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Teacher Planbook: Dr. Alan Jabbour Integrating Folk Music, Folklore and Traditional Culture Instruction Into K-12 Education

Appalachian Fiddle Workshop Alan Jabbour ©2005

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Alan Jabbour

I had the pleasure of  attending the Appalachian Fiddle Workshop taught by Dr. Alan Jabbour and hosted by the Philadelphia Folksong Society. ~ Karen Ellis

FIDDLE TUNES ILLUMINATED book Appalachian style Fiddle by Alan Jabbour

Many Thanks to Dr. Jabbour: May not be distributed or sold without permission. The workshop was recorded by Larry Toto. and with Dr. Jabbour's permission made available on the Educational CyberPlayGround for your instruction and personal use only.

 

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Background: What is the root of American Music?

 

 

 

Fiddle Tunes from the Old Frontier

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Topics Referenced in the Workshop include the following:

Henry Reed 1967
Henry Reed: His Life, Influence and Art

Learn about Henry Reed whose fiddle music evokes the history and spirit of Virginia's Appalachian frontier.

Henry Reed of Glen Lyn, Virginia pictured here playing the fiddle and Tommy Jarrell of Toast, North Carolina.  He taught a repertory of oldtime fiddle tunes to his band, the Hollow Rock String Band, which was an important link in the instrumental music revival in the 1960s.

The Henry Reed Legacy

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From Henry Reid

 

Alan Jabbour Find Alan Jabbour's CD's and Video's for sale here.

Dr. Alan Jabbour - Culture Maker / Culture Keeper / Scholar and National Treasure.

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American Folklife Center Permanently Authorized! 

Alan Jabbour was born in 1942 in Jacksonville, Florida. A violinist by early training, he put himself through college at the University of Miami playing classical music.  While a graduate student at Duke University in the 1960s, he began documenting oldtime fiddlers in the Upper South. Documentation turned to apprenticeship, and he relearned the fiddle in the style of the Upper South from musicians like Henry Reed.
After receiving his Ph.D. in 1968, Dr. Jabbour taught English, folklore, and ethnomusicology at UCLA in 1968-69.   He then moved to Washington, D.C., for over thirty years of service with Federal cultural agencies.  He was head of the Archive of Folk Song at the Library of Congress 1969-74, director of the folk arts program at the National Endowment for the Arts 1974-76, and director of the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress 1976 - 1999. Since Dr. Jabbour retired, he has turned enthusiastically to a life of writing, consulting, lecturing, and playing the fiddle.

Power of music c1872 Duval and Hunter

Fiddle History - The fiddle was novel and exciting when Europeans first brought it to North America during the late seventeenth century. It was replacing the hornpipe, tabor, and harp at country dances and other rural social gatherings in the Old World.

Course in Violin Making in just 45 pictures.

Banjo-making skills were introduced by West Africans brought here to work on tobacco and sugar plantations. The instrument had existed in a bewildering array of forms in Africa for hundreds of years. Richard Norris Brooke's 1881 'A Pastoral Visit,' part of an exhibit at the gallery: Picturing the Banjo. Consider the evolution of the humble banjo. It morphed from a hollow gourd, strummed by African slaves, into an elegant toy for Victorian society ladies.

African Americans playing the African banjo and the European fiddle formed the first uniquely American ensemble--the root of the root, the beginnings of a sound that would eventually shape blues, bluegrass, and Country and Western music, among other genres.
Banjo was originally made from the calabash, a gourd central to west African life. It could serve as a dipper, a bottle, a pipe or even an oar. The hollow gourd was made into a musical instrument by stretching an animal skin tightly over its opening and adding catgut strings.

Thomas Jefferson, in "Notes on Virginia," wrote of slaves, "The instrument proper to them is the Banjar, which they brought hither from Africa." See the Movie Throw Down Your Heart by Bela Fleck A poet of Jefferson's time urged slave owners, "Permit the slaves to lead the choral dance, to the wild banshaw's melancholy sound." ~ source

After 1800 the instrument was used by white comics who impersonated black banjoists, creating racial caricatures by wearing ragged clothing and blackening their faces with burnt cork. They told jokes, sang comedy songs and performed tunes such as "Turkey in the Straw" and "Arkansas Traveler" on banjo, fiddle, hand drum, and bones. Some of these performers worked in early circus troops and were playing for Blue Ridge audiences by the early 1840s. These artists initiated the first international pop music fad, the so-called minstrel era, which lasted until the end of the century. Source http://www.blueridgemusic.org/AboutMusic.asp

High and Low

 

Q. What is the reason that all that American blue grass country music that starts up high?
A. Because of all the contact with First Nation People whose music starts like that.   

