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Original Music That Sounds Traditional?

The Shambles 30 Jan 99 - 08:32 AM
dick greenhaus 30 Jan 99 - 09:55 AM
Bobby Bob, Ellan Vannin 30 Jan 99 - 12:18 PM
Len N (inactive) 30 Jan 99 - 12:47 PM
George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca 30 Jan 99 - 01:35 PM
Joe Offer 30 Jan 99 - 03:30 PM
The Shambles 30 Jan 99 - 04:08 PM
Tiger 30 Jan 99 - 04:27 PM
katmuse 30 Jan 99 - 05:45 PM
Joe Offer 30 Jan 99 - 06:18 PM
Lonesome EJ 30 Jan 99 - 08:08 PM
Bill D 30 Jan 99 - 08:13 PM
The Shambles 30 Jan 99 - 09:21 PM
Joe Offer 30 Jan 99 - 10:46 PM
Don Meixner 30 Jan 99 - 10:56 PM
Sandy Paton 30 Jan 99 - 11:11 PM
Frank in NJ 31 Jan 99 - 03:22 AM
The Shambles 31 Jan 99 - 03:39 AM
Joe Offer 31 Jan 99 - 05:39 AM
The Shambles 31 Jan 99 - 09:26 AM
Tim Jaques tjaques@netcom.ca 31 Jan 99 - 12:53 PM
Art Thieme 31 Jan 99 - 01:29 PM
01 Feb 99 - 07:32 PM
Lonesome EJ 02 Feb 99 - 12:11 AM
Martin _Ryan 02 Feb 99 - 06:34 AM
The Shambles 02 Feb 99 - 09:15 AM
Bill D 02 Feb 99 - 11:08 AM
Margo 02 Feb 99 - 01:12 PM
Bill D 02 Feb 99 - 02:37 PM
The Shambles 02 Feb 99 - 04:57 PM
Tim Jaques tjaques@netcom.ca 02 Feb 99 - 06:02 PM
The Shambles 02 Feb 99 - 06:44 PM
Bill D 02 Feb 99 - 07:06 PM
Art Thieme 02 Feb 99 - 08:06 PM
Pete M 02 Feb 99 - 08:42 PM
The Shambles 07 Feb 99 - 07:15 PM
Frank in NJ 08 Feb 99 - 02:11 AM
Joe Offer 08 Feb 99 - 02:28 AM
AnWeaver13 (inactive) 08 Feb 99 - 04:08 AM
skw@worldmusic.de 08 Feb 99 - 11:46 AM
The Shambles 09 Feb 99 - 12:34 PM
Jerry Friedman 10 Feb 99 - 12:11 AM
Margo 10 Feb 99 - 03:20 PM
The Shambles 10 Feb 99 - 07:02 PM
Pete M 10 Feb 99 - 08:04 PM
Bill D 10 Feb 99 - 08:55 PM
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The Shambles 12 Feb 99 - 11:07 AM
Bert 12 Feb 99 - 11:38 AM
Bill D 12 Feb 99 - 05:50 PM
Pete M 14 Feb 99 - 05:50 PM
The Shambles 19 May 99 - 07:14 PM
Joe Offer 19 May 99 - 09:37 PM
Liam's Brother 19 May 99 - 11:12 PM
Ian 20 May 99 - 07:48 AM
Richard Bridge 20 May 99 - 08:41 AM
The Shambles 20 May 99 - 10:32 AM
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Subject: Original Music That Sounds Traditional?
From: The Shambles
Date: 30 Jan 99 - 08:32 AM

In the John Tams thread there was some mention of songs written by him that people would have said were traditional. It was also mentioned that Richard Thomson had also written songs that were the same and I'm sure there are many others, Ewan McColl, Cyril Tawney spring to mind from the UK. I'm sure there are many more from here and any other parts of the world. Further examples would be welcome.

It opens up an interesting line of debate.
1 Is it a good thing that songs can be written in a style that could be mistaken for a traditional song?
2 Is it a good idea for new writers to consciously try and write songs in this style?
3 Is it the only way that some people will actually be prepared to listen to original material?
4 If the original songs in this style can be so easily mistaken for the 'real thing' does this not make some of the purist's views somewhat invalid, in a musical sense if not a scholarly one?

In the 'Ashokan Farewell' thread. the same thing seems to be happening for tunes. The tune sounds so traditional that some people are reluctant to believe that it was written fairly recently by Jay Ungar.

I personally think that traditional is a nonsense word when applied to music (as are most of the labels and categories used to describe it). Despite our improving attempts to record music, by it's nature it is something that only really exists in the present, in the air, at the moment of creation and is gone. All that remains is the emotion triggered by those moments. (Phew that was a bit heavy)


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Subject: RE: Original Music That Sounds Traditional?
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 30 Jan 99 - 09:55 AM

Hi- Traditional doesn't mean old; it means simply belonging
to a tradition (whatevet THAT means). It's fairly easy
to identify songs that are obviously not traditional;
the arguments start with what IS.


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Subject: RE: Original Music That Sounds Traditional?
From: Bobby Bob, Ellan Vannin
Date: 30 Jan 99 - 12:18 PM

The other point is that a song may not necessarily be written "to deceive" people into thinking it's traditional. Some singers come up with a song that sounds the part, but it may be that singer's take on a pop song. Martin Carthy has been doing this recently. De Danann did some Beatles tunes and the result was pretty folky.

Many a person may never have heard of Ewan McColl, but may have heard Ewan McColl's songs, and sung a version of them, changing them to fit their own memory of how it went or some new circumstance. The song is, arguably, no longer McColl's because oral transmission has taken over.

In another thread, there were the lyrics of "Annan Water". That's quite clearly taken on a life of its own outside of the words written by Sir Walter Scott. I've heard the song over the years, but never realised the Scott connection.

Similarly with "Now Westlin' Winds", which I found out later was a Burns lyric. However, I've heard different people sing it, tweaking the lyrics to their own requirements. Is there, then, a "real" text and the others are merely "mistakes"?

Many of the collectors report their informants' comments about a song being as old as the hills, before coming out with something that was clearly drawn from the music hall. The point is, the informant hadn't necessarily heard it there - probably hadn't, in fact. The informant had picked it up from somebody else's singing, and no doubt with some changes too.

There was a sleevenote with a Planxty album some years ago, and I think Christy Moore made a reference to a "field trip" - through somebody else's record collection. If we hear it, like it and sing it, we probably don't reproduce exactly what we heard. Is this not just an up-to-date oral tradition?

Shoh slaynt,

Bobby Bob


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Subject: RE: Original Music That Sounds Traditional?
From: Len N (inactive)
Date: 30 Jan 99 - 12:47 PM

Dick, to build off of your comment, I would say that all music comes out of a tradition, (ther is very little if anything in the way of music, or any other artform that has been created in a vacuum, the relevant questions would be, what tradtion does a particular song come out of, and whether it honors the particular tradition it came out of or not.

Len


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Subject: RE: Original Music That Sounds Traditional?
From: George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca
Date: 30 Jan 99 - 01:35 PM

There is the music of people like Stan Rogers and Tom Lewis which people will sing, even knowing or not knowing who wrote them. Totally enjoyable, but they are such that they feel timeless. The Last Shanty seems like it's been around forever, yet is probably only about 10 years. Other singer/songwriters like Dave Stone and Vince Morash from the Halifax area write other songs of the sort which are easy to remember and sing. The songs we NOW sing as traditional folk were written by someone at some point in time. To gain acceptance by the world at large, they have to be heard first, and upon those first exposure to an audience will define whether is is traditional or not.

Every area has their own singer/song-writers who have a feel for this kind of music, and will write in that vein. They're not looking to "cash-in" on the traditional music market. If they were looking to make money, they probably wouldn't be writing in this form. However, they LOVE this music, and it permeates the   music they write and perrform.

Someone in another similar thread said they were disappointed in hearing these original songs touted as folk. Most of them are singing totally from the heart. For instance, a local performer, Bill Shaw, wrote a song called The Planters. It takes a little known portion of Nova Scotia history, from the Evangeline period, and imbues it with his personal feelings. His family came to Nova Scotia as one of those Planters. Vince Morash has written a song about the fishing industry, Fishing Where I'm Not Supposed to Be which is about a cousin of his who got hit hard by the cuts in the fishing industry. His song Roger and Lila addresses the concern of all people in the fishing industry on the subject of what happens when they get old! These songs may be NEW, less than 10 years, but they are well thought of but audiences, and other song-writers.

So, original songs may be traditional quite easily, and be part of the tradition as well. It depends   on the person who performs it and the one who hears is.


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Subject: RE: Original Music That Sounds Traditional?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 30 Jan 99 - 03:30 PM

I think that we learn music much the same way that we learn language. When we learn language, we learn more than just words. We learn speech patterns and melodies, ideas, and culture. As we make a language a part of ourselves and begin to express ourselves in it, we become part of the idiom of that language. It becomes part of us, and we part of it.
Same for music. If our music of choice is traditional music, it becomes our musical style. If we write music, it's likely to come out in a "traditional" style. "Traditional" is our musical language. Therefore, I think it's very natural that Jay Ungar and others would produce music that soungs traditional - that's their language. They're not copying another style. They're expressing themselves in the style that is their own.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Original Music That Sounds Traditional?
From: The Shambles
Date: 30 Jan 99 - 04:08 PM

Well said Joe, good common sense a usual.

It's the notion of validity or of being the 'real thing' that I have trouble with. If it works musically then that is all that matters to me, for it is music we are talking about.

The words to a song like 'The Mountains Of Mourne' are not traditional or from the tradition but are pure Music Hall, written by Percy French. That does not mean that the emotions created by the words (and it's wonderful tune) are any less than those created by a 150 year old ballad.

Bobby Bob, good points again.

