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Is this murdering a folk song?

Acorn4 12 Feb 12 - 05:40 PM
Acorn4 12 Feb 12 - 05:44 PM
frogprince 12 Feb 12 - 05:50 PM
frogprince 12 Feb 12 - 05:52 PM
Deckman 12 Feb 12 - 06:06 PM
Acorn4 12 Feb 12 - 06:13 PM
tonyteach1 12 Feb 12 - 06:15 PM
Mick Pearce (MCP) 12 Feb 12 - 06:17 PM
Sandra in Sydney 12 Feb 12 - 06:21 PM
Leadfingers 12 Feb 12 - 06:32 PM
GUEST,999 12 Feb 12 - 06:45 PM
GUEST,Donal 12 Feb 12 - 07:26 PM
Big Al Whittle 12 Feb 12 - 07:29 PM
katlaughing 12 Feb 12 - 07:39 PM
frogprince 12 Feb 12 - 07:39 PM
kendall 12 Feb 12 - 07:46 PM
Big Al Whittle 12 Feb 12 - 08:18 PM
GUEST,Stan 12 Feb 12 - 08:29 PM
Gibb Sahib 12 Feb 12 - 08:30 PM
GUEST,leeneia 12 Feb 12 - 10:34 PM
Lighter 12 Feb 12 - 10:46 PM
GUEST,BobL 13 Feb 12 - 04:12 AM
giles earle 13 Feb 12 - 04:29 AM
MGM·Lion 13 Feb 12 - 04:41 AM
Jim Carroll 13 Feb 12 - 04:42 AM
GUEST,Seayaker 13 Feb 12 - 04:56 AM
GUEST,Don Wise 13 Feb 12 - 05:05 AM
Will Fly 13 Feb 12 - 05:15 AM
JohnH 13 Feb 12 - 05:23 AM
Silas 13 Feb 12 - 05:24 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 13 Feb 12 - 05:35 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 13 Feb 12 - 05:42 AM
Mick Pearce (MCP) 13 Feb 12 - 06:39 AM
Will Fly 13 Feb 12 - 07:03 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 13 Feb 12 - 07:26 AM
theleveller 13 Feb 12 - 07:55 AM
Acorn4 13 Feb 12 - 08:01 AM
MGM·Lion 13 Feb 12 - 08:34 AM
Big Al Whittle 13 Feb 12 - 08:46 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 13 Feb 12 - 08:46 AM
Acorn4 13 Feb 12 - 08:51 AM
Acorn4 13 Feb 12 - 08:55 AM
Mick Pearce (MCP) 13 Feb 12 - 09:50 AM
tonyteach1 13 Feb 12 - 09:59 AM
Steve Gardham 13 Feb 12 - 10:34 AM
Paul Davenport 13 Feb 12 - 10:58 AM
Paul Davenport 13 Feb 12 - 11:00 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 13 Feb 12 - 11:03 AM
Will Fly 13 Feb 12 - 11:09 AM
Acorn4 13 Feb 12 - 11:09 AM
Steve Gardham 13 Feb 12 - 11:13 AM
Acorn4 13 Feb 12 - 11:13 AM
Steve Gardham 13 Feb 12 - 11:33 AM
MGM·Lion 13 Feb 12 - 11:40 AM
Acorn4 13 Feb 12 - 11:40 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 13 Feb 12 - 12:01 PM
MGM·Lion 13 Feb 12 - 12:42 PM
Sandy Mc Lean 13 Feb 12 - 01:08 PM
GUEST,Mawich 13 Feb 12 - 02:06 PM
Steve Gardham 13 Feb 12 - 02:16 PM
tonyteach1 13 Feb 12 - 02:21 PM
The Sandman 13 Feb 12 - 02:22 PM
The Sandman 13 Feb 12 - 02:23 PM
Lighter 13 Feb 12 - 03:43 PM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 13 Feb 12 - 04:11 PM
Steve Gardham 13 Feb 12 - 05:39 PM
GUEST,SRD 13 Feb 12 - 05:59 PM
Big Al Whittle 13 Feb 12 - 07:45 PM
Joe_F 13 Feb 12 - 08:27 PM
andrew e 14 Feb 12 - 12:30 AM
Acorn4 14 Feb 12 - 04:30 AM
Will Fly 14 Feb 12 - 05:17 AM
GUEST,Don Wise 14 Feb 12 - 06:27 AM
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Subject: Is this murdering a folk song?
From: Acorn4
Date: 12 Feb 12 - 05:40 PM

I think this sort of thing used to be done quite a lot - Is it just me that wants to collapse in a heap laughing?

The Ploughboy

..or was it just a part of the evolution of the folk tradition?


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Subject: RE: Is this murdering a folk song?
From: Acorn4
Date: 12 Feb 12 - 05:44 PM

Hang on - there's more:-

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r8oM0ekiv1I&feature=related


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Subject: RE: Is this murdering a folk song?
From: frogprince
Date: 12 Feb 12 - 05:50 PM

The song is new to me; if I had encountered this apart from Acorn4's comments, I would just have assumed it was something from Gilbert and Sullivan, or someone in the same vein, that I hadn't heard before.


