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New Book: Folk Song in England

Steve Gardham 15 Jul 18 - 04:35 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 15 Jul 18 - 11:33 AM
Brian Peters 15 Jul 18 - 09:30 AM
Steve Gardham 15 Jul 18 - 09:12 AM
Jack Campin 15 Jul 18 - 07:26 AM
The Sandman 15 Jul 18 - 07:13 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 15 Jul 18 - 06:06 AM
Jim Carroll 15 Jul 18 - 05:59 AM
Brian Peters 15 Jul 18 - 05:58 AM
GUEST,Tootler 15 Jul 18 - 05:56 AM
Jack Campin 15 Jul 18 - 04:58 AM
The Sandman 15 Jul 18 - 04:49 AM
GUEST 15 Jul 18 - 04:38 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 15 Jul 18 - 03:48 AM
Jim Carroll 15 Jul 18 - 03:23 AM
Jack Campin 14 Jul 18 - 05:14 PM
Brian Peters 14 Jul 18 - 04:20 PM
Jim Carroll 14 Jul 18 - 03:47 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 14 Jul 18 - 02:25 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 14 Jul 18 - 02:09 PM
GUEST,just another guest 14 Jul 18 - 01:45 PM
Brian Peters 14 Jul 18 - 01:10 PM
Richard Mellish 14 Jul 18 - 12:55 PM
Vic Smith 14 Jul 18 - 10:11 AM
The Sandman 14 Jul 18 - 10:01 AM
Jim Carroll 14 Jul 18 - 08:48 AM
Vic Smith 14 Jul 18 - 06:59 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 14 Jul 18 - 06:56 AM
Tootler 14 Jul 18 - 06:18 AM
The Sandman 14 Jul 18 - 05:01 AM
The Sandman 14 Jul 18 - 04:43 AM
Jim Carroll 14 Jul 18 - 04:13 AM
The Sandman 14 Jul 18 - 04:01 AM
Jim Carroll 14 Jul 18 - 03:26 AM
The Sandman 14 Jul 18 - 03:17 AM
Jim Carroll 14 Jul 18 - 03:06 AM
Brian Peters 13 Jul 18 - 07:10 PM
Steve Gardham 13 Jul 18 - 05:39 PM
Jack Campin 13 Jul 18 - 04:58 PM
Vic Smith 13 Jul 18 - 03:46 PM
Steve Gardham 13 Jul 18 - 01:06 PM
GUEST,Hootenanny 13 Jul 18 - 12:26 PM
Brian Peters 13 Jul 18 - 11:03 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 13 Jul 18 - 11:02 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 13 Jul 18 - 10:55 AM
GUEST,just another guest 13 Jul 18 - 10:26 AM
Brian Peters 13 Jul 18 - 09:41 AM
Jack Campin 13 Jul 18 - 09:32 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 13 Jul 18 - 09:31 AM
Jim Carroll 13 Jul 18 - 08:45 AM
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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 15 Jul 18 - 04:35 PM

Yes,
I neglected to mention that one very plausible theory is that ballads were once accompaniment to dance, ring dances. I believe that in the Faeroes they still do accompany a simple ring dance.

Some Breton ballads and Scandinavian ballads refer to historical persons who were around in the 12th/13th centuries but like our Robin Hood ballads that doesn't mean that's when the ballads were written.
However Scandinavian ballads of the Child type appear to have been much more common in Denmark than in Britain in the 16th/17th centuries. There were collectors like Syv around at that time whereas we didn't start collecting ours seriously until the end of the 18th century.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 15 Jul 18 - 11:33 AM

Oh dear, more thread drift!

I'll share my ideas: you may of course take them or leave them.

My understanding is that 'ballad' has various meanings.

In terms of the medieval forms referred to by Jack at 8;15, the 'ballade', which came from France, and was a lyric poem, typically had three eight line stanzas and a final four line stanza, though there were variations. The rhyme scheme for the 8 lines was typically ababbcbc. The last line of the final stanza is used as the last line for the other 8 line stanzas and for the final shorter stanza.

Francois Villon write a lot of these. They were popular in the 13th and 14th century.

Ballads, on the other hand, usually meaning narrative poems/songs, seem to have appeared in many parts of Europe in the late Middle Ages.   

One book I was looking at recently stated that 'carol' originally meant dance .... Just to express my personal frustration at getting to any 'facts' here.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Brian Peters
Date: 15 Jul 18 - 09:30 AM

Interesting idea about the 'Tomlin' mentioned in the 'Complaynte', Steve. I've looked at a few Appalachian copies of this (possibly derived from an early version?) and they're mostly 'Tom Bolynn' or similar. What's the earliest copy you know about, and do I take it the name in that is 'Tom-a-lin'?


