Our Singing Country - A Second Volume of American Ballads and Folk Songs
by John A Lomax (9781443726634)

Our Singing Country - A Second Volume of American Ballads and Folk Songs
 
John A Lomax
Release Date: 10 December 1010
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 456
Category: Music
Publisher: Rolland Press
ISBN: 9781443726634
ISBN-10: 144372663X



Our Singing Country A Second Volume of American Ballads and Folk Songs COLLECTED AND COMPILED BY JOHN A. LOMAX Honorary Consultant and Curator of the Archive of American Folk Song of the Library of Congress AND ALAN LOMAX Assistant in Charge of the Archive of American Folk Song of the Library of Congress RUTH CRAWFORD SEEGER Music Editor New York The Macmillan Company 19 49 TO WILL C. HOGG Classmate and Friend Whose life was a ballad INTRODUCTION In any country it Is the people who make the differences. The landscapes with the thumb-mark and the heel-mark of the people on them are the land scapes you remember. In Chile it is not the mountains which make the unbelievable loveliness of that country but the rows of poplars standing under the stone of the Andes, leaf against granite. It is the same way in other countries. France with the fields so and the roads so and the villages square to them. England with the roofs set this way not in any other way. Persia with the water courses in the wild gardens and the peach boughs over the mud walls. Japan where the pines on the ridge-poles of the moun tains are warped by the wind but not by the wind only. It is the mark of the people on any country which gives it the feel it leaves in a mans mind. Even the sense of time in a country is the sense of the people in it now and before now. But it is not only the heel-marks on the hill-sides and the way the roads run that show the traces of the people. There are other marks in other mate rials and not least in the substance of words and the substance of music. Music and words will wear under the use of a people as easily as the earth will wear and the marks will last longer. Devoted writers write asthough the body of the people of a country made songs for themselves and poems for themselves the folk songs and the folk music. But to speak prosaically the people do not make songs and poems for themselves. The folk songs and the folk poems come from far back and like any song or any poem they have had beginnings in a single mind. What the people of a country do with the music they take over for themselves and the poems they take over for themselves is to pass them along from hand to hand, from mouth to mouth, from one generation to the next, until they wear smooth in the shape the people this particular people is obliged to give them. The people make their songs and poems the way the people make a stone stair in an old building of this republic where the treads are worn down and shaped up the way their users have to have them. The folk songs and the folk poems show the mark of a people on them the way the old silver dollars show the mark of shoving thumbs but with far more meaning. They show the peoples mark more even than the line of the roads in a country or the shape of the houses hopeful or not so hopeful and they last longer. The people or the poets either who can leave their mark on the words or on the music of a country, leave it for a long time and in an honorable place. This second volume of American ballads and folk songs collected by vii Introduction John Lomax of Texas and his son Alan, the two men who created, under the brilliant direction of Herbert Putnam and Dr. Harold Spivacke, the Archive of American Folk Song in the Library of Congress, is a body of words and of music which tells more about the American people than all the miles of their quadruple-lane expresshighways and all the acres of their bill-board plastered cities a body of words and of music which tells almost as much about the American people as the marks they have made upon the earth itself. It is a book which many Americans will delight to open, and not once but many times. But behind this book is another body of material also a product of the work of Mr. Putnam and the Lomaxes which reveals with even greater precision the character and the distinction of the mark left upon their music and their words by the people of this country...

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