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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
GUEST,Rigby New Book: Folk Song in England (2094* d) RE: New Book: Folk Song in England 07 Jan 18


It seems to me that there has always been a problem in folk song research, whereby people come to folk song and traditional music with some idea that they want it to conform to, and then they have great difficulty accepting that it doesn't.

Some wanted folk song to be an expression of class anger on behalf of the working classes.

Some wanted folk song (and folklore more generally) to be all about the supernatural, or about survivals from pre-Christian religion.

Some wanted folk song to be a sort of well-spring of uniquely English music to counter the dominance of German music.

Some wanted folk song to represent the survival of the ancient church modes in a world where art music had left them behind.

Jim seems to want folk song to represent a body of music composed by non-literate, anonymous members of the communities in which it was sung.

One of the things I love about English folk music is the way in which it stubbornly resists all of these generalisations and more. Like the English people, it's contradictory and inconsistent and wilful, and if you want to lead it somewhere, it won't follow.


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