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Dave Harker, Fakesong

Brian Peters 05 Feb 20 - 09:02 AM
Jack Campin 05 Feb 20 - 09:24 AM
Brian Peters 05 Feb 20 - 10:21 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 05 Feb 20 - 10:23 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 05 Feb 20 - 10:42 AM
Jack Campin 05 Feb 20 - 10:57 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 05 Feb 20 - 11:23 AM
Lighter 05 Feb 20 - 11:26 AM
GUEST,jag 05 Feb 20 - 11:51 AM
Lighter 05 Feb 20 - 12:04 PM
GUEST,jag 05 Feb 20 - 12:10 PM
GUEST,jag 05 Feb 20 - 12:13 PM
GUEST 05 Feb 20 - 12:15 PM
Jack Campin 05 Feb 20 - 12:37 PM
Lighter 05 Feb 20 - 01:04 PM
GUEST,jag 05 Feb 20 - 01:14 PM
Jack Campin 05 Feb 20 - 01:29 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 05 Feb 20 - 01:50 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 05 Feb 20 - 01:57 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 05 Feb 20 - 02:10 PM
Jack Campin 05 Feb 20 - 02:31 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 05 Feb 20 - 02:48 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 05 Feb 20 - 02:55 PM
Steve Gardham 05 Feb 20 - 05:45 PM
Steve Gardham 05 Feb 20 - 06:03 PM
Lighter 05 Feb 20 - 06:24 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 05 Feb 20 - 07:13 PM
GUEST 05 Feb 20 - 07:38 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 05 Feb 20 - 07:52 PM
Jim Carroll 06 Feb 20 - 03:24 AM
Jim Carroll 06 Feb 20 - 03:27 AM
Jack Campin 06 Feb 20 - 06:06 AM
Lighter 06 Feb 20 - 07:45 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 06 Feb 20 - 07:47 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 06 Feb 20 - 07:51 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 06 Feb 20 - 07:57 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 06 Feb 20 - 08:14 AM
Steve Gardham 06 Feb 20 - 10:05 AM
Dave Hanson 06 Feb 20 - 11:03 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 06 Feb 20 - 11:18 AM
Vic Smith 06 Feb 20 - 11:20 AM
Vic Smith 06 Feb 20 - 11:23 AM
Jim Carroll 06 Feb 20 - 11:55 AM
GUEST,jag 06 Feb 20 - 12:00 PM
Jack Campin 06 Feb 20 - 12:57 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 06 Feb 20 - 01:15 PM
Jim Carroll 06 Feb 20 - 01:19 PM
Brian Peters 06 Feb 20 - 01:24 PM
GUEST,jag 06 Feb 20 - 01:29 PM
Brian Peters 06 Feb 20 - 01:54 PM
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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Brian Peters
Date: 05 Feb 20 - 09:02 AM

"The Coppers whose recordings are being sold on Amazon are all dead, so don't be too hard on them for their choice of retailers."

Just to clarify the above statement from Joe, the two Copper Family albums listed on Amazon are on Topic and Fledgling, labels over which the family has no control. All of the 'purchase' links on the Coppers' own website, for these and albums on their own label, take you to the specialist independent retailer Veteran. There are, however, four books available through Amazon. It seems perverse in the extreme to suggest that a small retailer with an international readership for their product should refuse to deal with the world's largest online bookseller when radical publishers like Verso, Virago and Pluto happily do business with them. In fact it seems rather like an attempt to smear the Copper Family.

While on the subject of Amazon, I thought I'd share a reader's rather amusing review of Dave Harker's 'One For The Money' (yes, DH's stuff is on there too), which has been mentioned more than once on this thread:

"I know of no other Marxist analysis of 'Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer' and some friends didn't believe that such thing existed. It's still a seminal text if you're interested in well-researched Popular Music analysis, but three stars for being just a bit hilariously up one's own Trot arse."

Any takers at £0.53?


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jack Campin
Date: 05 Feb 20 - 09:24 AM

I know of no other Marxist analysis of 'Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer' and some friends didn't believe that such thing existed.

It's a dead funny and completed unexpected take on it. (He looks at three songs: White Christmas, Rudolf, and Walking in a Winter Wonderland). Who else would have thought to ask what the song says about relations of production at Santa's North Pole factory?

