The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #104945   Message #2154120
Posted By: GUEST,doc.tom
21-Sep-07 - 05:29 AM
Thread Name: Is the 1954 definition, open to improvement?
Subject: RE: Is the 1954 definition, open to improvement?
Well said Richard! The IFMC were happily going with thier definition when Douglas Kennedy, the then Director of EFDSS, proposed the addition of the third paragraph. It addresses, specifically, the issue of contemporary popular music - very well in my opinion. To quote my own PhD (sorry!)

"It is debateable that there had been 'a community uninfluenced by popular and art music in England for several centuries. The three 'factors' given in paragraph one of the definition, together with the 're-fashioning' and 're-creation' cited in the third paragraph, are important aspects of the definition. They actually focus not on the music but on the performer and, crucially, define him or her as creator rather than copyist - even though the material may be received, rather than invented by the performer(s). The definition distinguishes between this and meterial that has been 'taken over ready made' - and thus suggests that manner or style of performance mat be at least as important as the content. The question of context appears to be crucial to any definition of folk material although this is not considered within the IFMC definition which seems to have assumed the retention and performance of the material only within the communities within which it was 'discovered'. The IFMC definition also precludes any newly written material being classed as 'folk' until, and unless, it has undergone the process of 're-fashioning' and 're-creating."

The people who created the definition knew what they were talking about (I don't mean they were correct, just that they understood what they were talking about!) - and it was very different to what the folk revival calls folk! I don't see how their definition can be improved - for a contemporary definition we would need to take a new starting point!

But it's fun trying - and people undoubtedly will.