The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #77728   Message #1389815
Posted By: Bill D
26-Jan-05 - 09:36 PM
Thread Name: What is wrong with being a purist?
Subject: RE: What is wrong with being a purist?
"Still aint heard a horse sing yet."

piffle!...and again I say..piffle!...I am getting so tired of the "horse singing" remark. It was 'cute' for about 20 minutes, but it adds NOTHING to the understanding.

"Folk music is music folk make, old or new doesn't come in to it."

and that sort of tautological definition is one of the main reasons we make no progress in these debates. Old or new is not ALL there is to it, but the term "folk music" was originally meant to describe a certain general type of music, **one** of whose characteristics WAS that it tended to be older! Using it to refer widely to "any kind of music that gets done that ain't exactly Grand Opera or Dixieland jazz" is not only being lazy, it is contributing to musical hash! (and why, then, is Dixieland NOT folk music?)

If someone offers you a 'traditional' meal, and you find out it is hamburger mixed with pine nuts and rutabaga, covered with sauerkraut and jalepenos, and served on a bagel..(all VERY traditional food, in their way), you'd maybe be willing to listen to some discussion of why we bother with categories in food, as well as music.

If you have any preferences in music at all...if you know that there are ANY sorts that you even 'tend' to avoid or seek out, then you DO use categories and definitions. "Folk" gets misused because the term is used equivocally. You simply are not using 'folk' in the same way it was intended when it was a new way to refer to music from traditional sources. Then, after 'folk' was corrupted because it sounded so useful, we tried using 'traditional', but now some of those who got their first dose in the 60s want to call Dylan and Baez and, Lord help us, "The Kingston Trio", traditional!......and again, I repeat..piffle!

Just what am I supposed to use to convey that 'difference' between Sara Cleveland and Jeannie Robertson on the one hand, and Joan Baez and Kate Wolf on the other?...I can happily listen to either Joan or Kate at times, but it ain't folk! Some it has 'folk roots' of sorts, but one is an 'popularizer' and the other is/was a songwriter...and both did not exemplify what 'folk' was meant to convey when it was coined.

I am QUITE aware I have lost the battle to keep the language from being shifted until it is so vague, it means almost nothing now....but I can still identify (and you could too, if you bothered) a list of a dozen or more things that explain why certain music and musicians just 'feel' different than what is currently the rage.

(I see 'singing horses' have set me off again....it happens once a year or so. You may all go back to your declaiming that "it's all just music" now.)