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Traditional song....is Burns traditional

Diva 20 Jul 00 - 05:49 PM
Clinton Hammond2 20 Jul 00 - 05:53 PM
Catrin 20 Jul 00 - 05:58 PM
Nynia 20 Jul 00 - 06:11 PM
Sorcha 20 Jul 00 - 06:13 PM
Catrin 20 Jul 00 - 06:14 PM
Diva 20 Jul 00 - 06:19 PM
IvanB 20 Jul 00 - 06:21 PM
Clinton Hammond2 20 Jul 00 - 06:24 PM
Nynia 20 Jul 00 - 06:25 PM
Nynia 20 Jul 00 - 06:30 PM
GUEST,Big South 20 Jul 00 - 06:31 PM
GUEST,Kristi 20 Jul 00 - 06:33 PM
Clinton Hammond2 20 Jul 00 - 06:33 PM
Catrin 20 Jul 00 - 06:35 PM
Nynia 20 Jul 00 - 06:35 PM
Diva 20 Jul 00 - 06:40 PM
Catrin 20 Jul 00 - 06:42 PM
Nynia 20 Jul 00 - 06:43 PM
Diva 20 Jul 00 - 06:45 PM
Nynia 20 Jul 00 - 06:47 PM
Catrin 20 Jul 00 - 06:50 PM
Nynia 20 Jul 00 - 06:51 PM
GUEST,Ewan McVicar 20 Jul 00 - 07:04 PM
Nynia 20 Jul 00 - 07:17 PM
oggie 20 Jul 00 - 07:27 PM
Diva 20 Jul 00 - 07:35 PM
Nynia 20 Jul 00 - 07:37 PM
Nynia 20 Jul 00 - 07:38 PM
Diva 20 Jul 00 - 07:44 PM
Nynia 20 Jul 00 - 07:56 PM
Bill D 20 Jul 00 - 08:29 PM
T in Oklahoma (Okiemockbird) 20 Jul 00 - 10:36 PM
GUEST,Jamie 20 Jul 00 - 11:29 PM
GUEST,Ewan McVicar 21 Jul 00 - 05:00 AM
GUEST,Ewan McVicar 21 Jul 00 - 05:06 AM
GeorgeH 21 Jul 00 - 05:28 AM
Bagpuss 21 Jul 00 - 06:25 AM
GUEST,Pam 21 Jul 00 - 01:44 PM
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Subject: Traditional song....is Burns traditional
From: Diva
Date: 20 Jul 00 - 05:49 PM

Have recently jugded traditional singing competition and there was a bit of a query about Burns being traditional or not. Would be interested to see what Mudcatters make of this.


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Subject: RE: Traditional song....is Burns traditional
From: Clinton Hammond2
Date: 20 Jul 00 - 05:53 PM

As in Robert Burns?!?! Sure... why not??

He's old, he's been dead for 100+ years... Makes him trad in my book...

But what the hell do I know...

{~`


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Subject: RE: Traditional song....is Burns traditional
From: Catrin
Date: 20 Jul 00 - 05:58 PM

Diva,

Is it not the case that 'traditional' folksong, as opposed to other types of folk song is that which is passed down, by word of mouth, from one generation to the next. The point is that everytime the song is learnt, it is changed slightly, to suit the singers ideological viewpoint concerning whatever the song is about - and also to fill in gaps where the singer has forgotten the words.

It becomes impossible to say who wrote the song because, in a sense, the song has been added to by everybody who ever sang it. This is how we get so many versions of one song, so many different songs with similar stories, so many 'floating' verses.

I do love Robbie Burns, and I love singing his stuff (especially John Anderson - in safe company) but I for one, would not describe his work as 'traditional' purely because we know that he wrote it.

My views only.

Catrin.


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Subject: RE: Traditional song....is Burns traditional
From: Nynia
Date: 20 Jul 00 - 06:11 PM

The first point is what is a Burns song ?????? Burns spent many years collecting songs and amending them for "polite society". What he heard and sang in "The Globe" (Dumfries) and what he sang at dinner parties would bear little resembelance. Sorry Catrin if you actually study Rabbie's poetry you will soon realise that he could NEVER have written many of the songs atributed to him.


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Subject: RE: Traditional song....is Burns traditional
From: Sorcha
Date: 20 Jul 00 - 06:13 PM

I would say that yes, it is Trad. Copyright is another question. Has it been renewed? Maybe. We know that Midnight on the Water was written by Luke Thomasson, but it is still considered Trad. In a lot of circles, Rocky Top is Trad..........and still copyrighted. We know that O'Carolan wrote a lot of tunes, but they are considered Trad...........but NOT copyrighted.