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Subject: RE: Is this murdering a folk song?
From: frogprince
Date: 12 Feb 12 - 05:52 PM

I was referring to the first link. The second just makes my hair stand on end.


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Subject: RE: Is this murdering a folk song?
From: Deckman
Date: 12 Feb 12 - 06:06 PM

It's not often I'm pleased to know there is a large body of water between those people "over there", and us people "over here!" bob(deckman)nelson


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Subject: RE: Is this murdering a folk song?
From: Acorn4
Date: 12 Feb 12 - 06:13 PM

You can just imagine the mud on his boots though, can't you?


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Subject: RE: Is this murdering a folk song?
From: tonyteach1
Date: 12 Feb 12 - 06:15 PM

This is English art song as it used to be sung in classical concerts and broadcasts. It has nothing to do with folk music and would be considered old fashioned by classical musicians today It is also a very old and bad recording. Before casting bricks however check out that tuneless git on the Radio 2 folk awards


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Subject: RE: Is this murdering a folk song?
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 12 Feb 12 - 06:17 PM

I'm most familiar with the Vol6 Britten songs, the ones with guitar accompaniment. The accompaniments vary from quite simple (Master Kilby) to rather more startling (Bonny At Morn).

There's a nice set of them on youtube at the moment with Matthew Cochran both singing and playing:

I Will Give My Love An Apple; Sailor-boy (my favourite); Master Kilby

and

The Soldier And The Sailor; The Shooting of His Dear.

The second group omits #5 - Bonny at Morn, but you can hear that at:

Bonny at Morn (Paul Whitehead singing)

However, if you'd like to hear it the way Acorn4 likes it, you can't do better than Julian Bream with Peter Pears singing:

6 Short Songs for Voice and Guitar (these include Master Kilby, Sailor-boy and The Soldier and the Sailor from the Vol6 folk songs.

From time to time I listen to classical arrangements of English folk songs with guitar (I own several); they're almost always not what you'd think of as folk music! The singing style is not what you're used to hearing.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Is this murdering a folk song?
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 12 Feb 12 - 06:21 PM

Some years back a friend's brother joined us for a singing session. Brother held up old piece of sheet music & sang something similar - folk arranged for piano & voice. Tho his thin voice was nothing like the bloke in the old recording. He was never invited back.

sandra


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Subject: RE: Is this murdering a folk song?
From: Leadfingers
Date: 12 Feb 12 - 06:32 PM

People are STILL doing strange things (To a 'Folk' Ear) to old Songs , but it just goes to show that the GOOD songs can take a fair
amount of mucking about , wether from the Classicaly trained side . or the Pop/Commercial side and STILL survive as Folk !


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Subject: RE: Is this murdering a folk song?
From: GUEST,999
Date: 12 Feb 12 - 06:45 PM

"Is this murdering a folk song?"

Murdering may be too strong a term, but when I played the second link posted by Acorn and the cat left home.


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Subject: RE: Is this murdering a folk song?
From: GUEST,Donal
Date: 12 Feb 12 - 07:26 PM

If not murder, at least 'song-slaughter' but once VERY common. Some of Gael-Linn's early recordings were made in the drawing-room style - a tinkling piano and a singer with very precise diction. The thinking seems to be, if I can sing opera, or whatever, I can sing these peasant ballads.


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Subject: RE: Is this murdering a folk song?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 12 Feb 12 - 07:29 PM

I don't really see the inconsistency.

Cecil Sharp, Vaughan Williams, Aaron Copeland, Benjamin Britten, Peter Peers, Ewan MacColl, Martin Carthy......

Its all middle class people recreating folk music in a way that the actual merry ploughboys wouldn't have recognised.

Some people really love Benjamin Britten and all his works. Some people love Martin Carthy and all his works. Isn't there rooom for everybody to have a go?

I think it was Martin who said, the only way we can damage these songs is to not perform them.


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Subject: RE: Is this murdering a folk song?
From: katlaughing
Date: 12 Feb 12 - 07:39 PM

Just a different style. Some of those were quite popular with my grandparents, I am sure.

As for G&S, the only renditions I will listen to are Anna Russell's!


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Subject: RE: Is this murdering a folk song?
From: frogprince
Date: 12 Feb 12 - 07:39 PM

I would go some of the way with Al Whittle; I've heard so many songs done enjoyably in such widely varying ways. But when someone hearing the song for the first time would have no way to know that the song wasn't horrible in the first place...


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Subject: RE: Is this murdering a folk song?
From: kendall
Date: 12 Feb 12 - 07:46 PM

I'm not fond of trained voices.