As to what you were saying about the 'singers take' on a song. Could the version of Buddy Holly's 'Rave on', performed in a 'Young Tradition'/'Waterson's' fashion by Steeleye Span, some 20 years ago, be considered a traditional song?


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Subject: RE: Original Music That Sounds Traditional?
From: Tiger
Date: 30 Jan 99 - 04:27 PM

It may not be folk, but I thought it was.

"Edelweiss" from "The Sound of Music" sure as hell sounds like it was traditional Austrian, sung for a hundred years, maybe.

Not so - straight from the pens of Rogers & Hammerstein.

......Tiger


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Subject: RE: Original Music That Sounds Traditional?
From: katmuse
Date: 30 Jan 99 - 05:45 PM

Apropos especially of Joe O's and George S's comments above, here's an excerpt from a longer posting I just added to the "Ashokan Farewell" thread, having just read all the previous ones there as well as here:

For what it's worth, I've heard Jay Ungar say that he had the tune (Ash.F.) running around in his head, and that it has similarities to other tunes that he'd been playing in similar idiom; so it's no wonder that it sounds like an old trad. tune. I believe he's also said that his creative imagination may have put the tune together [or maybe it put itself together in his creative ear] from bits of other, similar old-style waltzes running around in his head from his immersion in traditional music, but didn't lift the tune itself. (My paraphrase of his thought as I understood it.)

I'm sure he composed it himself -- the collective unconscious/subconscious ear is a powerful directing force when a musician doodles around a lot on his/her accustomed instrument in a particular familiar genre (it's part of the _play_ in "playing"), steeping like tea, seeping like -- oops, I'm getting tangled in a metaphor/simile swamp -- anyway, it's easy to think while doodling that one is coming up with a new tune and then later realize that it feels SO RIGHT! so resonant, because it's really _almost_ that other tune you loved so well, or contains partial phrases thereof that grab you and won't leave you alone.

In any case, Ash.F. is a gorgeous tune, one that can endure on its own and become part of the trad. body of Celtic-Anglo-Amer. music, as is happening quickly in this case...

======

And then there are cases like the original songs composed by Jean Ritchie (e.g., Blue Diamond Mines," under the name of Than Hall) in the idiom of the Kentucky mountain tradition that she grew up in, altho she wrote them after she had become part of the more urban, more self-aware folk-revival world that most all of us here now discussing cats inhabit and debate about.

Someone sings about the things with which she/he identifies, issues of personal and cultural concern, humor, etc., in her/his culture, in the style(s) available within that culture. At what point is it considered "traditional" or "non-trad.," when our various inherited smaller-group traditions become more widely accessible and begin to intermingle increasingly, as they've been doing for this last half of 20th century?

These discussions about "What is traditional, and where are the boundary lines, and what fits exactly where, and who can be considered The Genuine Folk, and if it sounds/looks like the real thing is it really the real thing, or close enough for acceptance even if it was acquired from the outside rather than the inside," etc., have been going on for at least the last 40 years that I know of, and probably longer. (In the folk-art field for over 60 years that I've read about.) I used to feel more purist about the questions and definitions than I do now. Maybe my thinking has degenerated, or has it evolved? (If it quacks like a duck but isn't a duck will the other ducks consider it duck-like enough to quack back?)

(But Buddy Holly filtered thru Steeleye Span a la the Watersons/Young-Tradition of 20 yrs. ago -- whose tradition would this be a traditional representation of? The modern all-of-us? Or the kind of crossover that's in the direction of Kiri Te Kanawa singing "Good Night Irene"? (Or Marion Anderson or Paul Robeson singing black spiritual songs from their own cultural traditions but in white concertization style rather than in black family-community style?)


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Subject: RE: Original Music That Sounds Traditional?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 30 Jan 99 - 06:18 PM

Kat, I have to say I like all of those recordings you listed in your last paragraph. Robeson and Marion Anderson (and Jessye Norman and Kathleen Battle) have concert recordings of spritituals that are absolutely thrilling. Another excellent recording is the first volume of the Smithsonian/Folkways Wade in the Water Series, "African American Spirituals: The Concert Tradition." The whole collection is good - some of the best of the recordings presented by Bernice Johnson Reagon on her "Wade in the Water" series on National Public Redio.
I haven't heard Kiri Te Kanawa singing "Good Night Irene," but she does great work on the songs of Gershwin and Irving Berlin. I imagine I'd like her recording of "Irene."
The Steeleye Span recording of "Rave On" is good - but it ain't traditional, and it certainly ain't Buddy Holly. Buddy Holly's songs are certainly classics that will live for generations, but they certainly aren't the style that we call "traditional." There is one thing about all these recordings that's different from "traditional" music - they're identified with individual performers, and not the music of a community.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Original Music That Sounds Traditional?
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 30 Jan 99 - 08:08 PM

A classic of this genre is "The Night They Drove Ol Dixie Down".It has the mood of the time, an accuracy of content, and a traditional melody and chorus that make it sound authentic 19th century. Levon Helm was the author,I believe. A popular hit was Joan Baez's version, which certainly screwed up the lyrics.Instead of "Stoneman's cavalry" she sang "SO much cavalry", and in another line she sang"I took the train to Richmond to sell" which was more forgivable, since I have yet to figure out what Levon was singing there.


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Subject: RE: Original Music That Sounds Traditional?
From: Bill D
Date: 30 Jan 99 - 08:13 PM

"If it quacks like a duck but isn't a duck will the other ducks consider it duck-like enough to quack back?"....

well, THIS duck will! I like certain types of music...'most' of which are traditional, and if you write a song today that fits that mood, style, feeling, subject matter, etc., I will welcome it as 'in the tradition', though not yet traditional..(you want PRIME examples? do a database search on Craig Johnson). If, on the other hand, you write a breathy, atonal bit of navel-gazing, and happen to play it on an acoustic guitar, it will NEVER be traditional folk! [It may become traditional "introspective multichordal fluff" someday...but those who DO that sort of thing don't seem to like my labels.. *grin*...they want to use pre-established categories and just surreptitiously expand the boreders]

Some has to write music, else there will be no new music...and when a song feels right, sure...bring it in! It is being done occasionally, as noted above, and there is some good music being written that is NOT 'in the tradition'...and I will listen and enjoy...but I won't put it in the same bin just because I like it. Categories have a purpose!


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Subject: RE: Original Music That Sounds Traditional?
From: The Shambles
Date: 30 Jan 99 - 09:21 PM

Bill D Great stuff Bill.

Kat

Thank you for your contribution, I would suggest that your thinking has evolved rather than degenerated.

Joe

I'm not too sure that I follow your reasoning re 'Rave on', their version is certainly done in traditional style, it certainly is Buddy Holly and it is good. Can it not be all three? By some of the reasoning I have seen here, (i.e.; that if it is done in traditional style, it is traditional) it would be considered traditional.

I'm not claiming that it is traditional, it doesn't matter to me what it's called. I only use it as an example of the tangles we can get ourselves in, with the use of these labels. I think there always was an element of humour in that recording anyway, as long as we don't ever lose that things will be OK.

I take your point about being the music of a community; maybe the community has just changed to a larger one? There are not many song sessions I go to, that would not have someone singing a Buddy Holly song at some time. My father and my brother taught me to play Peggy Sue along with Goodnight Irene, St James Infirmary and Scarborough Fair, does that not make Peggy Sue a traditional song?


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Subject: RE: Original Music That Sounds Traditional?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 30 Jan 99 - 10:46 PM

I stand in awe of your curmudgeonry, Bill D. Wehn I grow up, I wanna be just like you....
But Shambles, you are truly misguided. A thousand years from now, "Rave On" will still be a Buddy Holly song, forever identified with its author. Yes, I suppose that in some ways, it will be as much a part of tradition as the songs of Cole Porter and George & Ira Gershwin and Rodgers & Hart will be, but it will never be in what we refer to as "traditional" style. Not even if Peter, Paul and Mary choose to record it.
I think I'm learning from Bill already....
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Original Music That Sounds Traditional?
From: Don Meixner
Date: 30 Jan 99 - 10:56 PM

Bill D.

I must say that you and I are probably related in some way. " Atonal...Navel Gazing." I love it. Very few people can do a good job of introspective writing that I find I like. Gordon Bok does nearly all the time. Kate Wolf was hit or miss for me, mostly miss.

I will still argue that it is more the singing that is the tradition and less the song. For centuries songs and ballads were the entertainment and to a certain degree, the way the tribal (human/clan/family) history was passed along. "Roddy McCorley" would have been an unknown participant in a little known rebellion in the history Ireland had not somebody taken the time to create the song we know as traditional today. But the song spread the story and both Roddy's heroic stand and the Antrim rebellion have their places assured in history because of it.

The topical songs of Phil Ochs, Tom Paxton, and that Bob guy carried the tradition along. The Ballad of Medgar Evers, Goodman and Schwerner and Chaney, The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carrol are great examples of this thesis. These songs all tell the stories of these people who were martyred in the cause of civil rights. They all tell a story start to finish through song. Had they been written in a less technological age we would probably never know the names of the authors but the songs would still be here. Mainly because of other singers spreading the story. (I'll grant that Life Magazine will help to carry these stories along too, but thats only futher acceptance on my part of the technological age.)

Its the singer more than the song that is the tradition.

Don


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Subject: RE: Original Music That Sounds Traditional?
From: Sandy Paton
Date: 30 Jan 99 - 11:11 PM

You know, since I joined this forum, I've found at least a half dozen 'Catters whose contributions I always seek out and read. They make good sense to me, even if I don't always agree with them completely. May I ask the lot of you to move over and make room for another?

Welcome, Katmuse! I'm looking forward to more of your contributions.

