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The Traditional Ballad Index

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Tech: Traditional Ballad Index out of work (14)
LOC lecture April 14, 2011: Steve Roud (2)
Steve Roud course on folk song (2)


RTim 11 Sep 08 - 06:06 PM
Joe Offer 11 Sep 08 - 06:40 PM
michaelr 11 Sep 08 - 06:50 PM
Joe Offer 11 Sep 08 - 07:41 PM
RTim 11 Sep 08 - 07:59 PM
Bob Bolton 11 Sep 08 - 08:40 PM
Anglo 11 Sep 08 - 09:29 PM
Joe Offer 11 Sep 08 - 09:31 PM
Joe Offer 26 Oct 11 - 09:21 PM
Joe Offer 11 Jan 12 - 05:05 PM
Reinhard 24 Nov 12 - 01:48 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 06 Nov 13 - 08:52 PM
Joe Offer 07 Nov 13 - 01:06 AM
Stilly River Sage 07 Nov 13 - 01:32 AM
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Subject: The Traditional Ballads Index
From: RTim
Date: 11 Sep 08 - 06:06 PM

Very often, when a user makes an enquiry into a song, etc. - Joe Offer (in particular) will make reference to The Traditional Ballad Index
see - http://www.csufresno.edu/folklore/BalladSearch.html
I have even - on occasion - used it myself: However....

Now - what I want to know is:
1 - How up to date is this?
2 - What is included and why?
3 - What is NOT included and why?
4 - Can it be added to if you know something about a song that is not contained within?
5 - And anything else I should know about the Index, incl. Is it worthwhile?

Tim Radford


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Subject: RE: The Traditional Ballad Index
From: Joe Offer
Date: 11 Sep 08 - 06:40 PM

Hi, Tim -
According to its Welcome Page, the most recent edition of the Traditional Ballad Index is June 30, 2007 November 20, 2011. The editor of the Ballad Index is Robert B. (Bob) Waltz, who comes from somewhere in the Midwest United States. I don't know Bob Waltz, but I do know assistant editor David Engle, who teaches Folklore and German at the California State University at Fresno ("Fresno State University"). At his University Website, David hosts the Ballad Index and a number of other interesting projects - the one that interests me most is David's German Ballad Index. David has given us permission to post entries from the Ballad Index, so you'll notice I unabashedly post the Ballad Index information exactly as it appears in the Index.
The Ballad Index depends on people who review songbooks and other sources, and provide a formatted index of the resource. As you can see in the Bibliography, more than half of the sources were indexed by Bob Waltz, who must be a remarkable person. I'm sure many of us know some of the other indexers, some of whom are Mudcatters:

    AF -- Adam Frost
    AS -- Abby Sale
    BN -- Becky Nankivell
    BS -- Bennett Schwartz
    DGE -- David G. Engle
    EC -- Ed Cray
    KK -- Karen Kaplan
    JG -- John Garst
    JM -- John Moulden
    KM -- Keith McKenry
    MC -- Michael Cooney
    MS -- Murray Shoolbraid
    NR -- Nathan Rose
    PJS -- Paul J. Stamler
    RBW -- Robert B. Waltz
    SF -- Susan Friedman
    SH -- Scott Hadley
    SHi -- Sam Hinton
    SL -- Susan Lawlor
    WBO -- W. Bruce Olson


I hope that gives you a bit of an idea of the Index. I think it's a wonderful resource. In fact, I've been trying to buy all the books in the Ballad Index bibliography, since I can be sure they're indexed.
The Ballad Index does its indexing book-by-book, not song-by-song. For a book to be indexed, somebody has to volunteer to do it. The Ballad Index emphasizes North American books, while Roud focuses on UK books (Roud has generally broader coverage with less detailed information).

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: The Traditional Ballad Index
From: michaelr
Date: 11 Sep 08 - 06:50 PM

Joe, I couldn't find a Table of Contents, i.e. a list of all the ballads in the collection. Am I missing something?

Cheers,
Michael


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Subject: RE: The Traditional Ballad Index
From: Joe Offer
Date: 11 Sep 08 - 07:41 PM

I think you're right, Michael. There's a Search Page but I think you have to download the entire Index (11 megabytes) if you want to browse the contents. It's just the opposite of the Digital Tradition - it's difficult to browse the downloaded version of the DT, but easy to do online with the Alpha Index or Keyword Search.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: The Traditional Ballad Index
From: RTim
Date: 11 Sep 08 - 07:59 PM

Hi Joe,

Thanks for your note.
My main sphere of interest is in "English" versions of songs, but I am also interested in what exists in North America mainly as a comparison.
I have noted that songs I am particularly interested in, although listed in the Index, are not listed from the source I obtained them, eg. The Hammond & Gardiner Collections and the subsequent Frank Purslow books, etc. It also seems to me that a lot of other English (and indeed Scottish) references also do not appear - so I have assumed that the Index mainly covers N. America?

Tim


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Subject: RE: The Traditional Ballad Index
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 11 Sep 08 - 08:40 PM

G'day Tim,

I notice, in the list of indexers and entry for:

KM -- Keith McKenry


With the unusual spelling of the surname, I would presume that this is Keith McKenry in Australia (previously Chairman of the [Australian] National Folk Festival) and active with the Australian National Library's Folklore and Oral History collections.

If that is so, then this indicates that the Traditional Ballad Index is receiving input on Australian (derived from British / American / European / Indigenous / Pacific & Asian sources) traditional song.

