C

ca (Scot.) to herd or drive. Thus "Ca the Yowes to the Knowes" refers to herding the sheep, not calling them. Do sheep come when they're called? Perhaps.

cadence 1. A chord progression that ends a line, phrase or a piece of music. The cadences most often used are dominant-tonic (ie, G to C in the key of C - also called the "authentic cadence") and subdominant-tonic (ie, F to C in the key of C). The latter is so often used to close church music that it is known as the "Amen" cadence. You might say that the cadence is music's comma and period. 2. In general, the rhythmic flow of a song, tune, poem, etc.

cadenza Italian for cadence, but has now come to mean a place in a composition for a performer to demonstrate technical virtuosity. This is the equivalent of a solo for folk instrumentalists. In classical music, the cadenza also afforded vocalists a chance to take off and strut their stuff; there is no equivalent for this is folk. Vocalists just get going when they want to.

cadger (UK) 1. A huckster or devious borrower. 2. (archaic) A seller of corn.

cadgily (UK) merrily.

cafeteria effect large festivals with many stages may be presenting five or more concerts or workshops at the same time. The result is often harried fans rushing all over in hopes of getting a bit of each, or attending one while lamenting the missing of another.

Cajun the Cajuns of southern Louisiana were originally the French of Acadia, eastern Canada, deported by the British after the 1750s. Their music, which has its roots in 18th century French folksong, is called Cajun or Zydeco (occasionally "zorico"). The word "zydeco" is said to be a corruption of "les haricots" (beans), possibly from a song using the phrase, or because the music was played for dances after the bean harvest.

The music is spritely and fast, and the instrumentation usually consists of melodeons, fiddles, washboards, harmonicas, basses and so on. The vocals are usually in Cajun French, which, not surprisingly, sounds rather like Quebecois pronunciation (to our American friends: Quebecois French sounds about as much like Parisian French as a Brooklyn accent sounds like Bostonian).

The public's first taste of Cajun was probably from the popular recordings of Doug Kershaw in the late 60s and early 70s ("Louisiana Man", "Diggy Liggy Lo", etc.), although "Jambalaya" by Williams, Hank is unmistakeably Cajun in rhythm and tune. Cajun music is now a staple at folk festivals.

cakes part of the morris tradition is to offer small pieces of cake to people in the crowd, especially those donating to the bag. Whether or not this is done depends on the inclination of the team.

call and response a way of singing chorus songs, found especially in church music. The leader sings a line (the "call") and the audience answers with another.

callant (Scot.) a young man.

calling-on song see morris call.

calliope a steam-driven organ, large and loud, used mainly as an attraction at carnivals, etc. Some are still in use, kept going by restorers of steam engines and similar. Some had keyboards, and others were automated with a barrel-and-pin arrangement in the same way as music boxes.

The usual pronunciation is "kal-lye'-o-pee", though US poet Vachel Lindsay (1879-1931) wrote a poem, wonderfully recorded by his son, in which the instrument says, "Kal-lye'-o-pee! I am the kal-ee-ope! Sizz fizz!"

calypso a style of music said to have originated in the islands of Trinidad and Tobago, combining African and European elements. There was a craze for calypso in the 50s, largely inspired by the songs of Belafonte, Harry and a few others. Many folk groups did calypso and calypso-like songs: "Wreck of the John B", "Jamaica Farewell" and so on. It continued to be more or less popular until the 70s and 80s, when it was eclipsed by the more powerful sound of reggae.

cambric a cotton or linen fabric.

Cameron, John Allan (1938- ) born in Cape Breton, John Allan left the priesthood to become a fulltime performer in the early 60s. His repertoire is wide-ranging - as he said, he runs through "the hit parade of the last 2,000 years". While that's a bit of an exaggeration, his albums include east coast music, Child ballads, fiddle tunes, bagpipe tunes, and contemporary songs. He is a superb fiddler and 12-string guitarist, and seems to make his eclectic mix of material work well.

Dan R. MacDonald, well-known as a composer of east coast tunes, is his uncle.

Camp, Hamilton an actor who recorded an album of songs in the mid-60s during the folk revival. He is rarely heard from, although he did collaborate with Gibson, Bob in the 80s.

Campbell, Alex (1931-1987) Scots singer of traditional and contemporary songs. He made dozens of recordings and influenced many of today's performers, but was not well known in North America.

Campbell, Paul a pseudonym - see Weavers.

Candlemas (Brit.) Feb. 2.

candyman 1. (UK) Scrap dealer, rag-and-bone man. 2. (US) A loose term meaning, perhaps, "sugar daddy" or lover.

canned originally the term referred to recorded music, especially the stuff played in malls and elevators. Current usage may also include anything that sounds over-rehearsed and a tad less than sincere: "His intro to that song was canned."

The expression "canned music" was said to originate with John Philip Sousa (1854-1932), the "March King", who apparently didn't think much of the recording technology of the day.

Cannon, Gus (1883- ?) a Memphis musician who started off in the medicine shows in the years before WWI. He formed the Gus Cannon Jug Stompers, one of several Memphis jug bands, and recorded for Victor in 1928; some of the recordings were with Blind Blake. His songs include 1929's "Walk Right In" (a hit in 1963 for the Rooftop Singers) and "He's in the Jailhouse Now" (aka "Jailhouse Blues"). He recorded for Folkways in 1956 and again for Adelphi in 1969.

canny (UK) an all-purpose word. Child lists the meanings of gentle, cautious, clever, an expert, wily, gently, softly and others, depending on the context of the particular song.

canon 1. See round. 2. A term for the entire folk repertoire, borrowed from academia and not used very seriously except by collectors and people who write stuff like this. Occasionally misspelled as "cannon".

canticle 1. A musical setting of passages from the Bible other than the Psalms, or simply the part of the church liturgy that's sung rather than spoken. 2. A musical dictionary from 1656 gives the meaning as "a pleasant song, ballad, or rime".

cantillate to chant in a free, speech-like style. More associated with religious services than folk, though some hollers, blues, etc., have free rhythm. Many of the old ballads have this sound if they're sung a cappella.

cantino see chanterelle.

cantometrics the classification of world song styles. The term is from Lomax, Alan, who has published a 1968 book by this name.

cantus firmus see Gregorian chant.

capo (from the Italian "capotasto", lit. "head of the touch". Usually pron. "kay-po", though "kappo" is not incorrect). A mechanical clamp placed over a fret to raise the pitch of a stringed instrument. Various types are available for the guitar, banjo and mandolin. The advantage is that you can play in any key without learning all the actual (difficult) keys themselves.

The capo is often called a "cheater", and perhaps it is. However, some effects are simply not possible without one, regardless of the player's skill level. Fingerpicking the solo guitar in difficult keys like B or Eb is a lesson in frustration - if it can be done at all, it's merely a technical exercise. When faced with an awkward key like Bb, Segovia, Andres used to put the capo on the first fret and play in A.

capstan shanty see shanties.

Carawan, Guy (1927- ) travelled with Elliott, Jack and Hamilton, Frank in the 50s, performing in the US and Europe. In the 60s, he collected folk songs in Appalachia and the south, and did documentary work for the Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee. With Seeger, Pete, he arranged and introduced We Shall Overcome to the freedom movement. He has four books on folk music and freedom songs and has been widely recorded.

Carignan, Jean (1916-1988) "Ti-Jean" (a contraction of "Petit-Jean") of Quebec was probably one of the best fiddlers in the world. He played the 1960 Newport Folk Festival, and the Mariposa Folk Festival from the beginning until 1977, and in fact, was a festival favorite all over North America and Europe. During the 60s he toured with Pete Seeger, and made recordings with Folkways, Elektra and others. He was acclaimed by both folklorists and classical violinists.

