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Dave Harker, Fakesong

Steve Gardham 19 Jan 20 - 04:05 AM
Steve Gardham 19 Jan 20 - 04:04 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 19 Jan 20 - 02:55 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 19 Jan 20 - 01:00 AM
Lighter 18 Jan 20 - 06:17 PM
Steve Gardham 18 Jan 20 - 04:28 PM
Steve Gardham 18 Jan 20 - 04:02 PM
GUEST,John Moulden 18 Jan 20 - 01:52 PM
Brian Peters 18 Jan 20 - 01:40 PM
Lighter 18 Jan 20 - 12:27 PM
Steve Gardham 18 Jan 20 - 09:36 AM
Vic Smith 18 Jan 20 - 08:18 AM
Mick Pearce (MCP) 18 Jan 20 - 08:12 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 18 Jan 20 - 07:48 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 18 Jan 20 - 04:12 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 18 Jan 20 - 04:02 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 18 Jan 20 - 04:02 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 18 Jan 20 - 03:38 AM
Steve Gardham 18 Jan 20 - 03:09 AM
Steve Gardham 18 Jan 20 - 03:04 AM
GUEST,keberoxu 17 Jan 20 - 08:25 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 17 Jan 20 - 06:58 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 17 Jan 20 - 06:55 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 17 Jan 20 - 06:37 PM
Steve Gardham 17 Jan 20 - 06:23 PM
GUEST,Derek Schofield 17 Jan 20 - 05:57 PM
Steve Gardham 17 Jan 20 - 05:42 PM
Steve Gardham 17 Jan 20 - 04:43 PM
Brian Peters 17 Jan 20 - 04:40 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 17 Jan 20 - 04:39 PM
Steve Gardham 17 Jan 20 - 03:56 PM
Steve Gardham 17 Jan 20 - 03:48 PM
Steve Gardham 17 Jan 20 - 03:46 PM
Steve Gardham 17 Jan 20 - 03:41 PM
Brian Peters 17 Jan 20 - 01:10 PM
Brian Peters 17 Jan 20 - 01:09 PM
GUEST,HiLo 17 Jan 20 - 01:03 PM
Brian Peters 17 Jan 20 - 01:01 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 17 Jan 20 - 12:30 PM
Steve Gardham 17 Jan 20 - 12:06 PM
Brian Peters 17 Jan 20 - 10:17 AM
Vic Smith 17 Jan 20 - 10:01 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 17 Jan 20 - 08:38 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 17 Jan 20 - 08:34 AM
GUEST,jag 17 Jan 20 - 08:28 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 16 Jan 20 - 08:20 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 16 Jan 20 - 07:08 PM
GUEST 16 Jan 20 - 04:08 PM
Lighter 16 Jan 20 - 03:45 PM
Steve Gardham 16 Jan 20 - 03:21 PM
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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 19 Jan 20 - 04:05 AM

I think Vic could make a very strong contribution to this thread. I think I'll ask him.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 19 Jan 20 - 04:04 AM

When VicG says 'will win a place as a very important work of reference,' is he referring to Fakesong or the other book?

Earlier upthread you mention Fowler's writings. Can you please flag up any for me that relate to ballads other than 'Literary History'?


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 19 Jan 20 - 02:55 AM

@ Steve

Thanks for your explanation of how Harker set things back: I had guessed that this might be what you meant. Ironic, since, as Harker shows, people had been having similar thoughts for a long time!

I have found and been reading (tricky to get hold of but I managed it via googling etc) a review of two of Harker's works, including this one, by Vic Gammon.

It is 'Two for the Show': David Harker, Politics and Popular Song
Author(s): Vic Gammon. Source: History Workshop, No. 21 (Spring, 1986), pp. 147-156

Gammon says that Harker's book will win a place as a very important work of reference, while being quite critical of various aspects of Harker's 'preaching'.

Sharing the reference in case any other Mudcatter would like to see a reasoned response from a relatively 'left' position.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 19 Jan 20 - 01:00 AM

Hello Brian
For me, it figures that Philips Barry would use Child numbers because he was Harvard-based or educated. As was Kittredge. As you will know, Sharp knew Kittredge and met him when in the USA. I think I am right here.
Child was president of the society that produced American Journal of Folklore. I learned this from a review of one of the parts of his opus at the back of the first every issue. It says it won't be a eulogy, but plainly is! His position explains, I think, why ballads are mentioned in the opening piece in the journal. The introduction to the first volume I have quoted before as showing the 'racialist' thinking of the early folklorists, as do some of the pieces in it.
Not sure how we got here from Harker, but finding the discussion interesting!


