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New Tunes for Old

GUEST 24 Apr 13 - 05:57 PM
Leadfingers 24 Apr 13 - 06:37 PM
Richard from Liverpool 24 Apr 13 - 06:51 PM
Leadfingers 24 Apr 13 - 07:41 PM
Sanjay Sircar 24 Apr 13 - 08:38 PM
GUEST 25 Apr 13 - 12:07 PM
Mr Happy 25 Apr 13 - 12:16 PM
GUEST,leeneia 25 Apr 13 - 12:18 PM
Phil Cooper 25 Apr 13 - 01:32 PM
Elmore 25 Apr 13 - 04:20 PM
Vic Smith 26 Apr 13 - 06:08 AM
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Subject: New Tunes for Old
From: GUEST
Date: 24 Apr 13 - 05:57 PM

I am in the very lucky position of being able to listen to a high proportion of new releases of British folk records - and therefore able to spot a number of trends.
One fairly obvious one is the number of new albums by the younger performers that have sets of traditional words that the performers themselves have set to newer tunes, usually their own compositions.
I have fairly strong views on this but rather than expressing them in this opening post, I would like to call for other opinions on this and express my own opinions if and when the thread develops.


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Subject: RE: New Tunes for Old
From: Leadfingers
Date: 24 Apr 13 - 06:37 PM

I am NOT a Song Writer - Ask my Family about letters = words are too difficult , but I find faking tunes relatively simple . Obviously , the opposite is just as common , so Folkies who CAN put words together are liable to nick other peoples tunes .
I have no problem with this , but PLEASE dont call 'Your Words' to someone elses tune a Parody , unless you ARE writing a parody of the original song .


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Subject: RE: New Tunes for Old
From: Richard from Liverpool
Date: 24 Apr 13 - 06:51 PM

Well, I'm not a recording artist, but I do occasionally put traditional words to new tunes - or more accurately, I try and tell the old story to a tune that I think communicates the story well. (So I'm adapting sets of words rather than simply transplanting them)

My reasons for doing so vary, but it's generally due to lack of suitable tune out there - either because I don't particularly "feel" the tunes I've heard for the song before, or if I'm using a source like a broadside (or something like the words jotted down from relatives by my mother), it might be for the very simple reason that the words didn't have a tune directly attached to them.

In short, there are lots of traditional songs I love the story or, or I like the message it's communicating - but for some reason none of the tunes feel interesting to me (and let's face it, there are a lot of bloody boring tunes out there), or natural to me as a way of communicating the song. In which case, I'd rather try singing the song a different way rather than simply drop it altogether.

Of course, there are also the various tunes 'created' through my misremembering the tune I first heard; this musical Chinese whispers can end up with my singing a very different melody to the 'source'. That kind of drift is another story altogether, but does not always have terrible consequences.


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Subject: RE: New Tunes for Old
From: Leadfingers
Date: 24 Apr 13 - 07:41 PM

Peter Bellamy found a song he liked in the Library at C#House Found a guy to play the tune, didnt like it so wrote another - Check out 'On Board A 98'


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Subject: RE: New Tunes for Old
From: Sanjay Sircar
Date: 24 Apr 13 - 08:38 PM

There might be two distinct uses/meanings of the word "parody", which just means "a song sung beside": the ordinary one, a mocking/satirical take--off; and a less common one, a sustained set of allusions to a previous artwork... (See Grove: the word "parody" in music apparently has no sense of mockery attached to it.) In the latter sense, possibly old words to new tunes and new words to old tunes could both meaningfully (usefully?) be called parody? I apologise in advance if such is not the case.

Sanjay Sircar


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Subject: RE: New Tunes for Old
From: GUEST
Date: 25 Apr 13 - 12:07 PM

When there is no tune extant for a song or even in the case such as the Peter Bellamy example given above where a new tune helps to resuscitate a neglected but worthy set of words, I can see a strong case for it.

Recently, however, I have listened to recordings of well known traditional lyrics set to new and almost invariably inferior tunes and I find myself wondering why this is done.


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Subject: RE: New Tunes for Old
From: Mr Happy
Date: 25 Apr 13 - 12:16 PM

Many folksong collectors of long ago often just wrote down verses with no tunes, so when these have been picked up to be sung in contemporary times, new tunes have been added


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Subject: RE: New Tunes for Old
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 25 Apr 13 - 12:18 PM

I have absolutely no objections to anyone taking old words and writing a new tune. If that person has music in their soul, let it out, I say.


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Subject: RE: New Tunes for Old
From: Phil Cooper
Date: 25 Apr 13 - 01:32 PM

I've made a few tunes up for some ballads and thought they were in keeping with the tone of the words. I haven't heard anyone saying they suck, so I guess I've done all right. I do agree, sometimes the original tune, where known, is better.


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Subject: RE: New Tunes for Old
From: Elmore
Date: 25 Apr 13 - 04:20 PM

Debby Mcclatchy put a new tune to Amazing Grace which I think is better than the original.


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Subject: RE: New Tunes for Old
From: Vic Smith
Date: 26 Apr 13 - 06:08 AM

The two GUEST posts in this thread at 24 Apr 13 - 05:57 PM and 25 Apr 13 - 12:07 PM were by me - and I didn't notice that I was 'sans cookie'.

(Strictly speaking, should I have been allowed to start a threat as a GUEST?)


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