Wednesday, December 29, 2010

"Clare de Kitchen" - JPEGs in Levy Sheet Music Collection at Johns Hopkins

Clare de Kitchen. A Popular Comic Song. As Sung at all the Theatres by Mr. Rice. Johns Hopkins University, Levy Sheet Music Collection, Box 017, Item 073

Sheet music is in D



JScholarship Home > Special Collections > Levy Sheet Music Collection > View Item

JScholarship is designed to gather, distribute, and preserve digital materials related to the Johns Hopkins research and instructional mission.


Boston: C. Bradlee, n.d. [1832].

C. Bradlee of Boston is Charles Bradlee ... which also, in 1835, published the Alphabet Song ... the Newberry Library says, "The theme is that used by Mozart for his piano variations, Ah, vous dirai-je, maman." Cited in Wikipedia at

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Michael Burlingame's Life of Lincoln - unedited ms. and notes at Knox College

Available on line unedited manuscript w/ original full documentation of Abraham Lincoln: A Life by Michael Burlingame.

On the Lincoln Studies Center website at Knox College:
Michael Burlingame's long-awaited Abraham Lincoln: A Life, published in 2008 by the Johns Hopkins University Press in two large volumes and nearly 2,000 pages, is believed by many Lincoln scholars to be the most exhaustively researched and fully documented biography of Abraham Lincoln ever written.

The work as originally submitted was even more extensive, but largely because of space limitations, it was considered necessary to condense both the narrative and the accompanying documentation. By agreement with the author and the publisher, and in the interest of giving scholars and other students of Lincoln access to references and sources not appearing in the published version, the Lincoln Studies Center is privileged to present on this site the author's original unedited manuscript. This manuscript is accessible by individual chapters, which are displayed in searchable, read-only PDF format.

The user is advised that the work presented here is copyrighted, that Johns Hopkins University Press reserves all rights, and that this material may not be reproduced without permission.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Misc. notes on The Talisman

In Google books --

bio of Ethelbert Patterson Oliphant, 1803-84, in Biographical and historical catalogue of Washington and Jefferson college ... By Washington and Jefferson College (Washington, Pa.), 1889.

... born Fayette County, Pa., Oct. 4, 1803 ... practiced law Uniontown, Pa., Springfield, Ill., Beaver, Pa., adjutant regiment Black Hawk war of '32, prosecuting atty of Fayette County, Pa., Pennsylvania Legislature, '30-31; clerk in Law Department, Harrisburg, '33-36; Associate Judge Supreme Court, Washington Territory, '61-65; clerk Interior Department, '66-84; married May 13, '40, Elizabeth C. Howe, daughter of Jonas Howe; died May 8, '84. Lawyer.


The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, Volume 4 By Abraham Lincoln

Memorandum: Appointment of Ethelbert P. Oliphant c. April 5, 1861, p 332

Note 332n: Oliphant to Lincoln, July 28, 1859, recalled that "...our first acquaintance and interview, took place in the Spring of 1832 at 'Salem'. ..." fratres miles in Black Hawk War ... asked for appointment in swamp land division of the General Land Office, "Allow me modestly to remark, that I think I am deserving of something better ..." L. appointment him associate justice of SC in Wash Territory

Sunday, December 26, 2010

An Anglican carol, childhood memories and a Christmas eve column in The Irish Times


A piece that reminds me of singing "Dixie" on the schoolbus going to away basketball games when I was growing up ... also of singing some of the same Anglo-Irish carols and hymns she mentions, and listening to the Cambridge festival of lessons and carols on LP records ... and of the complicated attitudes we develop as we realize things that had/still have real value to us were part of an oppressive cultural milieu ... by way of an opinion piece in The Irish Times at ...

Really complicated. Excerpts below:
OPINION: Culturally specific Christmas memories can take a long time to appreciate fully, writes VICTORIA WHITE

Once in Royal David’s city

Stood a lowly cattle shed.. .

THE CLEAR voice of the boy soprano will soar through St Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin this afternoon and on RTÉ Radio 1, sending shivers down the spine of any self-respecting Irish Anglican. The voice of the child raised up against the dark and cold conveys the essence of the Christmas story: the heart-stopping mystery of the birth of a child and the promise of a world in which the weak would be strong because “that Child so dear and gentle/Is our Lord in heaven above”.

As a child, I was sent into the freezing sunroom that had to house the Christmas tree because it was lit with real candles, to sing Once in Royal every Christmas Eve. Back then, I thought every family did exactly the same thing and it took me a long time to work out how culturally specific are my Christmas memories.


Even writing all of this makes me feel like a bit of a freak. I am aware of the hymns’ self-conscious Victoriana, their easy emotion about the little children while real children still starved to death in Ireland. It’s not surprising I’ve spent most of my life playing down my huge legacy of Church of Ireland hymns and traditions. They set me apart from the mainstream and those who integrate best prosper most.

It’s only in recent years I have become aware that I have engaged in a conscious act of suppression. But the emotions are overwhelming. At a carol service the other night Once in Royal had me in tears. “I’m blubbing,” I admitted to the woman beside me. She was as bad, she said: “I just remember hearing this and feeling so safe.”
But it's subtle. And complicated. At least my reaction is complicated, and no doubt specific to a different culture. Needs to be read in its entirety.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

"Across the Blue Mountains" - bluegrass version by Monroe Crossing band from Minnesota

Monroe Crossing has lyrics at and a sound file linked to the home page(click on "on the air" link). Lyrics are in the public domain. Their version isn't as hyper as most bluegrass bands.

See also the biography of Paul Clayton ... The song has what's got to be one of the finest mother-daughter dialog bits anywhere:
One morning, one morning, one morning in May
I heard a married man to a young girl say
Go dress you up pretty Katie and come go with me
across the Blue Mountains to the Allegheny.

I'll buy you a horse, love, and a saddle to ride
I'll buy myself another to ride by your side
We'll stop at every tavern, we'll drink when we're dry
Across the Blue Mountains go my Katie and I.

Well, up spoke her mother, and angry was she then
Saying,, Daughter, oh dear daughter, he's a married man
And there's young men a'plenty more handsome than he
Let him take his own wife to the Allegheny.
But they ride off together in the fourth stanza.

Also a
"Across the Blue Mountains: An Appalachian and Adirondack Field Trip" by Gwilym Davies ... who collected the song from Colleen Cleveland, 37, in 1997 from in New York state and said, "This song was first noted by collectors in Arkansas in 1959. It has since become popular in folk-singing circles in the USA and the Cleveland family may well have learnt the song through this route. The second verse links the song clearly to the British High Germany. The Allegheny mountains are part of the Appalachian chain."

Thursday, December 23, 2010

RTÉ Radio / Céilí House

Céilí House
Céilí House is one of RTÉ Radio's most popular programmes of traditional Irish music and song. You can join in the enjoyment every Saturday night as presenter Kieran Hanrahan and producer Peter Browne travel the length and breadth of Ireland and beyond, in search of a good session to bring each week to the many loyal listeners.

Saturday, 9.02pm on RTÉ Radio 1

Martin Carthy - "John Barleycorn" w/ good closeups of fingerpicking - and Guardian interiew on folk, punk music scenes w/ Norma Waterson and Eliza C.

Beginning at 0:32 ...

Martin Carthy, Norma Waterson and Eliza Carthy talk to Paul ...
Folk's first family tell Paul Morley why they love the music that made them and how the modern idea of folk differs from the movement's beginnings

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Mashup: I.D. Stamper plays "Darling Corey" over a hip hop rhythm track

Tob1 - 86' I.D. Stamper

tob1gfc | November 09, 2010 | 3 likes, 0 dislikes
produced by Tob1


instrumental hip hop Dulcimer I.D. Stamper

Ed Pressnell - Nettie Presnell playing in background

Ed Pressnell Dulcimer Maker
Edd Presnell, a mountain craftsman and native of Watauga County, North Carolina, demonstrates and comments on the construction of a dulcimer. Presnell learned his craft from his father-in-law. Film includes a brief performance on a finished dulcimer by his wife, Nettie. 1973
This 16mm film is archived in the Thomas G. Burton and Jack Schrader collection in the Archives of Appalachia, East Tennesse State University.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Lars Roverud bio / "På einstrenga instrument, med eller utan boge" in Vest-Telemark Blad [Kviteseid]

På einstrenga instrument, med eller utan boge

Artikkelen er publisert 23/06-2007

I ein førehandsomtale av 100-årsfeiringa på bygdetunet i Kviteseid såg eg nyleg i ei skiensavis eit bilete av eit instrument som vart synt fram – eit psalmodikon. På folkemunne gjekk det under namnet «salmedunken».

