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Money v Folk

Grab 14 May 08 - 05:52 AM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 14 May 08 - 05:17 AM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 14 May 08 - 05:08 AM
GUEST,Jon 14 May 08 - 04:55 AM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 14 May 08 - 04:45 AM
Dave the Gnome 14 May 08 - 03:18 AM
GUEST,Jon 14 May 08 - 02:53 AM
TheSnail 13 May 08 - 08:40 PM
Don Firth 13 May 08 - 07:39 PM
GUEST 13 May 08 - 07:34 PM
Leadfingers 13 May 08 - 07:25 PM
Grab 13 May 08 - 07:14 PM
Peace 13 May 08 - 02:50 PM
GUEST,The Mole Catcher's unplugged Apprentice 13 May 08 - 02:20 PM
Peace 13 May 08 - 02:17 PM
Dave the Gnome 13 May 08 - 02:02 PM
Don Firth 13 May 08 - 01:19 PM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 13 May 08 - 12:45 PM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 13 May 08 - 12:43 PM
Leadfingers 13 May 08 - 11:51 AM
TheSnail 13 May 08 - 11:46 AM
Leadfingers 13 May 08 - 11:43 AM
Leadfingers 13 May 08 - 11:43 AM
Grab 13 May 08 - 11:02 AM
TheSnail 13 May 08 - 08:33 AM
GUEST,Jon 13 May 08 - 08:05 AM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 13 May 08 - 07:55 AM
GUEST,Jon 13 May 08 - 07:44 AM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 13 May 08 - 07:02 AM
GUEST, Sminky 13 May 08 - 06:09 AM
Dave the Gnome 12 May 08 - 07:09 PM
Don Firth 12 May 08 - 04:45 PM
GUEST,The Mole Catcher's unplugged Apprentice 12 May 08 - 03:22 PM
Dave the Gnome 12 May 08 - 03:18 PM
Don Firth 12 May 08 - 01:50 PM
Dave the Gnome 12 May 08 - 01:43 PM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 12 May 08 - 12:37 PM
GUEST, Sminky 12 May 08 - 07:16 AM
Kent Davis 11 May 08 - 11:15 PM
Anne Lister 11 May 08 - 05:32 PM
Mark Ross 11 May 08 - 03:45 PM
Don Firth 11 May 08 - 03:13 PM
Dave the Gnome 11 May 08 - 07:13 AM
Don Firth 09 May 08 - 09:07 PM
Grab 09 May 08 - 08:36 PM
Giant Folk Eyeball (inactive) 09 May 08 - 07:35 PM
Don Firth 09 May 08 - 07:10 PM
GUEST,DonMeixner 09 May 08 - 06:46 PM
Don Firth 09 May 08 - 06:27 PM
Dave the Gnome 09 May 08 - 05:59 PM
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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: Grab
Date: 14 May 08 - 05:52 AM

Jon, my point wasn't that non-professionals can't play well - clearly that would be incorrect. My point is that non-professionals aren't the ones who push the music forward. To use Tom's wonderful analogy, they aren't "horses".

Graham.


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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 14 May 08 - 05:17 AM

Sorry - I just have to add this as I've become so used to being massively misunderstood here..

Bob Copper's Grandfather writing all the words of all the songs he knew in a notebook was a 'wheel' event. A really important one - but it was still only of influence within his family and community.

Bob's publication of those songs in print and on record was a 'horse' event - and that's the one that had the influence, because without it they'd still be at the back of a drawer in the sideboard.

See?

BOTH


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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 14 May 08 - 05:08 AM

And you're right to challenge anyone who says that, Jon - it's obviously plain nonsense and equally insulting.

But the key issue here is influence - not quality.

Important in times gone by and massively, overwhelmingly so post-revival.


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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 14 May 08 - 04:55 AM

And I don't think it's very that relevant that, yes, some amateurs are vastly better players and singers than those who sometimes or usually accept money.

Nor me but I will challenge those who suggest it's not the case.

The relevant factors are that a) to take money off people you need to be able to impress them, and this need filters out weaker contributors. And b), that trade-musicians/writers/singers/distributors will tend to have more influence than those who only sing/write/play/distribute within their immediate community.

a) for sure. The "base level" is undoubtedly far higher and has to be.

b) sounds reasonable to me.


