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Opinionated Civil War Music Article

GUEST,Julia L 20 Aug 18 - 09:09 PM
Lighter 17 Aug 18 - 10:01 PM
Lighter 17 Aug 18 - 08:54 PM
Brian Peters 17 Aug 18 - 06:45 PM
GUEST,Julia L 17 Aug 18 - 12:26 AM
Lighter 16 Aug 18 - 10:21 AM
GUEST,Julia L 15 Aug 18 - 11:29 PM
Lighter 15 Aug 18 - 03:13 PM
Jack Campin 15 Aug 18 - 01:01 PM
GUEST,Julia L 15 Aug 18 - 09:30 AM
Lighter 14 Aug 18 - 10:20 AM
Jack Campin 14 Aug 18 - 03:32 AM
Lighter 13 Aug 18 - 10:09 PM
GUEST,Julia L 13 Aug 18 - 09:46 PM
GUEST,Julia L 13 Aug 18 - 09:42 PM
Lighter 13 Aug 18 - 07:33 PM
Lighter 13 Aug 18 - 05:04 PM
Brian Peters 13 Aug 18 - 03:34 PM
Lighter 13 Aug 18 - 08:41 AM
GUEST,julia L 13 Aug 18 - 07:15 AM
Jack Campin 13 Aug 18 - 04:02 AM
Lighter 12 Aug 18 - 08:32 PM
GUEST,Julia L 12 Aug 18 - 05:18 PM
Lighter 09 Aug 18 - 07:25 PM
Banjer 17 Mar 01 - 05:38 PM
wildlone 17 Mar 01 - 01:31 PM
GUEST,LD 17 Mar 01 - 09:20 AM
GUEST,johnson 14 Mar 01 - 09:13 PM
Irish sergeant 14 Mar 01 - 07:37 PM
Pete M 14 Mar 01 - 02:34 PM
Bert 14 Mar 01 - 01:39 PM
Kim C 14 Mar 01 - 01:36 PM
GUEST,Ole Bull 14 Mar 01 - 01:27 PM
Nik 14 Mar 01 - 10:46 AM
Kim C 14 Mar 01 - 10:25 AM
GUEST,Ole Bull 14 Mar 01 - 09:44 AM
artbrooks 14 Mar 01 - 07:54 AM
Wolfgang 14 Mar 01 - 07:13 AM
Banjer 14 Mar 01 - 06:21 AM
Wotcha 14 Mar 01 - 01:29 AM
GUEST,Pete M at work 13 Mar 01 - 10:51 PM
Banjer 13 Mar 01 - 08:36 PM
GUEST 13 Mar 01 - 08:07 PM
GUEST,Les B. 13 Mar 01 - 08:07 PM
Banjer 13 Mar 01 - 07:59 PM
Banjer 13 Mar 01 - 07:55 PM
GUEST,Ole Bull 13 Mar 01 - 07:31 PM
GUEST,KickyC 13 Mar 01 - 07:00 PM
GUEST,KickyC 13 Mar 01 - 06:51 PM
katlaughing 13 Mar 01 - 06:18 PM
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Subject: RE: Opinionated Civil War Music Article
From: GUEST,Julia L
Date: 20 Aug 18 - 09:09 PM

People interested in the lineage of tunes will find the "Fiddler's Companion website interesting

http://www.ibiblio.org/fiddlers/FCfiles.html


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Subject: RE: Opinionated Civil War Music Article
From: Lighter
Date: 17 Aug 18 - 10:01 PM

I've found a few more titles in my notes. All of these were mentioned in print before 1900:

The Dying Californian
Comin' Through the Rye
Turkey in the Straw
Gal on a Log
The Old Fat Gal
Snowbird on the Ash Bank
Old Dan Tucker
Clack Satin [sic]

"Comin' through the Rye" is Scottish. Most or all the rest appear to be American-made.


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Subject: RE: Opinionated Civil War Music Article
From: Lighter
Date: 17 Aug 18 - 08:54 PM

Brian, good examples.

But what percentage of the tunes in, for example, Ford's "Traditional Music in America" 1940) are actually British or Irish? Certainly not "most"?

Here's a list of tunes played at the Old Fiddlers' Contest in Dallas, as reported by the Dallas Morning News, April 14, 1901:

‘Tom and Jerry,’
‘Village Quickstep,’
‘Granny Will Your Dogs [sic] Bite?,'
‘Natchez Under the Hill,'‘
"First Four Forward and Back,’*
’Brilliancy,'
‘The Gray Eagle,'
‘Jennie on the Railroad,’
‘Miss Sallie Gooden [sic],’
‘The Girl I Left Behind Me,'
'Old Red,' *
'Clay’s Favorite,’*
‘Durang’s Hornpipe,’
‘Miss McLeod’s Reel,' ‘
'Scott No. 2,’*
‘Drunken Hiccoughs,’
‘Arkansaw Traveler,’
‘Wagoner,’
'Slapjack and Lassengers.’*

Additional titles from the 1900 Dallas contest:

'Cotton-Eyed Joe'
'Money Musk'
'Forked Deer'
'Dixie'
'Culpepper'*
'Gilderoy'
'Possum Up a Gum Stump'*
'Black-Eyed Susan'
'The Devil's Dream'