Det ligg att ein del av desse enkle pedagogiske hjelpemidla kring i bygd og by. I skulemuseumt i Nissedal ligg òg eitt.

Det er spesielt gildt at det ligg eitt på bygdetunet i Kviteseid. Det kalla fram i minnet mitt eit biskopbrev til prestane her i prostiet frå 1830. Eg oppdaga det for 30-35 år sidan i det lokale prestearkivet her.

«Et Intrument Psalmodikon kaldet»

Biskopen skreiv til prestane i prostiet her og opplyste at «Kirkedepartementet har tilstillet mig et Instrument, Psalmodikon kaldet, som paa den simpleste og hensigstmessigste Maade setter Enhver i Stand til at lære sig selv de brugelige Choralmelodier - -.» (Biskopen opplyser vidare at instrumentet òg blir kalla Monachord.)

Så veit me det! Dei trong eit enkelt (simpelt heitte det då) instrument når elevane skulle lære salmemelodiar. Heller ikkje den gongen hadde alle lærarane eit lagleg innebygd «instrument», sjølv om dei kjente til Luthers klare utsegn: – En skolelærer må kunne synge, ellers agter jeg ham ikke synderligen.

Då dette brevet vart sendt frå biskop til prestane i 1830, var kravet om minst ein «fastskole» i prestegjeldet lovfesta. Kviteseid var svært tidleg ute, veit me, fyrst og fremst takka vere den vidgjetne opplysningspresten Windfeldt.

Lars Roverud
Gå til: navigasjon, søk
Lars Roverud (fødd 19. desember 1776, død 26. februar 1850) var ein norsk musikkpedagog og musikkhandlar.

I 1809 opna Roverud den første reine musikkforretninga i Noreg, to år seinare den første notepressa og eit musikkforlag. Roverud var lærar ved katedralskolen i Christiania frå 1819, og han studerte songpedagogikk i Leipzig i 1819 og i Stockholm i 1828.

I 1825 vart Roverud kjend med eit dansk salmodikon. Han forbedra dette og utvikla eit eige siffer-notesystem. Frå 1835 reiste han rundt i landet og underviste lærarar i kyrkjesong og salmodikonspel, frå 1841 med statsstønad. Salmodikonet vart snart brukt i skolen rundt om i heile landet.

---------">on NPsF website

Det norska psalmodikonet och dess skapare
I Norge, liksom i de övriga nordiska länderna,var de "lärde" mycket bekymrade över musikens och sångens enformighet i kyrkan vid århundradeskiftet mellan 1700- och 1800-talet. För att belysa situationen vill jag citera från en skrift utgiven 1815 i Christiania (Oslo), "I de flesta kyrkor finns ingen orgel. Sången av 50 känner en not, de skulle ha musikkännedom men var skulle de få den ifrån? De flesta sjunger kyrkomelodierna efter sin egen smak med darrande toner och ju högre och starkare de kunna skråla desto bättre." Detta var ett bland flera liknande uttalanden på den tiden. Skriften var författad av den kände sångpedagogen och kantorn Lars Roverud (1777-1850). Det var han som skulle komma att stå i centrum för utvecklingen av det norska psalmodikonet.

År 1819 företog han en resa till Leipzig för att göra sig känd med "en i denna Byes Borgaskola oftast använd undervisningsmodell i sång.." som han själv skriver.

Under samma tidsperiod hade man liknande problem i Danmark med kyrkosången. Det pedagogiska sällskapets sångkommitté kommer fram till ett mycket enkelt instrument, en så kallad "enstränger" eller Monokord. ...
Translation by Google:
In Norway, as in the other Nordic countries, where they "learned" very concerned about music and song monotony of the Church at the turn of the century in 1700 - and 1800's. För att belysa situationen vill jag citera från en skrift utgiven 1815 i Christiania (Oslo), "I de flesta kyrkor finns ingen orgel. Sången av 50 känner en not, de skulle ha musikkännedom men var skulle de få den ifrån? De flesta sjunger kyrkomelodierna efter sin egen smak med darrande toner och ju högre och starkare de kunna skråla desto bättre." To illustrate the situation, let me quote from a book published in 1815 in Christiania (Oslo), "In most churches there is no organ. The song of 50 feel the notes, they would have music knowledge, but where would they get it from? Most singing church songs after their own taste with a trembling tones, and the taller and stronger they could scream, the better. " Detta var ett bland flera liknande uttalanden på den tiden. This was one among several similar statements at the time. Skriften var författad av den kände sångpedagogen och kantorn Lars Roverud (1777-1850). Scripture was written by the famous singing teacher and cantor Lars Roverud (1777-1850). Det var han som skulle komma att stå i centrum för utvecklingen av det norska psalmodikonet. It was he who was to be central to the development of the Norwegian psalmodikonet.

År 1819 företog han en resa till Leipzig för att göra sig känd med "en i denna Byes Borgaskola oftast använd undervisningsmodell i sång.." In 1819 he undertook a trip to Leipzig in order to make himself known by "one of this Bye Borgarskola usually use the teaching model of the song .." som han själv skriver. as he writes.

Under samma tidsperiod hade man liknande problem i Danmark med kyrkosången. During the same period had similar problems in Denmark with church singing. Det pedagogiska sällskapets sångkommitté kommer fram till ett mycket enkelt instrument, en så kallad "enstränger" eller Monokord. The educational society song committee comes to a very simple instrument, called a "G-string" or Monokord. ...

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Alberti bass

Wikimedia Commons

According to Wikipedia, an Alberti bass is "a kind of broken chord or arpeggiated accompaniment, where the notes of the chord are presented in the order lowest, highest, middle, highest. This pattern is then repeated.[1] The broken chord pattern helps to create a smooth, sustained, flowing sound on the piano."


[1] ^ a b "Alberti Bass." Baker's Student Encyclopedia of Music. Ed. Laura Kuhn. Schirmer-Thomson Gale, 1999.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Det kimer nu til julefest

Helene Bøksle - Det Kimer Nu Til Julefest (The Bells Of Christmas)
Christmas TV video 2006,(with kind permission of BR). Norwegian Christmas song ("The Bells are ringing for Christmas") arranged and played by Kelpie (Grundtvig, Balle/ trad. arr. Blodig, I.V. Melrose)

Det kimer nu til julefest
Det kimer nu til julefest
Erling Jan Sørensens
med improvisation af
forspil, mellemspil og efterspil
og spillet af Erling selv.

Tekst: Martin Luther 1535.
N.F.S. Grundtvig 1817. Bearbejdet 1852.
Melodi: Carl Chr. Nic. Balle 1850


Det kimer nu til julefest,
det kimer for den høje gæst,
som steg til lave hytter ned
med nytårsgaver: fryd og fred.

prairieland dulcimer strings

The Prairieland Dulcimer Strings are a beginner-friendly group of (mostly) Appalachian dulcimer players who meet on the first and third Thursdays of the month in Springfield, Illinois. We meet at Atonement Lutheran Church, 2800 West Jefferson, on the left just past Veterans Parkway on Ill. 97-125. For information, contact Pete Ellertsen, 2125 South Lincoln, Springfield 62704, email peterellertsen [at] yahoo dot com.

Pictures of some of our activities below.

Taking a break at Traditional Music (Bluegrass) Festival, Lincoln's New Salem State Historic Site, September 2010:

Talking dulcimers with a historical interpreter at the bluegrass festival:

Providing background music at Sangamon County Historical Society's "Cemetery Walk," Oak Ridge Cemetery, Springfield, October 2008:

Champaign, a.k.a. "Hissy Britches," gives his endorsement to a lined dulcimer case by western Illinois luthier Steve Endsley:

"Wie Schön Leuchtet" [Bach cantata - also chorale in Plattdeutsch] / "Rejoice, Rejoice, This Happy Morn" [Os er i dag en Frelser født]

Bach, J.S. - BWV 1 - 1. Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern
Cantata for the Feast of the Annunciation (25 March)
Münchener Bach-Chor
Münchener Bach-Orchester
Karl Richter

Rejoice, Rejoice, This Happy Morn [Morning Star in Concordia Hymnal]

Rejoice, Rejoice, This Happy Morn
Words: Os er idag en Frelser foedt, Birgitte Cathrine Boye (1742-1824), 1778
Translated by Carl Doving (1867-1937), 1911
Hymn #79 from The Lutheran Hymnal (St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1941). Os Er Idag En Frelser Foedt
Words: Birgitte Cathrine Boye (1742-1824), 1778
Translated by Carl Doving (1867-1937), 1911

MIDI files on Hymns and Carols of Christmas website and CyberHymnal at

Post by Sarah Wilson — Dec. 19, 2009 - "Christmas Hymns Off the Beaten Track" on Lutheran Forum blog at ...
... Finally there is yet another set of words to the tune "Wie Schoen Leuchtet" that appears no fewer than five times in the LBW. I first learned it as the Easter hymn "He Is Arisen! Glorious Word!" (LBW 138) and was delighted to find a Christmas counterpart in "Rejoice, Rejoice This Happy Morn" (LBW 43). Its slightly trickier tune fits it better for a substitute liturgical hymn than a free-standing one, besides the fact that it is only one verse:

Rejoice, rejoice this happy morn, A Savior unto us is born,
The Christ, the Lord of glory!
His lowly birth at Bethlehem The angels from on high proclaim
And sing redemption’s story!
My soul, extol God’s great favor, bless Him ever,
For salvation; Give Him praise and adoration!

