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APPALACHIA MUSIC AND THE COAL MINES Appalachia music is not appreciated or respected in todays cultural society like it should be Many people around the world listen to new forms of the Appalachian music not knowing where or how it was developed It is the focus of this paper to explain Appalachia music in detail along with a small background on coal mining in the region The paper also will focuses on singers that wrote protest songs about coal mining that were featured appeared in the documentary Harlan County USA The object for the readers is to gain information about Appalachia music and to appreciate how current music roots were developed Music holds an extraordinary status in the Appalachia culture No other folk art is quite as pervasive nor serves such important social function as music Music is a universal activity of daily life It is indeed true that you do not meet many people in the mountains who cannot saw a fiddle or twang a banjo Rosenberg 46 This homemade music can be best characterized as vernacular traditiona mixture of religious dance popular and folk music Rosenberg 19 The first instrument many people think of when talking about mountain folk music is the banjo While its usage today is almost entirely by white musicians the banjo is actually of African origins The banjo was a favorite instrument of black minstrels that traveled throughout the region By the middle of the 19th century whites had become fascinated with the banjo and soon began adopting it themselves During the 1900s the majority of African-Americans left their banjo tradition behind in favor of inexpensive guitars and the new blues genre Conway 285-295 The banjo is a unique instrument to classify because it has combination of elements The top of the banjo actually is a drumhead that provides a percussive sound each time a string is strummed or plucked There are five
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