Monday, March 14, 2011

Songs of the Wilderness Road - New Salem - March and April

Copied below is an email I sent this afternoon to people on the Prairieland Dulcimer Strings mailing list, with links to information that came up at our March 5 session and three more we'll learn in April. We will have four sessions in this year's off-season workshop focusing on songs that might have come up the Wilderness Road, through Cumberland Gap and on to central Illinois in the 1830s. We've been using "Songs and Tales of the Wilderness Road," a Mel Bay book with Appalachian dulcimer tab, music in standard notation and historical notes by Ralph Lee Smith and Madeline MacNeill.

Since our first session in February, I've been posting notes on tunings, playing tips, techniques and YouTube clips to this weblog so you can get an idea of the tune in mind; links to my posts with songs and tips are also copied below. So you can use this post as a preliminary Table of Contents for the entire series so far. I'll post a final TOC in April.
Hi everybody -

We had a good session March 5 on the Dorian mode, learning "Shady Grove" and "Old Man at the Mill" from "Songs and Tales of the Wilderness Road" by Ralph Lee Smith and Maddie MacNeill, along with "I Will Arise and Go to Jesus" from "Mel Bay's Old-time Gospel Songbook" by Wayne Erbsen.

Our next and last session will be at 10 a.m. April 2, at the Visitors Center at Lincoln's New Salem State Historic Site. We'll do "I Gave My Love a Cherry" and "The Storms Are On the Ocean" in the Ionian mode and "Sheep Shell Corn" in the Mixolydian. (Tune to DAA for all three.) I'm pretty sure videos of all three are available on line; I'll find them and send you links in the next couple, three days.

In the meantime, here's some information I tracked down and linked to the Hogfiddle blog after our March 5 session: - March 10 - link to "Kitchen Musician," a living history website with sheet music and information about the Old Northwest, including "St. Clair's Defeat" and "Boatman Dance," as well as articles on Ohio River boatmen and other topics of interest to us. Also a lot of very nice Scottish and Irish stuff.

target="_blank"> - March 7 - information and link to an Appalachian dulcimer shown playing "I Will Arise and Go to Jesus," a song we learned this month, in the Dorian mode. The song is mentioned in Edgar Lee Masters' book "The Sangamon" (1942) in the Rivers of America series.

Here are links to material I posted to Hogfiddle in connection with our workshops in February and March. You'll notice we sort of made up the schedule as we went along, and we'll get back to a couple of the songs linked below -- "Sheep Shell Corn" and "I Gave My Love a Cherry" -- at our last session in April.

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