If you are completely captivated by this slightly trickier tune, you're in luck: a full four-verse Christmas hymn to "Wie Schoen Leuchtet" can be found a few pages later as "All Hail to You, O Blessed Morn" (LBW 73), which lays out the whole work of God and wraps up with our participation in it: "...Now all who will on him believe, Who follow him, he will receive And as his flock will gather. He will guide us, Walk beside us, And uphold us, Till in heaven We shall be like him forever!"

Merry Christmas!Choral "Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern" auf Plattdeutsch

Evangelisches Gesangbuch Nr. 45
Orgel: Lutz Trojan.
Gottesdienst am 25. Januar 2009 in der evangelisch-lutherischen St. Petrikirche in Langen bei Bremerhaven. Gottesdienst auf Platt.

Plattdeutsche Übersetzung
"Wo hell schient us de nee'e Steern, een Gnaadenlicht von Gott, denn Herrn,
lücht daghell uns to Mööten!
Du Königssohn ut Davids Huus, du all de Welt een tröösten Gruuß
wull fründlich mi ok grööten!
Faat mi, laat mi to di kaamen in dien'n Naamen,
di to ehren: All mien Sinnen to di kehren."

Hochdeutscher Text:
"Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern
voll Gnad und Wahrheit von dem Herrn,
die süße Wurzel Jesse!
Du Sohn Davids aus Jakobs Stamm,
mein König und mein Bräutigam,
hast mir mein Herz besessen,
lieblich, freundlich,
schön und herrlich, groß und ehrlich,
reich von Gaben,
hoch und sehr prächtig erhaben!"

Als Niederdeutsch oder Plattdeutsch (Nederdüütsch, Plattdüütsch) werden die im Norden Deutschlands verbreiteten Mundarten bezeichnet, die nicht von der zweiten oder hochdeutschen Lautverschiebung erfasst wurden. Sie gehören - mit den hochdeutschen und niederländischen Mundarten - zum Dialektkontinuum der kontinentalen westgermanischen Mundarten. Weiter weisen die niederdeutschen Dialekte Ähnlichkeiten mit dem Englischen und dem Friesischen auf.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

zither - misc links / Wachet auf & Bach's Magnificat

Bach: Wachet auf ruft uns die Stimme; Magnificat BWV 243
Johann Sebastian Bach (Composer), Karl Richter (Conductor), Munich Bach Orchestra (Orchestra), Edith Mathis (Performer), Maria Stader (Performer), Ernst Haefliger (Performer), Ernst Hafliger (Performer), Peter Schreier (Performer) | Format: Audio CD

Label: Deutsche Grammophon
ASIN: B000001G7W
In-Print Editions: MP3 Download

Cantata No. 140, "Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme," BWV 140 (BC A166)
Composed by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performed by Munich Bach Orchestra
with Peter Schreier, Edith Mathis, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau
Conducted by Karl Richter

Magnificat, for 5 voices, 5-part chorus, orchestra & continuo in D major, BWV 243 (BC E14)
Composed by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performed by Munich Bach Orchestra
with Maria Stader, Ernst Hafliger, Hertha Topper, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau
Conducted by Karl Richter

File:Woman with cittern 1677 by Pieter van Slingeland.jpg

A cittern, labeled cythara Germanica et Italica to distinguish it from other instruments designated by cythara.

Veit Bach (* um 1550; † 8. März 1619 in Wechmar) war der musikalische Urahn der weit verzweigten deutschen Musikerfamilie Bach. Er wurde wahrscheinlich in oder bei Pressburg geboren, war Müllergeselle und wanderte im Laufe des Schmalkaldischen Krieges nach Ungarn aus, was nach dem damaligen Sprachgebrauch auch Teile des heutigen Österreich und der Slowakei einschloss. Vor der Gegenreformation flüchtete er nach Wechmar in Thüringen, wo er als Müller arbeitete und nach den Aufzeichnungen von Johann Sebastian Bach (Ursprung der musicalisch-Bachischen Familie, 1735) zum Zeitvertreib die Cythringen, eine Art von Cister spielte.

Diese Datei ist unter der Creative Commons-Lizenz Namensnennung-Weitergabe unter gleichen Bedingungen 3.0 Unported lizenziert.



Instrument type: Hamburger Cithrinchen
Origin: Hamburg?, Germany
Year: early 18th C. (1700 - 1750)
Contributor: Frank Nordberg

The cittern was very popular in 19th C. Sweden and its popularity was undoubtedly fueled by Bellman's legendary status. The instruments the Swedes played were of course mainly those large ones with extra bass strings (like the one Bellman used later in his career) but even so: this is where it all started.


DULCIMER PLAYER'S FORUM :: Dulcimers :: Scheitholt :: The Scheitholts

Dulci-Psaltery (0 - 10 Posts)

Re: The Scheitholts« Reply #4 on Jan 13, 2008, 11:22am »

The tecnical definition of zitter (an etymological trial to find clearance in the early 20th century) is not singular but twice : fretboardzither ( Scheitholt, Hummel, Dulcimer, Konzertzither, etc.) and Halszither (with neck). If you google Halszither you will find more than 600 points.

Re: The Scheitholts« Reply #5 on Jan 14, 2008, 8:18am »NikitaModerator
In the center of Switzerland you still find a tradition of "Halszither", especially in the area of Kriens (where the instrument is guitar shaped, with - if I remember well - 4 double strings tuned in an open tuning, like DGBD, a bit like the 5-strings banjo). In Emmental, it is shaped like the irish bouzouki, round and flat-backed, also with 4 double strings (sometimes 5), and with an open tuning. it's called "Hanottere". And we have also all kinds of Zithers (flat table instruments, unnecked) : Chord-Zither, Violin-Zither (made to be played with a bow), Konzert-Zither (the one of the movie the 3rd man)... it used to be very popular in the beginning of the 20th century : quite fast to learn, not too expensive, and you could by them through the catalogues sent to every farm... Paolo Imola from the Bern area(a great hackbrett and clarinet player) teaches them, and makes special score for the Chord-Zither : a sheet of paper you put under the melody strings, with a pattern : you follow the drawing, and it gives the melody...

From the book: Historia de gentibus septentrionalibus
Date: 1555

Gáts Tibor
citerakészítő, a népművészet mestere

The zither (citera in Hungarian) was a very popular instrument in Hungary around the turn of the century and in the second half of the 19th century as well. Its exact origin is unknown but is form and structure is similar to those of the old Austrian and German zithers. The French Épinette des Vosges, the Norwegian Langleik, and the Swedish Hummels also come from the same family. The Hungarian version is very diversified in its form and size, but the tuning, basic features and manner of playing are very similar.

The word "citara" is derived from the Greek word kithara, an instrument from classical times used in Ancient Greece and later throughout the Roman Empire and in the Arab world (Arabic قيثارة); the word "guitar" derives from "kithara" as well.

See also : [Hung. w/ cognates in other languages)


File:Britannica Cithara Phorminx.jpg

This is a file from the Wikimedia Commons. Information from its description page there is shown below. Commons is a freely licensed media file repository. You can help.