Regards,

Bob


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Subject: RE: The Traditional Ballad Index
From: Anglo
Date: 11 Sep 08 - 09:29 PM

My understanding is that the volunteer indexers of the Ballad Index will index any relevant book they can get their hands on. If they can't, for whatever reason, it simply doesn't get indexed. Tim, I'm sure they would welcome your input.


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Subject: RE: The Traditional Ballad Index
From: Joe Offer
Date: 11 Sep 08 - 09:31 PM

Hi, Tim-
I think the Ballad Index has a decidedly American emphasis, although not exclusively so. I use Roud for UK information, but it's not as interesting to read as the Ballad Index. A UK equivalent of the Ballad Index was Peter Kennedy's Folktrax site, but I haven't been able to find it since Kennedy's death in 2006 - anybody know where it's still available? All I can find is a copy on the Wayback Machine.
Another valuable (but hard-to-read) resource is Bruce Olson's Broadside Ballad Website, which is available at Mudcat, at Cal State Fresno, and other locations.
-Joe-


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Subject: RE: The Traditional Ballad Index
From: Joe Offer
Date: 26 Oct 11 - 09:21 PM

Both Roud and the Ballad Index are very good, within the limits of what they attempt to do. The Ballad Index does its indexing book-by-book, not song-by-song. Until somebody volunteers to index a book, songs from that book are not included in the Traditional Ballad Index. The Ballad Index emphasizes North American books, while Roud focuses on UK books. Roud has generally broader coverage with less detailed information. The Ballad Index finished indexing Grieg-Duncan in its latest edition, which is a significant accomplishment - that's Version 2.5, published November 18, 2010. I think the Ballad Index covers most of the significant US songbook collections, but it has a long way to go before it can do the same for UK collections.

Here are links:
-Joe-


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Subject: RE: The Traditional Ballad Index
From: Joe Offer
Date: 11 Jan 12 - 05:05 PM

I just noticed that the most recent edition of the Traditional Ballad Index, version 2.6, was issued November 20, 2011. The What's New page will give you an idea of how the Index has evolved over the years. Here's what Bob Waltz says was added in the most recent edition:

    Materials Added in this Edition

    The following books were added to the Index in version 2.6:

    • Horace P. Beck, The Folklore of Maine (1957)
    • Charles K. Wolfe, Folk Songs of Middle Tennessee: The George Boswell Collection (1977)
    • David Buchan and James Moreira, editors, The Glenbuchat Ballads (2007)
    • Sigrid Rieuwerts, editor, The Ballad Repertoire of Anna Gordon, Mrs Brown of Falkland (2011)
    • Gavin Greig (Kenneth S. Goldstein and Arthur Argo, editors), Folk-Song in Buchan and Folk-Song of the North-East (1963) [now fully indexed]
    • E. B. Lyle, editor, Andrew Crawfurd's Collection of Ballads and Songs, Volume 1 (1975).
    • Iona and Peter Opie, The Singing Game (1985)
    • Harry B. Peters, Folk Songs out of Wisconsin (1977)
    • James Reeves, editor, The Idiom of the People, (1965)
    • Art Rosembaum, Folk Visions & Voices: Traditional Music and Song in North Georgia (1983).
    • Alfred Williams, editor, Folk-Songs of the Upper Thames (1923), plus the additional material from this collection edited by Chris Wildridge.

    We now have 10731 different songs, under 18211 titles. There are over 38,000 references (excluding Roud references), pointing to something like 30,000 texts, and more than 7800 recording references. Because of duplicates, we cannot give an exact broadside count -- but the number of citations exceeds 3200.

    At least 2306 songs were added or had their entries updated in version 2.6.

    The NOTES now include almost 1,400,000 words. There are 358 songs for which the NOTES exceed 500 words; 151 with at least 1000 words of notes; 15 with at least 5000 words of notes.

    I count 215 books fully or partly indexed, with many more cited in ADDITIONAL entries. At least 827 sources are cited in the NOTES.

My goal is to possess all the books indexed in the Traditional Ballad Index. I suppose I could shoot for all the books indexed by Roud, but that's biting off a bit too much.


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Subject: RE: The Traditional Ballad Index
From: Reinhard
Date: 24 Nov 12 - 01:48 AM

The Traditional Ballad Index is now at Version 2.8, as usual with a handful of new books indexed, and it has now the very helpful table of contents that Michael asked for in September 2008.


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Subject: Index to Traditional Ballad Index
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 06 Nov 13 - 08:52 PM

Taken from an email to Lighter from Robert Waltz (and circulated rather widely since I got a copy).

"...the so-called "search" function in the Index was designed by Google, and it doesn't work for beans. If you have a song title, you should search for it using the Ballad Index Table of Contents, which "I" generate and which therefore works. :-)"

http://www.fresnostate.edu/folklore/Contents.html


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Subject: RE: Index to Traditional Ballad Index
From: Joe Offer
Date: 07 Nov 13 - 01:06 AM

The usual Traditional Ballad Index Search Page isn't bad, but there's something about it that conflicts with the Fresno State University Website that hosts it, so the search page is often down. When it's down, there's a Google search that's substituted, and it doesn't work very well.

That being said, I use the "titles" link Q provided almost exclusively. It is cross-indexed with alternate titles, so it almost always finds the entry I'm seeking.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Index to Traditional Ballad Index
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 07 Nov 13 - 01:32 AM

Is the Index to Traditional Ballad Index related to the Department of Redundancy Department? :)

SRS


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