Folk Melodies of New Mexico and the Southwest

Folk Melodies of New Mexico and the Southwest has been an on-going project for many years! I have had a love of folk music for as long as I can remember, and when I was exposed of the rich musical heritage of New Mexico, Mexico, and the southwestern United States, I wanted the children in the UNM Lab School to experience some of the stories and music of this genre.

The project began with a search of the vast numbers of folk melodies that had been transcribed over the course of many years. I quickly realized that one person could not hope to complete such a monsterous project, so I applied for grants and hired teams of graduate students to work with me. At this time [spring, 2014] the book is close to completion. We collected almost forty melodies, arranged them in pedagogical order, included a history and settings when available, along with photographs, teaching points and changes that were made to the original transcriptions.

Over two years ago, the manuscript was accepted for publication by UNM Press, with the stipulation that it be in a bi-lingual format (English and Spanish). The translation of the text was recently completed, which makes the book one step closer to completion. The next step is recording each of the melodies, so a CD can accompany each book. I am hoping it will be available in the next year.

Photographs of Susan Kempter's Bisiach courtesy of Robertson & Sons Violin Shop