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What is Old Time Music?
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What is Old Time Music?

Old-time music is a genre of North American folk music, with roots in the folk music of various cultures of the British Isles, Africa, and Continental Europe. It developed along with various North American folk dances, such as square dancing, flatfoot dancing, buck dancing, and clogging. The genre also encompasses ballads and other types of folk songs. It is played on acoustic instruments, generally centering on a combination of fiddle and plucked string instruments (most often the guitar and banjo.) Folks also made music with just about anything else they could use to make a pleasing sound from, including washboards, bones, spoons, washtubs, saws, etc. Family members passed down their music from one generation to the next. The fiddler usually played the lead for dances, and "fiddle tunes" are still popular among mountain dulcimer players today. An old time jam is where folks gather with their instruments, sit in a circle, each musician calls out a tune and the jam begins. Most tunes are played numerous times, it's not uncommon for a song to be played a dozen or more times.

Appalachian music is the traditional music of the region of Appalachia in the Eastern United States. It is derived from various European and African influences, including English ballads, Irish and Scottish traditional music (especially fiddle music), hymns, and African-American blues. First recorded in the 1920s, Appalachian musicians were a key influence on the early development of Old-time music, country music, and bluegrass, and were an important part of the American folk music revival of the 1960s. Instruments typically used to perform Appalachian music include the banjo, American fiddle, fretted dulcimer, and guitar. [Wikipedia]

The fretted dulcimeró often called the "Appalachian" or "mountain" dulcimer due to its popularity in the regionó emerged in Southwest Pennsylvania and Northwest Virginia in the 19th century. Unrelated to the hammered dulcimer, the fretted dulcimer is essentially a modified zither. In the early 20th century, settlement schools in Kentucky taught the fretted dulcimer to students, helping spread its popularity in the region. Singer Jean Ritchie from Viper, Kentucky, was largely responsible for popularizing the instrument among folk music enthusiasts in the 1950s.

The dulcimer has been known by many names, such as mountain dulcimer, lap dulcimer, fretted dulcimer, hog fiddle. The word dulcimer comes from the Latin "dulce" which means sweet, and the Greek word "melos" which means music.


 
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