Folk Music Journal. 2019, Vol. 11 Issue 4, p6-31. 26p.
FOLK music, MANUSCRIPTS, TUNE-books, FIDDLERS, MUSICAL notation, and ENGLISH music
The remnants of a past English musical practice exist in handwritten manuscripts, sometimes known as 'fiddlers' tunebooks', which beautifully preserve and document a largely amateur, monophonic instrumental practice. These manuscript sources are vastly under-explored academically, reflecting a wider omission in scholarship on instrumental music of the 'ordinary' people in the nineteenth century. This article focuses on the human element of mid- to late nineteenth-century manuscripts, aiming to reveal the type of person involved in their creation. Using the compilers of three case-study manuscripts from the west of England alongside a wider sample of music manuscripts, I draw out key characteristics which define the compilers as young, married, working-class men from a rural environment. The demographic traits are considered and ideas put forward as to how and why the profile is thus shaped, and what elements were advantageous to music manuscript production. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]