Folk Music of the British Isles and North America

This subject will introduce students to the folk music of the British Isles and North America and some of the scholarship about it. We will examine the qualities of “folk music” and of “folk poetry” (narrative ballads), and will try to understand the historical context in which such music was an essential part of everyday life. We will survey the history of collecting folk music, beginning with broadsides, Percy’s Reliques, and Sir Walter Scott’s collections—a movement that changed the course of literary history. We will trace the migrations of instrumental styles and 21L Literature Course Descriptions – Fall 2013 Note: rooms and times subject to change. 7 sung ballads to North America—with their attendant changes and continuities—and examine the influences of the African-­‐American musics (including their texts) of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. We will conclude with the broad outlines of the “folk revivals” in the USA and Britain in the 1950s and 1960s.