The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #94336   Message #1826435
Posted By: GUEST,Shimrod
04-Sep-06 - 05:46 AM
Thread Name: Common poems set to music
Subject: RE: Common poems set to music
A cautionary tale:

A few years ago I encountered a group of earnest school teachers from the English Midlands. They had decided they were going to 'research' folk songs from their particular county and then infli ..., sorry, perform them in front of willing or (perhaps!) unwilling audiences. They were competent (albeit rather dull) musicians who, I strongly suspect, knew nothing about folk song when they embarked on this project.

They scoured the local archives but all they came up with were standard English folk songs which tended not to be as specific to their locality as they had hoped. They then had to fall back on local amateur poetry, often in 'dialect'. As these poems contained many of the local references that they had hoped the archived folk songs would contain they gleefully fell on them and 'set them to music'.

The result was dire as the poems were mostly tedious doggerel and the newly composed tunes did not have the character and beauty of many folk tunes.

The moral? Poems set to music are not a substitute for folk songs and please think hard before you attempt to pass them off as such.