1 person found this helpful
Such a great question, Evan! The By the People community managers didn't know the answer to this one so we reached out to the American Folklife Center's Lomax curator, Todd Harvey. He provided this additional context:
Thanks for your help transcribing the Lomax papers. While most pages are straightforward, you have stumbled across an issue that has bedeviled me for nearly two decades: Alan Lomax’s personal shorthand. Imagine trying to write the lyrics to a song while someone is singing? This is the problem Lomax faced and early in his career he appears to have developed a shorthand that captured song lyrics for later transcription. I have talked with a few researchers who believe they have partially cracked the code, but not entirely. If you have extra time to devote to this mystery we would all benefit! - Todd
I think some of the words are just simplified like with apostrophes or they are shortened, while some are unknown to me like zx is one of the words i do not have context for.
I will try to figure out as much as possible but I am not a good problem solver.
Hope that this helps if any.