He uses the same sort of critical machinery in a later chapter (with less jokes) to work out why Dylan had such a wide appeal and why his career followed such a weird path. I don't think he gives a complete answer, but he gets nearer than anything else I've read.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Brian Peters
Date: 05 Feb 20 - 10:21 AM

Actually I did think the Rudolph analysis was prettying funny, as was Vic Gammon's review of it.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 05 Feb 20 - 10:23 AM

@ Jag: the whole question of appropriation is a complicated one, as your post suggests. It's one reason why I don't propose we try to discuss Harker on Lloyd.

Sorry, your question about Sharp looks interesting but I'm afraid I can't quite follow it. Could you possibly rephrase a 'nationalistic' one in the sense that that was part of drive in the political subordinate nations of the then UK' for me? Are you asking whether Sharp wanted to make England dominant over Scotland etc?

There are some controversial remarks relating to parts of Scotland and Northern England on p 91 of Sharp's theoretical book. He cites Joseph Jacobs (we have already come across him) and Motherwell in favour of a view that there is not always a clear distinction between English and Scottish 'folk poetry'. On one level, since both areas were at one time colonised by the Angles, perhaps this made some sense.

Sorry the guest at 4.37 was me.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 05 Feb 20 - 10:42 AM

Regarding Rudolph: I came across both this analysis and possibly Vic Gammon on it. I think Harker has a sense of humour: as I said before this comes out in some of his passages on Lloyd. With an ironic bent.

For me the point here is that perhaps rather than "revering" some of the atrocious stuff that comes down from the past we might consider looking at it critically. The Bush of Australia and A L Lloyd's gloss on it, is an example I have discussed in the past.

@ Brian: it was not I who stated that the Copper family suggested on their web site that the latest book should be published via Amazon. I don't know who you are accusing of trying to 'smear' the Copper family, but whoever it is, I find this a little disappointing.

For my part, I stand by the point I made about recommending Amazon rather than a local bookshop when buying a newly-issued book.

Sharp's concept of 'communal creation' is complicated and as far as I can see it applies and counts as folk only when a song is being passed down through a community of people whose minds have had no contact with formal education, non-educated people formed solely by the ups and downs of life, and never having been close enough to educated people to have been altered by them and so on and so forth. We have discussed his idea of the 'peasant' before.

Sharp does not appear to regard this as an explanation of the origin of a song ie as an assertion that folk songs were originally written in collaborative teams. He is quite clear on this. He has a discussion and an example on P10/11. He says 'The folk song must have had a beginning and that beginning must have been the work of an individual. Common sense compels us to assume that much.' He then says that the process of changing what they do not like will mean that over time ownership passes to the community.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jack Campin
Date: 05 Feb 20 - 10:57 AM

There are some controversial remarks relating to parts of Scotland and Northern England on p 91 of Sharp's theoretical book. He cites Joseph Jacobs (we have already come across him) and Motherwell in favour of a view that there is not always a clear distinction between English and Scottish 'folk poetry'. On one level, since both areas were at one time colonised by the Angles, perhaps this made some sense.

It has nothing to do with the Angles. The sharing of stories and songs across the whole British Isles has continued to the present day. Sharp wasn't saying anything new or controversial.

The neatest story about that I've heard is in one pf the Opies' books about children's rhymes. On the abdication of Edward VIII, kids in London were heard singing

Hark the herald angels sing
Wallis Simpson's stole our King


and the same ditty turned up being sung by kids in Barra within three weeks despite never being printed or broadcast.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 05 Feb 20 - 11:23 AM

Thanks Jack. I'm sure you are right, I was just trying to think why Sharp said what he did, especially as he claimed to find 'racial' differences within Somerset leave alone between England and Scotland. But I'm guessing Child's ESPB will have given him a clue!


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Lighter
Date: 05 Feb 20 - 11:26 AM

Why is "cultural appropriation" a bad thing?

If I sing a peasant song, I'm not stealing it: the peasants can still sing it any way they like.

Cultural appropriation has been going on since the beginnings of civilization, if not longer.

Or am I missing something?


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 05 Feb 20 - 11:51 AM

'The folk song must have had a beginning and that beginning must have been the work of an individual. Common sense compels us to assume that much.' (Sharp quoted by Pseudonymous)

Jim's observation about "ballads being re-made from plots and commonplaces" by Travellers and his statement that " Some of the ballad plots date back as far as Boccacio, Chaucer, Homer and even Early Egypt" argue against that commonsense.

