It's not just the melody or words that make old-time music what it is. It's
the memories that go with the music. It paints a picture in your heart.
When fiddlers gather together to play, they are likely to strike up a conversation about the tunes in their repertories. As their conversation transforms into a musical performance, comparisons of individual variations of tunes become a major point of shared interest. Fiddlers understand what Matthew Guntharp discovered when learning the fiddler's ways: a fiddler's tunes reflect the musician's background, skill, and musical taste.1 Fiddlers create their own musical histories by learning and playing the individual tunes that comprise their repertories. In this respect, a fiddler's repertory is especially intriguing because tunes encapsulate significant episodes in the musician's life history. Richard Seaman's repertory provides these types of clues, and a view of his repertory develops a portrait of the changing contexts of his musicianship. Comparing and contrasting these various contexts reveal how his life history provides an essential resource for understanding changes in a region's social history.2 Examining these changes shows how he continually adapts his musicianship to shifts in Florida's social life. These changes support his view that fiddling originally was more integrated into a communally oriented social network as compared to the more individualistic social organization of Florida's urban culture.
A repertory is an inventory of songs. Richard keeps this inventory by writing his tunes' names on scraps of paper that lie in the bottom of his fiddle case,