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Subject: RE: Is this murdering a folk song?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 12 Feb 12 - 08:18 PM

Its what I'm saying FP - to some people the Peers performance isn't horrible. We're all part of the same story. Why is our age any different from another. Doubtless - we will all sound ridiculous to another generation.

The song - well it doesn't remain the same. I'm not sure I'd go along with Led Zep to that extent,

But as John Motson says, its a game of two halves (at least!).


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Subject: RE: Is this murdering a folk song?
From: GUEST,Stan
Date: 12 Feb 12 - 08:29 PM

I think Big Al says it right but,

I've never got what Benjamin Britten did with voices. I get what he did with orchestras, no problem, but when he wrote for voices he seemed to enter an experimental mode and remove anything which might be called a melody. So its interesting to hear his arrangements for folk songs. In a folk song the melody is set already. B B got creative with the accompaniment. I don't like what he did on piano in the first track but the guitar settings were much more accessible. Peter Pear's singing is what it is. 20th century art music singing and he is good at it. He's in tune (to my ears), his diction is chrystal clear his production of sound is stable throughout his range and there have been times when I wished the folk club singer I was listening to had at least one of those attributes. There's no big conclusion here but I used to find stuff like the first track unpleasant, now I don't. I particularly like counter tenor voice singing Baroque music. In a way I've turned into my opposite. Ho hum.


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Subject: RE: Is this murdering a folk song?
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 12 Feb 12 - 08:30 PM

Awesome, another intolerant thread on Mudcat that assumes there is some standard of opinion "we" all share.

Please state what you think is supposed to be wrong with this. Don't imply, because it makes it impossible to infer what you're getting at if someone doesnt share your opinion.


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Subject: RE: Is this murdering a folk song?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 12 Feb 12 - 10:34 PM

I got the words "You'll forget the little ploughboy who whistled o'er the lea." They seem typical of the piece.

What kind of performance can we really expect of a line that twee? I don't like the recording, but I think it hangs together artistically.


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Subject: RE: Is this murdering a folk song?
From: Lighter
Date: 12 Feb 12 - 10:46 PM

A certain, presumably small, percentage of actual ploughboys, farmers, sailors, milliners, miners, maidservants, printer's devils, dairy maidsm etc., etc. (fill in with your favorite quaint occupation) would undoubtedly have enjoyed some of those operatic/classical performances, as are a small percentage of non-ploughboys. If nothing else, they'd have experienced them as strange and somehow fascinating.

Not all of the pre-nineteenth-century "folk" conformed to the stereotype. Few could ever have heard an art-song recital, except perhaps if they were domestics at Downton Abbey. Of those that did, some might have thought it was great for some of the same reasons that more sophisticated people do: the performer's skill and control, the clarity and purity of the voice and the instrument. Others, of course, being quite as intolerant or unimaginative as most people, would have found it all quite laughable.

I don't care for the style myself. So what?


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Subject: RE: Is this murdering a folk song?
From: GUEST,BobL
Date: 13 Feb 12 - 04:12 AM

Personally I like the BB/PP folk song arrangements, but then I was brought up with them long before I came across their traditional forms. They're concert hall pieces, pure & simple, and their merit as such isn't affected one way or the other by having been sourced from traditional songs.

Incidentally the classically trained Anna Russell, mentioned earlier, had a bit of a dig at them:
"For the singer who is tone-deaf, there is a special type of folk-song. This is the kind which has been 'realised' by a contemporary composer - generally British, [...] the tune is turned upside-down and sung to an accompaniment which is in a different key and tempo because it actually belongs to another song."


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Subject: RE: Is this murdering a folk song?
From: giles earle
Date: 13 Feb 12 - 04:29 AM

Have you heard ... this one?


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Subject: RE: Is this murdering a folk song?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 13 Feb 12 - 04:41 AM

The other 'hat' I wear is theatre critic; and my main outlet these days is an online journal of Shakespeare studies. The point is that there are infinite ways that the plays can be interpreted and staged: one know the play before the start, and the critic's job with any production is to assess the validity of the interpretation & the success with which it has been realised, in the staging and acting.

Similarly, surely, a folksong, because of the fact of its multiplicity of version and possible interpretation, can be successfully performed in many different ways, from the pure unaccompanied source, to the addition of accompaniments with inappropriate foreign instruments [guitar as well as piano ~~ see the thread we had a while back on the guitar as an accompanying instrument], to the formal classical-style concert arrangement. Which way most appeals to any listener is a matter of personal choice, as none is definitive, and it is arguable that only the original source is 'authentic'.

It is surely not a moral fault to prefer Peter Pears & Benjamin Britten's renderings to those of Carthy or Bellamy or Tabor or Jones or MacColl, tho it may not be one's own preference?



