Foot-oriented fiddling among the Mississippi Choctaw: R. J. Willis and the house dance

Chris Goertzen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

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The theme for this volume is right on the money: fiddling throughout the countries bordering the North Atlantic has been shifting for some time towards more melodic, listening-based styles and performances. But the present essay concerns an instructive eddy within that international trend, an adamantly dance-linked fiddle style in which rhythm and sheer sound remain paramount, fiddling employed to accompany the Mississippi Choctaw Indian House Dance. It is the proverbial exception that at least reinforces the rule: this non-listening-based style is barely surviving, with just one fluent fiddler, Choctaw elder R. J. Willis. In this essay, I will explore the origins of the dance and its music, describe the aesthetic complex’s current nature and employment, and examine R. J. Willis’s repertoire of tunes.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationÓn gCos go Cluas
Subtitle of host publicationFrom Dancing to Listening
EditorsLiz Doherty, Fintan Vallely
PublisherAberdeen University Press
Number of pages12
ISBN (Print)978-1-85752-073-6
Publication statusPublished - 2019
EventNorth Atlantic Fiddle Convention Conference - Northern Ireland, Derry/Londonderry, United Kingdom
Duration: 27 Jun 20121 Jul 2012

Publication series

NameFiddle and Dance Studies from around the North Atlantic 5


ConferenceNorth Atlantic Fiddle Convention Conference
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


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