[QUOTE=harplady;139861]Awright, I admit it, this is little bit of shameless self-promotion.
My sister and I are harpists and have been playing Civil War music on our harps for quite awhile. We just cut a new CD (our sixth) that has some favorites from the Civil War era--war songs, love songs, hymns, and whatnot.
It's called Joyful Harps Yesteryear and has things like Yellow Rose of Texas, The Young Volunteer, Wait For the Wagon, Be Thou My Vision, Beautiful Dreamer and a bunch of other stuff.
So anyway, if you're a Civil War music enthusiast, you might enjoy it. We have another one too that we released about six years ago called Joyful Harps 1865 that has a bunch of similiar stuff.
In addition to FC Brass Band and 2nd SC, one of my favorites is the remastered The Civil War, it's Sounds and Music. Frederick Fennell and the Eastman Music School. Sony Records. The 2 CD set was remastered off of records that were originally recorded at the CW Centennial at the Eastman Music School. The songs were recorded on original instruments and sounds were recorded at the West Point firing range. The CDs include popular songs, both civilian and military, marches, bugle calls, drum calls as well as sounds of the weapons of the Civil War from pistol to cannon. This was the musical source, Ken Burns used for most of his musical recordings for his Civil War documentary.
Anita L. Henderson
Atlantic Guard Soldiers' Aid Society www.agsas.org
13th Va Cavalry, Co. H., Light Sussex Dragoons- Bugler
I have not been on this site in a while, but thought I'd add my own blatant plug for the Carolina Fifes & Drums CD: "Go to the Devil & Shake Yourself: Fife & Drum Music of the Civil War & 19th Century America" available from our own website http://www.fifedrum.org/ncfieldmusic or on amazon.com.
Will, thanks for the shout-out. You are correct. Our CD offers several pages of liner notes that gives the history of each tune played and the source for both fife and drum parts. I'm surprised Jari didn't mention us or our CD in his postings here, considering the Federal City Brass Band is associated with the 26th NC Regiment, as are we, and we have performed together on numerous occasions. In fact both of our groups, the Carolina Fifes & Drums and the 26th NC Brass Band (FC Brass Band's Confederate impression) will be performing at Appomattox Courthouse in 3 weeks, on Saturday April 17.
There is a lot of good music out there, in CD's as well as live performances, field music, brass bands, and string bands, etc. Most of it is very worthwhile, as well as entertaining. The only caution I would offer, is, with so many of the "Minstrel" and "Irish" groups, there seems to be an upsurge in "farby" modern style instruments, especially fiddles. This is true with many of the groups which record the most CD's.
In my humble opinion, only period music, on period, or period style, fiddles and other instruments should be presented. There is no reason to subject unsuspecting audiences and reenactors to the totally 20th century style, loud instruments just because they are easier to play.
The steel, aluminum and synthetic strings have a totally different sound than 19th century style gut strings. Simply removing, (or hiding from view) the chin-rest is not sufficient to make a 20th century violin into a "period" one. The metal and synthetic strings have an entirely different tone quality than existed in the middle of the 19th century. Its simply not just a matter of appearance, although that is also important. Steel, aluminum, synthetic, nylon/perlon strings did not exist then. Perhaps it is that 20th and 21st century ears are more accustomed to these louder instruments with the decidedly metallic edge to the them, but, in my opinion, these instruments, though quite entertaining and fun to listen to, should not be offered up as a 19th century, or civil war era sound. It is simply not fair to try to ""put one over" on the audiences, spectators or reenactors.
Nowadays, it is SO easy to de-farb these instruments, and enjoy the somewhat quieter, less metallic, mellow sounds. Leave the modernized instruments to "Old Timey" jam sessions, Bluegrass festivals, Hee Haw TV show and the Grand Ole Opry. Gut strings, tailpieces without fine tuners, and real tail gut are so readily available, and it takes only a week or so of practice to learn how to get a beautiful sound out of them. Take a closer look at many of the photos on the internet, as well as CD's to see how inappropriate these modernized instruments look and sound when played by individuals and groups even though they are wearing period clothing.
Anyway, that is my humble opinion.
Last edited by eric marten; 03-29-2010 at 03:18 PM.
