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Evolution of the term 'folk music'

GUEST 10 Jan 13 - 06:28 AM
GUEST 10 Jan 13 - 06:44 AM
GUEST 10 Jan 13 - 08:45 AM
GUEST,Lighter 10 Jan 13 - 08:54 AM
greg stephens 10 Jan 13 - 09:13 AM
Steve Shaw 10 Jan 13 - 09:35 AM
Les in Chorlton 10 Jan 13 - 09:42 AM
GUEST 10 Jan 13 - 10:01 AM
theleveller 10 Jan 13 - 10:14 AM
GUEST,999 10 Jan 13 - 10:28 AM
Les in Chorlton 10 Jan 13 - 10:43 AM
Will Fly 10 Jan 13 - 10:45 AM
TheSnail 10 Jan 13 - 10:50 AM
Tootler 10 Jan 13 - 10:57 AM
Steve Shaw 10 Jan 13 - 11:15 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 10 Jan 13 - 11:24 AM
GUEST,Stim 10 Jan 13 - 11:43 AM
Les in Chorlton 10 Jan 13 - 12:14 PM
Les in Chorlton 10 Jan 13 - 12:17 PM
GUEST,999 10 Jan 13 - 12:27 PM
Ernest 10 Jan 13 - 01:17 PM
Stringsinger 10 Jan 13 - 02:29 PM
theleveller 10 Jan 13 - 02:35 PM
Steve Shaw 10 Jan 13 - 09:07 PM
GUEST,Tony 11 Jan 13 - 12:56 AM
Gibb Sahib 11 Jan 13 - 02:00 AM
Les in Chorlton 11 Jan 13 - 05:58 AM
GUEST,Lighter 11 Jan 13 - 07:52 AM
Mr Red 11 Jan 13 - 11:16 AM
Steve Parkes 11 Jan 13 - 11:35 AM
greg stephens 11 Jan 13 - 12:57 PM
dick greenhaus 11 Jan 13 - 01:03 PM
GUEST,Lighter 11 Jan 13 - 02:50 PM
ripov 11 Jan 13 - 03:24 PM
Jim Carroll 12 Jan 13 - 05:59 AM
GUEST,Tony 12 Jan 13 - 09:17 AM
GUEST,Lighter 12 Jan 13 - 09:38 AM
Brian Peters 12 Jan 13 - 10:40 AM
GUEST,Lighter 12 Jan 13 - 12:07 PM
Steve Gardham 12 Jan 13 - 03:37 PM
GUEST,Grishka 12 Jan 13 - 03:56 PM
Gibb Sahib 12 Jan 13 - 05:02 PM
beeliner 13 Jan 13 - 12:57 AM
GUEST,Blandiver 13 Jan 13 - 08:31 AM
Ernest 13 Jan 13 - 08:35 AM
GUEST,Lighter 13 Jan 13 - 08:35 AM
dick greenhaus 13 Jan 13 - 03:36 PM
GUEST,Lighter 13 Jan 13 - 04:17 PM
foggers 14 Jan 13 - 11:03 AM
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Subject: Evolution of the term 'folk music'
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Jan 13 - 06:28 AM

Hello! I am looking for some help in the area of folk music in which I am not an expert on. Can anyone give me the names of publication or experts of reputable sources that delineate the evolution of the term "folk music?" Thank you so much!


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Subject: RE: Evolution of the term 'folk music'
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Jan 13 - 06:44 AM

Gelbart, M. (2007) The invention of "Folk Music" and "Art Music": Emerging categories from Ossian to Wagner, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

This is excellent. Traces terms and change in definition (functionality to origin)in 18th century and how that influences current definition..enjoy!


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Subject: RE: Evolution of the term 'folk music'
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Jan 13 - 08:45 AM

The evolution of the term ended in 1954. I hope that narrows your search.


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Subject: RE: Evolution of the term 'folk music'
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 10 Jan 13 - 08:54 AM

> The evolution of the term ended in 1954.

What a hope!


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Subject: RE: Evolution of the term 'folk music'
From: greg stephens
Date: 10 Jan 13 - 09:13 AM

The term behaves like finches in the Galapagos. It does not chug slowly along, changing and acquiring new meanings and shedding its old one: it actually keeps splitting into new and contradictory meanings, which can coexist with its old meanings.Very difficult to keep track of.