Local tourism stats for 2008, 2009, 2010 (Jan-Sept)

Historic-site attendanceJanuary-September2008, 2009 (Lincoln bicentennial year), 2010
Dana-Thomas House: 27,589; 19,731; 22,780
Lincoln-Herndon Law Office: 23,930; 39,363; 29,877
Lincoln’s New Salem: 331,821; 346,958; 335,199
Lincoln’s Tomb: 233,856; 327,805; 242,962
Old State Capitol: 84,557; 143,895; 97,752;
Vachel Lindsay Home: 2,081; 2,165; 3,293
Vietnam Veterans Memorial: 168,196; 236,197; 144,215.
Source: Illinois Historic Preservation Agency (figures for the Lincoln Home National Historic Site were not yet available)

Friday, December 10, 2010

Quempas [Quem pastores] / Kommt und laßt uns Christum ehren - Paul Gerhardt

[also here's a link to Singing the Faith - a Missouri Synod history of Lutheran hymnody]

also a feature story 'Tis the season to be German by Louise East in Irish Times, Dec. 11, 2001.

Quem pastores laudavere - Anon., ca. 1450 -- Kommt und laßt uns Christum ehren, Paul Gerhardt, 1667 -- He Whom Shepherds Once Came Praising, Lutheran Book of Worship 68, 1978

History in The Quempas Goes ’Round by Edward W. Klammer on the Good Shepherd Institute Website of Pastoral Theology and Sacred Music for the Church in Fort Wayne, Ind.
“The Quempas goes ’round” is the expression which has been used in Silesia for several hundred years to describe the delightful, worshipful, and truly beautiful custom of Quempas singing which dates back to the Middle Ages. At midnight on Christmas Eve, when the congregation had assembled for worship, four groups of boys proceeded to the four corners of the church to announce to the congregation from north, south, east, and west that “Heaven’s all-glorious King is born.” As soon as they had reached their places, group one began to sing the first phrase of the Quempas carol, “He whom joyous shepherds praised,” followed by the second group singing the second phrase, and so on. After the fourth phrase the mixed choir sang the first stanza of the Nunc angelorum, “The glorious angels came today.” Then the congregation joined both choirs in the singing of the refrain “God’s own Son is born a child.” In this manner all four stanzas of the Quempas were sung. This constituted the principal item of carol singing on Christmas Eve; in fact, the service was not considered complete without the singing of the Quempas. ...

Quem pastores laudavere, CCBNY Christmas Midnight Mass, 2007

Christ Church Bronxville performs Michael Praetorius' Quem pastores laudavere during their Christmas Midnight Mass, 2007.

Dresdner Kreuzchor Part 4: Quempas

Anthem/antiphony between children, choir and the church (They sing parts of it in latin and parts in german)

Two excerpts:

Quem pastores laudavere
quibus angeli dixere
absit vobis iam timere
natus est rex gloriae

Große Freud und gute Mär
wolln wir euch offenbaren,die euch und aller Weltsoll widerfahren."
Gottes Sohn ist Mensch geborn, ist Mensch geborn,
hat versöhnt des Vaters Zorn, des Vaters Zorn.

Hymns and Carols of Christmas website
Latin text and MIDI file -

Words: Authorship Unknown, 14th century, Hoenfurth Manuscript

Music: "Quem Pastores Laudavere," German Melody, Breslau, 1555
MIDI / Noteworthy Composer / XML
Meter: 88 87
With link to Sheet Music and Text [in Latin and English] from J. H. Hopkins, ed., Great Hymns of the Church Compiled by the Late Right Reverend John Freeman Young (New York: James Pott & Company, 1887), #53, p. 84.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

music theory on the web


*Scales (and modes)

Key signatures



Chords in musical practice (chorale/block & arpegiated)

Basic Harmonic Function


Saturday, December 04, 2010

Et barn er født i Betlehem -- sheet music and MIDI files of Puer Natus in Bethlehem from Wittenberger Gesangbuch and Ludvig Lindeman's arrangement

"Et barn er født i Betlehem" words in Danish ... and English translation "A Child is Born in Bethlehem" ... the English version has links to MIDI files and sheet music of "Puer Natus in Bethlehem" from Wittenberger Gesangbuch. Sheet music from J. H. Hopkins, ed., Great Hymns of the Church Compiled by the Late Right Reverend John Freeman Young (New York: James Pott & Company, 1887), # 57, p. 89. Text in Latin and English.

MIDI file of the Ludvig Lindeman setting (the one in Mike and Else's Norwegian-American songbook) is available at (click on "SPILL MELODIEN" [play melody]).

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Monochord - notes

--- Whipple Museum Cambridge University

The monochord was used as a musical teaching tool in the 11th century by Guido of Arezzo (c. 990-1050), the musician who invented the first useful form of musical notation. By laying out the notes of a scale on a monochord, he was able to teach choir boys how to sing chant and also to detect incorrect chanting. A monochord-like instrument called the Tromba Marina was used for practical music making between the 15th and 18th centuries. The monochord was also used for tuning instruments and was still in use in the 19th century for tuning organs. More commonly, the monochord was, and still is, used for demonstration purposes.

Whipple Museum of the History of Science, University of Cambridge


Google Books

Universal harmony and the Scientific Revolution:
Books concerning music in the Whipple collection

Relationships between music, mathematics and science have strongly influenced the thinking of music theorists and philosophers since ancient times when it was found that music's natural consonances and scales were the product of simple whole-number ratios.

In Greece followers of the philosopher Pythagoras (c. 570–c. 495 BC) identified musical intervals with the ratios of lengths of strings. The difference in length between two strings sounding music's most pleasing interval, the octave, was found to be in the ratio 2:1. Similarly, music's second most pleasing interval, the 5th, equated with the ratio 3:2, whilst the 4th equated with 4:3.


Tim Eggington

pix: A monochord: This is a musical instrument for measuring relationships between musical intervals. Since antiquity monochords have been used to demonstrate the mathematical principles underlying music. In this illustration from Robert Fludd's Utriusque cosmin, a monochord is mathematically divided to achieve a two-octave scale. Interval names indicated in Greek and Latin.

============ The LoveToKnow Free Online Encyclopedia is based on what many consider to be the best encyclopedia ever written: the eleventh edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica, first published in 1911. ...

MONOCHORD (Gr. µovSXopOov,;caw :o p µovaucos) : med. Lat.

monochordum), an instrument having a single string, used by the ancient Greeks for tuning purposes and for measuring the scale arithmetically. The monochord, as it travelled westwards during the middle ages, consisted of a long board, or narrow rectangular box, over which was stretched the single string; along the edge of the sound-board was drawn a line divided according to simple mathematical ratios to show all the intervals of the scale. A movable bridge was so contrived as to slide along over the string and stop it at will at any of the points marked. The vibrating length of string, being thus determined as on the guitar, lute, violin, &c., yielded a note of absolutely correct pitch on being twanged by fingers or plectrum. In order the better to seize the relation of various intervals, a second string tuned to the same note, but out of reach of the bridge, was sometimes added to give the fundamental. (K. S.)

Valdis Muktupāvels
"Musical Instruments in the Baltic Region: Historiography and Traditions" (excerpt)

An instrument whose origins are strongly linked to musical practices in northern Protestant countries is the monochord (moldpill, laulupill, laulukannel, harmoonik EE, ģīga, ģingas, džindžas, manihorka, meldiņu spēle, akerdonis LV, manikarka LT). It is said to have been reinvented by the Swedish Lutheran pastor Johannes Dillner in 1829 based on the Greek monochord. Swedish authorities approved the monochord’s use as a simple and easy-to-make instrument in parishes that did not possess their own church organ. Since it aided the learning and accompaniment of sung psalms, it was named “psalmodicon.” The instrument was actively propagated from the 1830s to the 1860s, and it spread, in addition to Scandinavia and Finland, throughout Estonia, the Lutheran regions of Latvia and the western Lutheran region of Lithuania. The psalmodicon was above all a church musical instrument, but apart from that context, it also turned out to be good for use in secular musical activities such as choral singing, music education and even to produce dance music.


Harald Herresthal [review of ...?] Toomas Siitan: Die Choralreform in den Ostseeprovinzen in der ersten Hälfte des 19. Jahrhunderts. Ein Beitrag zur Geschichte des protestantischen Kirchengesangs in Estland und Livland. Diss. (Edition IME. Reihe I: Schriften. Hrsg. im Auftrag des Instituts für deutsche Kultur im östlichen Europa e.v., Bonn.) Sinzig: Studio Verlag,

Avhandlingen tar for seg russifiseringsprosessen i årene mellom 1832 og 1847, og hvordan den lutherske kirke forsøkte å stå i mot propagandaen fra den russisk-ortodokse kirke. Siitan gir videre en detaljert skildring av sangundervisningen i skolene og arbeidet med å kvalifisere lærere som kunne utbre de riktige melodiformene og utrydde de mer ornamenterte folkelige sangformer. Forskjellige instrumenter som dreielire, fiolin og psalmodikon ble trukket inn som hjelpeinstrumenter. Melodiene ble notert i sifferskrift. Orglet, som ble betraktet som et mindre egnet instrument i reformprosessen, er omtalt, og Siitan har laget en historisk oversikt over orglets utbredelse i de østersjøiske provinsene.
En oversikt og vurdering av trykte og [140-141] STM Svensk tidskrift för musikforskning

Svenska samfundet för musikforskning

================== FAQ page of the blog The Celestial Monochord: Journal of the Institute for Astrophysics and the Hillbilly Blues

pix of Robert Fludd's monochord (1618) and link to blogger Kurt Gegenhuber - re permissions, etc.