It happens in literature all the time. As a kid I had a book of 'Tales from Shakespeare' and then later read that Shakespeare got some of his plots from Gibbon. The 'Ossian controversy' thread was current recently and I thought of Part 1 of Harker's book when reading Macpherson's rendering in both prose and in verse of what he claimed had come from Norse via Gaelic. His prose and verse accounts are so different that I can't imagine what may have happened in the earlier steps. My point there is that it doesn't matter that he may have been faking it, what he claimed to have done must have been acceptable at the time.

If it's OK for the 18C literati why not Jim's Travellers and Sharp's 'peasants'.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Lighter
Date: 05 Feb 20 - 12:04 PM

Possibly you mean Holinshed.

Gibbon wasn't born till 1737.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 05 Feb 20 - 12:10 PM

@Pseudonymous. The 'nationalistic' bit


In discussion here of Part of Harker's book it seemed to be accepted that the work of Scott, Burn's and others of that period was partially from a desire to establish a Scottish English language literature in the face of English dominance. Similar things were happening in Ireland and Wales (Eisteddfod revival etc).

Sharp's desire for an English national music seems to be driven by what was happening on mainland Europe with art music and also his wanting to get English folk music into schools (rather than what his fellow 'bourgeoisie' had in mind).

The current 'hard right' in England recently made an attempt to appropriate English folk music 'nationalistic' purposes. Harker describing Sharp as moving to the 'hard-right', and accusing him of appropriating the music of the proletariat for bourgeois purposes.

So I was asking for info from those who knew about Sharp as to where his views really fitted in to all this.

(and to Lighter - that is one of the issues over cultural appropriation)


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 05 Feb 20 - 12:13 PM

@Lighter. Thanks. Yes whoever it was a teacher told me. Point is they were pre-owned plots.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST
Date: 05 Feb 20 - 12:15 PM

... folk music for 'nationalistic' purposes. Harker described Sharp ..."

(I did spell-check that post though)


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jack Campin
Date: 05 Feb 20 - 12:37 PM

Harker was being hyperbolic even back then, but remember that the "hard right" was a lot softer in the early 80s than it is now. Harker was thinking of Norman Tebbit at the most extreme (and more likely the Healeyite right of the Labour Party), and Tebbit would have been kicked out of the Tories for being a socialist years ago.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Lighter
Date: 05 Feb 20 - 01:04 PM

> accusing him of appropriating the music of the proletariat for bourgeois purposes.

If "appropriate" means "employ," I don't see an ethical, cultural, or aesthetic problem here.   Sounds like a question of dogma to me.

Or does it mean "steal"? In what sense?


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 05 Feb 20 - 01:14 PM

I think this

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cultural_appropriation is roughly how it is used now in the UK 'liberal press'. Jack Campin makes a good point about terms meaning different things at different times, but I suspect that was how Harker was using 'appropration'.

Thanks for the observation Jack. The National Front was around before Harker started publishing though. It's maybe me forgetting the perspective Harker was writing from and, maybe, for.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jack Campin
Date: 05 Feb 20 - 01:29 PM

"Cultural appropriation" is a very recently invented concern, and Harker can't possibly have had it in mind - not only was the term not in anyone's political vocabulary when he was writing, it doesn't fit into his Marxist scheme at all. Though the literal meaning of what he wrote is clear enough.

I just read the section on modes in Sharp, alluded to yesterday in this thread. He does at least try to give concrete examples, but throws away far too much pre-existing knowledge (that of the mediaeval Church and especially that of the Middle East, India and China) which could have been very, very useful to his project. I'd definitely score that one up to ideological blinkers.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 05 Feb 20 - 01:50 PM

Hello Jack,

Maybe ideological blinkers: don't know enough about these cultures, different note numbers in their scales etc etc.

What about the idea that if Sharp drew on India etc ( assuming he knew or could have found out) this might undermine his claim to be discovering a specifically English 'folk music' or when it came to the folk based art music which was his eventual aim that this was 'national music'.

@ Jag: on taking stories from other cultures, Shakespeare's Hamlet is thought to be based on a story from, of all places, given some of the topics on this thread, Denmark! The original was Amleth, I think, but I don't think people are certain of the route by which it came to Shakespeare.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 05 Feb 20 - 01:57 PM

"If it's OK for the 18C literati why not … Sharp's 'peasants'?"

Why not indeed, but in that case my question would be:

On Sharp's own definition of the non-educated peasant with no formal training and whose intellectual development is limited to the ups and downs of life and who has never had contact with anybody educated to be influenced by them etc would this be 'folk'?