Other sources from the 1890's and early 1900's mention

'Mississippi Sawyer'
'Old Joe Clark'
'Pretty Little Liza Jane'
'The Eighth of January'
"I'm Gwine Down to Town'
'See Catfish Going Up Stream'*
'Cindy'
'Bonaparte's Retreat'
'Sugar in the Gourd'
'Brown Jug'
'Downfall of Jerico'*
'The Ship that Never Returned'
'Listen to the Mockingbird'
'Haste to the Wedding'
'A Hot Time on the Old Town Tonight'
'Irish Washerwoman'
'I Love Somebody'
'Annie Laurie'
'Old Zip Coon'
'Lannigan's Ball'
'Leather Breeches'
'Hell on the Wabash'
'Hell Broke Loose in Georgia'
'Old Rackensack'*
'Rack Back, Davy'*
'One-Eyed Riley'
'Fisher's Hornpipe'
'Nine Mile Island'*
'Bonnie Kate'
'Soap Suds over the Fence'*

Not a complete list, of course; just those I've noted over the years as I've encountered them.

Of 58 titles, I recognize about 46. Of these, 14 are clearly from the UK.

For convenience, I've starred the 12 unfamiliar titles. Most sound characteristically American.

Anyway, from a presumably random sample, 14 of 46 tunes appear to be of British Isles origin. That's a little less than 1/3.

More than I expected, but far from a majority. If the unfamiliar American-sounding titles do belong to American tunes, the proportion falls to roughly 1/4.

Julia, I'm not a fiddler. Just a skeptical pedant who doesn't like taking things for granted.


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Subject: RE: Opinionated Civil War Music Article
From: Brian Peters
Date: 17 Aug 18 - 06:45 PM

The Appalachian tunes and songs have direct ancestors in the tunes brought by the Scots Irish that settled those hills. This has been shown by the many collectors who have painstakingly catalogued thousands of tunes and correlated them with source material.

Actually, a lot of the songs were English in origin. The Ulster Scots settlement was important but paralleled by a large migration from England.

As to the fiddle tunes, this isn't really my area - hence my throwing the question out there - but there are obvious examples such as 'Fishers' and 'Ricketts Hornpipe' (both of which are claimed by some for England) and 'Old Molly Hare' which appears to be derived from 'The Fairy Dance'.

I believe Aird was one of the sources I heard claimed for the music copied into Civil War tunebooks.


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Subject: RE: Opinionated Civil War Music Article
From: GUEST,Julia L
Date: 17 Aug 18 - 12:26 AM

What do you mean by "American Fiddle tunes"?

Folk music is a fluid tradition with a myriad of regional variants derived from previous sources. The Appalachian tunes and songs have direct ancestors in the tunes brought by the Scots Irish that settled those hills. This has been shown by the many collectors who have painstakingly catalogued thousands of tunes and correlated them with source material. We can call them "American" because they are here now, but to deny their lineage is uneducated. This information available from a number links available through this site and others.
Have fun doing your research!

As far as "spreading beyond Irish American communities", these old tunes are played worldwide by a broad spectrum of ethnicities. They are particularly popular in the Balkans just now and I have German friends that play them regularly.

By the way, are you a fiddle player? (just askin')


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Subject: RE: Opinionated Civil War Music Article
From: Lighter
Date: 16 Aug 18 - 10:21 AM

Julia, by "the tunes you speak of," do you mean the three I named or "Appalachian fiddle tunes" generally?

It would be nice to see specific examples of American/Appalchian fiddle tunes that are the same as or clearly derive from Transatlantic sources.

Obviously the American tunes didn't just appear from nowhere. The reel and hornpipe forms were clearly brought from Britain along with the modes. Undoubtedly the Colonists brought their music with them, but that was over two hundred years ago. Those early tunes seem to have fallen out of tradition long ago.

Consider the Irish immigration of the 1840s. Many tunes of that era survive in Irish-American tradition (with occasional booster shots from print), but except for "The Red-Haired Boy," which is known to old-time American fiddlers, I can't think of any that spread beyond Irish-American communities.

My position at the moment is that while there was strong stylistic influence from Britain and Ireland, the vast majority of American fiddle tunes were home-grown - with some new (or newly widespread) stylistic developments as well.


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Subject: RE: Opinionated Civil War Music Article
From: GUEST,Julia L
Date: 15 Aug 18 - 11:29 PM

There are loads of home grown songsters,chapbooks and tune collections published in North America in the early 19th century which include "new' tunes which are basically derivative. I think we can safely say that the tunes you speak of are descendants of the preceding tunes.

And I have examined the question.
best- J


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Subject: RE: Opinionated Civil War Music Article
From: Lighter
Date: 15 Aug 18 - 03:13 PM

Julia and Jack,

While Howe's collection and others may be chock-full of Appalachian fiddle tunes under different (presumably Hiberno-British) titles, nobody has shown this to be the case. From my own limited experience, I'm extremely skeptical of this idea. I'm somewhat more familiar with O'Neill, and over the years have noticed almost nothing identifiably American in his books, except, if I recall correctly, a few international hits of the late 19th century like "Turkeys [sic] in the Straw," "Arkansas Traveler," and "When Johnny Comes Marching Home Again."

