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Preference or Snobbish?

Alan Day 02 Nov 08 - 06:06 PM
McGrath of Harlow 02 Nov 08 - 06:18 PM
dick greenhaus 02 Nov 08 - 06:24 PM
Alan Day 02 Nov 08 - 06:24 PM
Big Mick 02 Nov 08 - 06:25 PM
Alan Day 02 Nov 08 - 06:26 PM
Alan Day 02 Nov 08 - 06:36 PM
Mr Fox 02 Nov 08 - 06:42 PM
McGrath of Harlow 02 Nov 08 - 07:08 PM
Murray MacLeod 02 Nov 08 - 07:13 PM
Jack Campin 02 Nov 08 - 07:16 PM
Declan 02 Nov 08 - 07:19 PM
Leadfingers 02 Nov 08 - 07:27 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 02 Nov 08 - 07:36 PM
Big Al Whittle 02 Nov 08 - 07:59 PM
Bernard 02 Nov 08 - 08:17 PM
Art Thieme 02 Nov 08 - 08:35 PM
Leadfingers 02 Nov 08 - 08:57 PM
dick greenhaus 02 Nov 08 - 11:27 PM
Bert 02 Nov 08 - 11:41 PM
Escapee 03 Nov 08 - 12:15 AM
Gurney 03 Nov 08 - 01:34 AM
Murray MacLeod 03 Nov 08 - 03:21 AM
Jim Carroll 03 Nov 08 - 03:50 AM
GUEST,Black Hawk on works PC 03 Nov 08 - 03:52 AM
Tangledwood 03 Nov 08 - 04:06 AM
s&r 03 Nov 08 - 04:29 AM
Big Al Whittle 03 Nov 08 - 04:36 AM
Wolfhound person 03 Nov 08 - 04:54 AM
Will Fly 03 Nov 08 - 05:03 AM
Jack Campin 03 Nov 08 - 05:11 AM
Big Al Whittle 03 Nov 08 - 05:39 AM
GUEST,Kevin Parker 03 Nov 08 - 05:55 AM
Alan Day 03 Nov 08 - 08:41 AM
Will Fly 03 Nov 08 - 08:58 AM
GUEST,Black Hawk on Works PC 03 Nov 08 - 09:07 AM
Alan Day 03 Nov 08 - 10:24 AM
GUEST,Black Hawk on Works PC 03 Nov 08 - 10:49 AM
Dave the Gnome 03 Nov 08 - 10:56 AM
Brian Peters 03 Nov 08 - 11:47 AM
George Papavgeris 03 Nov 08 - 12:01 PM
Will Fly 03 Nov 08 - 12:05 PM
Dave the Gnome 03 Nov 08 - 12:09 PM
George Papavgeris 03 Nov 08 - 12:16 PM
McGrath of Harlow 03 Nov 08 - 12:30 PM
Alan Day 03 Nov 08 - 12:49 PM
McGrath of Harlow 03 Nov 08 - 01:46 PM
GUEST,folk_fan 03 Nov 08 - 02:10 PM
VirginiaTam 03 Nov 08 - 02:45 PM
McGrath of Harlow 03 Nov 08 - 02:56 PM
Phil Edwards 03 Nov 08 - 07:14 PM
Richard Bridge 03 Nov 08 - 08:01 PM
McGrath of Harlow 03 Nov 08 - 08:06 PM
Big Al Whittle 03 Nov 08 - 08:39 PM
Rowan 03 Nov 08 - 10:29 PM
Jim Carroll 04 Nov 08 - 02:38 AM
Alan Day 04 Nov 08 - 04:07 AM
Will Fly 04 Nov 08 - 04:22 AM
Will Fly 04 Nov 08 - 04:23 AM
Dave the Gnome 04 Nov 08 - 07:50 AM
Will Fly 04 Nov 08 - 07:55 AM
Alan Day 04 Nov 08 - 09:56 AM
Big Mick 04 Nov 08 - 10:04 AM
Will Fly 04 Nov 08 - 10:09 AM
Dave the Gnome 04 Nov 08 - 10:32 AM
Alan Day 04 Nov 08 - 10:59 AM
Dave the Gnome 04 Nov 08 - 11:02 AM
Alan Day 04 Nov 08 - 12:41 PM
Will Fly 04 Nov 08 - 01:14 PM
McGrath of Harlow 04 Nov 08 - 01:38 PM
Jack Campin 04 Nov 08 - 01:51 PM
Y_Not 04 Nov 08 - 01:51 PM
Dave the Gnome 04 Nov 08 - 02:24 PM
Alan Day 04 Nov 08 - 05:59 PM
Steve Shaw 04 Nov 08 - 06:12 PM
Phil Edwards 04 Nov 08 - 07:13 PM
Jack Campin 04 Nov 08 - 07:22 PM
Steve Shaw 04 Nov 08 - 08:44 PM
Les in Chorlton 04 Nov 08 - 08:49 PM
Rowan 04 Nov 08 - 09:10 PM
Alan Day 05 Nov 08 - 03:50 AM
Alan Day 05 Nov 08 - 03:57 AM
Tangledwood 05 Nov 08 - 04:26 AM
Phil Edwards 05 Nov 08 - 05:29 AM
Jack Campin 05 Nov 08 - 08:04 AM
Will Fly 05 Nov 08 - 08:49 AM
GUEST,Trevek 05 Nov 08 - 09:45 AM
Steve Shaw 05 Nov 08 - 11:01 AM
Alan Day 05 Nov 08 - 11:14 AM
Simon G 05 Nov 08 - 11:15 AM
Will Fly 05 Nov 08 - 12:04 PM
Phil Edwards 05 Nov 08 - 12:05 PM
Phil Edwards 05 Nov 08 - 12:14 PM
Steve Shaw 05 Nov 08 - 03:10 PM
Rowan 05 Nov 08 - 04:42 PM
McGrath of Harlow 05 Nov 08 - 05:41 PM
Alan Day 05 Nov 08 - 06:12 PM
Rog Peek 05 Nov 08 - 06:13 PM
Phil Edwards 05 Nov 08 - 07:15 PM
Big Al Whittle 05 Nov 08 - 08:16 PM
McGrath of Harlow 05 Nov 08 - 08:29 PM
jimslass 06 Nov 08 - 04:05 AM
Alan Day 06 Nov 08 - 04:23 AM
GUEST,Howard Jones 06 Nov 08 - 04:38 AM
Jack Campin 06 Nov 08 - 05:12 AM
Wrinkles 06 Nov 08 - 06:10 AM
Alan Day 06 Nov 08 - 06:21 AM
Will Fly 06 Nov 08 - 06:33 AM
Alan Day 06 Nov 08 - 08:29 AM
Alan Day 06 Nov 08 - 08:41 AM
Noreen 06 Nov 08 - 09:59 AM
dick greenhaus 06 Nov 08 - 11:54 AM
GUEST,Jack Campin 06 Nov 08 - 01:44 PM
McGrath of Harlow 06 Nov 08 - 05:08 PM
Wrinkles 06 Nov 08 - 10:07 PM
McGrath of Harlow 06 Nov 08 - 10:19 PM
Wrinkles 06 Nov 08 - 10:33 PM
GUEST 07 Nov 08 - 12:31 AM
meself 07 Nov 08 - 12:47 AM
Phil Edwards 07 Nov 08 - 03:43 AM
GUEST,Trevek 07 Nov 08 - 06:29 AM
Alan Day 07 Nov 08 - 07:03 AM
Alan Day 07 Nov 08 - 07:11 AM
The Sandman 07 Nov 08 - 07:48 AM
Alan Day 07 Nov 08 - 08:19 AM
Richard Bridge 07 Nov 08 - 08:27 AM
Dave the Gnome 07 Nov 08 - 09:01 AM
McGrath of Harlow 07 Nov 08 - 09:04 AM
The Sandman 07 Nov 08 - 10:11 AM
Dave the Gnome 07 Nov 08 - 10:28 AM
dick greenhaus 07 Nov 08 - 11:03 AM
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Subject: Preference or Snobbish?
From: Alan Day
Date: 02 Nov 08 - 06:06 PM

Is it Music preference or just snobbery if a performance is well sung and well played that it is not liked for other reasons?I will suggest a few examples and I expect you may come up with more.
Would you not like an Irish tune played by someone who is not Irish ?
Would you enjoy an Irish Song if sung by an American with an American accent or even just a couple of words that has wrong pronunciation?
Do you enjoy American Country Music sung with a false accent ?
Should American Fiddle music only be played on a fiddle?
Do you enjoy a Opera singer singing Folk Music?
Should a Copper Song be only enjoyed if sung with a Sussex accent?
Should music of other countries only be performed or recorded by musicians from those countries?
I would be interested in your comments.
Al


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Subject: RE: Preference or Snobbish?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 02 Nov 08 - 06:18 PM

Can't say I like opera singers' versions of folk songs as a rule, but apart from that, no problems.   

All depends on what it sounds like.


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Subject: RE: Preference or Snobbish?
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 02 Nov 08 - 06:24 PM

Whatever works


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Subject: RE: Preference or Snobbish?
From: Alan Day
Date: 02 Nov 08 - 06:24 PM

Interesting you should pick that one out McGrath of Harlow.
Thanks.
Alan


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Subject: RE: Preference or Snobbish?
From: Big Mick
Date: 02 Nov 08 - 06:25 PM

Interesting idea for a thread, Alan, which I think will raise many voices and much dissent. I do find your questions limiting though, as they are much too specific.

As to me, it is my practice to let the song tell me whether I should attempt to sing it in the dialect of origin or not. I feel as though if I am going to attempt to sing in dialect, then I need study that dialect very carefully in order to do it justice. I find folks that castigate others for trying to do this to be boorish. That is not to say that there are not folks that do a very poor job, but I don't like the implication that there is something wrong in trying to honor the tradition a song comes from enough to attempt to sing it appropriately. On the other hand, when I hear folks sing songs that clearly have not invested the time, and are doing a very poor job, it bothers me.

Interesting in that I sing a song which has a French verse. It is about the role Grose Ile, and the brave French Canadians, played as a quarantine station during the Great Hunger. Peter T and I, on our ramble home, were discussing it, and I asked him to help me to get the pronounciation correct. This led to a discussion as to whether I wanted to sing as a Frenchman would, or someone from Quebec would. I struggled with this, as the Parisian dialect sang better (from my perspective), but the Quebec would be more true to the song. I still haven't resolved the issue in my mind.

I completely reject (as you might guess) the idea that songs should only be sung by those from that country. My land is a land of many immigrants. I am the descendant of those immigrants and desire to sing the songs of tradition of my ancestors. I have every bit as much right to sing them, maybe more so, as anyone. It is about honoring the land from which my family sprang.

As to instrumentation, it is about the tune. It matters not a bit that it is an American Fiddle tune, or any other. If you hear a tune that you think will sound great, and entertain your audience, on your instrument, have at it. You can bet your last tuppence that the tune as you hear it today, many times originated somewhere other than the land which it is associated with, and was played on other instruments.

As to Opera singers doing folk.... why not? If it could be done in a way that appeals to the audience one is trying to reach, it should be done. Might not be my cuppa, but .......

This one will surely spark some great debate.

All the best,

Mick


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Subject: RE: Preference or Snobbish?
From: Alan Day
Date: 02 Nov 08 - 06:26 PM

The reason for these questions Dick is that for some even if it works,some reject it
Al


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Subject: RE: Preference or Snobbish?
From: Alan Day
Date: 02 Nov 08 - 06:36 PM

Thanks Big Mick for your interesting reply.My point of view is that I am totally for all the points raised as you are Mick, but some out there do not agree.You and I will be interested in the replies.I have played French music for many years so I would be the last person to be a critic of exploration of other countries music.
I will now sit back and see how this develops.
I just hope I havn't started a pub fight and walked out whilst it's in progress.
Alan


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Subject: RE: Preference or Snobbish?
From: Mr Fox
Date: 02 Nov 08 - 06:42 PM

Would you not like an Irish tune played by someone who is not Irish ?
No, I don't mind who sings it (much).

