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View Full Version : Genre of Late 19th Century American Music?


Bearflag70
02-08-2008, 04:35 PM
I think I like late 19th Century American music every now and then, but I have no idea what it is called. It's the kind of music you might hear in Civil War documentaries or in the Deadwood TV show (http://youtube.com/watch?v=B909njPoX7k). I guess it usually features a violin/fiddle.

It's not classical and not opera. It almost sounds like a precursor to 20th Century country music.

How can I find this genre?

Bearflag70
02-08-2008, 04:41 PM
Some form of Bluegrass perhaps?

Spoke
02-08-2008, 04:48 PM
Bluegrass didn't come along until the 1930s, when Bill Monroe jazzed up and sped up the music of the precursor string bands (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/String_band).

See also, Old-time music (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old-time_music).

Pork Rind
02-08-2008, 04:49 PM
Some form of Bluegrass perhaps?

Bluegrass originated in the mid- to late-1940's, so probably not.

ultrafilter
02-08-2008, 05:03 PM
Do we really know that much about pre-20th century music? I know that the first jazz recording we have is from the late teens, and pretty much everything before that is lost. I wouldn't be surprised if the music the OP is asking about was invented to invoke a feeling of that time period.

Bridget Burke
02-08-2008, 05:05 PM
Some of what you've been hearing is probably "folk music." But much of it is considered "parlour music (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parlour_music)." That is, sheet music published for amateur musicians at home, often with piano accompaniment. Or not at home--do you remember John Wayne & Claire Trevor (in Stagecoach) walking through the red light district at Lordsburg, with the piano playing "She's More to Be Pitied Than Scolded"? The genre includes the songs of Stephen Foster & Thomas Moore--which still sound mighty fine to many of us.

Apparently David Schwartz did the music for Deadwood. And he included some "modern" artists--like June Carter Cash & Lyle Lovett. (Interestingly, A P Carter--June's uncle--collected many "folk tunes" for the Carter family that were actually old Victorian parlour tunes. But nobody remembered, so he & Ralph Peer got royalties.)

Have you heard Ry Cooder's music for The Long Riders? It's a lovely, atmospheric blend of original compositions & old-fashioned tunes.

Spoke
02-08-2008, 05:11 PM
For modern performers of old-time music (http://www.oldtimemusic.com/), check out:

Brad Leftwich (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lYwU-d24rwc&feature=related)

Rayna Gellert (http://www.myspace.com/raynagellert)

These anonymous guys on YouTube. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ivRznJtJ-A)

Dirk Powell (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fiVFv3q_nTU)

Bridget Burke
02-08-2008, 05:20 PM
Do we really know that much about pre-20th century music? I know that the first jazz recording we have is from the late teens, and pretty much everything before that is lost. I wouldn't be surprised if the music the OP is asking about was invented to invoke a feeling of that time period.

Lots of that music is not lost if you know where to look! You can go hunting for ancient folk tunes--many of which are still heard today. Or you could riffle through old sheet music. (And let's not forget the religious stuff.)

Some of us oldsters remember Ian Whitcomb--a Brit who played ragtime piano & had a hit with "You Turn Me On." He now lives in California & has become a scholar of unfashionable music. His excellent After The Ball; A Chronicle of Pop Music From Ragtime To Rock starts back in the day when people were forced to entertain themselves by playing their own music. Folks like Stephen Foster were popular even before the era Whitcomb covers.

Of course, modern musicians can write in earlier styles. Remember "Ashokan Farewell" from Ken Burns' Civil War series?

Spoke
02-08-2008, 05:21 PM
You might also want to check out the old 1920s string band Gid Tanner and the Skillet Lickers (http://entertainment.circuitcity.com/Music/Album.aspx?prodid=CUY3509.2&si=ccity-prod&store=Music). they were quite successful in their day, and drew on the old-time music traditions. Bill Monroe built on what the Skillet Lickers (and other string bands) had been doing when he and his band transformed the music into bluegrass.

Bridget Burke
02-08-2008, 05:31 PM
You might also want to check out the old 1920s string band Gid Tanner and the Skillet Lickers (http://entertainment.circuitcity.com/Music/Album.aspx?prodid=CUY3509.2&si=ccity-prod&store=Music). they were quite successful in their day, and drew on the old-time music traditions. Bill Monroe built on what the Skillet Lickers (and other string bands) had been doing when he and his band transformed the music into bluegrass.

Then, there's O Brother Where Art Thou. Which included blues, religious tunes & the old time stuff that evolved into Bluegrass. Along with pop tunes of the day--like Jimmy Rodgers' "In the Jailhouse Now."

Most of this music had its roots in the previous century.

Spoke
02-08-2008, 06:08 PM
I just thought of another modern iteration I would recommend. Give King Wilkie (http://www.kingwilkie.com/) a listen. They started out as strictly a bluegrass band (their band name was the name of Bill Monroe's horse), but these days they have grown beyond that.

Some (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AffV1CEzYtQ) YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1JQOC20LK8c&feature=related) clips (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FZYdu72tl88&NR=1).

Bearflag70
02-08-2008, 07:20 PM
I guess Old Time is the right genre, thanks! Any other tips are welcome. Good stuff.

I think this is a good genre to do chores to because it makes me think of a time when doing just about anything was a chore and reminds me of how easy chores really are these days. It's also a good genre for drinkin' on the porch after the chores are done.

Spoke
02-09-2008, 09:34 AM
I don't know much about people currently playing old-time music, but I can recommend some good young bluegrass bands (in addition to King Wilkie): Chatham County Line (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YaedjXB4Foo), Steep Canyon Rangers (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1XwOnlojWM4&feature=related), and Packway Handle Band (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0g7LHUWuFjc).

ZipperJJ
02-09-2008, 09:46 AM
Would the music from Ken Burns Civil War (http://www.amazon.com/Civil-War-Traditional-Instrumental-Soundtrack/dp/B000005J0O) series be a good representation?

Zsofia
02-09-2008, 08:18 PM
Do we really know that much about pre-20th century music? I know that the first jazz recording we have is from the late teens, and pretty much everything before that is lost. I wouldn't be surprised if the music the OP is asking about was invented to invoke a feeling of that time period.
You have to realize that in the ninteenth century they published a metric asston of sheet music.

Spoke
02-09-2008, 10:20 PM
You can try the Songcatcher (http://www.amazon.com/Songcatcher-Music-Inspired-Motion-Picture/dp/B00005B50H/ref=pd_krex_fa_t) and Songcatcher II (http://www.amazon.com/Songcatcher-II-Tradition-Inspired-Movie/dp/B000066701/ref=pd_krex_po_t) CDs for some old-time music.

Also try Classic Mountain Songs (http://www.amazon.com/Classic-Mountain-Songs-Smithsonian-Folkways/dp/B00006JTG5/ref=pd_krex_fa_t)

Horatio Hellpop
02-09-2008, 10:27 PM
"Minstrelsy" might describe some of what you're looking for.

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