But I'd defer to someone who's actually examined the question.

The burden is on the many writers in the past who asserted, on scanty evidence and a lot of assumptions, that American fiddle tunes were imported from Britain in great numbers. In the absence of actual analysis, the reasoning seems to be that it could be true, so it's probably true and therefore really is true.

Levels of folk-music scholarship have varied wildly.


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Subject: RE: Opinionated Civil War Music Article
From: Jack Campin
Date: 15 Aug 18 - 01:01 PM

The Caledonian Pocket Companion was intended for deep pockets in every sense. The budget option in the later 18th century was Aird's books, which got everywhere and were very widely copied (witness the Village Music Project's manuscripts from early 19th century England).

But nothing like that was published in Britain in the early 1800s. Middleton and Cameron were first to produce cheap sizable collections, but nobody until Kerr published anything affordable with Aird's scope.


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Subject: RE: Opinionated Civil War Music Article
From: GUEST,Julia L
Date: 15 Aug 18 - 09:30 AM

Actually Howe's books, and others, are even earlier (The Musician's Companion 1840)and were a reaction to the expense of individual sheet music. In fact, these collections go back into the 17th C and were used by dance masters, such as Playford, to teach various dances of the time as well as provide tunes for the many collections of lyrics compiled for public use (Caledonian Pocket Companion etc etc). There are way too many to mention here; various archives are full of them. They were learned and passed through the oral/aural tradition as well.

Regarding the tunes mentioned, please remember that people would often change or replace the names of tunes for various reasons- one would have to do an extensive analysis of the collections to say that these tunes did not exist previously.
See Planxty George Barbazon / The Isle of Skye/ Twa Bonny Maidens- all the same tune, some with additional parts.

best- J


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Subject: RE: Opinionated Civil War Music Article
From: Lighter
Date: 14 Aug 18 - 10:20 AM

Hi, Jack. "Ryan's Mammoth" first appeared in 1883.

Howe's "1,000 Jigs and Reels" antedates the war, however, having appeared in 1860.

It would be interesting to analyze its sources. But since Howe was a publisher, not a tune collector, any "traditional fiddle tunes" not in earlier publications could only have come from Howe's acquaintances in the Boston area, even if some may have originated farther afield.


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Subject: RE: Opinionated Civil War Music Article
From: Jack Campin
Date: 14 Aug 18 - 03:32 AM

The Howe and Ryan books postdate the Civil War, surely?

There were very few British dance tune books in print at the time, either. There was Surenne's in Scotland, but that was deluxe and expensive. Kerr in the late 1870s was the first big cheap one.


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Subject: RE: Opinionated Civil War Music Article
From: Lighter
Date: 13 Aug 18 - 10:09 PM

> Howe's 1000 jigs and reels (published by Mel Bay) Howe produced dozens of books like this
Ryan's mammoth tune books

Lots of British and Irish tunes in these. I don't think you'll find "Old Joe Clark," "Barlow Knife," or "Last of Callahan," for example.

The "Ethiopian melodies" are, of course, minstrel productions.


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Subject: RE: Opinionated Civil War Music Article
From: GUEST,Julia L
Date: 13 Aug 18 - 09:46 PM

By the way, Howe's book contains what he calls "Ethiopian melodies" such as 10 little Negroes, Happy are we darkies so gay,Get along home my yaller gals, plus Old Dan Tucker,Jim Crack Corn, and Jim Crow


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Subject: RE: Opinionated Civil War Music Article
From: GUEST,Julia L
Date: 13 Aug 18 - 09:42 PM

Re: fiddle tunes - there were hundreds of collections and tune books printed prior to 1860 and these would have been learned, passed on and adapted. Many songs were sung to these melodies as well
Howe's 1000 jigs and reels (published by Mel Bay) Howe produced dozens of books like this
Ryan's mammoth tune books
etc etc


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Subject: RE: Opinionated Civil War Music Article
From: Lighter
Date: 13 Aug 18 - 07:33 PM

As for the manuscript tune books of "Civil War musicians," there must have been some, but one would most likely have to be a band member or have an unusually large repertoire to need one.

There were a number of published American collections for fife and drum, which included some traditional tunes like "Garryowen" and "The Girl I Left Behind Me."

There were also "tutors" for banjo and for melodeon (another available but uncommon instrument). These contained lots of minstrel tunes like "Old Zip Coon," but not many tunes that we think of as "Appalachian."

Maybe more to the point, my experience is that these published collections had very little of what we think of as the "Appalachian fiddle repertoire."

I've been searching old newspaper data bases to find early mentions of the names of fiddle tunes (not just the Appalachian ones) and found few named before the 1890's. That's not to say the tunes weren't played, only that they weren't noticed much in print.

Part of the reason may be that till about the time of the First World War, the Appalachians were quite (though certainly not wholly) isolated. Pop tunes were more likely to come in through the railroad than folk tunes would come out.

And it may be a misconception that "most" or even "many" U.S. fiddle tunes "come from the British Isles." Two obvious examples would be "Soldier's Joy" and "The Girl I Left Behind Me" (both from the 18th century). There are others. What obviously came (or at least survived) were the reel and hornpipe forms - and very few jigs like "The Irish Washerwoman."

