mt. Mitchell in North Carolina is the highest peak east of the Mississippi River at 6,684 feet). The backbone of the system, the Blue Ridge, starts in Georgia and stretches north to Pennsylvania.

Appalachian Mountains

On the eastern side of the Southern Appalachian Mountains, between the Blue Ridge and the fall line, is a rolling plateau known as the Piedmont, which takes up large portions of Georgia, the Carolinas and Virginia. On the western side is the Cumberland Plateau, stretching from southern West Virginia to Alabama. In-between the Great Smoky Mountains and the Cumberland is a hilly region called the Ridge and Valley, which stretches from central Alabama up to New York State.

Several Native American tribes lived in the Appalachian Mountains before the arrival of white settlers. In the South, one of the most prominent tribes was the Cherokee. According to Cherokee legend, the Great Smoky Mountains were formed by a giant buzzard circling above the earth after a great flood. When this buzzard reached the Smokies, he plummeted to the earth in exhaustion. Where his massive wings touched the earth, the mountain valleys appeared.

The Cherokees learned to coexist with the European settlers. They even fought with them against the British during the War of 1812. But with the discovery of gold in north Georgia, the federal government made a concerted effort to drive the Cherokees out, culminating in the infamous Trail of Tears removal of 1838.

There are some descendants of the original Cherokees living in the Southern Appalachian Mountains today. Some believe that they are descendants of Tsali, a brave warrior who gave himself up for murdering a white soldier during the Trail of Tears. In exchange, Colonel William Thomas, a white friend, promised Tsali that his tribe could remain in the hills. Other Cherokees simply disappeared into the mountains.

Early mountain life was difficult for the European settlers. Completely isolated from the outside world, they struggled to survive on the rocky hillsides. But they were also a fiercely independent group, with their own system of law and unique cultural traits. Despite the widespread changes caused by modern influences, bits and pieces of early Appalachian Mountain culture can still be found today.

Much of the Appalachian Mountain system is now used for recreational purposes. Parks such as Great Smoky Mountains National Park attract thousands of visitors a year while also serving as wildlife sanctuaries. The Appalachian Trail, a 2,143-mile footpath stretching between Mount Katahdin in Maine and Springer Mountain in Georgia, was completed in 1937. This trail is used and maintained by stout hikers from around the world.

Early Mountain Life

The original Appalachian settlers were largely Scotch-Irish immigrants who clawed their way through the lush and rugged hill country in the early 1700s. Clannish and fiercely independent folk, these settlers had rebelled against the restrictive laws of their homeland, and were in search of a place where their Protestant beliefs could flourish without interference. They were awed by the dense hardwood forests teaming with game, the fresh, sparkling rivers filled with fish, and the eerie mist creeping through the valleys that reminded them so much of the Scottish Highlands back home (this is how the Smoky Mountains got their name).

Deep within the cool hollows, the settlers staked their claims. The virgin forests provided plentiful building materials for their log cabins and furniture. They raised small crops of corn, potatoes and black-eyed peas, and fruit trees and gourds to make containers. The men were crack shots, hunting the woods day and night for “beasties” (animals) with the help of their loyal dogs, which they would proudly describe as “part hound, part cur” (or fierce breed of dog).

Appalachian Log Cabin

Inside the tiny, one room cabins, the women would dye clothes with berries and bark gathered from the forest and cook dinner on the huge stone fireplaces. In-between chores, they would knit quilts on their looms, using elaborate patterns with unique names like “nine-patch,” “double-wedding ring” and “dove-in-the-window.”

Corn shuckings, house raisings and log rollings were regular community events. But the most popular social events were the mountain dances, also called “play parties” since the church didn’t approve of dancing. These parties were generally casual and easygoing. Fiddlers, sometimes accompanied by a banjo and dulcimer would play alternately humorous and plaintive ballads that reminded the settlers of their homeland and lost relatives. Occasionally, the musicians would make up ballads about interesting community events. These “play parties” were some of the only fun times that these hard working settlers ever had.

Whenever their way of life was threatened, these settlers fought back fiercely. After long skirmishes with the Cherokees and the British army, some mountain communities found themselves at odds with the Confederate army. These self-reliant people had never had to rely on slaves for labor, and couldn’t support the South’s secession from the Union. As a result, some communities were regularly harassed by the Confederate army, who took prisoners, vandalized property and stole livestock. In some areas, children were placed along the mountain tops to warn of approaching Confederate troops.

Isolated from the Confederacy and the Federal government, which the mountain people later blamed for not coming to their aid during the Civil War, many mountain communities turned away from the outside world. Little immigration took place through the nineteenth century, leading to intermarriage within families. But the mountain people were always kind to wayward strangers. Their doors were always left open for strangers to “light and hitch” (visit) with the family, and a bed was always prepared.

Early Photograph Appalachian Mountains

Although the mountain people tamed small plots of land around their homes, they were still surrounded by miles of mysterious, dense forest. They were already a superstitious group – everyone knew that the moon affected planting cycles, the tail of a hound dog attracted lightning and that an axe placed under the bed of a birthing motherslove would kill the pain. But as night fell across the hills, the seemingly impenetrable forest would come alive with spooky sounds and lights. Whatever these settlers heard or saw found their way into the stories told around the fireplace at night.

Although modern influences have had a dramatic impact on early mountain culture, some of the “old timey” ways can still be found in the hills today.

Modern Mountain Life

The second and third generations of the original Appalachian settlers eventually pressed against the limits of sustenance. Migrating from the low valleys into the creek branches, sub-valleys and steep hillsides, these families had extreme difficulty farming the rocky terrain. Barely able to make a living from their crops, many families fell into poverty, leading to widespread disease and malnutrition.

Early twentieth century social workers were horrified with some of the conditions they found there: little or no sanitation, children lacking shoes or fresh clothes, families with ten to twelve kids crammed into dirty, one-room shacks. Distrusting of “furriners” toting little black bags filled with “black magic,” some mountain families became their own pharmacists, using odd assortments of herbs, tonics and roots to treat everything from typhoid fever to measles. As a result, the mortality rate soared.

These social workers brought what was to become the first wave of modernization to the hills. Trained nurses would set up shop in the communities and teach families about personal hygiene and homemaking skills. Fathers were taught how to read and write. Corps of midwives traveled throughout the hills helping deliver babies. Some of these social workers were indeed heroes, riding across terrible mountain roads, swollen streams and swinging bridges to reach the isolated families.

Early Appalachian Lumber Workers

In the early 1900s, large lumber companies began to eye the Southern Appalachian region. The region had been generally bypassed for the flatlands of Mississippi and Louisiana, but after these areas had been fully “slashed and burned,” lumber scouts began discovering the virgin hardwood forests in the hills. Mill towns and railroads sprung up seemingly overnight, scarring the landscape and causing major pollution and erosion problems. Human life and land were cheap for many of these companies: loggers were forced to work extremely long hours with the constant threat of accidents, dismemberment and death. Despite the risks, however, many mountain residents were forced to work for the companies to support their impoverished families.

With the construction of new highways, modern influences began to have a dramatic impact on mountain life and culture. The influx of radio, television and printed matter diluted traditional mountain speech. Younger families, faced with a bleak future in the hills, migrated to the cities. One by one, the mountain communities emptied.

Appalachian Fiddler

But perhaps there’s something about the fear associated with rapid modernization that has lately made people nostalgic for the “old ways.” For thousands of tourists visit the Appalachian Mountains each year searching for signs of early mountain culture. Past the curio shops and amusement parks, they are likely to see and hear traces of early mountain life: an elderly farmer still plowing his steep fields with a team of horses, story swapping on country store porches, traditional bluegrass music on a community radio station, hand-carved crafts, fiddles and dulcimers, small white churches dotting the hillsides. In mountain speech, one can still hear words and expressions from pre-colonial times.

Although it is unclear what will happen in the next century, our constant need for the reassuring simplicity of the “old ways” is likely to keep Appalachian Mountain culture alive for generations to come.

Smoky Mountains

The Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee and North Carolina represent some of the highest and most rugged peaks in the Appalachian Mountains. Many peaks are in excess of 6,000 feet, with Clingmans Dome in eastern Tennessee being the tallest at 6,644 feet.

Smoky Mountains

The name “Smoky” comes from the bluish mist that envelops the hills. Abundant rainfall and fertile soils have given the Smokies one of the world’s finest examples of temperate deciduous forest. A wide variety of flora is in abundance here, as are many different species of birds and other wildlife.

Due to wildlife preservation policies, much of the area looks as it did to the early Native American and European settlers. Restored log cabins and barns from the pioneer era are scattered throughout the area.

By the beginning of the twentieth century, the Smokies were threatened by lumbering and mining companies. Although these industries brought jobs to mountain families, they wrecked havoc on the environment. By the late 1920s, a move was underway by the federal government to turn the Great Smoky Mountains into a protected wildlands sanctuary. Thanks to a large donation from John D. Rockefeller, along with community efforts in Tennessee and North Carolina, over 400,000 acres of land were acquired by the government, and Great Smoky Mountains National Park was established in 1930.

Mountain Speech

Like other remnants of early Appalachian mountain life, the old time speech of the original settlers has been largely eroded away by modernization.

Most of the original settlers were immigrants from the English Isles, although some German and Dutch settlers also made the journey. They brought with them colorful, Elizabethan era words and phrases which one can find in the works of Shakespeare.

As time passed, the isolation of mountain life transformed the language. Words were mispronounced, phrases and sentences were rearranged, and new words were created to fit the rugged mountain life these settlers faced. Intermarriage within mountain communities also caused this unique language to flourish for many years.

It wasn’t until the twentieth century that mountain language was transformed by the modern influences of the outside world. Radio, television and newspapers, along with an influx of modern schools and colleges, taught the younger generation a new, “grammatically correct” way of speaking. As the exodus of young families from the mountains grew, mountain dialect became less prevalent.

One can still hear some of the original dialect in the more isolated mountain communities. If you find yourself in such places, listen closely for unique words and sayings like:

a-childing : pregnant
corn-fed critters : poor people
a give-out : an announcement
arm baby : child small enough to be carried in someone’s arms
a whoop and a holler : a long distance
ain’t had much schoolhousing : isn’t very educated
bald faced whiskey : fresh whiskey from a still
bigging it and bigging it : exaggerating
bonny : good
butter-mouthed : speaking in flattering terms
chunk-washer : heavy rain
death watch : ticking insect in the wall of a house that meant death in the family.
dogtrot : covered passageway between two rooms
doney-girl : female sweetheart
et : ate
fur : far
graveyard cough : deep, tubercular cough
goozler : boy whose voice is changing
jairy : nervous
kiver : cover
knee child : child small enough to sit on a knee
lap child : child small enough to be held in a lap
pap : father
pile up with trash : associate with low class, immoral people
rip and tear : raise cain
since Heck was a pup : a long time ago
skun : skinned
turn right-handed : turn right
turn left-handed : turn left
yan : yonder
yan side : the farthest side

2 American Guitar Pickers



The Tracks of Native American Folk Music

John Fahey and Leo Kottke

I don’t think I can overstate Fahey’s importance to American folk music, as much as Fahey himself hated the restrictions of the genre.  Fahey was a fingerstyle guitarist, which meant that he was championing a somewhat archaic way of playing guitar when he first started recording himself in the late 50s.  Fingerstyle means exactly what it says: the guitarist picks notes on the guitar with fingers rather than a synthetic pick.  Although Fahey’s style has been called American Primitivism, there’s nothing primitive about his style or that of the guitarists who he nurtured (well, he wasn’t the nurturing type, so let’s call it “supported” instead) and influenced.  Their flurry of sounds, usually employing at least two voices on the guitar (a bass line and a melody line), but often adding a third voice (usually a mid-range drone), is anything but primitive.  Fahey had one ear in the past, always looking for old blues guitarists to learn from, but his other ear could only hear the future, and his uncompromising avant-garde tendencies give his instrumentals a timeless quality.

The Legend of Blind Joe Death (1964 and 1967).  Fahey created three separate versions of his first album Blind Joe Death.  The first was recorded in 1959 and attributed to the mythical eponymous bluesman.  Fahey released it on his own label Takoma, but only had the money to press a hundred or so copies.  Five years later, Fahey decided that he had improved his guitar skills enough to re-record the album. Or, at least, some songs on the album.  The second version had a wider release, but in 1967, Fahey decided to re-record the album again in stereo.  The Legend of Blind Joe Death, a 1996 release, combines the later two releases with a few outtakes.  Despite Fahey’s traditionalist song choice, there are not many earlier albums that sound like this: close-mic’ed solo guitar with no effects or overdubs, with all the musicality and emotion in Fahey’s own presentation.  Beautiful stuff.

The Transfiguration of Blind Joe Death (1965). I don’t have Fahey’s second or third albums, but this one, his fourth, is like Blind Joe Death in that some songs are covers of old blues and pop songs.  The recording is as dry as the recording on Blind Joe Death, but there’s some more oddities as Fahey becomes more of his own man. There’s a banjo on one track. Some of the songs have a distinctly odd bent as Fahey incorporates more Eastern music into his sound.  This one was recorded and released on another label before The Great San Bernadino Birthday Party, which was officially labeled Vol. 4 from Takoma Records, but when Takoma released later re-released it, they subtitled this one Vol. 5.  All part of Fahey’s lifelong love of creative obfuscation.

Days Have Gone By, Vol. 6 (1967). This one features a bunch of increasingly psychedelic originals (note “The Portland Cement Factory At Monolith California” and “A Raga Called Pat Parts One and Two”), plus a bluegrass standard and a composition by Sibelius.  Awesome.

Requia (1968).  I don’t have the Voice of the Turtle, Fahey’s 7th album, but I need to get it (and, it should go without saying, any of the other Fahey albums I don’t have).  The excellent website The Fahey Files notes that Fahey advises fans to avoid this one, claiming that he was too drunk to make a good album.  I think this one is awesome, though.  The highlight is the four-part “Requiem For Molly,” which mixes solo guitar with tape loops and white noise, giving you that odd feeling of listening to Mississippi John Hurt as remixed by John Cage.

The Yellow Princess (1968). Fahey’s ninth album adds a band on some tracks and throws in a sound collage on another.  And yet Fahey’s playing is near-perfect throughout and the recording as crisp as a chilled apple slice. All of which means that this is one of Fahey’s best.  Get the reissue with the early version of “Fare Forward Voyagers” on it.

Christmas Guitar (1968 – 1986).  This compilation includes most of the wonderful 1968 album The New Possibility: John Fahey’s Guitar Soli Christmas Album, plus a bunch of other Christmas tracks that Fahey recorded over the next 20 years.

America (1971).  Brilliant stuff here.  This is the 1998 reissue, which restores the album to the two-disc length that Fahey originally conceived.  There’s a version of “Amazing Grace,” a movement from a Dvorak symphony, and some extremely long compositions.

Of Rivers And Religion (1972).  More brilliance.  Fahey has a brass section backing him on some tracks and a string section on others.  This is great, great American music.

Fare Forward Voyagers (Soldier’s Choice) (1973).  This is mystic music.  Three tracks, one 14 minutes, one 6, and one 24.  Beautiful long compositions with a heavy Eastern sound.

Old Fashioned Love (1975).  This is Fahey again with a ragtime orchestra, with his sound covering the distance from early 20th century American music to Indian classical music.

Yes! Jesus Loves Me: Guitar Hymns (1980), Let Go (1984), Rain Forests, Oceans, and Other Themes (1985), and I Remember Blind Joe Death (1987).  I’m running out of things to say, so I’m going to start talking about several of these at once.  The Guitar Hymns album takes traditional Christian hymns and presents them in the beautiful dry style of Fahey’s Christmas albums.  Let Go melds Brazilian music with ragtime, bluegrass, and a surprising note-for-note cover of “Layla” that remains as smirkingly serious as any of Fahey’s other covers.  Rain Forests has more Brazilian music, another version of “Layla” (or is it the same one? hard to say), a medley of Hendrix into Furry Lewis, and a Stravinsky composition.  Fahey was pretty sick at the end of the 80s with Epstein-Barr, and he claims that I Remember Blind Joe Death is worthless because his sickness made him sloppy.  It’s not worthless, but it’s not one of his better albums.

God, Time, and Causality (1989) and Old Girlfriends And Other Horrible Things (1992).  Fahey was in better health for God, Time, and Causality (its title a pompous joke from a guy who was studying philosophy at Berkeley when his music career took off).  Here Fahey reworks a number of earlier tracks into long, transcendent medleys, pausing occasionally to retune during the track so that he can capture the odd Indian-raga inflections.  Awesome stuff.  Old Girlfriends is sort of a step back to his ragtime-classical-pop song formula of the mid 70s.  I’m not knocking it; the album is great.

Womblife (1997). I don’t have City of Refuge, where Fahey leapt headlong into avant-garde music, combining his anti-folk fingerstyle guitar with tape loops and white noise to an unprecedented degree.  But I understand that Womblife, produced by Jim O’Rourke, plumbs a similar vein more successfully.  I think it’s amazing.