Would you enjoy an Irish Song if sung by an American with an American accent or even just a couple of words that has wrong pronunciation?
Yep.

Do you enjoy American Country Music sung with a false accent ?
I don't enjoy American Country Music at all.

Should American Fiddle music only be played on a fiddle?
Don't see why.

Do you enjoy a Opera singer singing Folk Music?
Depends. I like Vaughan Williams' arrangements of folk music, which is much the same thing.

Should a Copper Song be only enjoyed if sung with a Sussex accent?
Don't be silly.

Should music of other countries only be performed or recorded by musicians from those countries?
Of course not.


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Subject: RE: Preference or Snobbish?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 02 Nov 08 - 07:08 PM

Of course it depends on the Opera Singer. Here's Count John McCormack singing Linden Lea. He knew how to put a folk songs across alright.


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Subject: RE: Preference or Snobbish?
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 02 Nov 08 - 07:13 PM

should American Fiddle music only be played on a fiddle?

absolutely not, it always sounds better when played on a flatpicked guitar imo.

but opera singers should always refrain from attempting to sing folk music.


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Subject: RE: Preference or Snobbish?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 02 Nov 08 - 07:16 PM

Alan, just what are you really upset about that you decided to post a whole string of leading questions with unstated and rather paranoid presuppositions?

We can well do without yet another "The Folk Mafia Is Out To Get Me" thread.

BTW, among opera singers, listen to Andreas Scholl singing folk. He really understands it. (Sorry, but the sainted Kathleen Ferrier was crap at it, completely unlistenable today).


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Subject: RE: Preference or Snobbish?
From: Declan
Date: 02 Nov 08 - 07:19 PM

I'd be generally in the if it works it works camp but -

I don't generally like opera singers trying traditional songs if they apply rounded vowels in English to the songs (as they sometimes tend to do). I can think of a few occasions when I heard this when it hasn't worked for me - doesn't mean it never would.

I've heard people from various other countries singing Irish songs and sometimes the pronuncuation has been very bad. Doesn't mean it doesn't work but it also doesn't mean I wouldn't approach the singer afterwards to let them know how they might pronounce the words better. I'd like to think that this would be in an attempt to be helpful rather than snobbery but who knows.

Generally speaking I'd prefer to hear singers sing a song in their own accent than to try to put on the accent of the originating country. I've heard some fairly awful attempts to do the latter and it rarely works well. Having said that I know I uncosciously sing some American or Scotish songs in those accents. Sometimes it sounds better to me that way.

A good tune should sound well on any instrument if played properly. However some tunes are difficult to play on another instrument - some keys are difficult to play on certain instruments.


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Subject: RE: Preference or Snobbish?
From: Leadfingers
Date: 02 Nov 08 - 07:27 PM

There was a lass named Jana Heller who was American , but in UK and 'doing' the clubs with a mix of songs , some her own . I couldnt pin down why some of her songs appealed to me and others didnt , till a good mate pointed out that SOME of what she did (Well written , well performed) was actually Acoustic Rock which is NOT My thing at all - Other songs were in the Folk Idiom , which IS My Bag !So you cant generalise about what works , and what doesnt , as , with ALL Music , it depends on the Listener as much as on the artiste !


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Subject: RE: Preference or Snobbish?
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 02 Nov 08 - 07:36 PM

I'd enjoy it if I enjoyed it. I don't care who sings the song or plays it. No song is worth anything to me if the person doesn't make it his own, anyway. If they do, I enjoy the song and the musician on their own merits.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: Preference or Snobbish?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 02 Nov 08 - 07:59 PM

well if you don't like it, you don't like it.

we all rationalise what we don't like. And its obviously never going to be a valid reason to stop singing for whoever's singing.

say the listener is a snob, or an unkempt savage, or an ignoramus - if that soothes you.

But more important - if he don't like you, screw him! don't let him be the one who decides what you are going to do, and you go ahead and do your thing.

I think this is the only sensible view.


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Subject: RE: Preference or Snobbish?
From: Bernard
Date: 02 Nov 08 - 08:17 PM

Well, I made the transition from operatic/classical singing to folk. I was a high tenor with the Hallé choir for a while, and once sang under the baton of the late Sir John Barbirolli in York Minster.

I'm doing support for Chris While and Julie Matthews on Friday 7th November at Maghull (UK), so someone must think what I do is acceptable...!

One advantage it gave me was the ability to project without a PA system even in large halls...

We all know what we like, and what we don't like - and that our preferences can be quite different from anyone else's. That's what makes the folking world go round!!


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Subject: RE: Preference or Snobbish?
From: Art Thieme
Date: 02 Nov 08 - 08:35 PM


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Subject: RE: Preference or Snobbish?
From: Leadfingers
Date: 02 Nov 08 - 08:57 PM

What we like is 'Good Music' - What we dont like , (IF we are at all sensible) we avoid without calling it BAD music !


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Subject: RE: Preference or Snobbish?
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 02 Nov 08 - 11:27 PM

I'd like to point out that, in the movie "Songcatcher", the young ballad singer is, in fact, an opera singer. And the grandmotherly type was played by a professional comedienne.

As I said, whatever works.


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Subject: RE: Preference or Snobbish?
From: Bert
Date: 02 Nov 08 - 11:41 PM

Good comment Art!!!

I agree with Dick on this one, Whatever works.

What I can't stand is classical composers who get hold of a folk dance tune and bugger it up so's you can't dance to it. Nothing more frustrating than listening to a symphony orchestra playing a dance that you know and messing up the timing.

What often doesn't work (Llangollen organizers take note) is choirs who try to sing folk songs that sound better performed solo.

But generally, if anyone tries to sing a folk song, then all the best to them. Thanks for the effort at least.


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Subject: RE: Preference or Snobbish?
From: Escapee
Date: 03 Nov 08 - 12:15 AM

If music from other countries was only performed by people from those countries, Americans would be a quiet lot.


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Subject: RE: Preference or Snobbish?
From: Gurney
Date: 03 Nov 08 - 01:34 AM

I had an Irish pal who didn't like non-irish singers singing irish songs. Doesn't bother me, I am non-irish.
I will remark that some Irish singers make everything they sing sound Irish! Very much so.
At least one former folksinger is a successful light opera singer. She was a successful folksinger, too. And no, I've never heard an opera singer singing folksongs to my taste, but they enunciate so clearly that they are easy to get the words from! (In pre-Mudcat days it was sometimes difficult to get the words.)

I can sum up by saying the performance is more important to me than the ethnicity of the performer, but I do know people who differ from this position, and I respect their opinion, but I don't share it. And sometimes it amuses me to tease them.


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Subject: RE: Preference or Snobbish?
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 03 Nov 08 - 03:21 AM

Subject: RE: Preference or Snobbish?
From: Jack Campin - PM
Date: 02 Nov 08 - 07:16 PM

BTW, among opera singers, listen to Andreas Scholl singing folk. He really understands it.


You mean like This , Jack ?

Chacun a son gout, but it's not my tankard of glühwein ...


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Subject: RE: Preference or Snobbish?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 03 Nov 08 - 03:50 AM

"Would you not like an Irish tune played by someone who is not Irish ?"
Why not, if they make a good job of it?
Would you enjoy an Irish Song if sung by an American with an American accent or even just a couple of words that has wrong pronunciation?
However technically well a singer is performing a song, this never manages to convince me that they are into it - even an odd 'oirish' or 'mid-Atlantic word or phrase can jar.
Do you enjoy American Country Music sung with a false accent ?
Nope - sure don't pardner.
Should American Fiddle music only be played on a fiddle?
Why, if it transfers well enough?
Do you enjoy a Opera singer singing Folk Music?
Yes - as long as they don't pretend that the end product is folk music - Folk Songs of the Auvergne (is this the way this is spelt?)
Should a Copper Song be only enjoyed if sung with a Sussex accent?
Why - most/all of the Copper repertoire can be found elsewhere in the British Isles?
Should music of other countries only be performed or recorded by musicians from those countries?
Depends on how well researched and performed it is. American Stan Scott does a wonderful job on Bengali music - but he did study under masters of the art such as Kali Das Gupta.
In the end it boils down to belief and conviction. It is the job of the singer to convince the listener that he believes what the song is saying - can't really see how he/she can do so by adopting an accent that is not their own - unless they have mastered it to the extent that is becomes their second language.
Most attempts at an American or 'Oirish' accent I have heard are incredibly inept and don't belong anywhere in America or Ireland - and sound like it.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Preference or Snobbish?
From: GUEST,Black Hawk on works PC
Date: 03 Nov 08 - 03:52 AM

Should music of other countries only be performed or recorded by musicians from those countries?

Aren't some of these presuppositions leaning towards racism?

I dont care where a performer comes from - what matters is the end result.

If I like it - I like it!


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Subject: RE: Preference or Snobbish?
From: Tangledwood
Date: 03 Nov 08 - 04:06 AM

"Should music of other countries only be performed or recorded by musicians from those countries?"

A large percentage of the Australian population would have to give up singing if only allowed to do so in Pitinjarra, Yolgnu, Gumatj etc


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Subject: RE: Preference or Snobbish?
From: s&r
Date: 03 Nov 08 - 04:29 AM

The Andreas Scholl link IMO is spoiled more by the inserted 'H' than anything. My-y with two syllables and no H sounds better than My-Hi. Any singer should be able to sing two notes on one vowel sound without extra consonants. IMO.

Stu


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Subject: RE: Preference or Snobbish?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 03 Nov 08 - 04:36 AM

'Do you enjoy American Country Music sung with a false accent ?
Nope - sure don't pardner.'

jack hudson born in alvaston derbyshire was born to sing americana, surely as much pavarotti was born to sing opera. Deep resonant and god given, his voice is a glory of the English folk revival every bit as beautiful and significant as Fred Jordan's voice, or Martin carthy's guitar or john kirkpatrick's squeezebox. god forgive the dj's who never played him and the fetival organisers who never booked him. I never shall.
http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=aee4QQ9SDc0

When people like jack and I were kids - we had regional accents and middle class teachers made us moderate them. One bastard used to say to me, 'Oh whittle! We can't understand a single word you say, stand up in the hall and try and speak out to everybody and try to ENUNCIATE!'.

Nowadays we get lectures from middle class people telling us that its our lack of an English accent that makes us insignificant as artists. usually from types who live in places where they drink mineral water and read the Financial times.

you can't win with the middle classes. whatever they do is spiffing and important and whatever we try to express is bollocks.


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Subject: RE: Preference or Snobbish?
From: Wolfhound person
Date: 03 Nov 08 - 04:54 AM

"the sainted Kathleen Ferrier was crap at it" - Jack C

Oh thank goodness, someone else who thinks this. I've tried, but I just don't like it - and it's heresy to say so in public round here.
"Blow the wind southerly" gives me the heaves.

Paws


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Subject: RE: Preference or Snobbish?
From: Will Fly
Date: 03 Nov 08 - 05:03 AM

Kathleen Ferrier, who was a down-to-earth lass from the Lake District - not at all posh or snobbish - was great at singing lieder. However, I used to hear her singing "Blow The Wind Southerly" regularly on the radio in the '50s, and hated it. I still hate it, and it makes me cringe as well. It's nearly as bad as Kiri Te Kanawa and José Carreras trying to sing "South Pacific". They have fantastic voices, but they just don't bring the "wherewithal" to the show tunes. Compare Mary Martin to KTK singing "I'm Gonna Wash That Man Right Out Of My Hair". QED.


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Subject: RE: Preference or Snobbish?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 03 Nov 08 - 05:11 AM

Can't do YouTube at the moment so that link was lost on me - maybe Scholl screws up sometimes. He didn't when I heard him. (Whereas I think I've heard all of Ferrier's folk recordings and can't stand a single one of them - egomaniac over-expression all the way through).