Maybe somebody can expand the list. I believe that the tune of "When Johnny Comes Marching Home Again" is a cousin of "John Anderson, My Jo." But neither is a typical "Appalachian fiddle tune."

There may have been some French and German influences on the Appalachian repertoire as well. While the "Scotch-Irish" may have constituted the largest number of settlers, there were nearly as many English, and more French and Germans than one would expect.


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Subject: RE: Opinionated Civil War Music Article
From: Lighter
Date: 13 Aug 18 - 05:04 PM

Those *are* interesting, Brian. Thanks for calling our attention to them.

It isn't surprising that now and again somebody would think to sing while playing the fiddle (or vice versa). It just doesn't seem to have been at all usual.

The first time (and only time for many years) that I heard singer accompanying himself on a fiddle was on an LP reissue of a 78 recording of the song "The Blind Fiddler" (Roud 7833)

Henry Whitter may have been the performer.


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Subject: RE: Opinionated Civil War Music Article
From: Brian Peters
Date: 13 Aug 18 - 03:34 PM

It's a popular practice to day to sing traditional songs to a lone fiddle accompaniment, but to judge from the comments of later folksong collectors, that practice was extremely rare.

There are one or two interesting examples, though:

Cecil Sharp noted half a dozen songs from Napoleon Fitzgerald, Beechgrove, VA, 24/5/1918, and wrote: "He began by singing in a very loud and untaught voice while he played the fiddle, putting in as many drone notes as he could. At my request he afterwards sang unaccompanied."

The Hensley family, from whom Sharp recorded a number of songs in Carmen, NC, during 1916 , characteristically performed as an ensemble, with Reuben Hensley stating the melody on the fiddle, before his wife and daughter sang the song in unison. Reuben himself sang a couple of snatches of song with the fiddle.

Alan Lomax recorded nine songs from Jim Howard in Hazard, KY, which I rather like.

Those are obviously some time after the Civil War, of course.

On a related matter, I heard the opinion expressed a little while ago that much of what we now think of as Appalachian fiddle repertoire arose from published Scottish collections copied out into tune books for the use of Civil War musicians. I can provide no supporting publications, though. Any comments?


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Subject: RE: Opinionated Civil War Music Article
From: Lighter
Date: 13 Aug 18 - 08:41 AM

Right again.

As for "The Minstrel Boy," maybe it was a trade war.


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Subject: RE: Opinionated Civil War Music Article
From: GUEST,julia L
Date: 13 Aug 18 - 07:15 AM

Very funny , Jack! Actually there is evidence that some early harps did have a skin soundboard ...

Anyway, regarding "typical music" I would say that hands down the most prevalent music would have been a cappella singing. People sang all the time then . It was part of their education in school and church, as well as common at home and work. And people were better at singing than we are as a result.

Of the thousands of songs recorded in several early 20th C collections that I have been listening to only a small percentage are accompanied by any instrument at all.

The human voice is cheap, portable and capable.


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Subject: RE: Opinionated Civil War Music Article
From: Jack Campin
Date: 13 Aug 18 - 04:02 AM

The Minstrel Boy to war has gone
With his wild harp slung behind him...


If you've seen something like the Trinity College harp... no.

Maybe wild harps had an oilskin over a split cane frame for the body?


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Subject: RE: Opinionated Civil War Music Article
From: Lighter
Date: 12 Aug 18 - 08:32 PM

All very true, Julia. I would only add that real classical music (say, Rossini's "William Tell Overture," composed in 1829, or opera) could be heard mainly in concert halls in a few big cities like Boston, New York, and Philadelphia. But well-to-do "Civil War people" certainly were familiar with it.

Since this is a "folk music" forum, let me add something about folk music. It's a popular practice to day to sing traditional songs to a lone fiddle accompaniment, but to judge from the comments of later folksong collectors, that practice was extremely rare. "Spanish guitars" were not very common nationally, autoharps uninvented, dulcimers known mainly in the Appalachians, hammered dulcimers rare and expensive.

Even among Irish immigrants, uillean pipes were extremely rare (very expensive). Some Scots immigrants played bagpipes, but they were still solo instruments and not used in marching bands as they were in the British Army. Flutes, of course, were easily portable.

Minstrel troupes typically used a fiddle, a banjo, a tambourine, and a pair of bones. Outside of the drums and wind instruments of military bands, these, plus the recently invented harmonica, were the typical instruments one might find in an army camp on either side. I can't recall any reference to tin whistles, but they were cheap and available.

The most typical musical sound of the period, other than that of the fiddle, flute, banjo, parlor piano, minstrel performance, or fife and drum corps may have been that of the brass band, military or civilian, which played all sorts of music.


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Subject: RE: Opinionated Civil War Music Article
From: GUEST,Julia L
Date: 12 Aug 18 - 05:18 PM

I'd just like to mention that there was, historically, a great spectrum of music played and sung during the Civil War period, both on and off the battlefield, both accompanied and a capella. More formal music could be heard in concert halls and high-class soirees, popular music was dispensed in the form of chapbooks and sheet music to be sung in parlors and social gathering places, religious songs were sung in churches and revival tents, etc etc. These songs migrated between classes and communities, were adapted, parodied, and mis-remembered creating various versions, all "authentic". It's important to understand the social function of music in the culture- to inspire, entertain, mourn or celebrate, sharing ideas, events and feelings.