He took a Celtic approach to his fiddling, with styles borrowed from Sligo fiddlers, Scotland's Skinner, J. Scott and others. He received the Order of Canada in 1974 and the Prix de musique Calixa-Lavallee in 1976. There is a bust in his honor at Ascot Corner near Montreal.

carl (UK, also "carle") a man or an old man.

carlin (UK, also "carline") old woman. Also used as an adjective to mean old, wealthy, or low-born, depending on the context of the song.

carol today, the word is applied to any song relating to Christmas, but the word originally meant a dance, especially a circular one. If you trace the origin of the word back to the ancient Greek, "ring" and "circle dance" keep turning up. In time, the word came to mean only the dance music itself, and by the 15th century, words had been added.

The carol is somewhat like a folk version of a hymn, though there may not be religious references. The songs are sung on specific occasions, so there used to be spring carols, harvest carols and so on. See herbs for an excerpt from "Candlemas Eve", a beautiful example of a carol. See also medieval for a reference to "Good King Wenceslas", whose tune is from a 16-century spring carol.

Many of the older carols preserved today are from the works of Wynkyn de Worde (an apprentice of William Caxton) who published his "Christmasse Carolles" in 1521. See ritual for an example.

Carolan, Turlough (1670-1738) (first name pron., more or less, "Turlock") blind Irish harpist, poet and composer, whose name is often spelled "O'Carolan", and reference books are divided on the correct version. The dispute seems to arise from the Gaelic custom of "o" in between first and last names (his name in Gaelic is Toirdheabhach o Cearbhallain), so until someone has the definite answer, either version is correct.

His compositions for the harp borrowed a great deal from the Irish tradition, but also included elements from continental classical music - he was said to be influenced by Vivaldi and Corelli. He wrote many tunes that are still played today, such as "Carolan's Concerto", "Lord Inchiquin", "Fanny Power", "Ode to Whiskey", and "Si Beag, Si Mor" (aka "Sheebeg, Sheemore"), both on the harp (the stringed variety) and other instruments. The Irish tradition includes a number of tunes with the name planxty (a tune in honor of someone); the term is said to come from Turlough.

Fans of his music will find a Web page (which has related links) under Internet folk.

Carr, Leroy (1905-1935) leading blues pianist from Indianapolis. He recorded with guitarists such as Blackwell, Scrapper and White, Josh in the 1920s. Songs of his include "How Long Blues", "The Midnight Hour" and "In the Evening When the Sun Goes Down".

Carson, Fiddling John (1868-1949) an Atlanta old-timey fiddler who recorded for RCA and Okeh. He was a fiddle champion seven times, and played with the Virginia Reelers group. Although he wasn't the first country artist to record, he was certainly among the first with his early 20s records.

Carter Family A.P. Carter (Alvin P. Carter, 1891-1960), his wife Sara (1898-1979), and sister-in-law Maybelle were from southwestern Virginia, and began recording in 1927. Through the 30s and 40s, they performed widely, made more recordings (some with Rodgers, Jimmie in 1931), and had a radio program. They did a tremendous amount to popularize traditional American music - songs associated with them include Wildwood Flower, "Little Darling Pal of Mine", "Engine 143", "Keep on the Sunny Side", "Wabash Cannonball", "Railroading on the Great Divide" and "Can the Circle Be Unbroken". Their simple but effective instrumental style influenced many pickers and old-timey string bands.

Their descendants continue to perform as The Carter Family.

Carter, Maybelle see Carter Family.

Carter, Sydney (1915- ) English singer/songwriter whose best-known work is "Lord of the Dance", which is based on "Simple Gifts", a hymn from the Shakers, although the new, bouncier rhythm might obscure its origin. He writes songs that are mostly religious in content; they're quite popular with religious assemblies. Another of his songs popular in the UK is "One More Step".

Carter, Wilf (1904-1996) a Nova Scotia guitarist and singer in the C&W tradition who started recording in the 30s for labels such as RCA, Bluebird, Decca, and Starday. His yodelling songs were influenced by Rodgers, Jimmie; he was known in the US as "Montana Slim". In 1972, he was made a member of the Songwriter's Hall of Fame in Nashville. He wrote over 500 songs and was a mainstay in Canadian country music.

Carthy, Martin (1940- ) English singer and guitarist, who had (and is having) a tremendous influence on approaches to balladry and guitar playing. He brings ancient songs to life with up-tempo arrangements with a driving rhythm and complex fingerpicking, often in open tuning for special effects. His guitar style is a unique blend of American finger-style and British syncopation derived from older dance music. He has also set many traditional lyrics to new or old tunes, creating new versions. He was one of the early members of Steeleye Span, performing with them on and off over the years. Although he isn't known as a songwriter, the songs he has authored and recorded are exceptionally good.

The acknowledged gaffer of British folk.

Casey Jones See also train songs. John "Casey" Jones was killed in Mississippi in 1900 when his train collided with another. There are two popular versions of this famous railway engineer song. The one with the chorus "Casey Jones, mounted to the cabin" owes a certain amount to the folk tradition, but comes from vaudeville and was published in 1910. The other is a more up-tempo folk version that contains lines like "On a Monday it began to rain, round the corner come a passenger train" and "he's a good old rounder, but he's dead and gone". The lyrics are often bawdy. The tune and structure are shared with "Jay Gould's Daughter" (see hobo songs, Lewis, Furry).

Cash, Johnny (1932- ) born in Arkansas, Johnny Cash is widely respected in folk circles. His songs, whether his own or composed by others, are rooted in American tradition. He has an enormous number of hits: "I Walk the Line", "Folsom Prison Blues", "Orange Blossom Special", "Ring of Fire", "It Ain't Me, Babe", "Ballad of Ira Hayes" and many more (his "Five Feet High and Rising" was the story of a Mississippi flood in 1937). He was supportive of Bob Dylan in the early years, presenting him with one of his own guitars. He had his own TV variety show, "The Johnny Cash Show", which ran from 1969-71, and on which he featured performers like Bob Dylan and Jack Elliott.

castrato (plural "castrati") in the 17th and 18th centuries, there was a craze for men singers with high voices, and the castration of boys before puberty affected the development of the vocal tract and ensured a supply of artificial male sopranos.

Whether or not there are castrati in folk music is hard to say. They don't talk about it much. However, as a public service, it's an opportunity to dispense with some widely-believed nonsense: castration after puberty has no effect on the voice. The pitch of the voice is dependent on the voice mechanism, and once it's developed, it's developed. Thought you'd like to know that.

catch a type of round that has multiple parts arranged to produce a comic effect when sung, or a round with light, amusing lyrics.

catgut back in pre-nylon days, instruments were strung with strings made from the intestines of animals, particularly sheep, and it was sometimes known as catgut. There is no apparent evidence that cats were actually involved, although it may be possible.

CBC Canada's national public TV and radio network, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Partly commercial and partly government funded, it presents a wide variety of artists who might not have an opportunity to be on purely commercial networks. Its detractors occasionally refer to it as "The Corpse", but it's a national treasure.

ceilidh (pron. "kaylee") a Gaelic word meaning an informal gathering, usually for the purpose of music and song. It could also be extended to mean a special night of both dance and music at the local folk club, featuring Scottish and/or Irish traditions.

celesta (also "celeste") a type of xylophone using tuned steel plates, but with wooden resonators, somewhat like the vibraphone.

cello the second-largest member of the violin family, well-suited to song accompaniment because of its warm tones. It's tuned C G D A, one octave below the viola. Because of its size, it's always played in an upright position. It's usually bowed, but can be played pizzicato.