The Epiphany of Glenn Jones (with Cul De Sac, 1997).  This is a half-successful attempt to meld Fahey’s style with Cul De Sac’s krautrock-and-jazz-influenced avant-rock.  You really must read the liner notes to get a glimpse of what working with Fahey was like.  I do not envy Glenn Jones his experience of having his idol sabotage his plans, but the result is pretty great in spots and a fascinating trainwreck in others.

Georgia Stomps, Atlanta Struts and Other Contemporary Dance Favorites (1998).  This is a live album of Fahey working out themes on an electric guitar.  I’ve read that Fahey found that his fingers were having trouble with acoustics at the time, but I would believe just as strongly that he just wanted to mess around on an electric and used whatever excuse was at hand.  Unfortunately, he could not pull the resonance from an electric guitar that he could wreak from an acoustic, and while the performances are great, the music suffers a bit from the tinniness of the sound.

Red Cross (2003) and “Hard Time Empty Bottle Blues I – IV” (from Sea Changes and Coelacanths: A Young Person’s Guide To John Fahey, 2006).  Fahey’s great work at the end of his life was founding Revenant Records, which produces the most incredible box sets in box set history.  Not only are they meticulously researched and beautifully mastered, but they are also packaged more creatively than any others in history.  But Fahey passed away in 2001, not long after helping to found the company.  Red Cross collects his last recordings, which span his stylistic leaning from the straightforward blues-based fingerstyle work of his early career to the aggressive and dark near-ambient work of his late career. Wonderful music, and a fitting end to a brilliant life.  Sea Changes collects Womblife and Georgia Stomps into a single volume, but with the four parts of “Hard Time Empty Bottle Blues” in the middle.  I bought these tracks from eMusic so I don’t know when or where they were recorded, and they’re a bit slight for me to make any guesses.  But they’re lovely and I’m not sorry I have them

(Courtesy by Hayden Childs)

Leo Kottke

Style and Substance:

The never-complacent acoustic guitarist Leo Kottke
has been a work in progress for 30 years.

By Josef Woodard

About 30 years ago, a Minnesotan trombonist-turned-acoustic-guitar-player named Leo Kottke released an album on the tiny Takoma label. Suddenly Kottke found himself with a full-blown career as a finger-picking guitarist. He scratched his head, muttered something witty to his muse and proceeded to play for a living.

Since then, the acoustic-guitar world has evolved, exploded and retreated, and otherwise gone up one (Windham) hill and down another, but Kottke–with the terminally boyish face and what-me-worry attitude–has been quietly plugging along. He would smirk at the superlative, but Kottke has become something of an American legend in the guitar world, and a king of his own private musical world.

When he comes to Santa Barbara on Saturday, you will hear both a deep history and musical style in development. You’ll also, no doubt, soak up Kottke’s signature between-song anecdotes.

Kottke stays on top of his game, primarily because his unique style separates him from the pack and because his hefty pile of recordings reveals that he never succumbs to complacency. Each one has a distinct identity, especially those produced during his decade of tenure on the Private label.

Under that label, there have been oddities such as the wonderful quirkiness of his instrumental “That’s What” and the gruff vocal charm of “Great Big Boy.” His latest, “Standing in My Shoes,” goes every which way: He returns to old songs, like the title track, originally from his 1971 album “Mudlark,” and his 20-year-old gem, “Vaseline Machine Gun.”

But there are also signs of the times, including drum loops and modern studio treatments from fellow Twin City-man, producer David Z. One song that jumps up for airplay attention is his remake of the old Fleetwood Mac tune “World Turning,” sung with Kottke’s characteristic, kindly huff of a voice and with his rickety finger-pickin’ rhythmic force. Classic rock never sounded so good.

Kottke fielded a few questions from his home outside of Minneapolis last week, where he’s nursing a broken foot suffered in the line of duty, trying to jump over a railing at a gig in Portland. You don’t become a veteran without a few bruises.

Los Angeles Times:

I’m assuming that when you started playing guitar, you didn’t expect it to sustain you for 30 years. Do you look over your career with a kind of bemusement?

Leo Kottke:

I really didn’t have any such ideas about this work, and neither did anyone else. I don’t get this question anymore, but I used to get asked, “How long do you think this will last?” or “What would you do if it went away?” I could never answer that.

There were times when it was a serious question that I’d ask myself, usually when I was working too much. That will get ahold of you. But the most that I ever felt it was when the Takoma record came out (in 1969) and it kind of hit. It got a lot of airplay and all of a sudden, something was going on. I really wondered then not so much how long it would last, but what it was and what had changed.

It took me years before I realized that nothing had changed. It was just that more people had heard me. That’s what I’ve figured out about that employment/existential part of the story. I just zero in on the tunes. That’s what I’m in it for, the tunes. Those will happen whether I have a job or not. I’m hooked.

I never think of you as a veteran, but I guess you have arrived at that status, haven’t you?

I like that you never think of me that way. But I have been around a long time. That’s all it takes. You don’t have to be good, you just have to hang around.

Los Angeles Times:

You have to stay alive and keep making good records, too, don’t you?

Leo Kottke:

I guess so. I ran into Dizzy Gillespie once in Italy, in his later years. He was loading the station wagon. He didn’t know me from a hole in the ground, but he walked up the street to talk to me and he was just the great guy you’d expect him to be. Basically, we talked about how to get some sleep on the road. He could just knock out wherever he was.

I had read his book “To Be or Not to Bop,” and he talks about what the music demands of you. Sooner or later, you have to live almost like a monk. Otherwise, the music starts to go.

Los Angeles Times:

So you’ve become an ascetic of sorts?

Leo Kottke:

Yeah, I have this little carpet of nails I sleep on . . .

Los Angeles Times:

On an information sheet, you say that your two big influences are jazz great Joe Pass and folk hero Pete Seeger. Does that cover the poles of your musical style?

Leo Kottke:

I never really know what to say about influences, because there are just so many that I have had. I have to add Jim Hall to that list. That’s just by way of saying I don’t know if people can answer the question of their influences. A lot of it would be surprising.

For one thing, I don’t think the list is ever quite as hip as we would hope. I know the first record I ever bought was a single called “Deedee Dinah” by Frankie Avalon. It’s pretty rough to admit something like that. I was in the sixth grade.

Los Angeles Times:

Each of your albums, especially in the last few years, has had a sort of conceptual agenda. Is that your plan?

Leo Kottke:

It does seem that way, but it’s not premeditated. Something just seems to take over while you’re doing it. With the latest record, I could have assumed that something along those lines would happen, that it would have an overall rhythmic approach, because of David Z. I’ve known him since we were starting out.

We were working in the same studio in Minneapolis, called Sound 80. He was working with Prince, and I was working with me. We intended to make this album back then, but it took us 25 years.

Los Angeles Times:

Your version of “World Turning” on this new album has stirred a lot of interest. How did you come to focus on that one?

Leo Kottke:

It was really Dave’s idea. He suggested an old Fleetwood Mac tune, from the first version of the band, before the guitar player got religion. I guess because I didn’t think of it myself, I couldn’t really put a lot of energy in that, but came up with “World Turning” instead.

I did a few shows with Fleetwood Mac and always enjoyed them. They always had something special, between Lindsay (Buckingham) and Christine McVie. It’s all good, but she has got that straight-ahead, unadorned quality that’s so satisfying to hear.

Los Angeles Times:

Is music a parallel reality for you?

Leo Kottke:

It might be the reality. There are times when I’m almost convinced that music is inhuman, that it comes from somewhere else. Most of the players I know seem to think the music that happens is not what they think of. It’s so good for you. Anyone who plays really benefits, whether it’s a job or not.

(Courtesy Los Angeles Times)



by Leo Kottke

Studying with three teachers in three years, I was a trombone student in Oklahoma until I was about
fifteen years old. Each weekend at one of their houses I’d wait in the kitchen until the trombonist in
the basement would yell up at me to come down– they all taught in their basements. I would
descend, assemble my horn, sit in a folding chair, park my sheet music on the stand, weather some
insult aimed at my embouchure, and play whatever I had not been studying for the last week.

My teachers– industrious, frugal, starving men– had one thing in common other than my unpreparedness:
they’d all installed do-it-yourself showers in those basements. These units stood in
some corner, usually my corner, and they’d drip… ploink, ploink. There was nothing more ominous
than basements with leaking showers in them, and there was no telling when fear began, but my
trombone kept those home improvements at bay.
I was a hero.
I had fewer illusions about my playing. Bob Green was a trombone player, I was a kid with a
trombone. Still, I was convinced that I’d eventually outgrow the roll in my embouchure and grow up
like Pinocchio to be a real trombone player. I loved to play and I loved the trombone; but I never
considered that a trombonist might have to install his own shower; I never guessed that my
trombone teachers might be trombonists; I never considered that a life in trombone might differ from
the one I was imagining… a life lived in hotels, in black suits and skinny ties, Ray-Bans indoors, by
someone who never played much and was depressed.

(By the time I knew depression was free, and that I didn’t have to play trombone to be depressed,
I’d imitated its “mood” for so long that I couldn’t refuse the Damned Cloud when it did arrive. If
you’ve been imitating the seeming cool, the detachment, and the languor, genuine depression won’t
be noticed until you tire of your pose. Bored with oceanic despair, you reach for the ladder back into
the boat and you drown: no ladder.)

To build your own shower, as my teachers did, is to laugh at depression… ploink, ploink. Keats called
this negative capability. So, if you were or are a trombonist, you’ve likely confronted one or more of
these home improvements because it’s no picnic to master an instrument; and if you’re a student,
you’re squirming in a kitchen somewhere and you’ve just begun reading Popular Mechanics. You’re
waiting for that voice to call you downstairs. More disturbing than Popular Mechanics, you are already
seeing the music on that stand beyond the stairs: “The Bluebells of Scotland,” “Down Home on the
Farm,” “A Stalk of Corn,” “Tango for the Veterans Administration.”

A couple of those pieces I made up, but the ones I didn’t were exhumed long before I could have
dug them up from the cornfield. To be merciful, there’s a sliding scale for these musical stiffs: “Blue
Bells” is much better than “Down Home on the Farm,” for example. I know this because I’ve heard
“The Blue Bells of Scotland” and I’ve actually played “Down Home on the Farm.” I couldn’t play “The
Blue Bells of Scotland;” that piece is what we musicians call “hard.” Bob Green played “The Blue Bells
of Scotland.” I played, “Down Home on the Farm.”

I played it for three judges at an annual state competition in Tahlequah, Oklahoma.
I skulked out to center stage in an empty hall that year, announced the title of this hayseed kitsch,
the judges laughed, and I played the cadenza: a collision of hope and ability. Then I stated the
melody and the judges laughed again– they knew a melody when they heard one– and somewhere
in the middle of this thing they realized what was coming and they began to chortle.
If you want to torture someone but not to offend them, you will chortle.

I repeated the melody twice as fast, and the judges squeaked from chortle to snort. They couldn’t
help themselves. They didn’t care how I felt, and they knew what was coming. Bowing to tradition, I
too knew what was coming: I repeated the thing a third time and played it three times as fast. I
ignored the judges’ snorts, clawed my way through another cadenza, and received my failing grade
the next day.
I blame this episode not on the perpetrator of “Down Home on the Farm,” she couldn’t have helped
herself, but on my trombone teacher, the bass trombonist for the Tulsa Symphony Orchestra, who
had it in for me. It’s also possible that my judges were friends of his, that he was giving them some
relief on a dull day.

These recital pieces are an industry. You won’t hear them, other than at state-sanctioned ordeals,
because they’re not any good. They leak like boats. They leave nothing after them– a life preserver
or two. Some valve oil. A gasp. My trombone teachers would probably have insisted that these pieces
suited my abilities, that they’d have given me good music if I could have played it; but I was
sometimes first chair in the Muskogee West Junior High Band, conducted by the inspirational Lowell
Lehman; and my competition was Julian Fite, a kid who went on to become District Attorney. I was
unassailable… but, of course, I remember none of my trombone teachers playing more than one note
for me. I do remember some funny looks when I played for them… a long time ago.

A few years ago I built a couple motors. (I was depressed.) And my skills as a mechanic reminded me
of my skills as a trombonist. But I learned how to adjust valve stem clearances on an Alfa motor with
parts from a Volkswagen. Doing this was like building a zip-gun, two of which were confiscated at
West Junior High in the Year of the Farm; but a self-installed shower is no zip-gun, it is no outsider
thrill; it is the last cigarette before the firing squad. It is a gesture of defiance. It is an economy.

JJ Johnson, Kai Winding, Bob Brookmeyer, Bill Watrous, Bruce Paulson, or the Terrible Tempered
Trombones are or were all trombonists who could afford food. They may never have installed a
shower in their basements; but most artists, like Rakoto Fra, a sudina player pictured on Malagassi
currency when he didn’t have a Malagassi dime, are honored by their culture but not rewarded by it.
So some of them teach. And kids like me show up in their basements.

But now I know: the teachers who watched my feet coming down their stairs every week illustrate an
existential fact: gifts (theirs) are often obscured by ignorance (mine) but knowledge can reveal them.
My teachers?… I was a plague on their houses, and not the hero I thought I was, but they charged
only a small fee for admitting my sullen evasions to their basements; and they taught me not only
music, but also ABOUT music, and about corn, and about patience– theirs, mostly.
I am looking at my trombone– which is all I can do with it. It is the same trombone my teachers saw
coming down their basement stairs. It is a Bach #10, an instrument with a different diameter to each
parallel of its slide. This innovation was to have increased the speed of the slide by decreasing its
resistance… a virtue, had the design worked, that would have been entirely lost on me. I’m intrigued,
though, by the semblance of tone I might have produced had the diameters been equal.
Just maybe….

But those showers have collapsed by now… you can’t step in the same basement twice. You can’t go
back; even Mt. Everest is a little shorter than it was when I played “Down Home on the Farm;” but
because of my performance in Tahlequah, I got to hear the chortle in its natural environment and to
watch my trombone career go down the drain… ploink, ploink.
Any fool would know that I was a lucky kid. I got to play, so I get to play. I was guided by
trombonists, note by note, toward home.


The Future of the Alan Lomax Archieves





Traffic has darkened the façade of the Hunter College-owned MFA Studio Building on 41st Street, between the Port Authority and the Lincoln Tunnel. The interior, a picture of institutional indifference, doesn’t look much better. But a climb to the sixth floor reveals a glittering treasure called the Association of Cultural Equity (ACE), a vast and remarkable assemblage of field recordings, instruments, books, posters and other artifacts collected by the legendary American archivist Alan Lomax over the better part of the 20th century.

In 1983, Lomax founded ACE in this building as a command post for his lifelong mission, to compile and disseminate the sights and sounds of cultures from around the globe, hoping to preserve them lest they be extinguished. Twenty-four years later, and 11 years since Lomax’s death, the building is being sold, and ACE is preparing to move into a smaller space at Hunter’s Brookdale campus, on 25th Street and First Avenue.

Fortunately, floor space has been less of an issue since ACE sold three-quarters of Lomax’s original collection to the Library of Congress in 2004—650 linear feet of manuscripts, 6,400 sound recordings, 5,500 photos and 6,000 moving images—and launched its vast online archive in March 2012. Digital copies of much of the material now fill the shelves, and a cursory stroll through ACE’s web site ( offers endless hours of viewing (5,000 photographs, 3,000 videos), listening (17,400 files), and reading. One can also surf over to the Alan Lomax Archive YouTube channel, which boasts 77,000 subscribers.

“People used to be happy with published LPs and CDs, but today that’s not really enough,” Lomax archivist Todd Harvey said of the Library of Congress’s American Folklife Center. “The idea is that if it doesn’t exist in the digital form that’s accessible over the web, then it really doesn’t exist.”

But even with the sale and the effort to digitize, the ACE offices still flow with a trove of relics and heirlooms, so the company is preparing an eBayauction, to begin March 9, as it begins the move from its 2,500-square-foot space to a 1,500-square-foot space. Items for sale will include much of Lomax’s old recording equipment, video/film editing gear and other tools he used to build this archive, as well as odds and ends like his guitar and a few 78s from his personal record collection.

“We love having all this stuff around, but for practical reasons we have to pare it down,” said ACE executive director Don Fleming, who’s overseeing the sale. “This is the first time that we’ve offered anything to the public. We once let R. Crumb have some 78s of Alan’s for doing a picture of Jelly Roll Morton, but this is probably the only time something like this will happen.”

Though its archives can be accessed on a donation basis, and other labels, publishers and institutions often release its material, ACE continues to spread the good word on its own. On Feb, 14, it issued its first release in 12 months, “United Sacred Harp Convention: The Alan Lomax Recordings, 1959.” Mississippi bluesman Sid Hemphill’s “The Devil’s Dream,” recorded in 1942, will come out Thursday. The light-footed archive, with its $300,000 budget, may focus on historical recordings, but it is anticipating the CD’s demise, releasing almost all of them on LP and as digital files. The nonprofit uses the proceeds to help cover operating costs, but also to honor Lomax’s original contracts and make sure that artist royalties still go to their descendants if they can be found.

