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If you don't like ballads......

Jack Campin 17 May 19 - 11:17 AM
Steve Gardham 17 May 19 - 10:50 AM
Jim Carroll 17 May 19 - 10:17 AM
Steve Gardham 17 May 19 - 09:41 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 17 May 19 - 09:31 AM
Jim Carroll 17 May 19 - 04:20 AM
GUEST 17 May 19 - 03:34 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 17 May 19 - 02:48 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 17 May 19 - 02:47 AM
Jim Carroll 17 May 19 - 02:32 AM
Jack Campin 16 May 19 - 05:22 PM
Steve Gardham 16 May 19 - 05:21 PM
Steve Gardham 16 May 19 - 05:01 PM
Jack Campin 16 May 19 - 04:57 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 16 May 19 - 04:36 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 16 May 19 - 04:22 PM
Steve Gardham 16 May 19 - 03:38 PM
Jim Carroll 16 May 19 - 02:44 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 16 May 19 - 11:26 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 16 May 19 - 11:13 AM
Steve Gardham 16 May 19 - 10:35 AM
Steve Gardham 16 May 19 - 10:21 AM
Jack Campin 16 May 19 - 10:20 AM
Steve Gardham 16 May 19 - 10:18 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 16 May 19 - 10:07 AM
GUEST 16 May 19 - 09:54 AM
Steve Gardham 15 May 19 - 05:46 PM
Steve Gardham 15 May 19 - 04:28 PM
Steve Gardham 15 May 19 - 04:21 PM
Jim Carroll 15 May 19 - 02:58 PM
Richard Mellish 15 May 19 - 12:47 PM
Jim Carroll 15 May 19 - 12:17 PM
GUEST,Jack Campin 15 May 19 - 11:19 AM
Jim Carroll 15 May 19 - 10:43 AM
Jim Carroll 15 May 19 - 10:40 AM
Richard Mellish 15 May 19 - 10:17 AM
bbc 15 May 19 - 09:51 AM
Iains 15 May 19 - 09:40 AM
Jim Carroll 15 May 19 - 09:23 AM
GUEST 15 May 19 - 09:23 AM
Jim Carroll 15 May 19 - 08:39 AM
GUEST,Jack Campin 15 May 19 - 08:31 AM
Jim Carroll 15 May 19 - 08:26 AM
Jim Carroll 15 May 19 - 08:20 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 15 May 19 - 07:59 AM
GUEST,Jack Campin 15 May 19 - 07:44 AM
Jim Carroll 15 May 19 - 07:33 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 15 May 19 - 07:20 AM
GUEST,Jack Campin 15 May 19 - 04:43 AM
Jim Carroll 15 May 19 - 03:13 AM
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Subject: RE: If you don't like ballads......
From: Jack Campin
Date: 17 May 19 - 11:17 AM

Going back to the title if the thread, and something I mentioned a while back.

Ballads are a very small part of the range of possibilities of folk song; the wider variety includes all the magical/performative uses of verse and song like incantations, charms and curses;
love lyrics; religious meditations; dance or work songs where the rhythm is the main point; jokes; demonstrations of verbal cleverness; lullabies; funeral laments; recitations of genealogies; election slogans; auctioneers' and race commentators' chants; mnemonics; agricultural calendar sayings; prayers; liturgical songs; cattle calling songs, where the intended audience isn't even human; and so on. So there's a lot there to like if you leave ballads out of it.

And there's a reason why that might happen. That wider class of folk songs also includes a far wider class of formal structures. Compare the variety of verse forms you get in the love lyrics and devotional poems of the late Middle Ages with the range of options used for writing ballads after 1700 - all that variety has gone. (This is not just an Anglophone phenomenon, it happened in most European traditions).

BUT that variety survives outside the folk/ballad idiom - in pop lyrics. These still use an extraordinary variety of stanza forms, as wide as the range employed by a lyricist of the 15th century. And if that's where you're coming from, of course you're going to be bored by the ballad idiom with everything pushed into ABAB quatrains.