And I'm not sure that on that definition it would be. Because the moment you are interacting with people from a different culture, and learning from them, even if orally not via literacy, then you are not really producing music in the sort of way Sharp outlines, are you? Or do people interpret Sharp differently?

Not of course that I am particularly a sticker for a defn., but if Sharp decides to go with it, then it is more consistent if he sticks with it, if you see what I mean.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 05 Feb 20 - 02:10 PM

@ Lighter; anybody:

People have been recommending the work of Wilgus, specifically a History of Anglo-American Ballad Scholarship.

I found a lot of recordings on a site dedicated to him. I also learned that he was brought up in the 'New Criticism' school (Empson/Cleanth Brooks) focus on 'what is there in the text', and at the centre of a controversy relating to the importance of the 'text' in ballad studies.

But I wondered:

1 Would Wilgus be a good 'replacement' for Harker in terms of covering the same time frame of 'folkloristics' and giving some account of the methods/background of the collectors?

2 How far does the book focus on the controversy mentioned above? I don't feel like engaging with yet another controversy especially one that I've engaged with previously in regard to 'art literature etc.

3 Can anybody help out with a set of chapter titles or suchlike?

4 Is this book going to be repeating stuff we have covered in this thread already?

Just in case anybody has time/inclination to answer.

Thanks


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jack Campin
Date: 05 Feb 20 - 02:31 PM

What about the idea that if Sharp drew on India etc ( assuming he knew or could have found out) this might undermine his claim to be discovering a specifically English 'folk music' or when it came to the folk based art music which was his eventual aim that this was 'national music'.

This isn't about melodic material, it's about theory, and the way melodies are constructed when you have a theory in mind; you put them together like making a model with Lego, selecting a different set of pieces and colours to start with on each performance or composition. This is universal in kinds of music that are primarily improvised (like the Persian "radif"), but it was done explicitly in the psalm settings of the mediaeval Church and you can hear it (in a more fragmentary and implicit form) in Western folk music too. The Dorian final cadence (tonic-supertonic-tonic-subtonic-tonic) occurs right across Asia: the final cadence in a major-mode hornpipe (tonic-third-tonic) is more distinctively British.

Sharp's project of using folk material to build a national art music sent him off track here. He wanted to harmonize his tunes in an idiomatic way, and to do that he threw away the melodic content of the modes and reduced them to static scale structures ("octave species" in modern parlance). Anybody with a practical knowledge of a living, consciously modal idiom (like an Orthodox choirmaster or an Arabic nightclub singer) could have told him that was a road to nowhere. (Harker doesn't pick Sharp up for this, as far as I know).


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 05 Feb 20 - 02:48 PM

Jack

A very interesting reply, such that I am glad I asked the question! Just shows what a fascinating place Mudcat can be.

Harker doesn't go into the music theory angle much; what I do recall is him wondering how many tunes Sharp rejected because they were not modal, and saying we simply don't know. I think this links to his theme about the picture we get of what the working class/peasants/whatever were actually doing as a whole, their whole musical life being 'mediated' ie in this case basically incomplete with bits selected to suit the purposes of the mediator. But of course Sharp had no interest in anything but those tunes that he decided (perhaps on some a priori grounds) were folk and those that were not. Harker implies I think that Sharp reported a lot of modes because that is the sort of thing he was looking for.

And there are some within the folklore community who regard the tune as an irrelevance, especially perhaps as we know so many different tunes got used for lyrics.

Sharp 'complains' that it is difficult to 'harmonise' modes, by which, basically he means I think difficult to come up with a piano accompaniment/choose chords. No off the shelf suggestions from his classical theory perhaps?

Just out of interest, there seem to be a number of Sharp song books on the archive.org site. I don't suppose you might be able/willing to suggest one that a person could download with a view to seeing how Sharp did deal with the problem of 'harmonising' modal tunes?


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 05 Feb 20 - 02:55 PM

@ Jack: Sharp almost seems to imply in places that there was a certain amount of musical improv among the peasantry. He also says some singers favoured a certain mode and sang more or less anything in it, a very interesting idea. Lots of bits, tantalising.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 05 Feb 20 - 05:45 PM

The same is happening here as happened in other long threads; we are going off at all sorts of tangents which could do with perhaps separate threads of their own. Fascinating stuff and some of it way beyond my knowledge.