~Michael~


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Subject: RE: Is this murdering a folk song?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 13 Feb 12 - 04:42 AM

No, it's not murdering it, it's using it for something else Beethoven, Bartok, Brahms, Kodaly, Brahms, Schubert... all did it.
Probably the most sublime folk song turned into an orchestral piece is Butterworth's 'Banks of Green Willow' no longer folk in his orchestration, but stunningly beautiful.
The song is attributed to William Shield (1748-1829) and may not be a folk song anyway - it would depend on whether it passed into the oral tradition (the Roud index suggests that it hasn't).
'Old' or 'rural' doesn't necessarily mean 'folk', but then again, that's getting down in defining what you mean by the term - careful, you might upset the horses!!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Is this murdering a folk song?
From: GUEST,Seayaker
Date: 13 Feb 12 - 04:56 AM

These art song arrangements were often the first exposure that many people had to folk songs. I remember as a junior school kid in the 1950s the BBC used to produce schools music programs that had these songs sung just like this.

They always sounded too stuffy and formal for me and hearing them sung in a more "folk way" was like a breath of fresh air.


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Subject: RE: Is this murdering a folk song?
From: GUEST,Don Wise
Date: 13 Feb 12 - 05:05 AM

Quite a few people, particularly on radio stations, here in Germany think that this is how folk songs should be sung...........high cringe factor.


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Subject: RE: Is this murdering a folk song?
From: Will Fly
Date: 13 Feb 12 - 05:15 AM

We had a regular class singing session in the primary school I attended from 1951-1955 in Lancashire. I suppose, if I'd known it at the time, that it was my first exposure to songs taken from the tradition and other, not so folky, songs. The class stood around the piano while the teacher played, and we all sang the songs - and I can remember them to this day. Titles included:

Flow Gently Sweet Afton
The Miller of Dee
Sweet Lass Of Richmond Hill
Oh, No John
The Lincolnshire Poacher
The British Grenadiers
The Minstrel Boy
'Twas On a Monday Morning, Oh
Men Of Harlech
Over The Hills And Far Away

The piano arrangements were very simple and straightforward. I've often wondered whether there was a "national" school songbook for this stuff - perhaps based on Sharp's collections and arrangements.

And, I have to say, I used to look forward to those weekly sessions - always on a Friday afternoon - a relaxed high spot of the school week. I enjoyed the singing and have fond memories of them even now.


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Subject: RE: Is this murdering a folk song?
From: JohnH
Date: 13 Feb 12 - 05:23 AM

It's 10 am. I've just listened to the first two and I think I need a stiff drink!


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Subject: RE: Is this murdering a folk song?
From: Silas
Date: 13 Feb 12 - 05:24 AM

Ahh Will. Does that bring back memories. We also had 'Early one Morning' and 'Twankydillo' but there was a BBC radio schools programme as well that used to have 'Folk Music' lessons, sung in very much the manner of the first posters link.

We also had country dancing...

I am constantly amazed that the Folk Revival survived the 'Education' of the 50's and 60's!


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Subject: RE: Is this murdering a folk song?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 13 Feb 12 - 05:35 AM

I've often wondered whether there was a "national" school songbook for this stuff

I saw an old Eton Songbook in Oxfam (Preston) the other day and it was full of those folk songs.

For the record, I can appreciate the tradition of Britten & Pears more than I do most revival singers. There was a delightful Andreas Scholl album of folk songs around a few years back which struck a similar chord, as do the old recordings of Jack Langstaff, clips of which you can listen to HERE. I especially love his singing of The Souling Song - not to mention All The Ducks...

I must admit all this Folkier Than Thou crap really sticks in my craw.


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Subject: RE: Is this murdering a folk song?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 13 Feb 12 - 05:42 AM

Not forgetting the great Alfred Deller. Check this out:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CT-Xz84iGIU&feature=related


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Subject: RE: Is this murdering a folk song?
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 13 Feb 12 - 06:39 AM

You can see the 1905 National Songbook...edited and arranged for the use of schools online. I think similar books always existed. And there was the BBC Singing Together series from my childhood with a large proportion of British folk songs.

As regards the vocal styles, it's very much a matter of your expectations. Listening conditions us to a certain expectation of how things should sound. We have a certain conception of how folk songs should sound, a different one for how a jazz song should sound or lieder or opera. Remember the conflicting opinions when Sting sang Dowland about whether his voice was right for it. Hearing concert sopranos or tenors do pop songs usually sounds odd because stylistically it's not the usual way we hear them. If you're used to hearing recordings or live performances of folk songs by traditional singers you're going to find Peter Pears' version odd. (And by the same token, if you've only heard folk songs sung by classical concert performers you're probably going to find a version sung by Phil Tanner or Walter Pardon equally strange).


BBC4 had a programme on not long ago about Gershwin's Summertime, which I think had some 25000 cover versions in styles ranging from opera to jazz to pop to hip-hop I think, several of which were played during the programme. The song was adaptable to a wide variety of interpretations; but particular audiences would find some styles acceptable, some anathema. Same with folk songs; hearing context colours our expectations.