Same goes for other popular genres like rap. If that sort of verbal fireworks is what you've come to look for in music, you're going to have to look back beyond the ballad to something like the qasidas of Moorish Andalusia or the show-off songs of the Provençal troubadours to find anything comparable in European tradition.

Ballads don't do it all; they never did; and it's easy to find products of modern mass culture that go beyond them in important respects.


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Subject: RE: If you don't like ballads......
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 17 May 19 - 10:50 AM

Got to agree with you there, Jim. The big problem for me is that there is so much stuff out there even now that it would take me the rest of my life to grub through it. There are similarities with what I've spent the last 40 years doing, sifting through dunghills to find the 'moderate
jewels' in libraries all round the country. At least with the internet we can immediately share our findings and collaborate. Malcolm was a massive loss to me in that respect. He knew the interweb thing inside out, but we still have people like Mick P and Jon L with us which I'm grateful for.


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Subject: RE: If you don't like ballads......
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 17 May 19 - 10:17 AM

"As opposed to it being a great leveller and spreader of knowledge as it was sometimes heralded to be."
Chance'd be a fine thing !!
Some time ago we discussed the possibility of making material generally available - it sort of got bogged down in 'copyright' issues
I've just raised the question again on the Geoff Lawes thread - maybe with more positive results
I mistrust the 'Net' greatly, but I think it holds possibilities we are only nibbling at the edges of at present
Jim


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Subject: RE: If you don't like ballads......
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 17 May 19 - 09:41 AM

Even today bawdry only generally exists in specialist volumes/sites. In fact Mudcat is one of the few places where bawdry mixes in with other material, but even then most OPs initially put up some sort of warning or disclaimer. Bawdry is material intended to titivate and/or amuse, and whilst it is unquestionably folk material, it tends to have a marked genre with boundaries. The sexual material included in Child does not come under the heading of bawdry and I believe Child did not deliberately exclude any of it. It was not really part of the collections/manuscripts he was investigating. Even 'Secret Songs' has very little if any bawdry in it. 'Rape, incest and seduction' are dealt with in a very matter-of-fact way in the ballads, (but in my opinion where it does verge on any bawdry it is due to the redaction of some editors). Rape, incest and seduction were responded to in very different ways to today, in past centuries. If you were a rich and powerful male they were seen as perks.


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Subject: RE: If you don't like ballads......
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 17 May 19 - 09:31 AM

Sorry Jim for not being clear, I was moaning about s**t on the web in general, rather than the folk content thereof. As opposed to it being a great leveller and spreader of knowledge as it was sometimes heralded to be.


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Subject: RE: If you don't like ballads......
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 17 May 19 - 04:20 AM

"It is ironic that Child seems to have objected to bawdy ballads, "
Can't think of any that fell into the 'ballad' category (as he appeared to have judged them)
He certainly included ballads with sexual content - rape, imncest, seduction... and occasionally commented on them critically
Censorship was rife right up to the period where the BBC was excluding material on political and sexual grounds from it's 1950s collecting
I seem to remember Legman writing that The Library of Congress did similar with erotic material

"Not to mention all the utter s**t that is on the web."
The lack of folk material on the web and the media has as much to do with the folk scene itself
A scene that has trouble with its own identity is hardly one that is going to win hears and minds elsewhere
I've been pretty impressed what is available on the web - Geoff Lawes thread has pointed that out
Jim


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Subject: RE: If you don't like ballads......
From: GUEST
Date: 17 May 19 - 03:34 AM

Just to put the record straight on Child: I was challenged when I said he taught maths at university. It was in fact Harvard 'college' where he had graduated, and the Harvard magazine says that he taught maths, history and political economy, and English (which would have been language not 'literary' approaches, which were not even taught in English Unis till relatively recently, English being English Language more or less). So it seems Harvard was called a 'college' at that time. He was the general editor of a series of books on The English poets, but I can find no indication that he produced anything at all that would count as 'literary criticism' in today's usage of the words. His work on Chaucer was, as I have indicated, basically a form of 'linguistics' ie trying to work out the grammar including phonology of Chaucer's language. Summary of his career here

https://harvardmagazine.com/2006/05/francis-james-child.html

Here is what seems to be an example of one of the books in the poets series, and Child does not seem to have added anything to it, bar whatever general editors do... Very little literary analysis, though some very broad comment on the qualities of the writing.


https://archive.org/details/britishpoets01chilgoog/page/n22


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Subject: RE: If you don't like ballads......
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 17 May 19 - 02:48 AM

They used to say the internet would democratise as it would make 'information' freely available, but for much authoritative stuff you have to pay as the JSTOR example demonstrates. Not to mention all the utter s**t that is on the web.