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Lighter
Date: 18 Jan 20 - 06:17 PM

Brian, I 've searched again for "Child ballads" (plural) with no additional results that I can see.

You're right, though, that "Child ballad" (singular) appears in several early articles by Barry and one by Belden.

In any event, no tripartite structure before Halpert in 1939, though Mellinger Henry's "More Songs from the Southern Highlands," XLIV (1931), 61-115, begins with four numbered Child ballads, without (apparently) using the phrase "Child ballad(s)."

Much earlier articles print Child ballads identified by "Child No." (without using the phrase "Child ballad(s)."

Moral: Not all search engines will find singular and plural at the same time.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 18 Jan 20 - 04:28 PM

It appears Sharp was fully au fait with Child's ESPB by 1905. He refers to it in Vol 1 of Folk Songs From Somerset.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 18 Jan 20 - 04:02 PM

Jon
I haven't been through the early JAFL with a fine tooth comb, but from what I've seen I would agree with you and I'm not that surprised. They were full of the results of individual collecting expeditions and papers
and none of them contained a large enough collection to warrant using the tipartite system.

By the way strictly speaking Sharp/Campbell doesn't use the tripartite system. Whilst the Child ballads come first in number order there is no marked division between these and the broadside ballads 1-72. Then Vol 2 is split into songs (mostly British) 73 to 207 finishing up with smaller sections, Hymns, Nursery Songs, jigs and Party Games. But yes it is the first one to set the scene for giving the Child ballads in order first. Unless someone comes up with an earlier I think Pound (1924) was the next and the first to truly use the tripartite system, though once she has presented sections A,B & C there follow, similar to Sharp/Campbell, 4 sections according to subject which contain a mixture of native American and British texts. Pound could well be described as being based on the setting out of Sharp/Campbell.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,John Moulden
Date: 18 Jan 20 - 01:52 PM

This is only relevant to Richard Mellish who asked about my work on Hugh McWilliams. Email me - jmoul81075 AT aol.com for details. Or anybody else interested is welcome to do so also.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Brian Peters
Date: 18 Jan 20 - 01:40 PM

"Believe it or not, Halpert's article looks to be the Journal's earliest mention of *any* of the searched-for phrases."

Do you mean phrases like 'Child Ballads', etc.? If so the search facility you've used seems to be letting you down. Phillips Barry mentions Child in his 1905 paper 'Traditional Ballads in New England', and by 1910 he's giving every ballad its Child Number. Belden and several of the others are full of refs to FJC as well.

I'm beginning to think that Steve may be right about Sharp & Campbell having been the first to use the tripartite system. Although Sharp had the final word on editing the 1917 EFSSA, I'm sure Olive Campbell collaborated in some of the decisions - and she'd presiously corresponded with Kittredge and the various mountain folksong societies, so knew all about Child. Possibly her idea?


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Lighter
Date: 18 Jan 20 - 12:27 PM

Steve, the most likely place for finding the familiar tripartite form of presentation would be articles in the pages of the Journal of American Folklore, which started publication in 1888,

I've just done a JSTOR cybersearch of the Journal for the phrases "Child Ballads," "English and Scottish Popular Ballads, " "Scottish ballad," "English ballad," and "ballad of."

The earliest example of the familiar tripartite structure appears to be so late as Herbert Halper's "Some Ballads and Folk Songs from New Jersey," LII (1939), pp. 52-69. (Among the non-Child ballads is a somewhat spicier than usual version of "The Indian Lass.")

Believe it or not, Halpert's article looks to be the Journal's earliest mention of *any* of the searched-for phrases.   

The early years of JAF were heavily skewed toward American Indian material and folktales, but these results astonish me.

The first large collection or American folksongs was John Lomax's Cowboy Songs and Other Frontier Ballads (1910). Lomax, obviously, had no need for the tripartite structure.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 18 Jan 20 - 09:36 AM

Pseu 7.48. I don't think anyone with a rational mind would disagree with Harker there.

When I said he set back 20 years the study of this sort of mediation by editors, I was referring to the status of the subject. His book caused such an uproar that many people condemned the book out of hand and anyone then who was criticising the ballad editors (myself) was tarred with the same brush.