At the risk of being accused of being patronising, some astute contributions from Jim. I just can't fully agree with....>>>> 'I really think it to be more than a little begrudging to accuse many of the early collectors of "fakery" and dishonesty - they were song collectors gathering songs they thought worth singing, not social historians.'

Even as far back as Percy they knew what they were doing and even tried to cover it up. They were all being dishonest (or extremely naïve) to some point. The extreme was reached with Peter Buchan. You only have to read his frontis statement and introduction to realise that Child Ether wasn't a one-off! And they certainly were not just gathering songs to sing. Perhaps you need to clarify who you mean by the early collectors.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 05 Feb 20 - 06:03 PM

Wilgus
1. The Ballad war I The Morphology of Dry Bones
2. The Ballad war II The Emersonians
3.Folksong Collections In GB 7 N America
4. The Study of Anglo-American FS
and appendixes
The Negro-White Spirituals
Select discography
Select bibliog.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Lighter
Date: 05 Feb 20 - 06:24 PM

Pseud, I read Wilgus in college, but all I remember of it is that it was extremely readable and interesting.

I do recall his writing that criticizing the Lomaxes was regarded, at the time, as like bringing a rifle into a National Park.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 05 Feb 20 - 07:13 PM

Thanks Lighter. Appreciated. Both of them?

Thanks Steve. 'Ballad Wars'; oh, yes, I have heard this phrase. (Heart sinks).

A lot of web sites say that Wilgus made 'hillbilly' music a respectable topic for academic study. I don't think that term is considered polite nowadays?

Anybody know what these ballad wars were about? Is it some sort of 'new criticism' type focus on the text as a font of meaning that is supposedly objectively there versus a focus on what people think (ie an acceptance that texts can be interpreted especially by people singing them)?


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST
Date: 05 Feb 20 - 07:38 PM

I really think it to be more than a little begrudging to accuse many of the early collectors of "fakery" and dishonesty - they were song collectors gathering songs they thought worth singing, not social historians.'

I'm trying to express this in what seems to me less emotive and more logical language; it's tricky:

I think it is very begrudging to point out examples of early collectors and publishers of songs published material with false claims about its provenance because they were ?publishers? of songs they thought worth singing, not ? people making a claim that these were actually songs that originated with other people.

Reason for proposed change: Because if what they published/distributed/marketed (sorry but a lot of these people did sell volumes) was not 'gathered' but self-authored, it doesn't seem quite accurate to describe them as people who were 'collecting' songs they thought were worth singing. It is illogical.

Does anybody see what I am getting at here? Plus the way the point is made begs a lot of questions about the motives of some of these folk. It seems to me that some of them then sold books including these songs, so there just might have been some financial motive, some motive in terms of 'status' among the group of people with similar interests? They may from time to time or even most of the time have collected songs they thought were worth singing, but that isn't the be all and the end all of it.

Moreover, it seems to me that people in the 20th century providing accounts of what these people (eg Percy etc) did cannot in all honesty 'pretend' that songs that they know were fabrications or were written by some member of the Edinburgh literary circle were songs gathered from the 'ordinary working people' of Scotland for example.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 05 Feb 20 - 07:52 PM

I missed a 'who' out in the third para. Between "songs" and "published"

publishers of songs who published material with false claims …

Sorry and goodnight and thanks again to those who helped me with my questions.

Just one more totally off piste thing that has been nagging at me: I cannot recall a word used by Jeff Tod Titon somewhere to refer to the situation where a phenomenon arises in more than one place rather than having a single place of origin. It may have been an adjective ending in 'ic' or some such. Can anybody supply it, because I have been wanting to use it from time to time?


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 06 Feb 20 - 03:24 AM

"I think it is very begrudging to point out examples of early collectors and publishers of songs published material with false claims about its provenance because they were ?publishers? of songs they thought worth singing, not"
What were those "false claims" ?
As yet, nobody has dared put those accusations into the context of the songs that were published
It was in no way dishonest to adapt songs in order to 'improve' them before it even drealised that these songs had a social importance
Rightly or wrongly, they improved songs they thought were interesting but flawed and they made improvements they believed would be beneficial to their appreciation - there is nothing dishonest about that - unwise as it may now seem
People here are strong advocates of the broadsides
It seems fairly obvious to be (and has always been believed by many) that the broadside hacks took many existing folk songs and re-wrote them to be sold to suit the earlier tastes of urban audiences
I don' believe that to have been 'dishonest' despite the fact that the hacks tore the hearts out of the songs and made them virtually unsingable (try working your way though Ashton, or Hindley, or Holloway and Black to find singable songs sometime)