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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 14 May 08 - 04:45 AM

I don't think we can pin too much argument onto one family at one point in time. This discussion is about the importance or otherwise of money in the development of traditional music - over a millennium.

And I don't think it's very that relevant that, yes, some amateurs are vastly better players and singers than those who sometimes or usually accept money. They are today and always have been. The relevant factors are that a) to take money off people you need to be able to impress them, and this need filters out weaker contributors. And b), that trade-musicians/writers/singers/distributors will tend to have more influence than those who only sing/write/play/distribute within their immediate community.

These are simple facts about which there can be surely no dispute.

Where the dispute occurs is when people seek to deny the influence of commerce in music through the ages.

This romantic and wholly erroneous view stems mainly from the romantic and/or political notions of various influential collectors in the past - and it's left us with a dangerous and divisive muddle which makes me want to howl with frustration.

Why? Because it leads directly to the sort of thinking - based on what is essentially a lie - that people who make money from music are to be mistrusted, or resented or seen as some kind of a threat - when in fact they should be respected and thanked for their contribution.

The see-saw has been sat with one end stuck in the lawn for 100 years.

We badly need to re-balance our thinking about traditional music - and I'm delighted to read so many erudite, informed and passionate posts above to that end.

But what makes me want to do much worse than howl with frustration is when people claim that any effort to redress the balance is a demand to bury the other end of the see-saw in the sand-pit.

I'll return to my cart analogy.

For a long time there has been a 'folk faith' that the cart sailed up hill and down dale without the need for any horse. All we are saying is that is a fallacy. Please remove pink glasses and notice that sweating animal in front of you. He may smell a bit, and make some embarrassing noises, but he's doing his bit as well. And by saying this we are NOT NOT NOT claiming that the cart neither has, nor needs, wheels. The horse would have been dead, flogged, and unable to sing or neigh long long long ago.

And before anyone chips in to pick holes in my metaphors - they are just metaphors, ok?

The reality is a complex and shifting story, with many strands and streams and shades and nuances and contradictions and any number of other weasel words.

But for goodness sake PLEASE let's start basing our opinions and beliefs on reality, and treating eachother accordingly.

Tom


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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 14 May 08 - 03:18 AM

I didn't know that about the Coppers, Bryan. Next time someone tells me the Coppers were farm labourers who sang for their beer I know what to tell them! Clever businessmen who knew exacly what they were doing!

Cheers

Dave


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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 14 May 08 - 02:53 AM

I don't expect to be an aspirational figure for anyone to look up to and say "I want to be able to play like him", the way you would with people like Michael McGoldrick,

I doubt too many pros expect to either.

Thinking of the wind instruments, the best/my favourite whistle player I came across was an amateur, lectured in a University and not in music and didn't even do very occassional music booking I know of. She did have the advantage of belonging to a "competition" Irish family though and had been at the top end of things in childhood and I believe won one the all Ireland championship (from what I remember being told, being relieved when the pressure was finally off).

I guess that might be an extreme example but by my assessments I've met quite a few who don't do semi-pro work who's musical abilities I think are above that of a number of pros I've heard.

Of course we might not know the backgrounds of these people but following on from your "pro arguments" based on hard work done, if you could do it, would your 7 hrs a day make up for that sort of missed childhood background I mentioned above? Or perhaps for maybe getting lets say getting grade 8 violin, maybe following up with a music degree before becoming an amateur session player?

I suppose the answer is maybe, maybe not. One thing I feel sure of in practice though is I've been in situations occasionally over the years where I could say put together a line up of say 6 of the strongest players present and I'd feel it a safe bet that there would be no way (except chance) you could identify which one was the professional.


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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: TheSnail
Date: 13 May 08 - 08:40 PM

Leadfingers

When Bob Copper's grandfather ...

Peacehaven didn't exist in "Brasser" Copper's time. Since he was bailiff of a 3000 acre farm in charge of 65 men, he probably didn't have time for 7 hours practice a day. Whether he had to sing for his beer in the Black Horse in Rottingdean is debatable since his brother Thomas was the landlord.

Was he a folk singer? I think so. Whether or not he was a professional is utterly irrelevant.