I wrote a paper on Baring Gould re Child 295B on which he sent bogus material to Child. Some denied it and one of the volume editors was reluctant to publish it, and I was asked to temper it because I included some conjecture on why he would have done this. Of course the absolute proof is there on the EFDSS website now for all to see, but it wasn't at the time.

I wrote an article on Peter Buchan's interference in the ballads, for FMJ and some of the reviewers rejected it. It had been read as a paper and I know at least 2 of the reviewers wanted to include it.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Vic Smith
Date: 18 Jan 20 - 08:18 AM

Pseudonymous wrote: -
Harker's section on Williams. I'm thinking that Roud will have mentioned him in his book on English Folk Song? He must have, surely?
I am not completely sure which of the two Pseudonymous is referring to here - but the answer is that Roud has plenty to say about both; the index shows:-
* 12 references to David Harker
* 28 references to Alfred Williams


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 18 Jan 20 - 08:12 AM

Steve - British Ballads from Maine (1929 edition) is organized in 3 sections:

1-56: The Child Ballads (given in Child's order, at a quick glance from The Elfin Knight to The Trooper and the Maid).

57-64: Secondary Ballads (Soldier's Wooing, Loathly Bride, Gallows Tree, John Webber, Squire of Edinburgh Town, Yorkshire Bite, High Barbary, Sally and Her True-love Billy)

65-94: Traces and Jury-Texts

In the Foreword they write:

"This collection builds a New England superstructure upon Professor Child's well-laid foundations. We do not ask why he accepted or rejected his titles, but we try to square our work to his lines and to agree with his conclusions wherever possible. Sound critical work upon Child's own lines has been the objective.

Yet is some respects it has been impossible to be bound by Professor Child. The study of ballad music was outside his chosen field. Though he gathered some records of melodies with his texts, he did not weigh them...

Furthermore, Professor Child confined himself to the English and Scottish variants of the ballads. He printed very few texts from Irish sources. But in Maine the Irish element is very strong and often very old. In calling these "British Ballads" we have enlarged the field of study."


So based entirely on Child, but acknowledging that Child was interested in the literature of the ballads, not text+music.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 18 Jan 20 - 07:48 AM

OK so here's what Harker writes at the end of his section on Percy to Ritson:

'From our point of view, in spite of what most of them did to the songs, their contribution was crucial. Without their collecting, and irrespective of their mediations and their motives, we would not have had hundreds of songs recorded and published for posterity. In fact, without their example, the modest boom in song-book publishing which followed might not have happened at all. In the work of Ritson, too, we see the beginnings of a genuine scholarly approach to mediation, which remained as a standard and a source of editorial guilt for generations.'

I don't read this as Newton scorning the Babylonians. But of course, this is just my take on it.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 18 Jan 20 - 04:12 AM

I've been getting deja vu over Harker's section on Williams. I'm thinking that Roud will have mentioned him in his book on English Folk Song? He must have, surely? And that will be where I've heard of him before?


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 18 Jan 20 - 04:02 AM

Sorry for thread drift, if this is what it was!


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 18 Jan 20 - 04:02 AM

@ Xeberoxu

Thanks for your comment. I've googled since reading your post and found a Wiki piece on Wagner controversies. It makes my mental link to Hitler seem more rational! It gets worse as you read on since some people think Wagner subscribed to a belief called Aryanism, and that he held beliefs that Western society was doomed because of 'miscegenation'. I've moaned before on Mudcat about an English folklorist using that word, in connection with a song called 'The Bush of Australia'. I don't think it made me popular. But I don't regret it.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 18 Jan 20 - 03:38 AM

Hello Steve, no need to apologise for not agreeing, but thanks for the courtesy.

I agree with you that Williams seems to have got some broader idea about what the folk were actually singing. I think Harker felt this too, hence my sense of him liking his work, if not his politics, of course. I think that this point about what people were actually singing is one of Harker's key ones. To this extent, I think I agree with Harker. I personally enjoyed the information that Harker conveyed about what Williams found out (assuming it is correct). For example, what he says about people who were singing 'traditional songs' but had been taught singing lessons by a local schoolmaster. And I agree with your point about preconceived notions, not that expressing views like that has made me popular in the past.

Am I right in reading you as saying that Harker's book set back the study of mistakes back 20 years? I'm struggling to take this in, if so, since it seems quite a daring point of view, to imply that there were mistakes. It seems to count as blasphemy in the eyes of some?

