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Folk music in an alternate reality?

Dave the Gnome 15 Feb 10 - 06:02 AM
Jack Campin 15 Feb 10 - 06:59 AM
Smedley 15 Feb 10 - 07:04 AM
GUEST,S O'P (Astray) 15 Feb 10 - 08:45 AM
Dave the Gnome 15 Feb 10 - 08:52 AM
Howard Jones 15 Feb 10 - 09:21 AM
Jack Campin 15 Feb 10 - 09:29 AM
Steve Gardham 15 Feb 10 - 09:52 AM
Sailor Ron 15 Feb 10 - 10:33 AM
Matthew Edwards 15 Feb 10 - 11:40 AM
Steve Parkes 15 Feb 10 - 01:36 PM
The Sandman 15 Feb 10 - 02:41 PM
Dave the Gnome 15 Feb 10 - 02:50 PM
GUEST,Neil D 15 Feb 10 - 03:29 PM
mousethief 15 Feb 10 - 10:58 PM
Dave the Gnome 16 Feb 10 - 03:55 AM
theleveller 16 Feb 10 - 04:29 AM
theleveller 16 Feb 10 - 04:36 AM
GUEST,Jack Campin 16 Feb 10 - 07:49 AM
Sailor Ron 16 Feb 10 - 08:01 AM
Dave the Gnome 16 Feb 10 - 10:07 AM
GUEST,Neil D 16 Feb 10 - 12:29 PM
Commander Crabbe 16 Feb 10 - 08:07 PM
Penny S. 17 Feb 10 - 03:14 AM
Sailor Ron 17 Feb 10 - 03:42 AM
Dave the Gnome 17 Feb 10 - 03:48 AM
Dave the Gnome 17 Feb 10 - 09:29 AM
frogprince 17 Feb 10 - 11:28 AM
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Subject: Folk music in an alternate reality?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 15 Feb 10 - 06:02 AM

Mods - Not sure if this is music or BS - Feel free to move it if you feel it belongs below the line.

I am currently reading the 'Rex Mundi' comic books - Set in an alternative reality in which the Protestant reformation was stamped out, the Frech Revolution was quashed and the US civil war was never resolved.

It is set in the 1930's, in France, under the rule of King Louis XXII; the DeMedici family are big in commerce; The US is divided into the Federal and Confederate States; slavery is still rife; the Catholic church is a mega power with the holy Inquisition being its global enforcers and empires are on the brink of war, including the Holy Roman Empire (Austrian/Chrstian) and the Ottaman empire(Turkish/Moslem).

It is really quite interesting. Very well drawn, for comic afficionados and was 'Holy Grail Themed' long before Dan Brown started his series.

Anyroads - That is the scenario set.

What folk music would be about in that world?

Slave songs would still be sung by slaves of course.

Traditional music would probably be the norm as long as it did not upset the religious authorities.

Anyone got any ideas of how it would have gone?

Cheers

DeG


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Subject: RE: Folk music in an alternate reality?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 15 Feb 10 - 06:59 AM

It's hard to imagine how the US could ever have managed an independence movement without the ideology of Protestantism as an organizing framework. And Haiti only managed it because of the successful example of the French Revolution, so that model would have been out too.

There was so much input from Protestant church music into the music of the slaves in the US that that would have been very different.

I presume all of white America would be dancing to something like Cajun.

If Britain had developed into a centralized royalist state, local aristocracy and gentry would have had far less power, so there would have been less clan rivalries to compose ballads about. (I don't think there any ballads like Chevy Chase in French tradition, are there? Hardly any in Ireland either).


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Subject: RE: Folk music in an alternate reality?
From: Smedley
Date: 15 Feb 10 - 07:04 AM

There was a novel written in the 1970s which followed a similar path, called 'Pavane'. It was set in an England where the Spanish Armada had been victorious & Elizabeth I was replaced with a Catholic monarch. I loved that book but had completely forgotten about it until I read this thread. Which I have started to drift - sorry!


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Subject: RE: Folk music in an alternate reality?
From: GUEST,S O'P (Astray)
Date: 15 Feb 10 - 08:45 AM

I thought folk music was an alternate reality...


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Subject: RE: Folk music in an alternate reality?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 15 Feb 10 - 08:52 AM

Only after a night at our folk club or a trawl through Mudcat...

