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Help: Learning Folk Music

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GUEST 31 Mar 00 - 11:40 AM
SDShad 31 Mar 00 - 12:02 PM
Malcolm Douglas 31 Mar 00 - 12:09 PM
Bert 31 Mar 00 - 12:12 PM
Jim Krause 31 Mar 00 - 12:13 PM
SDShad 31 Mar 00 - 12:14 PM
Malcolm Douglas 31 Mar 00 - 12:18 PM
JamesJim 31 Mar 00 - 12:47 PM
SDShad 31 Mar 00 - 12:48 PM
Jon W. 31 Mar 00 - 02:05 PM
Mary in Kentucky 31 Mar 00 - 03:00 PM
Sean Belt 31 Mar 00 - 03:14 PM
canoer 31 Mar 00 - 03:46 PM
GUEST,belter 31 Mar 00 - 03:48 PM
vindelis 31 Mar 00 - 05:55 PM
McGrath of Harlow 31 Mar 00 - 06:40 PM
folk1234 01 Apr 00 - 02:11 PM
GUEST,hollowfox 01 Apr 00 - 05:29 PM
GUEST,Lollipop 02 Apr 00 - 06:33 AM
Eric the Viking 02 Apr 00 - 08:43 AM
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Subject: Learning Folk Music
From: GUEST
Date: 31 Mar 00 - 11:40 AM

As a person under the age of 20, it is hard to learn folk songs becuase I do not know where to begin. I am looking for some kind of list a good american folk songs to learn. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you Rob


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Subject: RE: Help: Learning Folk Music
From: SDShad
Date: 31 Mar 00 - 12:02 PM

Rob, you're probably going to get a lot of different answers here, since there's no one path to learning folk music. My biggest eye-opener was some several years ago when my mother gave me a copy of Rise Up Singing. I've since beaten the hell out of that copy by taking it everywhere, and have bought another. It's good for group singing to have at least two or three copies around anyway.

It is still in print and available, I believe. Yup, Amazon has it here. Apparently if you go to Amazon through http://amazon.mudcat.org, the 'Cat gets a cut, but I'm not sure how that works.

Unfortunately, a search for keyword @american on the Digitrad search form above only yields five songs, but rest assured the 'Trad is packed with American folk songs, too.

So there's some a great printed (or Webbed) resources that'll get you a good start on words and chords, but there's really no substitute for finding people to sit around and play with. Fortunately, I have many friends who sing folk songs, so I've picked up countless songs just by sitting around in living rooms and at parties, strummin' and singin' whatever songs we know that we feel like singing. And if my little college town has a circle of friends who sing folk music, most any town should.

Chris


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Subject: RE: Help: Learning Folk Music
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 31 Mar 00 - 12:09 PM

Mind you, a search for keyword @america gets 287!

Malcolm


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Subject: RE: Help: Learning Folk Music
From: Bert
Date: 31 Mar 00 - 12:12 PM

Tell us where you are in the world Rob. There's probably a group or even a Mudcatter somewhere near you.


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Subject: RE: Help: Learning Folk Music
From: Jim Krause
Date: 31 Mar 00 - 12:13 PM

Well, I guess this answer really dates me. But how about the good ol' Public Library in your hometown? They're bound to have books by the Lomaxes. You can't go wrong there.


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Subject: RE: Help: Learning Folk Music
From: SDShad
Date: 31 Mar 00 - 12:14 PM

Okay, so now I feel just plain silly. Sure, Malcolm, show me up in front of the youn'un.

Oh, jeese.

So Rob, you really should consider doing a keyword search for @america.

Remember, you heard it here second.

Chris


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Subject: RE: Help: Learning Folk Music
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 31 Mar 00 - 12:18 PM

Sorry, Chris!  I couldn't resist; but I only thought of it because it took me so long to learn to use the thing in the first place...