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Subject: RE: Evolution of the term 'folk music'
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 10 Jan 13 - 09:35 AM

It evolved into meaning "music that doesn't need you to tune your guitar" in about 1979.


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Subject: RE: Evolution of the term 'folk music'
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 10 Jan 13 - 09:42 AM

Brilliant Steve, this must be some kind of record! Although I suspect the OP was trolling - on purpose or by accident but to get from the OP to abuse is in only 5 or 6 posts is well quick


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Subject: RE: Evolution of the term 'folk music'
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Jan 13 - 10:01 AM

llok ffs everyone knows thaT SO CAKKED filk music is a bourgise invention by you and maccoll and wooden guthrie real foil musicians would never have lived long enough to become horses


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Subject: RE: Evolution of the term 'folk music'
From: theleveller
Date: 10 Jan 13 - 10:14 AM

Well, that pretty much sums it up.


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Subject: RE: Evolution of the term 'folk music'
From: GUEST,999
Date: 10 Jan 13 - 10:28 AM

LOL


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Subject: RE: Evolution of the term 'folk music'
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 10 Jan 13 - 10:43 AM

"llok ffs everyone knows thaT SO CAKKED filk music is a bourgise invention by you and maccoll and wooden guthrie real foil musicians would never have lived long enough to become horses"

Look, if you are after some kind of award I think you have it!


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Subject: RE: Evolution of the term 'folk music'
From: Will Fly
Date: 10 Jan 13 - 10:45 AM

I used to think that filk music was well and truly cakked, but now I'm not so zsewer...


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Subject: RE: Evolution of the term 'folk music'
From: TheSnail
Date: 10 Jan 13 - 10:50 AM

What is Filk?


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Subject: RE: Evolution of the term 'folk music'
From: Tootler
Date: 10 Jan 13 - 10:57 AM

This is a filking silly thread


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Subject: RE: Evolution of the term 'folk music'
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 10 Jan 13 - 11:15 AM

Abuse of what or whom, Les? Where's yer sense of humour, man! Unpreciousise yourself!


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Subject: RE: Evolution of the term 'folk music'
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 10 Jan 13 - 11:24 AM

One must define folk music before before one can evolve it.
Folk music- music of the folk. Start from there......


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Subject: RE: Evolution of the term 'folk music'
From: GUEST,Stim
Date: 10 Jan 13 - 11:43 AM

I think from now on, we should merge the discussions of guns and folk music into one thread. Surely that will get things sorted out...


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Subject: RE: Evolution of the term 'folk music'
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 10 Jan 13 - 12:14 PM

OK, Steve, humour is humour it either makes you laugh or it doesn't.

Since laughs are really good things I trust loads of people got one from your post


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Subject: RE: Evolution of the term 'folk music'
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 10 Jan 13 - 12:17 PM

No, sorry it isn't really a joke at all, it's just a stupid remark


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Subject: RE: Evolution of the term 'folk music'
From: GUEST,999
Date: 10 Jan 13 - 12:27 PM

'Unpreciousise yourself!'

But don't get caught doing it in public.


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Subject: RE: Evolution of the term 'folk music'
From: Ernest
Date: 10 Jan 13 - 01:17 PM

Well, it all started when the first morris dacers crawled out of the big puddle....reached it height with the Maccollosaurus Rex......and ended apruptly when the Neanderthals invented the bodhran...


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Subject: RE: Evolution of the term 'folk music'
From: Stringsinger
Date: 10 Jan 13 - 02:29 PM

The term may have emanated from the German "Volksleid" or "Volksleider".

Carl Sandburg may have been the one to introduce "folk singer" to the U.S.


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Subject: RE: Evolution of the term 'folk music'
From: theleveller
Date: 10 Jan 13 - 02:35 PM

....which then mutated into the banjo.


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Subject: RE: Evolution of the term 'folk music'
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 10 Jan 13 - 09:07 PM

No, sorry it isn't really a joke at all, it's just a stupid remark

Never mind. Have a better day tomorrow, Les.


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Subject: RE: Evolution of the term 'folk music'
From: GUEST,Tony
Date: 11 Jan 13 - 12:56 AM

I wish there was a Cliff Notes version of the Gelbart book. I'm curious about the history of those two terms, but not enough to read 300 pages on it (or to pay $110 for the book).

