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The nationality of music?

The Shambles 17 May 99 - 07:40 PM
SeanM 17 May 99 - 08:26 PM
Jon W. 18 May 99 - 10:48 AM
Bert 18 May 99 - 11:27 AM
Margo 18 May 99 - 12:04 PM
Sam Pirt 18 May 99 - 04:50 PM
The Shambles 18 May 99 - 06:10 PM
The_one_and_only_Dai 19 May 99 - 03:45 AM
Bert 19 May 99 - 11:06 AM
The Shambles 19 May 99 - 07:08 PM
The_one_and_only_Dai 20 May 99 - 03:37 AM
The Shambles 20 May 99 - 10:29 AM
Bert 20 May 99 - 11:02 AM
The Shambles 20 May 99 - 02:09 PM
Penny S. 20 May 99 - 05:09 PM
The Shambles 21 May 99 - 02:39 PM
The Shambles 01 Apr 00 - 01:17 PM
McGrath of Harlow 01 Apr 00 - 02:14 PM
McGrath of Harlow 01 Apr 00 - 07:26 PM
GUEST 02 Apr 00 - 12:25 AM
JamesJim 03 Apr 00 - 01:31 AM
GUEST 03 Apr 00 - 03:16 PM
The Shambles 03 Apr 00 - 07:52 PM
GUEST,Rex 04 Apr 00 - 02:40 PM
M. Ted (inactive) 04 Apr 00 - 04:05 PM
GUEST,marcelloblues 04 Apr 00 - 07:17 PM
GUEST,Frank Hamilton 04 Apr 00 - 10:45 PM
Kelida 04 Apr 00 - 11:30 PM
McGrath of Harlow 05 Apr 00 - 02:58 PM
GUEST,Frank Hamilton 05 Apr 00 - 06:01 PM
The Shambles 05 Apr 00 - 07:01 PM
The Shambles 27 Nov 02 - 08:52 PM
Mr Happy 27 Nov 02 - 09:37 PM
The Shambles 28 Nov 02 - 02:05 AM
The Shambles 28 Nov 02 - 02:09 AM
The Shambles 28 Nov 02 - 05:15 AM
barrygeo 28 Nov 02 - 05:47 AM
GUEST,Frankham 28 Nov 02 - 12:52 PM
*daylia* 28 Nov 02 - 09:14 PM
Haruo 28 Nov 02 - 09:24 PM
Mr Happy 29 Nov 02 - 09:48 AM
GUEST 29 Nov 02 - 10:26 AM
The Shambles 29 Nov 02 - 10:29 AM
The Shambles 29 Nov 02 - 10:31 AM
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Subject: The nationality of music?
From: The Shambles
Date: 17 May 99 - 07:40 PM

We do seem to cling on the idea of music having a national identity. There have been recent references here to "an American tune" or a "Scottish song". Is it a good idea and can it work in the world today?

I suppose it serves the very useful purpose of helping to identify songs/tunes but giving them a nationality seems to me, to place an artificial limit on them. The same difficulties arise when try to fit songs/tunes into nationalities as when trying to fit people into them, you tend to have problems with 'borderline cases'.

If a song is written by an Irishman, living in America about Scotland and is sung by a Canadian in French in Australia, does that make it an Irish song?.....(Yes, I suppose that is just about the best definition of an Irish song I have ever heard)!!!!*Smiles*

I would probably be happier singing 'traditional' songs about 'Cornbread, Peas and Black Molasses' than 'The Nutting Girl', but whether anyone would be happy to hear it is another matter? I would know equally little about the subject matter of either, but what does my preference for the former indicate? (Apart from the fact that I have been listening to Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee, today)

In fact, rather than sing 'traditional' songs, that I don't feel 'honest' about performing, I write my own songs, which reflect all the styles that I like. Are they English songs?

I also write original tunes, which without the words are probably more difficult to pin a nationality on. They reflect, pretty much all the music that has influenced me over my 40+ years. Without any deliberate effort on my part to make them so, some of them sound Irish, others Scottish, not very many sound English, but they must be English tunes, because I live here and I am English? Or are they? I am sometimes asked, for the titles and then usually for the nationality of the tunes and I do not honestly know how to answer. Not that it really matters to me, but it seems to be important to them.

Can a music session playing 'Irish' tunes, with no Irish people, in the US, or Australia, or Japan be called an Irish session?

What would you call a music session in Ireland, made up of entirely Irish people playing 'bluegrass'? An Irish session?

