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Corn shucking, banjo picking, and a tractor engine starting are among the sounds contained in this exhibit. The three categories of "music," "leisure," and "agriculture" seek to provide a diverse sampling of the iconic sounds one would hear in the American South, though the lines distinguishing these are often blurred. By combining existing audio files from the internet, excerpts from personal music collections, and unique field recordings, this exhibit contains both spontaneously collected sounds and ones that are stereotypically southern. The students who assembled this dictionary did so in the wake of discussions of classical southern works of literature like Solomon Northup's Twelve Years a Slave, Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God, and Jean Toomer's Cane. While some items have escaped the touch of time (crickets chirping), others have changed significantly (manual vs. mechanical agriculture) or become possible (Southern rock) because of technological advances. We encourage you to consider the time period of each sound recording as you engage the sounds of the South represented in our dictionary.
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