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Subject: RE: If you don't like ballads......
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 17 May 19 - 02:47 AM

Jim and Jack are both partially right about JSTOR. I do not subscribe and am not a member of a subscribing organisation. I cannot access everything it has, only selected stuff, including earl Journal of Western Folklores. You can search it for 'material that I can access' to save yourself getting lots of 'hits' that you would have to pay for on a pay per view basis. I seem to remember that I had to 'register', which costs me nothing. You set your own password when you register. I am limited to a certain number of articles per month. I find that occasional 'print screen' then copy the result into a Word document is useful. You get the whole screen but you can 'crop' out the bits you don't want.

Yes, Steve, if by irony you mean climate change denial by Trump and many on the far right, a rejection of science as opposed to a false claim to be scientific, though some climate denial seems based on pseudo scientific arguments.

It is ironic that Child seems to have objected to bawdy ballads, as he excluded these, since there is a fair amount of bawdiness in Chaucer, some of it from Boccaccio. Incidentally, that example shows how much certain 'narratives' (albeit not in ballad genre) crossed from one language into another in the medieval period.


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Subject: RE: If you don't like ballads......
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 17 May 19 - 02:32 AM

JStor
I have access to a limited number of downloadable articles per month from JStor without being either a subscriber or a student
If anybody is interested, I was given a huge collection of digitised books and journals on the folk arts which I'm happy to pass on
Jim


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Subject: RE: If you don't like ballads......
From: Jack Campin
Date: 16 May 19 - 05:22 PM

Child may have been echoing Chappell, who argued in Popular Music of the Olden Time that many tunes generally thought of as Irish or Scottish were actually of English origin. He was sometimes right, but much more often wrong.


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Subject: RE: If you don't like ballads......
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 16 May 19 - 05:21 PM

In case anyone has access to JStor the article is in Vol 47, No. 4 pp285-307.


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Subject: RE: If you don't like ballads......
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 16 May 19 - 05:01 PM

There's a real irony in there when we look at the current state of the planet and its rulers.


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Subject: RE: If you don't like ballads......
From: Jack Campin
Date: 16 May 19 - 04:57 PM

JSTOR is not free unless you are a member of an institution that subscribes to it.


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Subject: RE: If you don't like ballads......
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 16 May 19 - 04:36 PM

I read on JSTOR the opening section of first ever issue of the Journal of American folklore, which contains some reference to 'ballads' as wekk as some, to put it mildly 'quaint' claims that the contents of the journal will be 'scientific' when some of them look to me plain racist. I imagine that the following extract may raise a few hackles:

"As respects old ballads - the first branch of English lore named - the prospect of obtaining much of value is not flattering. In the seventeenth century, the time for the composition of these had al- most passed; and they had, in a measure, been superseded by inferior rhymes of literary origin, diffused by means of broadsides and song- books, or by popular doggerels, which may be called ballads, but possess little poetic interest. Still, genuine ballads continued to be sung in the colonies; a few have been recorded which have obvi- ously been transmitted from generation to generation by oral tradi- tion. Many of the best Scotch and Irish ballad.singers, who have preserved, in their respective dialects, songs which were once the property of the English-speaking race, have emigrated to this coun- try; and it is possible that something of value may be obtained from one or other of these sources."

After the section on collecting 'folklore' from the native Americans, the author writes:

!There is, no doubt, another side. The habits and ideas of primitive races include much that seems to us cruel and immoral, much that it might be thought well to leave unrecorded. But this would be a superficial view. What is needed is not an anthology of customs and beliefs, but a complete representation of the savage mind in its rudeness as well as its intelligence, its licentiousness as well as its fidelity."

