Journal Response to Video: The Appalachians Project #3 Essay

Journal Response to Video:

The Appalachians Project #3

The way that music was expressed in the film by the people of Appalachia is very interesting and their style of music today is very much like it was in the earliest times.  Their music, which was once called “hillbilly music”, was turned into the very popular country music that people listen to today.  But their music is made for pleasure, to pass the time in a sometimes hard life, and to pass down stories through the generations.  Although, they were able to listen to their music and many of their musicians became famous upon the advent of radio, many of the people there do not care about making money through music.  Making music to them is simply part of their culture and although many additional instruments have been added to contemporary country, their music is still mostly made up of string instruments that make a very interesting and unique sound.  The blend of string instruments comes from the variety of people that immigrated there; the Irish, Germans, Italians, and others who came to that area.

It is interesting to imagine what the music industry would be like if there were no radio, internet, or television broadcasts of music.  It would most likely be more natural and more aesthetically pleasing to the people making and listening to the music.  There would be no concern over the audience and trying to please others in a genre, for example it would be harder to experiment with music if the musician had to worry about being mainstream and making the cut to being on the radio.  Music would be more unique and the issues with drug and alcohol use for musicians that are always under pressure would not be such a problem.  Making music wouldn’t be a job, it would be as it intended to be, an art.

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Like the music that is made by the Appalachian people to give them their uniqueness, their home and their heritage makes the people there unique too.  Many of the people I know consider home to be their hometown, even if they no longer live there.  Home is a place that is filled with the people that know you well and in the city, that is not common.  So city dwellers are not inclined to consider their city a “home”, but instead they call their house, “home”.  More rural and small town people consider home to be the entire geographical area in which they were brought up.  For people who have moved around much, home is like it is for the city people, the dwelling in which they live.  This is what makes the people of Appalachia so interesting, it is that they have roots and are proud of all their ancestors that came and lived in that area before them.  However, it can also be a problem as many people will never move away, even if there are better jobs in other areas.

“The River of Earth” piece written by James Still is a nice story that portrays the slow-paced and calm way of living and how living consisted of interacting with family around meals and moods were largely determined and changed by the weather.  This depiction of a simple life is good as it does not make the people in poverty seem lazy, but just simply more natural, at ease and unhurried.  There is richness in their experiences and relationships with one another that cannot be paralleled with families who do have money but do not take the time to spend with each other.  There is this misconception about people in poverty and their laziness, this is just not true, as the people depicted here are very lucky to live life on their own time and to not be rushed or influenced by the outside world.