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New York Folklore Quarterly, Vol. XXIII, No. 1, March 1967

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NEW YORK FOLKLORE QUARTERLY
Vol. XXIII, March 1967

AN ETHNOMUSICOLOGICAL SURVEY AMONG THE PEOPLE
OF THE RAMAPO MOUNTAINS
Charles H. Kaufman

Part I

AT THE lowest level of highly stratified societies there is frequently found the pariah group or “third caste.” The social levels above this group impute to it all of the vices and none of the virtues of the society. Such a group has existed less than 50 miles north of New York City from the late 18th century until the recent past in an unbelievably high state of insularity in an area that is, otherwise, strongly affected by the metropolis to the south. This group is known as “The Mountain People𔄤 or, more commonly, the “Jackson Whites,” a designation offensive to the people so identified.

This discussion examines the musical practices of this subsociety and is composed of musical examples collected among those people during the period from September, 1964, through July, 1965. The attempt was made to determine if an independent musical culture was maintained and, if so, to what degree. External influences moulding the musicality of the people were also sought. The function and purpose of music among the people were investigated and some of the more technical aspects of performance practice were examined. The study includes both sacred and secular music. Examples of church music were collected only in those circumstances in which detachment or other infiuences have created a situation meriting specific interest and investigation.

The geographical area in which the subject group is concentrated is bounded, approximately, on the east by Haverstraw, on the north by Ellenville, on the west by Haskell, New Jersey, and on the south by Waldwick, New Jersey. The area, which encompasses the Ramapo Mountains, was studied in two sections: from Haverstraw west to Suffern, and from Suffern west to Haskell. This division presented itself since one sub-group of mountain people is concentrated in each section although some overlapping is inevitable....





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