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 15 Jul 18 - 09:12 AM

This is what I remember from my reading on the origins of the ballad form. I cannot vouch for its veracity and it may be oversymplistic.
The form itself evolved from French carols in the medieval period, usually with the couplet and refrain form which Child claims precedes the quatrain form. This is certainly borne out in the examples he gives but may not be the full picture. The few ballads that came down to us in tradition that predate print can be counted on the fingers of one hand, and even these are from manuscripts which were simply the forerunners of print, i.e., copied down by scribes from one manuscript to another for the use of the wealthy. We have very contentious clues as to what was actually sung (other than religious material) before print. The Complaynt of Scotland for instance gives us a few titles that MIGHT relate to songs still sung today, the most likely one being 'The Frog Cam to the Mil Dur'. My own opinion on the 'Tomlin' mentioned there is that it is not 'Tam Lyn' but the early Scots version of 'Tom-a lin' aka 'Brian O Lynn', for which we have very early versions, much earlier than any version of 'Tam Lyn'.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jack Campin
Date: 15 Jul 18 - 07:26 AM

Mediaeval song has gone through the same change of perspective as folk ballads since Child - people are finding more and more ways they fit to music. It took decades after its first publication for anyone to try to sing the Carmina Burana to the intended tunes. (With short and standard forms like the rondel, there was no need for Chaucer to specify a tune since there were lots to choose from, like the "common" psalm tunes of the Reformation).


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: The Sandman
Date: 15 Jul 18 - 07:13 AM

Dick
I was referring to GD boxes which are prevalent this side of the Irish sea and I maintain what I said was correct. I play with a GD box player regularly."
I
I hve regularly played with a gd player too foe 24 years,What you are saying is not correct , because Am, has limited chord.
   neither is your statement about BC boxes ,for example some irish players play in c on them and use the correct basses like a c one row, using basses for key of c ,others play across the row and use basses others play across the rows and do not use basses


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 15 Jul 18 - 06:06 AM

Okay Jack: you were saying some medieval lyrics were not folk. I'm sure you are right.

But of course, as you will know, 'lyrics' in these cases does not mean 'the words to songs'. A lyric, to a student of English Literature, and to academics like Davies appears to have been, as you will know, is a relatively short poem, with 'long' being, say Canterbury Tales, or a long epic.


It is a moot point whether any of these 'lyrics' were intended to be sung. I haven't seen Sidgwick and Chambers, but one online comment I found states that its purpose is to put 'poetry' prior to the sonnet into the public domain. Take Chaucer; he wrote rondels and 'ballades' (probably taking these forms from Europe) but no music survives for any of these, casting doubt on whether they were intended ever to be sung, as opposed to being read or recited.

Some diatonic melodeons have bass chords that go with the relative minor keys. You can get some 'accidentals' if you havea two key instrument. (Thanks wikipedia).

Dobson and Harrison seems to be one on your list that lists words with music in the medieval contemprary form, but they seem only to have found 33.?


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 15 Jul 18 - 05:59 AM

"he was 'certainly not a musician who played for dancing in any form',"
That is an accurate description
Walters main used of the melodion was for remembering song tunes (he also played a fiddle)

His experience of traditional singing was in the home, previously it was done by the family at Harvest Suppers, but he never experienced them.
His participation as a boy was limited - he sang on song, 'Dark eyed sailor' because "nobody else wanted that"
As an only child he spent a great deal of time with his two bachelor uncles who taught him their songs
During the war, because of his poor feet, he was assigned as a serviceman to woring on essential work of RAF airports - he was stationed in Richmond, Yorkshire, among other places

When he returned his uncles had died, so he decided to gather their songs together in a notebook, filling out missing bits from other family members
He wrote the words down in a couple of notebooks and used the melodeon for memorising the tunes
He told us that cousins of his age wen't interested as they were into 'the modern songs'   
He never sang in public until he was 'discovered' by a relative, Rodger' who was Peter Bellamy's tutor.
Rger persuaded him to put some of his songs on tape - Walter bought a recorder and spent a couple of nights doing so and eventually Bellamy contacted Bill Leader - then 'A Star Was Born'
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Brian Peters
Date: 15 Jul 18 - 05:58 AM

not sure if you are counting Walter Pardon as a 'revivalist'

Ooh no, not at all!

