March 21st, 2018
In 1915 Cecil Sharp, an important collector of traditional English ballads, was informed that many Appalachian singers were singing old English songs …
In Appalachia, Old-Time Music refers to a variety of traditional music styles — ballads, folk songs, fiddle and banjo tunes, sacred songs, and even some popular songs recorded in the early 20th century. . .
One voice seized me more than the rest. Over a simply picked banjo, the voice sang mournfully about a mole in the ground. Elsewhere, the same voice preached, over that same simple banjo, about dry bones. Like so many folk tunes, these told strange, elliptical stories, dense with images, exploding with emotion.
Dulcimers come in two versions. The so-called “mountain dulcimer” looks like a skinny fiddle with 3 to 6 strings, sits across the player’s lap, and is plucked with the fingers. The other consists of a box frame with 40-120 strings; because its sound is produced by hitting the strings with small mallets, it is often called the “hammered dulcimer”. . .