Dr Vic Gammon
Guest Member of Staff
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Address: School of Arts and Cultures
Newcastle upon Tyne
I retired from my post at Newcastle University in 2010 but have remained as variously a Guest Member of Staff and a part-time Strategic Research Advisor since then. I continue working on my research projects and having occasional involvement in extra-curricular music activities.
The quickest way to contact me is via my home email, please reconstitute this: vic dot gammon @ icloud dot com (no spaces).
I joined the International Centre for Music Studies at the University of Newcastle in September 2004 as Senior Lecturer in Folk and Traditional Music. I was previously Senior Lecturer at the University of Leeds where I managed the BA in Popular and World Musics. My interests in the vernacular musics of Britain and North America, in social history and my continuing activity as a performer form the basis of my teaching and research.
It is with great sadness that I have to report the death of two very close friends Alun Howkins and Steve Harrison.
Alun Howkins was Professor of Social History at Sussex University and I was his second DPhil student to qualify back in 1985 - since then I believe there have been well over 20. Alun was a great social historian of rural England, an excellent singer in the traditional style, wonderfully stimulating company and a great friend. Alun performed with me in a band and as a duo the 1980s and he was an excellent front man and tremendously engaging performer He is sadly missed.
Steve Harrison was Professor of Social Policy at Manchester University but to me he was primarily a musical collaborator in various musical enterprises since the eariy 1990s, particularly in the trio Dearman, Gammon and Harrison. Due to the advance of Steve Harrison's illness he had decided that he was not fit enough to perform in public any longer and withdrew from music activities early in 2018. After his retirement in 2010, Steve threw himself into his various musical activities. Our summer seasons of performances have been a great source of pleasure to all of us. Before his death, Steve and Annie asked me to communicate their thanks to all friends that had supported their musical work over the years at clubs, concerts dances and workshops.
I have always enjoyed playing in small group and partnerships and cultivating long-term musical relationships where response to each other becomes very embedded and intuitive, and this was true of performing with both Alun and Steve.I think it is too late in my life to build new relationships of this sort although I still manage to get together with Will Duke occasionally, which makes it about 45 years that we have played together. So, I am mostly fulfilling future bookings solo, I have always done some solo performing and I think I will have to concentrate on that now. Here is what, in my totally uncommercial way, I am sending to organisers who book or may want to book me.
Vic Gammon sings and plays the tenor banjo, anglo concertina and melodeon. His repertory of songs and dance tunes is largely drawn from English traditional sources with some US and self-composed material. He has worked as a performer, composer, teacher, writer and researcher. He has played in various combinations including Etchingham Steam Band with Shirley Collins, with Will Duke during his years in Sussex and in Dearman Gammon & Harrison. He is now retired from his job as Director of Newcastle University’s folk degree courses and devotes his time to music and research. CDs he has performed on and/or produced include ‘The Tale of Ale’ (1977) ‘Black Crow, White Crow’ (2004) ‘Gannin’ to Blaydon Races’ (2012) and ‘Early Scottish Ragtime’ (2016). He lives in Hexham, Northumberland.
I tend not to travel too far to perform, unless it is a residential event or part of a tour; when I was a full-time musician in the 1970s I remember playing Exeter one night and Ashington the next. I remember thinking then that this was not an ecologically sound or sustainable way of life for me.
I have almost completed my study of Night Visit Songs, which I have been researching for some time, it has been fascinating. I have also just completed a review of Bohlman's new book on Herder - again fascinating. Herder has almost haunted my life without me ever really coming to terms with his thought, and this book is sending into various nooks and crannies to understand more. I then have a couple of papers to complete and I think I may stop and retire properly (if that is possible). I have a range of topics for presentations should you want me to speak at your seminar or event and am contributing a few lectures to music modules at Newcastle in the academic year 2018-2019.
I created a new Academia.edu page back In January 2014 for a goodly part of my published work (most of that which is not currently in print in commercial books) to make it more easily available to students, colleagues and people interested. http://newcastle.academia.edu/VicGammon is the address. I am pleasantly surprised at the amount of interest that has been shown in my writings - over 8,000 total views so far.
