Ask an old-timer what life was like in rural upstate New York during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries
and you will hear about the dances and bees that brought villagers and farmers together. You will hear of favorite fiddlers who held center stage with dance tunes taken from early British and American sources. You will hear of old-time music and its significance to a people making the transition from a rural, agricultural life to an urban, industrial one.
Old-Time Music Makers of New York State is the first book published on this rich legacy of traditional Anglo-American music and dance. It traces the development of old-time music beginning with its movement into New
York State from New England in the early nineteenth century and to its combination with commercial country music in the twentieth century. Exploring the regional character of the music and its meaning co the people who enjoy it, Bronner introduces memorable figures from the major periods in the development of old-time music, and he places their stories, their lives, and their music in the context of the region’s cultural and historical changes.
This is much more than a regional study, however. Bronner brings to the fore issues of national scope and interest. He discusses the relationship of old-time music to the commercial country music with which it has been closely aligned, and he challenges the prevailing wisdom that the origins of country music are in the South.
Musician, fan, folklorist, and historian alike will benefit from and enjoy this book. The many musical transcriptions, annotations, photographs, and appendixes provide a valuable reference to be used again and again.
Simon J. Bronner is associate professor of folklore and American studies at the Pennsylvania State University at Harrisburg. He is the author of Grasping Things: Folk Material Culture and Mass Society in America, Chain Carvers: Old Men Crafting Meaning, and American Folklore Studies: An Intellectual History.
8.5 x 11, 272 pages, 60 black and white illustrations