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Origins: Accordian in Appalachia

tenn_jim 05 Dec 14 - 05:37 PM
Brian Peters 05 Dec 14 - 07:49 PM
tenn_jim 05 Dec 14 - 10:10 PM
tenn_jim 05 Dec 14 - 10:18 PM
Mark Ross 06 Dec 14 - 02:11 AM
Thompson 06 Dec 14 - 06:36 PM
GUEST,Joseph Scott 09 Dec 14 - 04:40 PM
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Subject: Origins: Accordian in Appalachia
From: tenn_jim
Date: 05 Dec 14 - 05:37 PM

Helen Carter played the accordian during many of the Carter Sisters performances. Just jow significant do you believe the accordian was to the folk music of appalachia?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Accordian in Appalachia
From: Brian Peters
Date: 05 Dec 14 - 07:49 PM

Well, Cecil Sharp never mentioned seeing one. Being interested in old ballads, he might have chosen to ignore it, though he definitely saw fiddles and banjos, and mentioned just a single example of seeing a song accompanied - by guitar, I think.

At least one Delta Blues singer (Son House) played button accordion, and This reference says it was common amongst African-American musicians in the late 1800s, with a reference to West Virginia. Button accordions were pretty cheap at the time, but they caught on much more strongly in Louisiana, of course. I can't imagine there were many piano accordions around in the South in the 1900s.

Helen Carter would have been playing accordion with the Carters from the 1940s, right? The same period that Bill Monroe's band included an accordion, played by Wilene Foster


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Subject: RE: Origins: Accordian in Appalachia
From: tenn_jim
Date: 05 Dec 14 - 10:10 PM

True.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Accordian in Appalachia
From: tenn_jim
Date: 05 Dec 14 - 10:18 PM

I would guess the accordian was introduced into Appalachia by the minstrel shows like Hughes Minstrels or perhaps through traveling "snake oil" salesmen with a gypsy background. But I have seen references to Irish accordian ballads. Thoughts?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Accordian in Appalachia
From: Mark Ross
Date: 06 Dec 14 - 02:11 AM

Lead Belly played the accordion, and Bill Monroe had one in his band for a while (I think because he said that his mother had played one). and let's not forget Sis Cunningham from Oklahoma who played with the Almanac singers.

Mark Ross


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Subject: RE: Origins: Accordian in Appalachia
From: Thompson
Date: 06 Dec 14 - 06:36 PM

According to this study it started to spread across Ireland in the 1830s; I'd be surprised if it were later in the US.
That's button accordions (the piano accordion is usually regarded in Irish traditional music circles with the kind of horrified distaste normally reserved for bad girls).
Both button and piano accordion, according to Wiki, started out in Germany in the 1820s and spread like wildfire across countries from Brazil to Russia. Others may have more learned information.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Accordian in Appalachia
From: GUEST,Joseph Scott
Date: 09 Dec 14 - 04:40 PM

As that link explains, accordions were common.

"The only musical instruments they know are the 'fiddle,"' the accordion, and the jewsharp, with the addition on muster days of the drum and the fife." -- _A History Of Preston County, West Virginia, Part One_, 1914.

"... mountain men, some three or four of them, who get together and play the fiddle, the accordion and the French harp..." -- _Vanity Fair_, 1929.

"1. Opening — Soldier's Joy[;] Anthony Connor and James Connor, harmonicas; Barney Kelly, Dennis P. Coyle, Christ Totten, fiddles; Art Stover, guitar; Tim Gallagher, banjo; George 'Corks' Kramer, bones; Anthony Yeager, accordion. 2. Miner's Story — Con McCole" -- _Pennsylvania Folk Festival_, 1937.

Etc.


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