Mobile Register article about Byron Arnold

Lecture-Recital To Be Given Here


The Mobile Register


Tuesday, August 13, 1946, page 4-B


     Professor Byron Arnold, collector of Alabama folk songs and assistant professor of the Department ot Music at the University of Alabama. will give a lecture-recital in Mobile August 19 at 8 p.m. at Bernheim Hall Public Library under the auspices ot the American Association of University Women. This meeting is open to the public.


     Mr. Arnold says that Mobile, Toulminville, Prichard, Mon Louis Is1and, and Bayou la Batre have furnished many of the folk songs in his collection of more than 450 and that Mobilians who have contributed these old songs to the collection are helping to preserve Alabama's very interesting folk traditions in historical document. At present he states that he is very much in need of songs of French origin.


   In Mr. Arnold's opinion, the Mobile area has been an especially valuable source of "play-party" songs, or singing games that often were devised in communities where various denominations of the church frowned on dancing. Among "play-party" songs collected in the Mobile area are: "Marching Round the Levee," "Here Comes Someone a Roving," "King William Was King James' Son," "Oh Pompey is Dead and In His Grave," and "Among the Little White Daisies".


    Spirituals that have been recorded by Mr. Arnold in this section are: "Ride On, King Jesus," "My Soul's So Happy," "Let's Go Down to the Water," and "There's a Man Going Round Taking Names."


   Among the many Mobilians who have contributed to this folklore are Mrs. Elizabeth Pillans, Miss Laura Pillans, Mrs Pansy Richardson, and Mrs. Cora Lambert.


    Mr. Arnold, who teaches piano, organ, and advanced theory work at the University, is collecting folk songs under a university research grant awarded through the University Research Committee. He has traveled over the entire state, sometimes getting as many as twenty-three songs in one day. He often finds the same songs in many sections of the state with variant forms reflecting the influence of the local scene. Again he comes across original songs never recorded.


     Through folk songs, he states, the social life of the people can be traced. Mr. Arnold located an accurate version of an English ballad of the year 1200 which had come down in America by word of mouth. Traditional American and Civil War songs which form an important part of his collection are also closely related to the manners and customs of their time.


     Mr. Arnold came to the university in 1938. He attended Willamette University, Oregon, and Eastman School of Music, Rochester, N.Y., where he received his M.A. degree. He was a student of Max Landow and L. J. Petri in piano and of Edgar Coursen in organ. He is organist and choir director for Christ Episcopal Church, Tusoaloosa. In campus activities he is director of the Women's and Men's Glee Club.