The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #13068   Message #113967
Posted By: Sandy Paton
13-Sep-99 - 06:16 PM
Thread Name: Threads on the meaning of Folk
Subject: RE: Threads on the meaning of Folk
I guess I simply can't understand how "folk music" can encompass "rock & Roll," "classical," "celtic" and "country" (as listed in an earlier post to this thread) and remain a genre of its own. When we say "let's talk about folk music," are we supposed to discuss all of the above? That just doesn't make sense to me.

Many of us, for years, insisted on calling ourselves "singers of folksongs," rather than folksingers. We felt it best to reserve "folksinger" for the traditional singers from whom we learned our songs, the Horton Barkers, Frank Proffitts, Almeda Riddles, etc. I used to produce recordings of people like us with an advisory sub-title: "Interpreters Series." This was to let potential buyers know it was not a field recording from one of La Marca's "dark hollows" (I've clambered up a few of those in search of songs). Eventually, I gave up the battle. I may wince when people call me a "folksinger," but I don't make a scene anymore.

I'll depart the discussion with this:

A delicate riposte to defend my honor (grin):

From my Random House Dictionary of the English Language (Unabridged Edition):

Ballad n 1. A simple, often crude, narrative poem of popular origin, composed in short stanzas, esp. one of romantic character and adapted for singing.

2. any poem written in similar style.

3. any light, simple song, esp. one of sentimental or romantic character, having two or more stanzas, all sung to the same melody.

4. the musical setting for a folk or literary ballad.

That's all she wrote. No room, even in #3, for the standard pop music "bridge," I guess. Of course this edition was published in 1971 (one of my newer dictionaries!) before all those pop music DJs corrupted our language and led the poor editors astray. (best to add another grin here)

Old folk fogey, tilting at windmills.