A Florida Fiddler: The Life and Times of Richard Seaman

By Gregory Hansen | Go to book overview

7
Core Repertory

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.

—Windy Whitford*

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,

-132-

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A Florida Fiddler: The Life and Times of Richard Seaman
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Acknowledgments vii
  • Preface - Shuffle ix
  • Introduction - Fiddler's Stories 1
  • 1 - Arts Mania 9
  • 2 - And the Merry Love the Fiddle 18
  • 3 - Worksop 33
  • 4 - [Your Word Was Your Bond] 55
  • 5 - Uncle Josie's Farm 86
  • 6 - Richard's Fiddle 105
  • 7 - Core Repertory 132
  • 8 - Folklife in Education 150
  • 9 - A Florida Fiddler 163
  • 10 - The Voice of a Fiddler 182
  • 11 - The Icing on the Cake 196
  • Postscript 199
  • Tunes 201
  • Notes 209
  • Works Consulted 237
  • Index 249
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