: What I can't stand is classical composers who get hold of a folk dance tune
: and bugger it up so's you can't dance to it.

It's pretty common for folk bands (especially of the "Celtic" persuasion) to do that too. The difference is that the classical composer isn't pretending to write functional music or to be simply part of the tradition - the folkdance tune is raw material, transformed into something else entirely.

One kind of classical music that did that a lot was pibroch. Some pibrochs are variation sets on enormously slowed-down and rhythmically twisted versions of dance tunes. No way could anybody dance to the result. Are you saying those pieces shouldn't exist?


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Subject: RE: Preference or Snobbish?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 03 Nov 08 - 05:39 AM

Millions of people really like Kathleen Ferrier singing that song. Why is anything that is accessible to non card carrying folkies is so sick making.

Judged from how often it appeared on two way family favourites - the song seemed to have significance to a lot of service personnel who were separated from family and home.

That recording of the unusual contralto voice was something to stop you in your tracks, it wound its way into the national psyche for many years.

Do you really see a time when the street will be thronged with people singing Lovely Joan or All Things are Quite silent? When is folk music going to meet the folk?


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Subject: RE: Preference or Snobbish?
From: GUEST,Kevin Parker
Date: 03 Nov 08 - 05:55 AM

Hi Al
Just love the Jack Hudson track. That's a hell of a voice! Sounds like its been carved from oak.
Going to listen to more of Jack's stuff.
cheers
KP


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Subject: RE: Preference or Snobbish?
From: Alan Day
Date: 03 Nov 08 - 08:41 AM

Black Hawk the presuppositions are based on some recent or past comments they are in no way racist and were never intended to be.
I am interested in peoples likes and dislikes and if if possible the reasons why they dislike a recording is it purely because of music preference or are they just snobbish about their music, or possibly just pronunciation differences as has been mentioned.Gurney's friend for example does not like anyone other than Irish singing his country's songs,this is not a rare example.Some musicians and singers outside of Ireland do possibly more research into singing and playing of Irish music than many of the Irish that perform it and the same goes for music from other countries.
I must admit that I much preferred The Three Tenors singing Opera than their later follow up singing popular songs,but that was only my preference.
The Copper song example I used because there are a few singers that have no accent off stage, but adopt one whilst singing.Why I am not sure,perhaps they feel it is a more authentic sound.
Al


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Subject: RE: Preference or Snobbish?
From: Will Fly
Date: 03 Nov 08 - 08:58 AM

I can see where you're coming from, Alan. Depending on what is sung, singers in the folk idiom (or any other idiom, for that matter), do have to make choices sometimes as to what puts the song across in the best way. For example, I like to sing Gus Elen's "A Nice Quiet Day", which is a very funny music-hall song about a working-class cockney's day out with his family all over London. Part of the humour and a large part of the atmosphere of this song is Elen's very Dickensian cockney accent and the pronunciation of certain words. I'm no cockney, but it would not sound as effective if sung in any other way than Elen's - so I have to assume the accent and intonation as far as I can. Which I think I've managed to do. If I sing music-hall songs by, say, George Formby Senior, then I can do them in my more-or-less native Lancashire - and make 'em sound as they should. For the same reasons.


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Subject: RE: Preference or Snobbish?
From: GUEST,Black Hawk on Works PC
Date: 03 Nov 08 - 09:07 AM

'they are in no way racist and were never intended to be'

Maybe they were not intended to be but certain ones are :-

'Would you not like an Irish tune played by someone who is not Irish ?'
'Should music of other countries only be performed or recorded by musicians from those countries?'


These are both based on race / nationality rather than musical ability, likes / dislikes.

I accept they were not intended but that doesnt alter the fact.

Following the thread concerning a comment about Dick Miles, I find these comments more racist than a throwaway remark by a female attendee.


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Subject: RE: Preference or Snobbish?
From: Alan Day
Date: 03 Nov 08 - 10:24 AM

Very clever Black Hawk you quote two sentences of my suggestions without putting in the introduction that proceeded them.
I suggest you look elsewhere for a racist if that's what you are on the look out for.
Al


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Subject: RE: Preference or Snobbish?
From: GUEST,Black Hawk on Works PC
Date: 03 Nov 08 - 10:49 AM

Sorry Alan - the introduction 'Is it Music preference or just snobbery if a performance is well sung and well played that it is not liked for other reasons?I will suggest a few examples and I expect you may come up with more.' I do not see as altering my view. Music preference or snobbery has nothing to do with nationality.
I might not like a scottish singer singing an English song because his accent sounds wrong to me. That is preference.
To not like him because he is a Scot is racist.

I do not want to get into a 'slanging match' here.
Just stating my opinion which I have as much right to express as yourself.
Just one example. (not folk I know)
Lonnie Donegan took a lot of American originated material, Tom Dooley, Lost John, John Henry, Big Grand Coulee Dam etc. & popularised a new style of music – skiffle.
Some I like, some I don't but I believe we would have missed out on a mass of enjoyment if he had been banned from singing them because he was British.

And I have not called you racist just pointed out that those 2 suggestions were ill-phrased!


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Subject: RE: Preference or Snobbish?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 03 Nov 08 - 10:56 AM

I like neither opera nor jazz but don't conider it bad music. I just don't understand it and that is purely down to me. At the folk club, blues do not to too much for me and I find Irish sesions get a bit too much for me after a while. Scottish or English dance however I could listen too for hours while I know it leaves a lot of people cold. Wouldn't life be boring if we were all the same!

I loved the Andreas Scholl clip for all the wrong reasons. I was in fits of giggles already when I realised the falsetto bits were just like the Black Adder theme music from the Elisabethan series. Then when he pronounces 'pony' as 'ponny' I had visions of an old Steptoe Sketch where Albert kept pronoucing Polo Ponies as Polloponnies. I know I shouldn't laugh as I guess, by his sname, English is not his first language but I am an evil bastard at times... :-D

Cheers

DeG


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Subject: RE: Preference or Snobbish?
From: Brian Peters
Date: 03 Nov 08 - 11:47 AM

Musicians are always up for a challenge, and often find themselves enjoying 'foreign' music so much that they feel compelled to have a crack at it. Where would the world's musical culture be if everyone had stuck strictly to the music of their immediate neighbourhood? No Tex-Mex (European polkas meet Latin harmonies and rhythms), to name but one. 200-year-old English manuscripts tell us that musicians back then were more than happy to play Scots, Irish and European tunes, a bit of classical, or whatever took their fancy. One of Sharon Shannon's best-known pieces is a Tex-mex tune she learned from a Quebecois band.

It's true that there are endless examples of people making a terrible hash of music they've never taken the trouble to understand. Style is an important part of traditional music - it's not just dots on a page that anyone can sight-read. On the other hand, there are people who are not part of, say, the Irish diaspora who have studied that music sufficiently closely to play it well; English fiddlers and banjo players who have gone deeply into the North American old-timey tradition and jam as equals with the masters in the Appalachians; one of the best Cajun accordeon players I've come across is a Dutchman - Wim Nachtigall. If you've been raised in a particular musical culture you have a head start, which is why many people like to hear Irish music played by Irish musicians. But that doesn't mean that 'outsiders' can't do it just as well, if they've immersed themselves in it.

Playing music on the 'wrong' instrument is another kind of challenge. I'm sure Alan enjoys hearing Jody Kruskal play Appalachian fiddle tunes on anglo-concertina, for instance, and the accordeon, now such an integral part of Cajun music, was once an interloper.

Quite apart from all of the above, 'doing it wrong', even horribly inappropriately, is one of the ways music evolves.


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Subject: RE: Preference or Snobbish?
From: George Papavgeris
Date: 03 Nov 08 - 12:01 PM

One needs to recognise that the work that has gone into creating a tune or song (whether by "anon" or by a known composer), and the work that goes into performing it are both creative efforts. The end result will be a product of both, and both need to work for the result to be pleasing. Though the performer, coming later chronologically, has the final word in many ways, and can bugger up a decent piece, or elevate a mediocre one.

It would be wrong to hamstring any performer with rules about how to, and how not to, perform a piece. They must be given free reign in applying their own creativity to it, and they ought to be judged by the result, not by its adherence to rules.

By the way, I would include "dansability" (is there such a word?) in the rules that can be ignored, if the performer so chooses. Why not take a jig and slow it down in order to create a different effect? Or take a morris tune and speed it up, if this works musically?

Nobody is obliged to like the result, one is free to judge its merits according to their personal taste - and no one's taste can be an absolute measure. Majority taste decides commercial success, sure, but individual taste is enough to praise a performance.

Crossovers can be interesting. Pipe tunes are often played to great advantage on a hurdy-gurdy, and fiddle tunes on a tinwhistle. I asked Vicki Swan to play on smallpipes a riff written for (Greek) bouzouki, and you know what - it worked! I love some of the older North-Eastern (UK) songs, like "Oh, you are a mucky kid", but can't do them in their "home" accent or style; no worries, I found that the Epirus singing style suits them also. And so on.

Perhaps in this melting pot process we sacrifice some sort of purity, one might argue. I would counter that with the many benefits that the new blends can offer, the surprising new combinations and the creation of new, previously impossible to construct, music. As for the original versions, they need not disappear, in this age of multiple media choices for their preservation.

But even as we preserve the old (and I am all for it), let's also allow the freedom of expression to move us to new creative vistas.


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Subject: RE: Preference or Snobbish?
From: Will Fly
Date: 03 Nov 08 - 12:05 PM

I was just imagining Leon Redbone's "She Ain't Rose" being sung in a George Formby style and accent - works for me!


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Subject: RE: Preference or Snobbish?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 03 Nov 08 - 12:09 PM

When we were on Rhodes some years ago we attended a touristy 'traditional' Greek do. I asked the bazouki player if he spoke English.

'Not realy' he replied 'Ahm frum Bradfud'...

:D


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Subject: RE: Preference or Snobbish?
From: George Papavgeris
Date: 03 Nov 08 - 12:16 PM

Yes, I heard they can't grow them fast enough on Rhodes, and have resorted to importing... 8-)


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Subject: RE: Preference or Snobbish?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 03 Nov 08 - 12:30 PM

When opera singers sing folk songs it often seems that their priority is the musical sound rather than the sense of the song. That can apply to other singers, of course. That's why it often doesn't work too well.
........................................

As has been pointed out, typically when Irish singers sing songs from other countries, they tend to make them sound Irish, and I think that's generally the right way to deal with songs from other countries.

What is a bit daft is when you have a song like that, which in fact comes from some other tradition, but is sung in Ireland, and they put on an Irish accent for the occasion. For example, Hard Times.


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Subject: RE: Preference or Snobbish?
From: Alan Day
Date: 03 Nov 08 - 12:49 PM

George you mention danceability (another spelling mistake?)there are some of course that will not enjoy a tune unless it is strict tempo,but one of the joys of playing a musical instrument is to play about with rhythms as you suggest.
Thanks for the laugh D
Al


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Subject: RE: Preference or Snobbish?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 03 Nov 08 - 01:46 PM

"What is a bit daft is when you have a song like that, which in fact comes from some other tradition, but is sung in Ireland, and they put on an Irish accent for the occasion. For example, Hard Times.

Reading that through it comes across as possibly ambiguous. What I mean is, when someone who is not Irish puts on an Irish accent to sing a song that isn't in fact Irish.
.........................

I'm imagining George Formby's Leaning on a Lamp post being sung in a voice from London or Ireland or Australia, and it sounds fine.


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Subject: RE: Preference or Snobbish?
From: GUEST,folk_fan
Date: 03 Nov 08 - 02:10 PM

Here's another question to expand on this topic: Should a performer
be judged based on what he or she does in his or her personal life?
Should that determine whether or not you enjoy their music?