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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: Don Firth
Date: 13 May 08 - 07:39 PM

Agreed. Both

I believe Jean Ritchie (Singing Family of the Cumberlands, born and raise in the tradition) gets paid for concerts and other performances. Does that make her any less of a folk singer? Not that I can see.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: GUEST
Date: 13 May 08 - 07:34 PM

both - there's no conflict of interest


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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: Leadfingers
Date: 13 May 08 - 07:25 PM

When Bob Copper's grandfather (He who wrote all the words of the songs he knew in a Hard Cover notebook in 1920thingy) was singing for beer in the pub in Peacehaven , was he a folk Singer ? Or a semi-Professional entetrtainer ?


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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: Grab
Date: 13 May 08 - 07:14 PM

And by being better at it than anyone else, they'll naturally become professionals in that area

Complete non-sequitur. There is much more to being a professional than the ability to sing or play.


Not a complete non-sequitur. Let's say they have the *opportunity* to become professionals in that area, then. If you're not better at it than other people though, lack of ability rules out that profession for you.

Giving up a secure, if dull, job for life on the road and an uncertain future when you've got obligations to family and social ties where you live is not a light decision either now or 200 years go. Is it inconceivable that someone could be good at something purely for the love of it without getting paid?

Not at all - I'm one of them. :-) But because I'm not putting the time in on music, I accept that I'm only doing it for fun. I don't expect to be an aspirational figure for anyone to look up to and say "I want to be able to play like him", the way you would with people like Michael McGoldrick, Bob Brozman or Doc Watson. Nor do I expect to contribute significantly to human knowledge or experience in what I do musically.

And being "good at something" requires practise. If your day-job is music, then you might well practise 7 hours a day (when touring permits). The professional who can put in the practise time is almost always going to be better than the part-time amateur who can't. And the professional can't do that unless they have another source of income, which typically means getting paid for playing. (Or these days, retiring and having a secure pension.)

By the way, let's remember about the "uncertain future" that generally choosing music as a profession is almost always for young adults whose future is *inherently* uncertain.

Graham.


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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: Peace
Date: 13 May 08 - 02:50 PM

LOLOL

Never heard that one before. Consider it 'absconded with'.


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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: GUEST,The Mole Catcher's unplugged Apprentice
Date: 13 May 08 - 02:20 PM

"very much like 'sex and travel'. No offense to anyone."

for me it's sex, travel and funeral arrangements *LOL*


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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: Peace
Date: 13 May 08 - 02:17 PM

I have one thing to say, and it's a general statement.

When I sing/perform it is for one of a few reasons: I have contracted to or have been asked to by a friend and then I do. However, whatever skills I have took me lots of time to develop, whether that is singing, playing guitar or writing songs. In many ways I have 'paid my dues'. So, either I get paid what I want or I sing for free. I have two words for folks who tell me I should sing for free because what I do is 'just music'. Those words are, uh, well, uh, very much like 'sex and travel'. No offense to anyone.


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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 13 May 08 - 02:02 PM

I don't believe for one moment that the onus of proof is on me, Sminky. You are the one with the contentious and unproven theory that between 650BC (Why on earth that date?) and 1850 people were not paid to perform 'folk' music. An art form for which you refuse to provide a definition anyway.

But, as it happens, one doesn't have to look too far. So how about the following -

BARD. The word is a loanword from descendant languages of Proto-Celtic Bardos, ultimately from Proto-Indo-European: "to raise the voice; praise". The first recorded example is in 1449 from the Scottish Gaelic language into Lowland Scots, denoting an itinerant musician, usually with a contemptuous connotation. The word subsequently entered the English language via Scottish English.

Secondly, in medieval Gaelic and Welsh society, a bard (Scottish and Irish Gaelic) or bardd (Welsh) was a professional poet, employed to compose eulogies for his lord (see planxty). If the employer failed to pay the proper amount, the bard would then compose a satire. (c. f. fili, fáith). In other European societies, the same function was fulfilled by skalds, rhapsodes, minstrels and scops, among others.

Bards or filid were those who sang the songs recalling the tribal warriors' deeds of bravery as well as the genealogies and family histories of the ruling strata among Celtic societies. The pre-Christian Celtic peoples recorded no written histories; however, Celtic peoples did maintain an intricate oral history committed to memory and transmitted by bards and filid. Bards facilitated the memorization of such materials by the use of poetic meter and rhyme.


