search the folktrax site

vol 1

This World Music Course introduced by Alan Lomax, the leader of the team who put it together in the 1960s, was originally titled "Cantometrics - the measure of song". As "Folk Song Style and Culture" it was published by The American Assocation for the Advancement of Science in 1968 and in 1976, the team published the recorded samples from the Lomax field recordings as well as others from outstanding international field collections, and thus produced an ethno-musicology course with tests for researchers and students. So now, "Music from around the World" is available on 8 CDs together with a ninth forming a final Graduation CD.

Peter Kennedy used this course with his students at Dartington College of Arts from 1972 and found it particularly successful in all three: Art, Music and Theatre depts.


The notes that follow suggest the ways in which the singing groups of a culture reflect the organization of groups in other of the culture's activities. Two elements of group organization are considered - (1) the prominence of a solo or leader part; 2) the type of group organization involved. Solo and leader dominated group singing tends to be more common where males dominate productive systems; group-oriented performance without prominent leaders is clearly more frequent where females are productively dominant. Thus, the northern world of hunting, fishing, pastoralism and plough agriculture is solo or leader-oriented. The warmer world of gardening and horticulture is group-oriented. The group organization a culture employs in song performance seems to vary with economic factors. Interlock, where the parts are most equal, is commonest among acephalous bands of the non-complex producers, especially gatherers. Unison, the simplest technique of coordinating effort is resorted to everywhere, most prominent in the performances of small tribal societies, especially among planters without large herd animals. Overlap of parts is most typical of the larger agricultural societies with large herd animals and a complementary productive system. Alternation, where clear divisions between parts of the performing group are more clearly stressed, is typical of complex productive systems, especially those with plough agriculture (see Lomax et al 1968: 139ff).


home about us contact us CD DVD order