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The Music of American Folk Song (Eastman Studies in Music)
ISBN 1580461360 / 9781580461368 / 1-58046-136-0
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This is the first publication of an annotated monograph by the notedcomposer and folksong scholar Ruth Crawford Seeger. Originally writtenas a foreword for the 1940 book Our Singing Country, it wasconsidered too long and was replaced by a much shorter version.According to her stepson, Pete Seeger, when the original was notincluded "Ruth suffered one of the biggest disappointments of the lastten years of her life. It just killed her . . . She was trying toanalyze the whole style and problem of performing this music." Alongwith her children Mike and Peggy Seeger, he has long desired to see thiswork in print as it was meant to be read. The manuscript has been edited from several varying sources by LarryPolansky, with the assistance of Seeger's biographer Judith Tick. It isdivided into two sections: I. 'A Note on Transcription' and II. 'Noteson the Songs and on Manners of Singing.' Seeger examines all aspects ofthe relationship between singer, song, notation, the eventual performer,and the transcriber. In Section I, Seeger develops a complex and well-organized system ofnotation for these songs which is meant to be both descritive(transcription as cultural preservation) and prescriptive (she intendedthat others would be able to perform these songs). In Section II, sheprovides an interpretive theory for performance of this music, andsuggests how performers might make the songs 'their own' through a deepknowledge of the original styles. Ruth Crawford Seeger considered thiswork to be both a major accomplishment and a central statement of herown ideas on the topic. [via]