• The Vernacular Tune Book Collection of Samuel P. Bayard at The Pennsylvania State University

    Carl Rahkonen (see profile)
    Music Library Association
    Music, Nineteenth century, Great Britain, Folk music, History, Musicology, Music publishing
    Item Type:
    Pennsylvania State University, Popular music, Samuel Bayard, Tune books, vernacular music, 19th-century music, British music, Music history
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    This article and annotated bibliography pertain to the vernacular tune book collection of Samuel P. Bayard, housed at the Special Collections Library at The Pennsylvania State University. The collection reflects Bayard’s research interests, namely folk music, both instrumental and vocal, belonging to Anglo-Celtic traditions. He donated 139 tunes books, defined as books containing some form of musical notation, even solfège. An additional 22 songsters and dance notation books are listed as an addendum to the bibliography. The majority of these books (85%) contain music from England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. The tunes were both composed and collected, or taken from earlier publications or manuscripts, passing fluidly into and out of aural tradition and also between written sources. These books were used for performing music in parlors and drawing rooms, as resources for dance musicians and recreational singing, and as scholarly studies of vernacular music. Many present interesting bibliographical problems. Vernacular tune books are one of the only windows into understanding the vernacular music culture of the past and are very worthy of further study.
    I worked for twelve years on this article and bibliography and shared it with several library and folk music scholars who said it was worthy of publication. I offered it to three different journals, but due to its narrow topic and long length it was not even sent out for review. It should be of greatest interest to scholars of Anglo-Celtic traditional music, where there are few studies of published tune books. I invite anyone interested in vernacular tune books to contact me.
    Last Updated:
    4 years ago


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