People would do well to explore archives, journals and historical resources when preparing authentic programming.


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Subject: RE: Opinionated Civil War Music Article
From: Lighter
Date: 09 Aug 18 - 07:25 PM

Maybe I'm the only one still around who finds this thread interesting.

There's a movement among some classical musicians to use only historically accurate instruments, so that what we hear is virtually identical to what they heard in the eighteenth century or whenever.

Modern instruments often have a slightly richer and fuller sound.

On the other hand, if you're used to the modern ones, you might fixate on the difference in sound: something, of course, that the original audiences didn't have to think about.

So as usual, the demanded level of "authenticity" at some point becomes a matter of taste. That goes for all trad music-making, perhaps especially in the context of historical re-enactment for audiences who by and large can't tell the styles of Pete Seeger or Joan Baez from those of the Limeliters, Bill Monroe, or Sam Sweeney:

http://civil-war-picket.blogspot.com/2014/01/jeb-stuarts-banjo-player-and-famous.html

Over the years I've been collecting mp3s of Civil War music. It's almost *impossible* to find a recording that sounds "just like" or even "a whole lot like" what we know or can surmise about the sounds of the period. The "folk" voices are too polished, the bands too elaborate, the styles too bluegrassy, pop, or bluesy, the instruments too lush, piano accompaniments too modernist, etc., etc.

Maybe the old-timey fiddle-and-banjo duos come closest to the "folk sound" of the 1860s: but unless the banjo is gut-strung and fretless with a squirrel-hide head, the fiddle kind if squeaky, the tempo a little slower, and the eighth-notes a little scarcer, the sound still won't be absolutely "typical" for the period. Musical instruments could not easily be carried on campaign except in officers' baggage, and foot soldiers wanted to carry as little wight as possible.

The point of this is not to diss current renditions of Civil War music. It's simply to say that absolute authenticity sometimes has to take a back seat to what sounds good enough - or better, as the case may be.


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Subject: RE: BS: Opinionated Civil War Music Article
From: Banjer
Date: 17 Mar 01 - 05:38 PM

I don't mean to upset ya there Johnson, but with your authentic Sears and Rob Bucks tent you ain't gettin' into my camp! All our tents, the 10x12 officers wall tent and the four 9x6 a-lines are all authentic camp material. The only thing I said was that when the crowd has gone home we will be heard playing music that may be later than 1865..We still reamin in uniform and proper authentic mode. Sorry...


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Subject: RE: BS: Opinionated Civil War Music Article
From: wildlone
Date: 17 Mar 01 - 01:31 PM

As a reenactor of many years [over 30 years] I have come across the authentifacists in many diguises.
If we were to play our role as it should be no article of clothing or equipment used is to be older than the period depicted.
Try finding medieval clothing that is totaly original.
What we try to do is depict the life and times of the period, and to do it in as authentic way as we can.
I am now the pioneer of the 23rd Royal Welch Fusileers to kit myself out has cost up to now over £300 pounds and I have just ordered a red coat made from woollen cloth woven by the same weavers that wove wool for the soldiers at Waterloo, veg dyed,hand finished at £200 pounds a bearskin that I have not even asked the price of.
I have also ordered an axe for parade use but as I cannot afford to have it covered in sterling silver [shefield plate] I am having it nickle plated instead
Enough ranting dave


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Subject: RE: BS: Opinionated Civil War Music Article
From: GUEST,LD
Date: 17 Mar 01 - 09:20 AM

Johnson, I'm sorry your experience wasn't the best, but what you need to realize is that authenticity standard don't just end when the "shooting part" is over. A good civil impression continues throughout the whole weekend. I fact many reenactors cherish the camp scene as the most realistic and rewarding part of the day. My two cents.

Best of luck pard


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Subject: RE: BS: Opinionated Civil War Music Article
From: GUEST,johnson
Date: 14 Mar 01 - 09:13 PM

i try this reinacting once, the shooting part was fun. whatpissed me off was in pitching tent, and i had just gotten this tent from sears and everything. some officer types told us we couldn't camp there cause it wasn't period. likr who cares, the shows over. me and my buddy had to sleep on the other side of the field. it was no fun. and the guys buddy is making jokes about the lawn chairs, real jerk. im with you banjer when the day is doen its time to put the stiff collar stuff away and kick back. if i ever try this again ill look for your camp, sounds like you know were its at.


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Subject: RE: BS: Opinionated Civil War Music Article
From: Irish sergeant
Date: 14 Mar 01 - 07:37 PM

Kim: The remark about button holes was not meant to flame. Hell, if people enjoy sewing them more power. It was meant for those who seem to think everyone but them is doing it wrong. For my guitar, it's a Yamaha I bought used for $150. My musket I bought used for twice that. I use nylon exclusively (Unreinforced neck) and never mastered the art of using a pick. I do try to make the music as close as possible but I don't normally play until the spectators leave and I have friends who like "Lili Marlene" (Circa 1914 for the lyrics and 1935 for the music) And another who likes "Long, Long trail" Circa 1917. Are they unauthentic? You betchum Red Ryder. But when the "Turistas" are gone, we are amusing ourselves. I don't play them around the crowds. I refuse to submit a play list at events. Don't like it don't listen but don't bitch either. I was playing guitar before I was reenacting. You won't hear Dylan around our campfire and you certainly won't hear anything later than 1870 while there are spectators present unless you count Garryowen which predates the U.S. Civil War by decades (It was originally the marching song for Her Majesty's Fifth Irish Lancers) See my above comments. I really don't wish to carp on this anymore. Kindest reguards, Neil