Celtic (pron. "Keltik") in pre-Roman times, the Celtic people had a empire that went from the British Isles to the Middle East. Eventually they were driven apart by various conquerors, leaving the Scots, Irish, and Welsh. Some Celtic influence remains in Brittany on the west coast of France, and on the Isle of Man. The common language is Gaelic, although each branch has its own dialect. In general, Celtic music refers to music from these areas, whether or not the words (if any) are in Gaelic. If a fiddler is said to have Celtic influences, it usually means that the music contains Irish and/or Scottish tunes. People who play up-tempo versions might refer to it as "Celtic Boogie".

See also Internet folk for related Web pages.

cembalo a harpsichord.

cent in our equal-tempered scale, each semitone is subdivided into 100 cents, with 1200 cents being an octave. The unit is rarely used by anyone but researchers into scales, although it does turn up on the displays of electronic tuners. The advantage to the cent is that it gives a standard pitch-change value that's independent of the numbers used to do the calculation (i.e., 256/243 doesn't mean much in terms of pitch, but it's 90.2 cents, nearly a semitone). Most people can't hear pitch differences less than about 5-10 cents (see pitch discrimination.

Some numbers:

The cent is the 1200th root of 2, or about 1.0005778. The difference in cents between two notes can be calculated by 3986.3 times log(f1/f2), where f1 is the higher frequency.

For references to the tuning of scales, see temperament. See also twelfth root of two.

Chad Mitchell Trio formed in 1958, they were popular until disbanding in 1967. The original members were Mike Kobluk, Chad Mitchell, and Mike Pugh, with Jim (Roger) McGuinn on guitar and banjo. Mitchell left in 1965 for a solo career and was replaced by Denver, John. They recorded many albums, and appeared with Belafonte, Harry at Carnegie Hall.

chain (UK measure) 22 yards, or four rods.

Chandler, Dillard a North Carolina singer in the a cappella traditional style. He performed old-timey songs and ballads at various festivals in the 60s and has recorded for Folkways.

Chandler, Len (1935- ) popular as a solo performer (guitar and vocals) in the NYC area in the 60s, Len performed widely at clubs and festivals, and recorded for a number of labels, such as Folkways and Columbia. He is the author of (among many other songs) "Rattlin' Rumblin' Train" and "Beans in My Ears", and arranged one of many skipping songs into "Green Rocky Road", which has been recorded by several others.

change ringing a sort of folk music - it's obscure and performed by a minority of dedicated people; the difference is that lots of people get to hear it. It consists of a group of practitioners ringing church bells - the "changes" (which are notated) are passed along through the sub-subculture just like folk songs. Also called "ringing the changes".

channerin (UK) fretting, petulant, overly active.

chant 1. (v.) To sing a simple melody in a repetitious way. 2. (n.) A simple, rhythmic song used to set the pace of work. See also shanties, hollers, worksongs, lining track. 3. See Gregorian chant, plainsong.

chanter see bagpipes.

chanterelle (archaic, also "cantino") the highest-pitched string on a stringed instrument.

chantey see shanties.

chapbook a small book of tales, ballads, fables, etc., sold by hawkers known as "chapmen". See also balladmonger.

Chapin, Harry (1942-1981) a singer/songwriter with great appeal to folkies because of his clever lyrics and singable tunes. His best songs are of the narrative type: "Cat's in the Cradle", "W.O.L.D.", and "Taxi". He was killed in a car accident while travelling to a benefit concert.

chart music notation - see lead sheet.

Charters, Sam American folklorist and collector specializing in the blues, especially country blues. Through his efforts, many of the blues performers who had recorded race records in the 1920s to the 1950s were rediscovered in the folk revival of the 60s, such as Lewis, Furry. He has published his work in books such as "The Country Blues" (Rinehart & Co., 1959). Pickers and singers who are into the blues owe him an enormous debt.

cheater see capo.

cheat sheet 1. (also "idiot list") A list of songs that a performer tapes to an instrument, usually a guitar, for reference when the pressures of the stage cause those blank moments. 2. A lead sheet.

cheironomy see chironomy.

chemical toilets (also "johns", "Johnny On The Spot (TM)") as much a part of festivals as mud. Some are vile, some are tolerable. Everyone likes a festival held on a site where these aren't necessary.

Chenier, Clifton (1925-1987) dominated zydeco music and was greatly responsible for its popularity. There are at least a dozen of his albums on Arhoolie. He played festivals throughout North America and was popular in Europe.

Chieftains an Irish traditional group playing together since the 50s; it was not until the 70s that the Chieftains achieved fame in North America, starting an awareness of the richness of instrumental Irish music. Some of this fame was due to the soundtrack of Kubrick's film "Barry Lyndon". The Chieftains play Irish bagpipes, whistles, flutes, bodhran, concertina, harp and other instruments. They have a large number of albums.

chiels (Scot.) clothes.

Child see Child, F.J.

Child ballad see Child, F.J..

Child, F.J. Francis James Child (1825-1896) was a Harvard professor who collected by correspondence a vast number of ancient British ballads, many of them in five or more versions. He began work on the enormous 10-part, five-volume "English and Scottish Popular Ballads" in 1882 (although his collecting and publishing began much earlier). The last volume was published posthumously in 1898, and a condensed version was published by his editor and his daughter in the early 1900s.

The Child collections contain 305 titles and are an invaluable source to singers and researchers alike. His influence on traditional balladry was so strong that some singers have recorded songs titled only with the Child number (this is seen as a bit pretentious by most folkies).

Child's great gift to the traditional world, and no small part of the gift was his sorting through the bowdlerized versions to get at the original, was not without its down side; for instance, the songs he chose to immortalize tended to be powerful epics only, and it was left up to other collectors to sanctify the simpler, yet equally valid songs. Some see the 305 ballads as a sort of best-of traditional hit parade, which is certainly unfair to the songs Child chose to ignore (he felt folksong had to be rural in origin, and passed over the many city ballads).

See also Bronson, Bertrand for comments on the lack of tunes in the Child books, and the latter part of collectors for comments on songs missed or ignored by Child.

children's folk since the 70s, a large number of performers have specialized in bringing folk music of all types to young people through school appearances, recordings, TV and festival children's areas. They've done a wonderful job of ending the poor presentation of folk music by schoolteachers who didn't understand it.

Many people came away from school thinking that folk songs were simplistic and stupid, but as performer Michael Cooney observed, it was the schools that were dumb.

Some famous members of the Ontario branch of children's folk: Raffi, Sharon, Lois and Bram, and Eric Nagler. (If you want the best in children's folk, who ya gonna call? Ontario. Good on them.)

chironomy (also "cheironomy") indicating the pitch of notes to singers by means of hand motions. This was used in the days before notation, and applies particularly to Gregorian chant. One system used the elevation of the hand, and another using points on the left hand was developed by Guido d'Arezzo (our do-re-mi note syllables are attributed to him).

Interestingly, "chiromancy" is a word meaning "palmistry".

chitarrone see theorbo.

chops synonymous with licks. Rarely used. Interestingly, it can have the opposite meaning to virtuoso playing: "chopping" or "chopping fours" means playing a safe, dull rhythm.

chord three or more notes sounded simultaneously. Two notes together form an interval. See also major chord, progression, triad.

chordal style characterizing a tune with simple rhythms throughout. Also called isometric and homorhythmic. Most folksongs have simple rhythm (but see rubato).

chord inversion the order of the notes of the chord from lowest to highest determines the inversion. For instance, with C major:

C-E-G   root
E-G-C   first inversion
G-C-E   second inversion

The octave note(s) can be added without changing anything, as in the multiple notes in a guitar or piano chord; see octave equivalence.

See also inversion for the way this is applied to intervals.

chord numbering see progression.

chordophone an instrument whose sound comes from one or more tensioned strings, such as a guitar. It's one of the four types of instruments; the others are aerophone, idiophone, and membranophone.

chord progression see progression.

chord shape an informal term (generally used by guitarists) to indicate what chords they're using. The chords in use may not give the actual key due to the use of a capo. For instance, a guitarist using the chords C, F, and G might say, "It's in the C-shape," although a capo on the third fret would make the key Eb.

chorus lines that are repeated after every verse of a chorus song. They may have a melody of their own, or may repeat the verse's melody. The words may be taken from a verse, or unique, or they may be nonsense syllables (to me whack fol diddle all day). Also called refrain.

