The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #157878   Message #4033356
Posted By: Brian Peters
10-Feb-20 - 08:48 AM
Thread Name: Dave Harker, Fakesong
Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
"present parties may be able to lay claim to be 'traditional' or 'revival' singers. But they are not Sharp's 'folk'."

We didn't say we were. Vic had his tongue slightly in cheek, I think, and there are people who could be said to straddle the divide, but most of us retain a distinction between 'Revival' and 'Tradition'.

"in many cases he admits that Sharp tinkered, and offers excuses for it or attempts to offer pleas in mitigation"

Just about everybody who has ever published collections of songs for singing has been obliged to 'tinker', with the exception of Roud & Bishop who purposely chose not to. Even the best material collected in the field is often flawed in some way that might make it an unattractive prospect for the singer. I use a lot of original field-collected songs, but I change just about all of them in ways from superficial to significant, where possible using other collected versions as Sharp did. Variation is built in to the subject matter, so there is no definitive version. To explain that material once considered obscene had to be bowdlerized is not an 'excuse'.

"He *harmonised* it. He set the songs down with clear and unvarying metres. He does not change the tune in the course of a song or from iteration to iteration. He selected one tune for each song."

This is true of the books of songs arranged for piano. Not the case with his Appalachian collection, which prints multiple melodic variants of most of the titles, rhythmic irregularities, and individual singers' variations. His field notes (now easily accessible) transcribe all of these as well. Most singers then and (with some exceptions) now would find that kind of information distracting.