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Nolan Porterfield

Member of Lomax family

(b Goodman, MS, Sept 23, 1867; d Greenville, MS, Jan 26, 1948). American folksong collector. While studying for his MA at Harvard (1906–7) he was encouraged by his professors George L. Kittredge and Barrett Wendell to collect the folksongs of cowboys in Texas, where he had grown up. This work resulted in Cowboy Songs and Other Frontier Ballads (1910), one of the first important collections of American folksong. He collected and published only sporadically between 1910 and 1932, after which he undertook a nationwide lecture and collecting tour that produced American Ballads and Folk Songs (with Alan Lomax, 1934), hailed as the largest single collection of indigenous American song to that time.

Lomax became curator of the Archive of American Folksong at the Library of Congress in 1933 and played a major role in its development. With support from the library and other government agencies, he and his son Alan made field recording trips throughout the 1930s, mostly in the South and Southwest, pioneering the use of instantaneous disc recording equipment for that purpose and eventually depositing in the archive recordings of more than 4000 folksongs. Among their discoveries was the black folk-blues artist Leadbelly, whom they found in prison in Louisiana in ...

Article

Edward Garden

revised by Sergei Saratovsky

(b Yaroslavl’, Nov 18/30, 1859; d Paris, Nov 8, 1924). Russian composer, pianist, conductor, ethnomusicologist, editor, and pedagogue. His father, a mathematician and astronomer, was head of the observatory near Yaroslavl′, but died when Sergey was about eight. In 1870 he and his mother moved to Balakirev’s home town, Nizhniy Novgorod, where he attended the gimnaziya (grammar school) and, from its foundation in 1873, the classes of the local branch of the Russian Musical Society, whose first director was V.Yu. Villoing (nephew of A.I. Villoing, who had taught the Rubinstein brothers). Lyapunov’s mother was an excellent pianist, and his early piano lessons from her were of far more use to him than those with Vasily Villoing, who (unlike his uncle) was primarily a violinist and allowed Lyapunov to develop bad technical habits that had to be eradicated when, on the advice of Nikolay Rubinstein, he enrolled in the Moscow Conservatory in ...

Article

Barbara L. Tischler

(b Louisville, KY, Oct 20, 1877; d Louisville, KY, Feb 24, 1919). American composer and folksong collector. She had no formal training as a composer. At the suggestion of May Stone of the Hindman Settlement School in Knott County (Kentucky), she spent the summer of 1914 in Knott and Letcher counties transcribing folksongs and tracing their origins to English and Scottish ballads. By her own description the people of the area called her “the strange woman huntin’ song-ballets.” She published Folk-songs of the Kentucky Mountains (1917, repr. 1922, 1926, 1937), in which 13 of the 20 songs are traced to precursors in Child’s English and Scottish Popular Ballads (1882–98). At a time when many American composers turned to folk music as the source of a distinctive voice, McGill’s activities contributed to the search for an American national music. Among her own compositions are the songs “Duna, when I was a little lad” (...

Article

(b Minneapolis, MN, June 12, 1892; d Albuquerque, NM, Jan 6, 1989). American composer, educator, ethnomusicologist, and attorney. He studied English at Yale University (BA 1915) and at Harvard, and practiced law until 1941, when he moved from New York to Albuquerque as professor and head of the music department at the University of New Mexico. He was soon appointed dean of the College of Fine Arts, serving until his retirement in 1957. He studied composition throughout his life, training with horatio Parker , Nadia Boulanger, Roy Harris, paul Hindemith , and at Mills College with Darius Milhaud (1947–50). A prolific composer, he wrote two operas (including Little Jo, 1947–9), a musical comedy ( Joy Comes to Deadhorse), four symphonies, other orchestral and chamber music, numerous songs and choral works, and dozens of electronic works. He collected thousands of field recordings of traditional music, which comprise the John Donald Robb Archive of Southwestern Music at the University of New Mexico, and published ...

Article

American family of musicians.

Seeger, Charles (Louis) (b Mexico City, Dec 14, 1886; d Bridgewater, CT, Feb 7, 1979)

Crawford (Seeger), Ruth (Porter) (b East Liverpool, OH, July 3, 1901; d Chevy Chase, MD, Nov 18, 1953)

Seeger, Pete(r R.) (b New York, May 3, 1919...

Article

Ann M. Pescatello

(Louis)

Member of Seeger family

(b Mexico City, Dec 14, 1886; d Bridgewater, CT, Feb 7, 1979). American musicologist, composer, conductor, critic and musical philosopher. His initial interest was in composition and conducting, and he joined numerous young American composers in Europe in the years immediately following his graduation from Harvard (1908). He spent a season (1910–11) as a conductor at the Cologne Opera before returning to the USA as a composer and chairman of the department of music at the University of California, Berkeley (1912–19), where he gave the first American courses in musicology in 1916. Several of his compositions were destroyed in the Berkeley fire (1923). Subsequently he was a lecturer and instructor at the Institute of Musical Art, New York (1921–33), the forerunner of the Juilliard School, and lecturer at the New School for Social Research (...