The Bardic tradition ran from Pre-roman times to the middle ages (In Ireland) There is ample documentary evidence. Sorry if it doesn't fit with your views.

A little further search and a little later on we find Minstrels and troubadours.

A minstrel was a medieval European bard who performed songs whose lyrics told stories about distant places or about (real or imaginary) historical events. Though minstrels created their own tales, often they would memorize and embellish the works of others. Frequently they were retained by royalty and high society. As the courts became more sophisticated, minstrels were eventually replaced at court by the troubadours, and many became wandering minstrels, performing in the streets and became well liked until the middle of the Renaissance, despite a decline beginning in the late 15th century. Minstrelsy fed into later traditions of itinerant entertainers, which continued to be moderately strong into the early 20th century, and which has some continuity down to today's buskers or street musicians.

Want some Renaissance stuff?

By the middle of the 15th century, composers and singers from the Low Countries and adjacent areas began to overspread Europe, moving especially into Italy where they were employed by the papal chapel and the aristocratic patrons of the arts, such as the Medici, the Este family in Ferrara, and the Sforza family in Milan. They carried their style with them: smooth polyphony which could be adapted for sacred or secular use as appropriate. Principal forms of sacred musical composition at the time were the mass, the motet, and the laude; secular forms included the chanson, the frottola, and later the madrigal.

Notice a pattern here? Throughout the entire period you refer too people were paid, retained, whatever you would like to call it, to perform music. The music was telling of current events and was of the current style. In other words, that dreaded term you will not describe, FOLK music. Non of them worked on the fringes. None were trivialised. They were important members of society.

Now, having said all that, they were no more important than those unpaid farm labourers singing in pubs and modern football hooligans chanting on the terraaces when it comes to their contribution to folk music. But to deny their existance at all. A mistake surely?

And I still want to know how 650BC fits in:-)

Cheers

Dave


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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: Don Firth
Date: 13 May 08 - 01:19 PM

Not to put too fine a point on it, Sminky, I believe you revealed the level of you qualifications by attempting to divert my critical comments by picking on a typo in my post. When it comes to "petty," I think you have me beat on that one.

My point stands.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 13 May 08 - 12:45 PM

"To suggest that the high quality of our traditional music could only arise from professionals seems disrespectful to our heritage and to brush aside the oral tradition as a myth."

Sorry I should have included that bit too.

Completely missing the point, if i might make so bold - and really rather insulting and divisive too I fear. I'm not going to try to explain because I don't think you will ever understand.


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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 13 May 08 - 12:43 PM

"The idea that there has ever been some sort of Guild of Master Folk Singers strikes me as absurd"

No-one has even remotely suggested such a thing Bryan.


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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: Leadfingers
Date: 13 May 08 - 11:51 AM

Agreeed there Snail - I have known a LOT of excellent performers AND writers who have only ever done low Paid Local gigs (IF they Gig at All) because they either DONT have the need for acclaim or have VERY well paid Day Job and families to keep !


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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: TheSnail
Date: 13 May 08 - 11:46 AM

Grab

And by being better at it than anyone else, they'll naturally become professionals in that area

Complete non-sequitur. There is much more to being a professional than the ability to sing or play. Giving up a secure, if dull, job for life on the road and an uncertain future when you've got obligations to family and social ties where you live is not a light decision either now or 200 years go.

Is it inconceivable that someone could be good at something purely for the love of it without getting paid?


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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: Leadfingers
Date: 13 May 08 - 11:43 AM

100 !!!


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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: Leadfingers
Date: 13 May 08 - 11:43 AM

Sadly , in a contest , Money v Folk , Folk woulkdnt stand a chance .


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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: Grab
Date: 13 May 08 - 11:02 AM

Sminky, frankly I don't care if you think that a paid servant doesn't qualify as a "folkie" by your personal definition. They were people singing traditional music, who were paid for doing so, and who were role models or aspirational figures for lesser (or younger) musicians. That answers your question.