Mick


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Subject: RE: Is this murdering a folk song?
From: Will Fly
Date: 13 Feb 12 - 07:03 AM

Thanks for that link, Mick - took me right back - I shall be exploring it and reminding myself of those songs we kids sang on a Friday afternoon.


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Subject: RE: Is this murdering a folk song?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 13 Feb 12 - 07:26 AM

(And by the same token, if you've only heard folk songs sung by classical concert performers you're probably going to find a version sung by Phil Tanner or Walter Pardon equally strange).

Personally, I find a greater disparity between the old traditional Singers and later Revivalists more evident that that between (say) Phil Tanner and Alfred Deller. I'm not sure who first effected the Revival Folk Voice, but as a genre it's totally affected & even more remote from what the old singers were doing than seems to be the argument here with respect of Pears et al. At least they weren't so contrived as to assume they were being in any way authentic, other than on their own terms of course. Is that the problem here I wonder? Folkies feeling threatened because despite their best efforts the old songs still have a cultural currency that has nothing to do with Folk?


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Subject: RE: Is this murdering a folk song?
From: theleveller
Date: 13 Feb 12 - 07:55 AM

All contemporary performances of traditional songs are pastiches and this is no exception. Personally I don't find it particularly enjoyable - if I'm going to listen to Britten/Pears, give me Peter Grimes any time.


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Subject: RE: Is this murdering a folk song?
From: Acorn4
Date: 13 Feb 12 - 08:01 AM

I think it's the rolled rrr's that stop me taking this kind of thing seriously.

"Cher-r-r-r-r-r y R-r-r-ripe" is fine

but "We're off to fight the F r-r-r-r-rench" come on!!


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Subject: RE: Is this murdering a folk song?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 13 Feb 12 - 08:34 AM

if I'm going to listen to Britten/Pears, give me Peter Grimes any time. ---

Agreed to great extent, leveller; but I also like the Serenade For Tenor Horn & Strings ~~ including that stunning setting of The Lykewake Dirge!

~M~


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Subject: RE: Is this murdering a folk song?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 13 Feb 12 - 08:46 AM

Hmmmmmm!

I learned Matchbox Blues from Hamish Imlach. And now I've played it for forty odd years - I've got to the point where young kids (if you can find any in folk pubs)go - wow that sounds really cool! The trouble is, I think maybe Hamish learnd it from Rambling Jack Eliot and it sounds sod all like the recordings we have of Blind Lemon Jefferson.

In fact I have a nasty sneaking suspicion that my version of Matchbox Blues compared to Blind Lemon Jefferson bears something like the same relationship that Peter Pears does Sam Larner.

You can't undo forty years of practice though. Not sure I want you.


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Subject: RE: Is this murdering a folk song?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 13 Feb 12 - 08:46 AM

If it was just a matter of personal preference then fair enough, but the thread is predicated on some sort of aesthetic correctness which seems more than a tad churlish really. Why go to the trouble of starting a thread just to tell people about the things you don't like???


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Subject: RE: Is this murdering a folk song?
From: Acorn4
Date: 13 Feb 12 - 08:51 AM

I didn't say I didn't like it - just couldn't take it seriously.


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Subject: RE: Is this murdering a folk song?
From: Acorn4
Date: 13 Feb 12 - 08:55 AM

...and a discussion about whether you can take it so is surely worthwhile?


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Subject: RE: Is this murdering a folk song?
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 13 Feb 12 - 09:50 AM

GS - I don't think I'd classify this thread as intolerant; the discussion has been fairly considered so far (there are plenty of threads I stop reading under 10 posts when the writing is on the wall already, this is heading for 40 and I'm still reading!).

SA - I don't think the thread is predicated on an aethetic correctness so much as an aesthetic expectation. If we got a random sample of say 500 people on mudcat to say whether they thought a performance was a folk performance (by whatever definition they held) you could assign a statistical value to whether it could be considered folk or not. I'd guess the first song would come at the lower end of that scale.

The discussion points out an interesting fact. The criteria that the performers and the listeners are using to value the song are different. The classical performer is looking at (for example) good tone, tuning, producing a beautiful sound, interesting harmony in the accompaniment; the folk performer is looking for (for example) some emotional honesty or something empathetic or some social criticism in the song, and the sound production is not so relevant. As I said above, how we perceive the performance is coloured by our expectations of it: if I go to hear Matthew Cochran (my first link above) sing Master Kilby, I'd go with a different expectation from going to hear Nic Jones sing it (or listening to his recording of it).

I've heard performances of folk songs in non-folk settings that have made me laugh. Back in the 80s I was in Ethiopia and I heard an (English) choir sing The Dark-eyed Sailor and it provoked similar feelings (perhaps not quite so strong) to Acorn4's in the opening post. (Mind you I burst out laughing aloud when I first heard Nancarrow's player piano studies; maybe it's just me).