I suppose if you were 'in the tradition' modal material would not sound exotic or unusual.

I was talking about the folk revival there. If we accept Roud and Bishop's assessment of the relatively low proportion of modal tunes in the traditional repertoire, then even to a traditional singer such tunes might have seemed 'in a class of their own'. However, one current theory is that traditional singers didn't distinguish between the different modes at all - it is certainly true that some would apparently slip from one mode to another within a single song. This seems counter-intuitive to my (revivalist) ears, but who knows? I wasn't party to Walter Pardon's personal thoughts on the matter, but as a highly intelligent man and an instrumentalist, perhaps he thought about the issue more than most.

I could say lots more about melodeons, but I've caused enough thread drift already!


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,Tootler
Date: 15 Jul 18 - 05:56 AM

Guest further up was me. Sorry. I'd forgotten my cookie needed resetting and I've not got round to it on my iPad.

Dick
I was referring to GD boxes which are prevalent this side of the Irish sea and I maintain what I said was correct. I play with a GD box player regularly.

I think you meant BC boxes which are effectively chromatic on the right hand and yes the left hand is an issue, though I believe many players have them modified to match the keys they regularly play in. As far as I've seen, Irish box players rarely use the basses anyway - just occasionaly for emphasis. As I said, for dancing, the rhythm is more important than having harmonically "correct" basses.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jack Campin
Date: 15 Jul 18 - 04:58 AM

There are several thorough anthologies of mediaeval songs - Sidgwick and Chambers, Davies, Dobson and Harrison. The form was international: you get the same complex arrangements of short lines in long stanzas in every written language in Europe, and tunes were shared internationally. This is nothing like anybody's folk idiom.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: The Sandman
Date: 15 Jul 18 - 04:49 AM

guest 15 july438, what you are saying is correctas regards two row. on gd boxes on bc the basses are sometimes wrong[double ray] and sometimes have been retuned, but even then are not one hundred per cent. some hohner one rows hawe chords for one ,four, five chords


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST
Date: 15 Jul 18 - 04:38 AM

The basses in a melodeon are designed to give you a I IV V accompaniment to a major key tune. when played for dancing their prime function is rhythmic, though and dissonance will tolerated as the rhythm is much more important. This, I think, is much more obvious with a one row than a two row where with more basses/chords available players can be very creative in the way they use those buttons.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 15 Jul 18 - 03:48 AM

Brian: I hadn't thought about Cajun music for years; the 'dissonance effect' on my ears isn't the same for that genre. Different context maybe.

Also, not sure if you are counting Walter Pardon as a 'revivalist';

Some of his melodeon playing is on 'mustrad' with a comment that he was 'certainly not a musician who played for dancing in any form', possibly because there isn't a great deal of rhythm in it. He played where nobody could hear him, it says. Spotify has a selection of his material too.

I suppose if you were 'in the tradition' modal material would not sound exotic or unusual.


Jack: I thought there was a lack of information about songs in the middle ages? I know Tudor poets used complicated rhyming schemes, but apart from bits of Canterbury tales, which wasn't sung, more or less nothing medieval. But verse form and meter, maybe. There was according to Roud/Bishop some 5/4 in traditional/folk singing.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 15 Jul 18 - 03:23 AM

Walter Pardon spoke at length about the differences between his "old folk songs" (his term) and "that other stuff" (also his term.
His identification covered the whole gamut - from tunes to descriptions of characters and the people and places described in the songs - right through to how he saw them and identified them as a singer - he was articulate and he was very positive

Anyone who sat with him and talked coud recognise from the way Walter talked about his songs and how he saw them as he sang them could spot that he regarded them as both different and importnt
He told us about how visitors concentrated on songs he didn't believe to be "the old folk songs" saying "I don't know why they want them old things"
When we asked us to sing them (for comparison) he was extremely reluctant to do so and became uncomfortable, so we gave up after a couple
We constantly use in talks we give, a recording we made of elderly Clare singer Tom Lenihan describing passionately the difference between "the modern stuff" and those "passed down from the old people for generations"

Mary Delaney, the blind Travelling woman, had an endlessly large repertoire of both lyrical and narrative traditional songs - she called them 'my daddy's songs" (when we recorded him he could remember about half-a-dozen)
She used this description to identify her traditional songs - it was her version of '54'
She also had an equally large number of modern popular songs, particularly Country and Western - she point-blank refused to sing a single one of them for the tape recorder saying, "they're not the old songs - I only sing them because that's what the lads ask for in the pub.
Because of her blindness, Mary's activity was limited largely to singing - that is what she was known for.
She had a phenomenal ability to pick up songs quickly, this gave her a role in her community, that didn't mean she couldn't tell the difference - obviously
According to the 'New Age Academic' re-definition of folk song, 'My Cheatin' Heart', 'Stand By Your Man' and 'Jolene' all should have Roud numbers - Mary knew and sang them all.
Nobody can deny her role as a traditional singer - why haven't they been numbered?