:D


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Subject: RE: Folk music in an alternate reality?
From: Howard Jones
Date: 15 Feb 10 - 09:21 AM

Jack, your comments about how America might have developed may be correct, but I don't agree with your comments about Britain. The power of the local aristocracy was based on the feudal system, which was essentially a system which devolved land and power to them in return for obligations to the king. Although feudalism had largely died about by the Reformation, the structures were by then firmly established.

As for the ballads, most of these probably have their origins before the Reformation - Chevy Chase seems to be based on the Battle of Otterburn in 1388. Of course, the ballads themselves may be later.

I doubt whether the Catholic church would have been able to effectively stop folk music, even if it had wanted to - it doesn't seem to have been the case in Ireland, or continental Catholic countries. Puritan Protestantism was probably more opposed to music and dancing, and they seem to have survived that.

These alternative histories always raise interesting possibilities. Kingsley Amis wrote one (The Alteration) based on the premise that Prince Arthur didn't die and so Henry VIII never came to the throne, and the Reformation didn't happen in England (although it did elsewhere, including America). The story is set in the present day, about a young boy with a remarkable singing voice who the church music authorities want to turn into a castrato.


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Subject: RE: Folk music in an alternate reality?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 15 Feb 10 - 09:29 AM

One thing most Catholic societies have that Protestant ones don't is loads of festive music, associated with the calendar of saints. (Sometimes Christianized paganism, sometimes not).

Barbecues would be introduced by hymns to St Lawrence and "Get your tits out for the lads" would be part of a hymn to St Lucy.


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Subject: RE: Folk music in an alternate reality?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 15 Feb 10 - 09:52 AM

'a young boy with a remarkable singing voice who the church music authorities want to turn into a castrato.' Not a lot worse than buggery though!


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Subject: RE: Folk music in an alternate reality?
From: Sailor Ron
Date: 15 Feb 10 - 10:33 AM

I recall reading a book back in 1966, can't recall its name, where William the Bastard had been killed & his army destroyed at Hastings. It then told the history of England. The basic premise being instead of the French/English wars, the major battles were with the Norse/Germans. I presume that if that had happened we would be speaking a Norse/Germanic language instead of a Germanic/French one, so our folk songs would be completly differentn in lyrics if not in tune or content.


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Subject: RE: Folk music in an alternate reality?
From: Matthew Edwards
Date: 15 Feb 10 - 11:40 AM

From an hitherto undiscovered letter written by Mr Lemuel Gulliver to his cousin Sympson

"Whilst I dwelled among the Houyhnhnms that country was for a time plagued with a pestilence of stinking minstrel Yahoos who did sing, or rather they did caterwaul, a manner of most miserable noises. My ears were assailed by the interminable ballads of eldritch crones and by the melancholic mutterings of milksop boys. The offence to my senses was compounded by the noises of tinkling and droning from stringed boxes of many different shapes that they carried about with them. My very skin did itch and break out in such horrible rashes that I cried out to them to desist. My appeals were in vain for these hardened beasts only increased their efforts. It is lamentable to relate that among the filthy herd of the Yahoos these minstrels were greatly favoured, and their screechings and warblings were applauded and much imitated.
My hosts at first regarded the pestilence as no more of an irritation than the buzzing of insects, but at last the nuisance grew so intolerable that my master was obliged to go among the noxious brood. He scattered these troublesome troubadours and trampled their musical boxes into splinters. He lifted his own noble head and began to sing - from out of his fundament. He did fart such a musical note that all the Yahoos were shamed into silence.
So you may see by this, my dearest cousin, that the men of that country have no songs of their own since they have heard a horse sing."


Matthew


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Subject: RE: Folk music in an alternate reality?
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 15 Feb 10 - 01:36 PM

I think I've been to that folk club, Matthew!


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Subject: RE: Folk music in an alternate reality?
From: The Sandman
Date: 15 Feb 10 - 02:41 PM

'a young boy with a remarkable singing voice who the church music authorities want to turn into a castrato.' Not a lot worse than buggery though!.
buggery is a lot worse,and all thos priests who have performed it should be put in the stocks,and humiliated.


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Subject: RE: Folk music in an alternate reality?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 15 Feb 10 - 02:50 PM

I'll be buggered if you cut them things off...

