Erskine Morris (1913 – 1997)

Erskine Morris (1913 – 1997)

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Something Different: Untitled Harmonica Tune

In addition to playing the fiddle, Erskine could also play solid old-time harmonica.  Brian doesn't remember his dad playing the harmonica very much at all and reckons that he may have picked it up when he joined the army in World War II.  It certainly is even more portable than the fiddle.

Hear the Untitled Harmonica Tune

This is a really lovely, rolling melody and has a real Victorian-era quality to it similar in flavour to some of the melodies that fiddlers from Southern Ohio and Northeastern Kentucky once played

Erskine's melody also makes a cute and simple little fiddle tune and you can hear what I've worked out here. Sometimes its difficult to discern the precise melody from harmonica versions of tunes as there is a lot of chord-work that fills out the sound and can hide the melody in spots.

It seems that it was once common for fiddlers to be able to play a little harmonica as well. Cyril Devouge also played some lovely, rolling harmonica tunes. I feel this fact speaks to the general musicality of the Gaspesian culture. It seems so many people either sang songs, lilted tunes (turlutage), whistled, played fiddle, harmonica, or step danced in the area around Douglastown. In fact, Brian mentioned that even when not playing fiddle Erskine would often be whistling tunes. In this sense, the music of the Douglastown area was more than only fiddle-music and really a wider ranging phenomenon.

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