Malcolm


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Subject: RE: Help: Learning Folk Music
From: JamesJim
Date: 31 Mar 00 - 12:47 PM

Rob, folk music is best learned from others. That's how it's been done for generations. Find some local musicians and learn from them. I remember the story of a friend, Andy Kahn, who is a marvelous fiddler from North Carolina (he also plays lots of other instruments). He went off to live in the mountains of No. Carolina, learning traditional music from a great old fiddler, Carlie Marion. Andy lived in the mountains in a cabin - no running water, no electricity. When he finally came home, he had truly learned the old time music.

You don't have to go to that extreme, but you will learn more quickly if you seek out others and play music with them. Musicians are a friendly lot and love to share their knowledge and style. Yes, "Rise Up Singing" and other music publications are also excellent. I am so glad to see a young person interested in folk music. I hope you find it as enjoyable as I have. Good fortune! Jim


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Subject: RE: Help: Learning Folk Music
From: SDShad
Date: 31 Mar 00 - 12:48 PM

Not a problem, Malcolm! Thanks for correcting that, actually, so I don't come away with the erroneous belief that no one thought to correctly index the American folk songs in the 'Trad.

Oh, and Rob, some other things occur to me. You may want to go to the Quick Links above and listen to some of the RealAudio stuff archived at Mudcat Radio! WKSU at Kent State also has some terrific original folk programming that they make available here.

And it's not a bad plan to start listening to Public Radio! Fun folk acts appear frequently on Prairie Home Companion, and there's also River City Folk, Mountain Stage, Thistle and Shamrock (okay, that's not American folk), and a slew of others (help me out here, folks), depending on what your local PR network carries.

Chris


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Subject: RE: Help: Learning Folk Music
From: Jon W.
Date: 31 Mar 00 - 02:05 PM

I second the advice about the public library. Besides books, I've found quite a number of excellent recordings at libraries. It's a good starting place.

Second, check out other web music sites. Mp3.com, for instance, has hundreds (maybe thousands) of titles under its folk/world traditions heading. Some are good, some are bad, some aren't really folk, but hey-they're free.

Third, if you have a store in town that specializes in the instruments that folk musicians use, talk to the people who work there. Chances are there is some organization that sponsors concerts, workshops, etc. that you could attend - or at very least they can let you know who locally is playing the music. If you go to concerts of local folk artists you like, they may have CDs for sale which are sometimes quite excellent.


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Subject: RE: Help: Learning Folk Music
From: Mary in Kentucky
Date: 31 Mar 00 - 03:00 PM

Rob--if you want to click through to Amazon or Barnes and Noble so the mudcat gets a cut...go to the front page here and click on the Mudcat Logo (help support the Mudcat) and you'll see several banners to use to click through. Also, the public library is a great idea. Remember that you can also use the interlibrary loan! What that means is that once you find a book you would like to see, if your local library doesn't have it, they will find it at another library and obtain it for you! They obviously do this as a favor, so after about ten items, they will charge a minimal fee. I know...I exceeded my limit a long time ago.

Also, just hang out here to get ideas of books and recordings.

Good luck,
Mary


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Subject: RE: Help: Learning Folk Music
From: Sean Belt
Date: 31 Mar 00 - 03:14 PM

My early introduction to folk music was picking up recordings by Pete Seeger and very early ones by Joan Baez when I was about 10 or 11 years old. They made a tremendous impact on me, and I'd say you can't go wrong using them as a starting point on our journey through folk music. Good luck, Rob! Glad to have you along on the ride!

- Sean


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Subject: RE: Help: Learning Folk Music
From: canoer
Date: 31 Mar 00 - 03:46 PM

Hi Rob, it's great to have another interested party in the world.

If you're near any sort of large city, there is -- SomeWhere -- a folk music group, more or less organized (it took me several years to find the one I'm in now.). Find your nearest local music store that specializes in acoustic guitars, and go interrogate the staff and especially the owner. Betcha find a group.

Have fun, and be sure to come back here with any and every question that comes to mind. We love to help!

Larry C.