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Subject: RE: Traditional song....is Burns traditional
From: Catrin
Date: 20 Jul 00 - 06:14 PM

Nyania

Does that mean you think Burns songs count as traditional?

Just wondering

Catrin


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Subject: RE: Traditional song....is Burns traditional
From: Diva
Date: 20 Jul 00 - 06:19 PM

I was told that once a song had been around for 50 years it could be considered traditional. I have never thought of Burns as Traditional, although I know he used many traditional tunes for his songs and indeed collected many traditional songs on his travels.


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Subject: RE: Traditional song....is Burns traditional
From: IvanB
Date: 20 Jul 00 - 06:21 PM

Essentially, we have a dichotomy between two uses of the word 'traditional.' In one sense, we tend to use the term to attribute authorship when the original author is not known and, in another, anything which has has been passed down from generation to generation, especially orally. I don't think the second usage has anything to do with whether authorship is known or unknown.

I'd suspect that, especially in the venue of a traditional song contest that old songs that have stood the test of time and so became part of the 'tradition,' would be considered to be traditional. And, especially in the case of Burns, the popularity of his songs probably has more to do with their oral transmission from generation to generation than in the fact that they have been written down.


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Subject: RE: Traditional song....is Burns traditional
From: Clinton Hammond2
Date: 20 Jul 00 - 06:24 PM

I'm more than willing to attribute all the stuff to Burns because without his collecting, most of those tunes/songs/poems would likely have been lost... so I'll give him his due...

For lack of a better name to put on 'em, if nothing else...

{~`


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Subject: RE: Traditional song....is Burns traditional
From: Nynia
Date: 20 Jul 00 - 06:25 PM

Catrin........I guess it's a yes and no answer........with a lot of Burns work you can be pretty sure with the way he uses words......the way they scan and time perfectly ....... that they were written by him. Then the question is when does something cease to be contemporary and become traditional. If something is changed by a person and the original is not acknowledged by the changee..... when does it become plagerism ?????? I hope you realise that I'll never be allowed back home after suggesting that.


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Subject: RE: Traditional song....is Burns traditional
From: Nynia
Date: 20 Jul 00 - 06:30 PM

Clinton ........ I don't believe that for one minute ..... there have been other serious collectors working in Scotland throughout the last two centuries who were more than happy to give the credit to the singers who they collected from.


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Subject: RE: Traditional song....is Burns traditional
From: GUEST,Big South
Date: 20 Jul 00 - 06:31 PM

This thread Burns me up.


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Subject: RE: Traditional song....is Burns traditional
From: GUEST,Kristi
Date: 20 Jul 00 - 06:33 PM

I didn't know Midnight on the Water had a known writer. Is it the waltz version with the words, "There are times when I am blue thinking of you and me....."?

I've seen another version with different words in the Digitrad.

Also, in our local music community, it is the style of music versus the age of the song that seems to determine if it is Old Time or not. Also, what is a determination of traditional versus old time music. Here, it tends to be interchangable.

Kristi


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Subject: RE: Traditional song....is Burns traditional
From: Clinton Hammond2
Date: 20 Jul 00 - 06:33 PM

Nynia... That's good for them... Just because Burns didn't, I have no grudge against him... He did what he did, he got away with it so who are we to judge him?

{~`


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Subject: RE: Traditional song....is Burns traditional
From: Catrin
Date: 20 Jul 00 - 06:35 PM

Mmmm, some interesting threads tonight - another 'clouder' of the issue is that many of 'Burns' songs etc (whether actually written by him or not) have been anglicised so that people like me can understand them. You're right Nynia, I haven't studied Burns in any academic sense. It's just when I hear a song that I am told is by Burns, I always really like it, and some of them I have liked enough to get the words and learn. Simple as that.

Diva - is any of this helping? I suppose at the end of the day it all comes down to finding a definition of 'traditional' and then deciding whether what we know of Burns matches it.

Catrin


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Subject: RE: Traditional song....is Burns traditional
From: Nynia
Date: 20 Jul 00 - 06:35 PM

That's cool Big South.......it was getting a tad serious there........Dae ye ken "Fat Burns" ?????


