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Appalachian Music: About Music Tradition


The modern music industries highly rely on the old-time forms of songs since the modern music is made up of the traditional instruments and modern instruments that can all be found stored in the modern piano that can be used to add flavor to music. The old-time music of the Appalachian did not die but it only became a folk music that is used in house parties and the fiddlers’ conventions that makes the music being kept alive to date.

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The Appalachian oral music tradition involves the singing of the old melody in the highest musical pitch of the strings. In the past we find that the best songs of the past became big hits through the Appalachian music style and the recordings also became successful through the use of old-time music styles not ignoring the race recordings that described the origins of the African American traditional music style. With the use of variety of musical instruments, music has greatly improved in its different levels with the different old-time forms being applied in it. The old-time music was done mostly for dances and characterized by dancing mostly as the songs are sung and movements of the body parts made by the singers to enrich the Appalachian music making both the ancient and the modern music successful. Research still states that there were different dancing styles as there were different music instruments applied to cheer up the music mood which made the performance very enthusiastic and making the influence of old-time music very strong in the approach that it is being viewed from presently by the fans of both old-time music and the modern time music. (Ralph Lee Smith, 2002 Page 3-17

) The Appalachian community is globally identified as a community with many events and celebrations through which music is regarded as one of the means of entertaining its people. Research indicates that when there is a greater celebration going on in the Appalachian community. (Jones LeRoi 1965 page 1-13)

Music as a Method of Education

The Appalachian community is regarded a society whose culture; religion and language consist of people who are rated under middle class as its social setting. Though poverty exists in this community it shares a common interest in its culture. It is recorded that in the past years the people in the community were faced with various challenges including, poor infrastructure, diseases and high population and therefore, the Appalachian community indulge in music as the only way communicating and educating its people on various social factors affecting its culture.

Research indicates that Music throughout the world has been in the frontline in educating members of the public on important social issues ranging from politics, drugs, terrorism, and popular music to sports. In addition to videos, movies, plays and advertisements in sports’ and entertainment channels, songs have been composed by some artistes to try and spread various messages among the Appalachian people (Ralph Lee Smith, 2002 Page 3-17).

This paper will discuss the importance of music to the Appalachian culture and also analyze its representations through advertisement on various entertainment and sporting Appalachian events. It will finally analyze the importance the songs have on the improvement of the people’s way of life and their culture in the Appalachian community. Social marketers have been trying to have more people get informed on the basic social topics such as epidemics like HIV/AIDS, poverty, sexual immorality and even the importance of education to the girl child since most of the Appalachian people are reported to be poor and less information various social factors affecting them. The Appalachian countries have encouraged the use of such music to spread the information to fight their social problems and research indicates that where they have been successful, the prevalence rates of the problems have been low. (Jones LeRoi 1965 page 1-13)

In the recent past, more Appalachian people have been dieing of AIDS and that is why music has come up with songs to not only make their partners aware but also educate the public on the crisis. The main mission of this organization, just like other radio stations is to compile the musical works of artistes who have died of the disease ,suffered from various social conflicts and inform the public. It also aims to preserve the cultural legacy of the crisis. Appalachian music contains messages on how such individuals can keep safe from the disease or remain health if one is infected. These songs especially those by well known Appalachian music artist’s world wide such as Piney Creek Weasels, Foghorn String band the Forge Mountain Diggers can be very attractive to the youth. Likewise, the Federal government has also developed policies which require that all organizations including the media houses and musicians help it fight the pandemic and other social problems such as gender inequality and domestic violence. (Aaron Copland, 1944. Page 3-11)

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Some songs have specifically been composed to pass messages on the use of condoms. The condoms are considered one of the strategies that help in preventing people from having unsafe sex. The songs when played in the radio stationed will help pass information to the young Appalachian people who may not have access to the information elsewhere. Media channels use their superiority and quality of transmission to educate the Appalachian on the seriousness of the crisis and it also tries to provide suggestions on how the youths can stay healthy. (Berea College 1981, page135-136)

Many of the young Appalachian people today and especially those in third world countries don’t have the accurate and correct information about AIDS. In rural areas where the information on the diseases is limited, more youth are engaging in unprotected sex. Research has suggested that the youth can easily receive information on the disease through music.

Advertisements through Music

Entertainment channels such as Sony pictures have noticed that there is information deficiency in the Appalachian society. Through its music shows featuring the best Appalachian music artistes, the entertainment channels aim at passing important social issues to its fans. The programs are then broadcasted in Spain and are needed to develop the penchant for advocacy in the music industry with an objective of political and social motivation. Music helps the organizations fighting against HIV/AIDS to build some sort of cohesion between the facts about the disease and the myths that people believe concerning HIV/AIDS (John B. Rehder, 2004 page 353-360)

The whole process of representation in songs started in the late 1980s when various social problems such as HIV/AIDS became a pandemic globally and various nations decided to bring these issues to a situation where people must decide and publicly accept the reality about the problems. The songs and the advertisements stations had a role to play and the role at that point in time did not have sufficient knowledge to combat the spread of the disease. (Jones LeRoi 1965 page 1-13)

Music Used as an Entertainment Tool

The Appalachian community is globally identified as a community with many events and celebrations through which music is regarded as one of the means of entertaining its people. Research indicates that when there is greater celebrations going on in the Appalachian community, the dances and singing of the Appalachian people is done with the accompaniment of parades.


With the extent that Appalachian music has taken we cannot forget to mention its impacts in the films that it has also produced such as the Appalachian Journey and My Old Fiddle that all include the Appalachian music styles in it. It is no doubt that Appalachian music is one of the greatest music styles that has ever been and will always be appreciated by both the social and cultural activities of people who have a passion for music.

Work cited page

Aaron Copland (1944) Appalachian spring, Boosey &Hawkers publishers Washington, D.C Page 3-11

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Berea College (1981) Appalachia literature and music, comprehensive catalogue Appalachia Book and record shop Page 135-136

John B. Rehder, (2004) Appalachian Folkways. Baltimore, Md.: Johns Hopkins University Press page 353-360

Jones, LeRoi (1965) Blues People: Negro Music in White America. London: MacGibbon & Kee ISBN 0-688-18474-X. page 1-13

Ralph Lee Smith (2002) Appalachian dulcimer traditions Scare Crow Press, Inc, Page 3-17

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StudyCorgi. (2021) 'Appalachian Music: About Music Tradition'. 5 December.

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