Sometimes there is no separate chorus, but internal lines are repeated in every verse - see burden for an example of this.

The singer might get an audience singing an unfamiliar song by calling out each line rapidly in a monotone - the audience then sings it. This is called "lining out".

Audiences in folk clubs and at festivals will jump right into singing along on the chorus. First-timers sometimes find this unusual.

See also madrigal, glee, harmony singing.

Christmastide the week following Christmas.

Christofori, Bartolomeo see Cristofori, Bartolomeo.

Christy's Minstrels a group founded in 1843 by Edwin Christy (1815-?) and popular in the NY area as well as the south. They were an important part of the minstrel show tradition that led to vaudeville. The name was the inspiration for the New Christy Minstrels.

chromatic an instrument that has all the sharps and flats of the chromatic scale, allowing it to play in any key. Guitars, pianos, mandolins, fiddles, banjos and accordions are all chromatic.

Its opposite is diatonic. Diatonic instruments such as the harmonica, melodeon and dulcimer lack sharps and flats, and so can only play in one key (although the harmonica and melodeon might have buttons for extra notes, allowing another key or two, and the dulcimer can be retuned).

chromatic scale a scale made up entirely of semitones. The notes in the ascending chromatic scale would be:

C C# D D# E F F# G G# A A# B C

and in the descending chromatic scale would be:

C B Bb A Ab G Gb F E Eb D Db C

Note the lack of a semitone between E and F, and B and C. See also enharmonic.

church music had a tremendous influence on almost every type of folk music. The sacred harp style of singing originated in 18th century New England hymns and is the basis for many quasi-religious or secular contemporary songs. The southern white gospel style turns up in bluegrass all the time, and the black gospel style greatly influenced pop music. The style of church music and hymns is often reflected in the carol, and a cappella (unaccompanied by instruments) means literally "in the church style". See also Gregorian chant.

chuffed (British slang) quite pleased.

cimbalom (also "cimbal", "cimbalon") a hammered dulcimer.

circle of fifths (less often "cycle of fifths") if you start with C and jump ahead in fifths, you get:

C G D A E B F# C# G# D# A# F C

or in its more common form:

C G D A E B F# C# Ab Eb Bb F C

All the notes of the chromatic scale have been generated. You can buy linear or circular slide rules based on the circle of fifths; they give you the key signatures, the principal chords and so on. The entry for key signature shows how the number of sharps and flats relate to the circle of fifths.

Note that if you're working out the tuning of the notes, and you do this jumping-ahead using natural fifths of 3/2, you'll never get to a proper octave because it's too sharp, and some other notes will be askew - see comma of Pythagoras, Pythagorean scale, temperament.

circulating temperament see Pythagorean scale.

cittern (usually pron. "chittern"; often spelled this way) an instrument similar to a lute, but with a flat back. Generally strung with four courses of steel strings. Popular in Celtic music and related to the mandolin, although the richer sound is closer to the bouzouki.

claes (UK) clothes.

clam a wrong note or chord, or just about any really noticeable musical goof. In general, the mistake has to be a good one. Small clams that pass quickly by are "fluffs", "flubs", "clinkers", etc.

Clancy Brothers Irish folk group consisting of brothers Paddy, Tom and Liam, plus (usually) Makem, Tommy. They have been playing together since the 50s, doing traditional Irish songs, and have recorded many albums. Tommy Makem went on to a successful solo career. Along with the Chieftains, they have been widely influential in popularizing Irish folk music.

Clark, Guy a Texas singer/songwriter who began in the folk revival, was influenced by his friends Walker, Jerry Jeff and Van Zandt, Townes, and whose music appeals to folk, country, and rock audiences. Songs of his include "Desperadoes Waiting for a Train", "LA Freeway", and "Last Gunfighter Ballad". Other of his songs have been performed by artists such as Ricky Scaggs and Emmylou Harris.

clashpans an archaic word for the cymbals, and one that should be brought back.

classical this is mentioned because the word is used so often in this lexicon, particularly when it comes to the borrowing of folk tunes by composers. In the strictest sense, the term refers to the music of the mid-18th to the early 19th centuries - thus Mozart (1756-1791) was classical, but Bach (1685-1750) and Wagner (1813-1883) were not. In the general sense, it refers to the formal orchestral music of past composers, or present composers in the same vein, and that is the meaning whenever the term is used here. (A folkie arrangement of Bach is mentioned in the entry Jesu Joy of Man's Desiring).

For reference, the periods are shown below. They're meant only as a rough guide, since there would have been many overlaps of musical styles. Sometimes a classification is called on to do extra duty: "ancient" is often used to mean anything from prehistory to 100 years ago.

ancient pre-1000
medieval 1000-1450 (aka "Gothic")
Renaissance 1450-1600
baroque 1600-1750
classical 1750-1820
romantic 1820-1900
modern 1900-

classical guitar a guitar with nylon strings and a fairly wide neck that joins the body at the 12th fret. The folk guitar generally has steel strings and a narrow neck that joins at the 14th fret.

clavichord along with the hammered dulcimer, the clavichord is considered the forerunner of the piano, and is much like a piano in appearance. Instead of a hammer, the key pressed a metal edge against the string, thereby sounding and stopping the string at the same time. The sound was soft and the loudness hard to vary, and if you played forcefully enough, the pressure of the metal edge threw the tuning off. The replacement of the clavichord mechanism with the Cristofori movement resulted in the modern piano (see Cristofori, Bartolomeo).

clavier (also "klavier") any keyboard instrument. The meaning depended on the period of use - sometimes it meant harpsichord or clavichord, sometimes piano. It never seemed to mean an organ.

clawhammer a style of fingerpicking for the banjo and guitar. The name seems to derive from the use of the righthand thumb and first two fingers.

Clayton, Paul (1933-67) singer-guitarist-collector. After collecting songs in the eastern and southern US in the 50s, Paul became known as a performer in the Greenwich Village folk revival, and was an influence on Van Ronk, Dave. He was an expert on folklore (with 20 albums), and toured with Bob Dylan in 1964. See also borrowing.

Clearwater Project the Clearwater is a replica Hudson River sloop, built in 1965 through the efforts of Pete Seeger and Victor Schwartz. It sails the Hudson, stopping at various ports to provide seminars on the environment by its passengers and crew (including Tony Barrand, Gordon Bok, Don McLean, and many others). The goal is to raise awareness of the ecology of the Hudson while providing folk music concerts; PBS has filmed a documentary about the efforts. Several albums of the music have been recorded.

clef (from the French for "key") a symbol placed at the beginning of a staff to indicate the range of pitch. The most familiar is the treble clef, which looks like " & " and denotes that the second line of the staff (counting from the bottom line) is G above middle C (also called "G clef").

Wide-range or bass instruments may also use the bass clef. This is placed on the staff below the treble staff, and is also called the "F clef". Its symbol looks like " ): " (said to have been derived from the old script "F").

There are two other clefs, used for vocal and wide-range instrument works, but rarely seen in folk music. These are the alto and tenor clefs, and both are called "C clefs", although they are placed on different lines to indicate the C note. The symbol looks a bit like a "3".

clem (UK) starve.

Clements, Vassar (1928- ) superb fiddler player and studio multi-instrumentalist from South Carolina who played fiddle with Monroe, Bill and Scruggs, Earl; he first came to the public notice through his work on the album "Will the Circle Be Unbroken" by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band in 1972. He has recorded with over 70 famous performers, from Acuff, Roy to Linda Ronstadt. He also has a number of solo albums on the Rounder and Flying Fish labels.

