The theme for this volume is right on the money: fiddling throughout the countries bordering the North Atlantic has been shifting for some time towards more melodic, listening-based styles and performances. But the present essay concerns an instructive eddy within that international trend, an adamantly dance-linked fiddle style in which rhythm and sheer sound remain paramount, fiddling employed to accompany the Mississippi Choctaw Indian House Dance. It is the proverbial exception that at least reinforces the rule: this non-listening-based style is barely surviving, with just one fluent fiddler, Choctaw elder R. J. Willis. In this essay, I will explore the origins of the dance and its music, describe the aesthetic complex’s current nature and employment, and examine R. J. Willis’s repertoire of tunes.
|Title of host publication||Ón gCos go Cluas|
|Subtitle of host publication||From Dancing to Listening|
|Editors||Liz Doherty, Fintan Vallely|
|Publisher||Aberdeen University Press|
|Number of pages||12|
|Publication status||Published - 2019|
|Event||North Atlantic Fiddle Convention Conference - Northern Ireland, Derry/Londonderry, United Kingdom|
Duration: 27 Jun 2012 → 1 Jul 2012
|Name||Fiddle and Dance Studies from around the North Atlantic 5|
|Conference||North Atlantic Fiddle Convention Conference|
|Period||27/06/12 → 1/07/12|
Goertzen, C. (2019). Foot-oriented fiddling among the Mississippi Choctaw: R. J. Willis and the house dance. In L. Doherty, & F. Vallely (Eds.), Ón gCos go Cluas: From Dancing to Listening (pp. 92-103). (Fiddle and Dance Studies from around the North Atlantic 5). Aberdeen University Press.