Things you shouldn't joke about? :-)

DeG


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Subject: RE: Folk music in an alternate reality?
From: GUEST,Neil D
Date: 15 Feb 10 - 03:29 PM

I'm not much of a fan of alternate reality. On the one hand even the tiniest permutations can cause differences that would make the world unrecognizable. This is the "Butterfly Effect". The objections that Jack Campin raises are valid, but only a drop in the bucket when it comes to how the major changes listed in the opening post would have altered our current world. On the other hand there is a cause and effect element in history. With the numerical and manufacturing superiority of the North rhe Civil War could not have ended any different than it did. Chance can come into play but only so much. Some might believe, for instance, that had Lincoln been killed 3 or 4 years earlier it might have changed the outcome of the war. It would not have. Even if another world power had come in on the Confederate side, the war may have been prolonged, but the end result would have been the same. Individuals can impact history but here again only so much. Other forces like group dynamics and the momentum of systems have a bigger influence. That's one of the major themes of Tolstoy's "War and Peace".
   I like good historic fiction, where an author injects interesting fictional characters into history, but it's important that he not fundamentally change that history. That's the one thing I disliked about the recent movie "Inglourious Basterds".


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Subject: RE: Folk music in an alternate reality?
From: mousethief
Date: 15 Feb 10 - 10:58 PM

Certainly the Germans would have just as rich a panoply of festive music as the French or Italians, at least at the eve of the Reformation. The post-Reformation church in Germany (Evangelische) was very "high church" and most of us would have had a hard time distinguishing it from the RCC. Which survived quite nicely in the Catholic enclaves and Austria.

I imagine the saints' songs would have faded as their commemoration faded, although even today St. Lucy's song is remembered by Swedes, or at least their descendents in this country.

O..O
=o=


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Subject: RE: Folk music in an alternate reality?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 16 Feb 10 - 03:55 AM

In the world of Rex Mundi, Britain provided the south with the assistance to ensure a stalemate in the civil war, Neil. Some time later, before the 1930s setting, Britain becomes a leader in abolition of the slave trade and possibly regrets it's earlier decision.

I must say I am also a fan of historic fiction - Bernard Cornwell in particular and along with the Rex Mundi comics I got Harelquin (which I have already read but didn't have) and the latest in the Alrfred series, the name escape me.

Back to the music. Would the butterfly effect have had that great an effect on folk music? Regardless of winners and losers in major conflicts would it not be true that the music of the people would remain the same? Or are we saying it would have been surpressed? If so - why? Did the British Empire try to surpress Irish, Scottish or any other music? If so, they did not suceed. If Britain would have been invaded and conquered, subsequent to 1066 that is, would not English folk music have survived? Or how would the music have ended up had the Norman invasion not occured?

One point that did not occur to me earlier. The Moorish empire is still a major threat in Rex Mundi - With Cordoba being the 'beach head'. Would Morris dancing have been permitted by the Catholic Church?

Cheers

DeG


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Subject: RE: Folk music in an alternate reality?
From: theleveller
Date: 16 Feb 10 - 04:29 AM

"Although feudalism had largely died about by the Reformation, the structures were by then firmly established."

Only up until the English Civil Wat when 'the world turned upside down'. For an interesting 'alternative' view of the seventeenth and eighteenth century, have a look at Christopher Hill's 'Liberty Against the Law' which looks at opinion and events as depicted by popular culture including folk songs, as opposed to the writings of the educated ruling elite who set out most of history as they viewed it.


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Subject: RE: Folk music in an alternate reality?
From: theleveller
Date: 16 Feb 10 - 04:36 AM

"Chevy Chase seems to be based on the Battle of Otterburn in 1388."

Just as an aside, the village where I live in the East Riding of Yorkshire has the remains of the only castle in the East Riding. This was built and owned by the Percys and legend has it that Harry Hotspur made all the able-bodied men of the village march to Northumberland to take part in the Battle of Otterburn. All except Hotspur were killed. To commemorate this I wrote a song about it called The Knight. Anyone remotely interested can hear a very poor recording of it here:

whipstaff


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Subject: RE: Folk music in an alternate reality?
From: GUEST,Jack Campin
Date: 16 Feb 10 - 07:49 AM

One point that did not occur to me earlier. The Moorish empire is still a major threat in Rex Mundi - With Cordoba being the 'beach head'. Would Morris dancing have been permitted by the Catholic Church?

Have a look on YouTube for "sac de gemecs" - the Catalan bagpipe. Some of the videos show it being used to accompany a dance strikingly like Cotswold morris. Catalonia was always on the Christian side of the frontier. You'd think that if anybody would want to distinguish themselves culturally from the Moors, they would, but in this respect they didn't.


