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Excerpt: Singing was part of their lives

    "Singing was part of the daily lives of the people, and they sang as they went about their work.  Mother and grandmother sang as they worked at the spinning wheel or loom or as they went about the many chores of the household.  Father and grandfather sang as they fed the stock, sharpened an axe, or as they sat before the fireplace.  They sang not to entertain anyone but because it made them feel good to sing.  Sometimes on the long winter evening the children were entertained by songs and stories told by parents and grandparents.
    "There were songs to express all kinds of feelings and sentiments.  There were old ballads that told stories of knights and ladies, of love and adventure, thus enabling the singer to escape for the moment to another land far from his own environment.  There were ballads that told how persons were motivated by evil emotions and driven to a tragic end by wrong doing.  There were songs that expressed religious feeling or told stories from the Bible.  There were funny songs that brought a good laugh to the singer and the listeners.  There were songs to amuse the children especially at those fireside family gatherings on long winter evenings.  Even the lullaby which the mother sang to her baby was probably a folk song which she had learned from her mother."

Source: Patrick Gainer, Mountain Heritage (1974).


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