SA - On a slight aside from the main discussion could you give examples of who you consider to have the Revival Voice (or some representative performances). I'm not asking with a view to starting some vehement exchanges about it; it's not something I'd seriously considered before and I'd like to see where you're coming from on this. If you don't want to risk some inflamed discussion here you could resurrect your login long enough to PM me some examples.

Thanks

Mick


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Subject: RE: Is this murdering a folk song?
From: tonyteach1
Date: 13 Feb 12 - 09:59 AM

Now hears a novelty I agree with Suibhne Why to go the trouble of knocking a classical tenor who is dead and trained in a different tradition and genre I do not like his voice but he was a top class professional singer who made his living as a performer. Can you do that

Perhaps Acorn4 would like to put some of his own stuff up for a laugh

The full throated singing so despised by a lot of folkies is sung a lot of people from different ethnic backgrounds There are masses of gospel choirs - barbershop choirs - jazz from many nationalities You can hear beautiful singing and fantastic guitar playing in the Congolese church in my area. If you told the average choir singer in Wales he was elitist, particularly one from a mining background I would do it from a safe distance or suggest it to the average Welsh rugby fan There are many forms of folk music performed in the UK I play flamenco, now that IS elitist because very few people have the ability to do it at a high level


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Subject: RE: Is this murdering a folk song?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 13 Feb 12 - 10:34 AM

Can anyone present any evidence that this art song 'Curly-headed Ploughboy' was ever sung by ploughboys?


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Subject: RE: Is this murdering a folk song?
From: Paul Davenport
Date: 13 Feb 12 - 10:58 AM

I was going to comment here but then noted that Jim Carroll had absolutely nailed it in his posting of 13th Feb.
One of the biggest problems that exists in the understanding of music is a phenomenon called, 'misidentification'. This is where the listener, not fully understanding what they are hearing, does the natural thing and compares it to what they do know about. The problem then arises when they follow this up with a value judgement based on the application of their lack of knowledge to the situation. I once made the mistake of taking my father (an opera buff) to a shanty festival. He simply hated it because he couldn't apply any yardstick to understand what he was hearing. I guess that's where most 'folkies' are on this thread. I actually quite liked the 'Miller of Dee' track although Bartok would have been a better arranger being less cautious in his accompaniment I suspect. Actually, I'd just like to point out that Most composers who arrange English folk-song tend to be a lot more respectful of their source material than the folk enthusiast gives them credit for. Even the talented Jim Moray's mixes do not shatter any real barriers and, compared with the Butterworth 'English Rhapsody' mentioned by Jim C above, young Mr. Moray's work is nearly traditional.


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Subject: RE: Is this murdering a folk song?
From: Paul Davenport
Date: 13 Feb 12 - 11:00 AM

By the way Steve, can you supply evidence that 'Lucy Wan' was ever sung by a incestuous sororicide?


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Subject: RE: Is this murdering a folk song?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 13 Feb 12 - 11:03 AM

could you give examples of who you consider to have the Revival Voice

Cripes! Well, pretty much any singer in the revival really, old and new, they're all affecting their perception of The Folk Voice, rather than being Traditional Singers in the sense of Larner, Tanner, Deller or Pears. I'm not saying I don't like the affectations of Revival Singers; being one myself it would be a tad hypocritical. Peter Bellamy is a classic case really & I'm his second biggest fan, likewise A L Lloyd, Ewan MacColl, Mike Waterson et al, all of whom I love dearly & all of whom nurture / affect / approximate a Folk Voice rather than sing things straight. Maybe it's not possible to sing straight in this day & age - soon as you open your mouth you're going be singing in a received style.


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Subject: RE: Is this murdering a folk song?
From: Will Fly
Date: 13 Feb 12 - 11:09 AM

Indeed, Paul. I was reminded from Mick's last post about the joys of Conlon Nancarrow. Weird and wonderful stuff indeed. How interesting to create piano pieces which are unplayable by a human! I find it fascinating, personally but - if it's not within one's frame of reference...


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Subject: RE: Is this murdering a folk song?
From: Acorn4
Date: 13 Feb 12 - 11:09 AM

Rather ironic that I should be asked to put up some of my own songs "for a laugh" because I write mainly comedy songs, having a voice rather like a "camel farting through a wet loaf of bread". My other half sings very well and I can manage harmony and backing - but that's by the by.

The really interesting point coming over here is the effect that the "trained voice" kind of delivery had on us as children. When I was at school (about 9 ish) I found this a complete "turn off" and was into "Lollipop" by the Chordettes and other such things.

I first got into folk when I went round a friend's house and his sister was playing some songs in the style of Sandy Denny - it just seemed to conjure up images and I started going to folk clubs. I was a primary teacher for many years, but I never did use - "Singing Together" - Despite the "farting camel" I never had any inhibitions about singing in front of a class - I think a lot of teachers did and this is where the series came in useful.

Interesting to hear people's different viewpoints on this.


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Subject: RE: Is this murdering a folk song?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 13 Feb 12 - 11:13 AM

Paul
No, but I'd be more tempted to accept LW as a folk song than 'The Ploughboy'.