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Subject: RE: Preference or Snobbish?
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 03 Nov 08 - 02:45 PM

"When opera singers sing folk songs it often seems that their priority is the musical sound rather than the sense of the song. That can apply to other singers, of course."

How does one who has sung soprano in church choirs most of adult life, lose that formal almost polished sound and adopt a more folk sound?

I tend to pitch songs lower and lower which makes my voice a bit more folkie and unfortunately gravelly. But I do this out of fear that if I start to high, I will end up sounding like I did singing hymns and solos in church . I try to imitate other English folk singers as much as possible. But irritatingly, the Virginia way of pronouncing certain long vowel songs like I and A still seems to come through when I am attempting English folk .

Any tips would be gratefully apprecitated.

Should I start a new thread with this question or is it a viable tangent of the current one?


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Subject: RE: Preference or Snobbish?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 03 Nov 08 - 02:56 PM

I don't think it's the polished sound that's the problem, nothing wrong with clean notes and clear articulation. It's the things that make it sound as if the meaning of the words is secondary, technical tricks I imagine (I don't know enough about what they are doing), changing vowels to give a fuller sound and that kind of thing.

And there are characteristics of traditional singing which I believe are seen as unacceptable by classical teachers, who fail to recognise that they may be very important tools in communicating the sense of a song.

It's not a matter of accents as such - if you've got a Virginia accent, sing the songs in a Virginia accent.


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Subject: RE: Preference or Snobbish?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 03 Nov 08 - 07:14 PM

How does one who has sung soprano in church choirs most of adult life, lose that formal almost polished sound?

The 'folk sound', for me, is the sound of the speaking voice - if you can't hear your speaking voice within the notes you're singing, it's probably too polished.

McGrath: if you've got a Virginia accent, sing the songs in a Virginia accent

Seconded. Affecting an accent will just give you one more thing to worry about. Keeping up an accent is like painting a wall, you need to make sure every word is covered - the best accent in the world will sound terrible if you miss a couple of syllables.

The other thing about accents is that they're complicated. When I hear people affecting an 'American' singing voice (which happens all too often, even on echt English material) I always wonder where that particular accent would actually be from (Florida? Oregon? Scranton, PA?) In your shoes I'd be worried about ending up with an equally non-specific 'English' singing accent.


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Subject: RE: Preference or Snobbish?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 03 Nov 08 - 08:01 PM

"Would you not like an Irish tune played by someone who is not Irish ?"
I don't like Irish anyway. But no, the Irish do them best.


"Would you enjoy an Irish Song if sung by an American with an American accent or even just a couple of words that has wrong pronunciation?"
Do you mean a song in the English language? He should sing it in his English language. If it is Gaelich, then unless he speaks gaelic he should not sing it at all.

"Do you enjoy American Country Music sung with a false accent ?"
I hate it anyway. It is less intolerable if sung by those from that tradition.

"Should American Fiddle music only be played on a fiddle?"
No. Choice of instrumnt is up to performer. I will hate it if they choose banjo tuba trombone or grand piano anyway (without limitation) - but set-neck distortion pedal might be fun.

"Do you enjoy a Opera singer singing Folk Music?"
If they sing it like opera - no. If they sing it as a folk song (Jon Loomes was an opera singer once) yes.

"Should a Copper Song be only enjoyed if sung with a Sussex accent?"
Don't be stupid, singers are musicians not impersonators.

"Should music of other countries only be performed or recorded by musicians from those countries?"
Yes. Only they have the linkage to the subject matter/stylistic tricks - the instinct that enables most modern westerners to hear 4/4 but not 7/8 or 9/8 yet many from East Mediterranean cultures to hear "odd number" rhythms but not 4/4.
Transmogrifying a tune or a song is different, and very very occasionally a tune or a song may leap into life in a new culture - as Guantanamera and Kumbaya did in the USA in the 50s/60s - crossing the border into white America.


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Subject: RE: Preference or Snobbish?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 03 Nov 08 - 08:06 PM

Whatever music you play is by definition a music of the country you belong to, because it's you who are playing it.

Tunes, songs, instruments and instrumental styles can move freely across frontiers and oceans, and always have.


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Subject: RE: Preference or Snobbish?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 03 Nov 08 - 08:39 PM

ah! that would explain it, we've been transmogrified! they must have done it when we were asleep.


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Subject: RE: Preference or Snobbish?
From: Rowan
Date: 03 Nov 08 - 10:29 PM

Is it Music preference or just snobbery if a performance is well sung and well played that it is not liked for other reasons?
I'm sure there is a context to Alan's questions that is not being brought to our attention but, for what they're worth, I offer some comments.

Would you not like an Irish tune played by someone who is not Irish ?
I'm one of the few (in the 40s) Australians with absolutely no Irish in my ancestry but I play Irish tunes, many of which have been thoroughly Australianised, along with their English, Scottish, American, Italian, Greek, Lebanese and Turkish counterparts, listed in approximate chronological order of "naturalisation". There's even a few Russian and Balkan tunes in there as I like them too, as well as play them. My friends haven't (yet) objected to me playing them and they've been gracious enough to ask me to play them so I do.

Would you enjoy an Irish Song if sung by an American with an American accent or even just a couple of words that has wrong pronunciation?
We have lots of Irish songs sung here, even by people from Ireland with a distinctly Irish accent. Most people who sing them do so with their own accent and are appreciated for it, irrespective of correctness of petty detail.

Do you enjoy American Country Music sung with a false accent ?
The concept of "a false accent" is interesting. I've heard false Oz accents, false oirish accents, false Scottish accents and even a few false French accents. None of them seems to have damaged American Country Music beyond repair, not even the Canadians; hang on, they're American too (as are the Mexicans, Peruvians, Chileans and Argentinians).
Should American Fiddle music only be played on a fiddle?

Do you enjoy a Opera singer singing Folk Music?
I've heard singers who started off in genres that aren't opera (even folk music) sing lieder and arias with some credit, and vice versa and it was always the calibre of the performance that determined my response rather than any other notions. Singers of lieder and arias have several advantages over most of the rest of us folkies. They're taught proper techniques of projection and how to look after your instrument. They're also taught how to pronounce words properly, although some of them forget in the excitement of getting into character and the emotional intensity of the moment (much like some folkies); this means (as someone earlier mentioned) that it can be easier to pick up words from them than from someone breathing heavily into a mic while soulfully mumbling, even in their native accent.

Should a Copper Song be only enjoyed if sung with a Sussex accent?
It was some years after I first heard Copper Family songs that I first heard anyone from the Copper Family singing them and they were all sung with Australian accents. Even so, we all seemed to enjoy them, sometimes to the point of learning and singing them ourselves.

Should music of other countries only be performed or recorded by musicians from those countries?
If this proposition were followed, what music would the musicians' Australian-born offspring be legitimately able to play? Surely they must be allowed to play their parents' music? The research indicates that the music of immigrant performers changes significantly over the individual musician's lifetime, even in as little as a decade. I can remember Australian Macedonians being surprised that nonMacedonians should want to learn Macedonian tunes, songs and dances and then being even more surprised that some of the nonMacedonians were every bit as proficient as their sources.

So, I can't answer Alan's question whether there is only preference involved or whether snobbery is tainting the perceptions of the people around him. Perhaps the fact that I am surrounded by a successfully integrated multicultural community has biassed my own perceptions. I'm not sure of Alan's context but there are some communities where "multiculturalism" is honoured more in the breach than the observance and there are others where the term is treated with distaste rather than a welcome. I suspect responses would be affected by such variations in context.

But I admit to some irritation when I hear Australian Country Music songs being sung, in an accent thought to be from the US, by Australians who don't even have a passport.

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: Preference or Snobbish?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 04 Nov 08 - 02:38 AM

Pip (and McGrath of Harlow)
"The 'folk sound', for me, is the sound of the speaking voice"
This can't be said too often - that's exactly what it is.
Most of the older singers, from whom we all got our songs (and should have got our information - but didn't) pitched their voices more-or-less around their speaking tones - they sang as they spoke. They also tended to sing in speech patterns, not breaking up words, taking the breath in the appropriate places (where state-of-health allowed) so that the songs came out as pieces of continuous narrative. Virtually all the older singers that we interviewed made it clear that they considered themselves storytellers whose stories came with a tune. In the west of Ireland they talk about 'telling a song' rather than singing it.
This does not mean that you can't enjoy an opera singer singing folk songs - it just means you have to listen to it with a different ear - with a different set of values. I quite like classical singing - as music, not as narrative (most of the operas are written in languages I don't understand anyway). Try reading through and enjoying a libretto as a story - I've never been able to. On the other hand, Peter Pears' rendition of 'The Lyke Wake Dirge' can make the hairs on the back of my neck bristle - as music.
The objective of the classical composer is different from that of the anonymous song makers - whoever they were; listen to the orchestral compositions.
George Butterworth's beautiful, rich, gentle, sweeping, all-embracing 'Banks of Green Willow - is about a woman made pregnant, cast adrift in an open boat and drowned along with her newborn baby. Vaughan Williams' extremely lyrical 4th Norfolk Rhapsody is based on a song which tells of a ship's apprentice abused, tortured and finally beaten to death by a sadistic sea captain. As I said - different objectives.
By the way; these (extremely interesting and thought-provoking) threads only work if you leave out terms like 'snobbish' and the particularly disturbing 'racist'; in my experience people who prefer one approach to another do so as a matter of taste - not because they secretly want to burn a cross on your lawn.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Preference or Snobbish?
From: Alan Day
Date: 04 Nov 08 - 04:07 AM

Richard you say that "singers are musicians and not impersonators"and yet only a few postings before you we have Will Fly doing George Formby impersonations.I mentioned American Country music as just about everyone who sings it uses a Southern American accent that is surely impersonation?
I am involved Rowan with International recordings that I have been working on for the last three years ,about one year to go.I have been interested in the feedback and response to some of the recordings.There is an interesting difference between what is liked in America,Ireland and the UK.What is really enjoyed in America can be disliked in Ireland and the UK and visa versa.Irish players of course are accepted in the UK and in the USA, but Irish music played by non Irish players outside of Ireland is sometimes not accepted.I must admit to not having much information on Irish reaction only "You would not hear that in a pub in Ireland".In a very small poll of reaction it is possible to gauge what a global response would be.Not accurately, but at least get a good idea.
There is a hidden agenda to my posting and the answers have almost exactly come out as I expected.
Thanks
Alan


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Subject: RE: Preference or Snobbish?
From: Will Fly
Date: 04 Nov 08 - 04:22 AM

Alan Day: we have Will Fly doing George Formby impersonations

Well, not strictly true. If I sing a George Formby (Senior) music hall song, I sing it in a Lancashire accent (not a "George Formby-style" Lancashire accent) - which is one of the accents I acquired naturally as a child. I'm not trying consciously to "impersonate" the music hall artist himself, just put the song over in the style appropriate to it. It would be problematical to sing it, for example, with a cockney accent (supposing I could do the accent) as the humour and style of his songs is essentially Lancastrian. There is a difference. And I don't sing George Formby (Junior) songs - very funny though they are - in public.

As for hidden agendas, makes you appear to be (as we used to say in Lancashire) a bit of a clever-clogs.


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Subject: RE: Preference or Snobbish?
From: Will Fly
Date: 04 Nov 08 - 04:23 AM

'Scuse the constant italics in the previous post - forgot the 'end italic' marker...


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Subject: RE: Preference or Snobbish?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 04 Nov 08 - 07:50 AM

There is a hidden agenda to my posting and the answers have almost exactly come out as I expected.

So, you was not really asking the questions you posted? You were just playing us for suckers for some covert purpose known only to you? Thanks a bunch, pal. We all know how to respond to your posts in the future!

DeG


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Subject: RE: Preference or Snobbish?
From: Will Fly
Date: 04 Nov 08 - 07:55 AM

So, you was not really asking the questions you posted? You were just playing us for suckers for some covert purpose known only to you? Thanks a bunch, pal. We all know how to respond to your posts in the future!