“We do like to monetize, and we do a lot of licensing, and in the past it’s been very lucrative,” said Anna Lomax Wood, Lomax’s daughter and the president of ACE. (Bruce Springsteen, for example, used two Lomax-derived field samples on his recent “Wrecking Ball” album.) “But we’ve never been in it to make money. My father always said, ‘If you want to make money, don’t go into folk music.’”

He may not have made a lot of money, but Lomax’s cultural impact at home and abroad is incalculable. In the decade before World War II, he and his father, the famed folklorist and collector John Lomax, took several historic trips through the South collecting material while working for the Library of Congress, making the first recordings of Muddy Waters and Fred McDowell, and capturing other legends like Jelly Roll Morton and Huddie “Leadbelly” Ledbetter.

“It is quite possible none of them would be known today, and all the influences they spawned might have never occurred, had Alan not recorded them—and worked to popularize them,” said Bill Nowlin, the founder of Rounder Records, which has released dozens of albums of Lomax material.

Later, through his radio broadcasts in the 1940s, Lomax helped bring wide exposure to such American folk icons as Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger, and continued making field recordings throughout the Caribbean, Ireland, Scotland and Spain. After 1960, he focused on what he called “cultural equity,” an egalitarian approach to expressive forms (particularly music, speech and dance) from around the world. It culminated in the last decades of his life in a forward-thinking creation he called the Global Jukebox Project, an early computer database that organized and compared various forms based on geography, style, and subsistence patterns. Initially available to institutions and researchers, a new version called the Global Jukebox Song Tree will be available online in the fall with a cache of 5,000 songs.

Though the aim of the Global Jukebox is to connect cultures, ACE is working to repatriate copies of archives back into the communities where Lomax originally documented them, even providing lesson plans so teachers in those communities know how to use them. “The physical part went to the Library of Congress, which is important to them, but we don’t need it anymore,” Mr. Fleming said. “One of the advantages of the digital era is it’s now easier to send out the entire collection on a hard drive. Because one of our missions is to get them to use it as a resource and celebrate their culture.”





American Heritage of Native Music Vol No 12



Sam   &   Kirk   McGee


Sam & Kirk McGee were one of the earliest country music duos. During the nearly six decades they were active, the McGees performed and recorded as a duo and in conjunction with Uncle Dave Macon’s Fruit Jar Drinkers, Bill Monroe’s Bluegrass Boys, and fiddler Arthur Smith. One of the first acts to become members of the Grand Ole Opry, Sam & Kirk McGee continued to share their unique hybrid of old-timey country music and blues with enthusiastic audiences until the mid-’70s.

Raised on a family farm in Franklin, TN, south of Nashville, the McGees inherited their musical skills from their father, who played fiddle. As youngsters, they often accompanied their father on banjo. By the time they were teenagers, Sam & Kirk were performing at local dances for as little as ten cents apiece. Inspired by the syncopated music played by black railroad workers who congregated outside his father’s store, Sam McGee switched to guitar and developed a soulful style of fingerpicking. A turning point came in 1923 when the McGee brothers attended their first concert and heard a performance by Uncle Dave Macon. They were so absorbed by Macon’s playing that they continued to ask to join his troupe until Macon agreed the following year. When Macon joined the WSM Barn Dance, which later evolved into the Grand Ole Opry, the McGees, who joined with guitarist Hubert Gregory and bassist Golden Stewart to form the Fruit Jar Drinkers, were members of Macon’s band.

Sam McGee’s recording debut came in April 1926 when he recorded several tunes, including “Whoop ‘Em Up Cindy” and “Late Last Night When My Willie Came Home,” in a New York studio. In May 1927, the McGees recorded with Macon and fiddler Mazy Todd. In addition to serving as Macon’s accompanists, the brothers recorded nine duets and three songs with Macon on banjo.

Sam & Kirk McGee continued to explore musical possibilities. In July 1928, Sam used a six string banjo-guitar during a recording session in Chicago. He later became played the first electric steel guitar on a broadcast of the Grand Ole Opry.

In 1931, the McGees teamed with fiddler Arthur Smith to form a new band, the Dixieliners. The group continued to perform together until the late ’30s, when Smith submitted his resignation. In 1957, Sam & Kirk reunited with Smith, continuing to perform together through the mid-’60s, including a memorable appearance at the Newport Folk Festival in 1965.

In the late ’30s and early ’40s, the McGee brothers worked with a comedy act, Sara & Sally, before joining Bill Monroe’s revue. In addition to playing with Monroe’s band, the Bluegrass Boys, the brothers were featured in their own segment of the show. The McGees continued to perform on their own through the ’50s and made numerous Grand Ole Opry appearances as the Fruit Jar Drinkers. They remained active into the ’70s, and ended with a stunning performance at the Country Music Fan Fair in 1975.

On August 21, 1975, Sam McGee was killed in a tractor accident on the family farm. Kirk continued to perform until the early ’80s. He passed away in 1983. ~ Craig Harris, Rovi


                                                                                                                        Sam   &   Kirk   McGee



Sigismund Toduţă



Sigismund  Toduta and the musicians of Cluj

Mihai Cosma

The city of Cluj-Napoca, known also as Klausenburg, is a citadelof culture and civilization in
Transylvania. Founded by the Romans in the beginning of the 2nd century, this city flourished in
the medieval times, under Hungarian rulers. After the unification with the other Romanian territories
after WW1, Cluj-Napoca had the chance of being a center of Romanian culture. The University is
one of the most respected in the country, with a famous school of medicine. The National Theatre
and the National Opera have a high prestige and the Conservatory is respected for its standards
and results.

Some of the best Romanian opera singers studied in Cluj Napoca and sung at the beginning at the
Opera here. Renowed pianists and violinists emerged from here, too. Also, major Romanian com
posers  studied and later were professors at the Conservatory.

All this creates the image of a reputed musical center of the country, details of activities, institu
tions,  festivals and personalities being presented in the pages of my paper.

Mihai Cosma
is professor of musicology at the National University of Music Bucharest and Director of the
Research and Artistic Activities Department of the University. Also, as a journalist, he is edi tor of the journals
Actualitatea muzicala and Muzica, and he has a constant involvement in radio and TV projects.
Being also a  cultural manager, Mihai Cosma directed many international projects like tours, exhibitions, lectures, concerts,
either inside Romania or worldwide, mainly in the US. He is also an opera stage director and a photographer,
as well as a documentary movies director.

He published hundreds of press articles in Romania and abroad, in music journals or in daily news
papers.  Also, he is the author of several books, among them being  Opera Nationala din Bucuresti – 50 de stagiuni in
actuala cladire Yearbooks of the National Opera House in Bucharest for the last 3 seasons Verdian Master pieces,
George Enescu – destinul unui geniu / George Enescu – the Destiny of a Genius. Opera romaneasca
in context european. Dictionar Multilingv de Termeni Muzicali. He directed the documentary OEdipe: the
American premiere, produced by TV Senso. He was guest professor and guest lecturer in many universities
and cultural centers abroad, being also a guest of major music festivals in USA, Slovakia, Greece, Germany,
Bulgaria etc.

Result of a laborious work,
Simfonia a V-a
appeared in its first version in 1963. The final, printed
version was released in 1974. Dedicated to the Belgian composer Jacqueline Fontyn-Schmit, the
score was sung in first audition in Brussels, conducted by Emil Simon – a great admirer of the
Todutian work. This work remains the author’s greatest achievement in the field, a proof of his
artistry, refinement, efficient expressive brevity and impressive spiritual youth.

Laura Manolache, geboren in Bukarest, studierte Musikwissenschaft bei Viorel Cosma (1978-1982) und
Komposition bei Myriam Marbe (1992), Tiberiu Olah (1994-2001) und Doina Rotaru (2001-2002). Abschluss
der Nationalen Musikuniversität Bukarest (NMB), Fachrichtungen Musikwissenschaft (1982) und
Komposition (2002). Teilnahme an den Internationalen Ferienkursen für Neue Musik in Darmstadt (1990),
DAAD-Jahresstipendiatin am musikwissenschaftlichen Institut der Universität zu Köln (1992-1993) und am
musikwissenschaftlichen Institut der Universität zu Osnabrück (1999, 2003), Stipendiatin der rumänischen
Akademie – Stiftung der Familie Menahem H. Elias – am musikwissenschaftlichen Institut der Universität zu
Wien (1996). Seit 1991 Dozentin an der Nationalen Musikuniversität Bukarest, Unterrichtsgebiete
Musikwissenschaft und europäische Musikgeschichte (Promotion 1995). Seit 2006 ist sie Direktorin des
Enescu-Museums Bukarest.

Mitglied des Komponisten- u. Musikwissenschaftlerverbandes in Rumänien (ab 1986), des Komitees der
musikwissenschaftlichen Sektion (ab 1997), der Internationalen Gesellschaft für Neue Musik – Sektion
Rumänien (ab 1991) und des organisatorischen Komitees (1991-1997), des Internationalen Arbeitskreises
für systematische und vergleichende Musikwissenschaft (ab 1995), der SOFDAAD – Sektion Rumänien (ab
2002) und der Gesellschaft “Frauen in der Kunst” – Sektion Rumänien (ab 2002).

Zu ihren bemerkenswerten musikwissenschaftlichen Schriften, die von “Editura Muzicala” veröffentlicht
wurden, zählen: George Enescu. Interviews (I. Auflage in 2 Bände: 1988, 1991 – Preis des Rumänischen
Komponistenverbandes, 1988; II. Auflage: 2005), Dämmerung der tonalen Alter (2001 – Preis der
Rumänischen Akademie), Sechs Bilder rumänischer Komponisten (2002), Theodor Rogalski (2006).

Sigismund Toduta und die Klausenburger Kompositionsschule

Oldenburg, 24.-26. Oktober 2008

Es gibt Orte, an denen ist eine multikulturelle Weltsicht unvermeidbar. Sie liegen an den
Treffpunkten unterschiedlichster Einflüsse und leben vom Miteinander des Widersprüchlichen. Ein
solcher Ort ist die Hauptstadt Transilvaniens, eine Stadt mit vier Namen: Cluj, Napoca, Kolosvar
und Klausenburg.

Die Kultur Cluj ist seit Jahrhunderten gleichermaßen von Rumänen, Ungarn und Deutschen
geprägt, in Cluj begegneten sich Abendland und Morgenland.

Die Verschmelzung der Kulturen prägt auch das wissenschaftliche und künstlerische Schaffen
Sigismund Todutas, der 1908 geboren wurde. Sein kompositorisches Schaffen spielt sich zwischen
Extremen ab, wie sie kaum weiter von einander entfernt sein können: der Unwägbarkeit einer
mündlich überlieferten Volks- und Kirchenmusik und der Regelstrenge des europäischen Barock.
Toduta kombinierte die musikalischen Elemente unterschiedlicher Zeiten und Welten und
begründete damit eine Klausenburger Kompositionsschule. Er verband archaische Formeln mit
chromatischen Klangflächen, byzantinischen und katholischen Kirchengesang mit polyphonen
Strukturen und neoklassizistischen Ideen und schafft durch Integration dieser Komponenten eine
eigene Synthese.

Hervorzuheben ist auch seine ständige pädagogische Tätigkeit in Cluj, eine Tätigkeit die sich nur
mit der von Mihail Jora in Bukarest vergleichen lässt.

Als Musikwissenschaftler beschäftigte er sich neben dem Studium Enescus Schaffen, mit der
deutschen Barockmusik und legte in den 1970er-Jahren eine über 1200 Seiten umfassende Studie
über “Die musikalischen Formen des Barock in den Werken J.S. Bachs” (Formele muzicale ale
Barocului în operele lui J.S. Bach) vor. Sein Schüler Hans-Peter Türk schreibt:

“Schon beim ersten Blick auf sein Werk fällt auf, dass er die Grundbestandteile der
europäischen Musiktradition zur Schaffung von Kontrasten nutzt in Stücken, die wie eine
Abfolge voneinander unabhängiger Bilder wirken… Hinzu kommt ein ständiger Dialog
zwischen nationaler und universeller Musik.”

Auch in den schwierigen Jahren des Sozialismus hat Cluj seine multikulturelle Weltsicht nie
aufgegeben und gilt auch heute noch als ein Ort kultureller Vielfalt.

Sigismund Toduta, der in diesem Jahr seinen 100. Geburtstag gefeiert hätte, ist ihr musikalischer

Sigismund Toduta

Rumänischer Komponist und Musikwissenschaftler

(Simeria, 17.05.1908 – Cluj-Napoca, 03.07.1991)

Sigismund Toduta studierte am Konservatorium
für Musik und darstellende Kunst in Cluj

(1926-1930 Schulmusik; 1926-1932 Klavier;

1930-1936 Komposition). Seine Professoren waren
Martian Negrea (Komposition) und Ecaterina
Fotino-Negru (Klavier).

Er spezialisierte sich im
Ausland in Italien, in Rom, an der Santa Cecilia
(1963-1938) – mit Ildebrando Pizzetti (Komposition)
und Alfredo Casella (Klavier) – und gleichzeitig
am Istituto Pontificio di Musica Sacra
(1936-1938) Orgel und geistliche Komposition.

In Blaj ist er Musikprofessor(1939-1942) und danach
Assistent-Korrepetitor am Konservatorium
für Musik und darstellende Kunst Cluj-Timisoara
(1942-1944, während der Besetzung Siebenbürgens).
Nach dem Krieg wird er Musiksekretär der
Philharmonie „Ardealul“ in Cluj (1945-1949).
Während seiner pädagogischen Karriere unterrichtete
er Musiktheorie, Blattsingen, Musikdiktat,
Harmonielehre, Kontrapunkt, Fugenlehre, Formenlehre
und Komposition am Konservatorium
Gh. Dima Cluj (1946-1973). Zwischen 1962-1965
war er Rektor des Konservatoriums und zwischen
1971-1974 Direktor der Staatsphilharmonie
Cluj. Von 1973 bis zu seinem Tod war er als beratender Professor tätig.

Er erwarb den Titel eines Doktors der Musikwissenschaft (Rom, 1938) am Istituto Pontificio di
Musica Sacra, mit dem Thema Transkription und Kommentar zu einigen unbekannten Jugendwerken
von G. Fr. Anerio. Er war Mitglied der Akademie für soziale und politische Wissenschaften
(1970-1989) und korrespondierendes Mitglied der Rumänischen Akademie (1991).

Sein Schaffen wurde mit zahlreichen Auszeichnungen geehrt:

2. Kompositionspreis „George Enescu“ (1940), „Robert-Cremer-Preis“ (1943), Staatspreis
(1953, 1955), Preise des Komponistenverbandes (1973, 1976, 1978) und „George-Enescu-
Preis“ der Rumänischen Akademie (1974). 1957 erhielt er den Titel eines Verdienten Meisters
der Kunst.In den drei Schaffensperioden von Sigismund Toduta lässt sich das Bestreben einer
Annäherung und Verschmelzung gregorianischer und byzantinischer Intonationen mit (rumänischer)
Folklore feststellen, zusammen mit deren Eingliederung in die großen Formen europäischer
Musik. In der ersten Schaffensperiode ist eine Hinwendung zu Neo-Renaissance und
Neo-Barock feststellbar, während für die dritte Schaffensperiode Heterophonie und stark
chromatisierte modale Harmonik charakteristisch sind. Der Stil musikalischer Entwicklung
trägt symphonische Züge, von betont polyphoner Prägung. Sigismund Toduta hat eine besondere
Vorliebe für große Formen, doch ohne Ausschluss instrumentaler oder vokaler Miniaturen.
Er ist der erste Komponist nach George Enescu und Paul Constantinescu, der einen eigenen
Personalstil entwickelt hat.1

1 Larousse,
Dictionar de mari muzicieni,
Editura Univers Enciclopedic, Bucuresti, 2000, S. 484
(Übersetzung: Hans Peter Türk).