BTW 'Miller of the Dee' art song also.


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Subject: RE: Is this murdering a folk song?
From: Acorn4
Date: 13 Feb 12 - 11:13 AM

....oh, I did use some of the songs from "Singing Together", but not actually singing along to the tapes.


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Subject: RE: Is this murdering a folk song?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 13 Feb 12 - 11:33 AM

People with trained voices and trained musicians have just as much right to perform folk music as the rest of us. Folk Music as music of 'The People' ceased to exist in western society a long time ago, except in a few out of the way backwaters.


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Subject: RE: Is this murdering a folk song?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 13 Feb 12 - 11:40 AM

"A L Lloyd, Ewan MacColl, Mike Waterson et al, all of whom I love dearly & all of whom nurture / affect / approximate a Folk Voice rather than sing things straight. Maybe it's not possible to sing straight in this day & age - soon as you open your mouth you're going be singing in a received style." Suibhne above

,.,.,.

Have just got to quote it again,~ sorry. After a folksong evening I did at the Eye Theatre in Suffolk, the critic of the local paper wrote ~~ 'An unpretentious performer, he can talk to the audience in very middle class tones and then, without putting on the folk voice, can still go right into the spirit of a song.'
             Basil Abbott - Norfolk & Suffolk Express - 14 Feb 1992


Nicest thing anybody has ever said about me ~~ well, one of them, anyhow.

~M~


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Subject: RE: Is this murdering a folk song?
From: Acorn4
Date: 13 Feb 12 - 11:40 AM

Of course they have; it's just what impact it has on us at impressionable stages of our lives, I suppose.


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Subject: RE: Is this murdering a folk song?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 13 Feb 12 - 12:01 PM

From the evidence at my disposal I'd say you have The Folk Voice, Michael. Your own of course. No harm in that - though I'd love to hear you sing Butter & Cheese et al in your natural born plummy RP.


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Subject: RE: Is this murdering a folk song?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 13 Feb 12 - 12:42 PM

Ah, as to that, Sean ~~ I take your point. The thing is that singing a song, esp one with a first-person narrative, is a performance: adopting an appropriate character in a first-person song like B&C&A is not quite the same as 'putting on the folk voice', IMO. It is what I do when I act in a play ~~ the last part I played was Dr Chasuble in The Importance of Being Earnest: he didn't sound exactly like me; but like me imitating my concept of a pompous C19 Anglican vicar. So, the cook's guest in her Norfolk kitchen in B&C&A is not going to sound quite like me either. But that doesn't mean I gave him grace-notes & tremolos, which is what 'the folk voice' means to me; and presumably meant also to that young man 20 years ago reviewing me for the Norfolk & Suffolk Express...

Still ~~ I repeat, I do see what you mean.

~M~

Anyone curious who doesn't know ~~ you can hear that song on my youtube channel ~

http://www.youtube.com/user/mgmyer


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Subject: RE: Is this murdering a folk song?
From: Sandy Mc Lean
Date: 13 Feb 12 - 01:08 PM

This opens a secondary question:
Do some old folksongs deserve to be murdered?
Getting me 'at and running for cover. :-}


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Subject: RE: Is this murdering a folk song?
From: GUEST,Mawich
Date: 13 Feb 12 - 02:06 PM

I've got a 'trained' voice, although it's not as rigid as some, and I find I like to bring a bit of 'trainedness' as it were to folk songs when I sing them, even though I do loosen things up rather more than I would if I was singing something by Schubert.

Personally I think a variety of ways to sing a song is a good thing, and with that I accept that I won't like some of them. Some of Britten's arrangements of folk songs are really good (to me), although they do have to be sung right, as even within that more prescribed music there are different ways to approach the voice and some ways are (to my ears) Just Plain Wrong.

Also, singing styles change over time. Nobody really sings like Peter Pears and his contemporaries anymore. Our perception of it is distorted by their early recording equipment, but it's clear that underneath is a style of singing that is very much out of favour now.

As it happens I sing folk songs in a kind of baroque style, because that's the kind of music I'm most trained to do and know the most about. When I ornament tunes they tend to be baroque ornaments, and when I sing I often end up with a slightly more 'conversational' style but it's still quite 'early music' in that it's aiming for a pure melodic line with very little use of vibrato and no 'scooping' as my singing teacher calls it. But that's just what I do, and I like how it sounds, and the people at my club seem to as well.


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Subject: RE: Is this murdering a folk song?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 13 Feb 12 - 02:16 PM

Having put one point of view I now present the opposite. At the risk of offending some of my friends, I positively cringe when a twee middle class lady gets up to warble something like 'The Blackleg Miner'.

I'll get me crash helmet!