My thoughts exactly, DeG!


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Subject: RE: Preference or Snobbish?
From: Alan Day
Date: 04 Nov 08 - 09:56 AM

DeG I would not have posted the questions if I was not interested in the answers.I also though it was an interesting topic for discussion and that is also why I posted it.Thirdly just because the answers in general agreed with my thoughts on the subject and I posted it ,there is no reason for you to suggest that I am taking anyone as suckers.
Will please accept my apologies I misunderstood your George Formby posting and I should not have used you as an example in reply to the posting.
Al


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Subject: RE: Preference or Snobbish?
From: Big Mick
Date: 04 Nov 08 - 10:04 AM

You folks are making my head hurt.......... again!!!!

This thread is a straight forward attempt to address some issues that pop up. Why the need to turn it to something else? Alan isn't a controversial figure. He simply asked a series of questions. Stop already.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Preference or Snobbish?
From: Will Fly
Date: 04 Nov 08 - 10:09 AM

Will please accept my apologies I misunderstood your George Formby posting and I should not have used you as an example in reply to the posting.
Al


Al - no worries!

Will


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Subject: RE: Preference or Snobbish?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 04 Nov 08 - 10:32 AM

Mick - Much as I love your posts and your sensible arguments, Alan has already come out an said he has a 'hidden agenda', making it far from the 'straight forward attempt to address some issues' that you suggest. Just read it in his own words -

There is a hidden agenda to my posting and the answers have almost exactly come out as I expected.

OK, Alan - I mut say that the having us for suckers was a bit OTT and for that I apologise. I do however feel that you have cheated somehow and unless we are all aware what this 'hiden agenda' is I, for one, will feel like I have been taken for a ride.

Come on, man, out with it! You know confession is good for the soul:-)

Cheers

DeG


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Subject: RE: Preference or Snobbish?
From: Alan Day
Date: 04 Nov 08 - 10:59 AM

Thanks Big Mick for your support and to you Will for your reply.
David e G I tried to explain earlier that I am involved with a project involving International recordings.I will explain it further I have been collecting Archive and current recordings of concertina players to show the versatility of each concertina system.Anglo and English so far.
These recordings come from all over the World and involve artists from as many countries as I can find interesting players USA,Ireland,Spain,Canada ,Denmark,South Africa,UK and for this current project Duet the list goes on to other countries. These artists are invited to submit recordings for approval,the quality of playing is not set by me, but by the standard of what we receive.Although the final choice of what is included is not down to me I do submit the recordings for consideration.I take very seriously the responsibility of including an artists recording that may get heavily criticised and if they are professional musicians their livelihood.I quickly add that so far I have received no payment for this work it is done for my love of the concertina and many good friends that play them.I am therefore interested in reaction,what is liked and what is disliked, both here and abroad.I make use of the information ,yes,but I also find it interesting.
This is my hidden agenda. There are no suckers involved or sought.
Al


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Subject: RE: Preference or Snobbish?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 04 Nov 08 - 11:02 AM

Why make it a hidden agenda then? What would have been so wrong with sayong that in the first place? Why the secrecy? I really do not understand.

DeG
(Anglo Concertina - Only play the secret music of the Gnomes)


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Subject: RE: Preference or Snobbish?
From: Alan Day
Date: 04 Nov 08 - 12:41 PM

I was more interested in the discussion David,the information that came out of the discussion was secondary.
Alan


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Subject: RE: Preference or Snobbish?
From: Will Fly
Date: 04 Nov 08 - 01:14 PM

Alan - were you involved in the 3-CD set "Anglo Concertina"? I have it and it's a great set. I'm a complete novice on the concertina, but I like what I hear, and it's a real eye-opener.


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Subject: RE: Preference or Snobbish?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 04 Nov 08 - 01:38 PM

I'd think it'd be a lot less likely for these kinds of complications to arise in relation to instrumental music than to singing.

In a sense there are equivalents to regional and national accents when it comes to instrumental techniques - but I've rarely come across the suggestion that there's anything inappropriate in adopting "foreign" ways of playing, whereas I have come across that attitude in relation to singing.

It occurs that there are two possible sources of those kind of criticisms - one is the idea that a kind of stealing is involved when someone trespasses into the special territory of another culture. And I think that is completely misguided.

The other source has a lot more going for it - this is the sense that doing this can mean a failure to make use of the riches of the singer's own native traditions, especially where these are neglected and threatened traditions.

I don't think it's an all or nothing business. In practice what often seems to happen is that people who started by adopting wholesale a foreign musical tradition end up by exploring and developing the traditions of their own country or region.


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Subject: RE: Preference or Snobbish?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 04 Nov 08 - 01:51 PM

So it seems that Alan it doing something like the Planet Squeezebox project, and that completely changes the way we have to interpret his questions.

If the point of the project is to document the way the concertina is played in various parts of the world, then NO WAY is a German or Australian player of Irish music in a position to play for Ireland. Whereas an Irish player whose repertoire is mainly Scottish or English would be. An Irish player who had emigrated to the US after more or less freezing their style and repertoire could be put in either the American or Irish bag.

Starting out from what promises to be something like weelitledrummer's "nobody likes me, everybody hates me, think I'll go and eat worms" position is not a good way to be taken seriously.


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Subject: RE: Preference or Snobbish?
From: Y_Not
Date: 04 Nov 08 - 01:51 PM

Music and songs are a way to communicate to other folk, like any art form.

"Everone is influenced by everybody but you bring it down home the way you like it" Thelonious Monk.


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Subject: RE: Preference or Snobbish?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 04 Nov 08 - 02:24 PM

I was more interested in the discussion David,the information that came out of the discussion was secondary.

Ahhhhhh - I get it now. It is not a hidden agenda. Just that the information that came out was useful in a secondary way. Apologies for not understanding that. In my book a hidden agenda is something that is kept secret for a purpose, usualy nefarious, initialy undisclosed to the second party.

If I was to ask, for instance, what your views on a new film were, knowing that you hated it and I could then start an argument, my hidden agenda would be to start a fight.

Please be careful when using such expressions to people who are not equiped to know that you actualay meant something else. Us Gnomes are not gods you know!

Cheers

DeG


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Subject: RE: Preference or Snobbish?
From: Alan Day
Date: 04 Nov 08 - 05:59 PM

Jack I do not see why you consider that by me not mentioning a concertina project it alters the discussion.If I decided to do another instrument after finishing concertina's the same questions of music and singing preferences apply.It is specifically why I did not mention it.
If any musician on this site issues a CD of their music and it is available Worldwide then I would have thought that a general view of possibly what to expect would be useful.The discussion has been fairly short so far, but if you read the comments about the music and singing it is quite interesting.It certainly has been for me and I appreciate most of the comments that have been expressed and I hope they continue.
In general the Anglo and English collections have been very well received Worldwide with excellent reviews ,but I do take notice of some of the comments,criticisms and suggestions that I have received World wide.Some of the decisions that have had to be made,(luckily not by me), are included in my introduction to this discussion.
The process of collating these collections (3CDs for each collection)requires a vast amount of communication I will try and do better DeG.
Al


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Subject: RE: Preference or Snobbish?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 04 Nov 08 - 06:12 PM

Kathleen Ferrier singing that collection of folk songs on the BBC recordings is just wonderful. The clear, strong voice rings out beautifully, either unaccompanied or with gentle and sympathetic piano accompaniment. The taste is impeccable. If you're professing not to like this, ask yourself honestly whether it's just because she somehow doesn't tick your folk boxes. Good music is good music and this is good music. To hell with the naysayers, who needn't have naysaid at all.


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Subject: RE: Preference or Snobbish?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 04 Nov 08 - 07:13 PM

Jack I do not see why you consider that by me not mentioning a concertina project it alters the discussion.

It seems pretty obvious to me. If you're recording something that's going to be perceived as "the way they play in country X", then of course the nationality of the player matters as well as the nationality of the repertoire - and it matters far more than it would if we were just chatting about what we like to listen to.


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Subject: RE: Preference or Snobbish?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 04 Nov 08 - 07:22 PM

Jack I do not see why you consider that by me not mentioning a concertina project it alters the discussion.

Because it seemed from what you said that you were trying to document the geographical variations in concertina playing, the way Planet Squeezebox did. In which case the only consideration is where the players are performing - if there's a volume that purports to be about concertina playing in Ireland, then somebody playing Irish music in the US doesn't belong there, even if they spent their entire previous life in Ireland and just got off the plane in the US the day before.

Instead you fired off a series of questions with extremely negative presuppositions, each one of which has been the start of interminably tedious discussions here. In effect you were blackmailing us to agree with you or be drowned in verbiage. Fuck that, if you want to classify anyone who might give the answers you don't like as a "snob" then I'm happy to be one. Rather that than a manipulator.

And re Steve Shaw's message: another classical singer I've heard do an English-language folksong well was Rita Streich. The difference was that she was genuinely witty, with comic timing that underlined the words perfectly. She did NOT just use the song as a medium for showing off her tone as your "clear, strong voice rings out beautifully" describes. There is a lot more to it than that. (Streich's accent wasn't native-speaker perfect, but so what - she got nearer to one kind of Scots accent than Ferrier did to any kind of Northumbrian in her most famous number).


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Subject: RE: Preference or Snobbish?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 04 Nov 08 - 08:44 PM

Jack, try listening to something other than Blow The Wind Southerly. All those qualities of wit, warmth and timing are there in spades. I care not a jot about what accent she sang in. I hadn't even thought about it 'til you mentioned it. She is clearly just not to your taste, which is fine. I don't suppose she classed herself for one minute as a folk singer. Had she been able to read this thread it would have been one second. Heaven preserve us from English folkies with their heads up their bums!


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Subject: RE: Preference or Snobbish?
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 04 Nov 08 - 08:49 PM

Well that's as it maybe but what about Obama?????????????????????


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Subject: RE: Preference or Snobbish?
From: Rowan
Date: 04 Nov 08 - 09:10 PM

I am involved, Rowan, with International recordings that I have been working on for the last three years, about one year to go. I have been interested in the feedback and response to some of the recordings. There is an interesting difference between what is liked in America,Ireland and the UK. What is really enjoyed in America can be disliked in Ireland and the UK and visa versa. Irish players of course are accepted in the UK and in the USA, but Irish music played by non Irish players outside of Ireland is sometimes not accepted.

and

I will explain it further. I have been collecting Archive and current recordings of concertina players to show the versatility of each concertina system. Anglo and English so far. These recordings come from all over the World and involve artists from as many countries as I can find interesting players USA,Ireland,Spain,Canada ,Denmark,South Africa,UK and for this current project Duet the list goes on to other countries.

Alan, I now realise why your name rang a distant bell in my memory; I now recall various threads to do with the concertina project(s).

I suppose I'm a bit let down that your "hidden agenda" remained hidden and required a bit of back and forth before it became clear but, that's life. I have a couple of other responses that, to me, seem relevant. When you say Irish players of course are accepted in the UK and in the USA, but Irish music played by non Irish players outside of Ireland is sometimes not accepted a host of thoughts crowd in.

Irish music was played in Oz for a long time by players who were no longer Irish and, in some cases, never had been. Some of the sources for the songs/tunes/music had been Irish but much had been brought here by nonIrish. While the Clare decorations might have been rubbed off in shearers' quarters and mining camps (and thus been deprecated by "the real Irish") they have been a vital part of the Oz music scene, even for Johnny-come-lately Anglo players like myself.

Then, in the early 1970s, we got hit by the Irish music tsunami; mostly instrumental tunes. Even I made a (quite short) pilgrimage to Clare to soak up the music. Both the Clare locals and the London Irish insisted that I play for them and were kind in their encouragement (and lack of deprecation) for a relative beginner from so far away. BUt the situation in Oz changed quite rapidly after I returned.