I recently completed a long (six day!) life story interview for the British Library (part of their Oral History of Oral History project - I was active in the OH movement in the 1980s) and a shorter (though not that short!) interview for Concertina World, which has recently been published. Both were interesting experiences with intelligent interviewers asking good questions. The long Oral History interview is now on the British Library website in full on audio and with a written summary. It can be accessed from https://sounds.bl.uk/Oral-history/Oral-historians/ . I cannot think why people would want to listen to it, but it is there. A shorter (but long enough!) interview with Concertina World is available on my Academia.edu page.
So much for retirement!
Roles and Responsibilities
Member, Editorial Board, Folk Music Journal (1984 - present)
Member, Advisory Group, Traditional Song Forum
Degree Programme Director, BMus in Folk and Traditional Music (2005-2009)
Organiser, Research Forum, International Centre for Music Studies (2006-2009)
BA, MA, D Phil, PGCE (all University of Sussex)
Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (formerly ILTm)
Social History Society
English Folk Dance and Song Society
Traditional Song Forum
University and College Union (retired member)
Musicians Union (retired member)
Updated 10th March 2018all friends
British (particularly English) traditional song and instrumental music; North American traditional song and instrumental music; English venacular religious music; music social history; political song.
Performer of English traditional song and instrumental music. My main instruments are, anglo-concertina, melodeon, tenor banjo, mandolin and voice.
- ''Barbara Allen: the cultural resilience of a seventeenth century song' a presentation was given at a at a symposium at Newcastle University entitled Memory and Community in Early Modern Britain, 7th and 8th June 2013. I also gave it at the Social History Society conference in Newcastle in the Spring 2014. I am in the process of writing up the pieces as an academic paper.
- 'The Night Visiting Song Revisited'. I contributed to a Radio 4 programme called 'The Night Visit' introduced by Tim Van Eyken and broadcast in October 2013; this was a very fortuitous as, looking at the material on night visit songs, I decided that an up-to-date academic paper on the subject of night visiting songs was needed. I made this my contribution to the celebration of the work of Professor Alun Howkins in Sussex in July and will probably be a contribution to the subsequent festschrift.
- The Street Ballad Singer in the Nineteenth Century' is an essay drawn from my longer-term work on the street ballad trade. It is for a book on nineteenth century street literature to be edited by Steve Roud and David Atkinson. The essay has been submitted and is in the proofing stage. It is planned and much of the research is completed.
- AHRB project 'Hit songs and their significance in seventeenth-century England' (AH/K003100/1). It is an ambitious project that aims 'to create a website featuring digital images and new recordings by the Carnival Band of 100 of the best-selling ballads from seventeenth-century England, with full scholarly apparatus for the benefit of users. The site will be freely accessible and hosted by Cambridge University Press (CUP). (See profile page for more details). This three year project started in January 2014. I have reduced my role in this project to that of occasional consultant due to time constraints.
I have supervised masters and doctoral students in traditional music and music education related areas. Topics areas supervised include music in the nineteenth and early twentieth society, popular church music, the history of the tonic sol-fa movement, traditional song collecting and editing, traditional fiddle pedagogy, ballad studies, Tyneside song, improvisation in English traditional instrumental music, primary and secondary music pedagogy, bass guitar pedagogy, practical music assessment and creative work.
I was awarded the Gold Badge of the English Folk Dance and Song Society in 2011. The Gold Badge is 'awarded for unique or outstanding contributions to folk music' and is the highest honour that the Society bestows.
I have been frequently asked to referee for research grants.
I have been external examiner for various universities including Sheffield (master's courses) The Institute of Education (master's courses) and Goldsmiths College, University of London.
I have examined PhDs for Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Durham, Huddersfield, Northumbria, Sheffield, Liverpool, Leeds and Sussex universities.
I have been an external research superviser for Leeds Metropolitan University and Goldsmiths College.
I am asked to broadcast on national radio or television on average two or three times a year. I recently made substantial contributions to 'The Choir' (Radio 3) and 'The Singer Not The Song' (Radio 4). I recently worked on a BBC4 TV social history series 'Rude Brittania' and 'A Very British Murder'.
I have acted in an advisory capacity for a number of organisations and projects, including the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library and the AHRB-funded Carpenter project.
I have contributed to the DNB, the Garland Encyclopedia of World Music and the Oxford Reader's Companion to Dickens
I am an Adviser to the Traditional Song Forum
- Gammon V. Bramble Briars and Beams of the Sun. Workington, Cumbria: Fellside Recordings, 2011.