Perhaps the guest who cited the book could provide an outline? It would be a valuable contribution to the Mudcat library.


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Subject: RE: Evolution of the term 'folk music'
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 11 Jan 13 - 02:00 AM

Writers circa 1859/60/61 (Car Engels for one) say they are borrowing the phrase from German "Volksmusik." That might be a place to start.


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Subject: RE: Evolution of the term 'folk music'
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 11 Jan 13 - 05:58 AM

Steve, all my days are good but thanks for your concern


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Subject: RE: Evolution of the term 'folk music'
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 11 Jan 13 - 07:52 AM

The British antiquary Andrew Hamilton wrote of Danish "folk-music" as early as 1852.

He presumably translated the term from German.


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Subject: RE: Evolution of the term 'folk music'
From: Mr Red
Date: 11 Jan 13 - 11:16 AM

Oh dear, this is the twin brother (or sister - I haven't look too closely) of "What is Folk".

If you believe Tourist Information Centres is is any loud amplified music that they don't understand.

Folk Music is a label to allow people to communicate some mental concept they are carrying in their head. If you mean the term as used by a lot of Folks, then we can be more specific.

My take is it is what folk play. In 100 years time karaoke may be the fashion. Football chants will - they have been well documented.

Which is another useful corollary - Folk Music is what has been documented, because the incidence of non-documented stuff is so rare these days as to be gold dust. And we are now in the over-documented age.


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Subject: RE: Evolution of the term 'folk music'
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 11 Jan 13 - 11:35 AM

Rather shocked to discover the earliest attributions in the Oxford English Dictionary are 1889 for folk-music and 1898 for folk-singer; and folk on its own, to mean folk song or folk music, doesn't appear in print until 1963 (The Observer, writing about somebody called, er, McColl). The concept of folk in our sense of the word first appears in print in the mid-19th century, so it was probably in use only for a few years before that, by specialist academic folk-ists.

If we assume it was coined to describe something that hitherto hadn't been recognised, or hadn't been seen as warranting its own name, we may further assume it meant, Humpty-Dumpty-fashion, whatever its coiner meant it to mean at the time; consequently we can use it to mean whatever we want it to mean today:- and nobody can argue the toss!


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Subject: RE: Evolution of the term 'folk music'
From: greg stephens
Date: 11 Jan 13 - 12:57 PM

The real questions are, should folkies be allowed to marry each other, and should they be allowed to be bishops?


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Subject: RE: Evolution of the term 'folk music'
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 11 Jan 13 - 01:03 PM

The "evolution" you refer to is akin to the evolution of a house, unmaintained through many years.Try deterioration. Or dilapidation. ( I'm talking about the word, not necessarily the music)


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Subject: RE: Evolution of the term 'folk music'
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 11 Jan 13 - 02:50 PM

It used to be believed that "folk music" was a kind of music that mystically expressed the essential ethnic characteristics of a nation.

To the Romantic thinkers who came up with the idea, that meant that a nation's "folk music" was music known to almost everybody but not imported from abroad. National anthems, thought to embody the true spirit of the nation, were regarded as prime examples, but so was the unwritten music of the unlettered (and thus uncorrupted) rural population. "Art music" could also be "folk music" if it displayed obvious ethnic features.

In the nineteenth century, ethnicity was largely defined by stereotype and it was thought to be inseparable from personal character. The modern idea that "folk music" is defined more by style than by ethnic content would have been rejected as missing the point entirely.

Quiz on this material tomorrow.


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Subject: RE: Evolution of the term 'folk music'
From: ripov
Date: 11 Jan 13 - 03:24 PM

for a non-folky's view of this:-
http://www.leonardbernstein.com/ypc_script_folk_music_in_the_concert_hall.htm

I wonder how he would have described the "world/fusion" music we have now?