And don't get me wrong, I hope I haven't turned my critical faculties off when reading Harker: nobody can say I wasn't warned about the possible shortcomings in his work.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 18 Jan 20 - 03:09 AM

Williams hadn't been schooled by the FSS and went out collecting without their preconceived notions of what constituted a folk song, so his collection is more representive of what the folk were actually singing.
The only problem with his work is he had no means of noting down the tunes.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 18 Jan 20 - 03:04 AM

Sorry, Pseu, I didn't enjoy reading it. I've spent many years studying the mediations by the editors and when his book came out, skewed and tainted as it was, despite the many correct accusations it made, it set back this study 20 years.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,keberoxu
Date: 17 Jan 20 - 08:25 PM

"What did Wagner write, I wonder?"

you would be sorry you asked,
if you went so far as to read what Wagner wrote ...
his music and libretti are one thing,
but Wagner's prose is quite another.

Well, he wrote something titled
"Die Juden," if memory serves ...


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 17 Jan 20 - 06:58 PM

no, like isn't the word, not at all.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 17 Jan 20 - 06:55 PM

Harker's stuff on Alfred Owen Williams is fascinating. I think Steve has quoted bits of his descriptions of ballad sellers to me; anyway I have encountered them before. Did anybody else enjoy this, and why isn't there more on Mudcat about this person? Harker seems to prefer him to a lot of the others he discusses, maybe because he isn't quite as posh?

I hate to say this, but I am quite enjoying Harker, while of course bearing all the health warnings in mind. Wish I could afford to buy a copy.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 17 Jan 20 - 06:37 PM

According to Harker, Baring-Gould (another English collector) was also fond of Wagner. Harker mentions Sharp's partiality, saying he quoted him upon his engagement. Harker specifically says Sharp 'read' Wagner (what did he write, I wonder?) Not too much on Wagner in Harker (the search facility on pdfs is useful!). That's all I could find.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 17 Jan 20 - 06:23 PM

Welcome to the discussion, Derek. Do stay!


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Derek Schofield
Date: 17 Jan 20 - 05:57 PM

Even if Sharp did not have his own copy of Child prior to 1916, I am sure he would have consulted a copy in the BM, as he was a visitor there to consult copies of Playford, for example. Or perhaps he just needed to consult a copy of Child in the USA as his own copy was in UK. Is his own copy still in VWML?
Regarding Wagner, Karpeles writes, in the biography, that he was almost as enthusiastic about mathematics as about Wagner, while at Cambridge (p. 6), and "as with most young musicians of his day, Wagner was his god." (p. 13),this was 1892. He quoted Wagner in love letters to his intended wife, Constance, (p. 16). Daughter Dorothea's third given name was Iseult and son's second name was Tristan, (p. 18). Methinks Sharp was something of a fan of Wagner!
Derek


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 17 Jan 20 - 05:42 PM

Jon will probably fill in any gaps.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 17 Jan 20 - 04:43 PM

Brian
Regarding who started or continued the process of prioritising the Child Ballads and indeed the triple section layout, it looks from what I can see is Sharp and Campbell started it off. The next I have is the great Louise Pound (American Songs and Ballads) who probably started off the tripling. (Child ballads first in number order, then other British ballads, then native American ballads). Then comes Cox (Folk Songs of the South) in 1924 emulating Pound, Mackenzie in 1928, and Davis in 1929.
I haven't got any of the Barry/Eckstorm Maine books, 1927 & 29, but I bet they have the same system.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Brian Peters
Date: 17 Jan 20 - 04:40 PM

Good work, Steve.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 17 Jan 20 - 04:39 PM

The bit Sharp wrote about Wagner that I was thinking about is indeed when he comments that German Art music was based on German folk music, and as Brian said, he was discussing national musics and stating that English music was dominated by foreign influences. The point about the Nazis was just me risking thread drift be reporting personal associations. I wasn't thinking that was in Sharp's mind.

Obviously I agree with what HiLo just said.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 17 Jan 20 - 03:56 PM

When The Folk Song society started up in 1899 there was no mention of Child right up to the 4th volume (1902) and 6 Child ballads had been published in the first 3 volumes. However in the fourth there are 3 Child ballads and Lucy Broadwood in her notes quotes Child in all of them. Kidson also contributes to the notes without a mention of Child. However, to be fair, he was largely a musical historian, not a ballad scholar. Baring Gould was not an active member at that point but his work is referred to. Of course his 'Songs of the West' 1891 has numerous mentions of Child as from just prior to that he was corresponding with Child.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 17 Jan 20 - 03:48 PM

Broadwood's English County Songs of 1893 does very briefly mention Child in the notes to 4 of the 11 Child ballads she includes. 'see Child's headnotes to....'