The Harvard dictionary of music By Don Michael Randel = google books
ment. clavichord - In the Middle Ages, it was used for theoretical demonstations, for the training of singers, and for tuning instruments ... As late as the 19th century, a metal-stringed monochord was still in common use by organ tuners, and was still in common use by organ tuners, and it was used by acousticians and ethnomusicologists into the 20th. See also Tromba marina.

The Whipple Museum's collection includes a 19th-century example from the Wheatstone laboratory, King's College London

Adkins, Cecil D. The Theory and Practice of the Monochord. (Ph.D. diss., State University of Iowa,. 1963).

bio The Curt Sachs Award 1999 Händel-Haus in Halle (Saale) The clavichord, documented as from 1404­, goes back to the monochord, a mathematical instrument used in the times of the ancient Greeks.

Michel, Andreas. “Scheitholt und frühe Formen der Kratzzither.” Studia Instrumentorum Musicae. Musikinstrumenten-Museum der Universität Leipzig 2001.

RTÉ Radio - podcasts - Documentary on One

Documentary on One

The Fiddler's Frenzy (21:28)
In The Fiddler's Frenzy, Aoife Nic Cormaic presents a bi-lingual feature about fiddle players and the magic of fiddling - clár dhátheangach a bhreathnaíonn ar an ndraíocht a bhaineann le ceol na fidile.

The fiddle is one of the most popular instruments in Ireland and evidence suggests that this has been the case throughout history - indeed there is evidence of bowed instruments in
Dublin dating back even as far as the 11th century.

Over the centuries the form of the fiddle (or violin) has developed and the one now seen played, only emerged in Italy in 1550. But its popularity has never waned and tin fiddles were even used in some areas when wooden ones were harder to come by.

For some people the attraction of the fiddle is its closeness to the human voice, its range and adaptability. It is also a very beautiful instrument, which is equally at home playing jazz, bluegrass, classical music, folk or traditional music.

In the documentary, Aoife Nic Cormaic talks to fiddle players - including Martin Hayes, Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh and Charlie Lennon about the attraction of the fiddle.

Listeners will also hear voices from the archives speaking about their love of fiddles and fiddle music.

Aoife also talks to fiddle maker Kieran Crehan, and to writers and folklorists about the fact and the fiction associated with the instrument.

Produced by Aoife Nic Cormaic. Production supervision by Lorelei Harris.

"The Fiddler's Frenzy" was first broadcdast on the 5th March 2003.

It was part of a short season of bi-lingual documentaries called 'Fusion' in the Documentary on One slot on RTÉ Radio 1.

An Irish radio documentary from RTÉ Radio 1, Ireland - Documentary on One - the home of Irish radio documentaries

Also (partial listing - click here for directory):

Even the Walls were Sweatin' - A radio documentary about dance halls and the ballroom in Charlestown, Co Mayo

Like Feathers on the Breath of God - A documentary about the power of hymns by Séamus Kelly

The Tar Road to Sligo - A documentary about musicians Thom Moore and Vincent Harrison and their relationship to Ireland and America.

Behind the mic - A radio documentary about a young hip hop Irish act from Ballymun, Dublin, Urban Intelligence.

The Glen Road to Carrick - A radio documentary about the fiddle player Paul O'Shaughnessy

Bachelors Last Waltz - A radio documentary about Sunday dancing and dancing at the crossroads.

House of Song - A radio documentary about the last professional song collector in Ireland, Tom Munnelly.

Gael Linn - A radio documentary celebrating fifty years of Gael Linn.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Karan Casey and John Doyle - Exiles Return - lyrics of "Sailing Off to the Yankee Land"

Mountain Stage host Larry Groce chats with Irish guitarist/singer/songwriter John Doyle Backstage at Mountain Stage:

Review on Music Road blog by Kerry Dexter "writer, producer, photographer, manager, teacher, storyteller

The dozen tracks are all stories of loss and longing and leave taking in one way or another, and in Casey’s and Doyle’s hands they become companions on the journey of figuring out one’s own experiences with these emotions. They are all not positive tales, exactly. ... Sailing Off to the Yankee Land tells of emigration in famine times, a song with an edgy sentiment set to a jaunty tune.


Frank Harte: vocals

Donal Lunny: bouzouki, guitar

In fact, the companion booklet, which contains extensive historical notes as well as full lyrics of all the songs, has become so thick it is difficult to put it back underneath the little plastic tabs of the jewel case without fraying the cover. A small price to pay, to be sure, for the motherload of information within. Some of the songs, of course, are fairly well known, standards like "Skibbereen" or "Paddy's Green Shamrock Shore" for instance, but Harte also includes some lesser known gems like "Sailing Off to the Yankee Land." The concluding "City of Chicago" is a lovely contemporary song penned by Luka Bloom (Barry Moore) which, despite its newer vintage, fits very nicely and appropriately with the rest of the collection.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin

Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin and Mel Mercier at a charity event in Limerick's St. Mary's Cathedral in September 2009

"Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin is one of Ireland's best known musicians. He has over ten CD recordings on release of his own compositions and arrangements performed by the Irish Chamber Orchestra under his direction. As a pianist, he is widely acknowledged as having originated a unique Irish piano style out of an Irish traditional base."

Website at

"Black Joak March" on harpsichord - 1980 on TG4 - Gaelic intro w/subtitles

Thursday, November 11, 2010

New Salem workshops on 1830s-appropriate music

Emailed tonight to members of the Prairieland Dulcimer Strings, Springfield.

Hi everybody -

Our off-season music workshops at New Salem got off to a good start last week. We had a half dozen people there, and we decided on an interesting approach for the December, February and March meetings.

(I'm getting back to you a little late because I was in Minnesota for a funeral at the beginning of the week, and I'm mailing everyone on the list because I think more people might be interested in what we decided to do with the workshops. If you missed the first one, it's still not too late to start.)

After kicking a couple of ideas around for a few minutes, we decided to go through Ralph Lee Smith and Madeline MacNeil's "Songs and Tunes of the Wilderness Road." It's a Mel Bay book, and it's available for $10.16 at and $15 directly from Ralph's website at ...

Ralph is literally the guy who wrote the book on the Appalachian dulcimer's history. In fact, he's written several of them! "Wilderness Road" is one of the best short histories of the instrument available anywhere, it it has tablature for a good dozen songs that are appropriate for New Salem. (Some of the oldtimers in our Thursday night Prairieland Dulcimer Strings group will recognize the "Devil's Nine Questions" that Joyce Cary and I used to sing.) An awful lot of the early settlers, including Abraham Lincoln's forebears, came down the Wilderness Road through Virginia and up through Cumberland Gap into Kentucky on their way to the lower Midwest. It's also where the dulcimer was developed, so we'll learn a lot from reading it.

We also liked "Songs and Tunes of the Widerness Road" because it's such a good introduction to the old open modal tunings ... DAA (Ionian), DAC (Aeolian) and DAG (Dorian). Ralph explains them clearly, and he has some beautiful songs in all three. There's one, maybe two, in DAD (Mixolydian), too. In fact, some of our group were especially interested in learning more about DAA. Ralph's book will tell us how.

So we kind of set as our "homework" for the next session, at 10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 4, to order the book and read up a little on the history and the tunings.

Another book that's good on the traditional technique and modal tunings is Jean Ritchie's "Dulcimer Book." Her tablature is a step down from Ralph's -songs are in the key of C instead of D - but the intervals are the same. And the technique is, too. Between the two of them, they offer a good supplement to chord-melody playing that brings out the traditional voice of the dulcimer.

