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Anglo-American music

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Anglo-American music

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The Thirteen Colonies of the original United States were all former English possessions, and Anglo culture became a major foundation for American folk and popular music.

Many American folk songs use the same music, but with new lyrics, often as parodies of the original material. American Anglo songs can also be distinguished from British songs by having fewer pentatonic tunes, less prominent accompaniment (but with heavier use of drones) and more melodies in major [1].

Anglo-American traditional music, dating back to colonial times, includes a variety of broadside ballads, humorous stories and tall tales, and disaster songs regarding mining, shipwrecks (especially in New England) and murder. Folk heroes like Joe Magarac, John Henry and Jesse James are also part of many songs. Folk dance of Anglo origin include the square dance, descended from the European high society quadrille, combined with the American innovation of a caller instructing the dancers [2]. Sea shanties are an important part of Anglo-American music [3]

Folklorist Alan Lomax described regional differences among rural Anglo musicians as included the relaxed and open-voiced northern vocal style and the pinched and nasal southern style, with the west exhibiting a mix of the two. He attributed these differences to sexual relations, the presence of minorities and frontier life [4].

  • "On the Old Kissimmee Prairie"
    • This is a British tune from the Library of Congress' Florida Folklife from the WPA Collections; performed by Bob Hall, Walter van Bass, Ned Hugh Bass and J. C. King with banjos, guitars and violin in Juli, 1940 in Kenansville, Florida.


  • Burk, Cassie, Virginia Meierhoffer and Claude Anderson Phillips (1942). America's Musical Heritage. Laidlaw Brothers.
  • Lomax, Alan (1960). The Folksongs of North America in the English Language. Doubleday and Company.; cited in Nettl
  • Nettl, Bruno (1965). Folk and Traditional Music of the Western Continents. Prentice-Hall, Inc.


  1.   Nettl, pg. 201
  2.   Nettl, pgs. 201-202
  3.   Burk, Meierhoffer and Phillips
  4.   Lomax, pg. 1, cited in Nettl, pg. 202

Home | Up | American Indian music | African American music | Anglo-American music | Celtic music in the United States | Music of immigrant communities in the United States | Latin music in the United States | Tejano music

Music Sound, v. 2.0, by MultiMedia

This guide is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia.


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