Thematische Elemente und Kompositionstechnik in den Werken von
Sigismund Toduta. Aspekte der Zyklusbildung

Ana von Bülow

Ana von Bülow (Autorenname: Ana Popescu) wurde geboren in Bukarest. Studium der Musikwissenschaft
in ihrer Heimatstadt u.a. bei Viorel Cosma, Stefan Niculescu (Analyse), Aurel Stroe (Orchestration), Liviu
Comes (Kontrapunkt), Ioana Minei und Ana Pitis (Klavier). Diplomarbeit (Magister Artium) zur Stilistik in den
sinfonischen Werken von Sigismund Toduta, unter Betreuung des Komponisten Prof. Dr. Grigore

Freie Mitarbeit beim Rumänischen Rundfunk, in der Redaktion der Zeitschrift “Muzica” des Komponistenvereins
Rumäniens und Museumskonservatorin am Museum “George Enescu”. 1981 Übersiedlung nach

Bis 1995 Pädagogische Tätigkeit als Privatdozentin für Klavier- und Musiktheorie im Rhein-Main-Gebiet,
Freie Mitarbeit am Paul Hindemith-Institut und an der Alten Oper Frankfurt (Konzertdramaturgie, Programmheftbeiträge
und -redaktion), „Feste freie“ Mitarbeiterin der Frankfurter Allgemeinen Zeitung und Leiterin des
Presse- und Veranstaltungsbüros der Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst Frankfurt am Main.
1995-2001 familiär bedingter Wohnwechsel nach Rostock. Gründung, Konzeption, technische Durchführung
der Reihe „Kultur unter Alten Dächern“, Mitglied in verschiedenen Jurys, unter anderem für Alte Musik beim
Bundeswettbewerb „Jugend Musiziert“ und beim Internationalen Klavierwettbewerb „Kissinger Klavierolympiade“.

Seit 2001 Planung, künstlerische Beratung und Organisation verschiedener Musikprojekte, darunter für das
Festival „young.euro.classic“. Europäischer Musiksommer Berlin, Akademie Schloss Solitude und Ludwigsburger
Schlossfestspiele. Verschiedene PR-Texte, Übersetzungen und Publikationen (Neue Zeitschrift für
Musik, Das Orchester, etc.), sowie Texte für Plattenaufnahmen (z.B. Tudor Recording, Zürich).

Die Sonaten von Sigismund Toduta zwischen Tradition und Innovation

Alexandra Fagarasan

Alexandra Fagarasan, geboren 1985 in Bistrita, Rumänien, begann ihr Klavierstudium in der Hochschule
für Musik in Bistrita und gewann mehrere Preise bei nationalen Wettbewerben als Klavierspielerin und als
Chorsängerin. 2006 studierte sie als Erasmus-Sokrates-Studentin an der Carl von Ossietzky-Universität
Oldenburg. 2007 Abschluss der “Gheorghe Dima” Akademie für Musik in Cluj-Napoca, im Hauptfach
Musikwissenschaft und im Nebenfach Klavier. Zur Zeit arbeitet sie als Klavierlehrerin und Begleiterin an der
“Sigismund Toduta” Hochschule für Musik in Cluj-Napoca und als musikalische Herausgeberin von drei
klassischen Musiksendungen im Kultur-Radio ”Renaissance”. Sie ist auch eine Assistentin für die
rumänische Mozart-Gesellschaft und verantwortlich für das Organisieren des Mozart-Festivals jährlich in Cluj
Napoca. In ihrer freien Zeit singt sie in einen Kirche-Chor und spielt in der unabhängigen ”Corint”

Corneliu Dan Georgescu

Zwei Vertreter der Klausenburger Kompositionsschule in Bukarest:
Liviu Glodeanu (1938-1978) und Mihai Moldovan (1937-1981)

Zwischen der künstlerischen Tätigkeit der so genannten und heute relativ gut bekannten “Goldenen
Generation” (Anatol Vieru, Tiberiu Olah, Aurel Stroe, Stefan Niculescu, Myriam Marbe) und
den avantgardistischen Tendenzen der Entspannungsperiode nach Stalins Tod befindet sich eine
kleine Gruppe von Komponisten, zu der Liviu Glodeanu und Mihai Moldovan gehörten. Diese Komponisten
vertreten beispielhaft eine Periode, in der die Künstler auf verschiedenen Ebenen – sowohl
politisch als rein musikalisch – stark unter Druck gesetzt wurden. Aus der heutigen Perspektive
ist ihr kompositorischer Beitrag aber nicht weniger originell, ganz im Gegenteil, jedoch konnte er
nicht zur Erfüllung gebracht werden. Insbesondere die relativ frühe Intuition einer eigenen Form
von Minimalismus, der auf stark abstrahierten, grundsätzlich aus traditioneller Musik stammenden
Strukturen aufgebaut ist, scheint wegweisend zu sein. Aber auch ihre ablehnende Einstellung zu
den üblichen Linien der damaligen rumänischen Musik – dem Lyrismus, dem Idyllismus oder auch
der Weiterführung des Erbes George Enescus – prägte ihre unkonventionelle Weltanschauung.

Corneliu Dan Georgescu, geboren am 01.01.1938 in Craiova/Rumänien. Dort erhielt er seine erste Musikalische
Ausbildung. Das Bukarester Konservatorium (heute Musikuniversität) besuchte er von1956-1961, wo
er u.a. bei Mihail Andricu, Alfred Mendelssohn, Tiberiu Olah, Tiberiu Alexandru und George Breazul studierte.
1970-74 nahm er an den Ferienkursen für Neue Musik in Darmstadt teil, 1977-90 am Workshop for Traditional
Music and Moderne Composition Technics, in Bulgarien und Holland.

Seine kompositorische Tätigkeit entfaltete sich zunächst parallel zu seinen wissenschaftlichen Forschungen
in Ethnomusikologie und Ästhetik. 1962-83 arbeitete er am Bukarester Institut für ethnologische und dialektologische
Forschung. Von1976-80 leitete er dort die Musikabteilung. Zu seinen wichtigsten ethnomusikologischen
Werken gehören Bücher über die Typologie der rumänischen Tanzmusik, der Alphornsignale (Bukarest,
1984 bzw. 1987) und über Improvisation (Hamburg-Eisenach, 1995). Die Idee der objektiven Kraft einiger
archetypischer Musikstrukturen als Träger des kollektiven Unterbewusstseins, die er aus der Psychologie
von C. G. Jung herleitete, beschäftigte ihn schon in seinen ersten Kompositionen. Er behandelte sie auch
theoretisch in der Aufsatzreihe The Study of Musical Archetypes (u.a. Beiträge über Zahlensymbolik, Repetition
als musikalisches Bauprinzip, Geburt/Tod-, Yin/Yang-Archetypen; 1979-87). 1969-85 wurde er mit sieben
Preisen des rumänischen Komponistenverbands, mit dem Preis George Enescu der rumänischen Akademie
und des Rundfunks für kompositorische oder musikologische Werke ausgezeichnet. 1983 wurde er aus politischen
Gründen aus dem Institut entfernt. Seit 1987 lebt Georgescu in Deutschland. 1989-91 erhielt er ein
Thyssen-Stipendium am Institut für vergleichende Musikstudien und Dokumentation Berlin. 1991-94 war er
Mitarbeiter im Bereich der Ethno- Muiskwissenschaften an der Freien Universität Berlin. Seit 1996 ist er
deutscher Staatsbürger. Z.Z. lebt er als freischaffender Künstler in Berlin.

Das dekomponierte Rezitativ.
Zu Sigismund Todutas Concerto de Coarde Nr. 2

Michael Heinemann

Weniger Bach – wie Titel und Satzüberschriften nahelegen – als vielmehr Beethoven bildet den
Fluchtpunkt von Sigismund Todutas Concert Nr. 2: Legt die “Fuge” Bezüge zur Hammerklaviersonate
nahe, so rekurriert das Rezitativ im Zentrum auf die “Neunte Symphonie”, und dessen Text –
die Suche nach neuen Toenen – wird zum Impetus für ein eigenständiges Idiom jenseits der Rezeption
“klassischer” Muster.

Michael Heinemann, geb. 1959, Studium von Kirchenmusik, Musikpädagogik und Orgel in Köln, von
Musikwissenschaft, Philosophie und Kunstgeschichte in Köln, Bonn und Berlin. Seit 2000 Professur für
Musikgeschichte an der Hochschule für Musik Carl Maria von Weber Dresden. Forschungsschwerpunkte:
Robert Schumann (Briefedition, hrsg. in Zusammenarbeit mit Robert Schumann-Haus Zwickau), Orgelmusik
des 19./20. Jahrhunderts (aktuelle Veröffentlichungen: (Hrsg.) Studien zur Orgelmusik Olivier Messiaens, 2
Bde., St. Augustin 2008 (Bd. 2 im Druck), Geschichte der Bach-Rezeption (aktuelle Veröffentlichung: (Hrsg.)
Hermann Abert: Johann Sebastian Bach. Bausteine zu einer Biographie, Köln 2008), Musiktheorie im 17.
Jahrhundert (aktuelle Veröffentlichung: (Hrsg.), Christoph Bernhard: Resolutiones tonorum dissonantium,
Köln 2008).

Sigismund Todutas Concert de coarde Nr. 2 – ein Werk der Vermittlung

Eva-Maria Houben

Durch vielfältigen Einsatz von Unisono-Stimmführungen, ungenauem Unisono, heterophonen Passagen
und imitatorischen, kanonischen Prinzipien und durch eine weites Beziehungsnetz motivischer
Varianten gelingt es Toduta, herkömmliche Gegensätze wie Solo – Tutti; Vokalstimme – Instrumentalstimme,
Horizontale (melodische Bewegung) – Vertikale (harmonische Flächenbildung)
zu vermitteln. Über die Einbindung tradierter Formen (Preludio, Fuga, Recitativo e Arioso, Toccata)
gelingt ihm zugleich der Brückenschlag zwischen so genannter Volksmusik und Kunstmusik, zwischen
Tradition und Gegenwart. Das Konzert als Gattung wird neu beleuchtet: Unterschiedliche
Stimmen und Stimmverbindungen treten ins Spiel miteinander, es entstehen vielerlei Farbwerte
und -schattierungen. Einzelnes tritt als Zusammengesetztes auf, eine weit gefächerter Zusammenklang
als Verbindung vieler Einzelner.

Eva-Maria Houben, geboren 1955 in Rheinberg (Niederrhein), studierte Schulmusik an der Folkwang-
Hochschule für Musik Essen, dort anschließend Orgel bei Gisbert Schneider. Nach dem Studium der
Germanistik und Musikwissenschaft an der Gerhard-Mercator-Universität Duisburg promovierte sie und
habilitierte sie sich im Fach Musikwissenschaft. Seit 1993 ist sie Universitätsprofessorin an der Universität
Dortmund. Schwerpunkte in Forschung und Lehre sind Musiktheorie und Neue Musik.

Als Organistin konzertiert sie seit über 30 Jahren, seit 2007 tritt sie regelmäßig als Pianistin im Kunstraum
Düsseldorf auf. Sie ist mit der Wandelweiser-Komponistengruppe verbunden; in der edition wandelweiser
(Haan) werden ihre Kompositionen verlegt. Ihre Werkliste umfasst Solowerke (für Orgel, Klavier, Klarinette,
Posaune, Violoncello, Flöte, Kontrabass, Tromba Marina und andere Instrumente), Duos, Trios, Quartette,
Werke für Stimme und Klavier, für Stimme und Ensemble, für Bläserensemble, Kammerensemble, Chor und
Orchester. Als Textdichterin verfasste sie etliche Texte ihrer Kompositionen selbst.

Klang-Raum-Mechanismen im 2. Konzert für Streichorchester von
Sigismund  Toduta

Martin Kowalewski

Martin Kowalewski wurde 1976 in Bremen geboren. Studierte Philosophie, Psychologie und Germanistik in
Hamburg und Oldenburg. Gegenwärtig befindet er sich in der Prüfungsendphase. Seine Schwerpunkte
liegen im Bereich Ästhetik, Kunstphilosophie, Hermeneutik und Wissenschaftstheorie. Zur Zeit bereitet er
eine Dissertation zur phänomenologischen Betrachtung der Verräumlichung von Musik vor.

Die neoklassische Synthese von Sigismund Toduta am Beispiel seiner Sonate
für Flöte und Klavier (1952)

Ferenc László-Herbert

Ferenc László-Herbert (geb. 1937) hat Flöte studiert und publiziert seit 1957 musikwissenschaftliche Texte.
Er unterrichtet an der Gheorghe Dima Musikhochschule Klausenburg (Cluj) Kammermusik für Bläser und
sytematische Instrumentenkunde und ist Universtitätsprofessor mit Promotionsrecht. Er ist besonders als
Bartók-Forscher bekannt (12 Bücher, zahlreiche Studien), hat aber auch über Bach, Liszt, Kodály und
Enescu je ein Buch veröffentlicht. Er ist Mitglied verschiedener musikwissenschaftlicher Gesellschaften und
hielt Vorträge an mehreren Universitäten, von Leipzig bis Osaka.

Die Wirkung eines Meisterwerkes. Sigismund Todutas Formele muzicale ale
Barocului în operele lui J. S. Bach

[Die musikalischen Formen des Barocks in
den Werken J. S. Bachs]

Iulia Anda Mare

Iulia Anda Mare hat mit sieben Jahren das Musikstudium in ihrem Geburtsort Satu-Mare begonnen. Danach
hat sie am Musikgymnasium „S. Toduta” in Klausenburg Klavier studiert. Nach dem Schulabschluss hat sie
an der Musikakademie „Gh. Dima” Klausenburg Musikwissenschaften studiert und jetzt befindet sich jetzt im
letzten Studienjahr des Magisterstudiums, im Rahmen derselben Institution, unter der Leitung des Univ.-Prof.
Dr. Pavel Puscas. Parallel zum musikwissenschaftlichen Studium ist Iulia Anda Mare in der lokalen Presse
äußerst aktiv. Hier stellt sie die Konzerte der Philarmonie von Klausenburg vor. Seit dem vorigen Jahr ist sie
Mitarbeiterin der Musikakademie „Gh. Dima” und hält Seminare für Harmonie, Kontrapunkt und musikalische

Perspectives of the choral-polyphonic typologies in
Manole the Craftsman opera -oratorio by Sigismund Toduta

Tatiana Oltean

The present research focuses on the intermediar stages between homophony and polyphony in
the choral score of the opera-oratorio Manole the Craftsman by Sigismund Toduta. The most inter
aspect of the different techniques of his choral writing is the close bound between music,
word and drama. The plurivocal techniques which are used in the men’s choruses, especially during
the second act of the opera-oratorio, such as dialogs between different groups of voices,
widenings from plain unisonos to large dissonant chords, changing of timbrality during one and the
same musical idea, also in unisono, as well as strict polyphonic techniques (fugato, fugue exposi
tion), are closely related to certain specific moments of the action and reflect the spirit of the craftsmen
who are struggling between giving up the construction of the monastery, which keeps falling
down every night, and continuing to trust, once again, Manole, in order to see the church finished,
by bounding themselves through oath, to sacrifice one of them wives as a ritualistic price.

Sigismund Toduta und Violeta Dinescus Pfingstoratorium

Elena Maria Sorban

Elena Maria Sorban, Musikakademie ”Gh. Dima” in Cluj-Napoca, war Stipendiatin des Kodály Instituts an
der Ungarischen Akademie der Wissenschaften und des DAAD an der Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg. Frau
Dr. Sorban ist zur Zeit Dozentin für Musikgeschichte und Gregorianische Paleographie und Leiterin der
schola „Fratres Serviani”. Ihr Versuch über das Oper-Oratorium Mesterul Manole von Sigismund Toduta und
das Pfingstoratorium von Violeta Dinescu möchte eine inhaltliche und musiksprachliche Parallele beider
Meisterwerke aufzeigen.

Der rumänische Symponiker Sigismund Toduta

Hans-Peter Türk

Hans Peter Türk wurde 1940 in Hermannstadt/Sibiu (Rumänien) geboren. Er erhielt zunächst Unterricht
beim Organisten der Schwarzen Kirche in Kronstadt/Brasov Victor Bickerich, danach begann er ein Kompositionsstudium
an der Musikhochschule „Gheorghe Dima“ in Klausenburg/Cluj bei Sigismund Toduta. Später
wurde er Professor für Tonsatz und Komposition an der Musikhochschule Klausenburg. Im Jahr 1978 promovierte
er mit einer Arbeit über die Wechseldominante in Mozarts Werk.

Er hat Kompositionen für Orchester, Chor, Orgel und Kammermusik geschrieben. Des Weiteren hat er musikwissenschaftliche
Arbeiten über Bach, Mozart, Bartók, Enescu, Lutoslawski, Toduta, Gabriel Reilich und
Paul Richter geschrieben. Für seine Werke erhielt er zahlreiche Auszeichnungen, darunter den George-
Enescu-Kompositionspreis der Rumänischen Akademie (1979), den Johann-Wenzel-Kompositionspreis der
Künstlergilde Esslingen (1995), den Kulturpreis der Stadt Coesfeld (1995) und den Kompositionspreis des
Rumänischen Komponistenverbandes (2008).

Toduta and Blaga

Cornel Taranu

Cornel Taranu , born june 20th 1934 in Cluj is a distinguished Romanian composer of mostly orchestral,
chamber and vocal works that have been performed throughout Europe, North and South America; he is also
active as a conductor.