Ugh!


I believe (possibly incorrectly) that Child was a founder member of this organisation.


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Subject: RE: If you don't like ballads......
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 16 May 19 - 04:22 PM

Steve: I found the Bell article via JSTOR. JSTOR is a free online source for many materials, including that one as it happens. Bell argues that Child was situated within a specific intellectual tradition which he discusses at tome length.

Jim: I agree that stuff can be 'co-written', as I have done this myself. Whatever the rights and wrongs of theorising about the matter, it seems to be a historical fact that there were strong disagreements about this aspect of the origins of ballads, and I do find the history of it all interesting.


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Subject: RE: If you don't like ballads......
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 16 May 19 - 03:38 PM

Ps
I don't think I have seen the Bell article. Is it online? I have David's bio of Child studies somewhere.


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Subject: RE: If you don't like ballads......
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 16 May 19 - 02:44 PM

"On the 'communal creation' theory of origins, "
Again, you have the problem of theories being approached as religious creeds and being abandoned when they become 'unfashionable'
I have little doubt that some songs were still being composed by several authors into the 20th century - not everywhere, of course, but it was certainly happening
I see no reason why the some ballads couldn't have come to life in this manner
We'll never know which, of course - I have little doubt the "who made the ballads enigma will still be being debated a century from now
I also have little doubt that 'the folk' were more than able to have done so
Jim


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Subject: RE: If you don't like ballads......
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 16 May 19 - 11:26 AM

On the 'communal creation' theory of origins, Bell says that Child was not of that view, but that some of those who followed in his wake represented him as holding it because they believed in it and it suited them to represent the 'great man' as agreeing with him.


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Subject: RE: If you don't like ballads......
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 16 May 19 - 11:13 AM

Steve, thanks, looking forward to response, and have noted your reference.


In the meantime, via a bibliography of Child Studies by Atkinson, I have been reading an article from the Journal of Western Folklore (1988) by one Michael Bell called "No Borders to the Ballad Maker's Art": Francis James Child and the Politics of the People"


I'll quote what he says on Child and the word 'popular'.


"Child wishes to insure (SIC) that his readers do not confuse the common meaning of the word 'popular' with its scientific use. His 'popular' defines a specific constellation in which a whole community knows, wants and values the same things in the same ways, and he needs to make sure that the readers do not mistake his usage for one that would imply that popular culture was either the product or the exclusive possession of the poor. "


Bell suggests that Child used the term 'popular' because it was already linked to ballads when he became interested in them.


He raises the interesting point that Child must have known of the term 'folk' but did not use in connection with the ballads. He says that term also carried a load of baggage that Child would not have wanted to introduce into his discussion.

Aha, it seems the article may have first been published much earlier than the date suggested in the article I have. Mea culpa in that case.

Bell seems to find it amusing that Child basically regards the Renaissance as having signalled the beginning of the end for the ballad, regarding the period before this, starting from early medieval times as one without 'sober intellect' or 'sour national destinies'. He is basically pulling to pieces the outline of European history upon which Child's account is based. Not saying I agree with it all, just sharing the fact that (of course) such matters have been debated in the past and no doubt will be debated again in the future.


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Subject: RE: If you don't like ballads......
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 16 May 19 - 10:35 AM

p Sorry that should be p231.
At p 232 'Child committed his explicit conclusions about the ballad to print in 1874, in an article 'Ballad Poetry' published in Johnson's Universal Encyclopaedia. Gummere much later considered this a 'provisional statement....it was not final and he wished it to be neither quoted nor regarded as final'. This would have been after finishing ESB and starting ESPB. He learnt a great deal more whilst compiling ESPB so I would agree with Gummere on this point.


Brown concludes, and I concur, the best statements and thoughts on what constituted the ballad are in ESPB itself and in his correspondence much of which has been published. Two significant writers to look out for are Brown and Emily Lyle.

Regarding what Child's pupils had to say, Gummere became embroiled in a discredited thesis on the origins, shot down in flames quite early on (though as Jim often says we shouldn't throw out the baby with the bathwater) and Kittredge was completely overtaken by having to spend the rest of his life putting Child's legacy into some sort of order.