- Gammon V. Cecil Sharp, Politics, Dance and American Englishness. A review essay based on Daniel J Walkowitz, City Folk: English Country Dance and the Politics of the Folk in Modern America (2009). Stroud, Gloucester, UK: Musical Traditions Web Services, 2011. Available at: http://www.mustrad.org.uk/reviews/cityfolk.htm.
- Gammon V. Farmyard Cacophonies: Three Centuries of a Popular Song. Folk Music Journal 2011, 10(1), 42-72.
- Gammon V. Vic Gammon, review of Songs of Protest, Songs of Love: Popular Ballads in Eighteenth-Century Britain. Reviews in History 2010, (review no. 980).
- Gammon V. Desire, Drink and Death in English Folk and Vernacular Song, 1600-1900. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2008.
- Gammon V. 'Many Useful Lessons': Cecil Sharp, Education and the Folk Dance Revival, 1899–1924. Cultural and Social History 2008, 5(1), 75-97.
- Gammon V. An Introduction to Folk. In: Morrish, J, ed. The Folk Handbook: Working with Songs from the English Tradition. London: EFDSS/Backbeat Books, 2007, pp.6-22.
- Gammon V. Problems in the Performance and Historiography of English Popular Church Music. Radical Musicology 2006, 1, -.
- Dearman A, Gammon V, Harrison S. Black Crow, White Crow. London, UK: English Folk Dance and Song Society, 2005. Audio.
- Gammon V. Cecil Sharp and English folk music. In: Steve Roud, Eddie Upton and Malcolm Taylor, ed. Still Growing: Traditional Songs and Singers from the Cecil Sharp Collection. London: English Folk Dance & Song Society, 2003, pp.2-22.
- Gammon V. Music, Charm, and Seduction in British Traditional Songs and Ballads. In: McKean, T.A, ed. The Flowering Thorn: International Ballad Studies. Utah, USA: Utah State University Press, 2003, pp.35-53.
- Gammon V. The Subject Knowledge of Secondary Music PGCE Applicants. British Journal of Music Education 2003, 20(1), 83–99.
- Gammon V. A Century of Change in Music Education: Historical Perspectives on Contemporary Practice in British Secondary School Music. Music Education Research 2001, 3(1), 92-101.
- Gammon V. 'Commentary' and 'The Music of the Coppers' Songs'. In: Come Write Me Down: Early Recordings of the Copper Family of Rottingdean. Topic Records, 2001.
- Gammon V. Child Death in British and North American Ballads from the Sixteenth to the Twentieth Century. In: Avery, G., Reynolds, K, ed. Representations of Childhood Death. Basingstoke: Macmillan, 2000, pp.11-35.
- Gammon V, Gammon S. The Musical Revolution of the Mid Nineteenth Century: From 'Repeat and Twiddle' to 'Precision and Snap'. In: Herbert, T, ed. British Brass Bands: A Musical and Social History. United Kingdom: OUP Oxford, 2000, pp.122-154.
- Gammon V. Cultural Politics of the English National Curriculum for Music. Journal of Educational Administration and History 1999, 31(2), 130-147.
- Gammon V. 'England'. In: Rice, T., Porter, J., Goertzen, C, ed. Garland Encyclopaedia of World Music, Volume 8: Europe. New York; London: Garland, 1999, pp.326-341.
- Gammon V. National Curricula and the Ethnic in Music. Critical Musicology: A Transdisciplinary Online Journal 1999, 1(1), -.
- Vic Gammon. 'The Performance Style of West Gallery Music'. In: Christopher Turner, ed. The Gallery Tradition: Aspects of Georgian Psalmody. 1996, pp.43-51.
- Vic Gammon. 'Diversity or Dominance? David Pascall, The National Curriculum Council and Culture'. Arts Education 1993.
- Vic Gammon. 'What is Wrong with School Music? - A Response to Malcolm Ross'. British Journal of Music Education 1996, 3(1), 101-122.
- Vic Gammon & Sheila Gammon. 'From "Repeat and Twiddle" to "Precision and Snap": The Musical Revolution of the Mid-Nineteenth Century'. In: Trevor Herbert, ed. Bands: The Brass Band Movement in the 19th and 20th Centuries. 1991, pp.120-144.
