The Ballad of Blind Tom, Slave Pianist: Americas Lost Musical Genius

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His profile at AfriClassical. She points out that he never really gained his freedom or the control of his own earnings, even after the Civil War. But these stories must be told. The message is not only music or biography, it is not even only American history. Sentient readers will know how far the implications can reach.


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Tom was fascinated by music and other sounds, and could pick out tunes on the piano by the age of four. His concert debut in Atlanta took place when he was eight years old.

During the Civil War he was back with his owner, and proceeds from his concerts were donated to the Confederate relief effort. He also played pieces after one hearing. Blind Tom Wiggins became an internationally recognized performer. James Bethune eventually lost custody of Tom to his late son's ex-wife, Eliza Bethune. Charity Wiggins, Tom's mother, was a party to the suit, but was bitterly disappointed when she did not win control of her son or his income.

Comment by email: Hello Bill, I'm glad the publicity is taking effect. Thanks for the plug. And Happy Birthday to Tom! Best, Deirdre. Post a Comment. In Tom, his parents, and two brothers were sold to James Neil Bethune, a lawyer and newspaper editor in Columbus, Georgia. Tom was buried in New York, but the people of Columbus, Georgia raised a headstone in his honor in I first learned about Tom several years ago while attending a performance of his life at a local community theater and I was captivated then and still am to this day.

Tom Wiggins — Wikipédia

As a blind African-American woman, a descendant of slaves, and someone who lives in Georgia and grew up in the South, his story speaks to me in a very powerful way. There is also a website devoted to him called www.


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You can hear his music played by someone else and some of his sheet music is on the website as well. Two books are available at NLS in digital format.

The Ballad of Blind Tom, Slave Pianist

They are listed below and can be ordered by calling your local talking book library. Read more on Autism Spectrum Disorders. Back to : Visually Impaired: Now What? VisionAware helps adults who are losing their sight continue to live full and independent lives by providing timely information, step-by-step daily living techniques, a directory of national and local services, and a supportive online community. Follow Us: Facebook Twitter.

Blind Tom: The Story of a Georgia Slave Who Was Never Fully Emancipated

Browse Archive Select Year Join Our Mission Help us expand our resources for people with vision loss. Analysis of Wiggins' piano music suggests autism through the awkwardness of transitional moments, non-verbal narratives of historical events, and works that imitate certain sounds found in both nature and machinery. Wiggins' songs, however, suggest autism primarily through text-music relationships and subject matter. These compositional details, along with those that appear in Wiggins' piano music, align directly with diagnostic indicators of autism.

The publication of Wiggins' own compositions was manipulated by Bethune in order to incite the most interest in Wiggins and his capacity to write music and text in spite of his disabilities. The songs are preceded by the following note to the reader: "Beautiful music, words without sense. These are the true results of the mind of this extraordinary being, and as such will be regarded with interest.

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The texts themselves are consistently inconsistent, particularly in terms of tense and subject position. While the text would suggest extreme irregularity, the rhythm proceeds with incessant, echolalic pairs of dotted quarter and eighth notes in a melodic parallel period anchored in D major as seen in Figure 1.

This rhythmic pattern continues throughout the piece without rupture, with a piano accompaniment that does not venture into any subdivisions of the steady quarter note pulse. Harmonically, the piece begins and ends with second inversion triads of the tonic, with its most unusual moment being the outlandish secondary dominant seventh placed at the exact mid-point of the song, in measure The second and third songs in this set of Specimens also feature simple accompaniments and harmonies, drawing upon basic chordal textures and harmonic structures.

Unlike the other text in the song, the title text occurs not just once, but four times in the course of the piece, underlining its extreme importance to the author.

"BLIND TOM" THOMAS WIGGINS AN AMAZING TALENT BORN IN SLAVERY

As Deirdre O'Connell notes, through this text "we can begin to fathom the mysterious gap between what made sense to Tom and what makes sense to the rest of us.

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