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Subject: RE: If you don't like ballads......
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 16 May 19 - 10:21 AM

Starting at p232 the chapter heading is 'Child's Ballad Complex Redux' looks promising. I'll check it out later.


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Subject: RE: If you don't like ballads......
From: Jack Campin
Date: 16 May 19 - 10:20 AM

I can't find my copy of Chambers right now, but the version of Jeny jo he gives is verse-for-verse parallel to Irdisches Leben - one girl acts the Jenny role asking for bread and the others go through successive reasons why she can't have it just yet, till she dies just when it's baked. I think the dance pattern is rather like a rugby lineout. I don't know the English courtship one of the same name.

Tunes of that name turn up in several sources, I can post Thomson's at least. I haven't looked closely at how similar they are.


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Subject: RE: If you don't like ballads......
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 16 May 19 - 10:18 AM

Hi Ps,
The best book on Child and his ballad scholarship is by Mary Ellen Brown. 'Child's Unfinished Masterpiece' 2011. At page 154 it deals with Child's struggle to write a preface and then his death before he could do so on 11th September 1896. I'll see if I can find where she deals with the encyclopedia entry.


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Subject: RE: If you don't like ballads......
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 16 May 19 - 10:07 AM

Sorry, above post was from me. To continue, Child had died by then (1900 publication date), so it does seem as if the entry was probably written towards the end of his life rather than an early view which he later changed.

I mention this not to question whether he was right or wrong, but as part of a discussion about what he thought, which may well have changed or indeed been a bit vague.

Happy to be corrected :)


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Subject: RE: If you don't like ballads......
From: GUEST
Date: 16 May 19 - 09:54 AM

I think someone suggested that Child might have changed his views on the question of whether ballads were originally composed by 'ordinary people' as opposed to an elite on the basis of something in the later volume of Child Ballads. I thought that the dates might be helpful in considering this question. The encyclopaedia entry which I have followed more knowledgeable people in taking as setting out Child's explicitly expressed views seems to have been published in 1900.


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Subject: RE: If you don't like ballads......
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 15 May 19 - 05:46 PM

BTW the German piece most certainly qualifies as a ballad despite being all dialogue. It has a basic story, moves along in leaps, similar to Maid Freed. The repetition in both is incremental.


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Subject: RE: If you don't like ballads......
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 15 May 19 - 04:28 PM

Jack
Perhaps I'm missing something but the German piece is a mother daughter dialogue where the mother is harvesting etc and because the daughter has to wait she ends up starving to death. Janet Jo is a wooing song. What is the connection please?


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Subject: RE: If you don't like ballads......
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 15 May 19 - 04:21 PM

Jack,
Does the 1702 tune for Jenny Jo have any relation to the modern tunes for it?


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Subject: RE: If you don't like ballads......
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 15 May 19 - 02:58 PM

"He included few versions from any oral sources "
Perhaps it might be more polite to suggest I am misunderstanding Richard ?
After all, I'm supposed to be the impolit one
Yes - I did misunderstand - looking at it like that, it seems like a silly question
Child seldom indicated the social or ethnic groupings of many of the source singers
I think one of the few he ever met personally was the housemaid who gave him 'The Cruel Mother'
Since that time, Travellers have featured largely as sources of the ballads
I apologise for any confusion
Jim


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Subject: RE: If you don't like ballads......
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 15 May 19 - 12:47 PM

Jim,

You are misinterpreting again. Yes of course loads of Child ballads have been collected from Travellers. But since the time when he was writing. He included few versions from any oral sources (and at least one that he did include was a Baring-Gould construct).


