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Origins: Riddle Song

Steve Gardham 08 Dec 17 - 03:24 PM
Jim Carroll 08 Dec 17 - 05:34 PM
Richie 08 Dec 17 - 08:48 PM
Jim Carroll 09 Dec 17 - 04:27 AM
The Doctor 09 Dec 17 - 05:42 AM
GUEST,gutcher 09 Dec 17 - 11:38 AM
Richie 09 Dec 17 - 01:22 PM
Jim Carroll 09 Dec 17 - 02:44 PM
Steve Gardham 12 Dec 17 - 01:35 PM
Jim Carroll 12 Dec 17 - 01:49 PM
Steve Gardham 12 Dec 17 - 03:21 PM
Gutcher 13 Dec 17 - 01:15 PM
Steve Gardham 13 Dec 17 - 03:22 PM
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Subject: Origins: Riddle Song
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 08 Dec 17 - 03:24 PM

Just thought some of you might be interested. I have recently written a short study on the history of 'The Riddle Song' mostly from the print angle.
See www.mustrad.org.uk/articles/dungheap.htm
Part 27 The Riddle Song
Constructive comments welcome.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Riddle Song
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 08 Dec 17 - 05:34 PM

Indeed, this literary interference has been, and is, a lively and thriving tradition all of its own.
With no necessary connection to folk song of course, especially as it predates universal literacy
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: Riddle Song
From: Richie
Date: 08 Dec 17 - 08:48 PM

Hi Steve,

Great article, not sure if most people know what "lemman" is (Sloan MS]. I have "rinde" as "thorn" since bark doesn't really make sense. I had not seen the early version with the "Perry Merry Dictum Dominee" chorus from the late 1700s. I have two dozen or so US versions on my site as an appendix to Child 46.

TY,

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Riddle Song
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 09 Dec 17 - 04:27 AM

Will be as constructive as I am able Steve
As your article in no way attempts to discuss the position the riddles songs occupied in oral literature, your article is incomplete and gives only a one-sided view of the genre - that of print
As I have never accepted the nonsensical view that most/all our folk songs originated in print or via the ancient commercial pop music or entertainment industry, as I folk song enthusiast, I find your article rather unsatisfactory
The Riddle songs certainly were part of the oral tradition; even up to the mid 20th century, Captain Wedderburn's Courtship was still very much part of the repertoire here in the West of Ireland.
Songs like 'Riddles' are almost ritualistic in their use of folk motifs found throughout the oral tradition, particularly in the folktales, but as you have consigned these to having literary origins, thare's nothing musch more to be said.
Sorry I can't be more constructive than that, though I will add that was highly impressed with the way you put Prof Child firmly in his place over his misjudgement of broadsides.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: Riddle Song
From: The Doctor
Date: 09 Dec 17 - 05:42 AM

Martyn Wyndham-Read recorded a version on his album of that name, with the chorus 'Perry merry winkle, Domine'.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Riddle Song
From: GUEST,gutcher
Date: 09 Dec 17 - 11:38 AM

Had many a discussion with the late Duncan Williamson anent the "supper" bell being rung--he, having been told by some "expert" that this was an indoor bell rung by an indoor servant, refused to recognise the fact that many "Big Hooses", some directly employing upwards of forty people, in gardens, stables and home farms, usually had a large external bell, hung on a purpose made frame or convenient tree branch which was rung to let the workers know that it was yokin time [start of days work] or louwsin or supper time [finish of the, usually long, working day]
This was the practice in Scotland until the 1800s when many estates, the owners having made large fortunes from coal mining, slavery etc., had built magnificent home farm steadings which usually had an arched entrance to the close and having a large clock and bell in the turret above the arch.
Today, one can recognise the home farm of an estate by its architecture even if the "Big Hoose" be long gone.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Riddle Song
From: Richie
Date: 09 Dec 17 - 01:22 PM

Hi,

There's also a different form "Go No More a-Rushing" which is an English variant.

Jim, many prints are simply a "capturing of tradition." Some prints are recreations of tradition which is "the folk process."

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Riddle Song
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 09 Dec 17 - 02:44 PM

"Jim, many prints are simply a "capturing of tradition." "
Thanks Richie - I am aware of that and have been since my friend Prof (Bob) Thomson told me how many folk songs appeared on broadsides fifty years ago
Tere is a runnng argument going on here as to how many "originated" in print - I felt I should make it clear that we don't have the slightest idea how many did
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: Riddle Song
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 12 Dec 17 - 01:35 PM

Thanks for all the comments.
I've been away from computer for 3 days so I've only just seen these.
I'll respond to as many as I can when I get time. I thought I had referred to all of the 'variants' that appeared in oral tradition but if not I'll check back and correct that.

Supper bell sounds logical to me, Joe. I'd be surprised if they didn't exist on the farms on the wolds near us as conditions here were similar to those in parts of Scotland.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Riddle Song
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 12 Dec 17 - 01:49 PM

"I thought I had referred to all of the 'variants' that appeared in oral tradition"
Just as unprovable and as unlikely Steve
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: Riddle Song
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 12 Dec 17 - 03:21 PM

Joe,
Come to think of it many of the big farms in my area have a small tower above the tallest building. I can't think what other use they would have had other than to house a bell as on a church. Just a thought. Will investigate further.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Riddle Song
From: Gutcher
Date: 13 Dec 17 - 01:15 PM

Steve.
Computer has been acting up for some time--only saw your PM today.

Have seen woodcut of external bell as used to keep workers informed of working times before the time when pocket watches became cheap enough for the ordinary farm/estate labourers to afford one. The name Ingersol comes to mind.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Riddle Song
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 13 Dec 17 - 03:22 PM

Looked back over the article and as I thought there were plenty of references to the oral variants and none of them appear to deviate markedly from the many printed versions. Apart from which the article states at the outset that it was mainly concerned with the influence of the printed variants.

Hope your computer gets sorted soon, Joe. We very much value your input.


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