The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #165650   Message #3975491
Posted By: Howard Jones
08-Feb-19 - 08:29 AM
Thread Name: Tune and singing style puzzle (Nick Dow)
Subject: RE: Tune and singing style puzzle (Nick Dow)
To describe it as a "decay of style" presupposes that there was a 'pure' folk style which has somehow become corrupted by the outside world. Without wishing to reopen a can of worms which has been thoroughly gone over on another recent thread, the reality is surely that folk music has always borrowed from and been influenced by art and popular music (and vice versa).

Minor and modal tunes can often sound unresolved, and the idea of doing something to show that the end has been reached is an obvious one, especially for unaccompanied singers who can't use instrumental tricks to achieve this. All of the possibilities you suggest are plausible, and any of them may apply to different singers, assuming they didn't arrive at the idea independently. Without knowing the history of the song before it reached an individual singer, or how it might have changed in their hands, it is probably impossible to tell.