The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #145806   Message #3375414
Posted By: Gibb Sahib
12-Jul-12 - 04:38 PM
Thread Name: Lloyd & MacColl's Sea Song LPs
Subject: RE: Lloyd & MacColl's Sea Song LPs
Hi Steve

What "matters" all depends on one's goal and one's interests, as you say. "As researchers in traditional song we simply don't include any of their performed material." Ah yes, but I, for one, am not (just) a researcher in traditional song. I am an ethnomusicologist. If I am simply looking for the history of shanties during the age of sail, then I disregard L/M's performances as data. But suppose I am also interested in the history of shanties as a genre of entertainment music (with perceived links to the past) as it has developed and continues to develop in the 20th century? Suppose I am interested in the current shanty scene? Maybe i am interested in the topic of the nature of "music revivals" and their various forms? Maybe I am an anthropologist or folklorist studying the culture of the "sea music" scene, the attitudes and beliefs of its participants , their repertoire, etc.? Maybe, too, I am interested in doing critical history, wherein one of the principles is that perceptions of the present...that emerged in more recent years...can and has coloured the was we and others perform our "historical" research? As an ethnomusicologist, I am not interested in just the dry details of how songs developed in a remote period. I like to make larger statements about how media, past scholarship, changing historical circumstances, changing geography, changing ethnic/class/gender constitution of audiences, etc. have a bearing on music. The specifics gleaned from certain situations/genres lead to broader points, that can often be applied to other scenarios and inform one's greater sense of the nature of music in the world.

Even as singers, there's fake and then there is fake. Some people, others not, like to have an understanding of where what they are doing fits in. They may assume something is not "authentic" -- but they would like to know (or might be surprised to know) exactly what is inauthentic and in what specific way. People may know that L/M were not authentic...but much of their material was. How are we to separate? Are we consciously aware of what part of our knowledge and interpretations come from them?

On a minor point, there may be something historical we can get from L/M. If Hugill taught "Stormalong" to MacColl, for example, then in MacColl's performance we are getting some portion of information that is otherwise gone -- because SfSS certainly does not convey to us how the song should be sung, but MacColl probably got a good idea from Hugill's oral performance.