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 17 Jan 20 - 03:46 PM

However in later parts Child did include Kidson's versions. later in TT Kidson gave a version of Child 283 the Crafty Farmer which Child included but this is an exemplar broadside piece from the late 18th century anyway. Kidson does refer to most of Child's well-known sources in his notes, Percy, Herd, Scott, Motherwell, Kinloch, Buchan, Hogg, Chappell, Chambers, Dixon, etc.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 17 Jan 20 - 03:41 PM

Just lost a pile of responses because the Cat went down again so I'll post stuff in small bites in case it disappears again.

Thought I'd start with Kidson and Broadwood as they predate the FSS.

Kidson's Traditional Tunes 1891 was published just after Child had published part 7 in 1890. Kidson started of TT with 11 Child ballads but no Child Ballad order and no references to Child whatsoever in the book. child started publishing in 10 parts in 1882.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Brian Peters
Date: 17 Jan 20 - 01:10 PM

And, while we're all patting each other on the back, can I just say that John Moulden's "You might as well have asked Galileo if he could forgive the Babylonians" is one of the pithiest contributions to this thread.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Brian Peters
Date: 17 Jan 20 - 01:09 PM

Going back to Wagner, the whole point of Sharp's plan that folk song might be the basis for a new English muse (see also RVW etc), was to counter German hegemony over art music. By the time of WW1 Sharp had developed quite an antipathy towards Germany, that wasn't improved when his son got wounded in battle. I think the thought progression Sharp - Wagner - Nazis can be safely discounted.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,HiLo
Date: 17 Jan 20 - 01:03 PM

I have really been enjoying this thread, especially since the bickering stopped. I have learned a great deal about Harker, I knew little of him until now. It is so refreshing to have these conversations without rancor.
I too agree with what Vic said, however it is not "guests who are the problem..it is often the ones whose names we know all too well that are the problem. I have refused to join Mudcat because of them.
    Yeah, but the idea is that we're going to keep this thread on topic, and not discuss the recent rancor. I had to delete a number of messages about the "unpleasantness" from this thread. Please, let's forget about that. This is an interesting topic.
    -Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Brian Peters
Date: 17 Jan 20 - 01:01 PM

Ah, stop press...

Sharp does make several references to Child in 'Some Conclusions', such as:

'The extent and character of these variations may be studied with profit in the late Professor Child's English and Scottish Popular Ballads, where many of the ballads, which have in recent years
been collected in Great Britain, may be seen and compared with their European analogues. Indeed, as Mr. Andrew Lang has remarked: "It is unnecessary to indicate more than one authority on the subject of ballads. Professor Child of Harvard, has collected all known ballads, with all accessible variants, and has illustrated them with an extraordinary wealth of knowledge of many literatures.'

I'm afraid I don't have many early American folk song books on my shelves, so I can't say who was the first to adopt the 'Child and Other' ordering. I have Belden's 1912 review of the literature, but most of the collectors were publishing in JAF at the time, as far as I can see, and I'm not sure when the first books appeared. Wilgus would tell us, but I don't have that, and I know that Wyman and Brockway's Kentucky collection didn't place Child at the front. Is it even possible that Sharp and Campbell were the first to adopt the practice?


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 17 Jan 20 - 12:30 PM

This is an interesting thread;glad I revived it. Still ploughing through the text! The think with Wagner in my head goes Wagner, Nietzsche, The Superman, Nazis, unfortunately. Wagner went back to old Germanic myths to create his ring cycle so got linked to the worst sort of nationalism. So thanks Brian for your take on this.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 17 Jan 20 - 12:06 PM

Brian,
If no-one else is offering I can easily check the Journals for the first mentions of Child. In fact I'd enjoy that. I can not possibly conceive of anyone in this country connected with folksong from 1888 onwards not being familiar with the Child Ballads. Baring Gould certainly was as he was sending material to Child and asking for copies as they appeared, in return for his contributions. What I do find strange is they seem not to have been given any extra status over the broadside ballads until Sharp went to America.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Brian Peters
Date: 17 Jan 20 - 10:17 AM

Well said, Vic.