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Subject: RE: BS: Opinionated Civil War Music Article
From: Pete M
Date: 14 Mar 01 - 02:34 PM

Hi Old Bull,

thanks for the comments, I've re-read your original post and realise that I may have been a bit hasty. It is a common problem that we are all prey to at some time or another, using the term "American' indiscriminately to mean both the American continent and the political construct of the US. (I know it annoys the hell out of Canadians). So if you were using the term in it's narrow sense to mean an art form indiginous to the USA rather than to the part of the land mass that it occupies or any political construct which preceeded it, then I would think your assertion is correct.

Just shows you have to be bloody careful about your terminology if you want to be 'authentic' ;-)

OK thats my bout of pedantry for today.

Pete M

PS I also realise that you may not be familiar with the "Hitch hikers Guide" and so have taken my comment as being rather more acerbic than I intended.


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Subject: RE: BS: Opinionated Civil War Music Article
From: Bert
Date: 14 Mar 01 - 01:39 PM

I don't think anyone is saying that you should not try to get things right - that's all part of the fun trying to get as close as you can.

One time we had about a week to make four costumes for a Renaissance fair. We looked up period costumes in the libraray, made our own patterns and bought material that looked as close as we could get within our budget. My Oud had just broken and there was no way that I could find another instrument in the time. So I faked it with a paper doily stuck over the soundhole of my Yamaha guitar. There were a couple of people there who did know what they were doing. Fortunately they were quite amused by it and were quite positive in their comments.

It's fun - no one can ever get it completely correct - so don't be so uptight about these things.


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Subject: RE: BS: Opinionated Civil War Music Article
From: Kim C
Date: 14 Mar 01 - 01:36 PM

As a matter of fact, I would love a parlor guitar, and another violin. Those things don't seem to pop up around Nashville. But that will have to wait until after my summer vacation in June.

The most expensive reenacting gear I have ever bought was a pair of shoes at $125.


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Subject: RE: BS: Opinionated Civil War Music Article
From: GUEST,Ole Bull
Date: 14 Mar 01 - 01:27 PM

Hi Kim;

I did not say "cheap" but I know a lot of reenactors who spend lot's more on lots of other stuff...

You don't have to get a Martin. I have picked up several 19th century no-name parlor guitars for under $200 dollars (uncluding refit parts- bridges and the like) that I don't mind taking out. And numerous fiddles, bows, and even coffin cases for the same. These can be made period in apearance to pass all but the apraiser's eye. Certainly as "authentic" as your Armi-sport Enfield.

I don't think that George W's servicable repro banjo's are outrageous at under $500.

Is it not unreasonable to suggest that people try it? At least players can go nylon and quit the flatpicking. T'would be an improvement, don't you agree?

What do you need? Maybe I can find stuff for you.


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Subject: RE: BS: Opinionated Civil War Music Article
From: Nik
Date: 14 Mar 01 - 10:46 AM

Consider this your personal invitation to visit Sharpsburg, Md. over the September 15-16,2001 weekend for the SHARPSBURG HERITAGE FESTIVAL. You'll hear good music popular during the Civil War--and hear townspeople retell battle tales--and tall tales, too. The little town sat at the center of the conflict during the Battle of Antietam. Then, the 1300 townspeople helped care for 11000 wounded soldiers from the North and South. Some were there for months. Yes, they used musical instruments belonging to local families. If its any help to those trying to figure out whether or not the duclimer would be an appropriate instrument, I have a 1845 book of "music for the dulcimore" purchased at an estate sale in Sharpsburg along with a dulcimer shaped like a long thin box.


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Subject: RE: BS: Opinionated Civil War Music Article
From: Kim C
Date: 14 Mar 01 - 10:25 AM

"Period instruments are no more expensive than your musket or your Yamaha."

I don't know where you live, Ole Bull, but if period instruments there are cheap, I'm on the next train out.

Mister's Enfield (that's a musket for those of you who may not know) was about $385. Vintage violins AND their bows are easily twice, if not three and four (and more) times that. If one has the time and ability to build a banjo, great. If you buy a reproduction period banjo from George Wunderlich in St. Louis, expect to pay at least $500. If you want the Stauffer 1830s reproduction guitar that Elderly Instruments is selling, hand over your $1500. If you want a real 1850s Martin in playing condition, take out a second mortgage on your house.

Period instruments ARE expensive; and as stated before, no one in their right mind is going to take them camping and subject them to adverse weather and temperature conditions, not to mention the risk of theft.


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Subject: RE: BS: Opinionated Civil War Music Article
From: GUEST,Ole Bull
Date: 14 Mar 01 - 09:44 AM

Dear Pete M;

The same planet as yours I suspect. And we agree (I also suspect)in that the often heard allusion to Jazz is narrow indeed.