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Subject: RE: If you don't like ballads......
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 15 May 19 - 12:17 PM

"Is there even one ballad Child included from a Traveller source?"
Are you serious /
Try Jeannie Roberson or the Stewarts or John Reilly..... all major sources of Child ballads
Few collectors in Child's time went anywhere near the Travellers - as late as Gavin Greig's collecting, they were being avoided - he managed to miss a Robin Hood ballad from a neighbouring Traveller
There is no question that they had the ballads
Prior to Henderson, et al, the early English collectors, like Charlotte Bourne were finding Travellers a rich source
"Bigged Up"
More than a little dismissive, I think
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: If you don't like ballads......
From: GUEST,Jack Campin
Date: 15 May 19 - 11:19 AM

I was exploring what Child meant by "popular", if he did not mean "Produced by the common people".
"Popular" means of the people - or did did before the advent of 'the charts


Child was writing well after the inception of the "charts" (like, 200 years after - the idea of the hit song of the moment was commonplace in the late 17th century). His use of the word reflects the way Chappell used it a bit before Child in "Popular Music of the Olden Time".


Whatever society Child envisaged, the fact is that one of the main sources of the ballads were the Unlettered Travelling people and the rural working classes - the 'lower ends' of society

Is there even one ballad Child included from a Traveller source? They only got bigged up as a major cultural resource in the British Isles as a result of Hamish Henderson's work after WW2. Child had no reason to suppose they knew anything he needed to care about.


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Subject: RE: If you don't like ballads......
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 15 May 19 - 10:43 AM

I've always believed there to be a degree of significance in the fact that Child entitled his first published collection 'The English and Scottish Ballads' and the second, The English and Scottish Popular Ballads - a statement of identification, I think
Jim


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Subject: RE: If you don't like ballads......
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 15 May 19 - 10:40 AM

"I was exploring what Child meant by "popular", if he did not mean "Produced by the common people"."
"Popular" means of the people - or did did before the advent of 'the charts'
Whatever society Child envisaged, the fact is that one of the main sources of the ballads were the Unlettered Travelling people and the rural working classes - the 'lower ends' of society
The same with the tales - the comparisons with stories from a living or recent tradition and the ballads become obvious
Jim


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Subject: RE: If you don't like ballads......
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 15 May 19 - 10:17 AM

I said
> then the significance of calling them 'popular' would be that, after having been produced by an elite, they had then been taken up by the people.
and Jim enquired
> Can't see the logic of that at all Richard - can you explain

I was exploring what Child meant by "popular", if he did not mean "Produced by the common people".

The sort of classless society that he apparently envisaged as the source of ballads would have been hard to find in Europe for more than a thousand years. Some of the stories may perhaps date back to such a society, but certainly none of his ballads.

Back to the nominal subject of this thread: most of us here do like ballads; but not all ballads, not even all of Child's. Some of that is a matter of individual taste but some of it is because he chose, against his better judgement, to include some very poor specimens.


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Subject: RE: If you don't like ballads......
From: bbc
Date: 15 May 19 - 09:51 AM

Sometimes, I think it has to do with the presentation. Sheila Kay Adams & Pamela Goddard really opened up the ballads for me. And, when I spent a week with Sheila at Swannanoa Gathering Traditional Songs week, I realized the ballads are stories set to music. Now, I like quite a few of them!

Barbara


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Subject: RE: If you don't like ballads......
From: Iains
Date: 15 May 19 - 09:40 AM

A few sites for those not already familiar:

https://ebba.english.ucsb.edu/page/additional-ballad-sites

and a discussion: "The heyday of the broadside ballad"


https://ebba.english.ucsb.edu/page/heyday-of-the-broadside-ballad


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Subject: RE: If you don't like ballads......
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 15 May 19 - 09:23 AM

Incidentally
'Erin Go Bragh' is an interesting example
I the 19th century, particularly in the latter half, the Irish Labourers were regarded with fear and loathing - dig out some of the writings in Punch and Dickens - Charles Kingsley, of 'Water Babies' fame described them as "white Chimpanzees"
Roadworkers in particular came in for particular targets of hared - read Terry Coleman's 'The Navvies'
A million miles from the heroic 'Erin Go Bragh' figure getting the better of a townie figure of authority
The same goes for seamen - Hugill's 'Sailortown' describes the places were seamen frequented as ghettos to be steered clear of
Again, another species entirely than those logn suffering, hard working and hard done by heroes of our maritime folk songs
If you want a town-dwellers view of a sailor's life, dig out Dibden's pastiche pap
Jim


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Subject: RE: If you don't like ballads......
From: GUEST
Date: 15 May 19 - 09:23 AM

Jack, you are right, but we agree generally that rich people did not always pay others to produce material for reading reciting or singing.


