Table of Contents For Educators Enjoy The Music

“Old-time” songs shared
with friends and strangers
at a woodsmen’s tavern...

Sprightly dance tunes passed from
generation to generation propel
  a community dance…


Ancient stories of love and tragedy

sung in the family living room
the day’s work is done...

Fiddles and mouth organs ring

out through the lumber camp walls

on a winter night...


Welcome to the heritage and legacy of TRADITIONAL ADIRONDACK MUSIC.

While popular movies, books and recordings might suggest that homemade music-making in rural America was mainly a southern United States phenomenon, the fact is that the same types of musical entertainment took place and are still taking place in the northern states.

New York State’s Adirondack Mountain region, with its isolated communities, hardscrabble farms and abundant woods work, provided the perfect backdrop for the development of a distinctive form of traditional music.

From singing lumbermen and camp cooks to mineworkers, millwrights, farmers, homemakers, peddlers and children--and all the way back to the Mohawk Indians who hunted through the region centuries ago--music and life in northern New York’s Adirondack Mountains have long been intertwined.

Come along as we investigate the rich music-making traditions that have developed and evolved over the past few hundred years in the Adirondack woods.


TAUNY celebrates traditional Adirondack music with the Marjorie Lansing Porter Collection "Songs to Keep" project. To learn more, visit

George Ward's recording of "The Flying Cloud," which is part of the project, can be heard here. 



“W is for the Woods” is a module of the website North Country Folklore Online,
a program of Traditional Arts in Upstate New York (TAUNY).

To learn more about this project, go to Credits & Materials Use.
To learn about TAUNY and our other programs as a regional folklife organization, go to