What Makes a Genre?

What defines a genre of music? Who gets to authoritatively determine that their definition is correct? When discussing folk song, it already is difficult enough to find a way to securely define it. Then, when we aim to divide the category up further, even more...

Digitally Displaying Distinctive Data

Every song collected has a story. Consider where it came from - perhaps a 12th c Scottish farmboy hummed a song to himself that later was heard in a field in Kentucky, passed down from plantation owner to slave. Consider who sang it - was it a child, unaware of hidden...

Links between European song and Southern American folk song

While researching the Dorothy Scarborough book On the Trail of Negro Folk-Songs, I ran into a genre of music that Scarborough discusses in-depth: folk songs in America that are associated with black singers, but have their roots in European sources. These songs were...

Categorizing Race and Music – a Map-maker’s Quandry

During the process of mapping, we must figure out how to categorize our data. Shall we look at it chronologically? Shall we see how many times a song was performed, and where a song was performed? Given the nature of my research on Lomax and Scarborough's music...