Prof. Taranu studied composition with Sigismund Toduta
at the Gheorghe Dima Academy of Music in Cluj-
Napoca from 1951-57, where he later earned a DMus in musicology in 1974. He also stud
ied analysis with  Nadia Boulanger and Olivier Messiaen at the Paris Conservatoire in 1966-67 and attended Darmstadt from
1968-69 and in 1972, where he studied analysis with György Ligeti, conducting with Bruno Maderna and
percussion with Christoph Caskel.

Among his many honors are the Great Officer of the Order of Cultural Merit (2004) (Romania), five prizes
from the Romanian Composers Union (1972, 1978, 1981, 1982, 2001), the Prize of the Academy of the SR
of Romania (1973), and the International Koussevitzky Award (1982, for a recording of Garlands). He has
been a member of the Romanian Academy since 1993 and was named a Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et
des Lettres in 2002.

Prof. Taranu is also active in other positions. He founded the small orchestra Ars Nova in Cluj-Napoca in
1968 and has since served as its artistic director and conductor. He has also served as the vice-president of
the Romanian Composers Union since 1990 and as director of the Cluj Modern
festival since 1995. He has  also published much musicological work, as well as the book
Enescu in constiinta prezentului (1969, Editura pentru literatura; French translation as
Enesco dans la conscience du présent ,1981, Editura stiintifica si enciclopedica).

He has taught at the Gheorghe Dima Academy of Music in Cluj-Napoca since 1957, where he was an
assistant professor from 1970-90 and where he has been Professor of Composition since 1990. He has also
given lectures in Germany, Israel, Switzerland, and the USA.

Stilistische Parallelen zwischen George Enescu und Sigismund Toduta
Der Cluster in Sigismund Todutas Schaffen

Dan Voiculescu

Dan Voiculescu wurde 1940 in Siebenbürgen geboren und studierte Klavier und Komposition an der Musik
akademie in Cluj/Klausenburg, wo er Sigismund Todutas Schüler war. 1971-72, als DAAD-Stipendiat, stu
dierte er in Köln bei Karlheinz Stockhausen. Zwischen 1963-2000 hat er alle didaktische Stufen an der Mu
sikakademie Cluj geleitet (Professor seit 1990), wo er Kontrapunkt, Fuge und Komposition unterrichtete. Pro
motion im Jahr1983. Er veröffentlichte mehrere Bücher über Kontrapunkt, Die Fuge bei Bach, oder Die Polyphonie
des XX. Jh. Seit 2000 ist er in der Bukarester National-Universität für Musik angestellt, an der er zurzeit
Stilistik, Analysen und Komposition unterrichtet. Sein Schaffen umfasst Werke aller Gattungen, von Oper
bis Kinderchöre, mit vielen Klavierstücken, Kammermusik und Liedern. Er hat eine Vorliebe für modalen-
Chromatismus und für die Aulodie (9 Solo-Sonaten für Flöte). In seinen Kompositionen versucht er eine
Synthese moderner Schreibweisen, von Heterophonie bis zur Textur, herbei zu führen.


Werkverzeichnis Sigismund
Toduta zusammengestellt von der Fundatia Sigismund Toduta, Cluj

Vokal-symphonische Werke

für gemischten Chor mit Orchesterbegleitung, 1937, Ms.*2

Psalm 97 für gemischten Chor, Solisten und Orchester, 1938,**3

Psalm 133 für Chor, Solisten und Orchester, 1939, Ms*

Copiii cânta
(Die Kinder singen) Suite für Chor zu gleichen Stimmen und Streichorchester, Verse von Ana Voileanu-Nicoara, 1960, Ms

(Mioritza) ,
Ballade-Oratorium für Solisten,
gemischten Chor und Orchester, Volkstexte,
Variante V. Alecsandri, 1957-58,
Editura Muzicala,
Bucuresti, 1971

Balada steagului (Die Ballade der Flagge), für
gemischten Chor und Orchester, Verse von Victor
Tulbure, 1961, Ms*

Pe urmele lui Horea (Auf den Spuren von Horea),
Oratorium für Solisten, gemischten Chor und
Orchester, Volkstexte, 1978,
Editura Muzicala,
Bucuresti, 1981

Mesterul Manole
(Meister Manole),
in drei Akten, nach dem gleichnamigen Drama von
Lucian Blaga, 1980-83, Partitur Ms., Klavierauszug
litographiert, Musikkonservatorium „Gh.Dima“, Cluj-
Napoca, 1983

4 Lieduri (4 Lieder) für Sopran und Orchester, Verse
von W. Shakespeare, Fr. V. Schober, R. M. Rilke,
Ch. Baudelaire, 1988,**

Symphonische und konzertante Werke

Egloga (Ekloge) für großes Orchester, 1933, Ms.*

[Suita] (Suite) für kleines Orchester, ohne Jahr, Ms.*

Trei schite simfonice (Drei symphonische Skizzen)
für großes Orchester, cca 1940, Ms.
Variatiuni simfonice (Symphonische Variationen)
für großes Orchester, 1940, Ms.

Concertul (nr.1) pentru pian si orchestra „închinat unui mare român” (Konzert [Nr. 1] für
Klavier und Orchester, „einem großen Rumänen
gewidmet), 1943,

4 Intabulaturi pentru lauta de Valentin Greff
Bakfark (4 Intabulaturen für Laute von Valentin
Greff Bakfark), Transkription für Streichorchester,

2 * Manuskript in der Stiftung Sigismund Toduta.

3 ** Für den Druck vorbereitet.

Divertisment (Divertimento) für Streichorchester,
1951, Ms.*

Concertul nr. 1 pentru orchestra de coarde
(Konzert Nr. 1 für Streichorchester), 1951, Editura
de Stat pentru Literatura si Arta, Bucuresti,

Simfonia I (1. Symphonie), 1953-54, Editura
Muzicala, Bucuresti,

Simfona a II-a în re minor, cu orga, “În
memoria lui George Enescu” (2. Symphonie in
d-Moll, mit Orgel,“Zum Gedenken an George
Enescu“), 1955, Editura Muzicala, Bucuresti,

Simfonia a III-a „Ovidiu“ (3. Symphonie
”Ovidius”), 1957, Editura Muzicala, Bucuresti,

Uvertura festiva (Festouvertüre), 1959, Ms.*

Simfonia a V-a (5. Symphonie), 1962-75, Editura
Muzicala, Bucuresti,

Concertul nr. 2 pentru orchestra de coarde
(Konzert Nr. 2 für Streichorchester), 1972-73,
Editura Muzicala, Bucuresti,

Concertul nr. 3 pentru orchestra de coarde „in
stile antico“ (Konzert Nr. 2 für Streichorchester
„in stile antico“), 1974,**

Stampe vechi, pentru orchestra de coarde
(Alte Kupferstiche, für Streichorchester), 1974,**

Concertul pentru suflatori si baterie (Konzert
für Bläser und Schlagwerk), 1975, Ms.*

Simfonietta „in stile antico“, 1977, Ms.*

Concertul nr.4 pentru orchestra de coarde si
orga (Konzert Nr. 4 für Streichorchester und
Orgel), 1980,**

Concertul pentru flaut si orchestra de coarde
(Konzert für Flöte und Streichorchester), 1983,**

Concertul (nr.2) pentru pian si orchestra
(Konzert [Nr. 2] für Klavier und Orchester), 1986,

Concertul pentru oboi si orchestra de coarde
(Konzert für Oboe und Streichorchester), 1989,
Editura MediaMusica, Hg. Aurel Marc, Cluj-
Napoca, 2001

Instrumentale Kammermusik

Cvartet de coarde (Streichquartett), 1936,**

Preludiu pentru pian (Präludium für Klavier), ohne
Jahr, Ms.*

Piesa [fara titlu] pentru pian
(Klavierstück [ohne Titel]), ohne Jahr, Ms.*

Parintele Hubic vazut de Dr. S. Toduta (Pfarrer Hubic, Porträt von Dr. S. Toduta),
für Klavier, 1940,
Editura MediaMusica,
Hg. Dan Voiculescu, Cluj-Napoca, 1999, Bd. II

Trio pentru coarde
1941, Ms.*

Passacaglia pentru pian
(Passacaglia für Klavier), 1943,
Editura Mentor,
Timisoara-Leipzig, ohne Jahr;
Bucuresti, 1957;
Editura Muzicala,
Bucuresti, 1966;
Editura MediaMusica, Hg. Dan
Voiculescu, Cluj-Napoca, 1998, Bd. I

3 Schite pentru pian (3 Skizzen für Klavier), 1944,
Editura MediaMusica, Hg. Dan Voiculescu, Cluj-
Napoca, 1999, Bd. II

Sonatina pentru pian (Sonatine für Klavier),1950,
Bucuresti, 1951,
Editura MediaMusica, Hg.
Dan Voiculescu, Cluj-Napoca, 1998, Bd. I

Suita de cântece si dansuri pentru pian
(Suite von Gesängen und Tänzen für Klavier), 1951, in:
Repertoriu pianistic de Enea Borza si Ecaterina
Herteg, Bd. V,
Editura Didactica si pedagogica,
Bucuresti, 1963; litografiert Conservatorul „Gh.
Dima” Cluj, 1969;
Editura MediaMusica, Hg. Dan
Voiculescu, Cluj-Napoca, 1998, Bd. I

Sonata pentru flaut si pian
(Sonate für Flöte und
Klavier), 1952,
Editura Muzicala,
Bucuresti, 1952;
Bucuresti, 1956

10 Colinde pentru pian
(10 Weihnachtslieder für Klavier),
Editura MediaMusica, Hg. Dan Voiculescu, Cluj-Napoca, 1999, Bd. II

Sonata pentru violoncel si pian
(Sonate für Violoncello und Klavier),
MediaMusica, Hg.Mihaela Gavris, Cluj-Napoca,

Sonata (nr. 1) pentru vioara si pian (Sonate [Nr. 1]
für Violine und Klavier), 1953, Bucuresti, 1957;
Editura Muzicala, Bucuresti, 1966;

Adagio pentru violoncel si pian
(Adagio für
Violoncello und Klavier),
Piese Polifonice,
Bucuresti, 1954; und in: Supliment la revista
Muzica, Bucuresti, nr. 3, 1955,

Sonata pentru oboi si pian
(Sonate für Oboe und
VEB Hofmeister,
Leipzig, 1960

4 Schite pentru arpa
(4 Skizzen für Harfe),

4 Piese pentru pian (
4 Stücke für Klavier), cca. 1958,
Editura MediaMusica,
Hg. Dan Voiculescu, Cluj-Napoca, 1999, Bd. II

6 Piese pentru pian
(6 Stücke für Klavier),
Editura MediaMusica,
Hg. Dan Voiculescu,
Cluj-Napoca, 1999, Bd. II

Trenia pentru pian (Totenklage für Klavier),
1970, in: Neue Rumänische Klaviermusik Bd. I,
Gerig, Köln, 1971; Editura MediaMusica,
Hg. Dan Voiculescu, Cluj-Napoca, 1999, Bd. II

Preludiu – Coral – Toccata pentru pian
(Präludium – Choral – Toccata für Klavier),
1973-74, Litografiert Conservatorul „Gh. Dima”
Cluj-Napoca, 1976;
Editura MediaMusica,
Hg. Dan Voiculescu, Cluj-Napoca, 1998, Bd. I

Tertine pentru pian
(Terzinen für Klavier), 1975,
in: Rumänische Klavierminiaturen für Kinder, Hg.
Liviu Comes,
Ed. Peters,
Leipzig, 1976;
Hg. Dan Voiculescu, Cluj-Napoca,
1999, Bd. II

Joko – 4 piese pentru arpa (Joko – 4 Stücke für Harfe),
1978, Ms.

3 Piese pentru arpa
(3 Stücke für Harfe),

Sonata nr. 2 pentru vioara si pian
(Sonate Nr. 2
für Violine und Klavier), 1980-81, Editura
Bucuresti, 1985

Sonatina pentru vioara si pian
(Sonatine für
Violine und Klavier), 1981, Editura Arpeggione,
Hg. Cipriana Gavrisiu, Cluj-Napoca, 2003

6 Piese pentru oboi solo (6 Stücke für Oboe solo), 1981, Editura Arpeggione, Hg. Aurel Marc,
Cluj-Napoca, 2001

Simfonia B-A-C-H pentru orga (Symphonie B-A-
C-H für Orgel), 1984, Editura Arpeggione, Hg.
Dan Voiculescu und Hans Peter Türk, Cluj-
Napoca, 2001

7 Coral-preludii pentru orga (7 Choralpräludien
für Orgel), 1985, Editura Arpeggione, Hg. Hans
Peter Türk, Cluj-Napoca, 2001

[Recitativo] pentru pian ([Recitativo] für Klavier),
cca 1985,
Editura MediaMusica,
Hg. Dan
Voiculescu, Cluj-Napoca, 1999, Bd. II

…pentru pace, pentru pian (…für Frieden, für
Klavier), 1986, Editura MediaMusica,
Hg. Dan
Voiculescu, Cluj-Napoca, 1999, Bd. II

Sonata nr. 2 pentru flaut si pian
(Sonate Nr. 2
für Flöte und Klavier),
Bucuresti, 1994

Sonata pentru flaut solo
(Sonate für Flöte solo),
1989, Hg. Dan Voiculescu, Cluj-Napoca, 2000

Sonata pentru violoncel solo
(Sonate für
Violoncello solo),
1989, Hg. Dan Voiculescu, Cluj-
Napoca, 2000

Werke für Chor

Liturghia (nr. 1) Sf. Ioan Gura-de-Aur „în stilul
melodiilor din Blaj” (Liturgie[Nr.1] Hl. Chrysostomos „im Stil der Melodien von Blaj”),
für gemischten Chor,1937,**

Psalm 23
für gemischten
Chor, 1937, Ms.*

Psalm 97
für gemischten Chor und Orgel,
1938, **

für gemischten Chor,
Verse von Mihai Celarianu, 1942, litografiert,
Conserv. de Muzica „Gh. Dima”, Cluj-Napoca, 1969

(Es schickt sich) für gemischten Chor,
1944, Ms.*

(Triptychon )
für gleiche Stimmen, Verse von Ana Voileanu-Nicoara 1951, Ms.*

(Die Wolke)
für gleiche Stimmen, Verse von
Vlaicu Bârna, 1951, Ms.*

Cântec de leagan în forma de canon
(Wiegenlied in Kanon-Form)
für gleiche Stimmen,
1955, Ms.*

Imn pentru pace
(Hymne für Frieden)
für Kinderchor, mit Klavierbegleitung, Verse von Vlaicu
Bârna, 1956, Ms.*

5 Melodii banatene pentru voci egale barbatesti
(5 Banater Melodien für gleiche Männerstimmen),
1958, Ms.*

20 Coruri pentru voci egale (Caiet I)
(20 Chöre für
gleiche Stimmen [Heft I]),
Editura Muzicala,
Bucuresti, 1966

10 Coruri mixte (Caiet II)
(10 gemischte Chöre
[Heft II]),
Editura Muzicala,

15 Coruri mixte (Caiet III)
(15 gemischte Chöre
[Heft III]),
Editura Muzicala,
19701951, Ms.*

Codrule, când te-am trecut
(Wald, als ich dich
für Männerstimmen, 1960, Ms.*

für Männerstimmen, Verse von
Stefan Bitan, 1961, Ms.*

2 Madrigale pe versuri de Dante
(2 Madrigale auf
Verse von Dante),
für gemischten Chor, 1965, Ms.*

6 Cântece populare
(6 Volkslieder),
1973, Ms.*

La râul Babilonului
(An Wasserflüssen Babylons)
für gemischten Chor, 1974, litografiert, Academia de
Muzica „Gh. Dima”, Cluj-Napoca, 1993

Liturghia (nr.2)
(Liturgie [Nr.2]),
Academia de Muzica „Gh. Dima”, Cluj-Napoca, 1993

Cântec pentru pionieri
(Lied für Pioniere) für
Kinderchor und Klavier, Verse von Ana Voileanu-
Nicoara, 1976, in: „Coruri de compozitori clujeni”
(„Chöre von Komponisten aus Cluj”), Bd. II,
Cluj-Napoca, 1977

La curtile dorului – 3 madrigale pe versuri de
Lucian Blaga
(An den Toren der Sehnsucht -3
Madrigale auf Verse von Lucian Blaga)
für gemischten Chor, 1978,
Editura Muzicala,
Bucuresti, 1981

4 Madrigale pe versuri de Lucian Blaga
Madrigale auf Verse von Lucian Blaga)
für gemischten Chor, 1981, Ms.*

10 Miniaturi corale
(10 Chorminiaturen)
für gleiche Stimmen, Volkstexte, 1984, Ms.*

Doina 1, Doina 2, Joc (Doina 1, Doina 2, Tanz)
für gleiche Stimmen und Klavier, Volkstexte,

