The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #131220   Message #2959319
Posted By: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
06-Aug-10 - 05:39 AM
Thread Name: What isn't folk
Subject: RE: What isn't folk
I think if the OP had wanted to know what is "folk" then the 1954 definition answers him. What he is looking for are things that no-one, not even the most asinine horse definitioner or Sweeney O'Pibroch could assert to be folk.

I was staying out of this, but seeing as Richard has named & shamed me as a Heretic...

All the 1954 Definition does is to describe a process common to all musics; as a definition of a genre it is about as helpful as the Equus Conundrum as attributed to Louis Armstrong (et al). For Richard to call this asinine in a pejorative sense (rather than equine) is because of the inherent Righteousness of the 1954 Orthodoxy - those who feel (and Richard isn't the only one) that the 1954 Definition actualy represents a single objective truth, which of course it doesn't - it is a Scriptural Law that only makes sense to the Believer. The test is a simple one - name me one single genre of music that is not covered by the 1954 Definition and I'll eat my proberbial hat. As a reminder, the 1954 Definition was written by Maud Karpeles and adopted by the International Folk Music Council which long ago changed its name to the International Council for Traditional Music whose stated aims are to further the study, practice, documentation, preservation and dissemination of traditional music, including folk, popular, classical and urban music, and dance of all countries.

Folk Music (as most on Mudcat understand the term irrespective of their fidelity to the 1954 Shibboleth) is a multiplicity of musical genres whose only difference from other musical genres is one of style and idiom. To say these musical idioms are any different from other musical idioms because of set of outdated precepts is to further the Folk Myth - and the Myth of Folk - which has long since outlived any usefulness it might have had. As I've said elsewhere I've experienced, and continue to experience, music of other genres being performed in The Name of Folk (I'm sure Jim Carroll will be condescending presently with The List). Like Don's earlier example of the backwood's man croaking operatic arias on his back porch, there is an element where Folk Music is that which adapts a multiplicity of higher / other cultural aspects for its own purposes and transfigures / debases / approximates them according to ability. Indeed, if we're to look at Folk Music purely in terms of Folklore & Usage then the entire remit of What is Folk? becomes so vast as to lose any sense of a single defining aspect other than social context. We even could apply that to your actual Folkie Folk Music, but even then I'm sure things will get messy - especially with respect of the songs of Known Composers Remaining Unchanged in the Folk Tradition, or those who compose Folk Music in the Revival / Traditional Idiom, and those Living Musical Traditions which are defined by Written Composition. I notice that as part of the Fylde Festival this year local professional covers-band The Jeps are doing a Beatles Night at the Marine Hall: the Waits tradition is alive and well!