Other singers, using different language and values differented between their types of song even though the might have sung all sorts

For me, this underlines the nonsensical nature in which academics have re-defined our folk songs.

It is typal academic arrogance to ride rough-shod over something that, for me, is painfully obvious - these songs are obviously so different as a genre that non-academics can tell them apart

A far as making sure our traditional songs are kept alive and recognised for their importance and uniqueness as a separate body of history and art, it really is time we woke up and smelled the coffee - there has been far too much damage done already by lumping them in with "that modern stuff"
JIm Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jack Campin
Date: 14 Jul 18 - 05:14 PM

Walter Pardon et al knew which of their personal repertoires they regarded as folk songs and which were something else. But how did they decide? What criteria did they apply, consciously or instinctively?

Verse form, including metre? That's dropped out of consideration in Anglo-American folksong studies but was very important for Bartok and pretty much everybody else in southern and eastern Europe - and it's a glaringly obvious difference between old ballads and Tin Pan Alley or Dylanoid material. (Though if you go back to the Middle Ages, you find long lyrics with complex verse forms built from short lines much like the norm in rock).


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Brian Peters
Date: 14 Jul 18 - 04:20 PM

"I'm guessing it must be possible to play 'cross melodeon' in the same way that people play 'cross harp', and, I am hazy about all this, but I think it might bring in the mixolydian."

Exactly. Dorian is also available very easily.

"Maybe your idea only works, as you will be aware, if we exclude the ionian (ie major scale) from our category of modes."

Yes, I can't really be bothered calling major 'Ionian'.

"when a melodeon player hits a chord with the left hand buttons that to my ears clashes with the melody being played with the right hand buttons (and the chords on the instruments don't seem to have been chosen with the full range of modes in mind)"

This is very much a part of Cajun music, where they play one-row melodeons mostly on the pull, and don't have the chords available to provide a 'musically-correct' accompaniment.

"However, according to Roud/Bishop, many 'folk songs' are in ionian. So it looks as if Walter Pardon and Roud/Bishop disagree here."

The alternative modes sound more exotic, and hence perhaps older when compared to major tunes which are the most common in Music Hall and other more modern styles. Which of course is why folk revivalists throughout the last century or so have been fascinated by them.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 14 Jul 18 - 03:47 PM

"It is become increasingly clear that discussion with you gets nowhere"
That's a two-way street as far as I am concerned Vic (I'm sorry to say)
I am endeavoring to respond to every one of your points - you are responding to none of mine
THat I believe is the cause of your "circles"
We obviously don't agree on definitions - when I suggest that you believe the music hall songs are out of the same stable as our folk songs which you appear to be not unique, you appear to tale umbridge   
Me
"Now, it seems, there is nothing about folk songs that set them apart from other songs
You
"Are you suggesting that I am saying that"
If that is not what you are saying - what are you saying exactly
I answer your point to the best of my ability and ask you for clarification
In return I get another question
What you are appearing to be looking for is abject surrender

You are the people who have changed the rules and moved the goalposts - it is up to you to justify your tectonic shift I've got my experience and my library to keep me warm

If you are not prepared yto respond tto my points I don't want to talk to you either - we can agree on that at least
Jim


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 14 Jul 18 - 02:25 PM

Actually, this thread and Roud have been 'empowering', because, if truly traditional music was unaccompanied, then I don't need to feel that when I wince when a melodeon player hits a chord with the left hand buttons that to my ears clashes with the melody being played with the right hand buttons (and the chords on the instruments don't seem to have been chosen with the full range of modes in mind) this wince merely demonstrates my ignorant lack of enjoyment of 'the tradition', though on one level there is a tradition of sorts as I've heard it done often enough. And my ignorance of the tradition is, of course, amply evidenced generally. :)


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 14 Jul 18 - 02:09 PM

Interesting thought on melodiums/ia??, Brian. I was trying to discuss modes earlier on the thread.

Maybe your idea only works, as you will be aware, if we exclude the ionian (ie major scale) from our category of modes.

