The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #77728   Message #1389552
Posted By: GUEST,Frank
26-Jan-05 - 05:59 PM
Thread Name: What is wrong with being a purist?
Subject: RE: What is wrong with being a purist?
I can see it from different views. There is folklore in folk music.
Part of the thrill of resurrecting a trad tune is learning about the cultural background and history of the song. Then the song has meaning. Also, there is the joy of learning traditional playing styles and techniques on musical instruments based on learning from traditional players as well.

Then, there is the need some of us have to be creative with it.
This might be devising arrangements of songs we like or writing or rewriting songs and this might not be considered by some folklorists and academics to be traditional.

Sometimes there is an intersection of the creative and the re-creative.

I have never been a purist but have had that label thrown at me.
I do however think it's important to learn about the tradition of folk music in a cultural and historical context but I have tried to extend that to all kinds of music and found that when I explore that side, the music comes alive for me.

I think that the role of the folklorist and musicoloigist is important to providing a substructure in interpreting a trad song.

Instead of the word "purist" I would prefer a different label that would imply a kind of musical integrity based on understanding of the idiom.

Folk music studied this way is like the process that jazz musicians go through. There is a certain amount of musical analyzing that goes on so long as it doesn't get in the way of expression. I think that most definable musics have parameters.
Using for example sophisticated chord progressions seem to obstruct a folk song performance unless they relate somehow traditionally. This is a creative judgement call.

I understand I think what traditional folk music attempts to preserve (its parameters). I think that this might be labeled "purist" in someone's book but I would prefer to think of this as a preference for a stylistic integrity.

Tradition and history also have a role here.

Frank