Lots of Oz players had stayed much longer in Ireland and, when they returned, their playing showed they had learned an enormous amount. AT first, after their return, when they joined in the sessions, the tunes we had all started out as beginners would be welcomed and they'd join in when some visitor like me started an old familiar. Over about 12 months this changed and the old familiars were no longer welcomed as much; some "session-owners" would even play over the top of such tunes. It got to the stage where, if the tune you played wasn't the very latest reel from Clare you'd be ignored. Very cliquey, and not my scene at all. I haven't seen such behaviour among players of English, Scottish, US, Canadian or Oz music/styles but I may have just been lucky.

Fortunately, there are lots of opportunities where newcomers and beginners, who may or may not be entranced by the Clare style (you could substitute other counties' styles) are given a fair suck of the sauce bottle and even encouraged; that's usually where you'll find me.

Another aspect of international music came to mind from your post and it seemed relevant. 25 or so years ago I was involved (very peripherally) with a UNESCO project that intended to collect music from various countries and release the collections under respective nationality headings. It was made quite clear to us that, as far as UNESCO was concerned, the only music that qualified as Australian, involved didgeridu, clapsticks and/or voices. Leaving aside the ethnographic limitations such a restriction placed on Indigenous music, nothing from nonindigenous musicians was to be countenanced; to UNESCO, such music was not Australian. Indigenous people performing "nonIndigenous" music wasn't of interest to UNESCO either. Needless to say, I lost interest at that point, even though I had some interests in aspects Aboriginal music.

I'm not sure how those memories fit into your agenda but you're welcome to them.

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: Preference or Snobbish?
From: Alan Day
Date: 05 Nov 08 - 03:50 AM

Pip Radish ,it was the chatting about what you and others liked to listen to that I was interested in,the concertina aspect I thought would narrow the subject down and it is doing just that.It may be a boring subject, but the information is interesting.
Someone like me learning another countries music from scratch and others around the World can produce very interesting and acceptable recordings.I have some and there are some in the International series
Is the music and performance no matter how good accepted in those countries or rejected? The recordings in countries other than where the music originated is accepted and enjoyed.The discussion on Opera is an example of differences in taste some will love a performance others will hate it.The performance and the accompaniment is second to none so why is it rejected ?
I will certainly think long and very hard about starting another discussion here,some seem dedicated to break them up, or lose their temper on every subject put forward for discussion.
I have now been accused of Blackmail added to writing racist remarks,stupidity etc just for putting a topic for discussion.
In amongst these posters are most who like genuine discussion held in a friendly manner and for that I thank you.
Al


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Subject: RE: Preference or Snobbish?
From: Alan Day
Date: 05 Nov 08 - 03:57 AM

Nice to hear from you again Rowan.
I can understand your frustrations.Australians playing something other than didgeridu's surely not.
Al


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Subject: RE: Preference or Snobbish?
From: Tangledwood
Date: 05 Nov 08 - 04:26 AM

Ah well, back to the lagerphone I s'pose.


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Subject: RE: Preference or Snobbish?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 05 Nov 08 - 05:29 AM

I have now been accused of Blackmail added to writing racist remarks,stupidity etc just for putting a topic for discussion.

You got off on the wrong foot with the original question - it's no wonder people react badly if they feel they're being asked "are you a snob?" Then you bundled together a lot of different questions, some serious, some daft ("Should a Copper Song be only enjoyed if sung with a Sussex accent?"), with the implication that anyone saying Yes to one ought to say Yes to all - and the strong suggestion that anyone who did say Yes was a snob. Then you told us you had a hidden agenda, which isn't exactly likely to win you friends.

As Jack said, the context of the question (your 'hidden agenda') makes a huge difference to how people answer. If I discovered tomorrow that Jon Spiers was an Icelandic immigrant who'd grown up in a gypsy encampment in Bavaria and taught himself bandoneon from an old Astor Piazzolla record, it wouldn't make a blind bit of difference to whether I like his music - but it would make a huge difference to whether I considered him a typical English player. So the answer to "Should music of other countries only be performed or recorded by musicians from those countries?" is a great big It Depends - and the main thing it depends on is whether you've got any other agenda apart from enjoying the music.


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Subject: RE: Preference or Snobbish?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 05 Nov 08 - 08:04 AM

: I am involved with a project involving International recordings.I will explain it further
: I have been collecting Archive and current recordings of concertina players to show the
: versatility of each concertina system.Anglo and English so far.

Sounds like a great project. Now start over and throw away all your original questions, none of them have anything to do with that. Maybe start a new and explicitly named thread without all this bullshit.

You need to organize it so as to bring out the differences between the different systems. Get a performance of an Irish reel on an old brass-reed Anglo and put it beside a similar tune on a Wheatstone English. Put different tuning systems side by side playing similar music so you can hear how it affects things. Get a bunch of people playing the same type of box on a wide variety of different styles so you can hear the range of things you can do with each. Look at variations in technique, like Simon Thoumire's unusual grip or the way tango players mostly play on the draw, and see if you can hear that in the result.

I guess you're going to include chemnitzers and bandoneons too? People using the concertina to accompany singing? Bass concertinas used in mixed groups?

But I really can't see why you asked ANY of your original questions. They just don't matter to what you're doing.


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Subject: RE: Preference or Snobbish?
From: Will Fly
Date: 05 Nov 08 - 08:49 AM

Just a quick comment on Kathleen Ferrier, from my perspective, for Steve Shaw: Steve - I love KF singing the Ruckert Lieder (for example) and her performance of that never fails to move me. But, unfortunately, the folks songs don't appeal - just not my cup of tea. It's possible to like some of the output of an artist(e) but not other bits.

Regards,

Will


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Subject: RE: Preference or Snobbish?
From: GUEST,Trevek
Date: 05 Nov 08 - 09:45 AM

"Would you not like an Irish tune played by someone who is not Irish ?"

If its done well, yes. In Poland there are several groups playing Celtic music and doing it extremely well. If I didn't know they were Polish I wouldn't know any better. However, it might be different if they are singing. One group plays celtic music and the singer has very poor spoken English (pronuciation, diction etc) and when he sings a song it is unintelligble a lot of the time. He should stick to his instruments.

"Would you enjoy an Irish Song if sung by an American with an American accent or even just a couple of words that has wrong pronunciation?"

Not a problem, as it is arguably part of the historic process of migration and diaspora. A couple of hundred years ago the original singer may have pronounced things differently too.

"Do you enjoy American Country Music sung with a false accent ?"

Depends how false. The British Rockabilly band Matchbox used to do some songs about Dixie and the accent was laughable. There better stuff was when they didn't.

"Should American Fiddle music only be played on a fiddle?"

No.

"Do you enjoy a Opera singer singing Folk Music?"

No, for similar reasons mentioned by others.

"Should a Copper Song be only enjoyed if sung with a Sussex accent?"

I'll hazard a 'no' here but I've never heard one to judge against.

"Should music of other countries only be performed or recorded by musicians from those countries?"

Depends. Some songs are openly played and shared across cultural and geographic borders. However, the player should understand the context of the song and whether it is appropriate to sing/play it. If a book of Yiddish songs is available in a shop then me playinmg the tunes shouldn't be a problem. However, getting a CD of sacred ritual tunes and playing them in a drunken session would be highly inappropriate.


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Subject: RE: Preference or Snobbish?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 05 Nov 08 - 11:01 AM

Absolutely, Will.   I love her to bits in all genres. Could be that she was a Rochdale lass and I'm a Radcliffe lad I suppose. ;-)


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Subject: RE: Preference or Snobbish?
From: Alan Day
Date: 05 Nov 08 - 11:14 AM

Pip ,I am horrified and amazed that you have interpreted my question
"Is it music preference or just snobbery if a performance is well sung and well played that it is not like for other reasons? Would you like an Irish tune by someone who is not Irish?
Gurney's pal does not like anyone other than Irish singers singing Irish songs.Why ? The accent,the feel of the song or just that he does not like other musicians singing his Countries songs ?
Do you honestly think,when I have six CDs out there with another three to follow that I would suggest that if any of you do not like the tracks included,(about a third), being sung or played by artists that do not live in the country of the music that they are playing.that you are a bunch of snobs for not liking it.Just add TOTAL MADNESS to the other names levelled against me.I have invited these players onto the collection,mostly their music has been acclaimed, but there has been a few derogatory remarks.Hence the reason for this posting.It is out of interest of what peoples views are about the music they listen to,that I posted here.
I will see this nightmare to the bitter end, but I shall not post any subjects for discussion again.
Al
Jack I will answer your posting in more depth later.


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Subject: RE: Preference or Snobbish?
From: Simon G
Date: 05 Nov 08 - 11:15 AM

How about Matty Groves performed by a rap artiste?

I'd love to hear something like that. As George Papavgeris said earlier in this thread both the composition and the performance are creative acts. Both are creative acts within a set of rules, a musical vocabulary and grammar. The problem of enjoying is often that one lacks enough understanding of one of genres rules. I certainly do for opera for example.

35 years ago I remember failing to understand my parent's claim that rock music was just noise. It was (and still is) noise to them because they have no notion of the musical language that is being used.

If you understand both the composers musical language and the performers as well then a mixtures of genres can be an inspired choice and a wonderful performance, but those that don't will be left out in the cold.

It is also important to tell the audience what language you are using, putting on a accent can be one way of doing this. Don't denigrate people who put on a accent, often they are doing so subconciously because they have discovered they need to give the audience a clue that they are using a particular musical language.

Of course taking another style and using your own accent and tone makes is your own - a gallic style + yorkshire accent = Jake Thackray

Looking forwardto the rap version on Maty Groves.

Simon


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Subject: RE: Preference or Snobbish?
From: Will Fly
Date: 05 Nov 08 - 12:04 PM

Steve Shaw

Absolutely, Will.   I love her to bits in all genres. Could be that she was a Rochdale lass and I'm a Radcliffe lad I suppose. ;-)

Rochdale? Radcliffe? Gerraway! I were born in Chorley, lived in Horwich and went to school in Bolton - them's proper places, them is! ;D


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Subject: RE: Preference or Snobbish?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 05 Nov 08 - 12:05 PM

Do you honestly think,when I have six CDs out there with another three to follow that I would suggest that if any of you do not like the tracks included,(about a third), being sung or played by artists that do not live in the country of the music that they are playing.that you are a bunch of snobs for not liking it.

I don't know your work. What I honestly think is that your original post looked like an attempt to start a fight. I accept that it wasn't, but perhaps you should take on board some of my comments about why what you wrote was misread so badly (and not just by me).


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Subject: RE: Preference or Snobbish?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 05 Nov 08 - 12:14 PM

I were born in Chorley, lived in Horwich and went to school in Bolton

That must have been a bit of a shock (for Bolton). There aren't many accents that can make Chorley sound a bit posh and townie, but Horwich does it.

Incidentally, Simon - Jim Moray does a version of er... not Mattie Groves, the other one... you know the one, long song, lots of verses, it'll come to me in a minute with a rap in the middle. Didn't really do it for me, I have to say, but I'm probably getting conservative in my old age.


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Subject: RE: Preference or Snobbish?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 05 Nov 08 - 03:10 PM

What school, Will? Ah'm a Thornleigh lad missen, '62-'69 tha knows!


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Subject: RE: Preference or Snobbish?
From: Rowan
Date: 05 Nov 08 - 04:42 PM

I will see this nightmare to the bitter end, but I shall not post any subjects for discussion again.

Alan, your project(s) being the "nightmare" ... all power to your elbow. I've heard about your concertina CDs (mostly via threads on Mudcat) and, although I've not yet bought them or heard them, all the reviews I've seen have been full of praise and you should be congratulated mightily. When I get some spare readies I'll buy them, even though I've probably heard most of the players already; us concertina players tend to be more biassed towards an interest in such things than other instrumentalists, I suspect.