3 Coruri pentru voci egale
(3 Chöre für gleiche Stimmen),
Verse von Lucian Blaga, 1986, Ms.*

2 Coruri pentru voci egale
(2 Chöre für gleiche Stimmen),
Verse von Ana Blandiana, 1989-90,


Somnoroase pasarele
(Schläfrige Vögel), Verse
von Mihai Eminescu, 1942,**

Tacerea ta
(Dein Schweigen),
Verse von Octavian Goga, 1943,**

Curcubeul dragostei
(Der Regenbogen der Liebe),
Verse von Mihai Beniuc, 1947,**

Verse von Vlaicu Bârna, 1951,**

Dac-as fi
(Wenn ich wäre),
Verse von Ioan Brad,

9 Mai 1895,
Verse von Lucian Blaga, 1956,**

La obârsie, la izvor
(Beim Ursprung, bei der Quelle),
Verse von Lucian Blaga, 1957,**

Colinda (Weihnachtslied),
Verse von Lucian Blaga,**

1957, Verse von
Lucian Blaga**

4 Cântece populare
(4 Volkslieder) für Stimme
und Klavier, 1953-61,**

Verse von Lucian
Blaga, 1977,**

14 Lieduri pentru voce si pian
(14 Lieder für
Stimme und Klavier),
3 für MS, 3 für T, 3 für Bar.,
5 für Bass-Bar., Verse von Lucian Blaga, 1984,
Editura Muzicala,
Bucuresti, 1987; Heft 1 u. Heft 2
Editura Arpeggione,
Cluj-Napoca, 2006, Hg.
Mihai Ghircoias; Heft 3
Editura Arpeggione,
Napoca, 2006,
Hg. Mihai Ghircoias und Tatiana

16 Lieduri pentru voce si pian
(16 Lieder für
Stimme und Klavier),
Verse von Ana Blandiana,
1982, 1984, 1986,
Editura Muzicala,

5 Lieduri pentru voce (S) si pian „Catre muzica”
(5 Lieder für Stimme [S] und Klavier „An die Musik”),
Verse von W. Shakespeare, Fr. v. Schober, Ch.
Baudelaire, R. M. Rilke, E. Montale, 1987,
Editura Muzicala, Bucuresti, 1987;
Editura Arpeggione,
Cluj-Napoca, 2006, Hg. Ninuca Osanu Pop

5 Lieduri pentru voce (MS) si pian
(5 Lieder für
Stimme [MS] und Klavier),
Verse von Lucian Blaga,1983-88, litografiert,
Academia de Muzica „Gh. Dima”, Cluj-Napoca, 1988;
Editura Arpeggione,
Cluj-Napoca, 2006, Hg. Ninuca Osanu

Musikwissenschaftliche Arbeiten

Analisi di Responsoria feriae quintae, sextae, et
Sabbati in Hebdomada Sancta quatuor vocibus,
una cum duabus Passionibus Matthaei et
Joannis, e della Missa Lateranensis septem
vocibus concinenda, opere giovanili
sconosciute di Giovanni Francesco Anerio,
Dissertation, 1938, ins Rumänische übersetzt von
Dumitru Cârstocea, in Zusammenarbeit mit Dan

Polifonia instrumentala a Barocului
instrumentale Polyphonie des Barock),
Timisoara, 1943, Ms.

Vortrag, Timisoara, 1944, Ms.

Îndemnul lui Caioni
(Die Anregung Caioni’s),
in: „Tribuna”, Cluj-Napoca, 08.02.1958

Semnificatia unui bicentenar (G. Fr. Haendel
(Die Bedeutung einer Zweihundertjahr-
Feier [G. Fr. Haendel 1759-1959]), in: „Tribuna”,
Cluj-Napoca, 28.05.1959

Anton von Webern: Variatiuni pentru pian op. 27
p.I (Anton von Webern: Variationen für Klavier op.
27, 1. Satz),
1966, Ms.

Ideea ciclica în sonatele lui George Enescu (
Die zyklische Idee in den Sonaten von George Enescu),
in: „Studii de muzicologie”
(Musikwissenschaftliche Studien”), Bd. 4, Bucuresti,

Formele muzicale ale Barocului în operele lui J. S. Bach:
(Die musikalischen Formen des Barock in
den Werken von J. S. Bach):

Vol. I – Forma mica mono-, bi- si tristrofica
(Bd. I – Die ein-, zwei- und dreiteiligen Formen),
Editura Muzicala, Bucuresti, 1969

Vol. II – 15 Inventiuni la 2 voci, 15 Inventiuni la
3 voci
(Bd. II – 15 zwei- und dreistimmige Inventionen),
(in Zusammenarbeit mit Hans Peter Türk),
Editura Muzicala, Bucuresti, 1973

Vol. III – Variatiunea si Rondo-ul
(Bd. III – Die
Variation und das Rondo),
(in Zusammenarbeit mit Vasile Herman), Editura Muzicala, Bucuresti,

O noua faza a dezvoltarii stiintei si culturii –
doctoratul în muzicologie
(Eine neue Etappe der Entwicklung von Wissenschaft und Kultur – das musikwissenschaftliche Doktorat),
in: „Muzica” Nr. 6/1970, Bucuresti

Spre izvoadele adevarului
(Zu den Urkunden der Wahrheit),
in: „Muzica” Nr. 5/1971, Bucuresti,

Imagini din activitatea compozitorului si
dirijorului Francisc Hubic
(Bilder von der Tätigkeit des Komponisten und Dirigenten Francisc Hubic),
im Band „Francisc Hubic”, CCES, Oradea, 1973

Les Inventions et les Symphonies de Bach.
Etude d’esthétique et de style,
in: „Muzica” Nr.12/1975, Bucuresti, dass.:

Bachs Inventionen und Sinfonien –
Ästhetisch-stilistische Beiträge
(in Zusammenarbeit mit Hans Peter Türk), in: Bericht
über die Wissenschaftliche Konferenz zum III.
Internationalen Bach-Fest der DDR, Leipzig,
18.-19. September 1975, VEB Deutscher Verlag
für Musik, Leipzig, 1977

Viziunea interpretativa a dirijorului Antonin
(Die interpretatorische Auffassung des Dirigenten Antonin Ciolan),
1983, Ms.

Un aspect înnoitor al structurii vocale în
tragedia lirica Oedip – Sprechgesang
(Eine erneuerte vokale Struktur in der lyrischen
Tragödie Oedip – Sprechgesang), in: „Simpozion
George Enescu 1981”, Editura Muzicala, Bucuresti, 1984

Omagiu lui Martian Negrea
(Hommage auf Martian Negrea),
in: „Lucrari de
muzicologie”(Musikwissenschaftliche Arbeiten)
Bd.15, Cluj-Napoca, 1984

George Enescu – pedagogul
(Der Pädagoge George Enescu),
(ohne Jahr), Ms.

Muzica româneasca în contextul muzicii

(Die rumänische Musik im
Kontext zeitgenössischer Musik),
(ohne Jahr), Ms.

Courtesy of Carl von Ossietzky-Universität Oldenburg
Universitatea Nationala de Muzica Bucuresti
Academia de Muzica Gheorghe Dima Cluj
Organisation und Leitung
Prof. Violeta Dinescu, Carl von Ossietzky-Universität Oldenburg

The Fiddle of Grayson County – Virginia



Emmett W Lundy

Grayson County, SW Virginia

Emmett Lundy was born in Grayson County, Virginia on May 9, 1864, one of nine children of Churchwell and Caroline Ward Lundy. From family records, we know that the Lundys emigrated from England in 1687, settling first on Pennsylvania lands purchased from William Penn. Emmett’s great-grandfather John Lundy moved to Grayson County around 1787 and acquired the land the family still holds near Dalhart, just south of the present town of Galax.

During Emmett’s early years, the Virginia mountain area around his home was largely an agrarian, traditionally integrated frontier society. As a young man, Emmett became absorbed in the music which he heard around the community at dances, log rollings, pumpkin peelings and other excuses for having a little fiddle music. Evidently there may have been fiddlers in the Lundy family, but no one knows for sure. It’s not really important to this story, for young Emmett’s main musical influence came from outside his home. In his late teens, Lundy started the fiddle (the main instrument found here at this time), and immediately took up with an older fiddler named Green (for Greenberry) Leonard.

Green Leonard lived in Old Town, just a few miles north of the Lundy home place. Leonard was a pretty old man when Lundy met him, probably born in the early decades of the 19th century, though the exact date and place are unknown (to me). It is a fact, however, that he secured a Grayson County marriage license in 1833 and from all accounts thereafter was a lifetime resident of the county. Leonard must have been an extraordinary fiddler, for most older Grayson County fiddlers, even today, acknowledge him as the “best there was”. The legend might endure more strongly than actual fact, but it’s compliment enough that his memory remains alive some hundred years after his death. According to Lundy, Leonard was about “65 to 80” during the time he knew him, a period roughly datable to the 1880s and ’90s. These could be assumed to be Lundy’s learning years, though it appears from the interview (“Talking About Green Leonard”, track A2 on the String 802 LP), that Lundy had to work awfully hard for his “lessons”, and only by constantly hanging around could he actually “catch” many of Leonard’s fiddle tunes. It’s a safe guess that most of [the pieces presented on the String 802 LP] were learned directly from Green Leonard’s playing, for neither Lundy nor his family mentions other specific sources. So though these tunes come from a rather late recording date, [Alan Lomax recorded Lundy in August of 1941 for the Archive of Folk Song, Library of Congress], they appear as the earliest recorded documentation of fiddling in the area – fiddling traceable through Lundy’s association with Green Leonard back to the early 1800s.

Though an excellent musician, Lundy never attempted to make a living with his fiddling. His music was an amusement. He invariably played the fiddle at night following supper, carrying on this practice even when he was very old. Lundy was primarily a farmer, but helped support his large family of 14 by blacksmithing, repairing watches and pulling teeth. A member of the Primitive Baptist church (a denomination which frowns upon the use of instruments), Emmett refused to believe that there was harm in his fiddling. Although some say that he himself never played for a dance, his music was in fact heard at various community events such as celebrations, school breakings, work gathering and fiddlers’ contests. He is reputed to have won, some time in the early ’20s, the first $10 gold piece ever presented at a Galax fiddlers’ convention. We shouldn’t think that old-time music was only played at social gatherings, for then, as now, musicians got together just to play some and perhaps to swap a few tunes. Though Emmett’s music was individual in nature (he never regularly performed with a band), he played often with many of the musicians around his home. Isom and Fielden Rector, two old fiddlers who lived close by and are remembered as being among the best, were close friends and musical cronies. Lundy also played with Crockett Ward of the Bogtrotters Band. These sessions are described by Fields Ward as sometimes lasting more than a day or two at a time. Eck Dunford, musically associated with both the Bogtrotters and Ernest Stoneman, often came to Lundy’s for a tune or two. Dunford is said to have been one of the first people around who became proficient on the guitar, an instrument he often used in backing up Lundy’s fiddle tunes.

Lundy’s one commercial venture involved perhaps the most well-known Grayson County musician, Ernest V. Stoneman. Stoneman chose Lundy to travel with him to New York for the Okeh session of May 1925. Kelly Lundy remembers that the Lundy household was pretty excited about Emmett’s trip and his opportunity to make phonograph records. On May 27, Stoneman and Lundy recorded two harmonica-fiddle duets: “Piney Woods Gal” and “The Long Eared Mule”, issued as Okeh 40405. It seems doubtful, according to Lundy family members and other folks who are acquainted with the music of the time, that Lundy ever played regularly with Stoneman. Stoneman was, of course, much younger, and the two men differed considerably in their musical preferences. Stoneman probably picked Lundy for the session because of his reputation as a fiddler. These two Okeh sides are Lundy’s only contribution to hillbilly recording. When the discs were released, Lundy didn’t care much for their sound (he felt the fiddle couldn’t be heard well enough), and declined to pursue his recording career any further.

Thus, for the study of American fiddling, the interest which the Library of Congress exhibited in fiddle recording in the 1930s and ’40s is extremely important. Although the commercial companies were the undisputed leaders in placing American folk music on disc, by their accidental nature of discovery, these recordings were necessarily unsystematic, uneven, and entirely lacking in even the most basic documentation. One of two records tell us little about the tastes and influences which shape a musicians’ performance. In Stoneman’s case, he recorded so many tunes that it’s possible to discern the forces at work upon his music, and a casual glance at his recorded repertory reveals his fascination with the popular and commercial aspects of his music. For musicians who recorded only a few pieces, the task is much harder. Without these later Library of Congress field recordings, it would be difficult to even speculate about the nature of Lundy’s music. In the light of the later documentation, the picture becomes clearer.

Looking at the total list of tunes Lundy played, we aren’t in much doubt about the kind of fiddler he was. At the time of the 1925 recordings with Stoneman, Lundy was 61 years old and firmly established in the older Grayson County fiddle tradition which he inherited from Green Leonard…

…From the tune list and by talking with many people who knew him, we know that his music changed little during his lifetime. He viewed his fiddling much the same in 1925 or 1941 as he did in the early days when he was learning. He either chose not, or was unable, to alter the music which was familiar to him. It seems probable that Lundy’s music was in a sense incompatible with that of young men like Ernest Stoneman, men who were heading in new and somewhat radical musical directions. It would be left for Kahle Brewer, a younger, more adaptable fiddler to accompany Stoneman on his many later recordings. This is not to say that what Stoneman was doing was inferior; Lundy’s music was just different. They were men of different historical eras…

…Lundy’s music reflects something of both the older fiddle tradition and the newer ensemble idea. His music parallels the growth of the ensemble, yet he was too much involved in the older style to conform fully to the new. In this way, through his music, a pattern of development and change may be seen.


The most important aspect of a fiddler’s technique is his bowing. As many a fiddler will remark, bowing distinguished individual style. Lundy’s fiddling cannot simply be categorized as “short” or “long” bow fiddling. Like all master fiddlers, he consistently employs both techniques to ultimate advantage – emphasizing the rhythm with syncopated short bows while gliding over difficult musical flourishes with a long bow. His style is tied to his repertory and clearly is indicative of the older Grayson County fiddle tradition. Like his tunes, Lundy’s stylistic patterns also fail to show up strongly in the following generation – those fiddlers who were learning their music in the first decades of the 20th century. The introduction to the banjo probably influenced bowing to the same extent it did repertory. As the tunes were melodically flattened out, the need for complex bowing was superfluous.

A few other aspects of technique need to be mentioned in passing. Lundy held the fiddle under his chin, grasped the bow near the end or frog, and used all four fingers of the left hand in noting (as opposed to what he pejoratively referred two as “three-fingered fiddling”). He also employed triplets, either noted with the left hand or effected by a rapid jiggling of the bow…He tuned his fiddle throughout in the classical manner,   G-D-A-E  , except for “Bonaparte’s Retreat”. Lundy maintains that Green Leonard also never retuned the fiddle. The use of many fiddle tunings, Lundy felt, was essentially “cheating”.

Biography (with minor editing) taken from the liner notes of the LP “Emmett W. Lundy, Fiddle Tunes from Grayson County”, produced by Tom Carter and Tony Russell.

When the Lomaxes recorded Lundy, sons Kelly J. Lundy and Geedy Lundy provided accompaniment on guitar and banjo respectively. These recordings were reissued by the String label as Fiddle Tunes From Grayson County, Virginia, featuring almost two dozen samples from the historic Lundy repertoire. The fiddler continued passing this material along to many other younger players who studied with him, including Charlie Higgins.

These recordings of legendary old-time fiddler Emmett Lundy were made for The Library of Congress By Alan and Elizabeth Lomax in 1941. Lundy was a venerated fiddler in Grayson County, a region that gave us so many fine musicians (Ernest Stoneman, the Ward family…) and his playing represent an old fiddling tradition of this area.

Giants of The South Appalachian Autoharp








Autoharp Music from Carroll County – Virginia USA,
Missouri and Mexico


Some of the first autoharps produced in America were simple 3, 4, and 5 plain bar models.  These instruments were made in Philadelphia, in the shop of German-born American C.F.

Zimmermann, who in 1882 obtained an American patent for an attachment he claimed was “an improved method for playing a harp”.  The total package, a zither-or harp-like instrument outfitted with this gizmo, was referred to as an “autoharp”.  However, both the instrument and more importantly the bar action pictured and described in the patent differ significantly in form from the autoharp as we know it. The body shape is symmetrical, and the felt-bearing bars that silence certain strings move horizontally, rather than vertically.

Though the date of British patent is not given in the article, it appears by two items within the text to have been granted in 1883 or 1884. Though Zimmermann’s patent predates this one, a couple of points need to be kept in mind: * Zimmermann’s 1882 patent did not represent the instrument now known as an autoharp. *The patent grantee was German, the patent was British; it seems likely that an earlier patent was granted in his home country, but as the article explains, it is very unlikely that any record of it will ever be found.

So how do we get from Zimmermann being granted a patent for an instrument that is not the autoharp as we know it (1882) to Zimmermann beginning production of the autoharp as we know it (c. 1885), for which a British patent had been granted to a German inventor in 1883 or 1884?