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Subject: RE: If you don't like ballads......
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 15 May 19 - 08:39 AM

"19th century broadside "
Which may or may not have been taken from the tradition - nobody knows
Child did concede the occasional 'jewels' - the 90% - + claim is a totally new kid on the block
Broadside writers earned their "hack" description with honours
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: If you don't like ballads......
From: GUEST,Jack Campin
Date: 15 May 19 - 08:31 AM

The unsingability of broadsides speaks for itself

What Dick Gaughan sings as "Erin Go Bragh" is only a couple of words different from its first known version as the 19th century broadside "Duncan Campbell". You must be the first person to have noticed it was unsingable. Have you asked Gaughan to stop?


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Subject: RE: If you don't like ballads......
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 15 May 19 - 08:26 AM

The unsingability of broadsides speaks for itself
That they became more of a feature in tradisional singing as the tradition disappeared is understandable but, unless there was a secret school of traditional songwriters producing a superior quality of song good enough to ba taken up by 'the people' as their own, it is highly unlikely that our folk songs and ballads originated on the broadside presses to any significant extent
Try finding singable songs in Ashton or Hindley or any of the major collections - damned if I could
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: If you don't like ballads......
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 15 May 19 - 08:20 AM

Thanks for that - new to meLINK HERE


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Subject: RE: If you don't like ballads......
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 15 May 19 - 07:59 AM

A piece on Child by Roy Palmer. I have a book of ballads he put together. It is good.

http://www.morrissey.unibe.ch/lecture/08_Palmer_1996_Vertitable_Dungheaps_Prof_Child_Broadside.pdf

This sets Child's 'dunghills' comment in context, and repeats some of what I have said based on the same encyclopedia source.


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Subject: RE: If you don't like ballads......
From: GUEST,Jack Campin
Date: 15 May 19 - 07:44 AM

Also it seems the case that at some points in history being cultured included having the ability to compose poetry, much Elizabethan poetry was composed by the nobility or as Child might put it the 'higher orders'. The 'complaint' or lyric about courtly love and the unattainable women is a genre that continued for a long time.

But that kind of poetry was never much like ballads. It seems to have started in Moorish Spain, and spread from there to Persia and France. It typically doesn't tell much of a story and uses very complex verse forms. The Teutonic elite verse forms are maybe a parallel development but also go in for competitively complicated verbal virtuosity. Neither was a candidate for absorption into an anonymized tradition; the whole point of a courtly love lyric was having your name on it.


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Subject: RE: If you don't like ballads......
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 15 May 19 - 07:33 AM

The long Johnson Dictionary Child article promotes his 'Popular' opinion, if I remember rightly and reiterated his contempt for the broadsides - despite suggestions to the contrary
As the man in QU says "Nobody Knows" and never will while researchers continue to be denigrated
Jim


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Subject: RE: If you don't like ballads......
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 15 May 19 - 07:20 AM

I can only suggest people have a look at what Child wrote in the Encyclopaedia article. It was republished by The Journal of Folklore Research in 1994. You can see it if you register on JSTOR, which costs nothing.

Regarding Child's views on the origins of ballads, it still seems to me to be reasonable to assume that these affected his selections, irrespective of the sources of these ballads in more recent times. He is quite clear that they were not created by the lower orders. He says that the elite moved on as the 'race' developed to art poetry, leaving the ballads to the lower ranks, who often changed them over time.

The article is entitled 'ballad poetry' but almost straight away he introduced the phrase 'popular ballad'. He says he find the nomenclature unsatisfactory because it is ambiguous. He later clearly states that he does not think that the ballads came from the common people. He clearly believes that the ballad represents 'the people' meaning the whole 'race' or 'people' at a particular time in its evolution, and emphasises the 'whole' bit by his assertions that the people was not differentiated at the time.


