|Musicians: Jim “Texas Shorty” Chancellor – fiddle, George Anderson – bass, Gerald Jones – mandolin, Native American flute, banjo, and Christopher McGuire – classical guitar.
Hall goes dark
Before the light dawned
on the early morning of man
the Maker of all things
gave music to the world.
Music in the winds and waters
whistled through fields and woods,
strumming strings of grass,
plucking stems and branches
making melodies in roaring seas
and rhythms in the rivers.
The heartbeat of Earth
swelled in the seawaves
and rolled in rocky streams,
… before the humans came.
This music of the Earth, man heard
and hungered for.
He sang songs to answer wind,
danced to the drums he made.
Wherever man would go
he crafted wood and stone
to capture the music of his place and time
… and hold it in his hands.
Good morning/afternoon. That was a poem by Madeline Myers. We’ll hear some more of her poetry later on. Our show “A Texas Music Journey” will take us to faraway places and back here to Texas as we discover just some of the influences that have made Texas music so rich and interesting.
Humans probably first came to Texas as early as 40,000 years ago and were hunter – gatherers. Their first instruments were probably drums and then flutes came later.
GERALD PLAY FLUTE
This is Kiowa “courting” flute song. Show pictures of Plains Indians
OUR trip begins with a young Indian girl who lived in the north Texas plains. She was used to hearing the beautiful flute and drum music played as the young braves courted her friends. But the music she heard in her heart was different and she danced to a different drumbeat.
BEGIN SOFT DRUMMING
The name her Kiowa father gave her was Wind Singer, for her voice whispered like the high grasses of the plains, and she moved with the rhythms of the earth in her step.
STOP DRUMMING – BEGIN FLUTE (SOFTLY)
One windy day Wind Singer heard a strange new melody in the breezes, and she stopped dancing. This music was not for her, and she did not know the lonely song, but it held her there, making her sad, and she sought the source.
Then she saw him, a lone Spanish conquistador sitting on a rock, making the music with a reed-flute. His companions, she knew, had left days before.
Why had he not followed?
In time they learned each other’s words and ways. The Spanish soldier had deserted his company out of sorrow for the native oppression at the hands of los conquistadores; for the sufferings of her people had pierced the heart beneath his armor. He told her his stories. She, in turn, showed him the ways of her people. Wind Singer and the Spanish soldier together made new songs for the land, a land changing as they danced together in their New World.
PLAY “CANARIOS” SOLO
Explain and tell the title of the previous piece:
Based on popular music of the CANARY ISLANDS.
This is the kind of music the Spanish soldier would have heard at home. When he brought it to the New World and it fused with the music he heard here he passed on a tradition to Texas that has goes back for thousands of years.
Spanish music, much like Texas music has been influenced by many different cultures. Although Spain is part of Europe, the Moors occupied much of it for 600 years. They had a flourishing culture with great libraries and academies. Middle Eastern, Jewish and Gypsy musicians as well as Europeans influenced their music.
Although the first Spaniards came to Texas in 1519 they didn’t settle here until the late 1600s. At that time in Europe, the style of music was what we now call Baroque. “Canarios” was one of the most popular Spanish songs and was played by every imaginable instrument and ensemble.
One of the most beautiful examples of the mixtures of culture is
“Recuerdos de la Alhambra”
The French came here in several ways. Some came through the port of New Orleans. Other came via Canada where they had settled earlier. The CANADIAN FRENCH came to be called Cajuns from the term Acadian. The Acadians were French settlers of eastern Canada who were exiled from their land in the 1750s. The Cajuns are their descendants who settled in Louisiana and southeastern Texas.
The music they would have heard in their home land of FRANCE would have been waltzes, gigues, bourees and Allemandes. Composers from most of the advanced European countries wrote in the “French style.” One of the most famous German composers of all time, Johann Sebastian Bach, wrote many suites with French dances as the basic structures for the movements.
We’re going to play one of his most interesting pieces, “Boureé” from the “Lute Suite in E minor.” It uses a technique called COUNTERPOINT. In counterpoint we play two or more lines that move in “contrary” motion. That means when the top melody goes up, the bottom line goes down, … like this:
Another form of music that came from Europe and really “caught on” all over the world is the Waltz.
PLAY “WALTZ” by Fernando Sor – SOLO
Some of the earliest waltzes we know of came from the same period as the “Bouree” and we’re going to play one that Bach composed for his wife, Anna Magdelena. We’ll play it the first time through each section the way it’s written and then we’ll ornament it on the repeats. See if you can hear the difference.
PLAY “MINUETTE” by J. S. Bach
Feature TEXAS SHORTY
Waltzes have come to Texas from many countries and here are a few examples:
From the SLOVAKIAN composer Franz Lehar we have the
“Merry Widow’s Waltz” (play excerpt)
And from MEXICO we have the beautiful
“Cielito Lindo” (play excerpt)
We can’t leave out the most famous TEXAS waltz
“Waltz Across Texas” by Texan, Earnest Tubb (play excerpt)
We’ll close the “Waltz” section with one of the most popular CAJUN Waltzes
“Jole Blonde” (play once through)
JIGS or GUIGES, as they were known in France, were also very popular. This next piece is an English gig called KEMPS GIG
We’re going to play it the way musicians might have played it four hundred years ago. They would expand, or lengthen a piece by playing it straight the first time through and then with some improvisation and ornamentation in the following times through.
PLAY “KEMPS JIG”
Once through straight Guitar Solo
Then announce the ensemble version
Then announce the ornamented version
The Texas counterpart to “KEMPS JIG” is the
SCHOTTISHES are very popular in Texas. We’re going to feature Shorty on the most famous one.
It’s the “TEXAS SCHOTTISH”
POLKAS are, according to some experts, the most popular form of music. Almost every country in the Western Hemisphere has some form of the Polka, a dance that originated in POLAND.
This Polka from Mexico is popular in Texas and throughout the world. This is:
“JESUCITA EN CHIHUAHUA”
SOLO GUITAR SECTION (BAND EXITS)
Explain strong Spanish and South Am. influence in Texas music.
We don’t know, but the first stringed instruments were probably invented in Africa and Ur (or Mesopotamia), which is now called Iraq. There are many thousands of different stringed instruments in the world today. Texas now has people from just about every country on the planet and we’ve brought just a few examples of different kinds of plucked string instruments from around the world.
“IS THAT YOUR FOOT”
Before we go we want to play one more song, but first:
• Let’s hear it for Bach Norwood on bass
• And Gerald Jones on fiddle, mandolin
• And the legendary Texas fiddler, Jim “Texas Shorty” Chancelor
• And Christopher McGuire (Bach’s line)
I also want to express my appreciation to Madeline Myers for the beautiful poetry and poetic prose you heard at the beginning of the show. Madeline is a published poet. She teaches English and drama at Lewisville High School. She also wrote this:
As the land and its people changed, so did its music. As settlers from every corner of our world bring new melodies crafted from the winds and waters of their faraway homelands, their music blends with the tribal songs and ancient airs of the New Land. Our rich, modern culture is a reflection of the wonderful mix of all the rhythms, ancestral and new, of this brave new world.
And now here’s a familiar tune to close the show, but we’re going to play it in ways you’ve probably never thought of hearing it. From England this is “Greensleeves.”
Theme – guitar solo
Cutting Variation – guitar, mandolin and bass
Reggae Variation – everyone
6/8 Jazz waltz Variation – everyone
Bluegrass Variation – everyone
copyright 2005 FWCGS