Click Song a South African folk song popularized by singer Miriam Makeba, who owes her introduction to the general public to Belafonte, Harry. The "click" referred to is a sound in the language of the Xhosa people, a tribe of the Zulus, and done by snapping the tongue away from the roof of the mouth. It's represented in English by "xh" or "!x", so the the tribal name, for instance, would be pronounced, more or less, "ossa".

Perhaps the most famous appearance of the clicking sound in language is in the films "The Gods Must be Crazy" and its sequel "The Gods Must Be Crazy II" - most of the dialogue of the bushman (who was really the star) featured this charming sound.

For another example of African folksong (under-represented in this lexicon - to be fixed), see also Guabi, Guabi, Wimoweh.

Clifton, Bill (1931- ) in the late 50s, Bill Clifton made a number of recordings of updated country and bluegrass songs, taking as his sources groups like the Carter Family. In 1963, he headed the country music section of the Newport Folk Festival. He has lived in England since the mid-60s, and is credited with widely influencing many of the folk performers created by the folk revival, demonstrating the place of country and old-timey songs and picking styles in folk music.

clinker a wrong note, a clam.

clogging step-dancing, very popular everywhere in the UK and North America. Generally done to fiddle tunes, and usually in groups of three or four or more, the steps are energetic and rhythmic, although less flamboyant than tap. Most folk festivals will feature a clogging team. The name is said to originate from the English custom of step-dancing in clogs (wooden-soled shoes).

Clogging is divided into various styles: Appalachian, English, French-Canadian, and others. The Irish and Scottish step-dances (Highland Fling, etc.) are generally not considered clogging, since they're much lighter in the steps and don't produce the rhythmic clatter associated with clogging.

There are further sub-categories, such as the shuffle, the flatfoot, freestyle, buckdancing, etc.

clogs shoes made with a leather upper and a wooden sole. They were popular with workers in past times, and probably resulted in the distinctive style and sound of clogging. Today's reproductions often have leather soles and metal tap plates to provide the clattery sound.

Clootie (Scot.) Satan.

close harmony harmony notes within the space of an octave.

Cockburn, Bruce (1945- ) Ottawa singer-songwriter-guitarist who began in the late 60s folk scene, and by the 70s had established himself as a Canadian star. He has about 20 albums. Popular songs of his include "Wondering Where the Lions Are", "Mama Just Wants to Barrelhouse All Night Long", and "Goin' Down the Road" (the title song from the 1970 movie). His songs are widely recorded by others and he continues to perform.

cockie (Australian, also "cocky") a farmer.

cockup (British slang) A complete mess. "The organizers made a cockup of that festival from beginning to end." Usually refers to something large and complicated; you generally wouldn't say that a guitar was a cockup, but you might say "That company sure makes a cockup of guitar-building."

coda a musical piece at the end of a selection to give a sense of finality. In folk arrangements, it's not uncommon for the coda to be a repetition of the verse melody, or part of it, on instruments only, and is generally known as a tag. In classical arrangements, the coda is somewhat more complex.

coeval of the same age, contemporaneous. Musicologists like this one.

coffeehouse a term much in use in the 50s to the 70s. Borrowed from European usage of centuries ago, it referred to a meeting place with a minimalist menu and featured folk performers. There might also be chess games going on, poetry readings, jazz, etc. Not all coffeehouses were licensed to sell alcoholic drinks, so many folkies had caffeine overdoses from cheap coffee in foam cups or expensive coffee in tiny mugs.

The term is still used, but "folk club" is the current fave.

Nothing pegs the folk outsider like the use of the word "coffeeshop".

Cohen, Leonard (1934- ) it is difficult to place Montreal's Leonard Cohen in folk music - his songs are unique, to say the least. In his first album in 1967, he blended folk-like melodies with remarkable, vibrant poetry, and other people began recording his songs, such as "Suzanne" and "Bird on a Wire". In 1993, he was awarded a Juno for Best Male Vocalist - rather odd, since his voice has been widely noted as being somewhat unexpressive. His many albums are an inspiration and a challenge to songwriters.

collating a term used by collectors to describe the making of a version of a traditional song from other versions. In some cases this is done for personal preference, and in others it might be the only way to get a complete song out of collected fragments. This is often done by performers as well; their version might contain verses or lines borrowed from other songs, or another tune - either totally different or a variant. See also rewrites.

collectors there wouldn't be the vast treasury of folk music that's available today without the tremendous effort expended by the song collectors. Only a few of the enormous number of dedicated collectors are listed. See the individual entries:

Barbeau, Marius Baring-Gould, Sabine Bronson, Bertrand Charters, Sam Child, F.J. Creighton, Helen D'Urfey, Thomas Fowke, Edith Friedman, Albert Goldstein, Kenneth Grainger, Percy Hugill, Stan Johnson, James Karpeles, Maud Kennedy, Peter Kidson, Frank Lloyd, A.L. Lomax, Alan Lomax, John O Lochlainn, Colm O'Neill, Francis Palmer, Roy Peacock, Kenneth Sandburg, Carl Seeger, Charles Sharp, Cecil Spaeth, Sigmund Thorp, N. Howard Williams, Ralph Vaughan

As Professor Child neared the completion of his enormous work, which has been called one of the greatest works of literary research of the 19th century, he felt that he had said the last word on folksong, and his contemporaries seemed to agree. However, since Child had ignored rural songs and song tunes, there was a group of enthusiasts who went into the countryside of Britain at the turn of the century to see what they could turn up. Bertrand Bronson writes on this exploration in his 1969 "The Ballad as Song:"

"These enthusiasts made the startling discovery that most of what had passed in print for popular music bore little resemblance to what the people were actually singing in the thorps and crofts of Britain. What was being sung bore the clear marks of a tradition anterior to the major and minor harmonic habits of the last three centuries. Its melodic outlines were more akin to the modal songs of the Middle Ages, resistant to modern harmonization; and the intonation was almost as reluctant as the bagpipe's to submit to the tempered scale."

The enthusiasts had uncovered a vast treasure; the same was to be repeated in North America by many of the collectors listed above. In addition, the donors of the tunes came up with many more songs than those collected by correspondence by Child.

The down side of song (and dance) collecting is that one style recorded on paper may become the definitive version, even if there might have been many variants at one time (see song family). This happened with the morris dancing collections of Cecil Sharp - what Cecil wrote passed into law. For instance, he didn't see or hear of any women dancing the morris, and said so in print. It soon became a no-girls-allowed boy's club. Women are still fighting this, and with much success.

Invoking a collector's version of a song (this applies particularly to Child's works) as the One True Way is an indication of unfamiliarity with the folk process.

You might argue that this very compendium is doing much the same thing - carving wobbly definitions in stone.

collier (UK) a miner.

colliery (UK) a mine.

Collins, Judy (1939- ) beginning her career with vocals and guitar in the folk clubs of the 50s folk revival, Judy was soon a star, recording traditional and contemporary songs in the 60s. Her 1967 "Wildflowers" album was a landmark - she had begun songwriting, the album's "Both Sides Now" by Mitchell, Joni was a hit, and Joshua Rifkin's arrangements brought lush new dimensions to folk-pop.

She has recorded over 15 albums, and continues to perform.

colophon an inscription at the end of a book (particularly in the 15th and 16th centuries) giving details of publication, or a publisher's logo. Through these manuscripts, many books and song versions have been dated.

colophony see rosin.

combination tone see beat, sense 4.

come-all-ye a narrative song that gets its name from the opening line, which is usually of the form "Come all ye sailors brave and bold" or similar. It's a type of ballad, usually with the narration in the first person singular or first person plural. The participants almost always go through a hair-raising adventure together, with the ending being either triumphant or a tragedy, with the moral in the latter case being a warning to others ("A warning take by me" is a common line) not to join the navy or become a buffalo skinner or fool with loose women.