And I do concede that I would have been correct to include the term "novel"


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Subject: RE: BS: Opinionated Civil War Music Article
From: artbrooks
Date: 14 Mar 01 - 07:54 AM

Picture a Civil War vintage camp. Big white tents. Cooks boiling everything up in giant iron kettles. Rations. Ammunition. Other stuff. I have the reference around someplace, but my recollection is that the typical Union INFANTRY regiment had a wagon train of several dozen vehicles. The soldier on the march carried his personal weapon and a small pack. The question of fretted or fretless banjo is important to some, but the SIZE of the instrument just isn't relevant...it would have been pitched into a wagon and retrieved later.


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Subject: RE: BS: Opinionated Civil War Music Article
From: Wolfgang
Date: 14 Mar 01 - 07:13 AM

What I'll write may seem like a lot of thread creep, but it isn't.

First, look at the authenticity nerd thread for comparison. A deviation from authenticity may bother me in one field and not at all in another. So I understand both camps and have deep respect for both approaches, but don't understand a all the harsh words.

When I was much younger I loved steam engines and miniature trains. There was the authenticity camp. They cringed when a miniature engine was combined with a car from the wrong period or if an engine (in play) stopped at a station where it never has been in reality. They discussed deviations from reality down to the size of tenths of millimeters (in the appropriate scale). They were happy if after one and a half years of hard work they could send one authentic miniature train from one station to another and even the cows were looking correct (cows did change over the decades!).
Then there was the let's play camp who sent loads of trains from one big station to another after 2 weeks of preparation with many wrong decisions in nearly every detail. They didn't care about anything outside of the tracks (surely not about cows or cars) and even didn't care if the engine didn't fit the cars, if only the combination looked good.

I can feel the thrill of both approaches. In some areas I care in others I don't. So what. But I think you could be more tolerant of each other. What is wrong with somebody who has no fun if the play is below his/her standards and what is wrong with somebody who has fun at a lower level of authenticity? Nothing, except that they perhaps should not try to play together.

To sing 'The wild rover' with three guitar chords may be fun and appropriate in many Irish pubs, but you shouldn't try it in a setting in which very good musicians have just finished playing a set of jigs. Just don't assume that other have fun the same way you do.

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: BS: Opinionated Civil War Music Article
From: Banjer
Date: 14 Mar 01 - 06:21 AM

Pete M makes a very good point. The mismatch of uniform parts was more prevalent in the Southern armies than in the North. Most northern units were much better equipped than their soutehrn counterparts. Using just a bit of imaginitaion the theory could also be advanced that troops on the march, having been known to 'forage' could have found items of clothing in abandoned houses and maybe even some musical instruments which could have been carried back to the camps and used until time to form up and move on. Will GUEST accept that? Did a member of my unit find a silly dulcimer and bring it into camp with him? **BG**


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Subject: RE: BS: Opinionated Civil War Music Article
From: Wotcha
Date: 14 Mar 01 - 01:29 AM

Clearly the writer is venting a little from his perspective. I can empathize somewhat. How often do you watch historical TV shows and view 1970s hair on "actors" portraying 1914 and 1940s folks or they sport incorrectly placed insignia on uniforms etc. I suppose reenactors want to do a bit better than Hollywood. Once you are in the know on a subject, messing up the details can spoil things a bit. However, no point in driving away the people you want to educate either.
What of the folks from across the Pond? Gentlemen of the Sealed Knot have not been mentioned so far. Any comments?
Cheers,
Brian


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Subject: RE: BS: Opinionated Civil War Music Article
From: GUEST,Pete M at work
Date: 13 Mar 01 - 10:51 PM

Well folks, I'm afraid I know little of these early 1860 sitcoms of which you speak, but being generally interested in military history, I've been following the thread with interest.

A couple of thoughts come to mind, one to do with re-enactment. Given the typical supply chain problems in this era and the lengthy marches involved in the US civil war, I would suspect that the "typical" combatant would be wearing a complete mismatch of clothing with the 'official' uniform only vaguely discernible, and occasionally not at all, so having 'Authentic" uniforms may not be very authentic at all. Any comments from those of you who have researched the period, or participated in these events?

Secondly, I'm not sure which version of the planet you re-enact on Old Bull, but I seem to remember that when Deep Thought specified this particular one there were indigenous American art forms including music, several thousand years prior to "Minstrel"

Pete M


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Subject: RE: BS: Opinionated Civil War Music Article
From: Banjer
Date: 13 Mar 01 - 08:36 PM

My comments were; 'We usually cover a multitude of questions with a few simple answers.,
'Yes, it's a real dulcimer, no it probably would not have been found in a period camp.' 'Yes, the music we play is a close to period as we can produce it'.
I also stated that; Most of our playing is done after the camps are closed to the public. Hopefuly folks like yourself who don't like seeing others enjoy their days off are gone by that time and we can kick back, relax, and play the music we love! We have had folks like yourself come through our camps and start nit picking at every little thing that we have displayed. We have names for folks like that...I'm too polite to mention them here. g'day


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Subject: RE: BS: Opinionated Civil War Music Article
From: GUEST
Date: 13 Mar 01 - 08:07 PM

Please note that the reference to a dulcimer being out of place in a Civil War camp, was based on your own comment of March 9. If a dumcimer is in fact appropriate for a Civil War camp, then why in your March 9th post did you say it was not? This is a good example of how you guys can confuse those of us in the general public when you are not careful. Respectfully yours


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Subject: RE: BS: Opinionated Civil War Music Article
From: GUEST,Les B.
Date: 13 Mar 01 - 08:07 PM

Thanks all: I understood farb from the context - pre 1840 encampments deal with the same issues . I thought maybe it was a neat acronym like "fake re-enactor bubba," or some such.

