The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #157878   Message #4028649
Posted By: GUEST,Pseudonymous
16-Jan-20 - 02:22 PM
Thread Name: Dave Harker, Fakesong
Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
So first of all, thank you to John Moulden for his contribution.

Believe it or not, I heartily agree with the final sentence, though I may not always practise what I preach.

I'm sure John Moulden will agree that the term 'arid' has negative connotations. I cannot disagree with what he has said about 'arid' research since almost by definition nobody would enjoy it. But one person's arid research is another person's oasis of delight. Not only that, but my own experience suggests that interests come, and go, and return over time.

Regarding the idea that one should not speak about traditional singers except in terms which they would understand, I respect that point of view, and that choice, but disagree that to do otherwise is 'insulting'. This is the second time I have come across this idea recently. I cannot quite see how one can describe a practice as 'insulting' without intending the word as a criticism, but perhaps that is my problem.

I'm not sure whether John's first paragraph is intended to relate to Harker's book, and again, perhaps the fault here is on my part. However, on the basis of my reading so far, one of the criticisms that Harker makes time and time again is precisely that the 'mediators' he discusses to presume to have knowledge of what ballads (Child) and folk (most of the rest) meant to their originators, when, that is, they accept the idea that folk songs had individual creators, which not all of them did. To that extent, perhaps there is some common ground between John and Harker. Moreover, on the basis of a view that the only thing to do with folk songs is to learn how to support traditional singers and to learn from them how to sing, a characterisation of Child and so on as the giants upon whose shoulders the rest stand would seem to me, with respect, to be misplaced, as their aims do not seem to me to have been in line with the recommended 'point'.

I hope you have a lovely day. Thank you again for sharing your view and your story about Harker.

@ Modette: Harker uses the term 'masculinist' several times.   

I have noticed that Harker criticises Lloyd's romantic image comparing folk songs to pebbles worn smooth by the action of the sea as 'Sharpean'. I haven't checked back with Lloyd yet, but as the image seems reasonably clearly to be taken from Sharp's 'some conclusions' folk song book, I hope Lloyd acknowledged its source. Harker doesn't pick up on the extent to which this is a more or less an unacknowledged quotation (albeit maybe unconscious) though he does pick Lloyd up on this elsewhere, I think. I am realising that one advantage of PDF versions of books is that you can search for words like 'pebble' within them very quickly.