The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #97052   Message #1905457
Posted By: GUEST,Brian Peters
10-Dec-06 - 01:36 PM
Thread Name: Folklore: What are the Motives of the Re-definers?
Subject: RE: Folklore: What are the Motives of the Re-definers?
'You can equally legitimately ask what are the motives of the "keep it traditional" faction.
The Trad faction want everything to stay the same as they believe that it ever was.'

No they don't. Anyone with a more than superficial interest in traditional music and song knows that they evolve, that there is no point in trying to make music now that sounds identical to some notional form of two hundred years ago, and that the very squeezeboxes etc. cited above as 'traditional-style' instrumentation were rarely used by traditional singers in the past. As Anonymous GUEST remarked, afficionados of traditional music are far more open-minded than they are usually given credit for when it comes to new adaptations, or music in other styles and from other traditions. What we do believe, though, is that deliberate, wholesale changes to traditional material made in order for it to appear more 'relevant' tend to rob the original of much of its magic, and that it's possible to learn much from old styles without having to sound like carbon copies of them. As for being "Re-enactors", do we call people who play Shakesperean roles "re-enactors" because they work from material over 400 years old? No, we call them "actors" because they are constantly re-interpreting old texts.

The Countess is dead right about the accelerated rate of musical evolution, and probably right also that the music and songs will survive in some form whatever happens. It's for each of us singers and musicians to decide how we respond, whether that be by trying to retain essential elements of what we see as the tradition, by making bold adaptations of it, or by composing new stuff. We need all of those approaches, and the only time I get really hacked off with the discussion is when someone starts trying to tell someone else that what they are doing is wrong or worthless.