Melodeons, for those who don't know, are like some mouth organs, but instead of 'blow' you have 'push' and instead of 'such' you have pull. Similar pattern of push/pull over the main octave as for a single key mouth organ. I assume this is the type of instrument Walter Pardon had. In this picture he appears to be playing a two row diatonic Hohner Pokerwork model.

http://www.mustrad.org.uk/articles/pardon2.htm

Like diatonic mouth organs, the melodeon can get the notes of the relative minor key, the 'natural minor' ie the Aeolian mode. This would end with extended bellows/ suck on harmonica.

And what else?

I'm guessing it must be possible to play 'cross melodeon' in the same way that people play 'cross harp', and, I am hazy about all this, but I think it might bring in the mixolydian. So on a C instrument you have the notes for G mixolodian (G A B A D E F G), but you would end on a push ie with bellows close together. Playing in G on a C instrument is 'cross harp'. But you would end on a push, ie bellows not in extended position.

You could work this out for all the 'church' modes through the melodeon diatonic scale; some end push some pull.

However, according to Roud/Bishop, many 'folk songs' are in ionian. So it looks as if Walter Pardon and Roud/Bishop disagree here.

And I haven't even thought about pentatonic melodies, and their varieties.

Complicated????


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,just another guest
Date: 14 Jul 18 - 01:45 PM

Jim Carrol 13 Dec 17 - 04:07 AM "The fact that English worker dialect poets like Ridley, Samuel Lackock, "Joseph Skipsey, John Axon and Samuel Bamford could continue to create the masterpieces they did without caricaturing their class as the broadside products did ..."

Jim Carrol 09 Jan 18 - 01:07 PM "Tanahill wasn't a broadside writer - he was a weaver-poet, as was Bamnford, Axon, Lackock and all the others mentioned previously as examples of working men producing poems of working life based on their own experiences"

Assuming the spelling 'Samuel Lackock' is a typo from Jim we have:

George Milner, introduction to second edition of "The collected Writings of Samuel Laycock", 1908. During the Cotton Famine "week by week they were published in the local papers and large numbers were issued as broad-sheet ballads. Many of these were learnt by heart and sung by lads and lasses in the streets of the town"

Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samuel_Laycock "Laycock was one of the thousands unemployed and tried to earn a meagre living by writing verses which the unemployed could set to music and sing in the streets for pennies."

Though Milner's account suggests that he did not compose them "primarily for payment" but rather that "Deeply moved by the acute suffering which surrounded him on every side, the spirit was kindled within him, and he beganto write his Famine Songs" (precedes the quote above)


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Brian Peters
Date: 14 Jul 18 - 01:10 PM

"Jim tells us that Walter Pardon et al knew which of their personal repertoires they regarded as folk songs and which were something else. But how did they decide? What criteria did they apply, consciously or instinctively?"

I remember Jim explaining that Walter used a melodeon to remind himself of the tunes, and that he could tell an old (authentic?) song because the bellows finished up in the extended position. To a melodeon player this means that the tune is modal.

As I've already said, a lot can be inferred from the sound of the song. Collected folksongs dating from say the early 1800s are different in terms of textual and musical language to Music Hall, Tin Pan Alley Dibden compositions, etc. (though I concede this is based partly on my own antennae rather a comprehensive analysis) I'm sure Walter would have been able to make that kind of distinction.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 14 Jul 18 - 12:55 PM

I would still like to know what generally accepted definition Jim claims to have been changed by Steve Roud's book.

The collectors around 1900 knew a folk song when they heard one; or rather they knew what they thought qualified as a folk song and so was worth collecting. Some of them were mainly interested in the tunes, so didn't care if the words had been printed on a broadside, let alone whether the broadside was the first incarnation or itself based on previous oral tradition.

Jim tells us that Walter Pardon et al knew which of their personal repertoires they regarded as folk songs and which were something else. But how did they decide? What criteria did they apply, consciously or instinctively?

Steve G says, "the 54 thing is NOT a definition, it is a list of descriptors to enable scholars to identify what might be folk songs."

The book presents a somewhat larger set of descriptors but Steve R states that he more or less agrees with "1954".

If we take this part of "1954" - "music which has originated with an individual composer and has subsequently been absorbed into the unwritten living tradition of a community" - and qualify it by "where the individual composer belonged to the common people and did not compose primarily for payment", would that capture Jim's idea?

Did anyone previously include that qualification or something like it?