Come For To Sing 1. The late, lamented folk music magazine published out of Chicago from the late 70s to 1987 by Emily Friedman. It featured songs, calendars, articles, interviews and lots more. It's sorely missed. 2. A book of songs by von Schmidt, Eric, Houghton Mifflin, 1963.

Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eirann (pron., more or less, "Coltas Col-torry Erin") a guiding organization for Irish traditional music, with branches around the world. They encourage new musicians, hold concerts, competitions, etc. They are occasionally criticised for discouraging musical individuality in their quest to keep traditional music alive.

comma 1. A discrepancy in the tempering of the musical scale. See comma of Pythagoras, diesis, ditone, syntonic comma. 2. There are musical devices to denote phrases in music, just as the comma is used in writing - see cadence.

comma of Pythagoras as mentioned under circle of fifths, if you jump ahead in fifths, a ratio of 3/2, you can generate all the notes of the scale if you take it for 12 jumps, which is seven octaves. If you jump ahead in natural fifths, you'll be noticeably sharp when you get to the end, because 3/2 can't be multiplied times itself and still yield a true octave. This error is the comma of Pythagoras. See also diesis for another example of the comma.

Putting it in numbers: if you start with a frequency of 1 Hz, the seven octaves should give a final note of 27 = 128. (2^7 = 128) If you use a value of 1.5 for the 12 notes required by the circle of fifths, you get 1.512 = 129.75. (1.5^12 = 129.75) The overshoot, 129.75/128, is the comma, equal to 23.5 cents or about 1/4 of a semitone. In some music theory books, the comma is shown as 81/80. While very close at 21.5 cents, this is actually the syntonic comma.

In our equal-tempered scale, the fifth is flat by a tiny amount (its value is about 1.498 versus the natural fifth's 1.5, or about 2.3 cents lower). An ETS fifth will make the circle of fifths generate proper octaves.

There are various other commas resulting from different methods of deriving the scale. Another one results when you use the natural whole tone as the jumping-ahead ratio. The pitch increase of a natural whole tone is the ratio 9:8, or 1.125. The trouble in using the tone is that you overshoot when you end up at the octave note, just as with Pythagoras' comma. Since the scale encompasses six whole tones (five tones and two semitones}, the equation for the octave should be the following:

(9/8)6 = 2 ((9/8)^6 = 2)

And it doesn't work. A few seconds with a calculator shows the above is not equal to 2, but 2.0273. This works out to about 1/4 of a semitone more than a true octave (the fix that was used is in the entry for Pythagorean scale). The more you look into the other scales, the more appreciation you have for the equal-tempered scale as the king of compromises.

See also temperament just intonation, meantone scale, natural scale.

commercialized you can always start a heated discussion among folkies by stating that commercialization rots the very fabric of folk music. While it's true that large commercial interests strip away the subtleties and complexities and go for profit, there is also the problem of a subculture that simply doesn't want its private world made public. On the negative side of it, Mclean, Don said that the theme of his song "American Pie" was that commercialization corrupts inspiration.

Seeger, Pete has often made the point that if the Weavers hadn't gained fame from doing commercial club dates, or if they hadn't made the Decca recordings (which have 50s-style string sections and a somewhat over-produced sound), much of their music would never have been heard, and he wouldn't have had the enormously successful solo career that followed. There's quite a difference between making money from folk music and wrecking the music for exploitive purposes.

See electric folk, Steeleye Span, gig, money for further comments on this. See also oral tradition for a nice quote from Bronson, Bertrand on the durability of folksong.

common chord the root position of a chord - in a C major chord, this would be C E G. See chord inversion.

common time 4/4 time, notated by a "c" at the beginning of the music. It doesn't stand for "common" - the historical explanation is that triple time was considered perfect by analogy with the Trinity, and was denoted by a perfect circle. 4/4 time was seen as imperfect and denoted by a broken circle.

compass the range of a melody from lowest to highest note; it's synonymous with tessitura. See also ambitus.

communal origin a theory that says that folksongs just arose somehow from people getting together in small communities to sing work songs or entertainment songs, etc. Whatever the appeal of this rosy image, it's universally dismissed by musicologists ( Bronson, Bertrand called it "metaphysical moonshine"). Someone with a gift for verse and/or melody put together a song, and it began making the rounds by oral tradition, being filtered by the folk process along the way.

Of course, the single-author purity theory comes under justified attack from researchers - it seems unlikely that a song could travel for centuries without *some* changes (see historical accuracy). However, experts such as Child, F.J., Bertrand Bronson, and MacColl, Ewan say that certain of the ballads in the main collections owe much to one author. The interested are referred to the discussion of the song "Edward" in Bronson's "The Ballad as Song".

compere (pron. "compare") In British usage, a host or master of ceremonies. Some confusion arises when festival visitors from the UK ask "Who's compering this?", to which the reply is, of course, "Who's comparing this to what?"

compound interval any interval greater than the octave is called compound, because it's really the distance of an octave plus a smaller interval - an example would be the tenth, which is the octave plus a third.

In music, 8 + 3 can indeed yield a tenth, since the octave note is the same as the low note of the added interval:

       octave -->  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
                                 1 2 3  <-- added interval

compound meter a time signature with more than two, three, or four beats per measure: 6/8, 12/8, etc. Two to four beats per measure is simple meter. If the compound meter is evenly divisible by two, it's "compound duple". If it's divisible by three, it's "compound triple". See also meter, rhythm.

compound time see compound meter.

concertina a miniature bellows instrument, hexagonal in shape, with small buttons instead of keys. Its compact size is said to have made it a favorite with sailors, which is why the stereotypical sailor always seems to have one, but there's some doubt about this, since concertinas were expensive and their steel reeds rust-prone (see also Wheatstone, Sir Charles). There are two basic flavors, the English (the same note pushing or pulling - such as the "Wheatstone") and the Anglo-German (a different note on pushing or pulling). Both are popular instruments for accompanying songs or for playing in dance bands (see also bandoneon).

There is another type called the "duet", which has the bass buttons on one side and the treble on the other. This allows separate bass and treble lines to be played.

There are many different sizes and keys available; the family has the range of the instruments in a string quartet. Classical works have been composed for the family, and Tschaikovsky included them in an orchestral suite. One of the most remarkable achievements in concertina playing was the multitracked recording of a Bach fugue by Alistair Anderson of England, using different sizes of instruments. The listener is hard pressed to tell the sound from a large church organ.

concerto a work for a solo instrument and orchestra, or two solo instruments, or a solo instrument and a group of others. The well-known "Carolan's Concerto", a solo harp piece by Carolan, Turlough, is not a concerto, though it could be adapted into one.

concert pitch by international agreement, concert pitch is defined as the A above middle C being 440 hertz (cycles per second). Musicians use a tuner of some sort to set instruments or voices to this standard. See also perfect pitch, and for those interested in scale derivation, temperament.

concordance 1. Synonymous with "consonance" - see consonant. 2. An index to a work, such as the Bible.

concordant (also "concord") synonymous with consonant; opposite discordant.

conga a tall floor-standing drum, shaped like a long thin egg with the ends sliced off, and played directly with the hands.

conjunct see conjunctive.

conjunctive (also "conjunct") a melody that moves in small steps, usually from one note to the one adjacent; it can also be used in a looser sense to mean melodic steps limited to about a third. Many folksongs have simple conjunctive melodies, although leaps of a fifth or even an octave are not unknown. The latter is conjunctive's opposite, disjunctive.

