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Folkways at the University of Alberta

CoversMoses Asch, founder of Folkways Recordings, developed a personal connection with Edmonton while his son Michael served as a professor of anthropology at the University of Alberta. It was on visits to the city in the 1970s and 1980s that Asch discovered Edmonton’s vibrant arts community. According to Michael it was here that “Moe” found a centre that was in touch with its past and willing to take risks and express itself artistically; a community with a major, diverse University; a lively folk music scene, including the Edmonton Folk Music Festival; and a radio station, CKUA, that provided a space for artistic and social expression with which he felt at home. Edmonton’s attributes convinced Moses Asch that this was the right location for the gift of a complete set of the Folkways recordings. Given to the University of Alberta in 1985, the Moses and Frances Asch Collection of Folkways Records is an unparalleled addition to the University’s musical resources. The Asch Collection provides a crucial reference for world music study and research and inspires the performance and teaching of global sound.

Bringing Folkways to Life

Listen2The University of Alberta honours the spirit of Folkways Records by encouraging scholarship, performance and research related to this vital art form that continually provokes, connects and surprises listeners. Inspiring scholarly projects across several disciplines, the initiative enables a variety of cultural and heritage research projects. The famously exhaustive liner notes, sound, and accompanying visuals from the Folkways label have been digitized and are in Room 3-47 of the historic Arts Building. This format allows researchers to fully explore the musical content, song texts, artist background and history of each selection, providing exciting opportunities for cross-disciplinary research. The mandate of the museum is to preserve, house and display the Folkways Records albums, covers, and related documents for academic use and for public viewing and enjoyment.


Inspired by Asch’s original vision, the folkwaysAlive! initiative connects “the people’s music” with broader audiences, while enhancing the collection’s strength as a reflection of Canada’s multicultural heritage. With the legacy of Folkways Records as inspiration, and in collaboration with Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, folkwaysAlive! intends to increase mutual understanding among cultural communities through the creation, preservation, and dissemination of knowledge about their musical cultural heritage.

“…..[folk music] always gave you a sense of something that happened before, that someone set down for us to remember, for they always felt that there is a moral, a universality, a truth to something that people pick up and sing and talk about, and bring back from generation to generation.” Moses Asch to Albert Einstein on the notion of creating an “encyclopaedia of sound” by preserving and recording the sounds of how people lived, celebrated, and worshipped…..their folk ways.

(Young, Israel, 1977, “Moses Asch: Twentieth Century Man.” Interview by I. Young, edited by Josh Dunson. Sing Out! The Folk Song Magazine, Vol 26/Number 1/1977. quoted by T. Olmsted (2003) “Folkways Records: Moses Asch and His Encyclopedia of Sound.” Routledge)

folkwaysAlive! preserves, discovers, disseminates and applies knowledge about the musical and cultural heritage of cultural communities, by supporting teaching and learning, research, creative activity, and community involvement in the local, national, and international spheres.

The Most Versatile Guitar Tuning

I get lots of e mail inquiries on my website as to why I consider my system, Guitar eze, to be so much simpler than virtually all the discount michael kors other guitar methods out there. The reason is Guitar eze is based on the well known but highly under utilized, and under appreciated, open D tuning.

That’s right the guitar tuning that so many greats used replica cheap Michael Kors and built upon, from Robert Johnson (open E some of the time, but the exactly the same thing, a whole toner higher throughout), Keith Richards (Street Fighting Man, Jumpin’ Jack Flash unthinkable any other way), Joni Mitchell (with her jazzy, ringing open string inflections), and so many more. Open D can be much more than a one off alternate tuning, as so often characterized, even from renowned instructors and players, in the method books and websites . Here’s a little clarification on just one amazing aspect of open D guitar tuning.

One of the great advantages of open D tuning is its “visual” aspect. For anyone with event a limited background musical theory, this can be a real eye opener when learning guitar. what chords and triads were), it became the point when the light bulb came on for me. In standard guitar tuning E A D G B E, the starting open chord is generally not usable (a permutation of an A11 or some such). The only way to build chords from that starting point is to utilize various finger fret combinations, so as to create note groupings that fake cheap Michael kors handbags sound the chords you want to play. Not only is the mastering of often tricky and unnatural finger positions a major stumbling block, especially for absolute beginners, the actual finger positions “mean” nothing. You can’t tell from a E chord or an A chord (first position) why they are what they are. Contrast this with open D tuning, D A D F A D. Even with no finger to fret, you can “see” cheap michael kors purses the chord as you look michael kors cheap down your strings. The four highest D F A D are the triad for a D major chord (octave doubled).

What and advantage this is! Permutations are as simple as adding one finger to any one string, to any fret higher than the root note. For instance, staying in our open cheap michael kors handbags D for the moment: Add your first finger to the first fret on the A string (makes it an A). You’ve just created a D augmented (D+), a modification universal up the whole of the fretboard. Move that same finger up one more fret on the same string you’ve create a D6; again, a modification that can be used up and down the fretboard of the guitar.

For anyone with even just a rudimentary understanding of the rudiments, the logic should be highly appealing. Now, you’re no longer memorizing chord positions, without understanding what the relationships are. You’re seeing the relationships right at your fingertips. a one finger major barre chord, which is what open D gives you up and down the neck of your guitar), and you’ve discovered a new chord check any theory book and it’ll tell you the name of the chord you’ve just created by making that modification. It’s an endless supply of new chords. Of course, it’s expandable to more than one finger, too.

By trying different combinations off the basic starting point of a major chord, you’ll hit some beauties and, of course, come clunkers. But what a way to hear and “see” how chords are structured and built. cheap Michael Kors Also, because you have repeated strings in open D (three Ds, and two As), you can try modifications on the repeat strings and see how the texture of the chord changes with the pitch of the note you’ve changed.

In my book “Guitar eze” which focuses on open D as a starting point to guitar versus standard tuning, the above is what I refer to as the system’s “versatility”. It’s something you simply cannot glean as simply when your cheap michael kors bags starting point on the cheap replica michael kors guitar is E A D G B E. I make the point that the system is great for either end of the guitarist spectrum (whether newbie, frustrated, or advanced) whether you cheap michael kors are theory based or an ear experimenter, open D is much more than just a folkie alternate tuning for one song. It can be a stand alone playing style (as I’ve done for twenty plus years), or a viable alternative to add to your existing arsenal.

Frank Foxx is a semi professional guitar player and part time guitar teacher who plays exclusively in the tuning of open D. He has written a guitar method book, extolling the virtues of what he considers to be the most versatile and easiest of all guitar tunings, entitled Guitar eze A Simpler Approach to Playing the Guitar.Articles Connexes:

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