I am not saying I agree with what Child says in this article; I tend to be a 'nobody knows'. But I think if we assume that by 'popular' he meant something like 'lower orders' 'common man' etc we are making a mistake. He seems to mean 'truly national' when he says 'popular', all the people in one 'nation' or 'race', he uses both terms.

Perhaps if I actually quote his attitudes will be clearer.

"The condition of a society in which a truly national or popular poetry appears explains the character of such poetry. It is a condition in which the people are not divided by political organisation and book culture into markedly distinct classes, in which consequently there is such community of ideas and feelings that the whole people form an individual' (p214 of the Journal)


...' though a man, and not the people, has composed them, still the author counts for nothing, and it is not by mere accident, but with the best reason, that they have come down to us as anonymous'

(NB this seems to suggest Child himself did not subscribe to a 'communal creation' theory, though some close to him did).

"The primitive ballad, then, is popular not in the sense of something arising from and suited to the lower orders of a people .... (over time, with education and societal development) the popular poetry is no longer relished by a portion of the people and is abandoned to an uncultivated or not over-cultivated class..."

Later on, he refers to the 'popular poetry' as being the first bloom of 'national genius'. Several times he says it was replaced by 'art poetry', as if this was an improvement in line with increasing civilisation and sophistication.

He seems to believe that he has discovered a pattern of cultural development which was repeated all over Europe, and that less 'cultured' countries may give hints about how things used to be.

The article goes on to discuss how various European nations have and have not preserved their old myths/culture etc He says the English have preserved very few very early ballads and that the date of many f these is impossible to fix.

I read this article in the first place because I read it was the closest Child came to setting out his philosophy. I think there is a risk of assuming that Child shared a view that ballads were made by the lower orders, a view common today, but not one supported by what he wrote.

As to the point made above why write ballads if you can pay somebody to do it, my first response was because it is fun. Also it seem the case that at some points in history being cultured included having the ability to compose poetry, much Elizabethan poetry was composed by the nobility or as Child might put it the 'higher orders'. The 'complaint' or lyric about courtly love and the unnatainable women is a genre that continued for a long time.

It may be that people have found my comments about social darwinism, racialist thinking and early US folklorists unconvincing: for a good account of this a book discussing early writing about blues by Hagstrom Miller is very good. He has lots of quotations from early folklore publications and many of the articles he cites can also be found on JSTOR for anybody who wishes to check Miller's points out.

I know 'blues' isn't the same as 'folk' but blues was also studied by folklorists so the same 'paradigm' as Miller calls it was applied.

I also once read an interesting piece on Child's selection criteria

Jewels Left in the Dung-hills: Broadside and other Vernacular
Ballads Rejected by Francis Child
Rosaleen and David Gregory

Interesting discussion.


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Subject: RE: If you don't like ballads......
From: GUEST,Jack Campin
Date: 15 May 19 - 04:43 AM

The tune for Jeny jo is in Thomson's recorder manuscript of 1702. I don't know an earlier record of the game than the early 19th century (Chambers) but surely the two must have gone together.


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Subject: RE: If you don't like ballads......
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 15 May 19 - 03:13 AM

"then the significance of calling them 'popular' would be that, after having been produced by an elite, they had then been taken up by the people."
Can't see the logic of that at all Richard - can you explain
Child was taking ballads from collectors who regarded them as being products and expression 'of the people" not the 'educated elite'
Motherwell went as far as to warn against altering the people's version and destroying the language                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    
Steve may not see why anybody should challenge your statement, but the question of whether 'the people' were capable of having made the ballads is one that has been raised among ballad scholars from day one - hardly a new subject.
As with the folk songs, the ballads have the fingerprints of 'the common people' all over them, folk humour, vernacular and phrasing, folklore long before the subject became a researched and published discipline....
There is no evidence whatever to indicate the folk didn't make the ballads as there is none to that they if'te make the sea, martial, social misalliance...... etcetera songs
That they didn't make them is a recent fashion based on very little, if any real evidence - a modern drive to prove that 'the folk' had no voice of their own
It puzzles my why the Irish 'peasant' should have made so many thousands of songs of their own yet the British shouldn't   
Jim


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