The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #73129   Message #1265763
Posted By: Bob Bolton
06-Sep-04 - 11:59 PM
Thread Name: Ewan MacColl's Japanese tune?
Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl's Japanese tune?
G'day Joy,

I guess that the modern "classical" music view that modes are thing of the distant past ... or foreign climes ... has robbed us of memories of the vast range of modality in traditional singing. Ewan certainly worked hard to utilise older traditional forms and modes (even when his song was a reworking of what he described as Australian Traditional, eg, The Fitter's Song, which he reshaped from Travelling Down the Castlereagh!).

I still can't quite get my ears to shift to hearing it a "Japanese" ... and I'm sure it was as much a traditional "British" modes as any. The song itself is interesting, in that it has to do duty for all the different coalmining regions of Britain ... acheiving that mainly by changes of accent and intonation. Maybe Ewan , in deliberately skirting around the "cliché" modes for those regions has produced a song that is slightly beside all the regions ... and easily seen in terms of more distant tradions.

( ... Oh! ... I seem to remember starting to re-assemble an illustrated description of a mèlophone for you - but various realities have interfered! I must finish that ... and send it off to you as a PDF document.)