Paul: I imagine that would tick Mr.Elliot off somewhat.
Art Thieme: Sometimes the words don't seem right. As we are a product of our experiences, our interpretation of everything we encounter varies from the next person. I think this extends to music and song, also. Like in Martin Carthy's version of "Polly on the shore" I just can't sing:
"As I myself have done,
In the merry merry month of may
When I was pressed by a sea-captain,
and on-board a man of war I was sent"
For me it has to be "I did stray" - because it rhymes, basically. And music is the same. Something that sounds like a song that was playing when you got dumped by a girlfriend might be (subliminally maybe) changed for something different. I dont know, but it makes ya think.
Sian: There must be something in that. I aren't stoopid but the level of perseverance needed to hammer "Learning to read music" into my noggin seems way higher than "Picking up a tune". I've tried, honest.
Michael morris: Certainly, people who could read hymns in church could read folk broadsides. It's all a question about timespan. I do think that it is often overlooked just how rare and expensive some instruments were 150+ years ago. I think there may have been less Fiddle-players then than now :-)
Peace, I'll look for the joke :-)
Geoff: Musical notation does seem to be a guideline. After all, the feeling and "Spirit" of a tune is almost impossible to convey without person-to-person contact.
Thanks all for your comments and answers.