I'm attaching lyrics of a song that has a strong connection with New Salem. It's one of several that John Armstrong, son of Jack Armstrong of Clary's Grove who got in the famous wrestling match with Lincoln, sang for Edgar Lee Masters on a visit back to the Sangamon River country, and Masters felt like he was "re-creating the past of the deserted village (New Salem) for me." It's called "Tipping it up to Nancy" (or the "Old Woman of Wexford"), and there's dulcimer tab available on the Digital Tradition website at:;ttMARBONE3.html

If you're like me and need to hear a song before you play it, YouTube has a version by the Clancy Brothers in concert that's pretty close to the same melody, altho' with slightly different words. Link here

The song also comes up in "Huckleberry Finn," so it's right in our historical period. There are several versions floating around, so I combined a few of them for my talks and performances.

If you want to get a feel for the way DAA and DAD relate to each other, you can do it by playing "Tipping it up to Nancy." Just click on "Dulcimer tab" and choose the "Ionian AAD" button for DAA and "Ionian DAD" for DAD (the two at the upper right of the "experimental dulcimer tab" directory). Print out both, play them in the appropriate tunings and you'll get a feel for where the notes are in the two D tunings.

It's a fun song, anyway. Mike Anderson sings another version, also attested in Illinois, called "There Was a Woman from Slab City." I think it'll be a good one for New Salem, also after Christmas for our Thursday night sessions of the Prairieland Dulcimer Strings in Springfield.

- Pete

Stuart Thayer - circus & minstrel shows

Stuart Thayer, Traveling Showmen: The American Circus Before the Civil War. Detroit: Astley & Ricketts, 1997.

Reference #6 is to David Carlyon, Dan Rice's Inspirational Project: The Nineteenth-Century Circus Clown and Middle Class Formation. Unpublished PhD dissertation, Northwestern University, 1993. viz. Thayer 53n.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

"Clar de Kitchen" - minstrel show origins

Burnt Cork and Tambourines
A Directory of American Minstrelsy

Edited by William L. Slout and dedicated to the late Charles Crain, actor, director and longtime friend, who insisted I compile it. "Charlie, rest in peace." Copyright © 2005 by William L. Slout. All rights reserved.

Excerpt from "Early History of Negro Minstrelsy," by Col. T. Allson Brown.

* * *

George Nichols, the clown, attached many years to Purdy Brown’s Theatre and Circus of the South and West, was also among the first of burnt cork gentry. Nichols was a man of no education, yet he was the author of many anecdotes, stories, verses, etc. He was original. He would compose the verses for his comic songs within ten minutes of the time of his appearance before the audience. His “flights of fancy” and “flashes of wit” were truly astonishing and highly amusing. Nichols first sang “Jim Crow” as clown in 1834, afterwards as a Negro. He first conceived the idea from a French darkie, a banjo player, known from New Orleans to Cincinnati as Picayune Butler—a copper colored gentleman, who gathered many a picayune by singing “Picayune Butler is Going Away,” accompanying himself on his four- stringed banjo. An old darkie of New Orleans, known as “Old Corn Meal,” furnished Nichols with many airs, which he turned to account. This old Negro sold Indian meal for a living. He might be seen from morning till night with his cart and horse. He frequently stopped before Bishop’s celebrated hotel and sang a number of Negro melodies. He possessed a fine falsetto and baritone voice. Corn Meal picked up many bits and pieces for his singing.

A brother to Arch Madden, the clown, sang Negro songs on a raised platform at the old Vauxhall Garden in New York in 1828, one refrain of his songs reading,
Come, brudder, let us go off to Hayti.
There we be as grand as Gen. Lafayette.

He also sang Negro songs at the Military Garden, kept by Gen. Storms, on the southwest corner of Broadway and Prince Street, New York.

Bob Farrell, an actor, sang “Zip Coon,” composed by Nichols. Lewis Hyel, of Brown’s Company, sang “Roley Boley” by Nichols. Nichols first sang “Clar de Kitchen.” This song he arranged from hearing it sung by the Negro firemen on the Mississippi River. The tune of “Zip Coon” was taken from a rough jig dance, called “Natchez Under the Hill,” where the boatmen, river pirates, gamblers and courtesans congregated for the enjoyment of a regular hoe-down in the old time. Sam Tatnall, the equestrian, sang “Back Side of Albany.” John and Frank Whittaker sang “Coal Black Rose” in 1830. Bill Keller, a low comedian of Philadelphia, was the original “Coal Black Rose.” John Clements, leader of the orchestra for Duffy & Forrest, composed the music. George Washington Dixon created a furor by singing this song; also “Long- Tailed Blue,” “Lubla Rosa,” and other plantation songs at the Chatham Theatre, New York, under the management of Flynn in 1829, when Sloman commenced singing buffo songs. Dixon commenced singing buffo at the Albany Theatre in 1830. In July, 1830, he was at the Park Theatre, New York, announced as “The celebrated American buffo singer,” and continued to get his name at the head of the bills. ...

The Circus Roots of Negro Minstrelsy

Stuart Thayer, American Circus Anthology, Essays of the Early Years, arranged and edited by William L. Slout.Copyright © 2005 by Stuart Thayer and William L. Slout. All rights reserved.

* * *

Now let us turn to the thesis of this paper, as embodied in its title, and that is the circus ring as the source of minstrelsy. To do this we must first examine the place of the comic song in the arenic performance, for it was as singers, rather than dancers or instrumentalists that the early performers of what became minstrelsy presented themselves. The art is almost as old as the American circus itself. As early as 1799 there is record of a song being sung in the ring, though it was not comic, nor was it done by the company’s clown. It was, in fact, an aberration, as we don’t find another singer in the ring until 1817. And we don’t see a comic song called that until 1821, this presented by a man dressed as a woman. James West’s Circus of that year had two singers on its roster, one comic, one not. In 1823 a Mister Roberts sang a comic song in the program of the Price &. Simpson Circus, but it was not until the following year that we find a clown offering comic songs. This was Hugh Lindsay, who made a distinction in his autobiography between acting the clown and singing comic songs.

* * *

[George] Nichols was a most unusual entertainer. T. Allston Brown in his history of Negro minstrelsy, which ran for two years in the New York Clipper, said of him: “George Nichols, the clown, attached for many years to Purdy Brown’s Theatre and Circus of the South and West, was also among the first of burnt cork gentry. Nichols was a man of no education, yet he was the author of many anecdotes, stories, verses, etc. He was original. He would compose the verses for his comic songs within ten minutes of the time of his appearance before the audience.”
To this point we have made a distinction between comic songs and Negro songs, but in his 1833 advertisements J. Purdy Brown erased the distinction, announcing as he did that Bob Farrell would sing the comic song “Zip Coon.” This was another of Nichols compositions, as was “Clare de Kitchen,” which William Creighton sang in the same circus that same month. Both of these songs became staples of minstrel shows, and, interestingly, represented characters from the opposite ends of the Afro-American existence, as seen by white persons.

Zip Coon was a street-wise urban character, whose dress mimicked that of the white dandies of the day, yet was a burlesque of that garb. In the words of Hans Nathan, he was a “Broadway Swell.” The tails of his coat were longer, his top hat was larger, his shoes were exaggerated just enough to preserve the style yet miss it. Some interpreters of the personage went so far as to use a lorgnette. The song “Long-Tailed Blue,” popular for many seasons, referred to his swallow-tailed coat. On the stage Zip Coon walked back and forth in exaggerated style while singing his autobiography. One verse went: “I sometimes wear mustachers but I lost em todder day for de glue was bad, de wind was high and so dey blowed away.”

The other song, “Clare de Kitchen,” was sung by a plantation woman who described sweeping the floor of her Kentucky home in preparation for a songfest. Clare was supposedly dialect for clear. The song was usually sung by a man in woman’s clothing.

These two depictions of Afro-American characters, the city dandy and the plantation worker, were eventually carried over from entr’ actes to the order of minstrel shows, in which the first part presented a cast dressed as we described Jim Crow above. The second part, after intermission, was a plantation scene with the performers in ragged clothing, burst shoes, and untamed hair styles. The instrumentation was different as well, the city scene using violins and banjos, the country folks having jawbones and tambourines.

