Folk Music and Modern Sound

Edited by William Ferris
and Mary L. Hart

215 pages, 6x9 inches

978-1-60473-167-5 Paper $25.00D

Paper, $25.00

Essays by Amiri Baraka, Doris J. Dyen, Dena J. Epstein, David Evans, Kenneth S. Goldstein, Anthony Heilbut, William Ivey, Charles Keil, A. L. Lloyd, Bill C. Malone, Robert Palmer, Vivian Perlis, Mark Slobin, Richard Spottswood, and Charles K. Wolfe

Scholars have long recognized the influence of folk music on both art and popular music and important questions about contemporary folk music are being raised. The process through which traditional music assumes new forms is complex, a tangle of effects by such forces as urbanization, industrialization, migration, new technology, and, particularly in the United States, the invigorating mix of cultures from many lands. Equally complex, but perhaps more hotly debated, is the question of what this transformation means for the continuity of traditional music itself.

At a conference on "Folk Music and Modern Sound" held at the University of Mississippi in April 1980, scholars from many fields met to seek answers to some of these questions. The essays in this volume were papers originally presented at the conference. Reflecting both the challenge and the fascination of the search, their subjects range from the impact of technology on the British folksong revival to regional characteristics of early rock and roll in New Orleans. Along the way, attention is given to the blues, Sacred Harp singing, ethnic music, both black and white gospel, country music, and the polka. Other topics include the intersection of music from the Yiddish-American theater with that of Broadway, the wide influence and commercialization of black music in popular music, myths about early black music, and Charles Ives as folk hero.

Each contributor explores both traditional and modern forms, showing that folk music reflects contemporary as well as historical experiences. Each shows how performers shape music in a variety of racial and ethnic traditions. Together they merge blues, country, Yiddish, Polish, and Sacred Harp singers in an Ives-like tribute to folk music and modern sound.

215 pages, 6x9 inches