Is it who, what or where?

I can understand why it is important for a collector or a scholar, to know (if possible) where a song/tune originates, but as a musician, I hope they can understand that for me, it is more important to know where it is going. To me music is a universal language and has no nationality.


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Subject: RE: The nationality of music?
From: SeanM
Date: 17 May 99 - 08:26 PM

As we move farther into an era of almost unlimited communication, there really isn't any way to peg down 'this is an Irish' or 'this is an American' or whatever song. I think that for the most part the label refers to specific idiosyncracies in the musical structure, or lyric conceits, that identify it most closely with the music from that country, or that period.

I'm not really the person to expound too much at length on this, but after having been subjected to a friend with a Masters in Music of the Renaissance (English), there are enough distinctions between the different cultural musical styles that it is still a valid distinction when talking about music. Remembering that a lot of these songs were considered the 'pop' music of their days, look at what dominates the 'pop' music of individual cultures today... there're still differences between what are considered the best 'American', 'English', 'German', etc., songs. A quickly diminishing difference, yes, and a lot of cultural overlap, but still enough to be noted.

M


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Subject: RE: The nationality of music?
From: Jon W.
Date: 18 May 99 - 10:48 AM

Shambles, why do you think it would be dishonest to sing "cornbread, peas, and black molasses"? If you acknowledge the tradition whence it arises, I don't see anything dishonest about it.

I think the key is empathy. If you can feel similar feelings to those that engendered a particular song in the first place, even though your circumstances might be different in the particular, why shouldn't you sing the song?

For example, I'm an American and have a lot more English ancestory than Scottish or Irish. But if I can feel sadness at the loss of national freedom through the economic betrayal by the nation's leaders, why shouldn't I sing the anti-English Scots song "Such a Parcel of Rogues in a Nation" even though the particular circumstances are quite different? And if I change a few of the words to better fit the present circumstances, well, that's the folk process, isn't it?


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Subject: RE: The nationality of music?
From: Bert
Date: 18 May 99 - 11:27 AM

Just one of the things that we get from a lot of traditional songs is a 'history lesson'. So in certain instances the place of origin of a song can have some significance. Should we allow those origins to be lost? I don't think so.

For example: "The British Workman's Grave" originated in one of the working class areas of London, but the song has been popularized by a certain Irish group and many people now think that it is an Irish song.

The same thing happened to "Still I love him" which comes from East Anglia.

It doesn't matter who or where anyone sings it, the more the merrier, but our traditions define our society. We have been complaining about the breakdown of our society in other recent threads. We should preserve our traditions and hand them on to our children. They (the traditions) provide some of the continuity which holds our civilization together. Along with the Duct Tape that is:-)

I would like to think that the point that you are making is that 'we should sings all kinds of songs from many different places' If that is so then I'll agree with you.

Bert.


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Subject: RE: The nationality of music?
From: Margo
Date: 18 May 99 - 12:04 PM

The music from any one country contains many elements that give it it's own national flare, or style. I would say a song was Irish if composed by an Irishman about a current affair as seen through Irish eyes, especially written in Ireland.

I see it like the color spectrum; The solid true colors representing the music of any one country, but there being blends of the colors between the bands. I think it not surprising that non-Irish folks might want to write a song in the "Irish style". After all, you hear a style that you really like, and then want to play that style or emulate it through your own compositions.

Just my ever so humble opinion.

Margarita


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Subject: RE: The nationality of music?
From: Sam Pirt
Date: 18 May 99 - 04:50 PM

You have set off a big subject here, not only have you set the ball rolling about 'traditional music' but also about the 'nationality' of the music as well.

Best tackle these one at a time (By the way I've just completed my last assignment of the year, so I've got plenty of time to get my teeth into this one!!)

Traditional music, this has been spoken about, argued about and will always be talked about. I think traditional music is music made by people, for those people within a traditional idom. The songs that you have written know doubts have a very similar structure to the other traditional songs you sing and for all intents and purposes there traditional, if you think they aren't just say you don't know who wrote it then they will be traditional!! Many songs have now entered the tradition and some arid traditionalists belive that they are traditional, take 'Bring us a barrel' This is sung in many folk clubs and sing-a-round's in the UK and some who don't know who wrote it now think its traditional, and who can blame them! In fact it was written by Keith Marsden, I knew Keith and yet now I hear that song sung next to so many other (?) traditional songs that I keep having to remind myself who wrote it!

