The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #157878   Message #4030478
Posted By: GUEST,Pseudonymous
27-Jan-20 - 05:27 AM
Thread Name: Dave Harker, Fakesong
Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
In fact, I do have quite a lot of sympathy with Harker when he says that the voices of ordinary people are often absent from accounts of folk. I suppose if you're only interest is the songs/tunes/lyrics you may not be interested in the people who sang them and passed them down.

But if you are interested in something of a bigger picture, then I can see at least two angles:

1 Try to see the music in its social context: how did it further social relationships and interaction, the economic and social life and structure of the community (if at all) etc. So the section on Beeforth and his hunting songs sung after a hunting trip by Dave Hillery (I read this) attempts to do this, as did, say MacColl's work on Scottish Travellers (Which I know about but have not read). I have to say I oppose fox hunting, nasty stuff and potentially ruinous to the poor sods over whose fiends they galloped, so I find the area a 'turn off' but there you go that's 'just me'

2 To focus on individual singers and try to find out and record for posterity their views, feelings, ideas, thoughts both about individual songs and about 'folksong'. I'd include here 'self-mediation' and/or 'autoethnography' (saw a piece about Cumbria written in this way, it was mentioned on Mudcat).

As Vic Smith's contributions have shown, even at a more lay and non 'academic' level, there is awareness of possible difficulties in getting at 'the truth' about these things. I believe that academics would call these 'methodological problems'. Whose account do you believe? How much is the singer doing what we all do and editing what he or she says to suit the audience. Could the singer possibly be spinning a yarn because he or she likes the attention/is a natural story teller (and in some cases mentioned on Mudcat is getting paid). How objective (if this is possible) is the reporting of the 'data'?

A third way is the Lloydian one, especially as in his first history of English folk song, the long historical view, which in Lloyd's case was a very Marxist view of English history, based mostly on the history by
A L Morton (which I have browsed in having got it cheap online after seeing it referenced via MUSTRAD or Mudcat or both). Harker attempts something similar I think in his overview of the folklorists, he attempts to set them in the historical context as he sees it.

So many different perspectives!