21L.423J | Fall 2005 | Undergraduate
Introduction to Anglo-American Folk Music


Course Meeting Times

Lectures: 2 sessions / week, 1.5 hours / session

Course Overview

This subject will introduce students to scholarship about folk music of the British Isles and North America. We will define the qualities of “folk music” and “folk poetry,” such as the narrative qualities of 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, beginning with Percy’s Reliques and the Gow collections of fiddle tunes. The urge to collect folk music will be placed in its larger historical, social, and political contexts. We will trace the migrations of fiddle styles and of sung ballads to North America - with their attendant changes and continuities - and examine the influences of the African-American musics of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. We will conclude with a look at the broad outlines of the story of the “folk revivals” in the U.S.A. and Britain, especially in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.


  • Anglo-Scottish-Ballads and Sources of the Traditions
  • The Fiddle and the Dance
  • Toward the Great Confluence
  • Music in Appalachia
  • The Lomax Legacy

Guest Performances

  • Ballad Performances by Craig-Morgan-Robson
  • Dave Webber and Anni Fentiman, Ballad Singers
  • Alan Jabbour, Fiddle Presentation
  • Brian Peters, Ballad Singer
  • Jeff Warner, Performing and Talking on Collecting in North Carolina
Course Info
As Taught In
Fall 2005
Learning Resource Types
assignment Written Assignments
assignment Activity Assignments