* * *

Paper on folk hymns at Sewanee - 2007

Stephen Miller, "Down from the Mountain: Roland Barnes and his Preludes on Appalachian White Spirituals"

abstract at

mentioned in pre-story on conference in Carrillon News at

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

folk hymn - performances

The Hebrew Children
Folk Hymns of America
Collected & Arranged by Annabel Morris Buchanan
New York: J. Fischer & Bro, 1938.
PERFORMED BY: SOPRANO: Salena Hutcherson; ALTO: Barbara Edwards

Sweet Rivers of Redeeming Love
[Ozark singer-songwriter Mark Bilyeu, soloist, and Ozarks family band Big Smith
Branson Landing
May 7 2009

Friday, October 29, 2010

Heard while driving out to Girdwood and Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center today

KNBA - 90.3 FM

What I heard was a range of (mostly) acoustic music, what I classify as programming for grownups ... Elvis Costello and Sheryl Crow, Los Lobos, a lot of singer-songwriter types on Acoustic Cafe program in the morning ... also has Native American, Alaska Native programming, streaming audio according to website

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Low Country Boys - a group in Northern Ireland that does "Ulster Scots, Scots and old-timey hillbilly gospel music"

"did christ o'er sinners weep?" from Southern Harmony

was included on a CD put out by the Northern Ireland Music Industry Commission - New Folk, Roots and Traditional Music from Northern Ireland - released October 2005

We were amazed to be chosen for this - a showcase double cd compilation with 31 tracks highlighting the best of Northern Ireland music. We were particularly delighted that the other performers from the Ulster-Scots tradition were Robert Watt and Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band - both of whom have been crowned as World Champions in their piping disciplines many times over many years. The superb Brian Houston was also on it.

"Did Christ O'er Sinners Weep" is probably the one track we've had most feedback about. We learned it from the Doc Watson album "On Praying Ground", and it dates from the early 1800s, having been made popular through the old Kentucky hymnbook "The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion". The book was compiled by William "Singin Billy" Walker, a Baptist from Spartanburg, South Carolina, and it became the most popular hymnbook in the South, selling over 4 million copies. "Did Christ O'er Sinners Weep" also appeared in the hymnal of the Confederate army during the American Civil War of 1861 - 1865. A great revival swept through the army, just two years after the great Ulster Revival of 1859.

You can find out more about the Northern Ireland Music Industry Commission here. (but the link's broken)

Saturday, October 16, 2010

An Irish rock band, DIY albums and the long tail ...

Cross-posted to my blogs Hogfiddle and The Mackerel Wrapper for COMM 150 students ...

The band is an instrumental rock group called The Redneck Manifesto, that plays live venues around Dublin and does very well - artistically and apparently financially, too - without a major record label. DIY albums are do-it-yourself CDs that you record and produce yourself. And the long tail is "a retailing concept describing the niche strategy of selling a large number of unique items in relatively small quantities." We'll meet the concept again as we study the Internet, which makes "long-tail" retailing a powerful strategy, and it will be one of the most important concepts we deal with in the last month before final exams.

(If you get my drift ...)

But first, a video from Redneck Manifesto:

I'd never heard of the band before, but they were mentioned in a story in The Irish Times today headlined "Golden age of Irish music" ... which would be now, even though the big labels just lost a downloading case in Ireland's equivalent of the Supreme Court. "The big guns may be cribbing about illegal downloads and declining sales," said Jim Carroll of the Times, "but in fact this is a golden age of Irish music." Read why, and ask yourself if the same things are going on in America. (Hint: They are, and you may have the opportunity to write about them later in the semester. You may even be able to work them into your midterm if you're alert enough to get my drift. Just sayin'.) Carroll says:
Contrary to the image that the majors presented in court, the domestic music industry is robust and vibrant. Much of this is occurring away from the gaze and control of the major labels and the record industry’s permanent establishment. You could say we’re seeing something of a golden age as new bands and releases come to the fore like never before. ...

* * *

Another reason to be cheerful: the number of new Irish releases is on the increase and the quality is far better than it has ever been. You could easily rattle off a list of home-grown albums from 2010 that more than hold their own with anything released elsewhere.
Carroll compares the scene today to 10 years ago, when "... there was an underground scene in Dublin in particular, with bands like The Redneck Manifesto beginning to take their first steps," but "it was still considered a novelty if a band took the DIY route to record, manufacture and distribute their EPs or albums. ... Most acts were still holding out for that elusive major label deal." Now Redneck Manifesto has been joined on the DIY route by numerous other bands in Dublin, Cork and Ireland's smaller cities. I haven't heard of any of them, but I hadn't heard of Redneck Manifesto either till I read about them in today's Irish Times.

But that's the point. These little bands are doing quite well without the international fan base that comes along with signing with the major labels. And they're more likely to have artistic control over their content. I'd say the production values in their video are pretty good.

And I'd suggest the long tail is what allows these bands to be reasonably successful playing live shows, burning their own albums and using the Internet to build their fan base. You don't have to go platinum to make a living.

Carroll lists "five changes for the better [for artists] in 10 years." How many of them apply in America as well as Ireland? How many relate to the main themes we're studying in COMM 150? Here they are:
1 The DIY ethic Recording and releasing your own album has never been easier. Why wait for a label to put out your masterpiece when you can do it yourself?

2 The gigging infrastructure Supportive venues in Galway (Roisin Dubh), Cork (Pavilion, Cyprus Avenue), Limerick (Dolan’s), Dundalk (Spirit Store), Kilkenny (Set Theatre) and Dublin (everywhere from Whelan’s to the Workman’s Club) mean bands can plan, book and promote national tours.

3 Alternative media Music blogs, online forums and radio shows on local stations dedicated to Irish music (take a bow Cathal Funge at Dublin’s Phantom FM, Colm O’Sullivan at Cork’s Red FM and Rob O’Connor at Waterford’s Beat FM) mean acts don’t have to rely on Ireland’s traditional music media for coverage.

4 Quality control A huge increase in quality means there’s no need for token gestures for Irish music any more. Talk about radio quotas for Irish music misses the point when acts like Cathy Davey, Republic Of Loose and Bell X1 are among the most played records on the radio. Are those seeking radio quotas doing so because their acts don’t get radio play?

5 The internet The internet means equal opportunities for all when it comes to showing off your wares. Yes, the major-label act may have a bigger marketing budget, but Soundcloud, Bandcamp and MySpace welcome everyone, regardless of how much they have to spend or where they’re coming from.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Highland Sessions on BBC 4

A program that aired in April 2006 on BBC 4. Says the Beeb's website, "The Highland Sessions is celebrating the links between Irish and Scottish music. ... The musicians come and go in the songs featured throughout the rest of the programme." BBC has personnel and playlists for all six episodes. But no DVD and no clips on their own website. Google videos has episodes 1-4 (link here to launch the first episode, and click on links at right for the rest ...

... and clips of individual songs from all six episodes are available on YouTube.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Oslo Chamber Choir Tours Minnesota

Oslo Chamber Choir Tours Minnesota - by Alison Young, Minnesota Public Radio - September 23, 2009

Oslo Chamber Choir sings its signature folk-inspired works in four concerts throughout Minnesota beginning Friday. They throw in some Grieg, Rachmaninov and Bruckner for good measure. ...

Conductor and Artistic Director, Hakon Daniel Nystedt narrates a 7- or 8-minute intro w/ sound clips ...

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

"Clar de Kitchen" - quotes

"Negro Folk Expression: Spirituals, Seculars, Ballads and Work Songs" by Sterling Brown


Verses for reels made use of the favorite animals of the fables. "Brer Rabbit, Brer Rabbit, yo' eare mighty long; Yes, My Lord, they're put on wrong; Every little soul gonna shine; every little soul gonna shine!" Often power and pomp in the guise of the bullfrog and bulldog have the tables turned on them by the sassy blue-jay and crow:
A bullfrog dressed in soldier's clothes
Went in de field to shoot some crows,
De crows smell powder and flyaway,
De bullfrog mighty mad dat day.
Even the easy going ox or sheep or hog acquired characteristics:
De ole sow say to de boar
I'll tell you what let's do,
Let's go and git dat broad-axe
And die in de pig-pen too.
Die in de pig-pen fighting,
Die wid a bitin' jaw!
* * *

from Phylon (Winter 1953). NOTE: For a further selection of Brown's prose, see Sanders, Mark A. (ed.) A Son's Return: Selected Essays of Sterling A. Brown. Boston, Northeastern UP


American Humor: A Study of the National Character by Constance Rourke (1931)

Chapter III "That Long-Tail'd Blue"


The songs and to a large extent the dances show Negro origins, though they were often claimed by white composers. Dan Emmett declared that he wrote "Ole Dan Tucker" as a boy of fifteen or sixteen, but this song of the older minstrelsy had a curious history for an independent piece of musical composition. The air resembles Negro airs; the chorus with its shouting dance refrain breaks away from the verses in the habitual manner of Negro choruses. And Emmett offered more than one version of the words in which appear those brief and cryptic bird and animal fables that have proved to be a consistent Negro creation--
Jaybird in de martin's nest,

To sabe his soul he got no rest.