Sandy (senior newbie curmudgeon)


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Subject: RE: Original Music That Sounds Traditional?
From: Frank in NJ
Date: 31 Jan 99 - 03:22 AM

I'd like to say thanks again to Joe Offer for his "take" on yet another "sticky" subject. I have wracked with the subject of this thread for many years and jumped in as soon as I saw it looking for an answer. My wife and I sing in a "Traditional" 1800's style. The songs we choose to cover may be only a few years old but are written in a "traditional" "style" that we choose to follow (as we see it). Our style of singing makes the song sound very old. Are we doing "traditional" music or are we doing something else in a tradition/style (if I understand what Don Meixner is saying)? Those that attend our performance have not a knowledge beforehand of the songs, or of our style, yet they bawl their eyes out as the intensity of the old style drives the very sad lyric. Afterward they appreciate learning of our effort to present a style from 100 years ago, but are not aware or seem to care from where the songs come. I now think the question if there is one is more convoluted than the answer. I will rely on the finality of the Mudcatters decisions. Keep em' comming! And thanks,Frank.


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Subject: RE: Original Music That Sounds Traditional?
From: The Shambles
Date: 31 Jan 99 - 03:39 AM

Joe

Thanks for putting the backslash back in my life. I wiil respond again when I have had time to read and understand exactly what all these fine contributors are saying. I am enjoying the ride though. Rave On? (*smiles*)


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Subject: RE: Original Music That Sounds Traditional?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 31 Jan 99 - 05:39 AM

Say, Frank in NJ, do you thing you can do "Rave On" and "Peggy Sue" in your "Traditional" 1800's style? The recalcitrant Shambles insists it should be so. Wanna try?
I suppose it could be done, and has been done, but it comes off as a parody of both the traditional style and of the rock 'n roll song.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Original Music That Sounds Traditional?
From: The Shambles
Date: 31 Jan 99 - 09:26 AM

Joe

Sorry to 'Rave On' but as ever you have made me think.

A good example of how the community has changed can be shown by using groups like Steeleye Span and Fairport Convention. I have been away and have come back to the scene as it were. When I was first involved, groups like these were considered by the folk establishment as 'young upstarts' and their music close to heresy. When I returned to active involvement after 20 years or so, I was amazed to find that these groups were now considered as the very model of tradition itself (and also considered by some in the U.S., to be Celtic!, but that's another story and yet another label).

I think it would be fair to state that in their earliest line ups, that Buddy Holly (and his Strat) were more of an influence to Fairport Convention that the English Tradition.

As for Frank in NJ (a warm welcome to you both) singing Buddy Holly songs in their style, being a parody of both styles. It depends on this concept that some people have, of validity or the 'real thing', if you don't have that and the song works musically (which is all I am interested in and Frank too by the sound of it) then there is nothing to parody. But I do see your point.

The fact that 'Rave On' will always be associated with it's author, Buddy Holly, has more to do with efforts of his publishers and the executors of his estate, than it does to it's suitability for inclusion in the tradition.

This is all good stuff though and I would still be interested in the answers to the questions, 1, 2, 3 and 4, in the first posting.

Frank in NJ

The answer is 42, it is indeed the question that is the problem. Just keep on what you are doing and in time, you too will be considered the very model of the tradition. (*smiles*).

The (recalcitrant) Shambles.


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Subject: RE: Original Music That Sounds Traditional?
From: Tim Jaques tjaques@netcom.ca
Date: 31 Jan 99 - 12:53 PM

Isn't it "I took the train to Richmond, it fell"? Richmond that is, not the train. Why would he sell the train, and to whom?

Actually I've never thought that that song made much sense anyway, although it has a nice melody.

Who is Stoneman, anyway? I don't recall ever reading a reference to him or his cavalry.

"Fiddlers' Green" is a prime example of a fairly recent song that sounds traditional. So is The Dark Island. Down east most people think that Cape Breton Lullaby is traditional. It isn't, was written by Kenneth Leslie, first appeared in print in the 1960's, and is very much still in copyright. Some of the well-known Newfoundland songs which people think of as traditional were written in this century, and their authors are known.


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Subject: RE: Original Music That Sounds Traditional?
From: Art Thieme
Date: 31 Jan 99 - 01:29 PM

Richard Nixon's the neame and I won every damn campaign,
Stonewalled Congress's game and tore up the tapes again,
In the summer of '74 they were angry and demanding more,
By August 8th I had to tell because a tape can remember all too well.

Chorus)
On the night they drove old Dickie down,
All the people were singin',
On the night that they drove old Dickie down,
Dan Rather was singin',
He went, "Ya ya ya ya ya ya---ya ya ya ya ya ya ya ya...

(That's all I've ever heard of this parody from the Watergate era.)

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Original Music That Sounds Traditional?
From:
Date: 01 Feb 99 - 07:32 PM

I wonder whether tunes are in a different category to songs. Going to sessions, you hear all sorts of tunes, and if you like them, you try to pick them up and play them. I am aware that there are tunes at sessions which have been written, but that's not to say that I could actually pick them out. If someone starts a tune, everyone will pitch in because it's just a tune they've heard in sessions. The fact that the author may be sitting next to you is neither here nor there.

I also had an odd experience some years ago. For a Christmas presentation in a primary school, I wrote a Christmas nativity play (hypocrisy is another issue) in Manx Gaelic with some simple songs in it. One of the songs was then used in a school book teaching Manx Gaelic in schools. The following Christmas I had the pleasure of hearing in a concert where it was described as a "traditional Manx carval". I'm quite happy with that - to be frank I'm chuffed to little mint balls.

But my original thought was, tunes you pick up as they're played: words are more of a "set text". These days, it's hard not to know when words are recently written because of copyright laws, and people, not unexpectedly, would like to earn something from their efforts.

There was a young lad in Blackpool who came home from school round about Christmas time and sang a song for his mother. "That's nice," said his mother, and told him that it was written by his father, who was Alan Bell of the Blackpool Taverners. "It can't be," said the lad, "we learned it in school!"

Somebody, somewhere, ultimately wrote everything. Why not just enjoy our ignorance!

Bobby Bob


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Subject: RE: Original Music That Sounds Traditional?
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 02 Feb 99 - 12:11 AM

Hey Art...now we know which version Joan Baez should've recorded.Tim...you're right,why would Virgil sell the train and to whom? Joan was suggesting that this poor Tennessee dirt farmer was so destitute he was forced to pawn his train in order to survive.Truly heart-rending! Stoneman was a union cavalry commander under Sherman who specialized in disrupting roads, bridges and,yes, rail-lines during Sherman's march.


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Subject: RE: Original Music That Sounds Traditional?
From: Martin _Ryan
Date: 02 Feb 99 - 06:34 AM

Sometimes a minor mystery is solved - before you even realise it is there! The Voice Squad have been doing "Rave On" as a show-peice for years - I never even knew Steeleye had done it!

And I'm not trying to "stir things" with the showpiece reference. Things like this are done for fun and valid in their own right..

Regards


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Subject: RE: Original Music That Sounds Traditional?
From: The Shambles
Date: 02 Feb 99 - 09:15 AM

I didn't bring ducks into this debate but strangely enough they are a very good analogy to use, because the arrival of the duck as we know it is a relatively recent development, in evolutionary terms. All species (a label or category that we invented and that ducks do not always recognise) of duck, being closely related tend to hybridise quite easily and readily. The result is that we can see in the duck, the continuing process of natural selection as it happens and some very confused bird-watchers, trying to identify some of the results in the field.

If it quacks like a duck and other ducks quack back, to the extent that they get together to produce little ducks, then what they produce is most certainly a duck, whatever you may want to call it. It may not look (or sound) like the duck that you are used to, know and love but that is your problem not the ducks (or the music's).

1998 MEACHER MOVES TO SAVE THE WHITE-HEADED DUCK A new Task Force will co-ordinate action in the UK to conserve the globally threatened white-headed duck, Environment Minister Michael Meacher said today. The birds are threatened by hybridisation and competition with the North American ruddy duck.

You could argue that there would not have been a problem in the above case had the 'Ruddy Duck' not been imported into the UK, but it was and you have to accept the situation as it is. The process of evolution in nature and in music will continue and leave behind those who cannot adapt. The dinosaurs moved on to become DUCKS?.

I am sorry if I appear to be labouring the point, but music (and the other arts) to me offer some hope for our troubled world. It is a universal language and I do not like to see the same narrow aguments used in the world, used in music as well.

Too much suffering has been caused and is still being caused by people not neatly fitting in to the categories that others have defined for them. All I ask for is tolerance in all things.

I would suggest that categories in music are more for critics and writers than for those that listen to it and create the music. They prevent people from being exposed to music that they might otherwise like.

If we must have some in music can we have as few as possible and can they be wide and flexible rather than narrow and fixed?


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Subject: RE: Original Music That Sounds Traditional?
From: Bill D
Date: 02 Feb 99 - 11:08 AM

shambles...I see your point exactly, I think...you are pleading for the creative process and the enjoyment of music to not be hampered and clouded by bickering over details of classification...and in some respects, you are right on! Writers & composers SHOULD feel free to create what moves them and, usually, they will..(taking into account those who 'write to the audience' for profit only).

The problem is, your duck analogy misses a couple of points. Evolution, driven partly by natural selection and partly by random mutation, cannot be directly compared to conscious and intentional (and I would add, gratuitous) changes in musical styles.'Evolution', as pertaining to species, is simple not the same concept as 'evolution' in music, or clothing styles, or architecture...(I think the logical fallacy is called 'equivocation')

Second, although your point is clear and well-taken, it is, in the last analysis YOUR point. For some reason, people just have differing views on categories, even in regard to natural species. Take dogs...most of them can interbreed, also, and left alone would produce mutts! But some folk LIKE a certain 'look', and take great pains to define, breed, and maintain canine categories. There are equivalent processes going on to preserve the look (and flavor) of various poultry (including ducks). You probably have some preferences in cusine, (Chinese, Italian, Mexican, French, etc., and their various sub-categories) and you probably would be upset if your favorite restaurant started changing the dishes with spices and sauces you were not used to, and didn't care for. (My wife is 2nd generation Italian, and you should hear her expound on cilantro & goat cheese!!)