As for "selling" their songs - have you ever looked at the prices of some of the specialist folk song books like Roud and Atkinson's one on Street Literature
There's nothin reprehensible about that - it just puts them out of reach of many of us
Of course books were sold, but very few writers made fortunes on their writings#
If I put out a collection of Irish Traveller songs, as I would dearly like to, I would have to finance it myself or (if I am very lucky) get a grant from the Irish Arts Council

"but all I remember of it is that it was extremely readable and interesting."
It is indeed, as are several other of his books
His and his wife' Eleanor Long's 'Banks of Mulroy Bay is a superb study of how one historical incident, is a superb study of how one historical incident, the assassination of one of Ireland's landlords, gave rise to the making of dozens of songs in the area it the events took place
Wilgus's work with Irish Traveller John Reilly (of'The Maid and the Palmer' fame) is freely available on line for listening

Wilgus and the like are not Panaceas - the study of folk song and ballads is a life-long learning curve of reading as much as you can manage (gluggers and all) and in the end, making up your on mind - nobody has all (or even very many of) the answers
If it's any help, our archive has a large collection of digitised books which I have been selecting from and passing around on PCloud to people I believe will use it responsibly
The same with our record collection, which runs into many hundreds of digitised and now largely unobtainable discs
All you need do is say what you are interested in and let me have an e-ail address
I still find a discussion on folk song without a close examination of the songs themselves pretty much pissing in the wind
With that in mind, I would highly recommend the 10 volume 'Folk Songs of Britain' series' or better still, MaColl's 10 programme series 'The Song Carriers' for a brilliant analysis of the songs collected by the BBC in the '50s - and there's much more (there's even a full set of the BBC project for anybody who wants it)
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 06 Feb 20 - 03:27 AM

I meant to add to that last, MacColl and Lloyd's groundbreaking Riverside Ballad series - flawed but worth having for the extensive notes alone
Bronson described it as the most important work on the folk scene since Sharp
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jack Campin
Date: 06 Feb 20 - 06:06 AM

That post made at 7.38PM might have made sense if GUEST had indicated which text was quotation, and how many levels deep (I think there are at least two levels).

Without quotation labelling it just looks like you're repeating or contradicting yourself. I can't get anything out of that post.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Lighter
Date: 06 Feb 20 - 07:45 AM

Pseud, is the word "polygenetic"?

Polygenesis means independent origins at different times from more than one source.

An unanswered question in linguistics is whether human language is polygenetic or monogenetic


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 06 Feb 20 - 07:47 AM

Hello Jack

Thanks for your feedback and comment. I had hoped the 7.52 correction made it clear that I was the author of the 7.38 post. I apologise for not being clear. I’ll try to be brief in re-stating my point.
I knew in general terms about cases of ‘tinkerings’ being passed off as originals/authentic before I read Harker. Some cases e.g. Bishop Percy are notorious. Child himself knew about the problem, as Steve Gardham has patiently pointed out several times on this thread. Harker isn’t, as far as I can see, saying anything new here.
Nor do I see any point in rehearsing these examples on this thread when they have been discussed elsewhere on Mudcat, with those of Lloyd being a prime example.

My own belief is that most of those posting here are aware of those examples, and of Child’s awareness of those examples. I include Jim Carroll in this.

My own view is that Nick Dow was right when he commented, on the problem with fakes generally, ‘The best that can be achieved is pointing out alterations and deceptions and giving the reader a choice.’

I will also explain once again that Harker’s book is not only about these examples of tinkering, or even perhaps mainly about them. I'm not sure that everybody has quite taken this point on board, and agree with Brian that the title doesn't help. I would of course be happy to hear about any specific examples where Harker falsely states that it took place when it did not. My intention here is not to defend Harker, though as I said before, it seems reasonable to try and get straight what he does and does not say, rather than attack him on the basis of stuff he did not say.

At 7.38 I was responding to a reasonable comment made by Steve Gardham a few moments earlier. Steve game the same quotation, so I suppose I guessed people that would know where it came from. This section seems to have stemmed from a reasonable comment made by Jag at 5.57 suggesting something to the effect that there appears to be some lack of clarity about what sort of modifications can be made to old songs and when. (please refer to Jag’s post for the original in context).
The context was, therefore, a discussion that fully accepted that some people modified songs.

