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date: 28 June 2022

Abstract and Keywords

This article has been commissioned as part of the forthcoming Oxford Handbook of Music Revival edited by Caroline Bithell and Juniper Hill. Parallel to the well-documented American folksong revival of the second half of the 20th century was a less-documented revival of instrumental folk music—a cultural movement featuring the fiddle, banjo, guitar, and other instruments, which revived an older repertory of instrumental tunes recovered from elderly musicians. This essay analyzes the American instrumental folk music revival as a distinct cultural movement, and provides insight into the intergenerational and intercultural flows that demarcate revival processes as part of a natural, cyclical ebb and flow of culture. Reflecting on his personal involvement in the movement from the 1960s to the present, the author reveals how the work of a participant-documentarian and public folklorist may lead to meaningful personal relationships and far-reaching impacts on revival and post-revival cultures. The recordings illustrating the essay feature not only the author’s performances but also his 1960s documentation of his fiddling mentor, Henry Reed of Glen Lyn, Virginia.

Keywords: fiddle, banjo, American instrumental music, bluegrass, oldtime music, public folklore, documentation, process and impacts, folk music revival, Henry Reed, Hollow Rock String Band

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