View Full Version : early country music

Mar-22-2004, 1:11pm
i put this on the lute list but i hope to pique your interest as well...

i wonder if you would be so kind as to imagine a renaissance painting (one of the bruegels, for example) in which there are a group of peasants cavorting at a country inn or frolicking at a festival of some sort.

putting aside the fact they're probably enjoying a final grope and bit of grog prior to being garroted to death by a squad of occupying spanish soldiers, i wonder if you would speculate on what sort of music they would be listening to.

would rustic, itinerant musicians congruous to this scene:

- have had access in some form or other to more formal music?

- have borrowed melodies from church music to play in secular settings?

- have played melodies (not arrangements) wholly different or very similar to their more educated colleagues in towne?

- have played similar versions of jigs, jumps, gaillardes, pavans and tarantellas in the 13th, 14th and 15th century that only became documented in succeeding centuries?

i doubt there exists some documentation along the lines of "..i stopped by the 'dog and duck' the other evening and a bunch of rude rustics were playing the following songs..." but if you were to select music for a pan-european, HIP, country music program, what would you choose and what source(s) would you choose it from? would anything "anonym." from the 13th to 19th cent. be considered feasible for such a program?

i appreciate that this might call for more "Historically Informed Speculation" than you would normally care to dally in, but thank you for any consideration you may give it - bill

Bob A
Mar-23-2004, 11:34am
Thought-provoking and interesting thread. While I wasn't there at the time, my money's on stuff learned and played by ear and/or oral tradition.

Anything found written from the period would almost #certainly have been transcribed and tarted up by a musician educated into literacy, not a common state for the common man. This is not to say that there wasn't some cross-fertislisation: there almost certainly was. The playing of trained musicians was heard by many who were informal players; likewise the traditional songs etc were not infrequently used as starting points for composition, I should think. THere were opportunities for the mingling of audible elements of cultures, perhaps more so than today.

Proving this is another matter, of course, but it's a fair bet that the common tendencies of mankind haven't changed much in the last several centuries. As an untrained ear-player I ripped off what I could of the classicist's repertoire; and I know the favor was reciprocated by the other side.

I doubt sacred music would be much heard outside its place - folks took that sort of thing more seriously when the Church had a well-exercised secular arm. There would be some overlap: think sarabande, for example. #

So much for idle speculation: anyone with real knowledge willing to weigh in?

Mar-24-2004, 9:40am
thanks bob - aside from you a few good suggestions on the lute site there doesn't appear to be much movement on this. if i play jigs, jumps, gaillardes, pavans, tarantellas, anonymous pieces for recorder and accompaniment (me!), "happy-clappy" pilgrim songs or anything with "country dance" in its title and choose to call it "early country music", i don't think i'll be wide of the mark vis--vis HIP.

thanks for your interest - bill

Jim Garber
Mar-24-2004, 4:53pm
No doubt, Bill, you are familiar with this site (http://www.rendance.org/). Looks interesting tho.


Mar-24-2004, 5:04pm
thank you sir!

Mar-25-2004, 2:43pm
there's a relevant, interesting thread on the www.mudcat.org/ site concerning the oldest european folk song.