I completely agree with you, but you must realize that the different types of period or not-so-period music only reflect the different ideas of how to approach the hobby in general. You will always have those sleeping in A-frames and others sleeping under the stars just like you will have 19th century tunes performed on more modern instruments and also the purists who insist on gut strings on their fiddles and skin heads on their drums and banjos.
With field music, you have modern New England style fife and drum corps performing post-war tunes and modern drumbeats who only happen to wear 1860s uniforms as their "costumes". And then there are groups who most people assume are performing period music just because of their "continental" uniforms. But I'm not saying that all of them claim to be performing period pieces and period drumbeats, so you can't really blame them. Then again, for some reason people do tend to sell more CDs when you have "Civil War period" somewhere on the cover or are based in a historical colonial district .
The overlap between modern New England fifing and drumming and the 1860s repertoire continues to shrink. Believe it or not, there is probably an even bigger difference between "ancient" and 19th century field music than "old timey" and 19th century fiddle and banjo music.
The problem with fife and drum is not due to a shortage of fife music. Rather, the dozen or so drumbeats that form the basis of most 1860s military drumming is not enough to satisfy those accustomed to the variety of more modern styles. Most drummers tend to take certain liberties in creating a drumbeat "in the period style". So if a drum corps is playing, say, "Old Dan Tucker", it is true that it is a period tune, but chances are the drumbeat is not. So is it misleading the public if a drum corps plays this tune with a drumbeat not from the 1860s and calls it "Civil War period"?
Piggybacking on your info about defarbing fiddles and the difference in sound between gut and steel strings, I would add that the difference in sound between an unmuffled drum with calf or goat skin heads and a muffled drum with plastic or "fiberskyn" heads is even more extreme. But thanks to the popularity of ethnic percussion instruments like congas, djembes, bodhrans, etc., skin heads produced in Pakistan can be purchased for the same price as plastic.
Last edited by 33rdaladrummer; 03-29-2010 at 03:56 PM.
Always nice conversing with you. I am just so dis-heartened when I hear so many really talented musicians, great musical selections, but performed on totally inappropriate instruments. You need only go on the internet, Google, or You Tube and see dozens of photos and videos of the so-called "Minstrel" groups and Irish groups, dressed so nicely and accurately, and then see and hear those loud metal and synthetic strings on their fiddles, along with fine tuners, (either add-ons or incorporated into tailpieces) microphones, synthetic tailguts, etc. giving an appearance and sound that is so anachronistic. That loud, brilliant and metallic sound they produce simply did not exist in the 19th century. If they are going to use those modernized fiddles, why not just wear jeans and t-shirts, or at least tell their unsuspecting audiences that the sound they are hearing has nothing to do with 19th century living history?
Maybe some of those anachronistic performers could go on this forum and explain why they think their audiences should be subjected to farby instruments. I am always in agreement with you (like "preaching to the choir") but I would welcome speaking to those who disagree, as well. At the living history museum I work at, we have five period fiddles, always set up, and a total of six performers on these historically correct instruments throughout the year, and not a single steel, or aluminum, or plastic, or nylon/perlon string, nor fine tuner, nor chin rest anywhere near these instruments. I think most of the farby performers realize their deception, as many of them are artful in covering up their modern hardware, either with their clothing, or beards, when you get close to them. I remember in Gettysburg years ago a fiddler was proud that he took his chin rest off, but then told me "You know, they had steel strings in the 1850's" as he staggered away. End of that conversation. The same standards should apply to the many CD's they record and sell to the unsuspecting spectators and reenactors who are there to enjoy historically correct music, on appropriate instruments. If they're using these loud 20th century versions of their fiddles, why not just also perform on electric guitars or electronic keyboards?
Fiddles are so easy to de-farb, and the resultant sound is so easy to listen to, that I just don't understand going to great lengths to avoid them, in favor of accessories and materials and strings that didn't exist until the 20th century.
There you have it. I've taught dozens of fiddlers (and violin students) to the joy of performing historically correct music on historically correct instruments, and I hope to continue to do so. I'm always willing to share and help anyone who is interested in this totally satisfying hobby.
Last edited by eric marten; 03-31-2010 at 09:15 AM.