Ole Tucker in de foxes' den,

Out come de young ones nine or ten.

High-hole in de holler tree,

He poke his bill in for to see,

De lizard cotch 'im by de snout,

He call for Tucker to pull 'im out.

In, another version of the song, a touch of woe is mingled in an odd colloquy--
Sheep an' hog a walkin' in de pasture,

Sheep says, "Hog, can't you go no faster?"

Hush! Hush! honey, hear de wolf a howlin',

Ah, ah, de Lawd, de bulldog growlin'.
Most of these fables contained a simple allegory: the crow was a comic symbol for the Negro himself, though he might at times take the form of a sheep or a hog, while the master or the overseer or the patrol-the "patter-roller"-was the bulldog or sometimes the bullfrog. The jaybird habitually took a sinister part, descending into hell on Fridays; and other birds and animals were freely drawn in symbolical relations. In "Clar de Kitchen," one of Rice's most popular dance-songs, a fragmentary bird and animal fable appears with triumph for the Negro submerged and disguised.
A jaybird sot on a hickory limb,

He winked at me and I winked at him,

I picked up a stone and I hit his shin,

Says he, you better not do that agin.

A bullfrog dressed in soger's close

Went in de field to shoot some crows,

De crows smell powder an' fly away,

De bullfrog mighty mad dat day.
In all these fables touches of satire were present, directed toward the white man, or toward the Negro himself when he figured as the lumbering hog or sheep, or gave himself wit as a fox. Self-parody appeared in such dances with bird calls as "Turkey in de Straw," which Emmett claimed, but which surely went back to a common dance of the Negro.

Rice and Emmett can only have borrowed the fables, probably with their tunes. Apparently neither had a gift for imitation of the Negro mode of story-telling, for they mixed such stanzas with others of their own composition, or at least plainly not of Negro origin. ...

Monday, October 11, 2010

Iarla Ó Lionáird on testing the boundaries of tradition - "Caoineadh na dTrí Mhuire"

Iarla Ó Lionáird talks, briefly, about adapting tradition - "Some people see tradition as a static thing. But the reality is, all tradition changes and is changing. When you relax and think that's OK, you can test the boundaries of tradition without feeling bad about yourself."

Sings "Caoineadh na dTrí Mhuire" with instrumental accompaniment, joined by other vocalists in chorus (Ochón agus ochón ó).

Dulcimer clip art

Mountain Dulcimer - Free Clip Art at

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Misc. dulcimer notes from my old faculty website

"Pick'n Noter Pages - 2"

A Civil War dulcimer (or scheitholt)

In the Museum of Appalachia, there is a dulcimer that has been traced back to Civil War days. It is a small, obviously homemade instrument in the shape of a long, narrow trapezoid. John Rice Irwin, proprietor of the museum, describes it like this:

"As bitter and relentless as the fighting was, there were long periods of
encampment and waiting during the Civil War, and various games and musical
instruments provided relief from the boredom. This early dulcimer is made of
black walnut, and the entire body, neck and tail piece are carved from a single
piece. The top or front portion comprises the second piece of wood in the

"I bought the dulcimer from my longtime friend, Professor
Roddy Moore of Virginia's Ferrum College on May 31, 1994. Roddy had traced its
history to the Allen family in Commerce, in Northeast Georgia. Oral tradition
passed from one generation to another was that a member of the Allen family had
carried this primitively made dulcimer with him while serving in the civil war."
While it can be called a dulcimer, the instrument has features that make it look a lot like a scheitholt or a transitional instrument. Its frets appear to be stapled right onto the soundbox instead of a raised fretboard, and its trapezoidal shape is similar to that of a scheitholt. (To see a picture of a 20th-century dulcimer, a reproduction of a 19th-century Virginia dulcimer and a reproduced 18th-century Pennsylvania scheitholt side by side, go to on my website. The scheitholt is the narrow instrument on the right.) The Museum of Appalachia is just off Interstate 75 near Norris, Tenn.


Since the Appalachian dulcimer is played by people from New England to California these days, the following note is offered as a public service. People who live in Appalachia don't say the word like flatlanders do. There's even a poem for the edification of flatlanders. It goes like this:

"Snake," said Eve,
"If you try to deceive,
I'll throw this apple atcha."
(Jones and Wheeler 90)

From Wexford to Knoxville

Appalachian music comes from Anglo-Celtic roots, but it has its own sound. In a book with the marvelous title of Roadkill on the Three-chord Highway, Colin Escott, a Canadian journalist who has written about Hank Williams Sr. and Sun Records, traces it back from early rock and country music :

The Everley Brothers borrowed the sound of the Louvin Brothers. The Louvins sang
an old murder ballad called 'The Knoxville Girl,' and if you dig around you'lll
find that the Blue Sky Boys recorded an even spooker version twenty years
earlier, in 1937, and that the first recorded version dated all the way back to
the dawn of the country music record business in 1924. Dig around some more and
you'll find that the song came over from England as 'The Wexford Girl,' but
what's really interesting is that 'The Wexford Girl' isn't really 'The Knoxville
Girl.' Something happened in the darkness and isolation of Appalachia, something
indefinable. It happened before the recording machine, and it happened in the
little hollers [sic] and valleys. The American experience warped and transformed
the immigrants, changing their music as it changed them. 'The Knoxville Girl' is
eerier and darker than 'The Wexford Girl,' despite the fact that 'The Wexford
Girl' is more explicit. (vii)

The song clearly has Anglo-Celtic roots. Wexford is in Ireland, and "Wexford Girl" is variously described as Irish or English. But "Knoxville Girl" is pure Appalachian. Especially if you first heard it, as the writer did, on the jukebox at the former Yardarm tavern on Highland Avenue in Knoxville.

Bradley, William Aspenwall. "Song-Ballets and Devil's Ditties." Harper's 130 (May 1915): 901-14.
Ellertsen, Peter. "Music, Politics Mix at Festival." Knox County News [Knoxville] July 18, 1974: 2.
Escott, Colin. Roadkill on the Three-chord Highway: Art and Trash in American Popular Music. New York: Routledge, 2002.
Hamm, Charles. Music in the New World. New York: W.W. Norton, 1983.
Irwin, John Rice. Musical Instruments of the Southern Appalachian Mountains. Norris, Tenn.: Museum of Appalachia, 1979.
Jones, Loyal, and Billy Edd Wheeler. Laughter in Appalachia. Little Rock: August House, 1987.
Long, Lucy M. "A History of the Mountain Dulcimer." Sweet Music Index.
Miles, Emma Bell. "The Dulcimore." Harper's 119 (Nov. 1909): 949-56.
Musikinstrumenten-Museum der Universität Leipzig. "Scheitholt und frühe Formen der Kratzzither." Studia Instrumentorum Musicae. 2001.
Panum, Hortense. The Stringed Instruments of the Middle Ages: Their Evolution and Development. Ed. Jeffrey Pulver. 1939. New York: DaCapo, 1971.
Rimmer, Joan. "Appalachian Dulcimer." 20 vols. New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians. New York: Grove, 1980-86.
Ritchie, Jean. The Dulcimer Book. New York: Oak Publications, 1963.
Smith, Ralph Lee. Appalachian Dulcimer Traditions. Lanham, Md.: Scarecrow Press, 1997.
__________. The Story of the Dulcimer. Cosby, Tenn.: Crying Creek, 1986.
Wehrer, Gabriella. "Geschichte der Zither." Zitherorchester Edelweiß Maulburg.
Wilson, Joe. "Jean and Doc at Folk City: A Backward Glance 27 Years Later." Jean Ritchie and Doc Watson at Folk City. Smithsonian/Folkways SF 40005, 1990.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Idumea - (1) Tim Ericksen and Eliza Carthy; (2) Millikin University Choir singing Idumea [also Till Minne and Wade in de Water] @ Homecoming Concert

YouTube blurb: First song in the second set of "Murder, Misery and Goodnight" at the Sage Gateshead Summertyne Americana Festival last Friday. It was a lot of fun in a great venue, and lots of fun to play in the round with Kristin Hersch (Throwing Muses), Howe Gelb (Giant Sand), The Handsome Family and "house band" David Coulter (musical director) and Neil Harland on bass. Shot by Magdalena Zapedowska Eriksen.

Millikin's University singing Idumea, Till Minne and Wade in de Water at their Homecoming Concert from their Winter Tour on January 24, 2010 at St. Patrick's Cathedral in Decatur, IL.