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Vic Smith
Date: 14 Jul 18 - 10:11 AM

Jim,
Please do not expect any further reaaction from me to your posts on Mudcat after this one. It is become increasingly clear that discussion with you gets nowhere. You make an exchange of views impossible. We get the same old points being made over and over again rather than responses to points that are being made. This caused one regular here to exclaim-
We are coming full circle again. Back to the beginning.
He has it spot on. Your circumlocution is an impediment to structured argument.
We are discussing Folk Song In England and yet you constantly respond with references to your opinion of the situation in another country and when another ex-pat in that country suggests that you may not have it totally right. it is met with demeaning put-downs.
Another well-respected poster reacted by saying:-
I think Jim's conflation of the 'print origins' theory with the practices of English folk clubs since the 1980s muddies the water.
Again this is spot on and follows quickly on another example of conflation or confusion or both pointed out by myself over your attitude towards different attitudes shown by the academic community.
A difference in attitude is normally healthy and stimulating in debate. I don't think anyone minds that your opinion on the origins of folk is so strongly held. It is your unwillingness or inability to concede even the smallest point, to back up your strongly held opinions with evidence, to answer questions without prevarication or obfuscation that stultifies progress in discussion.
When a pair of religious pamplet-wavers come knocking on my door, I gently send them on their way because experience shows that to reason with extreme fundementalists is not possible because they know and I don't so why is it that I won't accept; reason does not come into it; belief dominates.
Sadly, Jim, I feel that I have reached this stage with you for the same reasons.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: The Sandman
Date: 14 Jul 18 - 10:01 AM

It's mecoming more and more clwear to me why the British scene is where it is.
You are in position to make a sensible judgement because you are rarely there


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 14 Jul 18 - 08:48 AM

"It does not even impinge on the discussion."
Yes it most certainly does
The advences of Irish music and song have been based entirely on a growing understanding of the tradition - whatever youngsters choose to do with their new-found culture, a base has now been established that they continue to return to in order to remind themselves what it is all about
It's mecoming more and more clwear to me why the British scene is where it is
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Vic Smith
Date: 14 Jul 18 - 06:59 AM

Dick wrote:-
does it validate his arguments at all .no

It does not even impinge on the discussion.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 14 Jul 18 - 06:56 AM

Thanks, Tootler!

I promised a report back: not as much music as I'd hoped for, but still worth attending.

The music was unaccompanied (a traditional characteristic) but had harmonies (not traditional). Some of the tunes I knew, but cannot say whether these came from the people or from some musical hack, and cannot even remember not which they were. I think one might have been 'John Brown's Body' (not traditional, I don't think, am very confused about definitions). My feeling is that most present were fairly middle-class (not traditional). It was I think what you might call multi-cultural (not traditional). Lots of passing cars tooted (not traditional).

I did not get the notepad out, as I did not have permission from the singers to collect their work [ :) ], but somebody gave me a pretty poster to hold so my hands were busy. The lyrics seemed to have been specially written for the occasion, and, sorry, I can't remember much detail, only the gist.

Sorry(ish) for massive thread drift.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Tootler
Date: 14 Jul 18 - 06:18 AM

"I'll let you know what songs are sung, but I promise not to take down any that seem original using a notepad!"

Sorry - I don't understand why understanding the music you love appears to be an academic exercise that has to be written down


Somebody's sense of humour neuron needs disinterring and polishing!


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: The Sandman
Date: 14 Jul 18 - 05:01 AM

if we were to believe Jim ,then everything CCE has done would be bad, a typical Jim Carroll over simplification, these over simplifications never strengthen his arguments, neither does his refusal to answer questions or qualify his opinions with facts.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: The Sandman
Date: 14 Jul 18 - 04:43 AM

your mentioning of your presence at Willy week has no rekevance at all to the discussion in hand.
it does not matter how long you take to go as long as you do not stop confucius


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 14 Jul 18 - 04:13 AM

It has evey relevance Dick
The classes in this scool are now being taken by youngsters who were pupils here fiv or six years ago, and the skills they have acquired date back to the old boys who first took part in the school all those tears ago - Junior Crehan, Bobby Casey, Seamus Ennis, Breandan Breathnach, Paddy Glackin, Joe Ryan, John Kelly.....
Irish Traditional music now has what all traditional music needs to survive.... a continuum
All that is happening now is what CCE should have ben doing over the decades of its existence and failed to achieve miserably because it's 'playing by numbers' approach in order to win medals
As Breandan Breathnach once said "CCE is an organisation with a great future behind it'
Must go
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: The Sandman
Date: 14 Jul 18 - 04:01 AM

I was at a session last night there were two young musicians aged 14 and 11, CCE trained from ulster, very good musicians, what relevance does this have, none jim has to let us know how immersed in trad music,none of which strengthens or weakens his argument   jim, what relevance does your attendance at the willy week have?