Here it is again:

'I really think it to be more than a little begrudging to accuse many of the early collectors of "fakery" and dishonesty - they were song collectors gathering songs they thought worth singing, not social historians.'

Looking at it again, perhaps what it means is that some or many early collectors have been falsely accused of ‘fakery and dishonesty’. (it says ‘think it to be’ rather than ‘think it would be’) But I read it in the context as a comment on the work of Harker and as a response to Steve’s patient provision of well-known examples, especially in the light of repeated demands made to Steve to discuss examples.

Sorry for being unclear. And thank you for the polite rejoinder.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 06 Feb 20 - 07:51 AM

@ Lighter
Thanks a million. You know, I'm not sure it was 'polygenetic', so maybe there is more than one such term but that one will do very nicely. Much appreciated. Repeats to self 'polygenetic', 'polygenetic'....


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 06 Feb 20 - 07:57 AM

Reading back up this thread, as I do from time to time, I came across a post including the term 'desk jockey' and felt, rightly or wrongly that it referred to me and was intended to be pejorative. People can draw what conclusions they like, of course.

I will just say that we have had our version of a trad ballad 'collected' and that some of our arrangements have been copied. I don't mind people copying the arrangements except when they do our 'version' before we get a chance to and even then no big deal.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 06 Feb 20 - 08:14 AM

Ah, Jim's latest post *seems^ to clarify what he meant: he seems to be doing what I thought: defending the early collectors whose tinkering has been discussed.

It was in no way dishonest to adapt songs in order to 'improve' them before it even drealised that these songs had a social importance

Perhaps Jim could clarify the date at which he thinks it was first 'realised' that the songs in question had a social importance?

I'm sure Jim is an expert on pissing in the wind. (I'll get me coat as Steve Shaw would say)


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 06 Feb 20 - 10:05 AM

>>>>>If these songs are fakes - discuss them and expose their fakery<<<<
>>>>>>I've never suggested a discussion on individual faked ballads<<<< Jim on same day at 1.10 p.m.

I'm very happy to discuss individual ballads or whole collections, once we've had an explanation for the apparent contradiction between these 2 statements and a decision one way or the other.

Perhaps we could start with Professor Child's evidence/opinions, or Joseph Ritson's, or some bits from Fowler, or my own researches into Buchan, or Mary Ellen Brown's findings, or my own researches on Baring Gould. Where shall we start? Oops, left out Scott!


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 06 Feb 20 - 11:03 AM

Is this the right room for an argument ?

Dave H


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 06 Feb 20 - 11:18 AM

The sort of thing Jim could post would be stuff scattered on Mudcat but valuable and interesting including lecture notes, transcriptions of interviews, lists of material he and Pat have collected available and where, a list of his published journal and magazine articles, perhaps a brief chronology of his involvement with folk, positions held, etc etc.

Dave H you're not the Messiah ….


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Vic Smith
Date: 06 Feb 20 - 11:20 AM

No, this room is for contradictions. Next door you will find arguments and discussions is in a different building.

You will have to be British and a certain age to understand what Dave and I are on about


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Vic Smith
Date: 06 Feb 20 - 11:23 AM

Dave H you're not the Messiah ….

No, he's a very naughty boy (and not the only one here!)


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 06 Feb 20 - 11:55 AM

"I'm very happy to discuss individual ballads or whole collections,"
You start by producing the evidence that they have been deliberately faked first Steve
Apart from Harkers claims, what do you have on that
I have told you why I believe there were no rules to what you did with songs that were collected why back - tell me why that was not the case
We have always known songs were edited for publication right up to Frank Purslow's doctoring an important body of songs in order to publish them in four little books
Did he do that for greed, because he was a con-man or because he was a "starry-eyed naivete" ?
I have no argument with the fact that they were changed - it's the unpleasant implications
You have involved giants like Child in your accusations - produce your evidence


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 06 Feb 20 - 12:00 PM

"they were song collectors gathering songs they thought worth singing, not social historians." (Jim Carrol)

I think that's a really important point.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jack Campin
Date: 06 Feb 20 - 12:57 PM

It's not true that the early collectors/anthologists of folksong were practical musicians interested in singable material. Essentially none of them were, either in the British Isles or in mainland Europe. They were mostly antiquarians documenting local culture, or in some cases landlords documenting their tenants' music in much the same way they went about cataloguing the monuments on their land or measuring crop yields. The competitive incentives to "improve" your local song harvest by cheating were much like those of a Stalinist farm manager weighing spuds.