Almost every hobby, from model trains to quilting, has the arguments we are struggling with here...some organized clubs have VERY strict definitions of what they allow in their shows and publications, etc., and those who want changes, or have some creative need to 'evolve', are obliged to start a new group. It is not a matter of 'better', just a matter of 'different' .

The fact is traditional folk music comprises a pretty small portion of the market these days..(ask Sandy Paton how many millions of the wonderful things HE produces get sold each year!)... and if we simply shrug when far-reaching changes are made, then people like me who go to the record store to find a new CD discover that all the 'singer-songwriter' and 'new-age Celtic' has been crammed into the formerly small 'folk' bin just because it was a convenient, short, name.(yeah, I know 'some' stores make an effort...but...)

I am NOT asking that nothing ever change!! That would be silly, as well is inpossible and stultifying, but I must take issue with your summation...

"I would suggest that categories in music are more for critics and writers than for those that listen to it and create the music. They prevent people from being exposed to music that they might otherwise like."

This is true ONLY if you assume that 'critics and writers' and 'people who create and listen to music' are different species somehow. You may create more, and I may critique more, but we all participate in the process. And I truly doubt that a large number of narrow categories prevents people from "being exposed to music that they might otherwise like". If they are naturally eclectic in their musical tastes, they will find the categories...especially with MTV, the internet, and hundreds of radio stations pouring it out all day! On the contrary, many categories, properly used , can make it easier for both narrow, purist little ME and eclectic YOU to find the kind of music we want right NOW!...Is it always fuzzy around the edges?? Sure....no category is perfect...but the rock & roll crowd no more wants to have to paw over Almeda Riddle & Martin Carthy than I want to have to struggle thru Nine Inch Nails and Green Day!(and I presume that there are those who would complain that Green Day and 9' Nails NEVER belong in the same categroy)

(and here I stop...though I have made about 10% of the point that were swirling around in my head...it is not easy being a curmudgeon)


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Subject: RE: Original Music That Sounds Traditional?
From: Margo
Date: 02 Feb 99 - 01:12 PM

Hey guys and gals!

I am composing some songs using the poetry of a well known poet of the 19th century. I have wanted to write these songs for a long time but had no inspiration. Then I found out that the poet was from Scotland.

Suddenly I have melodies springing fourth right and left, and they are all in the style of traditional folk music from Scotland. Not surprisingly, the poet's verses lend themselves to this style easily. I am having so much fun with them and I want to eventually record these songs on a children's CD.

I want these traditional sounding songs to be a tribute to the memory of this poet. I think he would have liked them.

I do so like the traditional songs and I am in favor of writing in that style if it suits a person.

Margaret


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Subject: RE: Original Music That Sounds Traditional?
From: Bill D
Date: 02 Feb 99 - 02:37 PM

bully for you, Margaret! A lovely thought!..I hope someday YOU are considered traditional...


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Subject: RE: Original Music That Sounds Traditional?
From: The Shambles
Date: 02 Feb 99 - 04:57 PM

Bill D

First off I will agree wholeheartedly with you, I only managed about 10% of the point I was trying to make as well. We two do seem to represent the extremes, there must be a lot of views in between ours?

I did enjoy your post it deserves more time and more thought before I can respond properly, but there are few things first off don't think that the creative process is hampered much by the bickering at all, they will just do it whatever. It is those that enjoy the music that lose out and in the long run the artists, because they do need someone to listen to their efforts. If you stick a narrow label on a performance, some will go because they like it but more will not go it because they think they do not like that type of music, even though if they went they may enjoy it. The label enables you filter things out but you may be 'throwing the baby out with the bath-water'.

You make the point that things in your narrow categories get "fuzzy around the edges". Is that not the place where all the firm categories, boundaries, ethnic groupings and educational grades fall down? In the borderline cases? The ones that don't fit neatly into one or could be fitted into two or more? It's these to me that make your categories unacceptable. Especially when the casualties are people.

The evolution in music I refer to is the change that comes about when musicians are exposed to the music and instruments of other cultures. We are living at a very exciting time and the pace of that change is getting faster. The more forced concoctions will not survive the evolutionary process but others will grow, it is a natural process that has always happened, it is just faster now. It is very similar to Natural Selection, if the mutation works it will become part of the body of music.

I can see the attraction to some people of having an ordered world, I just can't see it like that. I look up the night skies and I find no answers, just more and more questions and I glory in all the paths there are to take to find those answers.

P.S. I like 'mutts'.


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Subject: RE: Original Music That Sounds Traditional?
From: Tim Jaques tjaques@netcom.ca
Date: 02 Feb 99 - 06:02 PM

Nonsense. I say that any duck that is called a "ruddy" duck must surely be English. A North American would curse at a duck much differently.

Besides, you Europeans sent Zebra Mussels over here to infest the Great Lakes, and starlings to squawk at us. It is only fair that we inflict grey squirrels, racoons, Canada Geese, and Canadian beavers on you. Just wait until we send over our robins. They must be three times the size of yours.


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Subject: RE: Original Music That Sounds Traditional?
From: The Shambles
Date: 02 Feb 99 - 06:44 PM

Tim

Just remember you did send us The Carpenters.

Bobby Bob wrote

I wonder whether tunes are in a different category to songs. Going to sessions, you hear all sorts of tunes, and if you like them, you try to pick them up and play them. I am aware that there are tunes at sessions which have been written, but that's not to say that I could actually pick them out. If someone starts a tune, everyone will pitch in because it's just a tune they've heard in sessions. The fact that the author may be sitting next to you is neither here nor there.

Interesting that. I write a lot of tunes and I sometimes play them at sessions. The bodrhan players don't mind and the guitar players usually pick up on them, but the melody players are not too happy, understandably as they can't really add too much without knowing the tune. So I don't play them too often, as sessions are usually best when everyone can be involved.

But the issue that does come up, when I do play them, is the nationality of the tunes, which is a bit of a problem for me.

Once at a session I played a 4 part tune of mine called the 'Rusty Tushkar' and I was asked what it was called and I said the title and when asked, also explained that a tuskar was a tool that I used in Shetland for digging peat, that was going rusty in my shed. To which the chap replied "so it's a Shetland tune"? Well was it? I am English but I don't think that many of my tunes would fit in with an English Music Session. Do I have to come up with a nationality for them? Some sound American, some Greek, some Irish and some like no place I can think of and most of them without me ever consciously trying to make them sound like they come from anywhere.

I get the impression that people at sessions would prefer the tune to be an unfamiliar tune from somewhere, than to know that it is original and effectively from nowhere.

What bin do I put them in Bill? (No don't answer that!*smiles*)


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Subject: RE: Original Music That Sounds Traditional?
From: Bill D
Date: 02 Feb 99 - 07:06 PM

well, it's interesting to note that there are people even to the right of me...

you are quite right that it does take a bit of time to respond to these ideas properly..but you did say

"We are living at a very exciting time and the pace of that change is getting faster."

and..

"..you may be 'throwing the baby out with the bath-water'"

..it seems to me, that when things change at a very fast pace, it becomes necessary to 'throw out'...(meaning, to "ignore") a few things...I simply cannot keep up! And smaller and narrower bins make it easier to choose. If you think I may have missed something neat and important..let me know, and I will take a look and listen, and if I agree, I'll have one more bin to browse.


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Subject: RE: Original Music That Sounds Traditional?
From: Art Thieme
Date: 02 Feb 99 - 08:06 PM

a challenge to all:

Write a song to be titled:

"THE MORE THINGS CHANGE, THE MORE THEY GET DIFFERENT"


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Subject: RE: Original Music That Sounds Traditional?
From: Pete M
Date: 02 Feb 99 - 08:42 PM

Hi Shambles me old mucker, now that's a cunning way to start of version 967 of the "what is folk" thread! ;-)

Actually I've tried to take my time before contributing as it is clearly a subject which deserves a thoughtful response, and as usual if I wait most of the things I would have liked to have said have been said already.

So, rather than opting for a "me too" I'll try and address each of your original questions in turn; always bearing in mind that phrases like "a good thing" have never been the same since Sellars and Yeatman!

1 Is it a good thing that songs can be written in a style that could be mistaken for a traditional song?
I think that this is not only good, it is essential and inevitable. Inevitable because we create within a frame of reference which includes the "traditional" music of western culture, so that will influence the outcome - now the degree to which this is obvious will vary tremendously but it will be there. It is also essential if the folk tradition and here I would define the folk tradition as being something of, by and for the people ie excluding anything written for an audience, or personal aggrandisement; is to continue.

"Traditional" folk music, like most things which are currently unfashionable (eg hierarchical management structures) have survived for thousands of years because they work within the situations for which they were created or from which they evolved.

2 Is it a good idea for new writers to consciously try and write songs in this style?

Probably the hardest to answer as it "all depends". For people like MacColl and Tawney, it works, and it is hard to imagine them writing in ant other style, for others it doesn't work, and for still others it should not even be considered. I think if you are steeped in the tradition within which you are writing and the subject matter, your natural style of writing and your tune fit, then there is a good chance of it working.

3 Is it the only way that some people will actually be prepared to listen to original material?

I think you had your tongue firmly in cheek with that one mate! I'm sure, as I suspect you are, that the only people most to get steamed up over current songs written in traditional style are those who have a narrow definition of "traditional folk" which includes "more than x years old", and who think that nothing else is worthwhile. I don't think any of us including the curmudgeonly twins (Bill D and me (hope you don't mind Bill)) dislike new songs in any style (except for new age !@#$ navel gazers) We might get excited if someone tries to pass them of as traditional, but we would welcome songs which, if they stand the test of time, will become a valid and necessary contribution to the continuance of the corpus of "traditional" songs.

