The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #97052   Message #1905202
Posted By: GUEST
10-Dec-06 - 06:42 AM
Thread Name: Folklore: What are the Motives of the Re-definers?
Subject: RE: Folklore: What are the Motives of the Re-definers?
No no no.

The issue is not about 'keeping it traditional.' Nearly all the people I know who love old songs with the provenance everyone calls Trad (whatever else they may ascribe to that word) are PERFECTLY happy so hear adaptations, new instrumentation, rewrites of lyrics etc.

Most of the 'old guard' (rubbish term, sorry) are actually very open minded in my experience.

The debate that's been running through a lot of threads recently is about attribution. About only calling works trad if they come from that place. Not about what you do with them once you pick them up and decide to work on them.

About describing on the tin what is IN the tin.

Some people don't get so excited about new songs, some don't like old. That's not a debate, that's just a preference.

The problem is this:

There are four main interpretations of the word Traditional.

One describes a body of work which was created in another time, and which - because of changes to the world - can no longer be added to. The Countess and JIm Caroll have both defined this definition very well.

The second describes a process of popularisation of any type of material of any age. Sometimes aurally, in clubs, but mostly from CDs. This is the process that has Galway Farmer, Blowin in the Wind, Fiddlers Green and Streets of London defined as traditional. It also has Three Lions on Your Shirt and Happy Birthday down as Trad.

The third is a description of a style of singing or playing. A cappella, certain guitar styles, use of squeezeboxes, certain harmonies, and certain vocal deliveries - nasal, bel canto, strong regional accents (specially any not used by the singer when talking).

The fourth means 'in public ownership.'


At the moment all four of these definitions are valid, to some people, to some extent.

But this venn diagram leads to all kinds of confusions - not least writers being denied royalties and songs in common ownership becoming private property.

The redefinition debate is about trying to separate out these definitions. To prevent the confusion. To find new words which each describe ONE and only one of the above.

It has NOTHING to do with what people like or dislike, or about money.