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 14 Jul 18 - 03:26 AM

LAST YEAR
THIS YEAR (SOME)

"does it validate his arguments at all .no"
You told me you'd never been Dick - apparently having experienced something is not a required qualification !
Jim


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: The Sandman
Date: 14 Jul 18 - 03:17 AM

just in case no one has realised Jim is attending the Willy week. I am not sure of the relevance but Jim is determinmed to let us know, does it validate his arguments at all .no


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 14 Jul 18 - 03:06 AM

"I'll let you know what songs are sung, but I promise not to take down any that seem original using a notepad!"
Sorry - I don't understand why understanding the music you love appears to be an academic exercise that has to be written down
I came to this music and fell in love with the sound
After a while I realised there was more to it so I went looking for it - what I found deepened my pleasure of what I listened to and what I sang
That has inspired me to keep at it into old age
It is not dry, academic study - it is now a part of my life

I sat and listened to a dozen good singers yesterday - mostly much younger than me, sme half my age - it made me realise that our singing here has a great future
All of them had come to learn more about the songs they sang - I didn't spot a notebook in the room

Off to a wind-up singing session after breakfast - I'll leave you to your argument as to why our music is unfathomable pop song
Have a great day
Jim


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Brian Peters
Date: 13 Jul 18 - 07:10 PM

Good tale, Vic.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 13 Jul 18 - 05:39 PM

All good and relevant analogies. Ah, but will it convince...…?


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jack Campin
Date: 13 Jul 18 - 04:58 PM

What Lloyd was describing there has a name in philosophy - "the paradox of the heap".

Most of the classification problems described here are a bit different - you don't just have one property varying along a continuum, but many conflicting features. Wittgenstein talks about that in the Philosophical Investigations, as "family resemblance" - a lot of concepts are ascribed in the same way you see people as being related, where two might share the same freckles, two might have the same wonky teeth, two might have the same eyebrows... you can tell everybody's related at a family gathering even though there's no one feature you can point to that makes them all look the same.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Vic Smith
Date: 13 Jul 18 - 03:46 PM

Steve's Venn diagram is by far the best approach. No music genre, and precious few genres of any kind, is defined by a finite boundary.

Reminds me of a breakfast conversation with Bert Lloyd on one of several occasions when he stayed at our house after singing for us at our folk club. Somehow the conversation turned to the subject of the definition. Bert's comment has stayed with me for well over forty years. he said:-

"Look out of the window; I think that we can agree that it is daytime. If we were sitting here at 10 o'clock tonight I'm sure that we would both think it is night time. Ask a hundred people to tell you the exact moment when day becomes night and you will get a hundred different answers. It is the same at the boundaries between folk music and other musics."


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 13 Jul 18 - 01:06 PM

Nice one, Hoot!

At the risk of repeating myself (100s of times) the 54 thing is NOT a definition, it is a list of descriptors to enable scholars to identify what might be folk songs. If one accepts that, then all we have to argue about is the relevance of each descriptor and how it applies to each version of each song. I strongly suspect that all here would be happy to accept those descriptors (excepting the one that was immediately ditched). I'll leave you to guess which one that was.

Steve's Venn diagram is by far the best approach. No music genre, and precious few genres of any kind, is defined by a finite boundary.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 13 Jul 18 - 12:26 PM

Meaningless definitions ?


"Folk song is unique for what it is - folk song - the voice of the people"

And Brexit means Brexit

Sorry Jim but they sound so similar to me.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Brian Peters
Date: 13 Jul 18 - 11:03 AM

"how 'right' Child may be"

Child's achievements were colossal, and still influential well over 100 years later. This doesn't mean he was always right, of course, particularly with regard to his selections.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 13 Jul 18 - 11:02 AM

I'll let you know what songs are sung, but I promise not to take down any that seem original using a notepad!


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 13 Jul 18 - 10:55 AM

Well, at the risk of eroding my 'fan base' { :) ] I'm just off to a 'carnival', at which music is invited/welcome. I'm taking a tambourine and some shakers. It's linked to other events up and down the country. If Bert were still here, I have a feeling he would have been at one or other of them.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,just another guest
Date: 13 Jul 18 - 10:26 AM

Some feel that reaching for a dictionary makes for dull discussion, but I think usage of terms is the cause of some disagreement here,

'Traditional', in the sense of handed down seems the best term for what people here are mainly interested in. It doesn't exclude songs having started transmission in written form.