Right onto referring to music in terms of its nationality, why do you call it an irish session if its in Japan and theres no Irish there?, Why do you call Cheshire Cheese, Cheshire Cheese when its made in South Yorshire? Its quite complex, yet quite simple why really, Cheshire Cheese TASTES like Cheshire Cheese and Irish music SOUNDS like Irish music. So why do different nationalities music's sound different. There are a number of reasons. Different countries have different climates, cultures, traditions, music and musical instruments. (obviously ignoring the western worlds Orchestras and standard instruments and only looking at the pure traditional music and song) It is first the instruments then the music which outline that nationalities music. The instruments may have particular scales. In the western world we use a chromatic scale

C – Db – D – Eb – E – F – Gb – G – Ab – A – Bb – B – C

Yet an indian scale is: -

C – D – E – Gb – Ab – Bb – C

Hence the different sound

So how do different countrys music's sound different even if they use the same scale? This is to do with the composition of the tunes or perhaps the time signitures it may also be to do with what songs are sung with them or what dances are danced with them. Some names of these are the Polska (sweden), Buree (france), Reel (Ireland), you could not dance a buree to a polska, nor a reel to a polska, etc... Of course there are always certain things which run through different traditions and music. Relating to songs in Qubeck there is a lot of calling ( Check out La Bottine Souriante)

Hello people (main singer) Hello people (audience) etc...

And in Scandinavia there is a very high type of singing which the shepards in Scandinavia used to call to each other with. To check some of this out check Gjallahorn from finland.

Anyway I think I have said enough, These are all just my opinions but I think I am right, anyway as long as the music's good who cares!!!!!!!!!

Bye, Sam


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Subject: RE: The nationality of music?
From: The Shambles
Date: 18 May 99 - 06:10 PM

Jon W said

"Shambles, why do you think it would be dishonest to sing "cornbread, peas, and black molasses"? If you acknowledge the tradition whence it arises, I don't see anything dishonest about it. I think the key is empathy. If you can feel similar feelings to those that engendered a particular song in the first place, even though your circumstances might be different in the particular, why shouldn't you sing the song?"

I agree with the above,. I think maybe the word honest was not the right word. All I was trying to do is make the comparison between the a song from my country, and one from yours. I would enjoy singing your one more, on a purely musical basis, but have never tasted cornbread or molasses. I feel I could sing it, but not sell it. I'm sure to you it would sound a little like Billy Bragg singing the 'Star Spangled Banner'. I could probably do a better job on 'The Nutting Girl' but wouldn't want to.?

Jon W also said "For example, I'm an American and have a lot more English ancestory than Scottish or Irish. But if I can feel sadness at the loss of national freedom through the economic betrayal by the nation's leaders, why shouldn't I sing the anti-English Scots song "Such a Parcel of Rogues in a Nation" even though the particular circumstances are quite different? And if I change a few of the words to better fit the present circumstances, well, that's the folk process, isn't it?"

I think a few Burn's fans may call it sacrilige? *Smiles*

I've always thought of it as more anti-Scots, than anything.

Bert said

"I would like to think that the point that you are making is that 'we should sings all kinds of songs from many different places' If that is so then I'll agree with you."

Yes, that is what I was trying to say, but more. If a nationality of a song is obvious, in it's style or content, then so be it, but let's not struggle to find one for it, as that may prevent it from belonging to us all.

I think there is a clear distinction between tradition and music. They are both important, but not the same thing. Music forms part of that tradition but is bigger than those traditions.

I think we limit music, when we prefix it with anything, be it traditional, classical, bad, Martian or whatever.

Margarita

I like the idea of the colour spectrum very much. It should allow us all to agree. No need to be so humble.

Sam

Thanks for your contribution, it appeared just as I posted this. I will read it and digest.


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Subject: RE: The nationality of music?
From: The_one_and_only_Dai
Date: 19 May 99 - 03:45 AM

I have to put a Welshman's ha'p'orth in, I'm afraid.

Shambles, I think you're talking from the happy perspective of one who is secure in their culture as 'British'. There's been a spate of programmes on the TV recently about 'what it means to be English' in the light of the new National Assemblies for the Welsh and Scots.

Remember that the only things that define Welshness are language and culture. These are extremely important to any Welshman, and are things to be fiercely protected. I only mean to say that it's very important to me (I may need therapy to deal with this) that Welsh material is known to be Welsh, and that this information is not lost: for if it should disappear, then the Welsh nation would cease to exist.

