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 farmer 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 it 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 tits movement
into New York State from New England in the early nineteenth century. Exploring the regional character
of the music and its meaning to 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 loosely 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.
About the Author
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."