Connors, Tom (1936- ) "Stompin' Tom" has been writing and singing his rough-edged songs since the early 60s, when he began in northern Ontario. His nickname comes from the stamping of his foot on a plywood board to punctuate the rhythm. He writes on a wide variety of working-class Canadian topics, and calls himself a "hometown singer" - everybody's hometown gets a mention somewhere in his large repertoire. His songs include "Bud the Spud", "Big Joe Mufferaw", "Luke's Guitar", "Moon-man Newfie", and "Sudbury Saturday Night". He has five Junos and has recorded over 30 albums.

Conolly, John singer-songwriter who performed with The Broadside group in Grimsby, Lincolnshire. In the late 60s, he wrote "Fiddler's Green", which many people swear blind is traditional. Others of his songs include "Punch and Judy Man" and "Charlie in the Meadow".

consonant see harmony.

contemporary folk the success of the folk revival in the 50s and 60s naturally led songwriters to try their hand at the style, as songwriters have always done. The result was mixed, with some pop writers using folk as a foot in the show biz door (this is still true). The best of them, however, contributed an enormous repertoire of beautiful songs based on a traditional style. Whether or not they should be called folk songs inspires hot debate. In some cases, they redefined the songs that could be admitted to the folk canon. See electric folk, folksong, definition, navelgazers.

conteur a medieval storyteller of legends and fables, similar to a bard or seanachie. The conteurs took the Arthurian legend to Europe before the 10th century, where it caught on to a greater extent than in England at the time. See also storytelling.

continuo (from "basso continuo") the accompaniment part of an ensemble's playing, particularly in baroque music, in which it's usually a series of chords played on the harpsichord. The soft bass chords of the harpsichord are often lost in the string sound, so the only continuo you hear would be the upper chords tinkling away. Playing the continuo part is quite an involved skill if period musicians are sticking to tradition - the player was expected to play just the right bass chords from a shorthand notation called figured bass. A form of figured bass remains in folk and country today.

Sometimes the continuo is played on a lute like the theorbo or archlute, depending on the type of music.

In folk music today, the equivalent of the continuo might be the rhythm guitar, or a guitar playing a chord progression using pattern picking, or anything that provides a chordal background. Strumming rapidly might not count; the continuo chords are usually sounded distinctly.

contra dancing see country dancing.

contralto see alto.

contrapuntal containing melodies played in counterpoint - see round, polyphonic.

Cooder, Ry (1947- ) a virtuoso guitarist who studied briefly with Davis, Rev. Gary. He played folk and blues material in the early 60s, and formed a group called "Rising Sons" with Taj Mahal. He has played with a large number of rock musicians, and is of interest for his country blues slide guitar arrangements as well as his intuitive grasp of the intricacies of various folk styles.

cook rarely used. To "cook" is to really blow, to really lay out those hot licks. "Really cooking" is heard occasionally.

coof see cuif.

Cooney, Michael attracted by the folk sound in the late 50s folk revival, Michael began learning his vast repertoire of traditional music, both American and British. His wide knowledge of songs and instrumental techniques made him a candidate to take over from Pete Seeger as the leading folksinger in the US. He began writing for Sing Out! in 1970, first with "General Delivery" (a sort of songfinder column) and later with his "Roads Scholar" opinion column, which ran until the fall of 1990. In his last column, he seemed to be bidding goodbye, not just to Sing Out, but to performing, lamenting the poor economics of playing the folk circuit - an opinion shared by Sky, Patrick; see also gig, money.

He has played just about everywhere internationally, and has two albums on Folk-Legacy. After a near-fatal car accident in 1979, he slowed down considerably, but any retirement is a great loss to the folk community.

cooper (also "couper" and "cowper") a maker of barrels. The cooper's trade is currently undergoing a revival since the discovery that real ales, wines, and vinegars are at their best when aged in wooden casks. The term occurs often in old songs ("Wee Cooper o' Fife", etc.).

coorie (Scot., also "curry") to snuggle. The song "Coorie Doon" is a lullaby meaning "snuggle down" and is an inevitable source of jokes about Scots-Indian food.

Copper Family Ron and Bob Copper of Sussex, England, kept copies of many traditional songs accumulated by their family over the generations, beginning in 1922. These proved a gold mine to folk revivalist singers in the 60s and 70s, particularly Steeleye Span and the Young Tradition. Ron and Bob have made albums as The Copper Family.

Their songs are popular enough in both the UK and North America that there is a comedy duo called "The Kipper Family", who do hilarious and ingenious parodies.

copyright folkies get annoyed when performers copyright a song that rightfully belongs in the public domain. Examples would be Paul Simon's copyrighting of the ancient "Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme" ("Scarborough Fair", aka "The Cambric Shirt"), or Bob Dylan's constant use of uncredited traditional tunes (for which he now holds the copyright, presumably), or the copyrighting of "Tom Dooley" by the Kingston Trio, even though it was traditional through Proffitt, Frank. See also borrowing.

Apparently this has never been tested in court, at least not in any large, media-attracting way. Various people have recorded "Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme" without getting sued by Simon. Perhaps folkies are seen as too small a fish to fry.

That being said, corporate nervousness in 1996 resulted in the shutdown of a guitar tablature Internet site and the relocation of the Digital Tradition lyric database (see Internet folk). The reason given was the sites' use of copyrighted material.

corbie (UK) raven, crow.

cornet a brass instrument much like a trumpet, but somewhat shorter and with a wider flare to the horn; this gives it a more mellow tone. Like the trumpet, it's a Bb instrument.

coster (UK, also "costermonger") a seller of fruits and vegetables, esp. from a cart. It is also a term associated with a performance style in the UK music hall tradition, since some of the singers affected a working-class persona.

Cotten, Elizabeth (1895-1987) "Libba" Cotten was hired as a cook by the Seeger family in the 40s, and Mike and Peggy encouraged her to perform her songs. She wrote "Freight Train" in 1907 at the age of 12, although it wasn't heard by the public until she began singing in public in the late 50s. She was a favorite at folk festivals and clubs up until the 80s, and recorded several albums for Folkways. Other songs she'll be remembered for are "Oh, Babe, It Ain't No Lie" and "Shake Sugaree".

Her finger-style guitar playing was distinctive: although she was left-handed, she played a regular guitar without restringing it by just turning it over (ie, with her right hand on the neck). Naturally, this came to be known as "Cotten picking".

Cotswold the Cotswold hills are in the English midlands, and are the place where many of the older morris dance teams originated.

countermelody a subordinate melody played along with the main one. In folk, any countermelody is usually in step with the main; if it moves independently, it would be counterpoint.

counterpoint one or more melodies that are staggered with respect to their starting points, or that move independently of the main one; see round, polyphonic.

countertenor see alto.

counting in to begin a song or tune by calling out a number of beats ("One! Two! Three! Four!"). This lets the musicians get the tempo and the exact starting point. It's essential in recording studio work when other tracks will be added later. In this case, the count is usually done with the last two numbers silent ("One! Two! ... ..."); this short silence allows a bit of room for editing out the count during the final production.

It isn't always necessary to do a count if the musicians are familiar with the music and each other; it's usually possible to jump into it right away.

country to folkies and old-timey fans, "country" has something of a different meaning from the mainstream definition. It generally refers to the rural folk music of Appalachia and the US south, as popularized by such groups as the Carter Family or the Delmore Brothers. In the 40s and 50s, country underwent a change with the music of people like Williams, Hank and Wills, Bob and the Nashville sound was on its way. In this lexicon, "country" usually refers to the old-timey definition unless noted otherwise.

C&W Country-and-Western (or recently, "New Country") began with roots in traditional folk music and owes little to it today. While a C&W group would be welcomed at, say, a folk festival, there is only a little interest in Nashville music among folkies. While the instrumentalists are exemplary, the arrangements are generally seen as superficial and stylized (which is odd, since C&W musicians are among the best in the business). C&W refers to the mass-marketed output and shouldn't be confused with country or old-timey, which have influenced many folk musicians.

country blues blues songs originating in the US rural south. They're usually accompanied by acoustic guitar, especially bottleneck style. The country blues of the 20s to the 40s influenced the electric blues players of the northern cities (Muddy Waters, etc.).