- Vic Gammon. 'The Grand Conversation; Images of Napoleon in British Popular Balladry'. Journal of the Royal Society of Arts 1989, CXXXVII(5398), 665-674.
- Vic Gammon. 'Singing and Popular Funeral Practices in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries. Folk Music Journal 1988, 5, 130 – 147.
- Vic Gammon. '"Two for the Show"; David Harker, Politics and Popular Song'. History Workshop Journal 1986, 21(1), 147-156.
- Vic Gammon. 'A L Lloyd and History'. In: Ian Russell, ed. Singer, Song and Scholar. 1986, pp.147-164.
- Vic Gammon. 'Manuscript Sources of Traditional Dance Music in Southern England'. Traditional Dance 1986, 4, 53-72.
- Vic Gammon, Peter Stallybrass. 'Structure and Ideology in the Ballad: An Analysis of Long Lankin'. Criticism 1983, 26(1), 1-20.
- James Nye, edited Vic Gammon. A Small Account of my Travels Through the Wildernes. 1982.
- Anne Loughran, Vic Gammon, ed. A Sussex Tune Book. London: English Folk Dance and Song Society, 1982.
- Vic Gammon. 'Problems of Method in the Historical Study of Popular Music'. In: D Horn and P Tagg, ed. Popular Music Perspectives. 1982, pp.16-32.
- Vic Gammon. 'Song, Sex and Society in England, 1600-1850'. Folk Music Journal 1982, 4(1), 208-245.
- Vic Gammon. '"Babylonian Performances", The Rise and Suppression of Popular Church Music in England, 1660-1870'. In: Eileen Yeo, Stephen Yeo, ed. Popular Culture and Class Conflict. 1981, pp.62-88.
- Vic Gammon. '"Not Appreciated in Worthing?" Class Expression and Popular Song Texts in Mid-Nineteenth Century Britain'. Popular Music 1981, 4, 5-24.
- Vic Gammon. 'Folk Song Collecting in Sussex and Surrey, 1843-1914'. History Workshop Journal 1980, 10, 61-89.
- Gammon V. The Tale of Ale. Free Reed Records, 1977. .
- Gammon V. Michael Turner: A 19th Century Sussex Fiddler. Traditional Music 1976, 4.
- Gammon V. Ballads and Broadsides in Britain, 1500-1800. Folklore 2012, 123(3), 371-372.
- Gammon V. Child's Unfinished Masterpiece: The English and Scottish Popular Ballads. Folklore 2012, 123(2), 231-232.
- Gammon V. Musical Style and Social Meaning: Selected Essays. Folk Music Journal 2012, 10(2), 272-275.
- Gammon V. Shakespeare's Songbook. Folk Music Journal 2009, 9(4), 658-660.
- Gammon V. Northumberland Rant: Traditional Music from the Edge of England Smithsonian Folkways Recordings LC9628 (Various performers). Journal of American Folklore 2008, 121(482), 487-488.
- Gammon V. The Wind in the Reeds: The Northumbrian Smallpipes Topic Records TSCD529 (Various Performers). Journal of American Folklore 2008, 121(482), 487-488.
- Gammon V. Gannin to Blaydon Races: The Songs of George Ridley. Newcastle: Mawson and Wareham, 2012. Audio CD.
- Gammon V, Portman E. Five-Time in English Traditional Song. Folk Music Journal 2013, 10(3), 319-346.
- Gammon V. One hundred years of the Folk-Song Society. In: Ian Russell and David Atkinson, ed. Folk Song: Tradition, Revival, and Re-creation. Elphinstone Institute, 2004, pp.14-27.
- Gammon V. Legacies of Ewan MacColl. English Dance and Song 2015. In Preparation.
- Gammon V. Singing Simpkin and Other Bawdy Jigs: Musical Comedy on the Shakespearean Stage - Scripts, Music and Context. Folk Music Journal 2015, 10(5), 655-657.
- Knevett A, Gammon V. English folk song collectors and the idea of the peasant. Folk Music Journal 2016, 11(1), 44-66.
- Gammon V. Singing Simpkin and Other Bawdy Jigs. Folk Music Journal 2016, 11(1), 71-71.