Both the German instrument and the one featured in Zimmermann’s patent are small zither-type instruments which make chords by muting certain strings, and which do so by means of manipulating wooden bars with blocks of felt attached to them.  It appears that Zimmermann saw the German instrument before he applied for the 1882 patent. Otherwise, we have to believe that two such instruments were invented independently of each other and within a couple of years apart in the course of all history.  It seems certain that the action of the instrument in Zimmermann’s patent would have been functionally inferior to that of the

German instrument. In the years from 1882, when the first patent was granted, to about 1885, when production actually began, it seems likely that Zimmermann realized his patent instrument was a failure, that he experimented with trying to improve on it, but that he eventually gave up and began production of the German instrument in unaltered form before some other enterprising American did. However, it appears he was reluctant to totally abandon his horizontal approach to muting strings and that he had also experimented with incorporating the idea into the design of the German instrument as an improvement. The result was the addition of “shifters” to the chord bars.

These shifters allow each chord bar to produce more than one chord. They do so by means of manipulating metal tabs attached to the bars, which cause a separate set of felt blocks to move horizontally, muting and un-muting certain strings. The shifters appeared very early on; examples of all shifter bar models bearing appointments of the very first type are known. This suggests that Zimermann’s experiments with them probably began sometime before the commencement of American autoharp production. C.F. Zimmermann Company, Dolgeville, New York, 1893-99, later Zimmermann Autoharp Company

Around 1893, the autoharp factory moved to Dolgeville, New York. It was bought by Alfred Dolge, another German-born American who had established himself as a piano parts manufacturer, beginning under the tutlelage of Frederick Mathushek (yet another German-born American) in New Haven, Connecticut. It was at the Dolgeville factory that the autoharp first donned its now-familiar cloak of black. The Philadelphia location had been a productive one; a booklet from around 1889 states that “50,000 have been sold in the first three years following its introduction”. The autoharp’s second home, the Dolgeville factory, was even more productive.

As a result, 19th century instruments are abundant enough that examples in fine structural, functional, and cosmetic condition are still to be found. By way of example, here is a Dolgeville No. 2 3/4 from the 1890s, after proper cleaning and new strings. Some of the most imaginitive decals ever to adorn autoharps were of Dolgeville birth, and the firm reached the height of functional refinement for the time with the “concert grand” and “parlor grand” models. Though extremely productive, the company enjoyed a very short lifespan of only about 6 years. Undaunted, Dolge relocated to California, and by the time he published his amazingly informative Pianos and Their Makers in 1911, we find him re-established and for all appearances once again thriving as a piano parts manufacturer.

( Courtesy of Dolgeville, New York)




Ernest Van “Pop” Stoneman

American Country Music Pioneer

May 25, 1893 – June 14, 1968

Music shaped his life, and subsequently his life indelibly shaped our American musical heritage.

Pop Stoneman’s father was a lay preacher, his mother, a singer. His cousins, uncles, and brothers enjoyed sharing music with their family and friends. During his teens, he joined his family gatherings, playing every instrument he could get his hands on. He was drawn to the autoharp, and because he couldn’t afford to order one from the Montgomery Ward catalogue, Pop built his own using parts of an old piano.

During his early life, he found work wherever he could – as a farm hand, a carpenter, and a sweeper in a cotton mill in Fries, Virginia. As always throughout his life, however, his main interest was music.

Pop met and married Hattie Frost, whose father was a luthier, fiddler, and banjo player. Bill Frost had taught his daughter Hattie to play the banjo and fiddle. She became a fine musician in her own right. Pop and Hattie were the parents of 23 children, 13 of whom survived to adulthood.

Wlile working at the Fries mill, a friend of his had a “home recording machine,” and in 1914, Pop recorded a tune on this machine with a harmonica and his autoharp. That experience changed his life forever.

Pop’s first commercial recording, a song he wrote called “The Sinking of the Titanic,” was made in New York City on September 1924. It quickly became number three on the Billboard/Variety charts, and remained there for ten weeks. This solo recording sold over one million copies.

From 1924 through 1929, Pop recorded well over 200 songs under many names and on many labels. In 1927, he was under contract with Ralph Peer, Recording Director for the Victor Talking Machine Company Pop knew there was talent in the Bristol, Tennessee area, and was greatly responsible for Mr. Peer setting up the famous Bristol Recording Sessions. This historical session has been dubbed the “Big Bang of Country Music.” Pop and Hattie were the first to record at Bristol, and on subsequent days, The Original Carter Family (A. P., Sara, and Maybelle Carter), and Mississippi Yodler Jimmie Rogers made their nationally commercial debuts.

After being a solo artist, Pop began to include his wife and adult family members in his performances. In 1930, he brought their children into the musical arena, thus making the Stoneman name the longest continuously active name in country music.

Pop’s professional musical career was a long one, dating from his first recording in 1924 to his death at age 75.

The Original Stoneman Family

Pop and Hattie Stoneman’s children were born musicians. Every member of the family has made recordings, many under labels such as MGM and RCA Victor, and most have performed in the most prestigious venues. They had no musical training, but when their names are mentioned in the country music circles, e.g. – Donna, mandolin; Roni, banjo; Scott, fiddle; Gene, guitar; Jim, bass they are legendary. The family first appeared nationally on the “Jimmy Dean TV Variety Show.” “The Grand Ole Opry” followed in 1962, and in 1966, they hosted their own syndicated television series “Those Stonemans.” In 1967, The Stoneman Family was presented the first CMA Award as Vocal Group of the Year. They have participated in two motion pictures, have been nominated four additional times to the CMA Award presentations and several CMA nominations for Instrumental Group of the Year, and have traveled Europe extensively. Pop and Hattie’s family has also made hundreds upon hundreds of professional recordings.

Because the family is so large and the music interest varied among its members, they frequently broke into “band segments.” At times there were as many as five or six family bands performing throughout the country simultaneously. The picture below is one such group.

For further information concerning The Stoneman Family, or to order recorded Stoneman music and/or “The Stonemans,” an awardwinning book by Ivan M. Tribe, contact: Patsy Stoneman Murphy, PO Box 17044, Nashville, TN 37217

(courtesy of ortheyautoharps)

(Documentary Audio  with collaborative support of NPR-America
and The North American Autoharp Society)


138 Acres

The Lomax Dynasty 

From the edges of Western Frontiers to
The Lower Delta

A tribute to to the great musicologists John and
Alan Lomax


Featuring Interviews by the Lomax,s ,Mrs Shirley Lomax,and selected
Field  Recordings from The John Lomax Library

Owens Slick Chain Gang,Valentine Alf Dad,Mc Donald Aunt Mollie,
Mrs Kate W Jones
Hule Hines,John Lomax,TommyWoods and group of convicts,
Abrahamm Powell,Huddie  Leadbetter,Woody Guthrie
Lake N Porter Fiddle
Clifford Reed
Elizabeth Cotten
Ellis Hattie
Elmo Newcomer
Frank Mixon Gulfport Red Prisoners
Irvin Lowry Willie Williams
Jeff Horton
John B Jones
Earl Scruggs and the Foggy Mountain Boys
Rayford, Willie
Valentine, Alf Dad
Vera Hall
Children of Blalock School – Children of America

and more…

This portrait shows a unique and depht inside view
of highly cultural educated individual researchers as well
as featuring rare interviews spanning a couple of decades
in North american history….

John Avery Lomax (1867-1948)

John Avery Lomax was born in Goodman, Mississippi, on September 23, 1867, and grew up on the Texas frontier, just north of Meridian in rural Bosque County. A Texan at heart, if not by birth, his early years on the family farm accustomed him to the hard work that, along with a boundless energy, became a hallmark of his life and career.

After teaching in rural schools for a few years, Lomax entered the University of Texas in 1895, specializing in English literature. In Adventures of a Ballad Hunter, he recounts the story of his arrival at the university with a roll of cowboy songs he had written down in childhood. He showed them to an English professor, only to have them discounted as “cheap and unworthy,” prompting him to take the bundle behind the men’s dormitory and burn it.1 His interest in folksongs thus rebuffed, Lomax focused his attentions on more acceptable academic pursuits. After graduation, he worked at the University of Texas as registrar, manager of Brackenridge Hall (the men’s dormitory on campus), and personal secretary to the president of the university. In 1903, he accepted an offer to teach English at Texas A&M University and settled down with his new wife, Bess Brown Lomax, to what promised to be a quiet life in the country.

Bucolic country living did not suit Lomax for long, however: in 1907, he jumped at the chance to attend Harvard University as a graduate student. Here he had the opportunity to study under Barrett Wendell and George Lyman Kittredge, two renowned scholars who actively encouraged his interest in cowboy songs. This experience changed the course of Lomax’s life and work. Both Wendell and Kittredge continued to play an important advisory role in his career long after he returned to Texas the following year, Masters of Arts degree in hand, to resume his teaching position at A&M. Encouraged by Wendell, he applied for, and was awarded, a Sheldon grant to research and collect cowboy songs. The resulting anthology, Cowboy Songs and Other Frontier Ballads, was published in 1910 to critical and popular acclaim.

Around the same time, Lomax and Professor Leonidas Payne of the University of Texas co-founded the Texas Folklore Society, following Kittredge’s suggestion that Lomax establish a Texas branch of the American Folklore Society. Lomax and Payne hoped that the society would further their own research while kindling an interest in folklore among like-minded Texans. On Thanksgiving Day, 1909, Lomax nominated Payne as president of the society, and Payne nominated Lomax as secretary. The two set out to marshal support, and a month later, Killis Campbell, an associate professor at the university, publicly proposed the formation of the society at a meeting of the Texas State Teachers Association in Dallas. By April 1910, there were ninety-two charter members (one of whom was Lomax’s former student, John B. Jones, who is featured in this collection).

The society grew gradually over the next decade, with Lomax steering it forward. At his invitation, Kittredge and Wendell attended its meetings. Other early members were Stith Thompson and J. Frank Dobie, who both began teaching English at the university in 1914. At Lomax’s recommendation, Thompson became the society’s secretary/treasurer in 1915. In 1916, Thompson edited the first volume of the Publications of the Texas Folklore Society, which Dobie reissued as Round the Levee in 1935. This publication exemplified the society’s express purpose, and the motivation behind Lomax’s own work: to gather a body of folklore before it disappeared, and to preserve it for the analysis of later scholars. These early efforts foreshadowed what would become Lomax’s greatest achievement, the collection of more than ten thousand recordings for the Archive of American Folk Song at the Library of Congress.

In June 1910, Lomax accepted an administrative job at the University of Texas. Throughout the next seven years, he continued his research, and also undertook lecture tours, assisted and encouraged by his wife and children. All this came to an end in 1917, however, when Lomax was fired along with six other faculty members as the result of a political battle between Governor James Ferguson and the university president, Dr. R.E. Vinson. His academic career seemingly in ruins, Lomax moved to Chicago to accept a job as a banker. Shortly afterwards, Ferguson was impeached and the Board of Regents rescinded its dismissal of the faculty, but Lomax did not return to his former job. Instead, he divided the next fifteen years between banking and working with various University of Texas alumni groups. During that time, he did minimal song research; without ready access to a major library, most of the research he did do was through correspondence.

Tragedy struck the Lomax family in 1931, when Bess Brown Lomax died at the age of fifty, leaving four children (the youngest, Bess, only ten years old) and a devoted husband. The following year, in hope of reviving Lomax’s flagging spirits, John Lomax Jr. encouraged his father to begin a series of lecture tours. So the Lomaxes took to the road once again, with John Jr. (and later Alan) accompanying the senior Lomax as salesman, manager, and personal assistant. In June 1932, they arrived at the offices of the Macmillan publishing company in New York. Here Lomax proposed his idea for an all-inclusive anthology of American ballads and folksongs. It was accepted, and he traveled to Washington to review the holdings in the Archive of American Folk Song.

By the time of Lomax’s arrival, the Archive already contained a collection of commercial phonograph recordings and wax cylinder field recordings of folksongs, built up under the leadership of Robert Winslow Gordon, Head of the Archive, and Carl Engel, chief of the Music Division. Gordon had also developed and experimented in the field with a portable disc recorder. Lomax made an arrangement with the Library whereby it would provide recording equipment (including recording blanks), in exchange for which he would travel the country recording songs to be added to the Archive. Thus began a ten-year relationship with the Library that would involve not only John but the entire Lomax family, including his second wife, Ruby Terrill Lomax, whom he married in 1934. All four of John’s children assisted with his folksong research and with the daily operations of the Archive: Shirley, who performed songs taught to her by her mother; John Jr., who encouraged his father’s association with the Library; Alan, who accompanied John on field trips and in 1937 became the Archive’s first paid employee as Assistant in Charge; and Bess, who spent her weekends and school vacations copying song text and doing comparative song research.

Thanks to a grant from the American Council of Learned Societies, Lomax was able to set out in June 1933 on the first recording expedition under the Library’s auspices, with Alan (then eighteen years old) in tow.
For larger image, click on picture
Image: caption follows Trunk of car with recording equipment
(Library of Congress, American Folklife Center)
John and Alan toured Texas prison farms recording work songs, reels, ballads, and blues from prisoners such as James “Iron Head” Baker, Mose “Clear Rock” Platt, and Lightnin’ Washington. Lomax often recorded in prisons in the hopes of finding an isolated musical culture “untouched” by the modern world, where, “Thrown on their own resources for entertainment, they still sing, especially the long-term prisoners who have been confined for years and who have not yet been influenced by jazz and the radio, the distinctive old-time Negro melodies.”2 Not all of those whom the Lomaxes recorded were imprisoned, however: in other communities, they recorded K.C. Gallaway and Henry Truvillion. In July they acquired a state-of-the-art, 315-pound acetate disc recorder. Installing it in the trunk of his Ford sedan (pictured left), Lomax soon used it to record a twelve-string guitar player by the name of Huddie Ledbetter, better known as “Lead Belly,” at the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola, and during the next year and a half, father and son continued to make disc recordings of musicians throughout the South. Like many early folklorists, Lomax sought to record traditional art forms that he saw as endangered by the widespread acceptance of popular music and the influence of radio and record players. Ironically, it was due to such modern inventions that he was able to preserve all that he did.

Lomax’s enthusiasm for the new recording technology greatly influenced his own collecting methodology. These relatively new devices allowed the singer’s own voice to be heard in every nuance and modulation, without, it was sometimes thought, the interference of the collector’s written interpretation. The machine assumed the role of stenographer, and because of its accuracy, some collectors paid little attention to secondary documentation.

In 1934, Lomax was named Honorary Consultant and Curator of the Archive of American Folk Song, and he secured grants from the Carnegie Corporation and the Rockefeller Foundation, among others, for continued field recordings. He and Alan recorded Spanish ballads and vaquero songs on the Rio Grande border and spent weeks among French-speaking Acadians in southern Louisiana.

Lomax’s contribution to the documentation of folk traditions extended beyond the Music Division through his involvement with two agencies of the Works Progress Administration. In 1936, he was assigned to serve as an advisor on folklore collecting for both the Historical Records Survey and the Federal Writers’ Project. As the Federal Writers’ Project’s first folklore editor, Lomax directed the gathering of ex-slave narratives and devised a questionnaire for Project fieldworkers to use. This work was continued by Benjamin A. Botkin, who succeeded Lomax as the Project’s folklore editor in 1938, and at the Library in 1939.

Lomax’s involvement with the WPA brought him into contact with writers in the field, who in turn introduced him to a wider array of performers for his own song research. Two of these writers, Mrs. Genevieve Chandler, of Murrells Inlet, South Carolina, and Ruby Pickens Tartt, of Livingston, Alabama, were instrumental in forming the content of the folksong collection made in 1939. Thanks to Ruby Pickens Tartt’s extensive knowledge of her local community, for example, the Lomaxes were introduced to such singers as Dock Reed, Vera Hall, and Enoch Brown.

As Lomax continued his work, his field expeditions reflected his broadening scope of interest, as can be seen in the wide variety of genres recorded during the 1939 Southern States Recording Expedition. Lomax rarely wavered from his quest for old songs, however, taking advantage of the latest technologies to preserve the past. The materials in this collection reflect his unstinting effort to document cultural traditions that he saw as threatened by an encroaching modern world.

(The Library of Congress)


The Man Who Recorded the World

In 1961, as a young graduate student at an ethnomusicologists’ meeting, John Szwed caught the eye of the master: Alan Lomax, the man whose tremendous body of work allowed previously unheard folk recordings to become universally well known. Seemingly apropos of nothing, Lomax remarked “Pygmies are a baseline culture.” Then he went on his way.

Years later, when they had gotten to know each other, Mr. Szwed accompanied Mr. Lomax to the Village Gate to hear Professor Longhair. The set began with “Jambalaya.” Lomax vanished. And then, as Mr. Szwed writes in his keenly appreciative, enormously detailed new Lomax biography, “I felt something brush by my leg, and when I looked down there was Alan crawling on the floor toward the bandstand so as to stay out of people’s vision.” Lomax reached the edge of the stage, knelt worshipfully until the set was over and then pronounced Longhair the greatest folk musician in the Western world.