We can, of course, all coexist very happily without torching anybody's holiday home. Hopefully acknowledging the culture from which a song or tune comes goes a little way towards honouring the culture of others.


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Subject: RE: The nationality of music?
From: Bert
Date: 19 May 99 - 11:06 AM

Shambles,

A good quality molasses, is almost the same as black treacle. Poorer ones are much like colored syrup.

I like your statement "If a nationality of a song is obvious, in it's style or content, then so be it, but let's not struggle to find one for it, as that may prevent it from belonging to us all."
But I find the origin of songs kind of interesting, not for any nationalistic reason but more from curiosity.
Bert.


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Subject: RE: The nationality of music?
From: The Shambles
Date: 19 May 99 - 07:08 PM

Sam

I thought you may be interested in this one? Original Songs That Sounds Traditional?

Dai

I think you are right about my position, but it is interesting that you say 'British' rather than English.

I think it is sad that you think it so important to look back, rather than forward, to the Welsh Nation.


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Subject: RE: The nationality of music?
From: The_one_and_only_Dai
Date: 20 May 99 - 03:37 AM

I'm not only looking back Shambles (although that is one symptom of being Welsh) - but the past is a bright light behind us. It shows us where we are going. As somebody said.

As I said, language and culture are the only things that make a Welshman different from an Englishman. We are, of course, all glad to be British (that's a significant label in itself...)

What did you think of those documentaries about the English, if you saw them?


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Subject: RE: The nationality of music?
From: The Shambles
Date: 20 May 99 - 10:29 AM

Please excuse me posting this song again. I was going to use a BLUE CLICKY THING but I could not remember which thread it was in.


Down on the border

Down on the border, where do you draw that line?
Well here I can lay down my life for a land that will never be mine
If I was standing on the outside, you wouldn't let me in
It might be my religion or the colour of my skin

Down on the border, when you draw that line
Am I standing inside, or am I left outside?

They're telling you life should be rosy, "ain't you living in your own backyard"?
The stakes are getting higher, time to play that nationalist card
That joker's a wild one, eager to get out of the pack
It ain't so easy, trying to get the bastard back

Down on the border, when you draw that line
Am I standing inside, or am I left outside?

Does the fruit really taste better, just because it's home grown?
Why should there be an improvement, when we are ruled by one of our own?
When they come and they tell you. it's time to make a stand
Remember the good and the bad apples, growing on your land

Down on the border, when you draw that line
Am I standing inside, or am I left outside?

Whatever country claims you, it's no measure of your worth
You can take no credit, it's just an accident of birth
Why not strive for a union, a federation of states?
Sustained by co-operation, where nations are maintained on hate

Down on the border, when you draw that line
Am I standing inside, or am I left outside?

Roger Gall 1997

Dai

Well I don't know if I saw the same ones as you and I don't want to get away from the music too much, as it is far more important and interesting to me than the strange (to me) concept of nationhood. It is probably, as you say, where I am looking from, that makes nationality so irrelevant to me, but I can well understand your view.

The programmes made me sad, as I can see there fuel enough for a new breed of English nationalism, wanting all the same advantages that they will think Scotland and Wales will have. To me it is all irrelevant, and a backward step. It is an accident of birth where you come from and not much to be proud of and die for. Where you go is surely more important than where you come from?

Here I stand ready to be mocked, but to be British, is worth something, as we all have to work at that, or to be European or even a Citizen Of The World. The concept of nations has not worked in the past and is not working now. The whole situation is there for clever, unscrupulous individuals to exploit for their own ends, as we can see all too clearly at the moment, but we still seem to swallow the bait every time.

How can millions of people of all physical shapes and sizes, talents and capabilities, so different from each other in their ambitions and requirements, function as if they naturally belong together in the artificially drawn national boundaries that they find themselves in?

To use Margarita's rainbow analogy with national boundaries. You get areas where the people obviously appear to be a definite a colour and between them are areas where the colour is not so clear. It is there, on the borderlines, that all this nationalistic nonsense falls down.

Sam

The fact that music sounds different, from different places in the world, I certainly don't dispute and long may that be the case. (I for one, certainly don't want it to all sound the same, but I don't think there is really much danger of that happening). It just doesn't fall neatly into the artificially drawn national borders.

The example you used of an Indian scale, is a point. The idea of all the peoples and cultures of that huge area, drawn up largely by the British Empire, as having a music that could be defined and recognised clearly as Indian, is an over simplification, surely?