Famous country blues singers and writers include Blind Lemon Jefferson, Johnson, Robert, Blind Blake, Lewis, Furry, Blind Willie McTell, Broonzy, Bill and Davis, Rev. Gary.

There are many others who are not thought of as strictly blues players, but who contributed much to the music. These include Leadbelly, and Hurt, John.

country dancing a communal dance with origins from centuries ago in Europe. The term is equally likely to be from the rural aspect or from "contredanse". Sharp, Cecil said that the characteristics of the dance are "simplicity and gaiety". The dances are usually performed in lines, with the couples crossing over, swinging partners, etc.

Country dancing in folk music tends to be informal, unlike the Scottish country dance, in which full regalia is worn.

Contra-dancing is a more complex form of the country dance and probably derives from court dances.

The tunes published by John Playford in the 1650 "Playford Dancing Master" are still performed today, although many of them are not the informal type of country dance, but like contra-dance, probably derive from the royal courts. The dances are more structured than the energetic country dance, and the dancers often wear period costumes.

The squaredance derives from country dancing.

Country Gardens the well-known song "An English Country Garden" was originally a Cotswold morris dance tune called "Country Gardens", first published in the early 18th century. It was collected in the Cotswold hills by Sharp, Cecil and later given to Grainger, Percy and was arranged and published by Grainger in the early 20th century. The genteel words were added later. Also the tune used for the song "The Vicar of Bray".

Country Gentlemen formed in 1957, the Country Gentlemen had an innovative approach to bluegrass. They incorporated jazz, folk songs, etc. They recorded widely in the 60s and 70s and played at many folk festivals. They performed as regular guests on Ian Tyson's Canadian TV program.

courante a baroque court dance, usually in 3/4 or 3/8; the French version was in 3/2, with hemiola.

course two or three strings in place of one, as on the lute or 12-string guitar. The 12-string, for instance, has six courses, while the lute may have seven or nine or more.

The strings of the course may be tuned in unison or in octaves.

courting dulcimer see dulcimer, courting.

cover a song re-issued by someone other than the original artist. For example, the songs of popular writers like Dylan, Bob have been covered by hundreds of other performers. In 50s R&B, much black music was covered by white artists.

cowbell exactly that, an elongated bell less than a foot long and mounted on a drum kit. The sound is piercing, but with short sustain.

cowboy songs in general, these tend to be songs of the American southwest, and in many cases, were collected by people like the Lomaxes (see Lomax, John). They vary from the well-worn "Streets of Laredo" to modern compositions about the cowboy past, such as Bruce Phillips' "Goodnight Loving Trail".

craw (Scot.) crow.

credenza a piece of furniture. See cadenza.

Creighton, Helen (1899-1989) began collecting folk songs in Nova Scotia, and during her career collected over 4,000 songs and variants, including the famous "Farewell to Nova Scotia". She has published nine books, and various artists have recorded many of the songs. She received the Order of Canada in 1976.

crescendo gradually getting louder; not, as some think, the final loud passage. Things don't reach a crescendo, but often use a crescendo to get to a forte or a fortissimo. Opposite diminuendo.

Cristofori, Bartolomeo (1655-1731) (also "Christofori") the inventor of the piano mechanism that bears his name, and without which there wouldn't *be* a piano. The Cristofori movement allows the key to launch and release the hammer with precision, giving a wide range of loudness. Previously, the direct-hitting hammers yielded narrow dynamics, rather like the limited loudness control of the harpsichord.

cross-fingering on a flute or whistle (particularly the 3-hole whistle), the technique of lifting off a middle finger while leaving open the holes on either side, or blocking two holes while leaving one open above the fingers. This gives extra notes in the case of the 3-hole whistle, or sharps and flats on the six-hole type. Also called "fork fingering".

cross flute see transverse.

cross-harp see harmonica.

crossover a loose term referring to a tune or song from one musical idiom being blended into another. A tune from Western Swing, for instance, might end up in an old-timey performance, or a blues approach might be applied to British traditional. You never know.

cross picking a style of flatpicking used to produce an interesting syncopation somewhat like fingerpicking. The rhythm can be done with flatpick strokes in a down-down-up pattern.

cross rhythm two different rhythms going at once. It could be two different time signatures (which is called polymeter), or syncopation in one of the parts. Opposite simple rhythm; see also polyrhythm.

crossroads the term turns up in blues quite a bit, especially in the songs of Johnson, Robert. The crossroads were a place of mysticism, and the saying was that anybody who could play as well as Johnson must have sold his soul to the devil at the crossroads in return for talent.

According to the Funk & Wagnall's Dictionary of Folklore, crossroads have had superstituous connotations in most cultures - Europe, Asian, North American Indian, etc. Murderers and suicides were buried there, and it was the rendezvous point for witches - "anything could happen there."

See also movies.

crotchet see notation, British.

croton the croton plant is a source of acrid oil once used as a laxative, so "croton coffee", as mentioned in the ballad "Buffalo Skinners", appears to be very unpleasant coffee, with side effects.

crown in the old British system, five shillings, one quarter of a pound.

Crudup, Big Boy (1905-1974) (Arthur Crudup) Mississippi blues man who recorded with rhythm sections and is credited with influencing performers of early rock-and-roll. One of his RCA albums is entitled "The Father of Rock and Roll"; this is obviously a PR exaggeration, but does show the importance of country blues as a predecessor of rock music. He didn't seem to play much music after the early 50s, but resumed touring in 1966 until the early 70s. His songs, "It's All Right", "My Baby Left Me", and "So Glad You're Mine" were made famous by Elvis Presley; many others recorded his songs (Tina Turner, Elton John, Rod Stewart). Unfortunately his success arrived too late, and he died in poverty.

crwth (Welsh, pron. "crooth") also known as "crowd", this is a Welsh bowed lyre used by the bards. Three or four strings in its rectangular frame was common. Illustrations from the 11th century show it, and it's probably much older than that. With the decline of the bardic tradition, it was largely gone by the 19th century. It's all up to the period players now.

cue other than the obvious theatrical derivation, it also refers to a studio technique that lets the performers hear themselves - see foldback.

cuif (UK, also "coof") a goof, a loun.

cumulative songs (also "accumulative songs") songs in which a phrase is added with each repetition of the verse. The most famous example would probably be "Old MacDonald Had a Farm", which gets a new animal noise with each repetition of the list. Compare with incremental songs.

curtal a Renaissance woodwind, forerunner of the bassoon.

cutaway a guitar, usually acoustic, with a large notch fitted into the body where the neck joins, just below the first string. This allows the left hand to travel much further up the neck without hitting the guitar body.

cut time 2/2, sometimes denoted by a "C" with a vertical line through it, rather like a cent symbol.

cutty (Scot., also "cuttie") short. A "cutty sark" is a short shirt, a rather odd name for a ship and a Scotch.

cutty stool (Scot.) the stool of repentance in a church for the purpose of humiliating those who'd broken the rules, such as adulterers.

cycle any type of works usually performed together because of a commonality. Songs are often grouped into a song cycle; the arranger selects them according to lyrical or musical content. The word suite is similar.

cycle of fifths see circle of fifths.

cymbal a disk of metal shaped like an inverted saucer. A pair can be held in the air by straps and struck together, or a single one mounted on a stand for use in a drum kit. There are a number of different types for different sounds, usually with descriptive names such as "ride" or "shimmer". Some have rivets loosely attached for that extra jangle. A pair of horizontal cymbals mounted on a stand and struck together by means of a foot pedal is known as a "high hat".


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