The Music of American Folk Song
Title Details

212 Pages

22.8 x 15.2 cm

11 b/w. 66 line. Illustrations

Series: Eastman Studies in Music

Imprint: University of Rochester Press

The Music of American Folk Song

and Selected Other Writings on American Folk Music

by Ruth Crawford Seeger

Edited by Larry Polansky

Introduction by David Tick

  • Description
  • Contents
  • Reviews
This is the first complete publication of the late composer and scholar Ruth Crawford Seeger's major work on American folksongs. It preserves them as well as demonstrates how they should be played so that they remain a living partof the American musical tradition.
This is the first publication of an annotated monograph by the noted composer and folksong scholar Ruth Crawford Seeger. Originally written as a foreword for the 1940 book Our Singing Country, it was considered too longand was replaced by a much shorter version. According to her stepson, Pete Seeger, when the original was not included "Ruth suffered one of the biggest disappointments of the last ten years of her life. It just killed her . . .She was trying to analyze the whole style and problem of performing this music." Along with her children Mike and Peggy Seeger, he has long desired to see this work in print as it was meant to be read.
The manuscript hasbeen edited from several varying sources by Larry Polansky, with the assistance of Seeger's biographer Judith Tick. It is divided into two sections: I. "A Note on Transcription" and II. "Notes on the Songs and on Manners of Singing." Seeger examines all aspects of the relationship between singer, song, notation, the eventual performer, and the transcriber. In Section I, Seeger develops a complex and well-organized system of notation for these songs which is meant to be both descritive [transcription as cultural preservation] and prescriptive [she intended that others would be able to perform these songs]. In Section II, she provides an interpretive theory for performance of this music, and suggests how performers might make the songs "their own" through a deep knowledge of the original styles. Ruth Crawford Seeger considered this work to be both a major accomplishment and a central statement of herownideas on the topic.

Larry Polansky is Associate Professor of Music at Dartmouth College, and a well-known composer and theorist on American music.
Judith Tick is Professor of Music at Northeastern University and author of the first major biography of Ruth Crawford Seeger.
A Note on Transcription
Notes on the Songs and on Manners of Singing
"This volume should find a place in every serious folk music fan's library. It's certainly a fitting legacy from so gifted and encompassing an intelligence as Ruth Crawford Seeger's." SING OUT, Winter 2004

Paperback

9781580461368

June 2003

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Ebook (EPDF)

9781580466097

August 2002

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Title Details

212 Pages

2.28 x 1.52 cm

11 b/w. 66 line. Illustrations

Series: Eastman Studies in Music

Imprint: University of Rochester Press