In all the places that you mentioned, you would also find, Michael Jackson, jazz, blues, rock&roll and just about everything else, all exerting an influence. The Tango is pretty big in Finland too (true honest).


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Subject: RE: The nationality of music?
From: Bert
Date: 20 May 99 - 11:02 AM

First I was English, now I'm American but REALLY I'm a Mudcateer.

Bert.


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Subject: RE: The nationality of music?
From: The Shambles
Date: 20 May 99 - 02:09 PM

All for one an one for all!

We've done all that before haven't we?


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Subject: RE: The nationality of music?
From: Penny S.
Date: 20 May 99 - 05:09 PM

What saddens me about some of those people in the documentaries is that the define themselves by what they are not. Once you remove the qualities we share with the Welsh, the Scots and the Irish - there's the music and the humour, the sense of history and the passion for words and meaning gone for starters - once you've removed the qualities we share with the peoples of the Commonwealth - religious strength, sense of family, love of learning, good cricket - there's not much left but skin tone, is there? Of course, a sense of fairness and a concern for the underdog was supposed to be ours, but those obviously don't strike some of the st. George mob as our heritage.


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Subject: RE: The nationality of music?
From: The Shambles
Date: 21 May 99 - 02:39 PM

There is alot of good (non musical) stuff here XENOPHOBIA


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Subject: RE: The nationality of music?
From: The Shambles
Date: 01 Apr 00 - 01:17 PM

I thought this might be worth refreshing.


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Subject: RE: The nationality of music?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 01 Apr 00 - 02:14 PM

"Why shouldn't I sing the anti-English Scots song Such a Parcel of Rogues in a Nation" said Jon W a long time ago, though I've only just seen the tread for the first time - surely it's not anti-English at all. It's aimed at corrupt Scottish politicians.

And Dai - "language and culture are the only things that make a Welshman different from an Englishman." I think Wales feels a lot different from England, even when you're driving through in the middle of the night or early in the morning, and everyone's in bed. The geography of a place is one of the things that affects the culture. And if you're trying to define a special quality about the English, the one that's central in my view is an ability to be silly about serious things and serious about silly things. That's why Morris Dancers are so precious.

Here's a song I wrote about Morris Dancers. And, after I'd been singing it a bit, I couldn't decide whether to envisage it as sung from an English, or an Irish (or other "imperialised" point of view) - you can read it either way. Which I'd say makes it relevant here.

The Ghost of Merry England

In the car park by the public house,
on an evening late in June,
the melodeon is ringing,
while the fiddler plays in tune,
and in between the dancers,
as they leap there in the night,
there's the Ghost of Merry England,
a-dancing with delight
So proud and still so humble,
and so comical and kind,
Such a fine happy dancer
you never again will find
We've been cheated and mistreated,
fairly knocked from off our feet,
But there's a Ghost in Merry England,
and it's dancing in the street.

And it isn't for the money,
though it might be for the beer;
and it isn't for the glory,
there isn't much of that to share,
and it might be for the friendship,
but it's mostly for the dance.
And while we've got the dancing,
well, maybe we've got a chance.
So proud and still so humble,
and so comical and kind,
such a fine happy dancer
you never again will find;
oh they turned us out,
and burned us out,
and sold us off for gold,
but there's a Ghost in Merry England,
that can keep us from the cold.

So forget your Old Britannia,
and your Union Jack and Crown,
and an Empire built on slavery,
Thank God it's tumbled down,
and forget your empty bragging,
and forget your foolish pride,
there's a Ghost in Merry England,
and it's dancing in the side.
So proud and still so humble,
and so comical and kind,
such a fine happy dancer
you never again will find;
Yes they stole the land
and hold the land,
to turn us into slaves,
but there's a Ghost in Merry England,
it'll dance upon their graves.

So proud and still so humble,
and so comical and kind,
such a fine happy dancer
you never again will find;
We've been cheated and mistreated,
fairly knocked from off our feet,
but there's a Ghost in Merry England,
and it's dancing in the street;
but there's a Ghost in Merry England,
that can keep us from the cold.
and they turned us out,
and burned us out,
and sold us off for gold,
but there's a Ghost in Merry England
that can keep us from the cold.
Yes they stole the land
and hold the land,
to turn us into slaves,
but there's a Ghost in Merry England,
it'll dance upon their graves.