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Subject: RE: Traditional song....is Burns traditional
From: Diva
Date: 20 Jul 00 - 06:40 PM

Catrin, I have been singing traditional songs and a few Burns songs for 20 years,so I have a rough idea. But its certainly a lively thread and very interesting too.


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Subject: RE: Traditional song....is Burns traditional
From: Catrin
Date: 20 Jul 00 - 06:42 PM

Isn't it just? 16 messages in twenty minutes now - I wonder if that's a record?


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Subject: RE: Traditional song....is Burns traditional
From: Nynia
Date: 20 Jul 00 - 06:43 PM

Catrin ....... Rabbie had a VERY GREAT talent ...... what he did right was fantastic, and it was written in a way that the average person could understand every bit as easily as the learned gentry. That wasn't the norm 200 years ago ........ I have played and sung at Burns suppers for many, many years now and I have always enjoyed them. I believe that Diva may well be a singer herself ..... perhaps she'll sing for us one day.


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Subject: RE: Traditional song....is Burns traditional
From: Diva
Date: 20 Jul 00 - 06:45 PM

ohh I've opened up a right can of Burns lol


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Subject: RE: Traditional song....is Burns traditional
From: Nynia
Date: 20 Jul 00 - 06:47 PM

Sorry the "right" before fantastic was not meant to be there and it alters the whole tone of the posting.


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Subject: RE: Traditional song....is Burns traditional
From: Catrin
Date: 20 Jul 00 - 06:50 PM

And you know - it wasn't 20 mins - more like an hour - oh well, time flies when you're having fun - its 11.50 here and I'm wearie. I'm off to join SO (who is forgetting what I look like and thinks I'm crazy).

I'll put a trace on this one though.

Catrin


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Subject: RE: Traditional song....is Burns traditional
From: Nynia
Date: 20 Jul 00 - 06:51 PM

Sweet dreams Catrin


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Subject: RE: Traditional song....is Burns traditional
From: GUEST,Ewan McVicar
Date: 20 Jul 00 - 07:04 PM

Since there is great pressure from the Establishment to deliver the songs which all hallowed Robert The Burns put his mark in the way we believe he held them, and much effort is put on keeping them fixed and frozen, then the traditonal or folk process is not allowed to work on the songs - so they are not traditional in that sense. Nor do they meet the other criterion of 'traditional' - that we do not know who made them. Of course there are as well the traditional songs that Burns collected and did not claim, but his worshippers claim for him - pooh upon those people. In the books they usually label Burns' own songs as 'national' rather than 'traditional' - another form of group ownership over what an individual created. Which brings us to what the loose meaning attached to 'traditional'or 'folk' is - we want it to belong to all of us, so downgrade the identification of who made it. A few examples are mentioned above, but there are many more that the scholars have given us clear provenance for - but we do not want to know.


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Subject: RE: Traditional song....is Burns traditional
From: Nynia
Date: 20 Jul 00 - 07:17 PM

Ewan I believe that you are a journalist........are you saying that you (as the media) feel pressurised to present certain items as Burns without looking too close at their roots. Perhaps in the way that Dubliners want to accept Dirty Old Town as being about Dublin when we all know that Ewan wrote it about Salford ???


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Subject: RE: Traditional song....is Burns traditional
From: oggie
Date: 20 Jul 00 - 07:27 PM

The words are of doubtful parentage and in many cases were re-written. However in the 'folk proccess' many of these have changed from those originally written down.

It is thought that all the tunes were in fact traditional and Serge Hovey tracked them down (for example Auld Lang Syne's proper tune is different to the one usually sung).

Serege Hovey being a modern composer then orchestrated the 'proper' tunes which makes fascinating, but different, listening and I highly reccommend the series of albums that were recorded with Jean Redpath doing the vocals. If you get chance to hear one of Jean's lecture/concerts they are brilliant.

All the best

Steve


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Subject: RE: Traditional song....is Burns traditional
From: Diva
Date: 20 Jul 00 - 07:35 PM

The Complete Songs, compiled by Dr Fred Freeman is well worth a listen, as is Alloway Tales by Ian Bruce.


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Subject: RE: Traditional song....is Burns traditional
From: Nynia
Date: 20 Jul 00 - 07:37 PM

Jean Redpath has probably become the definitive version for many when it comes to Burns songs. What we haven't actually done is to answer Diva's question. Are they or are they not Trad. ??????? I say no, because what he collected he changed to suit his own purpose, and what he wrote himself, well...... But I do accept that it's a judgement call.