You might also want to define what you consider to be "peripheral". You might be talking sheer numbers. In which case I'll certainly concede that a stadium full of football fans (or a valley full of football fans, further back in history) will certainly be singing without need of a minstrel. I'll further concede that if you're talking about worksongs or lullabies and nursery rhymes sung to children, then the majority would be sung without payment. But I *will* assert that without the existence of paid singers, the overwhelming majority of songs sung by those people, and the overwhelming majority of songs considered "traditional" today, simply wouldn't exist. Nor would most of the singing techniques exist, nor instrumental techniques, nor song/tune structures, nor dances. They were not created or evolved amongst people shouting out drinking songs, but amongst the few skileld musicians with real talent.

In plain terms, I submit that anyone's contribution to any field is based on their natural talent, training and practise. Those who had (and have, today) natural talent in something and are prepared to do the training and practise will make it - maybe not big, but they'll make it to some degree and contribute to their field. And by being better at it than anyone else, they'll naturally become professionals in that area because they'll enjoy it and be able to charge people for their services. This will further spread their contribution around that area.

Conversely, consider the impact of someone singing at home, or casually in a pub with friends after a few drinks (nothing as formal as the singaround we know today). They're not singing anything new, they're not working on new techniques, they're mostly not doing new arrangements. In the era you're talking about, they wouldn't even be singing anything that everyone else hadn't already heard - remember that a new person in town would be an event back then, both for news and for new ideas from other parts of the country. I'm not saying that people didn't have fun doing this, but they certainly weren't contributing to the genre, any more than some 16-year-old strumming away on a Bob Dylan cover is contributing today.

Graham.


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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: TheSnail
Date: 13 May 08 - 08:33 AM

What troubles me is the idea that professionals (meaning, in this context, people paid for performing) and amateurs are two entirely separate groups of people. I doubt if any folk (in whatever definition you choose) performer has ever turned down the offer of a few quid, free beer, a square meal... for doing a turn. Some will have made it a regular supplement to their income and some of those will have done well enough to give up their day job.

The idea that there has ever been some sort of Guild of Master Folk Singers strikes me as absurd. Where did they learn their trade? To suggest that the high quality of our traditional music could only arise from professionals seems disrespectful to our heritage and to brush aside the oral tradition as a myth.


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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 13 May 08 - 08:05 AM

Tell ya what Sminky, I've heard far better music being played by the so-called "peripherals" than I've heard in many a folk club or at many a concert.

There are remarkable abilities with in the ranks of buskers, amatuer floor singers ans session players for sure and personally, in terms of musical ability, I think the best from these areas are more capable than some pros.

I'm not sure that provides a full or fair picture though as sheer musical ability is not (at least as far as I can tell) the only factor in giving a good performance. What I'd expect more than anything if say I was (not that I do) booking an act for a folk club from a pro is the ability to relate to the audience, perhaps assess the mood of the room, etc.

I've never been there (and never will) but I think there's a whole range of "stage craft" needed say to hold an hour together that many amateurs who might be able to turn out a blinding song, tune or two probably don't have.


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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 13 May 08 - 07:55 AM

Indeed Jon. You need both horse and wheels to keep the cart rolling.


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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 13 May 08 - 07:44 AM

I'd agree. I'd seems to me impossible that there was a time when people have not received money for folk.

People assure me that folk music is entirely about amateurs getting together for fun.

I think there is a lot of confusion about this. Sure there are plenty, like myself who's biggest enjoyment tends to come from the informal (which in my experience btw can include pros and semi pros) events and I'd guess there others, like myself who have liked to try to put on paid acts without compulsory charges but to suggest there never has/should be money in it is nonsense... (and let's be honest, I've made money busking, have taken the odd £10, free bar tabs, etc. at certain times in the past...).

As I think we agreed (eventually, I hadn't understood where you were coming from at first) in another recent thread, we will eventually come back to the same points. The most important of which IMO is that the healthiest situation for folk music is a combination of all these interests (and for that matter abilities) and the understanding of different positions.


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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 13 May 08 - 07:02 AM

You're missing the connections between my questions.