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Subject: RE: The nationality of music?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 01 Apr 00 - 07:26 PM


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Subject: RE: The nationality of music?
From: GUEST
Date: 02 Apr 00 - 12:25 AM

you simply must try cornbread...in fact, make up some spoonbread too while you are at it...I am sure you can get the corn meal almost anywhere these days and the recipes are very easy and there must be a lot of them on the net or maybe someone could send you a favorite...how could you have pea soup or chili without cornbread? mg


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Subject: RE: The nationality of music?
From: JamesJim
Date: 03 Apr 00 - 01:31 AM

Music is born of the people - the "folk." Music is local. It is created by people from their own personal experiences. It therefore is neither International or National. It is "Intra," meaning, "within." Perhaps our experiences are similar, but we must not lose the passion and flavor that comes from within each of us.

Music and Poetry become appreciated the more real they are. We listen and come to love the other person's passion, no matter their nationality. Shambles, I dare say the best music you have written is born of personal experience and not from the words and thoughts of others. We, everyone, want to hear that music, because it tells us more about you. What you see when you look out onto the world. Jim


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Subject: RE: The nationality of music?
From: GUEST
Date: 03 Apr 00 - 03:16 PM

I hope Americans won't stop singing Scottish song because they find the accent or words difficult. As a Scot, I can assure you, I'm just glad that someone is singing our old songs, especially as most Scots don't know any. Maybe a few from the Singing Kettle if they're lucky but that's about it. Americans help keep the song tradition going. Keep up the good work.


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Subject: RE: The nationality of music?
From: The Shambles
Date: 03 Apr 00 - 07:52 PM

A long, long time ago, The Corries had a song that I liked to sing. I used to sing Flower of Scotland in my London accent, quite happily. To me it was a song about fighting oppression. It must always be remembered that the English working-class were oppressed by the English, long before other nationalities suffered it. But I digress and would prefer here to stick to the musical aspects, if I may?

It has subsequently been thought of, as a song to express Scottish national identity and is sung at some sporting and other occasions, instead of the British (English) National Anthem. It is probably the main reason England lost The Calcutta Cup to Scotland, in Edinburgh last Sunday.

This (not the defeat), now makes it very difficult for me to sing it and I have not done so for sometime. This is no comment on Scotland as I would not dream of singing any overtly nationalist song, especially my own. But how would it be viewed by Scots (and others), if I were to sing it?

Nationalist songs will not go away, even if I wished they would. It is more correctly nationalism and the dangerous concept of nations that I would like to see the back of, rather than the songs.

Would it be a good idea if more singers included a song expressing a national identity, other than their own? I do seem to remember seeing a song somewhere, written by an Irishman about Morris Dancing, I don't know if he is brave enough to sing it though?

I think I may try to sing Flower of Scotland again but being a bit of a 'chicken' will probably introduce it as a sincere tribute to the Corries. Which it would be also.


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Subject: RE: The nationality of music?
From: GUEST,Rex
Date: 04 Apr 00 - 02:40 PM

Why shouldn't you sing it? It may have been recently written but its about a time long ago. English people today have no reason to feel guilty about what happened to the Scots many years ago. Personally, I don't like the song and I think there is a far better quality out there. But if you like it and want to sing it, why not? I've heard many English people singing Irish nationalist songs.


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Subject: RE: The nationality of music?
From: M. Ted (inactive)
Date: 04 Apr 00 - 04:05 PM

I would add just a thought, and that is that the idea of a "nation" and therefore of "nationality" is a twentieth century political idea--

It may be remembered that before this century, the world consisted pretty much of kings and emperors, kingdoms and empires--these things got divied up at the end of the Great War into parcels that were supposed to give self determination and self-government the various cultures--

The only thing is that discreet cultures tended to co-exist within the same geographical areas, and that each "nation" tended to include many discreet and independent cultures, many of which wanted nothing to do with each other--

The idea of "nationality" is an artificial construct--something that was imposed, and in many cases, never quite worked.

If you that is at the root each of the Twentieth Centuries perenial conflicts, you will see situations where the limitations of the concept of "nation" are put to the test--

Northern Ireland, Israel/Palestine, India/Pakistan, and all of the Balkans, are all places where geographical boundaries cannot be used to delineate between cultures, and where, nonetheless, brutal efforts have continually been made--

Music, dance, literature, food, dress, religious practices, and other cultural customs are not the property of governments, no matter how democratically conceived the government, and they tend not to abide by either boundaries or judicial codes--


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Subject: RE: The nationality of music?
From: GUEST,marcelloblues
Date: 04 Apr 00 - 07:17 PM