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Subject: RE: Help: Learning Folk Music
From: GUEST,belter
Date: 31 Mar 00 - 03:48 PM

I think the one thing you must do to become a folk musician is listen to the music. You could go to concerts or listen on the radio or to albums, but folk music just doesn't happen in a vacume.

I got my start one long cold winter that I spent listening to practically every album they had in my local library. I took me a while to find the folk section, but when I did I realized I'd been wasting my time with the rest of it. I was content with recordings for a few years. Then I started singing (badly). Then I started hanging out with some people who were in to folk and filk (SCAers). Then one day I bought a recorder and some song and lesson books, and I was hooked. Now I play a verity of wind instruments, and I'd sooner quit my job than quit playing. (that's not saying much) But my point is that I've been listening to every thing from Doc Watson to songs written in honor of the latest SCA prince, and I try to be part of a folk music community through the mud cat, and through my friends, and by listening to what people are singing.


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Subject: RE: Help: Learning Folk Music
From: vindelis
Date: 31 Mar 00 - 05:55 PM

I couldn't agee more! Apart from concerts, what about local folk clubs and festivals, not to mention pub jam sessions. Acctually the jam sesions are probably the best, because you can sit in a corner 'plunking away' (if you will excuse the expression) - I mean playing quietly, if that is possible. It's a geat way to build up confidence. Go for it Rob we need young blood like you.


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Subject: RE: Help: Learning Folk Music
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 31 Mar 00 - 06:40 PM

And, GUEST, while you're doing all the other things suggested above (especially looking for people making the music themselves), stick here on the Mudcat and the Digital Tradition as well - remember, "You can get anything you want at Max and Dick's Restaurant!"

And get yourself a name and become a member, because it's a lot more fun that way.


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Subject: RE: Help: Learning Folk Music
From: folk1234
Date: 01 Apr 00 - 02:11 PM

First of all, welcome GUEST to our music and our community. All of the above post are absolutely correct. In general there is no one path, nor is there an end. It is a journey through times past and places and cultures long forgotten by comon knowledge. But it is fun. I would like to recommend to you any and/or all of "The Golden Ring: A Gathering of Friends for Making Music" tapes/CDs available from Folk Legacy (Go to folklegacy.com). There is, "The Golden Ring", "The New Golden Ring-Five Days Singing Vol I & Vol II", "For All The Good People-Golden Ring Reunion", and "Twas on a Night Like This-A Christmas Legacy". One of my mostest favoritest traditional musicians said, "These albums changed my life".

In addition, you may want to check out anything done by Bok, Muir, and Trickett, also available from Folk Legacy. A very handy and informative book of words and background is included with all or most tapes/CDs.
Good luck and Happy chords


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Subject: RE: Help: Learning Folk Music
From: GUEST,hollowfox
Date: 01 Apr 00 - 05:29 PM

Everything written above is right. But, of course, I want to get my bit in as well. (My father called it "one more cook with his foot in the stew." If you can, I'd recommend going for the free stuff first (radio, library recordings), then to live performances, then to purchasing CD's As A Financial Priority. You're looking at a wide variety of musical styles, and you could go broke fast just trying t buy a bunch of stuff that you don't know if you'll enjoy or not. Remember, you don't have an obligation to love Every Style. Try a bit of everything, and then you'll be able to put a name to the styles and performers that you lik. Books are fine, but even if you can read music, the printed page gives you sort of a "freeze-dried" preservation of a song that has been performed. Have fun.


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Subject: RE: Help: Learning Folk Music
From: GUEST,Lollipop
Date: 02 Apr 00 - 06:33 AM

why bother, go and get a teacher and learn some decent classical, rock or jazz anything but folk


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Subject: RE: Help: Learning Folk Music
From: Eric the Viking
Date: 02 Apr 00 - 08:43 AM

I don't know is the Penguin book of American folk music is still in print. Also- Pete Seeger, Woodie and Arlo Guthrie,Bob Dylan,Joan Baez,Leadbelly,Robert Johnson,blind lemon jefferson. There are so many good American artists out there. good luck-keep folk music going. Cheers. Eric


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