Human nature has not changed much throughout recorded history. Just because we have no evidence for something in the past does not suggest it didn't happen exactly the way it does now. I don't think you can seriously call busking peripheral (I'd ask what evidence you have but see my earlier sentence). Most singing was of course casual, spontaneous and unpaid - as it still is today. But if you want to study the tradition seriously you can't separate the activity from the repertoire. Some songs (particularly chant based) may have evolved naturally, and I'm sure people wrote for fun in every village. But looking at the quality of the songs that have survived we can surmise that bulk of the material we have today (and which they had then) was circulated, (sometimes in written form), and even possibly composed by the people you dismiss as buskers (I assume you're including wandering players, troubadours, and ballad singers in that 'peripheral' category). I'd say that was disrespectful to honest tradespeople who gave us something special. But you attitude is, sadly, not rare. The same thing happens today. People assure me that folk music is entirely about amateurs getting together for fun. But the vast majority of the songs I hear were learned by one medium or another from people who - through one trade or another - have some financial interest in music. That's life - and it was ever thus. There is certainly evidence of players being paid for dances, as well as to entertain - and again it is likely that the more committed and active musicians will have had the biggest influence on the tradition. And as for the behaviour of landlords through the ages, it's such a no-brainer that I feel entitled to say that if you believe they never paid singers, and you feel evidence is necessary, perhaps you can supply proof that they did not.


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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: GUEST, Sminky
Date: 13 May 08 - 06:09 AM

Tom:
why doesn't busking count?
It does - but it's peripheral and always has been.

where did the songs everyone sang in so many variations come from?
From people gathering together as part of their daily routine and singing.

did a landlord never pay a farthing to entice the better singer to his pub?
I don't know, but nobody has produced any evidence that he did.

Dave:
even the redoubtable Mr G was indeed a folky!
According to you everyone is a folky.

Are you really trying to say that no performers were paid to sing for over 2.5K yesrs?
I'm asking for evidence that the payment of money/goods (pre-1850) in a folk setting was anything other than peripheral.

I'm off to the folk club then and would like to tell the audience something else exciting
Tell them "Things in 1723 were not that dissimilar to now". You'll have them rolling in the aisles.

Don:
I don't believe you're qualified to say what I do and do not know
That works both ways. No academician would interpret my comments to mean that "ballads that spontaneous composed themselves". Or perhaps you could point out where I said that? (BTW it's 'spontaneously'). No academician would dismiss so cursorily eyewitness evidence that rural folk would gather at work and play and just SING. And no academician would resort to petty points-scoring and name-calling just because someone's opinions don't happen to gel with their own.

Charlotte:
I've heard far better music being played by the so-called "peripherals" than I've heard in many a folk club
Me too.


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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 12 May 08 - 07:09 PM

I've heard far better music being played by the so-called "peripherals" than I've heard in many a folk club or at many a concert

Maybe a review of the folk clubs and concerts you attend would be in order? Personaly I have heard many good fringe sessions but I don't think I have ever heard Christy Moore on a street corner or Steeleye Span at a singaround. Maybe I should review my fringe sessions?

and I don't consider it to be beneath me, infact I have alot of fun...

Why on earth would you? Is anyone suggesting that it is beneath anyone? And why are you suggesting that professional performance is in some way less fun and inferior to unpaid performance? This just seems to be reverse snobbery gone mad!

Cheers

:D


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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: Don Firth
Date: 12 May 08 - 04:45 PM

Here in Seattle, at the Pike Place Market, where you can buy many things such straight off the farm produce or straight off the boat fish, there are usually quite a number of buskers and street entertainers plying their trade, following, as I said above, an ancient tradition.

But this is the 21st century. I guess if I were a villager or a farmer back in 1723, I would never go to the village square or the local market or fair where I might run the danger of hearing a traveling (or local) singer perform in the hope of gleaning a few coins.

Gosh, I wonder where I went to sell my produce or to buy things - ???

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: GUEST,The Mole Catcher's unplugged Apprentice
Date: 12 May 08 - 03:22 PM

"they were peripheral at best (as, indeed, are buskers). "

Tell ya what Sminky, I've heard far better music being played by the so-called "peripherals" than I've heard in many a folk club or at many a concert.Indeed I have busked during the summer months, and I don't consider it to be beneath me, infact I have alot of fun...love that word fun :-D

Charlotte R


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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 12 May 08 - 03:18 PM

I noticed in answer to a point of Don's you say If you were a villager living in 1723 where would you go to listen to/sing folk songs each night - a 'concert' in town (no railways, remember) or your local alehouse? And how much would it cost you? And on how many days of the year would you likely see a minstrel?