I'm curious about the nature (origins and intent) of the derogatory remarks you've received and, given my experiences of folk scene politics, can understand why you might not have wished to flag any particulars in your opening post. As you can see, even the calmest of us can sometimes forget that screen text doesn't communicate the moderations of intonation and body language we rely on in face-to-face conversations.

And I hope you continue to initiate posts.

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: Preference or Snobbish?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 05 Nov 08 - 05:41 PM

Some people really do seem raring for a fight.

Alan's questions all seemed perfectly sensible, if possibly tongue in cheek. Discussions and disagreements really don't need to be treated as if they had to involve quarrels.


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Subject: RE: Preference or Snobbish?
From: Alan Day
Date: 05 Nov 08 - 06:12 PM

Thanks Rowan.
Jack as promised here is a quick description of what I am up to.I did not post all the details in my introduction, or point out the full details of why I was asking the questions,what goes on between me and the artists is strictly confidential.Some recordings were deleted for various reasons,I would also not divulge any comments that come my way.The major criticism I receive is the artists I leave out of the collection,some of whom I do not know exist or in an attempt to balance out UK artists to World wide artists.
About twenty five or thirty years ago I had a copy of John Kirkpatrick's "Jump at the Sun" record and marvelled at him playing "Gigue",at the same time I was playing Concertina next to Will Duke who had a completely different style to me.On my trip to Sidmouth that year I heard Jackie Daly playing unbelievable Irish music on my concertina (after two weeks practice).The following day at the Ship Sidmouth I spoke to JK about doing a record of the versatility of the Anglo,showing all the different styles of playing.Ten Years later he chased me up about it and so did Graham Bradshaw Roots Records.I started inviting artists from all over the World.It did not include Chemitzers or Bandonions Jack as although in America they are called Concertina's they are not Anglos.
The collection includes a number of Archive tracks of players that were donated .Some very rare and featuring artists like Scan Tester,Fred Kilroy,Andrew Blakeny Edwards,Zulu Squash Box recordings.Some of the line up includes Noel Hill,Mary and Kate McNamara,Chris Shurburn and his Band,Jody Kruskal and His Contra Dance Band and of course JK playing a new version of "Gigue" and other tunes.It has been a great success getting plays on Radio Stations all over the World and rave reviews.
On completion we were asked by a number of musicians playing other concertina systems to do a follow up of English and Duet.English has just been released and we are getting identical response and reviews.
As we received some very important and rare archives it has enabled us to do a History of the English Concertina by using Archives and current recordings from 1850 to the current day (also a 3 CD collection www.englishconcertina.org).This includes two of the Concertina Bands recorded in 1935, Ashton under Lyne and The Heywood (Manchester).For me fantastic.
We were so exited by the Big Bands that we are investigating a possible Concertina Band CD to finish this International Series.
There could be others to follow on other instruments ,whether I will be involved, or not, I am not sure.There is an English International Collection currently in the Auction at half the list price.
I hope this goes some way to letting you know my activities.I am currently working on Duet International and we expect to release it about November next year.
Al.


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Subject: RE: Preference or Snobbish?
From: Rog Peek
Date: 05 Nov 08 - 06:13 PM

I'm with you McGrath. I have been very disappointed in some of the unkind, and in my view unjustified criticism of Alan. it does appear to me that some contributers are going out of their way to be acrimonious. Alan's first posting prompted a dilema I have with regard to singing particular songs in particular company. I find myself dicouraged from posting it for discussion for fear I might be similarly targeted.

Rog


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Subject: RE: Preference or Snobbish?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 05 Nov 08 - 07:15 PM

For what it's worth, the CDs sound like a fantastic project and a highly valuable resource. But I really, seriously, think that Alan made several mistakes in the way he posed his original questions, starting with the thread title.


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Subject: RE: Preference or Snobbish?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 05 Nov 08 - 08:16 PM

Perhaps its not snobbish.

We're all just old and intolerant.

Call me a twat, but I get fed up with appreciating things. I prefer it, if I can just enjoy them.

I can see that all the things I hate about the folk revival have their value. But equally I can see that not many other people like them either.

I'm sure all these other folk aren't wrong. But the folk revival has travelled long way from a lot peoples doors.They will get their grants, and festivals and never sell many records, because people do not love them in the way that say they love a Beatles song. And look how often on Mudcat, we hear someone bleating on because they have sat through an evening of beatles songs at a folk club.

The middle clsses have all the power in this land. And maybe that's how it should be. the more aware, the more educated setting the standard for us all to jump up to.

But its not the origin of this music. And its not where the genius resides.


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Subject: RE: Preference or Snobbish?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 05 Nov 08 - 08:29 PM

And look how often on Mudcat, we hear someone bleating on because they have sat through an evening of beatles songs at a folk club.

Can't say I've ever come across that particular complaint here. Which means "How often" = "never".


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Subject: RE: Preference or Snobbish?
From: jimslass
Date: 06 Nov 08 - 04:05 AM

I listened to the Andreas Scholl Raggle Taggle Gypsies with my jaw clenched. It was awful, and because of his singing style it sounded false and affected. However this is just my opinion and not a comment on the QUALITY of the piece. Some folks will love it. Fine.

No objections to opera singers singing folk songs as long as they don't do it in an operatic manner, which is a style which is learned and utilised for a specific kind of music. Nothing snobbish about it. Some opera I love. Most leider music I detest.

I do enjoy hearing songs sung with a genuine accent, but don't think not being 'native' should preclude anyone from singing a certain song. As many people have said - it depends how it's sung.

It would appear that people enjoy a bit of dissent on Mudcat - but there are folks out there who seem to go looking for the slightest thing to try and turn into a spectacular row - get a life!


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Subject: RE: Preference or Snobbish?
From: Alan Day
Date: 06 Nov 08 - 04:23 AM

No Pip the mistake I made was posting here in the first place.
McGrath of Harlow states the real facts, that some on this site are looking for a fight.They can only write with aggression,they are incapable of writing witty and interesting articles and joining in a discussion in a friendly manner..
A young girl wrote to Mudcat recently to "Just Say Hallo" she was jumped on from a great height.This young lady writes on another site,she is a bit of a butterfly but comes up with interesting topics for discussion.I can tell you she will never write on this site again.It is probably the same small bunch of people that move from one subject to another just to pick up on a small point with the express purpose of hammering the writer.

I leave you with a little saying

There are some that do and some that don't
The some that do, are often criticised by those that don't
but the ones that do sometimes achieve
The ones that don't ,don't

I will continue to reply to anyone who is looking for information,just as other have helped me.I have a lot of friends on this site ,it is a shame that a few of the minority spoil it for others.
AL


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Subject: RE: Preference or Snobbish?
From: GUEST,Howard Jones
Date: 06 Nov 08 - 04:38 AM

I agree that the original posting could have been phrased more clearly, but once I had read it a couple of times I was in no doubt what Alan was trying to say. I agree that some people seem to be looking for a fight.

Al, don't give up posting but do take the time to phrase your post carefully and clearly


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Subject: RE: Preference or Snobbish?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 06 Nov 08 - 05:12 AM

Alan: it looks like you've got your project so far advanced and planned out that you don't actually need any feedback from us (and particularly not suggestions that the whole thing is worthless trash compared with issuing an album of Beatles covers). Why not just ignore us all, tell us when it's done, and bask in the applause?

But I would strongly suggest that you include some tracks with singing if you can find them (A.L. Lloyd is the only one I know about, there must be much more). That would greatly extend the appeal of the set beyond the world of free-reed players.


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Subject: RE: Preference or Snobbish?
From: Wrinkles
Date: 06 Nov 08 - 06:10 AM

I agree with the many who've said "whatever works".

However I'd never agree that songs "belong to" and should only be sung by people of the same ethnic background as the song. It is cross-cultural pollination which has given history its most memorable and greatest movements! Therefore to be opposed to such things is in my view very foolish.

Take the visual arts for example; it was the Saxons who introduced to the British isles the basic north european "ribbon work" which today is commonly missidentified as a "celtic" or Irish art-form because these days it is the manuscript illumination of the monks of the Celtic Church which we regard as the highest and greatest development of that art.

If we were limited to ascribing forms only to their originators, or their decendents, then this "Celtic" artform would suddenly become English! I can see no good reason why anyone shold be prohibited from singing an Irish song on the grounds of their being not-Irish!   

But what never works is a singer who has confused accent with dialect and tried to sing a dialect song in their own accent - which results in many dialect words being "mistranslated".

As an example (and of sight-spelling too) there's a Scots tune called "Fluers of the Forest" the title of which is cited in an Eric Bogle song. Singers who do not realise the quoted title is dialect, rather than Eric's accent, mis-sing it as "flowers of the forest" whereas the translation from Lalans to English is actually "floors of the forest".

So while I don't care if someone sings in their own accent rather than the accent of song's origin (heck, I'm a Planxty/Andy Irvine fan and he sings everything from everywhere in his own accent, to the extent that many folk think many American and English are actually Irish!), it does get under my skin when dialect words are not either left alone or mistranslated by the assumption they are mere variation in accent.


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Subject: RE: Preference or Snobbish?
From: Alan Day
Date: 06 Nov 08 - 06:21 AM

Jack ,sorry I did not mention that the collections do include singing.
JK,The Threlfall Sisters with Roger Edwards,Harry Scurfield,Bob Davenport with Roger Digby on Anglo.
Damien Barber,Lea Nicholson,Rainer Sussmilch, and Sarah Graves on English.
The collections cover most types of music from Classical,Jazz,Ragtime and tunes from the thirties to sixties plus of course Folk.
Thanks for your interest and suggestions
I find peoples likes and dislikes in music interesting and that is why I posted my questions ,some tongue in cheek which I thought may be amusing ,but how wrong I was.Possibly it could and was interpreted in a different way to what I intended,but the rudeness was unnecessary.
Al


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Subject: RE: Preference or Snobbish?
From: Will Fly
Date: 06 Nov 08 - 06:33 AM

Al - no intention on my part to be rude, and I hope I wasn't. 'Twas merely that the "hidden agenda" bit rankled slightly. But that's past and done with, I hope, and now to your original question...

The second answer to your original post - from Dick Greenhaus - was "Whatever works". I would agree with that and also say that what always interests me is when a particular genre of music is played in a different way and in a style or an instrument from another genre. Sometimes these things work, and sometimes they don't. For example, I remember to this day the frisson of excitement I got from hearing Davy Graham's backing to Shirley Collins's singing of "Pretty Saro" and "Nottamun Town" on the "Folk Roots, New Routes" album. So - on with the crossover, as far as I'm concerned. I don't think any tradition is in danger of being forgotten or swamped by being twisted around a little.


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Subject: RE: Preference or Snobbish?
From: Alan Day
Date: 06 Nov 08 - 08:29 AM

You were not Will,but thanks for the concern.
Listening to Jody Kruskal mimicking the American Fiddle music style on Anglo Concertina would also possibly change a few views on that subject.
That works!
Al


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Subject: RE: Preference or Snobbish?
From: Alan Day
Date: 06 Nov 08 - 08:41 AM

Jim,Opera seems to be the area where a number of people have different tastes and just by a few of the postings we have here the differences in opinion have been really interesting to read.
Lesley Garratt a lovely lady I met and talked to on the train,without knowing who she was (it was before she was famous).I love her singing Opera, but not sure about her singing other music.A few more hours with her might make all the difference.
Al


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Subject: RE: Preference or Snobbish?
From: Noreen
Date: 06 Nov 08 - 09:59 AM

>there's a Scots tune called "Fluers of the Forest" the title of which is cited in an Eric Bogle song. Singers who do not realise the quoted title is dialect, rather than Eric's accent, mis-sing it as "flowers of the forest" whereas the translation from Lalans to English is actually "floors of the forest".

Wrinkles, I can't let that pass- the Scots pipe tune IS The Flowers of the Forest. See link Flowers of the Forest for more information.