Scott did an effective job as consultant-antiquarian-for-hire to the Scottish gentry, but was totally tone-deaf and couldn't have any useful opinion about practical singability. Any sightings of Percy leading a pub singalong?


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 06 Feb 20 - 01:15 PM

Jack: amusing post!

And I was just wondering whether some framework other than copyright or 'rules to what you did with songs' might or ought to have guided Biship Percy towards a full and honest account of the provenance of his stuff. One that came in some time before an awareness that ballads were socially important!


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 06 Feb 20 - 01:19 PM

"Perhaps Jim could clarify the date at which he thinks it was first 'realised' that the songs in question had a social importance?"
It still hasn't dawned on some people, who consider it no different from any other form of 'entertaining' pop music
In fact, folk song's uniqueness is based on the history which brought many of the songs into existence
Delighted that some of the bickering has been deleted but it was unnecessary to remove
THIS
or
THIS
Social History and enjoyment all rolled into one
Dig out the songs dealing with Land Disputes or the Broken Token songs or those about the Camp Followers or arranged marriages......
All history in the raw
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Brian Peters
Date: 06 Feb 20 - 01:24 PM

"The competitive incentives to "improve" your local song harvest by cheating were much like those of a Stalinist farm manager weighing spuds."


Wasn't a lot of it aesthetic? Poets believing they could improve on the raw material?


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 06 Feb 20 - 01:29 PM

"They were mostly antiquarians documenting local culture" Contemporary culture or, for want of a better word 'folklore' (I have seen the term 'historical gleanings' in such people's writings)?

I read Jim's point as being that they were not intending to document the society that the singers lived in.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Brian Peters
Date: 06 Feb 20 - 01:54 PM

I agree with Steve G that this thread is shooting off at all kinds of tangents, and that we could probably do with discussing some of the issues separately, but I've no intention of starting a thread about Cecil Sharp any time soon, and there was something concerning Sharp that I wanted to go back to.

Steve suggested earlier that Sharp, although sound in many respects, was guilty of a "misrepresentation of how the material was created and evolved", contrasting CS's approach with that of Baring-Gould in 'Songs of the West', and Kidson in 'Traditional Tunes', and stating that TT "shows a good knowledge of the relationship between print and oral tradition and indeed popular song." Steve also thinks that Sharp must have known about the large collections of street literature in the Bodleian and elsewhere.

I've had a look at the song notes to Sharp's '100 English Folk Songs' (published 1916) and, like B-G and FK before him, he adopts the practice of listing as many examples of the same song type as he can, drawing on Percy, Ramsay, the other Scots collectors, Child, and the Folk Song Journal. He also specifically mentions examples from print for nearly a third of the songs, referring to Roxburghe, broadsides from Such, Catnach etc, and garlands. So it seems to me that Sharp did know quite a bit about street literature, and wasn't afraid to highlight examples when he knew about them. In fact, he makes much play in 'Some Conclusions' of his observation that Henry Larcombe had sung him 'Robin Hood and the Tanner' with a text "almost word for word the same as the corresponding stanzas of a much longer black-letter broadside, preserved in the Bodleian Library."

Sharp devotes three paragraphs of his chapter on ‘Folk-Poetry’ in ‘Some Conclusions’ to the relationship of broadsides to folk songs, explaining the long history of the trade, the role of ballad-sellers in disseminating the songs, and the existence of known ballad authors such as Martin Parker. Of course he also believed that broadsides were derived ultimately from oral tradition, and had become corrupted in the editing process (although he conceded that some broadsides contained uncorrupted text), and many of us will disagree with him there. His views on the origin of the folk song were hazy - he preferred to present both sides of the 'authored vs communal' debate, and resorted ultimately to the get-out clause that the important thing wasn't the origin but the process.

He also wrote: “We must remember also that the folk-singer would often learn modern and very indifferent sets of words from the broadside, and sing them to old tunes, after the manner of the execution songs...”

Again it seems to me that Sharp was quite prepared to discuss the relationship of print to folk song, and his belief that broadsides represented corrupt copies of songs developed by oral tradition is no different from that of Baring-Gould, who thought initially that the texts had originated on broadsides (and were therefore of little significance) but then came round to the alternative view, even before he met Sharp. Kidson, as far as I can see in TT, offers no theory about the origin of 'folk' songs - but do correct me if I'm wrong, Steve.

I don’t see a significant difference between Sharp’s published views on the role of print and those of Baring-Gould and Kidson.


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