Of course you would go to an alehouse and of course you wouldn't pay. That is because the landlord pays the minstrel to 'drum up custom'. Of course there were many days where they locals would sing for free as well. Pretty much like I paid to see Snake Davis on Friday and I am going to a singaround free tonight. Things in 1723 were not that dissimilar to now I guess.

Just what is your point, Sminky? Are you really trying to say that no performers were paid to sing for over 2.5K yesrs?

Cheers

Dave


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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: Don Firth
Date: 12 May 08 - 01:50 PM

Sminky, I'm not going to take the time to list my credentials (which are substantial, not just as a lifelong performer but as an academician as well), but I don't believe you're qualified to say what I do and do not know. And it was apparent to me from your earlier posts that you are the one who is suffering from the "romantic mythic fantasy."

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 12 May 08 - 01:43 PM

I concede that Freddie and the Dreamers were indeed paid to perform.

Freddie and the Dreamers were performing between 650BC and 1850AD? Wow! I didn't know that. What I did know is that "lead singer, Freddie Garrity worked as a milkman and had played in a series of local Manchester skiffle groups - The Red Sox, the John Norman Four and finally The Kingfishers" (Courtesy of classicbands.com) So, yes, even the redoubtable Mr G was indeed a folky!

BTW you should have finished your sentence with "I never heard no........." Which sentence and why would I want to finish it with more than the standard three dot elipse?

And you still haven't explained what happened in 650BC - Can you let me know in the next 90 minutes (It's now 1840BST) - I'm off to the folk club then and would like to tell the audience something else exciting as well as the fact about Freddie:-)

Cheers

Dave


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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 12 May 08 - 12:37 PM

why doesn't busking count?

where did the songs everyone sang in so many variations come from?

did a landlord never pay a farthing to entice the better singer to his pub?


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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: GUEST, Sminky
Date: 12 May 08 - 07:16 AM

I am trying to wade through a shoal of red herrings here.

Dave:
Since you assert that "I have never made the distinction. As far as I am concerned all music is folk music." then plainly it's no use arguing with you. I concede that Freddie and the Dreamers were indeed paid to perform. BTW you should have finished your sentence with "I never heard no........."

Don:
You are suffering from that malady known as 'inverse ploughboys syndrome' whereby any suggestion that rural folk "clustered together in their cottages, but oftener at the road side, or in some favourite alehouse" - (Edwin Waugh, writing before Cecil Sharp had been born) and sang, for the sheer hell of it, is regarded as some kind of mythical romantic fantasy. If you read the eye-witnesses eg the Coppers, Thomas Hardy, Waugh here and here, you will find that country people did actually do that. And, in pre-Industrial Revolution UK, the vast majority of people were country people.

You look at folk music through 21st century eyes. If you were a villager living in 1723 where would you go to listen to/sing folk songs each night - a 'concert' in town (no railways, remember) or your local alehouse? And how much would it cost you? And on how many days of the year would you likely see a minstrel?

Grab:
"Servant=paid." Yes, and servant=employee. Not my idea of a folkie.

YES there were minstrels (the buskers of today), but I repeat - they were peripheral at best (as, indeed, are buskers).


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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: Kent Davis
Date: 11 May 08 - 11:15 PM

Two singers of traditional songs who, before 1850, were being paid:
Thomas D. Rice http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_D._Rice

George Washington Dixon http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Washington_Dixon

Kent Davis


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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: Anne Lister
Date: 11 May 08 - 05:32 PM

Seems to me a somewhat confused question from Sminky, so no wonder the answers are confused. When was the term "folk" first applied to specific types of songs anyway? Why would we have records of payment (or, more bizarre still, NON payment) to "traditional singers" when the concept of a "traditional singer" wasn't present in the first place? Even among contemporary source ("traditional") singers there's not always much of a distinction between the various songs in their repertoire. My fairly educated guess is that it was always much the same.

Now for singer songwriters it's an easy one - troubadours were certainly paid, and paid well,and there was a big difference between troubadours and strolling minstrels. But even the strolling minstrels needed food and beds.