4 If the original songs in this style can be so easily mistaken for the "real thing" does this not make some of the purist's views somewhat invalid, in a musical sense if not a scholarly one?

Nah! Firstly I don't believe there is such thing as "purist" category into which we can all be fitted or we wouldn't be having this conversation. Fortunately or unfortunately, we humans love taxonomical quibbling and there is constant changes in what is "in" or "out" of classifications in all fields. Also I think you, and the "if it sounds like a duck" argument are missing the point of this particular category. To stretch the analogy, a duck may answer a duck call, in other words the hunter sounds like a duck to a duck, but he doesn't pass the Turing test, a duck can't get meaningful responses from him. Similarly a song may be identical to a "traditional" song in subject matter, style, music and the use of language, but that is not the only criteria which is relevant. To me it is like eating with a peg on your nose, its Ok and fills you up, but there is not the same enjoyment. Again, I would stress there is no implication that the new song is of any less worth, just that it is not (yet) "traditional". I think that at the root there may be a confusion that "traditional" implies static. Clearly, folk music has and is growing and evolving, some songs which could now be considered "traditional" were not written when Sharp was collecting and some which were sung and popular then have been quietly forgotten as not belonging in "our" bucket.

Oh well, time for a work break. Lets try out Mike's changes and see if this posts OK

Pete M


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Subject: RE: Original Music That Sounds Traditional?
From: The Shambles
Date: 07 Feb 99 - 07:15 PM

I couldn't seem to be able to start a new thread, just seeing if I dig up an old one.


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Subject: RE: Original Music That Sounds Traditional?
From: Frank in NJ
Date: 08 Feb 99 - 02:11 AM

I would be so ever enchanted to take on the suggestion of Joe Offer, with the chore of making "Rave On" or "Peggy Sue" sound circa 1800's. But I know I'm beat there Joe! These songs, as do most modern songs, present a special difficulty with their lack of range or choice of notes present. Most modern songs sound like short cuts to me, in that the notation choices are very lazy. Just the musical notation within the introduction of an 1800's song before one even gets to the song proper, sports a melody and harmony line inclusive enough to make enough modern songs to uphold a modern artists entire career. Peggy Sue being an excellent example, sports so few notes that the choice of harmonic notes available severly restricts the possibility of a "traditional" sound. The old songs seem to me to be each to its own ethnic backround, and of yet a previous century. Each time people come together as during a war, their individual song styles become a little more homogenized. Just take note of the large influx of styles that came together during recent wars, The Spanish American and WW1 especially. Notice the results in the early or late blendings of two very different American music styles with root origins of the British Isles, as one flourished in the Eastern Mountains with the Native American syncopation and the other in the flatlands with the African American. The results are vastly different in many ways, yet were at one time the same tunes/songs. Likewise what is "traditional" Cajun Music? Not only were the old French tunes "refreshed" by the introduction (70 years ago)of the German accordian syncopation, they also became as a result limited to less than an octive and choice of only two keys. I have only the knowledge of how the old tunes were done from cylinders of the 1880's to 1905. The "Parlor Era". The revelation of hearing these recordings and some of the one sided 78rpm discs that replaced them as opposed to the sheet music interpretations is enlighting. Songs such as "Lorina" or "The Green Fields of Virginia" even with their simple folk style are masterpiece examples of their times. Audiences who have never heard the old "traditional" music are stricken by their beauty. Give me another chance Joe? I cry "stonzies"!


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Subject: RE: Original Music That Sounds Traditional?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 08 Feb 99 - 02:28 AM

Well, Frank, I really enjoyed your response. I think what you said means that you agree with me - an attempt to sing "Peggy Sue" or "Rave On" in a traditional style comes off as a parody of both the song and the style - it's not a good fit, even though it may be fun to try it.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Original Music That Sounds Traditional?
From: AnWeaver13 (inactive)
Date: 08 Feb 99 - 04:08 AM

And there's always Kinship (a celtic-style BC Band who write a lot of pseudo-folk songs) and the incomparable guy who's name escapes me who wrote Queen of All Argyle and Ramblin Rover.


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Subject: RE: Original Music That Sounds Traditional?
From: skw@worldmusic.de
Date: 08 Feb 99 - 11:46 AM

Still - who DID write 'Old Dixie'? My database comes up with the name Robbie Robertson and three fat question marks! And - on which album / which year did Joan Baez record the song? - Now I'll go home and read the rest of this thread, having lost five days. - Susanne


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Subject: RE: Original Music That Sounds Traditional?
From: The Shambles
Date: 09 Feb 99 - 12:34 PM

Joe

I think Frank in NJ was agreeing with me. Oh well maybe not, I suppose you win.

Frank

Have you ever heard the version of Rave On by Steeleye Span? I've no idea what record/cd it is on, maybe someone could tell us?. If you ever do hear it let us know if you think it a parody of both styles? I think it adds to both but then again I have a 'Cornish' keyboard, so what do I know?


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Subject: RE: Original Music That Sounds Traditional?
From: Jerry Friedman
Date: 10 Feb 99 - 12:11 AM

Bobby Bob, "chuffed to little mint balls"--I'm ROTFL!

Margarita, who's the secret Scots poet?

Shambles, outside of mathematics, every category has fuzzy boundaries, as Pete M. so rightly remarked about "purist". That doesn't mean every category is useless. Tufted ducks may hybridize with ring-necked ducks, but MOST of the time you know which one you're looking at. (I'd love to look at a tufted duck some day--a great tick for an American twitcher. And they eat zebra mussels.)

Dick's comment about traditions, and something several people have said about every song having an author, bring up a point I'd like to make. There's a theory that folk songs are the work of many hands. Maybe somebody wrote the original version, but since then it's been folk-processed.

Thus in a sense it's the work of the people, the folk, as a whole. [*] To some folkies, this quality has a certain mystique. Such a song is not and never was any kind of individual property; it arises from and belongs to a tradition. The version(s) we have came from no commercial or motive and no pose; most of what brought them to being was people making the song the best they could and remembering the best they could, in the way that was natural to them. I believe this, not what Dick said, is the usual meaning of the word "traditional".

I see nothing wrong with responding to this mystique. I don't myself; I don't enjoy "Die Loreley" any more when it's credited to Silcher than when it's called a folk song. But is this part of what the people who like the "traditional" category are responding to?

[*] Of course, Tom Lehrer had the last word on this (in his intro to "The Folksong Army), as he did on so many things. Is this the first footnote in the Mudcat?


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Subject: RE: Original Music That Sounds Traditional?
From: Margo
Date: 10 Feb 99 - 03:20 PM

Hi Jerry. It's no secret. The Scots poet is Robert Louis Stevenson. The poems I liked so well as a child are in "A Child's Garden of Verses". You can find the volume easily at the bookstore.

Of course he's known better as the author as such novels as "Kidnapped" and "Treasure Island". But his poems give such a tender portrayal of the wonders of the child's world.

It is my hope to record my RLS songs along with some traditional children's music from Scotland and that area. It should be fun.

Margarita


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Subject: RE: Original Music That Sounds Traditional?
From: The Shambles
Date: 10 Feb 99 - 07:02 PM

Jerry

Who started with these 'Ruddy Ducks' anyway?

I think that in time mathematics will be shown to have fuzzy boundaries too. It depends on what measure of time you use. In the span of human life-times you could say that mathematics are certain and non fuzzy. In the time that the universe exists, mathematics may not in fact, turn out to be so certain.

In human life-times you may be sure what constitutes a Ring-Necked Duck, because you see it frozen in the form that it is in at that moment. In evolutionary time it is in the process of constant change, just happening too slowly for us to see. If your only experience of a horse, was a still photograph of one galloping, showing that all four feet were off the ground, would you be certain that it was a flying animal?

If a Ring-Necked-Duck is uncertain enough about it's identity to mate with a Tufted Duck, how can we be so sure about what category to put it in? In natural history we know that the species definition is imperfect but we carry on because it is safer to think that way. You say "most of the time you know which one you are looking at" but it is surely those exceptions that should be teaching us caution?

The only thing I know for certain is that I know 'bugger all' for certain.

To bring us back to music, I didn't say all categories are useless, what I said was, I personally think that traditional is a nonsense word when applied to music (as are most of the labels and categories used to describe it). For music is only really created in the present and there is only one music, but I only listen and create it, I don't get paid to write or talk about it, so one big category is enough for me.

I have ticked off Ring-Necked-Duck in the UK (I think?). I also think I've ticked off a few Mudcatter's too? *smiles*


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Subject: RE: Original Music That Sounds Traditional?
From: Pete M
Date: 10 Feb 99 - 08:04 PM

Talking about the mating habits of Tufted ducks, I once heard Human beings defined as the only species that will fornicate with anything that will keep still long enough.

Pete M


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Subject: RE: Original Music That Sounds Traditional?
From: Bill D
Date: 10 Feb 99 - 08:55 PM

*grin*...Pete...funny you should mention it..many years ago,(27-30) in Wichita,Kansas, a police patrol noticed a car on a side street, (cold day, windows frosted over)..and the car was shaking...the police stopped and investigated, and heard strange, loud noises coming from the interior. They somehow managed to open the car, or convince the guy inside to open it, and found him in flagrante delecto with a duck he had stolen from the local zoo! Feathers everywhere! ....and it just so happens that a close friend of mine worked at that zoo, and was one of the keepers of that poor duck..(he carried a newspaper clipping of the incident around for years!)..Not only that-- he and another friend wrote a parody of Roger Miller's "Chug-a-Lug"..."**** a Duck".......so, the folk process goes on, using life as its model....

