The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #28182   Message #350099
Posted By: John P
02-Dec-00 - 08:12 AM
Thread Name: Variant vs wrong
Subject: RE: Variant vs wrong
I've always found folkloric studies and musicology to be rather interesting, but not really relevant to the actual singing or playing of music. The correct way to do a traditional folk song is the way you do it. A "definitive version" in trad music seems like a contradiction of terms. Historicity is academic, which in many ways is the opposite of the oral tradition. The people who started the tradition weren't setting out to start anything -- they were just playing music.

I find it somewhat unsettling when people do one of my songs without changing it slightly to make it their own. I can't imagine trying to copy another performer's version of a song or a tune. Why would anyone do that? Why would anyone want to listen to it? Why would people get together to sing as a group and not want to hear anything new, including new versions of their old favorites? why not just stay home and sing along with a CD?

As I said above, I have always found folklore studies interesting. This is mostly becuase I am endlessly fascinated by the strange versions of songs that pop up all over the place. How can anyone be into traditional folk music, with all its roiling mess of hand-me-down versions of songs, and think there could possibly a definitive or correct or "real" version of any song or tune?