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Subject: RE: Evolution of the term 'folk music'
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 12 Jan 13 - 05:59 AM

Thoms, William John (l803~l885) English antiquary, bibliographer, and originator of the word folklore in a letter published in the Athenaeum, August 22, 1846,
Thoms wrote, after using the word folklore, "_ _ _ remember I claim the honor of introducing the epithet Folklore, as Disraeli does of introducing Fatherland, into the literature of this country." The new coinage seemed more apt than the commonly used phrase popular antiquities. How well it was received is attested by its immediate and continued use. The word has established itself in several languages "as the generic term under which are included traditional institutions, beliefs, art, custom, stories, songs, sayings, and the like current among backward peoples or retained by the less cultured classes of more advanced peoples.
Thoms was for twenty years a clerk in Chelsea Hospital, becoming a clerk to the House of Lords and its deputy librarian (1863-l882). He founded Notes and Queries in 1849 and edited this periodical until l872. Ln l878, at the establishment of the Folk-Lore Society, he was named Director. The American Folklore Society, founded ten years later, was patterned in general after
the English institution as is shown by reference to the original Rules of the American society, whose aims were similar to those of the English society.
From Funk and Wagnall's Standard Dictionary of Folklore Mythology and Legend

Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Evolution of the term 'folk music'
From: GUEST,Tony
Date: 12 Jan 13 - 09:17 AM

An older use of "folk" is to mean laity (from the Greek word λαός = people or common folk) as opposed to clergy. The Christian service was traditionally sung, or chanted, with the clergy singing the calls and all of the laity singing the responses. Liturgy books until recently identified the singer of each passage as either Priest or People (Ιερεύς or Λαός). In the present age of spectatorism the books usually say Choir instead of People.

The vague "folk song vs art song" dichotomy may have inherited that older distinction as composers became lionized instead of anonymous and their music shifted from sacred to secular.


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Subject: RE: Evolution of the term 'folk music'
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 12 Jan 13 - 09:38 AM

Thoms's emphasis on "the less cultured" (i.e., less educated) was more immediately influential in the field of "lore" than in the subcategory of "song."

John Williamson Palmer's "Folk Songs" (N.Y., 1860), the earliest publication to carry that title, is made up entirely of "art" poetry representing the supposed romantic and heroic spirit of the Anglo-Saxon. (Palmer was a physician, not a folklorist.) Sheet music of Thomas D. English's "Hurrah for You, Old Glory: A New Folk Song" appeared in 1895.

Data searches show that the terms "folksong" and "folk music" didn't appear very often in print before 1900 - and then mainly in specialist journals.

That suggests that the words were not very familiar to the average person for many decades. Collectors found that their sources had never heard of "folksongs" or "folk music," but they still knew plenty of "old songs," "old ballads," "old love songs," and "old tunes."


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Subject: RE: Evolution of the term 'folk music'
From: Brian Peters
Date: 12 Jan 13 - 10:40 AM

The debate over a broader versus a narrower meaning of 'Folk Song' was raging a hundred years ago. Here's Cecil Sharp himself, in 'English Folk Song: Some Conclusions':

"The word itself is a German compound, which of recent years has found a home in this country. Unhappily it is used in two senses. Scientific writers restrict its meaning to the song created by the unlettered classes. Others, however, use it to denote not only the peasant songs, but all popular songs as well, irrespective of origin, i.e. in the wider and looser sense in which it is sometimes used in Germany. This is to destroy the value of a very useful expression, and to rob scientists of a word of great value… There was no need to do violence to the restricted and strictly scientific meaning of 'folk song' by stretching it beyond its natural signification."


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Subject: RE: Evolution of the term 'folk music'
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 12 Jan 13 - 12:07 PM

> "Scientific writers restrict its meaning to the song created by the unlettered classes."

Scientific writers also restrict the word "virus" to a certain sort of thing, but the ordinary person uses it to cover almost any kind of disease-causing organism.

Technical and nontechnical usages have an unfortunate tendency to coexist, making life still more confusing.

And if "scientific writers" really did restrict "folksong" to the known creations of the "unlettered" (do broadside writers count?), the field in English would be limited indeed.


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Subject: RE: Evolution of the term 'folk music'
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 12 Jan 13 - 03:37 PM

I'm afraid it's not scientists or lexicographers who mostly give meaning to words, it's us, the common riff-raff. If it has a use, we use it. Languages like ours are constantly evolving and there's didly-squat we can do about it, so no point in complaining, just get on with it.


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Subject: RE: Evolution of the term 'folk music'
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 12 Jan 13 - 03:56 PM

One day in the distant future, filk music will be the dominant species of entertainment. Then, they will invent a time machine and beam themselves into the distant past - that is how folk music came about.


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Subject: RE: Evolution of the term 'folk music'
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 12 Jan 13 - 05:02 PM

By "scientific writers" Sharp meant "I and people like me," and by "song created by the unlettered classes" he meant "song that we *think* represents a pure essence of an ethnic group...although we've no way to prove it and, moreover, we've drawn the border arbitrarily to suit rather unscientific nationalistic ideas."