It wouldn't do for Roud's book because that includes a lot about the sources from which songs may have been inserted into he handing-on process and mentions people singing from those sources.

'Folk' isn't much use without an adjective. 'Common folk' (as opposed, maybe, to 'rich folk or 'posh folk') seems to be what people mean. Setting aside the need for another adjective I think 'Folk Song' does work for Roud's book in the sense that it is a social history of singing in communities.

However, 'Folk Song' doesn't work for Jim as a title. I think because he wants to restrict the term to music created by the 'common folk'

For me the problem with folk is not 'what is folk?' but 'who are/were folk?' So far as creative origins is concerned one aspect of that is that having a good voice or an ability with words may have allowed someone who prospects were to be an agricultural labourer or factory worker to be a paid performer or broadside seller (or writer). Doing it for money.

(by the way I agree with almost everything Pseudonymous is posting)


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Brian Peters
Date: 13 Jul 18 - 09:41 AM

"Aargh, no, not that!"
Tanks for making my point so succinctly Brian
Folk song a no go area on a site dedicated to folk traditions...


I'm sure you realise, Jim, that my 'Aargh!' comment referred to the endless, circular and often bad-tempered discussions on the subject 'What is folk?' that you and I (and other participants on this thread) have been involved with over many years on this forum. Having initiated the present thread and been a regular contributor to it, I'm hardly trying to shut down sensible debate, but that question has me rolling my eyes.

"I've just got home from a glorious worshop on traditional song which has included some of the best singing I've heard for some time ... all because the organisers know what folk song is and are not afraid to say so"

I've been a to a few good weekends like that in England, too. At the last one, three weeks ago in Yorkshire, we had Michael McGonigle and Phil Callery over from your side of the water, amongst other distinguished singers.

In a month I'll be off to Whitby folk week where I look forward to hearing Keven and Ellen Mitchell, Will Noble, Peta Webb and Ken Hall, and other wonderful singers. The last time I was there the festival had me host an afternoon of English singing, with Will Noble, Will Duke, Di Henderson, Arthur Knevett and Ruth & Sadie Price. I think you'd have enjoyed that; I hope you have a fine time at the session you're heading for.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jack Campin
Date: 13 Jul 18 - 09:32 AM

I have heard group singing on a bus twice in the last few years. One was a bunch of young Christian women on a trip from Glasgow to Iona whose repertoire seemed to come entirely from "Singing Together" - rather sweet. The other was on a late night service from Edinburgh to the Borders where a slightly sloshed young woman led the whole bus in a singalong of Dougie Maclean's "Caledonia", prompted by a video played on her iPad.

Both made the trip more fun.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 13 Jul 18 - 09:31 AM

To bring the discussion back to the subject of the thread:

As I am sure most of you know, Roud has a section on Percy and his 'Reliques'.

He says it was a keystone of the Romantic movement in Europe, as well as being cited as the founding document of ballad studies in Britain.

Roud says (p43/4): 'It can be justly claimed that the Reliques, as published, is completely useless in our attempts to understand ballads or folk song in his time.'

The word 'tinkered' appears in Roud's comments on Percy, with a comment to the effect that this was a persistent thread in folk song studies. Roud says a lot more, but for me this shows what a useful text Roud's book is for a beginner.

Also as a beginner, I am aware that Child made use of Percy, which makes me wonder how 'right' Child may be. This is what Brian hints at (08.17am).


I wanted to compare what Lloyd said on the topic, but neither Percy nor Reliques are in Lloyd's index, and he has very little to say about Child.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 13 Jul 18 - 08:45 AM

"Aargh, no, not that!"
Tanks for making my point so succinctly Brian
Folk song a no go area on a site dedicated to folk traditions - doncha juust love the logic of that one ?
There is basically one definition of folk song and a few refinements - everything else is based on the idea that we don't need a definition - the "Singing horse" school of thought
Folk song is a label you put on a type of song you put on your tim f you wish people to avail themselves of what you are promoting
Without that label, you remove from them the right to choose - simple as that
No wonder we are regarded as a minority group of misfits

"Sorry", can't stay.
I've just got home from a glorious worshop on traditional song which has included some of the best singing I've heard for some time and am now heading for a display of Irish and English language singing which I know will set my head ringing with song for the rest of the month - all because the organisers know what folk song is and are not afraid to say so
Have a good afternoon
JIm


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