(and Shambles....there are violent arguments in Philosophy between the Metaphysicans who LIKE categories, and the 'Ordinary Language' philosophers, who do not........and I guess that's what it comes down to- I like 'em, you don't...but if you should ever open a record store, I doubt I should be able to shop there if you did not separate the Gregorian Chant from the Bluegrass....it just happens that 'traditional' does mean something to a lot of people. Even though it may not be an 'exact' definition, it CAN at least exclude some things.)


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Subject: RE: Original Music That Sounds Traditional?
From: Barbara
Date: 10 Feb 99 - 11:58 PM

In re categories, Bill, my favorite mycological taxonomist (David Arora) sorts out his colleagues into two categories: "lumpers" and "splitters".
Seems like we have a similar situation here.
Blessings,
Barbara


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Subject: RE: Original Music That Sounds Traditional?
From: Jerry Friedman
Date: 11 Feb 99 - 09:49 PM

Susanne, according to the well-organized discography at the Joan Baez Web Pages, "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down" has appeared on a lot of her albums, mostly greatest-hits collections. The first album it appeared on was Blessed Are... (1971). The song is credited to J. R. Robertson, who of course is Robbie.

Barbara, I think the split between lumpers and splitters is universal in taxonomy.

Shambles, what Bill D. implied is right: I'm way out of my philosophical depth here. But... fuzzy edges make you doubt categories, but categories are still useful (essential?), and some ways of binning things may be more useful than others.

Katmuse mentioned what quacks like a duck, etc., and you were the one who brought up ruddy ducks (and then I dragged in the Aythyini).

Pete M., whoever made up that definition had never owned an entire male dog (or even a rabbit).


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Subject: RE: Original Music That Sounds Traditional?
From: The Shambles
Date: 12 Feb 99 - 11:07 AM

Well with a lot of help from you all I am beginning to see the light. I can go with the mystique of 'traditional music' as defined by Jerry. Mystique, I would probably define as something that is indefinable and in that sense I can see the attraction of something that belongs to you as much as everyone else and can be attributed to no one person. Even though it might in fact be a myth. But Bill, I can't see if something is so mysterious and by it's nature indefinable, how you can exclude anything from it for certain or why you would want to?

Would it be fair to say that a lot of the hostility towards singer-songwriters is due to the sense of exclusion created by the fact, that it is felt that what they produce (especially the introverted songs) cannot ever belong to anyone but the author?

The attraction of all music to me is the mystique of it or to use another word magic. I may not be able to define what magic is but when I hear it I know it exists. Is that the same for you with 'traditional'?

Out of interest, I have never spoken to any performer of 'traditional' material who truly felt that they were the 'real thing', although others would, with no hesitation describe them as such. Which unfortunately brings us back to ducks. "If a Ring-Necked-Duck is uncertain enough about it's identity to mate with a Tufted Duck, how can we be so sure about what category to put it in", or more importantly, be certain about what category to exclude it from?

I can understand the need for us to order the world (and record shops), but we have tried many way to do this throughout history and have constantly had to re-order it, in the light of new information. I suppose I can just live in the world as I find it.

The following is a bit heavy and I have moved away from music I know, but it will I hope, show you why I persist in addressing some of the issues mentioned here. I don't expect you to agree with all the points I have made or their relevance here but I hope you can understand and excuse the depth of my feelings.

There was a BBC TV series in the 70s called The Ascent Of Man, presented by Dr Jacob Bronowski. In which there was one moment from it that I hope I will never forget.

He was in Auschwitz, and standing in a muddy pond where the ashes of 4 million people were flushed. He held the mud in his hands as he quoted these words by Oliver Cromwell.

"I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible you may be mistaken".


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Subject: RE: Original Music That Sounds Traditional?
From: Bert
Date: 12 Feb 99 - 11:38 AM

Shambles,

I think that hostility towards singer/songwriters often arises from the s/songers perception of what is entertainment. I think that a s/s should know what their audience expects (that's their job) and restrain themselves from outpourings of boring descriptions of personal experiences.

Jerry,
Mathematics has it's fuzzy side. The whole concept derived from separating the concepts aof quatity and number. It doesn't get any fuzzier than that.

A Duck story.

We had this duck named Lizette and after she recovered from the loss of her drake 'Charlie' to a neighbor's dog, she would flirt outrageously with our rooster.

Bert.


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Subject: RE: Original Music That Sounds Traditional?
From: Bill D
Date: 12 Feb 99 - 05:50 PM

yes, shambles, I suspect it is a bit like your 'magic'...traditional is something I can sort of describe(and I am working slowly on list of conditions and categories to explicate it all...), but is very much just 'feeling'...if you watch a classsic production of Shakespeare, and then watch a re-done 'modern' version with current slang and 'mod' costumes, you may have some idea what it is like...it just ain't what I am used to, and I never DID see the reason for gratuitous experimenting!. There no law against it, just label it clearly so I don't waste my money needlessly...

( I often wonder why I keep chewing at the problem...but I do think that this exchange of ideas really can help us, if not agree with one another, at least understand one anotther better..)


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Subject: RE: Original Music That Sounds Traditional?
From: Pete M
Date: 14 Feb 99 - 05:50 PM

Shambles, please don't apologise, this is one of the most entertaining and thought provoking threads for some time, and that ,as I write it, seems to me to answer, or at least point to an answer to your question about singer/songwriters, their songs are rarely either entertaining or thought provoking.

Singer/songwriter has, I believe, become a self defining category, there are a whole raft of people, some of great talent, who write and perform their own work, but who we would never dream of putting in the s/s basket; Paxton, McTell, MacColl & Guthrie, for example. As Bert has said, s/s's are often so omphalistic and/or narcissistic that they fail to meet the basic purpose of a performance, ie to entertain, but fail to recognise their failure. Some of course become hugely successful commercially despite these traits, but then so is MacDonalds!

On the taxonomical side of things, I think you are missing Bill's point about exclusion. It is quite possible to define a condition, which in practice, can only be said with any degree of certainty to exist by excluding all other possibilities. Medicine is a prime field for this kind of exercise.

I am not a great fan of reductionism; but it is undoubtedly a useful tool in the right place, also the category we put something in will depend on our own world view as much as anything, and that inevitably changes with time, so yes, I believe that a structured taxonomy for "folk" music is of great help to most people most of the time, but that does not imply that the categories are or should be rigid. I would suggest that more understanding arises from discussions about the fuzzy overlaps than anything else. The issue of categories in Music shops is I think, a red herring, those categories are defined not to differentiate on any basis meaningful within the field, merely to maximise sales by often intentionally misleading.

Yes I think there is a mystique or magic which a song acquires, like a patina, with absorption into the folk process, for me it has nothing to do with age per se although a certain amount of time needs to have passed for it to occur; it may ultimately be indefinable except at an emotional level, but its real for all that.

I also remember the Ascent of Man, and agree totally about the danger of people who are absolutely certain they are right. Can't think of any Duck angles though!

Pete M


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Subject: RE: Original Music That Sounds Traditional?
From: The Shambles
Date: 19 May 99 - 07:14 PM

Refresh.

We haven't had much conversation about ducks recently. I kind of miss it.


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Subject: RE: Original Music That Sounds Traditional?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 19 May 99 - 09:37 PM

I went to a Tom Russell concert here in Denver Saturday night - now, there's a songwriter whose work sounds a hundred years old the moment he writes it. the first half of the concert was a selection of songs from his new album, The Man from God Knows where. Good stuff. I especially like his cowboy songs.
Tom russel sang one song, "Orphan Train," by David Massengill, another songwriter with a very traditional sound to many of his songs. Massengill wrote another song that is often attributed to "traditional" - I think it's called "Fairfax County." Baez and the Roches recorded it a while back. Massengill said he didn't get any money out of the Baez recording, but I got the impression he may have been joking about that.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Original Music That Sounds Traditional?
From: Liam's Brother
Date: 19 May 99 - 11:12 PM

I've heard many fine songs when in Ireland that I've thought might be traditional and the reason is that the people whom (I later found out) wrote them are themselves part of the tradition. These are "unknown people" writing about their surroundings. They are people having much more familiarity with traditional song than popular song. That's the difference to my mind.

All the best,
Dan


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Subject: RE: Original Music That Sounds Traditional?
From: Ian
Date: 20 May 99 - 07:48 AM

The whole idea of what's traditional fascinates me. I've been very interested in the contributions here, but none of them touch on what I have come to think of as traditional. There are two criteria.

1. That in general nobody claims it. It's fine to write something and be capable of being identified as the author. What I mean is that nobody is going to sue you for singing it or for getting the words "wrong".

2. That somebody, not the author, felt it worthwhile learning - generally orally - to sing other than for profit (rules out recorded covers of Beatles hits).

This suggests two unusual traditional songs which you might wish to comment on or add to.

One is "Norwegian Wood" as sung in our folk session. We don't do it like The Beatles and, though the words are much the same, the stresses are markedly different.

The other is "Delilah", song in some very interesting modal keys by people leaving one of our (three) village pubs at around midnight.

Would I be willing to die to include these in the traditional corpus? - depends.

Ian


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Subject: RE: Original Music That Sounds Traditional?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 20 May 99 - 08:41 AM

This thread is being confused by use of an undefined term "traditional". Let's stick to "folk". That is music and song handed down and modified by the oral tradition (which precludes acknowledgment of authorship). Apply that and everything gets a lot clearer. The fact that traditional-sounding stuff is not folk does not make it worse (or better). It merely means it is not folk.

Another approach might be to define "traditional".

Interesting things definitions.

If you assert that the need for the oral tradition precludes songs first published in written form from ever being folk song the "the Cutty (or Cuddy - but not Ruddy) Wren" (1342, I think) is not a folk song. But it must surely be traditional.