Mea nwhile, I’ve become interested by the question raised above, regarding of the influence of Child on Cecil Sharp...

Sharp was on the hunt for a set of Child Ballads during his first Appalachian collecting trip in 1916, and acquired a set in October with the assistance of John C. Campbell. I have a copy of a letter held in the University of North Carolina in which JC writes to a colleague asking him to source a full set of ten volumes of ESPB, for which Sharp would be willing to pay $100 – for interest, Campbell mentions that the set was had a print run of 1000 and sold originally for $50. However, even before this set arrived, Sharp was expressing great excitement in his letters and diaries about finding Child Ballads in the mountains; when he first heard Child 3 in September 1916 he mentioned in a letter to his wife that Child had only a single version - from Motherwell – but that he had now found one with a tune: “A great prize”. So clearly he was familiar with ESPB before receiving his own copy. During his first trip in 1916 he took the trouble to compile a list of 26 Child Ballads noted up to that point, and by 1917 he recorded that he’d found 42.

As Steve said, ‘English Folk Songs from the Southern Appalachians’ was the first of Sharp’s books to place the Child Ballads in numerical order at the front, but ‘One Hundred English Folksongs’ did have a first section of 29 ‘Ballads’, in which all but four (‘Bruton Town’, ‘Duke of Bedford’, ‘Death and the Lady’, and ‘The Trees They Do Grow High’, plus arguably ‘Lowlands of Holland’) were in Child, although there was no attempt to order them as per ESPB. So, either Sharp was familiar with ESPB but decided that these others merited promotion to ballad status, or he drew up his own list that corresponded largely to Child’s judgements. 100EFS was published in 1916, but presumably Sharp edited it before then. He met and corresponded with Olive Dame Campbell in 1915, and she may well have discussed with him the Child Ballads in her own collection, but I’d have thought he’d have known about ESPB before then – it would be interesting to search FSJ articles in this period to find out whether English collectors were discussing Child. At any rate there’s no doubt that Sharp was considerably influenced by him in his later collecting.

As for Wagner, Sharp mentions in EFSC that he’s read Wagner, and cites him to support the idea that German art music drew on folk material. Sharp had, after all, conducted in and lectured on classical music in his early career, so it’s not surprising he’d have come across Wagner’s writings. Atkinson’s linkage of Sharp and Wagner concerns an early lecture by Sharp (1905) in which he propounds ideas about communal composition in a pre-literate, pre-medieval populace (he later revised these ideas), which Atkinson believes were probably borrowed from Wagner rather than Child’s – very similar – ideas.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Vic Smith
Date: 17 Jan 20 - 10:01 AM

John Moulden wrote:-
I see no point in discussion which is not conducted politely, and more than politely; that is, without an assumption that everybody has a political or monetary gain in mind. The only point is that we should, between us, arrive at an understanding of what traditional song is about, its worth to people, and how people used it. This is knowledge and empowers us to sing better and to be a better support for those who do. I reject arid scholarship or conversation that speaks in terms that would not be understood by those who sang these songs. It is an insult to speak so. However, this is not a criticism but an observation and a description of what I try to do.

<><><><><><><><><><><><><>

I wish it could be understood that the point of discussion is not to win an argument but to reach understanding and to be grateful to all those who contribute.


I cannot stress strongly enough how important I find these words from John Moulden.
In another of my activities, I am one member of nine in a monthly book group. Each of us choose a book for all to read and we discuss that book at a subsequent meeting. A very wide range of fiction, non-fiction, biography, classics, books on a variety of specialised subjects are chosen. Everyone is given a chance to give their opinion of the set book followed by a group discussion then in the second hour each of us introduces a book that we have enjoyed in the last month; a lot of borrowing and lending goes on.
Sometimes there is broad agreement but some heated but healthy discussion takes place where there is disagreement, but no-one has ever suggested that another member's views are not valid or worthwhile. No-one would ever consider leaving the group because they cannot get the rest of us to agree with them. Members often express the view that the range of opinons is stimulating and has helped to broaden their understanding of the book we have all read.
This civility may be because we are all in the living rooms of members - we take it in turn - and not making points with others who we will likely never meet. None of us is able to hide behind a nickname and there are no anonymous GUEST posters.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 17 Jan 20 - 08:38 AM

@ Jag. Will do. Cheers.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 17 Jan 20 - 08:34 AM

I'm sharing an overview of the contents of Harker's book, in case Mudcat readers who have not read it look at this thread and wonder. Also because I think we are in danger of discussing some of the people Harker discusses, not the book itself. Some have their own threads.