I agree with you, M.Ted What follows is a couple of arguments from me: For example, a few years ago, Sting wrote and sung "Muoio per te" in italian and I can't say if the song was only for italian maket or not, but this makes me think, since some times people tells me that I should sing in italian, while what we call BLUES needs it's original language. Translation: an english man sings in italian (sometimes the accent is bad), an italian man sings in english (same as above). More: a lot of chinese, corean and japanese classic musicians, but also sweden, american and whatever you may think, are interested in coming to Italy for improving their knowledge of what we call MUSIC. Great singers of Opera from all over the world sings in "italian", but only a few of them is comprehensible, but they seem to be always much more important than folk or blues or what else musicians. My personal opinion is: MUSIC IS THE NATION


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Subject: RE: The nationality of music?
From: GUEST,Frank Hamilton
Date: 04 Apr 00 - 10:45 PM

The beauty of folk music of any country has to do with it's idiocyncratic elements that is reflective of the culture that it comes from. I think it's important to be aware of these musical elements and incorporate them in a reinterpretation of the song or music.

The songs that have been written by certain writers have been successful in being able to do this. Woody Guthrie was influenced by The Carter Family who was in turn influenced by the reservoir of country music in the 20's in the US.

Blues songs have their tradition.

The problem with the contemporary songwriter is that so often these songs are influenced by 60's rock and roll or pop music more than they are the folk traditions of the country. This is a problem only if they are thought to be folk music. There are other songs being written today which have a great sensitivity to the traditions of folk music and their folk "style" can be very convincing as reflecting the specific cultures. For example, Tom Paxton's "Ramblin' Boy" or "Last Thing on My Mind" to my ears sound very much akin to the folk country traditions of music. "Spanish Is A Loving Tongue" is another which has a cowboy feel although it was composed by Badger Clark, a poet and rewritten by a cowboy singer.

The point it this: it's important to be aware of the musical traditions of each song that the musician attempt to reinterpret who is not part of that tradition. No reason why any of the music or songs can't be sung by anyone with this in mind.

Frank


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Subject: RE: The nationality of music?
From: Kelida
Date: 04 Apr 00 - 11:30 PM

The "nationality" of a song usually refers to its country of origin.

However, in my Honors English class we're studying a literary "device" called local color, which refers to regionalist literature, especially in America. Local color literature (most notably that of Mark Twain) is usually a realistic portrayal of the customs, society, and culture of a certain area, such as the deep south or the old west or New England. Even the dialects of the people of each region were realistically portrayed, including slang and many of the same idiosynchrosies that still exist in modern dialects.

This same concept can be applied to a lot of traditional folk music. Many of the songs of Ireland and Scotland were written and sung in dialect--actually this includes folk music from all of what as now the UK and Ireland. "Cam Ye O'er Frae France" is a perfect example of a song that is written in dialect and remains so, but other songs have been modernized and changed over the years (centuries!) until that local color has been lost.

You must remember that this is folk music. Much of it was probably written by peasants and passed around by word of mouth. Many of the people who probably sang these songs were probably only partially literate. Also, since folk music is a reflection of a certain culture, why not recognize that culture?

Traditional folk music teaches us a lot about history, and the feelings of the "common" people. The body of music that is political ir just rebellious is amazing. In a way, the music that we call traditional is the same as the music of bands like the Doors or even Metallica (think "Master of Puppets"). Maybe 500 years from now that will be considered traditional music and the names Jim Morrison and James Hetfield will be forgotten and only the music will remain as a record of our times.

Peace-- Keli


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Subject: RE: The nationality of music?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 05 Apr 00 - 02:58 PM

A song will start in a particular culture/tradition. People in other cultures/traditions will hear it, and sing it. To a greater or less extent they will modify it to fit their own ways of singing songs.

At one extreme the song will be totally taken over, so that everyone will assume it is "native" to its new setting. At the other extreme it will have its original qualities preserved so that it is always seen as in import. And since the new songs will have a tendency to change the culture/tradition, there are all kinds of intermediate positions.

"Culture/tradition" rather than "nationality" - though the two overlap and effect each other. One nationality will contain many cultures/traditions, one culture/tradition may exist across many different nationalities.

People think of "The Wild Rover" as being an Irish song. Well, it is now, but it's quite a recent import, and I believe the version normally suing was collected in Norfolk (England). There's a thread on currently about "The Twa Corbies", a traditional Scottish song, normally sung to a Breton tune which was attached to it about 30 years ago.