Generally speaking, we reward skills and talents now as we have always done. A good musician is worth paying, just as a good artist is worth paying and a good sportsman or woman is worth paying. We may disagree about the levels of remuneration, and we may disagree about the quality of their work, but if someone is making their art or skill into their main bread and butter work the only decision any of us have to make is whether we dip into our own pockets to help them along or not. And how far we dip into those pockets. Why should the music we choose to call "folk" be any different?

Anne
folk singer marries actor ...anyone care to point out the problem with this scenario? *g*


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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: Mark Ross
Date: 11 May 08 - 03:45 PM

As Utah Phillips says, "You want to make a million dollars playing Folk Music? Start with 2 million!"

I've been doing this for 40 years or so and I've learned that there are tens of dollars to be made.

Mark Ross


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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: Don Firth
Date: 11 May 08 - 03:13 PM

Lousy union?

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 11 May 08 - 07:13 AM

Something else has been puzzling me a lot. How come singers were paid before 650BC and then all of sudden it stopped? What happened in 650BC? The banning of payment for singing by the ancient Egyptians? The abolition of theatres in Theselonia? An attempt to stem the cacophony of the Celts?

Tell us please. It's driving me mad!

Cheers

:D


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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: Don Firth
Date: 09 May 08 - 09:07 PM

This is basically one of the same points that Helen Waddell makes in The Wandering Scholars.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: Grab
Date: 09 May 08 - 08:36 PM

Sminky, the thread is about *remuneration* and folk. In the current world, money is the only way of getting remuneration for work, but it's not the only way. "Paid for" does not automatically mean coins and banknotes. Since you're trying to make an artificial distinction between receiving money in a cash-based society and receiving board/lodging/clothing/instruments in a barter-based society, would you be happier if admission to the next Martin Carthy concert was priced at three chickens and a cow?

But still, the best ones *were* paid, both in kind and in money. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minstrel "Initially, minstrels were simply servants at Court". Servant=paid. "Another type of performers...were the gleemen, who had no settled abode, but roamed about from place to place, earning what they could from their performances." It's only Wikipedia, but I don't see the need to look any further.

Graham.


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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: Giant Folk Eyeball (inactive)
Date: 09 May 08 - 07:35 PM

Is there not also a tradition of a fair few of our traditional English songs being associated with licensed begging? (in other words, performing for money, food and beer - especially beer). See Ronald Hutton, "Stations of the Sun" for more details. In fact see it anyway - it's a very good read and he's a great proponent of evidence-base history. Of course people have always sung for pleasure - unmitigated by commerce and money - and especially in pre-radio and record player days. But to claim that that was the be-all and end all sounds like taking a present day argument within folk music and trying to force an historic precedent on it.

Meanwhile, I'm rather enjoying Alison Krauss and Percy on Later.


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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: Don Firth
Date: 09 May 08 - 07:10 PM

And many of the songs that they sang are what we now call "folk songs."

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: GUEST,DonMeixner
Date: 09 May 08 - 06:46 PM

I would bet any begger who sang a song and held out his hat and accepted a penny was paid for the song. The history of begging is full of such instances where people who otherwise would be asking for spare change were exchanginging a service instead. I recall, perhaps wrongly, that Henry VIII outlawed begging unless a service was provided.

And if the Henry reference is wrong Gypsy musicians, wandering Klezmorim, The Wren Boys, all from different cultures, all got paid for a song or a piece of music. Usually when gathered at Trade fairs, horse auctions, religious holiday feasts.

Don


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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: Don Firth
Date: 09 May 08 - 06:27 PM

The wandering minstrel or troubadour ~ singing songs he had not written himself, but gleaned from the singing of others ~ in the village square as people drop a few coppers in his hat.

"Busking" (although it was not called that in the middle ages) is an ancient tradition.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 09 May 08 - 05:59 PM

Oh yea, and

My original contention was that earning money from 'folk' music in the period 650BC - 1850BC was, at best, a peripheral activity. I have yet to be convinced otherwise.

You are making the distinction of 'folk' music, yet, when challenged, you refused point blank to define it. I have never made the distinction. As far as I am concerned all music is folk music. And people who are good enough have always been paid to perform it.

Are you suggesting that people like Mozart and Haydn were never paid? Or are you saying that Mozart and Haydn did not perform folk music?

Hope you enjoyed your night as much as me. Did you actualy PAY to see anyone?

:D


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