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Literature: "The Songcatcher" by Sharyn McCrumb

These site are about the novel “The Songcatcher” by Sharyn McCrumb, and include supporting materials about Appalachia, folk music, and the ballad tradition. You can find supplemental historical information, lyrics, and sound recordings. Included is an eThemes resource on the cyberethics of downloading music.


  • 10,
  • 11,
  • 12


Here is an introduction to the novel with background information and illustrative photographs.
In this lesson plan, students can learn about Appalachian heritage, folk songs, history, and life by comparing the novel "The Songcatcher" with the film "Songcatcher," which is not based on the book.
Here is a short review of the book including a plot synopsis.
This collection includes original sound recordings, field notes, and musical transcriptions of traditional fiddle tunes.
Here is a listing of sound files from the Robert Winslow Gordon Collection of American Folk-Songs. These songs were originally recorded on wax cylinders. Links to the liner notes are included.
Here is an index of sound file excerpts from this collection of traditional music. Click on the "Notes" link for liner notes and additional information. NOTE: This site has an online store.
This four-page article describes the characteristics of a ballad as a poetic form and gives examples.
Francis James Child collected over 300 popular English and Scottish narrative songs. This long article focuses on the history of these songs and what defines a ballad.
Read a short history of Appalachian music and descriptions of the musical instruments used to make it.
Here is a glossary of terms relating to Appalachian history and culture. NOTE: This page links to a site with an online store.
Here is a short history of traditional Appalachian music. Learn about Celtic and African-American influences on this musical tradition.
This site contains archival and historical materials related to the culture of the southern and central Appalachia. Browse by topic to hear recordings of folk songs, stories, view slide images, archival photographs, and more.
Watch videos of musicians expressing their thoughts on the issue. There is also information about copyright law and explanations about why these types of downloads are considered illegal and unethical. These sites are helpful for teachers who want students to debate the issue. There are links to eThemes Resources on Internet safety and computer basics.

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