Alan, sorry that some people took your thread the wrong way :0(


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Subject: RE: Preference or Snobbish?
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 06 Nov 08 - 11:54 AM

This preoccupation with where a particular musician comes from might make sense if recordings, radio and TV didn't exist. Nowadays, regional styles exist largely as a matter of choice, not geographical necessity.


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Subject: RE: Preference or Snobbish?
From: GUEST,Jack Campin
Date: 06 Nov 08 - 01:44 PM

"Flowers of the Forest" might have originally been a pipe tune, but if it was it wasn't for the Highland pipes, but some kind of Border or Lowland pipe. The Skene MS tune and its 18th century derivatives that fit Jean Elliot's text are unplayable on the Highland pipe. A rather mutilated variant is played on them today, but it's not the real thing by a long shot.


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Subject: RE: Preference or Snobbish?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 06 Nov 08 - 05:08 PM

And translating "flowers" (or "floo'ers") as the English word "floors" would make no kind of sense in Jean Elliott's poem. ("There's a great big hole in the forest floor...")

I'm reminded of the misunderstanding in which "I've been walking all day" in Eric Bogle's No Man's Land occasionally gets understood as "I've been working all day" because the two words sound similar in some accents.


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Subject: RE: Preference or Snobbish?
From: Wrinkles
Date: 06 Nov 08 - 10:07 PM

And translating "flowers" (or "floo'ers") as the English word "floors" would make no kind of sense in Jean Elliott's poem. ("There's a great big hole in the forest floor...")

Well I know nothing about a poem, honestly, only a Scots regiments piper's lament.

"Floor" makes sense because, with a few exceptions, english speakers of most British isles dialects (including standard English) "floor" means "ground". When I moved over here [England] I was caught out more than once being told something was on the "floor" which totally baffled me because we were outdoors! As far as I was concerned outside was "ground" and "floors" were exclusivly indoors ;-) The wide variety of ground cover in a forest means it's ground is always refered to in the plural (ie Floors) except when speaking of a single specific place in a forest in which case the singular is permissable.

The Concise Scots Dictionary [ISBN 0-08-028492-2](Aberdeen University press) confirms that "fluer" (with many variant spellings) which have only one vowel or glide/diphthong sound translates as floor whereas "Flooer" (also with many variant spellings) with two distinct vowel sounds translates as flower. In other words when there is only one vowel between the initial and the final consonants (ie FL+VOWEL+R) it's floor, and when there's another vowel between them (ie FL+VOWEL+VOWEL+R)it's Flower. FL-U-R = floor and FL-U-ER = flower. Easy.

I admit it's confusing to the uninitiated because the first vowel sound on both is very close to the "oo" of "cool", and people who's own accent is non-rhotic will meantally insert an extra vowel after it with an R quality, which when heard by a Rhotic speaker the correct R is inserted but the additional vowel is kept because it is assumed the non-rhotic speaker just dropped the R, whereas they actually replaced it. Believe me, when phonemes cross both accent and dialect boundries it's via a minefield.

By the by, the same distiction is made in Ulster-Scots, a very close relative of Lalans, in which I'm fluent (and you can confirm it in the Oxford Concise Ulster Dictionary [ISBN 0-19-860059-3](Oxford University Press). Although like the General American I grew up with Ulster-Scots has the ground/floor difference. Go Figure.

The Piper's tune, a military lament usually played at a funeral or graveside (which makes sense in the Eric Bogle example) has only a single vowel sound. People who add a vowel to make it "floo-ers" are mispronouncing it and changing the meaning too.


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE FLOWERS OF THE FOREST
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 06 Nov 08 - 10:19 PM

The point isn't the spelling or the pronunciation, it's the meaning.

I've heard them liltin', at the ewe milkin,'
Lasses a-liltin' before dawn of day.
Now there's a moanin', on ilka green loanin'.
The flowers of the forest are a' wede away.

As boughts in the mornin', nae blithe lads are scornin',
Lasses are lonely and dowie and wae.
Nae daffin', nae gabbin', but sighin' and sobbin',
Ilk ane lifts her leglin, and hies her away.

At e'en in the gloamin', nae swankies are roamin',
'Mang stacks wi' the lasses at bogle to play.
But ilk maid sits drearie, lamentin' her dearie,
The flowers of the forest are a' wede away.

In har'st at the shearin' nae youths now are jeerin'
Bandsters are runkled, and lyart, or grey.
At fair or at preachin', nae wooin', nae fleecin',
The flowers of the forest are a' wede away.

Dool for the order sent our lads to the Border,
the English for ance by guile wan the day.
The flowers of the forest, that fought aye the foremost,
The prime of our land lie cauld in the clay.

We'll hae nae mair liltin', at the ewe milkin',
Women and bairns are dowie and wae.
Sighin' and moanin' on ilka green loanin',
The flowers of the forest are all wede away


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Subject: RE: Preference or Snobbish?
From: Wrinkles
Date: 06 Nov 08 - 10:33 PM

The point isn't the spelling or the pronunciation, it's the meaning.

I agree wholeheartedly.

My point, which seems to have got lost, is that when a song contains a dialect word one should repeat it exactly as it was originally said; any attempt to "de-accent" or "translate", unless one is fluent in that dialect, almost always results in inaccurate meaning being foisted on the original lyrics.


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Subject: RE: Preference or Snobbish?
From: GUEST
Date: 07 Nov 08 - 12:31 AM

But your insistence on a supposed "correct" pronunciation has led you to a misunderstanding of the phrase. In other words, your attempt NOT to "de-accent" or "translate" has resulted "in inaccurate meaning being foisted on the original lyrics" ...


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Subject: RE: Preference or Snobbish?
From: meself
Date: 07 Nov 08 - 12:47 AM

(That "guest" was me).


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Subject: RE: Preference or Snobbish?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 07 Nov 08 - 03:43 AM

I don't know where you get this stuff, Wrinkles.

with a few exceptions, english speakers of most British isles dialects (including standard English) "floor" means "ground".

Never in my experience. Rooms have a floor, streets and parks just have the ground. People will use phrases like "on the floor"/"off the floor" to refer to falling to the ground or picking something up off the ground, but that doesn't mean they're thinking of the ground as a floor.

The wide variety of ground cover in a forest means it's ground is always refered to in the plural (ie Floors)

Well, there is an exception to the "floor: indoors" rule, which is that the forest has a floor, singular - "the forest floor" denotes the ground around and beneath the trees in a forest. But it's "the forest floor" (not "the floor of the forest") and it's never pluralised.

Besides which, as McGrath points out, the original poem is about the aftermath of a lost war. All the young men have been sent to fight & die: the flowers of the forest have all withered away. Pete Seeger later expressed similar sentiments, I believe.


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Subject: RE: Preference or Snobbish?
From: GUEST,Trevek
Date: 07 Nov 08 - 06:29 AM

Dick makes a good point about "the preoccupation of where a singer comes from".

I'd suggest that it is not a persons ethnicity or nationality which matters as much as their cultural influences. Example would be something like the reggae band UB40. Some might say that white boys singing reggae is somewhat plastic, but if these lads have grown up in close contact with the West-Indian population of Birmingham then surely this would be a cultural exposure which influences their musical education and choices.

Likewise, if someone has grown up around, or lived among immigrants from, example, Ireland, East Europe etc and has been in contact with the music (and culture)then I'd suggest the music and songs are as much a part of that person regardless of whether it is 'theirs' through ethnicity/nationality.


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Subject: RE: Preference or Snobbish?
From: Alan Day
Date: 07 Nov 08 - 07:03 AM

In the course of putting these compilations together I listen to hours of playing and as has already been said "Singing with Accompaniment".
I firstly listen to the singing voice and then the accompaniment and if both are OK then I put the recordings forward for selection in the final line up.I must admit I never listen to the pronunciation and here is the difficulty.Being raised in London I like many others find Dick Van Dyke's attempt at the Cockney accent laughable.A fine example of brilliant singing and accompaniment, but is spoilt by the pronunciation.I would never pick up upon an artist from America for example badly pronouncing an Irish song,although once again it had all the requisites that would make me include it.So here would be a classic example of the Irish disliking a recording for this reason.In America however they would love it.You have broadened my thinking, but I am not sure I could ever implement it.Unless the song is Cockney or from Sussex.
Al


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Subject: RE: Preference or Snobbish?
From: Alan Day
Date: 07 Nov 08 - 07:11 AM

For those of you living in Australia, we have had a great letter from Bruce Cameron who runs "Come all Ye" Radio 2 MCE NSW and he is going to feature a number of tracks from English International on his programme.
This follows up a similar play on New Zealand Radio a few weeks ago and the only person I know in New Zealand was out when it was on.
Al


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Subject: RE: Preference or Snobbish?
From: The Sandman
Date: 07 Nov 08 - 07:48 AM

the most important thing as far as I am concerned, is that the musician/ singer sounds as if he is enjoying what he /she is doing,that is more important [IMO ]than technical virtuosity.
when I put together my concertina compilation Boxing Clever,which features Tim Laycock,John Kirkpatrick and Harry Scurfield,that was my primary consideration,of course it doesnt follow that one cant have both at the same time,and I think Boxing Clever is a good example of virtuoso playing and musicality .
if there are any radio programmers out there that would like acopy of Boxing Clever,please contact me at
http://www.dickmiles.com.
AlanDay,to digress slightly I enjoyed very much your version and Peter Trimmings.Monks March on you tubeperhaps you would put a link in.
an example of the same tune played well on the same concertina but given a different treatment.Dick Miles


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Subject: RE: Preference or Snobbish?
From: Alan Day
Date: 07 Nov 08 - 08:19 AM

Thanks Dick I would put in the link if I knew how to do it.
Strange how firstly I get handed Peter's concertina to have a go on,start playing a tune I have not heard or played in twenty years,which was recorded when he came back with the coffees
Tunes that you spend hours and hours practising never get a mention.
Al


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Subject: RE: Preference or Snobbish?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 07 Nov 08 - 08:27 AM

Captain, how do you square that with insisting that those who are not good enough should not be allowed?

What about songs that are meant to be miserable? How then should the singer sound as if he was enjoying himself?


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Subject: RE: Preference or Snobbish?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 07 Nov 08 - 09:01 AM

Wrinkles. You are also forgetting the 'auld alliance' of Scotland and France. Fleur, as I am sure you are aware, is the French spelling of Flower. The scots name 'Stewart' originates from the 'Steward' of the castle. Yet Bonny Prince Charlie was a French Charles Edward Stuart. I am not saying that is where the confusion lies or that you are completely wrong. But it is the first and only time I have ever heard of the floors of the forest in either song or the English (or Scottish!) language.

Cheers

DeG


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Subject: RE: Preference or Snobbish?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 07 Nov 08 - 09:04 AM

Not so pedantic point - Where does Bonnie Prince Charlie come into it? The poem is about Flodden Field, which was in 1513, more than two hundred years before he came on the scene.


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Subject: RE: Preference or Snobbish?
From: The Sandman
Date: 07 Nov 08 - 10:11 AM

Richard
Subject: RE: Preference or Snobbish?
From: Richard Bridge - PM
Date: 07 Nov 08 - 08:27 AM

Captain, how do you square that with insisting that those who are not good enough should not be allowed?

What about songs that are meant to be miserable? How then should the singer sound as if he was enjoying himself?.
I have never insisted anything of the sort,I gave an opinion about the use of crib sheets in folk clubs,[please give the relevant quote] now will you f### off.


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Subject: RE: Preference or Snobbish?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 07 Nov 08 - 10:28 AM

He doesn't realy come into it - I was just pointing out the Scots spellings can become French ones. Sorry if I gave any other impression.

Cheers

DeG


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Subject: RE: Preference or Snobbish?
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 07 Nov 08 - 11:03 AM

Technique--vocal and/or instrumental--is a great thing, if you don't let it get in the way of the music.


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