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Stolen Music

for a flute player

Year:  1993   ·  Duration:  9m

Year:  1993
Duration:  9m


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This triptych is comprised of three sections:

  1. This is a transcription of a fife player from Zionville, North Carolina, recorded in 1937 by John Lomax (Library of Congress 837B2). The instrument is an unkeyed wood predecessor of the piccolo. Groundhog is a well-known Appalachian folk song.

  2. In this case, the original performance was on a small pygmy flute which was cut from a piece of cane. The player then burned four stop-holes at the lower ened, plugged that end with a rolled leaf then notched the top end, all in a few minutes. After playing a while, the performer seemed to lose all interest in the flute. The original can be heard on Music of the Ituri Forest , recorded by Colin M. Turnbull and Francis S. Chapman, Folkways LP No. FE4483.

  3. The last melody is from Turkestan, Afghanistan. The foot-tapping accompaniment employed in my piece was originally played on the Zer-Barhali, a type of drum. The original was from an LP issued by Musicaphon BM30 L2003, entitled, The Music of Afghanistan.

Commissioned note

Written for and dedicated to Lisa Goethe

Dedication note

Dedicated to Lisa Goethe

Contents note

Three movements, transcriptions of Appalachian, African and Afghan melodies:

  1. Groundhog
  2. Ba Mbuti
  3. Tula

Performance history