The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #34695   Message #470692
Posted By: Hawker
25-May-01 - 09:27 PM
Thread Name: Are folk lyrics ever 'wrong?'
Subject: RE: Are folk lyrics ever 'wrong?'
Traditional music was originally an aural tradition, so words did get messed about a bit, as did tunes. I peresonally am musically illiterate and therefore cannot read music, but even if I did, I have found that in different places people play tunes with the same notes and different emphasis, which can really thow you!
I'm for the living, ever changing tradition and have to say that sometimes we get very precious about things that we really have no right so to do. Many of what are now termed traditional songs were from broadhseets, and these were generally sung to one of maybe five or six well known tunes. over time these have evolved into their own tunes, which someone wrote down, it doesn't mean that this was the way it was written. And then there is the margin of transposition error, as well as the fact that Baring Gould and Cecil Sharp were not averse to cleaning up and adding to songs that they took down, or even re-writing - for example:
Songs Of The West
The Last Of The Singers
'The melody taken down from William Huggins , mason of Lydford, who died in March 1889. He had been zealously engaged that winter going about among his ancient musical friends collecting old songs for me, when he caught a chill and died. The words he gave were those of a ballad "The Little Girl Down the Lane" and were of no merit. I have therefore discarded them and written fresh words, and dedicate them to the memory of poor old Will.'
The song is lovely, but I have to question his methods and ask the question.......Is this right, to discard something because in one man's opinion is it of no merit?
The answer really has to be it happened and what we have is better than the great loss that would have been the case none had been collected and the 2 world wars that took so many of our menfolk had wiped clean our living memory of MANY of these now 'collected' treasures - THERE IS NO RIGHT OR WRONG in traditional music, that is why it is traditional!
One persons view only, sorry if you don't agree!
I'm gonna do it my way!
Lucy