Jed - I believe the track played from your CD was "Streets of Falls River," but wouldn't swear to it in court.


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Subject: RE: BS: Opinionated Civil War Music Article
From: Banjer
Date: 13 Mar 01 - 07:59 PM

Me again...I have said my piece. I will not respond to any more 'flame' type reponses. That is not the purpose of this thread. Thank you


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Subject: RE: BS: Opinionated Civil War Music Article
From: Banjer
Date: 13 Mar 01 - 07:55 PM

MY, my, what one can miss by a few days away! Guest, I don't understand what your problem may be but as has been pointed out, the dulcimer was around during the time. Sitting here looking at both my banjo and my dulcimer, I can't see where carrying the banjo would have been any easier than the dulcimer. The dulcimer is much shorter and could easily have been carried hanging from one's shoulder. We portray an artillery unit which would have had more access to wheeled vehicles than the ordinary foot soldier. More gear could have been carried per man. We portray the 1st Pennsylania Light Artillery, D Battery US, and are also equipped to portray Rockbridge Light Artillery, D Battery CSA. Much research has gone into our impression. My wife's ggguncle James enlisted in the 1st Pa. Light Art'y at the age of 17 in 1861. We have copies of many of his records from the Archives in Washington. He remained in the service on active duty until 1898. If you would take the time to visit the Photoloft Galley available through the permathread, you could view pictures of our camp. I challenge you to find ancronisms!

Most of our music is authentic, but as I pointed out if we do a piece that is not exactly of the period, and we happen to have an audience during our playing we will point out to them that the piece was not of the period we performed it because we felt it was close enough that it would fit. We DO strive for historical accuracy.
As for your thoughts on me living my 'silly' dulcimer at home, it happens to be an instrument I enjoy, and since enjoyment of the weekend and of the company is important to me, I don't think I will heed that advice. If you happen upon my camp and the sound of the dulcimer upsets you that much, please pass us by!


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Subject: RE: BS: Opinionated Civil War Music Article
From: GUEST,Ole Bull
Date: 13 Mar 01 - 07:31 PM

My two cents please; a 25 year reenactor with an "authentic" musician impression.

Yes, Jon comes on strong and loves to talk about how much he knows(a little too much knowledge that is dangerous), but when you get past that you will see his main point. What most people believe to be old music is actually quite modern. Jon's intent is to improve the scolarship of the subject which is one of the excellent by-products of reenacting.

Some more perspective. Forget the "they had it, they'd have used it" mentality (dulcimers, steel strings, mandolins, etc.), it was, as today, a question of fashion, what was common, what was rare, what was the trendy thing. Are you likely to see an oboe in a rock'n'roll band? No, and this is one of Jon's points. And too many do what is fun and simple for them and ignore the thill of the search, the discovery and the opportunity to learn, to teach and enlighten.

I don't buy the "can't afford it" line. Period instruments are no more expensive than your musket or your Yamaha. Banjos are fun to make and not that difficult.

I do fing some photos of soldiers with guitars, but more with banjos, which was the hip instrument. Leave the steel strings and picks at home along with the mandolins. Although harmonicas were but a novelty, a toy, at least take the covers off them so they resemble those as they were made then.

And if all you guys who complain about the authenticity nazis had just taken up the fiddle I would have been a happy guy long ago. If I never hear another Neil Young tune around the campfire my pleasure would be complete.

Some roots of folk music education is good for the Mudcat crew. Too little attention is paid to much of our fine musical tradition if it's pre-Lomax or not on CD or tape. After all the first indiginous American art was not Jazz, but Minstrel!


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Subject: RE: BS: Opinionated Civil War Music Article
From: GUEST,KickyC
Date: 13 Mar 01 - 07:00 PM

Sorry, I hit the wrong key. This was interesting reading. However, for dulcimer players and dulcimer lovers everywhere, whether or not they were used in the Civil War, they are not "silly" instruments. Musicians are very attached to their instruments and equating dulcimers with silly is just like telling me I am a "silly" person for enjoying it. Also, my dulcimer is neither heavier nor bulkier than either my guitar or my banjo, so I don't understand that argument. I'm sure if soldiers were taking instruments along to war, they would take one they could play. If the only one they could play was a dulcimer, well...

KickyC


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Subject: RE: BS: Opinionated Civil War Music Article
From: GUEST,KickyC
Date: 13 Mar 01 - 06:51 PM


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Subject: RE: BS: Opinionated Civil War Music Article
From: katlaughing
Date: 13 Mar 01 - 06:18 PM

Thank you, GUEST, though I would still prefer you sign more of a name. I do appreciate your understanding what upset me about your assumptions about Banjer.

I will let the others answer your very valid questions, as they are much more knowledgable than me about such re-enactments.

Thanks,

kat


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