The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #19291   Message #195992
Posted By: Stewie
16-Mar-00 - 07:58 AM
Thread Name: Rev. Sabine Baring-Gould et al
Subject: RE: Rev. Sabine Baring-Gould et al
Hi Tony, D.K. Wilgus was rather scathing of the cleric in question:

At the one extreme are the collections of S. Baring-Gould and H. Fleetward Sheppard. These collectors alone tinkered with both texts and tunes. Their manner of dealing with the tunes was to collect as many variants as possible and either to give 'that form of the air which seemed ... most genuine' or 'to discover what was the original form of the air, which deflects this way or that according to the capabilities or idiosyncrasies of the singers'. Unfamiliar folk intervals were modified to humour the public. Most of the musical liberties seem to have been corrected by Cecil Sharp in the 1905 edition of 'Songs and Ballads of the West'; and fortunately the original materials collected by Baring-Gould, Sheppard and F.W. Bussell are deposited in the municipal library at Plymouth. The published texts are bowderlerised, emended, shortened, rewritten, extended; they suffer every possible indignity, especially addition by the Rev Sabine Baring-Gould. This worthy was emulating the Scots more completely than any of the other collectors, seeking to perform for English traditional song what Burns and Ramsay did for the 'stupid and nasty songs of Scotland': take them in hand and rewrite them. Though the good cleric butchers the text and aids in 'restoring' the tunes, he does provide, however, particularly in Songs and Ballads of the West', the fullest notes of any of these collectors. [D.K. Wilgus 'Anglo-American Folksong Scholarship Since 1898 Rutgers Uni Press 1959 pp126-127]

Cheers, Stewie.