So what is the book about?


A Title.   People have objected to the title, especially the word ‘manufacture’. It might help us get a handle on what the book is about (e.g. for Mudcat readers who haven’t read it and come here hoping for information) to consider less charged alternative titles. Is it fair to say it is ‘A Critical Historical Review of What Has Been Written About and Offered As Examples of British ‘Folksong’ from 1700 to the Present Day?’ The present day being 1985.

B Contents and their arrangement. I’ll attempt a simple outline. Apologies for any oversimplification. As said before, largely chronological.

Introduction: includes discussion of the concept of ‘mediation’. This concept highlights the fact that this is a largely book about people who are not ‘working class’ making assertions about working class culture (eg ‘folklore’). Put simply, Harker doesn’t think they get it right. And he thinks some of their mistakes reflect the class interests of the bourgeoisie (e.g. a desire for national unity/national identity instead of a workers’ revolution).

PART ONE: Two Centuries Before Child (roughly 1780 to 1860) Focus on UK.
1 Early mediators
2 Thomas Percy to Joseph Ritson
3 Walter Scott to Robert Chambers
4 Thomas Wright to John Harland

PART TWO: FJ Child and the Ballad ‘consensus’ (Focus mainly on US-based work)

5 FJ Child. Biography and discussion of his ‘editions’ of selections of ballads with commentaries etc
Discusses problems Child faced sorting out and categorising the mass of what I’ll call ‘raw data’ he had assembled and selecting what to publish and what to leave out.
6 The ‘Ballad Consensus’

PART THREE: CJ Sharp and the Folksong ‘consensus’. (Focus mainly on UK-based work)

7 Some pre-Sharp characters including Engel and his ‘national music’; the late 19th C early 20th C collectors e.g. Broadwood, Baring-Gould, Kidson. Formation of Folk Song Society 1898
8 Sharp himself: biography, career, ideas about folk song and its origins etc
9 The folksong consensus
10 Alfred Owen Williams and the Upper Thames
11 AL Lloyd: the one that got away


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 17 Jan 20 - 08:28 AM

@Pseudonymous. Try "forgery"


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 16 Jan 20 - 08:20 PM

Just out of interest I searched Harker for the word 'fraud'. He uses it once in connection with a reform (fair enough). In connection with folklore, he uses it when he discusses an 18th century scholar and antiquarian Ritson. He praises Ritson for seeking to sort out authentic material as opposed to the less authentic material offered by Percy and a number of people who seem to have published material Ritson regarded as less scholarly and authentic. So concerns about authenticity fo back to the 18th century. Of course somebody may know more about Ritson than I do and may say Harker was wrong about him and about Percy.

Similarly I searched for the word 'greed' and did not find it anywhere.

Polemic Harker may be but not quite that crude? Asking here, not asserting.

No bathing babies were harmed in the making of this posting.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 16 Jan 20 - 07:08 PM

More thread drift, but taking up the topic with Lighter once more: the very term 'literature' has shifted in meaning. My understanding is that in Elizabethan times the word would indicate anything written, more or less. This broader sense survives in some usages today: we might read of 'marketing literature' for example. It took a while to acquire the modern, perhaps rather elitist sense of 'literature' - as opposed to, say, 'pulp fiction'. But for me, much of this is in the eye of the beholder anyway.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST
Date: 16 Jan 20 - 04:08 PM

Hey what's going on? Numerous recent posts are all more or less agreeing with each other, and I find myself agreeing with them too.

If we didn't love the ballads and the other songs (or some of them anyway) we wouldn't be here discussing them, although our interests may very well focus on different aspects: listening to them, singing them ourselves, discussing the stories or researching and discussing the origins.

Happy birthday, John, from me too, what's left of the day.

Is your paper about the Hugh McWilliams book available anywhere?

[Richard Mellish] (added by mudelf)


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Lighter
Date: 16 Jan 20 - 03:45 PM

Happy birthday, John.

It's not "arid research" that's my bane, it's "arid writing."


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 16 Jan 20 - 03:21 PM

I know Child got a lot of the info on the continental analogies from Grundtvig but I find it difficult to conceive the amount of work that went into compiling all of that information, and how many of us actually use it? I dip into it for the odd ballad occasionally as I have an interest in the Danish ballads, but some of it is so involved and detailed.


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