Again, we think of "Waltzing Matilda" as an Australian tune, but it's from England. Then we hear someone sing this version of it, and assume that must be the song it comes from. But unless I'm very much mistaken (which I may be) it was actually written by Pete Coe in England, to bring the tune home again.

Folk music is like an orchard. You get trees growing from their own roots, planted long ago as seeds. You get cuttings putting down new roots. You get flourishing trees made up of cuttings grafted on stocks of different trees, maybe of different types of trees entirely. What matters is the fruit - cookers, eaters and some for making cider or jam. And the wood, because you can make things from it. But you need to know the difference between the different sorts of fruit and the different sorts of wood, if you're going to get the best out of them.


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Subject: RE: The nationality of music?
From: GUEST,Frank Hamilton
Date: 05 Apr 00 - 06:01 PM

Like the orchard metaphor. Works real well for me! Anything related to folk music with roots involved can't be all bad.

Frank


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Subject: RE: The nationality of music?
From: The Shambles
Date: 05 Apr 00 - 07:01 PM

"Does the fruit really taste better, just because it's home grown"?


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Subject: RE: The nationality of music?
From: The Shambles
Date: 27 Nov 02 - 08:52 PM

refresh


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Subject: RE: The nationality of music?
From: Mr Happy
Date: 27 Nov 02 - 09:37 PM

Shambels,

what's your purpose in refeshing this?


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Subject: RE: The nationality of music?
From: The Shambles
Date: 28 Nov 02 - 02:05 AM

Piss off


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Subject: RE: The nationality of music?
From: The Shambles
Date: 28 Nov 02 - 02:09 AM

Sorry about that.

Could it possibly be that I thought folk wmight read it and make some positive contribution to its subject?

I was obviously wrong.........


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Subject: RE: The nationality of music?
From: The Shambles
Date: 28 Nov 02 - 05:15 AM

http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=54110&messages=5


A request was made on the above thread and answered for the lyrics for Cornbread Peas etc.


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Subject: RE: The nationality of music?
From: barrygeo
Date: 28 Nov 02 - 05:47 AM

I don't think that music has a nationality. I think that nations have musical traditions. As nations emmigrate more and more the tradition is passed on to others who hear and like it.
My concern would not be where the music came from but where is it going. Before mass transport we had localised styles.

Is there a danger that we may end up with a universal traditional mush and lose the rich diversity of local styles.

Barrygeo


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Subject: RE: The nationality of music?
From: GUEST,Frankham
Date: 28 Nov 02 - 12:52 PM

I wrote a lot of "stuff" above. I feel different now. My feeling is sing the world and celebrate it's differences and in that we are connected.

Frank


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Subject: RE: The nationality of music?
From: *daylia*
Date: 28 Nov 02 - 09:14 PM

Thanks Shambles for refreshing this thread. I'm new to Mudcat and found it a most interesting read! As a Canadian I found myself pondering whether there is a specific style of music which could be recognized as 'Canadian' by the rest of the world. And nothing came to mind.

Looking over my own small collection of compositions, I found a very mixed bag of styles indeed - from boogie and blues (American) to Irish style jigs to 'Arabian' flavoured pieces and classically-inspired stuff - but NOTHING that hit me with "aha! THAT'S Canadian!!" Even the music I've written in a style remniscent of our First Nations people couldn't really be classified as 'Canadian' as that tradition is much older than Canada...

This feels a bit depressing. Don't I have a culture? Why is it that Canadians can't write music that sounds Canadian, even to Canadians? Am I missing something here? Should I even care? Any opinions out there?


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Subject: RE: The nationality of music?
From: Haruo
Date: 28 Nov 02 - 09:24 PM

Greek, enit?

Haruo
overeating makes me act this way, folks; sorry


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Subject: RE: The nationality of music?
From: Mr Happy
Date: 29 Nov 02 - 09:48 AM

Subject: RE: The nationality of music?
From: The Shambles - PM
Date: 28 Nov 02 - 02:05 AM

Piss off



is this mudcat etiquette?


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Subject: RE: The nationality of music?
From: GUEST
Date: 29 Nov 02 - 10:26 AM

is this mudcat etiquette?

Sigh. More members itching for a fight.


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Subject: RE: The nationality of music?
From: The Shambles
Date: 29 Nov 02 - 10:29 AM

Sorry about that.


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Subject: RE: The nationality of music?
From: The Shambles
Date: 29 Nov 02 - 10:31 AM

Apesadumbrado sobre eso


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