Q. When did all that contact take place? 

A. See the Fur Trade (Bill Monroe said Blue Grass music has that High Lonsome Sound)

 

ListenIn 1965, the Journal of American Folklore published
"Hillbilly Music: Source & Symbol," by librarian and folklorist Archie Green.


Southern Folklife Collection Part 3
Riley Puckett and Gid Tanner March 7-8, 1924 Puckett sang and also yodeled "Rock All Our Babies to Sleep, Introducing a technique that was destined to longevity in country music. LISTEN

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"Selected Films" on folkstreams.net
Skilled instrument makers in the 17th century lifted the ancient and traditional fiddle into preeminence in classical ensembles. Alan Jabbour, leading field researcher/folk-revival fiddler, writes that humbler musicians got their hands on the fiddle by the late 18th century.

Using films on Folkstreams you can explore an extraordinary range of consequences. The tune repertories, playing styles, instrumental combinations, and uses of the music differ in the ethnic traditions of the English, Irish, Scottish, African, Maritime and Cajun French, Metis, and Native American. In New England, the Appalachians, the Mid-, North-, and Southwest, regional traditions emerged. Each generation of musicians changed what it inherited. Fiddlers fitted the music to the family hearth, the neighborhood dance, the contest stage, the unseen audience for sound recordings. They absorbed influences from each other and from popular song, the minstrel stage, the dance hall, the phonograph, the radio. You can watch solo performances in “Adirondack Minstrel” and see fiddles joined by diverse instruments in most other films. You can explore the music not only in the films below—each focused mainly on fiddling—but also in others that interweave one or two short segments on important fiddlers with other materials. See, for example, the notable mountain fiddler Tommy Jarrell in “Dreams and Songs of the Noble Old,” “Home-Made American Music” and “Appalachian Journey” or in the latter film the black Piedmont fiddler Odell Thompson, or career public performers “Hash House” Harvey Ellington and Homer “Pappy” Sherrill in “Free Show Tonight.” In “Bill Monroe” hear this major innovative musician discuss the fiddle's influence on the bluegrass tradition he created and the role of the instrument in the bluegrass ensemble.
"Adirondack Minstrel" | "Cajun Visits: Visites Cajuns" | "From Shore to Shore" | "Gimble's Swing" | "It Ain't City Music" | "Medicine Fiddle" | "New England Fiddles" | "Prince Albert Hunt" | "Talking Feet: Solo Southern Dance: Buck, Flatfoot and Tap" | "Texas Style" | "Tough, Pretty, or Smart: A Portrait of the Patoka Valley Boys" | "Water From Another Time"

Carter Family Log Home

1941 The Helene Stratman-Thomas Collection of Appalachian music performed by Kentuckians who settled in northern Wisconsin.

From Shore to Shore Traditional Irish Music early 50's in the South Bronx and 60's masters of Ireland.

*Hornpipe Dance Rennaissance courtiers attributed several dances as being performed to the rustic instument known as the hornpipe - an insturment of great antiquity consisting of a single reed pipe with a cow horn bell (sometimes with 2 parallel pipes) At various times it meant a jig, a reel or even a country dance. Country dances were often stepped to the distinctive 3/2 syncopated hornpipe tunes and these are sometimes called "maggots" from the Italian maggioletta meaining a whim or delight. Later in the mid 18th century the 4/4 or 2/4 common time hornpipe appeared, now refered to as the "Jacky Tar". This Irish, Scottish or English solo dance is a very old Celtic solo dance that is very much based on the sailor's abilities during the dancing with the sailors originally performing it with folded arms. The steps are clearly shipwise such as hauling in the anchor, climbing or rigging ropes etc. The Sailor's Hornpipe was most popular during the 16th to 18th Centuries but the original (Hornpipe) goes much farther back and was originally done by men only.

Santa Anna's Retreat and the Mexican War
The Mexican song La Lavandera (The Irish Washer Woman), is an Irish jig which shows the parallels between Mexican and Irish music in memory of the San Patricios, an army of anti-expansionist Irish American soldiers who voluntarily joined the Mexicans in fighting the U.S. Army during the Mexican-American War of 1846-1848. Besides finding a common fondness for beer and song, the musicians found that both the jig and the son huasteco were in 6/8 time and that Irish melodies could be played to Mexican rhythms, and the rest is history. [source]

 

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