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Subject: RE: Is this murdering a folk song?
From: tonyteach1
Date: 13 Feb 12 - 02:21 PM

Re diction - the reason for the exaggerated diction is to be heard at the back of the large theatre or hall. I have sung in huge theatres without a mike and your words have to be crystal clear as do actors. Its a way of projecting the voice and the meaning of the text

Most classical singers do not use mikes or like them except in musical theatre where the sound is huge. This is of course unlike pissy pantywaist folk singers who cannot be heard beyond the third row without a mike stuck down their throat. I am joking of course but it gets boring hearing someone who knows nothing about voice production slagging off a particular style

I find also the thing about the "folk" voice a bit out of touch as most people in my area are from a different ethnic background Many ladies in gospel choirs sing tenor in a beautiful chest voice. Tell them its not proper folk music - there is a massive amount of good world music in London Folk needs to diversify and stop harking back to dear dead Ewan !


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Subject: RE: Is this murdering a folk song?
From: The Sandman
Date: 13 Feb 12 - 02:22 PM

in my opinion,yes, but that is just an opinion.


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Subject: RE: Is this murdering a folk song?
From: The Sandman
Date: 13 Feb 12 - 02:23 PM

correction, it is murdering a song, I dont know if it is a folk song


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Subject: RE: Is this murdering a folk song?
From: Lighter
Date: 13 Feb 12 - 03:43 PM

And "The" Folk Voice is what exactly?

MacColl, Lloyd, Bellamy, Carthy, et al., sound more like each other than they do Perry Como, Elvis, or Pavarotti.

But they don't sound that much alike. And they do sound more like Sam Larner than like Glenn Yarbrough.


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Subject: RE: Is this murdering a folk song?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 13 Feb 12 - 04:11 PM

Yup - individual singers sound different to each other; Folk Voice, Counter Tenor, Xhoomi, Heavy Metal, R&B, Sean Nos, Morecambe Crab Charmers... That's a human thing - we do styles & genres yet cleverly maintain our individual uniqueness.


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Subject: RE: Is this murdering a folk song?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 13 Feb 12 - 05:39 PM

Strangely I reminisce often re the songs we listened to and sang in primary school using 'Singing Together'. I've even been known to pick up the odd copy of ST if the price isn't way over the top. I still sing for my own amusement such pieces as 'The Jolly Wagonner', 'Marianina', 'Once there was a wild rose gay', 'Il etait un petite navire'. The first song I ever sang in a folk club c1965 was the version of 'Sally Brown' I'd learnt in school in the 50s.


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Subject: RE: Is this murdering a folk song?
From: GUEST,SRD
Date: 13 Feb 12 - 05:59 PM

I first knew 'Sally Gardens' from The Bishop of Welling's recitals at Farningham and considered it one of his best. This thread sent me off to Peter Pears' version on youtube. Ok one might want to argue that the poetry of a Victorian Irish playwright doesn't qualify as 'folk music' but I think there's just as much feeling in the Britten/Pears' version as there was in the Bishop's and just as much tradition.


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Subject: RE: Is this murdering a folk song?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 13 Feb 12 - 07:45 PM

Ihe Leicester guitarist Steve Hicks plays a beautiful version of Down by the Sally Gardens.


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Subject: RE: Is this murdering a folk song?
From: Joe_F
Date: 13 Feb 12 - 08:27 PM

"Off with his head! He's murdering the time!" All the same, time has gone on, and so have those songs.

The only recordings I have that sound at all like those performances are those of Richard Dyer-Bennett, whom I have enjoyed for 60 years but who does seem a bit precious by now. Still, if people have to sing songs that way in order to take them seriously, that's better than not singing them at all.

It could be worse. It could be rock and roll.


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Subject: RE: Is this murdering a folk song?
From: andrew e
Date: 14 Feb 12 - 12:30 AM

Well it gave Dudley Moore something to make us laugh!


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Subject: RE: Is this murdering a folk song?
From: Acorn4
Date: 14 Feb 12 - 04:30 AM

I bet Peter Pears and Benjamin Britain didn't have a drunk at the back asking them to sing The Wild Rover.


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Subject: RE: Is this murdering a folk song?
From: Will Fly
Date: 14 Feb 12 - 05:17 AM

It could be worse. It could be rock and roll.

Wash your mouth out, you naughty boy! Rock'n roll paid my bills for quite some time, many years ago. Trash it may be - precious it ain't - and to to do it right, so that people dance their socks off, is not easy.


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Subject: RE: Is this murdering a folk song?
From: GUEST,Don Wise
Date: 14 Feb 12 - 06:27 AM

re 'The Folk Voice'- this of course includes singers with 'plummy' english RP accents trying to sing american songs in a terribly plummy american accent(e.g. Charles Parker from The Critics Group). Lonnie Donegan's accent was far more convincing. Further, if this 'Voice' is apparently a 'put-on'/'stage' voice, does this mean that,to be authentic, one has to sing in a regional accent and,if you don't have a marked regional accent, you shouldn't sing (folk)songs at all? Should we become vocal chameleons?


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