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writing melodies to modern folk songs

The Sandman 11 Mar 14 - 09:07 AM
GUEST 11 Mar 14 - 09:28 AM
GUEST 11 Mar 14 - 10:43 AM
Steve Gardham 11 Mar 14 - 11:22 AM
GUEST,eldergirl 12 Mar 14 - 04:34 AM
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Subject: writing melodies to modern folk songs
From: The Sandman
Date: 11 Mar 14 - 09:07 AM

Since it seems to be the practice in the uk and irish folk revival to write tunes to tradtional sounding songs that consist of 3 or 4 modes only, is there not a possibilty that the number of new tunes available will run out?is the idea of writing traditional sounding songs that are restriucted to 4 modes, one that will eventually lead to a stagnation of melodic creativity?

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Subject: RE: writing melodies to modern folk songs
Date: 11 Mar 14 - 09:28 AM

This was a comment in the world of classical music a hundred years ago, leading to the birth of dodecaphonic music as an approach to broadening the bandwidth available. In fact, what was actually happening is that everything was being played the same by a bunch of bored hacks who had become little better than human drum machines. If all you want is something in strict time which is a copy of some Received Opinion (RO) as to what the authoritative version should be, then your comment may have some validity. But as most performers here will tell you, no two performances are ever the same, because venues and audience are never the same and there's interaction with them. Just allow the words to drive the music and you'll find whatever comes out the far end reflects them, although they may be coloured by other influences in personal taste, available instrumentation and what you're listening to at the moment. But at root, because the words are different and have different semantic and emotional content, the tune will be different.
With the palette available, therefore, it should be one heck of a long time before what you mention happens. We've been singing the trad songs for several hundred years and it's not got boring yet.

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Subject: RE: writing melodies to modern folk songs
Date: 11 Mar 14 - 10:43 AM

Creating an 'original' melody is the hardest part of song writing.
Not made any easier by increasingly constant awarensess of media reminders of succesful 'hit' tunes of the past;
or the draconian punative profiteering mindset of over litigist corporate copyright owners.

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Subject: RE: writing melodies to modern folk songs
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 11 Mar 14 - 11:22 AM

Just like in the folk world, I seem to hear more and more pop songs on the radio the tunes of which are almost note for note earlier pop tunes. Accidental? Deliberate?

I must admit there are so many wonderful tunes already out there that whenever I write a song I already have an existing tune in mind. A recent CD by some friends contains mostly their own excellent material but most of the tunes are adaptations of existing tunes with just a note tweaked here and there. Call it laziness if you like, but I love the fact that I can recognise the tunes which are wonderful anyway.

I have every admiration for those who can come up with a completely original tune that works well with the lyrics. Even when I compose an original instrumental I find myself falling back on familiar phrases.

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Subject: RE: writing melodies to modern folk songs
From: GUEST,eldergirl
Date: 12 Mar 14 - 04:34 AM

One Song to the Tune Of Another.. Great game, that. I was playing it on Monday at Herga, very quietly humming the Beatles' You Won't See Me along with the bonny blonde lass playing her own song, which was in waltz time, and slower, but the pattern was Very similar. It was her catchiest tune, too..

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