I am told that "Darcy Farrow" is modern. But many think it sounds like American traditional.


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Subject: RE: Original Music That Sounds Traditional?
From: The Shambles
Date: 20 May 99 - 10:32 AM

What is folk? *Smiles*


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Subject: RE: Original Music That Sounds Traditional?
From: Bert
Date: 20 May 99 - 11:11 AM

OK Shambles, you said "We haven't had much conversation about ducks recently"

Well seeing your last post you'd better 'duck'

Bert. (Where's Elsie when we need her?)


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Subject: RE: Original Music That Sounds Traditional?
From: Graham Pirt
Date: 20 May 99 - 07:15 PM

I've just returned from a concert with Chris Wood, Andy Cutting, Karen Tweed and Ian Carr. They played a set of English dance tunes which Chris introduced as, "..some from then and some from now" It really does cloud the issue as soon as we start attaching words like 'folk' and 'traditional'. I'm friendly with some shepherds from Northumberland who play tunes - some that they've written and some that they haven't. I don't recall them ever calling one of the tunes folk or traditional.


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Subject: RE: Original Music That Sounds Traditional?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 26 Feb 00 - 07:52 AM

And they talk about singer songwriters as being obsessed with studying their navels...

(Though navel study shouldn't be disparaged. Ducks can't do it after all, ruddy or otherwise, it's only us placental mammals. And there's lots of people round the folk scene who haven't been able to see their navels in years, including some singer-songwriters I dare say.)

How come we keep on talking about "the tradition". There are all kinds of different traditions, some of them longstanding, some very recent indeed. For convenience we bundle a few of them together and call that "folk", and then argue as to which ones should be included, and what are the common factor linking them.

While a tradition is alive, new stuff can be produced which is part of that tradition. Once it's dead, the songs and the music are still available, but new stuff in the same style aren't part of that tradition, they are part of another distinct modern tradition. So Sea Shanties came frtom a tradition which was involved them having a role as work songs. You can't have new songs which are part of that tradition. If you make a "new sea shanty" it is something else, even if in form it looks and sounds like a sea shanty and it might be a great song.

Just as you can have reproduction furniture, and it can be good furniture, you can have reproduction songs, and they can be good songs. But I don't think it's right to artificially age songs to pretend they are something they are not. The exception I suppose is where for a particular purpose, such as a play, a song is written "in costume" - that is where John Tams and people like Graham Moore come in. And it is easy for songs like that to be taken as taken as traditional. I'd sooner use the term "in the tradition" (meaning in some particular tradition).

But generally the best songs are songs which may draw on traditional elements, but don't dress up. Stan Rogers, for example. I'd say these are songs coming out of the particular tradition, raher than as being in the tradition or traditional.

As for singer-songwriters, introspective or not - I'd call that a currently living tradition in itself, analogous to the french chansonnier tradition. And like any living tradition, some is good, some is not. Over time most of the chaff is blown away, most of what survives is good (and a lot of good stuff is lost as well.) It seems bizarre for people to sneer at the idea of people singing songs they have written , but then, when examples are given of good songs being sung well by the people who write them, to turn around and say "no,they aren't singer-songwriters". If course they are, they just happen to be good singer songwriters. (Not a term I would ever use myself.)

As for "Rave On" - would it be more acceptable if it were sung "Rove On"?...


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Subject: RE: Original Music That Sounds Traditional?
From: Amos
Date: 27 Feb 00 - 01:00 AM

That would be -- if I understand yer meaning -- "Reave On"? -- or something?


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Subject: RE: Original Music That Sounds Traditional?
From: Amos
Date: 27 Feb 00 - 01:00 AM

That would be -- if I understand yer meaning -- "Reave On"? -- or something?


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Subject: RE: Original Music That Sounds Traditional?
From: Arkie
Date: 27 Feb 00 - 01:38 AM

Shambles, thanks for resurrecting this thread. This is obviously a subject that gets folk heated up a bit and one that will continue to be thrashed about. My slant on the matter is that the terms "folk" and "traditional" are simply academic labels that are attached to certain music forms to help place them in some historical context. The intent is not to place a "value" by the labeling. The human creature does have a passion for sorting and labeling. Ideally, to place a song or tune in the folk or traditional category should not imply that it is better or worse for that designation. The terms folk and traditional are not synonymous. "Folk" is a broad category that may encompass many traditions. "Tradition" is a specific category relating to a particular community, region, or country, etc. Some things can even be traditional without belonging in the folk category. A person cannot create a "folk song" or a "traditional song" in thirty minutes. Both take time and acceptance to earn their academic label. However, one can certainly create something that resembles a folk or traditional song in a short period of time and if folks like it and it touches a spot in the heart and people keep singing it and passing it on to others, then it is a wonderful thing. The value of this newly created song lies not in the label it bears, but whether or not folks enjoy it.


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Subject: RE: Original Music That Sounds Traditional?
From: Peg
Date: 29 Feb 00 - 12:44 PM

interesting thread, all...
Shambles:
thanks for reminding me about The Ascent of Man. A professor of mine in college had our Experimental Theatre class watch the entire series in class...I had forgotten how much it changed my life and wish I could find a copy of it now...
When I first heard "Mull of Kintyre" I thought it was a traditional song and asked a friend where i could find the lyrics etc...He told me it was written by Paul McCartney and was the top-selling Beatles' single of all time in the UK...just goes to show.
I myself have written some original songs with traditional sounding meolidies and lyrics...and have also added new "traditional" lyrics to songs such as She Moved Through the Faire and Black is the Colour of My True Love's Hair, both songs whose lyrics seemed to me in need of embellishing (the story, in the case of the first, and the emotions, in the case of the second). Composing such lyrics is difficult if one wishes to keep them authentic and appropriate to the song's original version (or versions, as is usually the case).

Two extra verses I added to She Moved Through the Faire (which I sometimes use to replace the third verse which begins "The people were saying no two e'er were wed"):

I gave my love a ring of fine silver thread
A garland all of roses I made for her head
But the roses are now withered, the silver gone grey
And it will not be long now 'til our wedding day.

The frost lies on the field, the snow on the hill
The crow flies in the orchard, the fairground is still
But I wait by my window for my love is come soon
And the swan in the evening flies over the moon
.

To me, these extra verses expand on the mystery...did she just take off and disappear? To me the final verse always seemed to make this into a ghost story (she come sin quietly at the window as in a dream), so I wanted to embellish that possibility.
And having the swan fly over the moon, while physicallyu difficult to imagine, parallels the swan on the lake in verse two of the original and enhances the dreamlike/fantasy/illusory element...

peg


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Subject: RE: Original Music That Sounds Traditional?
From: Peg
Date: 29 Feb 00 - 12:44 PM

interesting thread, all...
Shambles:
thanks for reminding me about The Ascent of Man. A professor of mine in college had our Experimental Theatre class watch the entire series in class...I had forgotten how much it changed my life and wish I could find a copy of it now...
When I first heard "Mull of Kintyre" I thought it was a traditional song and asked a friend where i could find the lyrics etc...He told me it was written by Paul McCartney and was the top-selling Beatles' single of all time in the UK...just goes to show.
I myself have written some original songs with traditional sounding meolidies and lyrics...and have also added new "traditional" lyrics to songs such as She Moved Through the Faire and Black is the Colour of My True Love's Hair, both songs whose lyrics seemed to me in need of embellishing (the story, in the case of the first, and the emotions, in the case of the second). Composing such lyrics is difficult if one wishes to keep them authentic and appropriate to the song's original version (or versions, as is usually the case).

Two extra verses I added to She Moved Through the Faire (which I sometimes use to replace the third verse which begins "The people were saying no two e'er were wed"):

I gave my love a ring of fine silver thread
A garland all of roses I made for her head
But the roses are now withered, the silver gone grey
And it will not be long now 'til our wedding day.

The frost lies on the field, the snow on the hill
The crow flies in the orchard, the fairground is still
But I wait by my window for my love is come soon
And the swan in the evening flies over the moon
.

To me, these extra verses expand on the mystery...did she just take off and disappear? To me the final verse always seemed to make this into a ghost story (she come sin quietly at the window as in a dream), so I wanted to embellish that possibility.
And having the swan fly over the moon, while physicallyu difficult to imagine, parallels the swan on the lake in verse two of the original and enhances the dreamlike/fantasy/illusory element...

peg


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Subject: RE: Original Music That Sounds Traditional?
From: Peg
Date: 29 Feb 00 - 12:44 PM

interesting thread, all...
Shambles:
thanks for reminding me about The Ascent of Man. A professor of mine in college had our Experimental Theatre class watch the entire series in class...I had forgotten how much it changed my life and wish I could find a copy of it now...
When I first heard "Mull of Kintyre" I thought it was a traditional song and asked a friend where i could find the lyrics etc...He told me it was written by Paul McCartney and was the top-selling Beatles' single of all time in the UK...just goes to show.
I myself have written some original songs with traditional sounding meolidies and lyrics...and have also added new "traditional" lyrics to songs such as She Moved Through the Faire and Black is the Colour of My True Love's Hair, both songs whose lyrics seemed to me in need of embellishing (the story, in the case of the first, and the emotions, in the case of the second). Composing such lyrics is difficult if one wishes to keep them authentic and appropriate to the song's original version (or versions, as is usually the case).

Two extra verses I added to She Moved Through the Faire (which I sometimes use to replace the third verse which begins "The people were saying no two e'er were wed"):

I gave my love a ring of fine silver thread
A garland all of roses I made for her head
But the roses are now withered, the silver gone grey
And it will not be long now 'til our wedding day.

The frost lies on the field, the snow on the hill
The crow flies in the orchard, the fairground is still
But I wait by my window for my love is come soon
And the swan in the evening flies over the moon
.

