The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #42171   Message #611355
Posted By: Uncle Jaque
16-Dec-01 - 11:09 PM
Thread Name: What is a Folklorist? Same as Collector?
Subject: RE: What is a Folklorist? Same as Collector?
Well, I dunno fer shore, but it sounds like a "Folkloreist" might actually be able to make a living at it.

There seems to be a lot more to "Folklore" than the music, although that aspect is to you & I one of the more significant components. I'm thinking of the "Foxfire" books and that sort of thing; it incorporates cultural evolution, regional beliefs, history, traditions, rituals, relationships, technology, agriculture, the arts (including but not limited to music) and lots more along those lines - that's just all I can pull off the top of me head right now.

Without looking it up (too lazy) I'd guess that a "Folklorist" is one dedicated to observing, studying, recording, preserving and sharing the complex social systems which have their being in the context of circumstances where a lot of these unique nuances are not apt to be written down or intentionally kept for succeeding generations against inevitably encroaching cultural influences, such as TV, the internet, and manditory public endoctrination (AKA "education"). (*Gasp*; that sure was a long sentence!) How's that?

In a way, Reenactors are amature "folklorists" I suppose. In order to develop a credible impression, we need to study not only what a Civil-War (or whatever period one is doing) Soldier (etc.) would have looked like, but what they would have used for everyday activities; how they would have spoken and expressed themselves. In what sort of dialect or "accent"? Word usage has changed a lot since the 1860's; Remember when "Gay" used to mean "happy"? Folklore. How did the folks back home run the farm? What books have you been reading? What did you learn in School? Can you Cipher? More folklore. Did you like music? Oh; no radios or TV? You must've sung while you worked or played some instrument to help pass the time between toiling and Battle... What did you sing/play? How? Which songs had special meaning for you? Which songs did some of the Officers forbid you to sing? Why?

Yup; "Folklore" again, and we do it all the time. For free. And we love it!

By the way; I also "collect" music of the 19th Century, both "Folk" and "published". That's not different, per se; it's an integral part of the "Folklore" proccess.

Hope this helps sort it out a little for ye, Marty!

Regards: Uncle Jaque, Fifer

3rd Maine Inf. Regimental Field Music