Still, this is important to the evolution of the phrase, because it is these people (Sharp etc.) that brought "folk music" into wider use. And the use brought a shift from "music of the people of a region" (as opposed to cosmopolitan, interregional music shared between elites of different peoples) to a specific kind of music with a particular kind of genesis and production/dissemination.


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Subject: RE: Evolution of the term 'folk music'
From: beeliner
Date: 13 Jan 13 - 12:57 AM

As I noted several years ago in another thread, I am probably one of the few people on this forum who is old enough to remember when BILLBOARD listed the R&B charts as "Race" and the C&W charts as "Folk".


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Subject: RE: Evolution of the term 'folk music'
From: GUEST,Blandiver
Date: 13 Jan 13 - 08:31 AM

llok ffs everyone knows thaT SO CAKKED filk music is a bourgise invention

Which is, of course, spot on, as the redoubtable Jim Carroll confirms a few posts on:

the generic term under which are included traditional institutions, beliefs, art, custom, stories, songs, sayings, and the like current among backward peoples or retained by the less cultured classes of more advanced peoples.

BUT, whilst it's uncountably true that Languages like ours are constantly evolving and there's didly-squat we can do about it, so no point in complaining, just get on with it it's also true that Folk is essentially a Faith Music and that faith has remained unchanged since Folk was first perceived to exist by paternalistic Victorians enchanted by their romantic dreams of God-given apartheid and imperialism which applied as much to the class-system of Good Old Blighty as it did to the subjugation of Johnny Foreigner.

The term Folk Music hasn't evolved, but the nature of Folk Music has, as can be see in projects such as Cold Spring's ongoing Dark Britannica series, the 4th Volume of which gets 2013 off to a nice start. Features lots of great bands & singers including two trax from Mudcat's very own Dave Kidman no less! Check it out:

Various Artists : Hail Be You Sovereigns, Lief And Dear

*

In Folk Circles there is still this tendency to favour the former in the Prescription vs. Description debate. This is definitely one case where it's easier to say what it is, than what it isn't.


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Subject: RE: Evolution of the term 'folk music'
From: Ernest
Date: 13 Jan 13 - 08:35 AM

Is someone who wrote a song that became a folk song a creationist?


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Subject: RE: Evolution of the term 'folk music'
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 13 Jan 13 - 08:35 AM

> By "scientific writers" Sharp meant "I and people like me,"

This makes it sound like Sharp and his colleagues were intellectually obtuse and culturally arrogant, which was hardly the case. That is not to say, of course, that they had either the correct answers or fully justified theories.

By "scientific writers," Sharp clearly meant writers who'd investigated the subject of non-'art', non-'popular', non-'music hall' songs collected from uneducated people in various countries.

Obviously there were thousands of such songs. Writers who applied the term otherwise muddied the specialized discussion and had no analytical basis for doing so.

Whether the songs Sharp and others collected were as different from other kinds of music as they thought, or for the reasons they thought, or what cultural significance they might have, are separate questions.

Just which specific songs might fit into the category is often a matter of opinion, but Sharp and the rest of the EFSS had a definable "sort" of song in mind when they used the term "folk song."

It was the difference between, say, "Hares on the Mountain" and "The Road to Mandalay" or "Danny Boy." Or "Streets of Laredo" and "Blowin' in the Wind."

As an academic, I think the differences are more interesting and important than the similarities. Whether I just "like" or "dislike" a particular song, or sort of song, is again something very different.


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Subject: RE: Evolution of the term 'folk music'
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 13 Jan 13 - 03:36 PM

When the meaning of a classification becomes so diffuse that different groups use it to describe different things, it becomes useless as a classification, except when used within a particular group.


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Subject: RE: Evolution of the term 'folk music'
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 13 Jan 13 - 04:17 PM

All that people in a serious discussion need to do is say, "By 'folk song'/ 'folk music' I mean...."


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Subject: RE: Evolution of the term 'folk music'
From: foggers
Date: 14 Jan 13 - 11:03 AM

Ah, Lighter, and therein lies the snag; trying to get 'Catters (serious or not) to agree a definition of the term "folk music" is like that notoriously challenging hobby of herding cats.


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