To me, these extra verses expand on the mystery...did she just take off and disappear? To me the final verse always seemed to make this into a ghost story (she come sin quietly at the window as in a dream), so I wanted to embellish that possibility.
And having the swan fly over the moon, while physicallyu difficult to imagine, parallels the swan on the lake in verse two of the original and enhances the dreamlike/fantasy/illusory element...

peg


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Subject: RE: Original Music That Sounds Traditional?
From: Peg
Date: 29 Feb 00 - 02:47 PM

gads I have NO IDEA why that posted three times!!!
sorry about that (except I don't know what I did...)

peg


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Subject: RE: Original Music That Sounds Traditional?
From: Martin _Ryan
Date: 29 Feb 00 - 03:24 PM

Some songs, of course, become traditional "despite themselves" i.e. when it is most unlikely that the writer expected/wanted it to happen. I was reminded of this at the weekend when again hearing a great traditional singer called Luke Cheevers (and believe me, they don't come more traditional!)sing Shane McGowans "Sally McEralane" (sp.?)in a perfectly traditional way. The same has happened to "Fairy Tale of New York", incidentally. I'm not knoocking it, BTW - I think it's great when it happens, but it IS exceptional.

Regards


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Subject: RE: Original Music That Sounds Traditional?
From: Clinton Hammond2
Date: 29 Feb 00 - 03:33 PM

Peg!

Great lyrics! I may have to make off with them when yer not looking!

But I once found a set of lyrics for "She Moved..." that claimed to be the original, that had, to start the last verse, the line...
"I drempt it last night, that my dead love came in"

How much do you know about that lyric and it authenticity?
Talk about a ghost story eh... I find it hard to play past that line without the image of this Romeroesque zombie woman, reaching her hand up this poor guys bedclothes... He smiles in his sleep... rolls over sluggishly.. kisses her... her lips fall off.. his eyes shoot open... the obligtory scream!

{~`


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Subject: RE: Original Music That Sounds Traditional?
From: Peg
Date: 29 Feb 00 - 03:44 PM

Clinton; I have seen that lyric too and in my opinion the thought of this mysetrious woman dying, as opposed to her merely wandering off and never apearing again based on some obscure "sorrow" makes much more sense...but rarely does anyone sing it with the words "my dead love", maybe too eerie for some. I never thought of the corpse imagery you describe so, uh, eloquently, but instead of the man "seeing" her as a ghost on the astral plane in dreams...which is pretty much the realm of the dead, some believe, or at least a place where we may communicate with them...

You are welcome to the lyrics, just don't forget my royalty check...


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Subject: RE: Original Music That Sounds Traditional?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 29 Feb 00 - 09:29 PM

"She moved through the fair" was written by Padraic Colum 1881-1972. Here's a link to a page about him The irony is thta, though he was fanous and wrote a lot of good stuff, the piece that's most well known is this, and most people think it's traditional. Well, it is now, anyway.

They're good verses Peg - but myself I feel the story gains by being pared to the bone. In fact when I sing it, I leave out the verse about the people and the sorrow that never was said, because that was how I heard it first from Margaret Barrie, and it seems complete that way. It's a beautiful verse, but says more than needs to be said, to my mind.

And it has always been "dead love" for me. I've seen it printed with the last verse as "young love", so maybe that is how Padraic wrote it. I find it much more powerful with "dead love" - especially with the promise that they are still getting married - in other words, he'll be dead soon enough himself. Too eerie? Well, if someone isn't at ease with eerie is this the right song for them to be singing anyway? Anyway, whether it's sung as "dead" or "young", I think she's died sure enough.


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Subject: RE: Original Music That Sounds Traditional?
From: Bill D
Date: 29 Feb 00 - 10:39 PM

wow...I had forgotten about this thread!..I sure was eloquent when I was young & energetic last year, huh?...spent an hour composing a post in that NEW thread, when I could simply have been as clever as shambles and refreshed THIS one!....and it does my old heart good to read thru this and actually find a few folk agreeing with some of my abstruse points...(I suspect that 'some' of the difficulty in this discussion is that it IS a lot of work to sort thru the logic...it is easier to just make music you like and then call it 'XXX'...sort of like shooting the arrow and then drawing the bullseye.. ;>).....)


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Subject: RE: Original Music That Sounds Traditional?
From: GUEST
Date: 01 Mar 00 - 05:22 AM


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Subject: RE: Original Music That Sounds Traditional?
From: GUEST,Martin Ryan
Date: 01 Mar 00 - 05:30 AM

McGrath

Most people are right! The song is traditional - Colum adapted his version from an existing one. While his is by far the most commonly sung, there are others still in circulation.
This is not, of course, to put down the process by which songs get polished by poets and put back into ciculation! "Down by the Sally Gardens" is a very similar case.

Regards


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Subject: RE: Original Music That Sounds Traditional?
From: The Shambles
Date: 01 Mar 00 - 11:03 AM

I suppose I am more interested in making arrows than in finding any targets.So you had better, DUCK!!!! The music did come before the categories, after all.

Yes, it was a lot easier to dig this one up again but I had been thinking about the subject again recently and I did have something new to say. It is also nice to see some new opinions being voiced here.

To my great honour and surprise, I found that I had one of my songs in the DT. I had been posting songs to the forum for sometime, as I found it easier, in some cases, to post my thoughts, contained in a song, than to write them. When I came to gather them together for inclusion in The Mudcat Songbook, I found there were quite a number of these songs.

This is not a criticism of the DT or the selection methods used. I only mention it to demonstrate my feelings, as although I was pleased to see a composition of mine there, if I am honest, I was a little disappointed in the fairly untypical nature of the song that represented my efforts.

It was what I would describe as a 'cod' traditional folksong. Written in a setting and style of the past and as a conscious effort (if genuine) attempt to write a (folk) song about a subject that interested me, life on the inland waterways of Britain. For although I honestly thought that this was probably the best way to treat the subject, it was done, as a fairly academic exercise, to see if I could do it.

I did have some knowledge of the subject but the song is not a first hand account or a scholarly work, just mainly, my imagination and personal view. Not too different to most of the other songs of mine that I had posted. So why then, I ask myself, does that one appear in the DT and not the others? Myself does not answer very clearly.

Do songs like these have any merit or do they exist only because of the curmudgeons and their narrow definitions?

Would it have mattered, if I had not claimed authorship but that the song appeared in the DT as traditional?


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Subject: RE: Original Music That Sounds Traditional?
From: KingBrilliant
Date: 01 Mar 00 - 11:36 AM

I really like singing songs of a particular style which I suppose would be called traditional. As those are the songs which I tend to sing, then they obviously influence the songs I write (and I can't much help what I write as they tend to emerge when I'm driving or cycling). I don't think that's unreasonable - we write songs for the love of singing them rather than for a target category surely. If you write songs then you are pretty much bound to write songs you will like. I expect there are good & bad, but I don't think there should be an ought and ought-not about it. I think that for a lot of people, the provenance of a song or tune is not as important as the performance you are listening to. If you like it then its a good thing - I don't really believe in absolute values for music, surely its a matter of the moment & the individuals.

Kris


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Subject: RE: Original Music That Sounds Traditional?
From: Charley Noble
Date: 29 Sep 08 - 10:11 AM

Well discussed and well worth refreshing.

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Original Music That Sounds Traditional?
From: The Sandman
Date: 29 Sep 08 - 12:45 PM

it is easy enough to write music that sounds English Irish Scots Welsh Traditional,just stick to Dorian Ionian mixolydian aeolian modes,try using infrequent modulation.
when it comes to lyrics studying the old ballads,helps.
many are written in the third person.


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Subject: RE: Original Music That Sounds Traditional?
From: Snuffy
Date: 29 Sep 08 - 07:38 PM

Can you give us an instance of one you've written that sounds English Irish Scots Welsh Traditional?


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Subject: RE: Original Music That Sounds Traditional?
From: quantock
Date: 30 Sep 08 - 03:33 PM

Here's the only song I have ever written that I still perform. Several people have told me that it sounds traditional. The story comes from an old Dartmoor legend. There is more information about this at: http://www.legendarydartmoor.co.uk/grey_wethers.htm

Grey Wethers
============

To Newton Abbot's market fair
Upon a Saturday
I chanced to meet a dealer there
Who unto me did say
Who unto me did say

I've two fine flocks of sheep for sale
The best grey wethers they be
Over the hill beyond the dale
On Sittaford Tor you'll see
On Sittaford Tor you'll see

His price was twenty pounds all told
He seemed an honest man
I quickly paid with coins of gold
And for my horse I ran
And for my horse I ran

I rode away and hour at least
Til up upon a crest
There I pulled my noble beast
To take a minute's rest
To take a minute's rest.

Twas then I peered across the vale
And those grey wethers found
But they moved no more than any snail
You see upon the ground
You see upon the ground

I galloped on to that hillside
Amongst the heather and gorse
But there were no sheep a-grazing there
Just granite rocks of course
Just granite rocks of course

If you wander over Sittaford Tor
Tis true unto this day
You'll see fine flocks of granite stones
Just like those wethers grey
Just like those wethers grey

And if you go to the market place
To spend a pound or two
Be sure to see the goods you but
Or you'll be diddled too
Or you'll be diddled too

Rob Williams.


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Subject: RE: Original Music That Sounds Traditional?
From: Stringsinger
Date: 30 Sep 08 - 03:38 PM

I nominate Jean Ritchie, Steve Earle, Utah, Woody, Lee and Pete, and other unsung heroes.


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Subject: RE: Original Music That Sounds Traditional?
From: The Sandman
Date: 30 Sep 08 - 06:15 PM

snuffy ,visit
http://www.dickmiles.com
I have a song book the Sailors dream.
Jack the Lad , possibly Bosworth field,Home to the Haven,come in to this category.
Cyril Tawney,Ewan Maccoll,should be nominated


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