Alan Lomax had astounding energy and enthusiasm. He was both an exhaustive and exhausting force in American music for almost 70 years. When he died in 2002, he left behind at least the following, which Mr. Szwed has dauntlessly tackled as source material: 5,000 hours of sound recordings; 400,000 feet of film; 2,450 videotapes; 2,000 books and journals; numerous prints, documents and databases; and more than 120 linear feet of paperwork. It’s not hard to see why detractors called Lomax “The People’s Republic of Me.”

On the evidence of “Alan Lomax: The Man Who Recorded the World” his enemies and admirers were equally well armed. Lomax may not have courted controversy, but his work and methods made argument inevitable.

When he started collecting musical artifacts, he was ahead of his time — almost. His father, the more culturally conservative John Lomax, was such a celebrated folklorist that Alan inevitably played hanger-on. Together, bearing the burdens of financial, ideological and father-son tensions, they roamed the country for the Library of Congress during the Depression with recording equipment, trying to talk strangers into sharing their songs.

Father and son shared an academic bent. But Alan saw a greater, more adventurous calling for himself, Mr. Szwed writes: “He was also to be a messenger for the masses.” This required Alan to decipher the songs’ larger meanings, find out about the cultures that produced them and witness the culture clashes that erupted as the music became more widely known.

When rural black musicians (with whom Alan was much more simpatico than his father was) were exposed to big-city audiences, as the ex-convict Lead Belly was when the Lomaxes brought him to New York in 1934, the press used epithets like “Murderous Minstrel,” “Sweet Singer of the Swamplands” and “a virtuoso of Knife and Guitar.” The world was not yet ready for what Alan Lomax planned to deliver.

But under the New Deal “folklore as an activity, as a subject, as a calling rather than an academic study,” began rising in stature. And by the time of the 1939 World’s Fair Alan was its chief avatar. He issued advice about the fair’s folk exhibits with his trademark mixture of eagerness, excitement and pedantry. “Each table should be provided with a set of songs that will be sung in the course of the entertainment, and the audience naturally will be encouraged to join in the chorus,” he proposed, adding that this could “make the World’s Fair the simple and merry people’s festival that it was in the Middle Ages.”

Even to Pete Seeger, who did a stint as Lomax’s assistant, “Alan had a way of making proclamations and value judgments that could ring down the years.” Woody Guthrie’s “lumpenproletariat act is too much!” Lomax once complained to him; Lomax regarded Guthrie as “a self-made intellectual.”

Yet behind Lomax’s air of superiority were awful self-doubts. And he wrote about his inadequacies no less relentlessly than he did everything else. “What do I like? What do I think about? What do I want? Why am I born?” he wrote on one such occasion. “I know the kind of intellectual, moral and emotional structure that can be made out of folklore. It is a lack of personal conviction that is my problem.”

Mr. Szwed is an ideal match for his fretful, protean subject. He is thorough enough to document the Lomax earaches, colds and carbuncles, not to mention the many women who fleetingly assisted Lomax on his travels but then drifted away. This book’s lists of destinations (Haiti, Sicily, Spain, Scotland) and cultures (Gullah, Creole, Cajun, lumberjack) are made to sound almost like business as usual: after all, for Lomax, that’s what they were. In one remarkable and perhaps record-breaking paragraph, Mr. Szwed ticks off Lomax’s pie-in-the-sky plans for 75 new albums, including two reissues, three square-dance records with calls and two anthologies.

(Under these circumstances the glaring omission from “Alan Lomax” is a discography. And although this book deserved to be beautifully illustrated, it includes only one lousy picture.)

Mr. Szwed also ignores the enormous, ancillary opportunity to write about Lomax’s effects on the many, many musicians who reflect his influence. He stays within Lomax’s perspective. So there’s much more about Lomax in Bob Dylan’s “Chronicles: Volume One” than there is about Mr. Dylan here: “Alan would say that Dylan wanted to create a folk music for the urban middle class, which wasn’t a bad idea, but just seemed boring to him,” Mr. Szwed remarks. As for the folk boom of the 1960s, Lomax said, “New York had gone to sleep around the Peter Seeger banjo picking folknik image, and I was shocked to find that the kids here thought that folk music pretty much began and ended in Washington Square.”

Mr. Szwed’s own interests are as picky and academic as Lomax’s, and as ingratiatingly peculiar. When he brings up skiffle, the 1950s musical precursor to the British Invasion, he is primarily interested in how Lonnie Donegan’s skiffle version of “Rock Island Line” appropriated Lead Belly’s. (“Outright knavery,” Lomax complained.) And he takes care to point out not only the skiffle origins of assorted Beatles, Rolling Stones, Hollies, Yardbirds and so on, but also points out something extra: Spinal Tap was once a skiffle band, too (though its members called it “scuffle”).
(JANET MASLIN   2011   –  Coutesy of  The New York Times )


(Selected Archival Audio recordings courtesy of the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. )
(Parts of Audio Courtesy of NPR)
(Parts of additional Audio Courtesy Alan Lomax Archieves)
All Media are part of a non-commercial webcast and only for educational purposes only (Ed.)






Sid Hemphill and the Devils dream

In The Land Where the Blues Began, the folklorist Alan Lomax recalls his epic field-recording voyage through the Mississippi Delta in the early 40s, undertaken at a time when, for Lomax, the stakes felt particularly high. “I knew this was to be my last song-collecting jaunt before the Army got me, maybe the last time I would ever hear the alley blues and the hallelujah spirituals that I believe are the best art our country has produced,” he wrote, and not without discernible yearning.

That urgency would eventually yield the first recordings of Muddy Waters and Honeyboy Edwards, and the first recordings of Son House since his Paramount days, but it’s hard not to feel like Lomax’s desperation– for ferocity, inventiveness, some kind of rapture– was probably best assuaged by his discovery of Sid Hemphill, the so-called “boar-hog musician of the hills,” a fiddler and string band-leader once described to Lomax as “the best musician in the world.”

Lomax found Hemphill in Senatobia, deep in Mississippi’s Hill Country. He’d driven across a crumbling bridge and approached a “sagging, unpainted door on a weathered-gray, warping house.” Before he could knock, Hemphill, then 65, swung it open. “No one had told me that Sid Hemphill was blind, but it was the last thing you’d recall about him,” Lomax explained. “His face blazed with inner light.”

On August 15, 1942, Lomax committed 15 tracks by Hemphill and his backing band (Lucius Smith, Alec “Turpentine” Askew, and Will Head) to acetate disc. Hemphill never recorded commercially, and only Lomax’s field recordings of his work are extant– meaning that unless you knew a guy (shoddy cassette tapes of Hemphill’s songs, sourced from Lomax’s discs, have been spotted in the damp palms of 78 collectors for decades, passed about like contraband), The Devil’s Dream is the first time anyone has been properly able to access or disseminate Hemphill’s brain-scrambling yawp.

The album’s release this month, over 70 years after its creation– as a download through the Alan Lomax Archive’s Global Jukebox imprint, or on LP via Mississippi Records– feels both long overdue and right on time.

Hemphill’s masterwork is “The Carrier Line”, a rambling, six-minute blues ballad about the owner of a local logging railroad and the engineer who ran his train too fast. “You want me to put the whole 21 verses in it?” Hemphill asks Lomax before raising his fiddle and announcing himself. “Sid Hemphill! ‘Carrier Song’ was made and played by him, his band!”

There is a wildness to Hemphill’s voice and playing that feels undeniable if not fully singular– every note is vehement, as if it were stampeded into being, as if it might trample you, too, if you don’t start running. Those propulsive, impatient rhythms make “The Carrier Line” feel literal, like an actual train is hurtling towards Hemphill and his band, only Hemphill is too fearless, too punk rock, to flee or even flinch.

Elsewhere, Hemphill’s giddiness at playing and being recorded is evident in his voice, and in the half-intelligible yarns he appears to find deeply hilarious. (“Arkansas Traveler” concerns a kid digging a hole and yellow corn and we-don’t-need-no-supper-in-Arkansas; the punch-line is Hemphill shouting “I know a place!” and it’s always funny, for reasons that remain unclear to me, but don’t much matter.) “Keep My Skillet Good and Greasy” is a raunchy, shambling ode to unflappable libido, and it features a heartbreaking (and unexpected) exchange between two of Hemphill’s backers, one of whom is so out of tune he temporarily stops playing (“You must be scared?” a voice asks. There’s a pause. “You must be scared.”)

Hemphill’s work incorporates attributes of the Mississippi Hill Country’s better-known traditions (the droning guitar blues mastered by McDowell, R.L. Burnside, and Junior Kimbrough, and the fife-and-drum music practiced by Otha Turner, Napolian Strickland, and Hemphill himself), but part of its pre-eminence concerns its inimitability.

The title-track, which features vocals, a bass drum, and quills (a handmade instrument crafted from cane reeds that sounds a little like a panpipe, only flatter and more rudimentary) is a battle cry; Hemphill whoops and wheezes like a feral child lost in a shopping mall. It’s hard to imagine a more fundamentally exhilarating three minutes of music.

There are plenty of reasons to lament Hemphill’s relative obscurity, and his subsequent lack of a professional oeuvre: The exuberance of his performance that day (and it is a performance, rendered heartily and with intention) can sometimes obscure his extraordinary acumen as a songwriter, and there are all the expected fidelity issues (Hemphill and his band are often positioned in awkward proximity to the microphone, and are prone to vaguely acrimonious mid-song chit-chat). The songs themselves contain a preposterous numbers of verses, and aren’t short on impious bits.

But then there’s Hemphill, capable of the sorts of noises only generated in extraordinarily compromised positions, of reflecting our most unruly, un-tempered, subsumed exaltations– and even then, they don’t ever sound this ecstatic. Or this free.

Music from the Appalachian Mountains





Appalachian Traditional Music

A Short History

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.  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’.  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.

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.

TO properly understand how traditional Appalachian music grew and dispersed it helps to have some understanding of how the Appalachians were formed.  These mountains were shaped over 500 million years in three separate building periods called oroginies.  During the first period, the Taconic, and the second, the Acadian, North America, Greenland, Ireland, and Scotland were all one land mass called Laurentia.  At this time the Caledonia Mountains rose up and wore down before the Atlantic Ocean started to split the continent.  This is why the mountains of the Scottish Highlands and the Appalachians seem so similar; they were the same range!

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.  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.  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.  The Appalachians therefore tended to attract poorer people looking for cheaper or unwanted land.

There were other reasons that postponed settlement of this region than pure geography:

1. It was populated by native Americans justifiably hostile to white settlement.
2. There was heavy rivalry between the English and French over the fur trade there.
3. Political intrigues before unification of the states made land rights uncertain.
4. Any good farm land that did exist was annexed by land companies.

During the seventeenth century the largest and most influential group of American immigrants sharing an ethnic heritage were those from England, Scotland, Ireland, and Wales.  They generally settled the Eastern Seaboard while the French worked their way up the Mississippi River.  In the early 1700s immigration pushed westward but, barred by the continuous ridges of the Appalachians, people settled more on the Piedmont between the coast and the mountains.

The ridges were four thousand feet high and only crossable where rivers had cut transverse valleys.  There were usually multiple ridges, and where an opening would cut through one, it was closed in others.  Therefore, most settlement started north in Pennsylvania and drifted south down the long valleys, rather than west over the mountains.

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’.

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.  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.  Most of the Scots-Irish coming to Pennsylvania came as indentured servants.  When their terms of service were over they found local land too expensive and so went south into the 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.

By 1790 any good land was taken or too expensive for most.  Still, communities were settled rather late; at the time of the Civil War (1860s) most settlements did not average more than three generations back.  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.  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.  Musical traditions from home were important links to the past and were cherished and passed down to the next generation.

TRADITIONAL Appalachian music is mostly based upon anglo-celtic folk ballads and instrumental dance tunes.  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.  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.  One is less likely to find Scottish ballads of rape and dominance, or those with men as heroes.  A large percentage, perhaps almost half, of the American variations tend to be about pregnant women murdered by their boyfriends.

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.  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.  The churches of America were also very influential and usually more puritan in nature.  Many fairly explicit lyrics were softened and cleaned up.  British paganism was frowned upon, and this censorship resulted in ballads where repentance and doom supplanted sinful behavior.

Broadside ballads, printed on cheap paper and sold on the street, were also popular up to the end of the nineteenth century.  Penned by professional composers, they often became part of the folk tradition.  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.

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.  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.

ONE of the greatest influences on Appalachian music, as well as many popular American music styles, was that of the African-American.  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.  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.  The percussion of the African music began to change the rhythms of Appalachian singing and dancing.  The introduction of the banjo to the Southern Mountains after the Civil War in the 1860s further hastened this process.  Originally from Arabia, and brought to western Africa by the spread of Islam, the banjo then ended up in America.  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.

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.  With emancipation, black music began to move outside the South.  By the 1920s a whole body of parlour songs known as ‘race music’ became popular.  Many Appalachian songs sung today that allude to ‘children’ in the fields or ‘mother’ have been changed from ‘pickaninnies’ or ‘Mammys’.

Religious music, including white Country gospel, was probably the most prevalent music heard in Appalachia.  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.  There were three types of religious music: ballads, hymns, and revival spiritual songs.  The latter directly arose out of the call and response of the African song tradition.  These were popularized among the white inhabitants after the revival circuit started in Kentucky in 1800.  Their simpler, repetitious text of verse and refrain was easier to sing and learn and produced an emotional fervor in the congregation.  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.

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’.  Still, many songs and tunes – for example, Fischer’s Hornpipe – were of German ancestry and became anglicized over time.

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.  The fiddle was at first the main instrument, often alone, as a piano would have been too expensive to purchase.  Originally the tonal and stylistic qualities of the fiddle mirrored those of the ballad.  The ‘reel’ is generally thought to have developed in the Scottish highlands in the mid-eighteenth century.  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.  More modern repertoires took shape in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, with the waltz showing up at the beginning of the 1800s.  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.

Irish immigration also added its own flavor.  The sound of the pipes and their drones added a double-stop approach where two strings are usually played together.  Popular music – such as ragtime – at the turn of the century started the rocking of the bow, another distinctive Appalachian feature.  Players began to use tunings different from the standard classical – sometimes one for each tune – to heighten the ‘high lonesome’ sound.  Many tunes acquired words, so the caller could take over and give the fiddler a break by singing the calls.  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.  It also kept down the fights although, by the 1930s, liquor and fighting had ended most southern mountain dances.

TUNES changed a lot, first with the introduction of the banjo after 1860, and then with the popularity of the guitar, starting in 1910.  Early tunes tended to be more rhythmic as the fiddler was often playing alone.  With the luxury of percussive rhythm from other instruments, tunes became more elaborate and melodic.  Having a chordal structure also evened out irregularities as the guitar produced the even backup of a measured beat.  The guitar also greatly redefined singing traditions in the same way.  It evened out rhythms and gave singers a ‘floorboard’ to mount their songs.  Bands that used exclusively to play tunes gradually added songs, mostly from popular and commercial sources.

All through the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries this music was truly ‘folk’.  Singing was used for personal and group enjoyment and continuation of historical narrative.  Instrumentation was used for dances and contests; food and drink and enjoyment were considered enough recompense.  Contact was limited regionally as travel was difficult.  But late nineteenth century industrialization produced mobility, and the advent of recorded sound in the 1920s brought popular music to the mountains.  Mail order and mass production made instruments more accessible.  Radio stations started barn dances with live performances of local talent, and styles began to cross over.

Music now known as ‘old-time’ became prominent in the Appalachians.  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.  The 1920s was a decade of string band popularity.  A string band was usually one or more fiddlers, a banjo, bass, and guitar, with possibly a piano.  In 1922 the first recording of a rural performer, Eck Robertson, was made.  Many followed.  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.  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 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.  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.  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.  Singing was usually a single male voice; duet harmonies became more prevalent during the 1930s.  Ma Maybelle of the Carter Family introduced a guitar style where lead melodies were picked out by the thumb.

The term ‘old-time music’ began to show up in the early twentieth century.  In 1908 a newspaper, the Iredell North Carolina Landmark used the term to describe fiddling and dancing at Union Grove.  Okeh and Vocalion Record catalogs listed Old-Time Tunes as a category, and the Sears Catalog of 1928 used Old-Time in its advertising.

The Great Depression of the 1930s put an end to the commercial viability of old-time music.  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 old traditional music of the mountains gave way to the beginnings of modern commercial country-western music.

BUT the traditional old-time Appalachian music never really died off; it just reverted back to being a participatory ‘folk’ music.  Fiddlers’ Conventions, house parties, and back-porch jams kept the music alive.  Few old-time musicians can, or want to make a living playing a style now considered archaic by the general public.  Many old songs, originally written for commercial reasons, are now considered traditional, their composers gradually forgotten.  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.

Debby McClatchy








Music From Old Kentucky