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Subject: RE: Folk music in an alternate reality?
From: Sailor Ron
Date: 16 Feb 10 - 08:01 AM

Why should the RCC want to ban Morris Dancing? Cromwell did of course, 'long with Christmas etc, but he was not quite of the Popish persuation was he!


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Subject: RE: Folk music in an alternate reality?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 16 Feb 10 - 10:07 AM

Why should the RCC want to ban Morris Dancing?

Exactly the point - It would not now because we are under no threat from Moors. But in the alternate reality we are under such a threat and the RCC feel obliged to protect us from it. They may, therefore, not be keen on th eidea of 'us' adopting 'their' traditions. Although Jack C's point is very interesting on that score. It is just this type of thing I was pondering (quiet day...) when I started the thread.

The Holy Inquisition is also opposed to sorcery - which is rife in the books - So would any songs or traditions involving faerie folk or magic be frowned upon? Because they would be frowned upon would they go underground and in doing so become less, or more, popular than they are now?

All academic of course but it passes the long winter evenings:-)

Cheers

DeG


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Subject: RE: Folk music in an alternate reality?
From: GUEST,Neil D
Date: 16 Feb 10 - 12:29 PM

So I'm assuming that in Rex Mundi the Crimean War had never happened for the British to have been eager to get in another bloody conflict five years later. And I guess they hadn't abolished the institution of slavery in 1831 either.


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Subject: RE: Folk music in an alternate reality?
From: Commander Crabbe
Date: 16 Feb 10 - 08:07 PM

To be honest, I can think of better ways to pass a long winter evening! Although in an alternative reality that may not be true!!

CC


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Subject: RE: Folk music in an alternate reality?
From: Penny S.
Date: 17 Feb 10 - 03:14 AM

We would have gone Protestant without Henry VIII - to go back to that other alternative mentioned. If you look at maps of the areas which Reformed, it is clear that we are part of that geographic distribution. The map also plots against that of the extent of the Hanse - which introduced a degree of independence for the mercantile class, among whom Protestantism spread. This latter hypothesis is mine alone.

I like a good alternative as well as anyone, but if England going Protestant was only due to Henry, Mary would have succeeded in restoring Catholicism, and no-one would have been prepared to die for Reform. Scotland, of course, would have reformed anyway.

In the Rex Mundi books, does sorcery work? And what has happened to Islamic science? Science in general? (Look which countries it began in.)

Why is there an Inquisition if it was not in a position to start up against Islam and Judaism in Spain?

Has anyone read Harry Harrison's three books set before the conquest with conflict between Christians and pagans, and a grail that turns out to be a ladder?

Penny


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Subject: RE: Folk music in an alternate reality?
From: Sailor Ron
Date: 17 Feb 10 - 03:42 AM

"Why is there an Inquisition..." true but don't forget the Tnauisition was set up to deal with the Albegensions [Gnostics} is southern France a couple of hundred years before Martin Luther.


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Subject: RE: Folk music in an alternate reality?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 17 Feb 10 - 03:48 AM

I'm only on the second of 6 (to date) so I can't answer all the questions yet! I don't think that the British had abolished slavery in 1831 from what I have gathered but in the 1930s they are a major force in trying to stop it. The Crimean war has not been mentioned. Neither Britain nor Russia have had a great part in the series as yet, although both empires are mentioned. The French are worried about the threat from the Ottoman empire and from both Germany and Russia. Sorcery does work and seems very Cabalistic up to now. No real mention of Islamic science but as the story hinges around the Grail and stems from the Knights Templar and the crusades there are hints at what was uncovered in Solomons temple by both Christian and Islamic forces.

Unless you are a comic book and fantasy fan they probably would not work for you. If you are they are a masterpiece:-) My favourite is still a comic book I have which depicts some famous folk ballads as comic strips - Can't remember the title but it will come to me. Eventualy!

Cheers

DeG


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Subject: RE: Folk music in an alternate reality?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 17 Feb 10 - 09:29 AM

I didn't remember the title but I remembered it was drawn by Charles Vess. Here it is on Amazon.

DeG


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Subject: RE: Folk music in an alternate reality?
From: frogprince
Date: 17 Feb 10 - 11:28 AM

Protest songs would be at least as common as we have known them to be, but they would be confined to "underground" performance to a much greater degree. Any music, folk or otherwise, broadcast on the mass media would be a mixture of the same apolitical pap that we have in "real life", with the addition of substantial amounts of blatant propoganda glorifying the existing authority structures.


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