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George P. Knauff's Virginia Reels and the History of American Fiddling$
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Chris Goertzen

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781496814272

Published to University Press of Mississippi: May 2019

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781496814272.001.0001

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Knauff’s “Ohio River” and “Indian Whoop”

Knauff’s “Ohio River” and “Indian Whoop”

The Rhythmic and Timbral Puzzles of Blackface Minstrelsy and of Modern Old-Time Fiddling

(p.111) Chapter Five Knauff’s “Ohio River” and “Indian Whoop”
George P. Knauff's Virginia Reels and the History of American Fiddling

Chris Goertzen

University Press of Mississippi

This chapter studies the fourth and final pamphlet of George P. Knauff's Virginia Reels, which may have been published over a decade after the first three pamphlets appeared. During the possible extended pause in the publication of the series, blackface minstrelsy transformed the American music environment, shifting from being primarily street fare—mostly but not entirely performed by and for members of the working classes—to dominating popular entertainment. “Boatman Dance” may have been around for some time before Knauff printed it; the move into a broader range of acceptability of minstrelsy may have changed his opinion of these particular tunes. Music that he might not have initially considered marketable to his affluent neighbors and to the parents of his female students may have become not only acceptable but fashionable. The chapter then looks at black fiddlers and considers the early shaping of the blackface minstrelsy.

Keywords:   George P. Knauff, Virginia Reels, blackface minstrelsy, American music, black fiddlers

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