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Subject: RE: Traditional song....is Burns traditional
From: Nynia
Date: 20 Jul 00 - 07:38 PM

Jean Redpath has probably become the definitive version for many when it comes to Burns songs. What we haven't actually done is to answer Diva's question. Are they or are they not Trad. ??????? I say no, because what he collected he changed to suit his own purpose, and what he wrote himself, well...... But I do accept that it's a judgement call.


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Subject: RE: Traditional song....is Burns traditional
From: Diva
Date: 20 Jul 00 - 07:44 PM

Thank you Nynia. I don't think there is an easy answer to this. I do know that the TMSA now count Burns songs as traditional.


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Subject: RE: Traditional song....is Burns traditional
From: Nynia
Date: 20 Jul 00 - 07:56 PM

Traditional Music and Song Association (of Scotland). Also known as They Must Sing Again (and again etc).


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Subject: RE: Traditional song....is Burns traditional
From: Bill D
Date: 20 Jul 00 - 08:29 PM

*smile*...as resident curmudgeon and reactionary iconoclast..(what?..what'd he say?)...I realize that because Burns was SO famous and got both his songs and the ones he collected written down and sort of 'set' in memories, that it is a bit different than other songs of the same era. Still, the styles, subject matter, etc. of Burns associated stuff blend in easily with folk/traditional music...it is easy enough now to shrug and say that passage of time along with acceptance by certain groups allows him to be as trad and anyone..

(we have argumentsdiscussions here all the time about whether Bob Dylan should be called folk/trad..or Woody Guthrie!!.)

I simply make a list of 15-25 chacteristics that songs which ARE folk/trad seem to share, and ask if another song fits some, most or all...and Burns fares pretty well...


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Subject: RE: Traditional song....is Burns traditional
From: T in Oklahoma (Okiemockbird)
Date: 20 Jul 00 - 10:36 PM

"Barruns" did sometimes acknowledge his sources. For example, concerning "My Harry was a Gallant Gay" Burns wrote in the interleaved copy of the Scots Musical Museum: "The chorus I picked up from an old woman in Dunblane; the rest of the song is mine."

T.


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Subject: RE: Traditional song....is Burns traditional
From: GUEST,Jamie
Date: 20 Jul 00 - 11:29 PM

I think of Rabbie's music as traditional. He went around the country, picking up songs from folks and writing them down. Often, the tune of a song would be known but the words, except the chorus, forgotten. Rab would then use the words known and fill in the rest of the song with his own. This was his way to preserve the old Scot's tunes. As said by someone else, he often acknowledged his sources. His whole point in life was to preserve Scot's song which he dearly loved. He never tried to claim credit of a song he didn't write.

All in all, Rab saved the Scot's song. Without him, most of our songs would have been long forgotten and traditional Scottish music wouldn't be the same. I like the Dr. Freeman CD collection 'The Complete Songs of Robert Burns' better than the Jean Redpath ones. Even I can sing along to them! Also, the instruments are traditional.


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Subject: RE: Traditional song....is Burns traditional
From: GUEST,Ewan McVicar
Date: 21 Jul 00 - 05:00 AM

I've written for the journals in my time, but am more an author and storyteller. Journos take the public temperature, then print the popular perception disguised as the truth, with bits of more or less fact woven through. They are also bone lazy, and copy from each other and earlier articles without ever checking the real facts.In this case, they 'think' Burns composed all he wrote down. So do many others. As indicated above he himself was more scrupulous than his followers and reporters, but at the behest of a publisher he set Auld Lang Syne to another tune than he heard the now first verse sung to. The same thing happened to Scots Wha Hae, which was not attached to his preferred tune (a tune which was known as Robert The Bruce's March in France in the 15th C by the way) till after his death. Burns even rewrote SWH to a differing line structure to please, one supposes, his publisher! Traditional has now supplanted 'folk' a the word for songs and tunes we know, love, use and feel a common ownership over. Like Happy Birthday To You, writen I understand in the USA in the 1920s, and possibly still in copyright.


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Subject: RE: Traditional song....is Burns traditional
From: GUEST,Ewan McVicar
Date: 21 Jul 00 - 05:06 AM

I should have added to the above that how the piece is performed and contextualised is also most relevant. A music hall song with a known composer sung in a music hall setting is not I think trad, one sung in a folk club or festival is. A Burns song sung in white linen and tartan sash using a trained voice is not trad, a Burns song sung in a 'natural' singing voice at a TMSA festival competition is trad. (How traditional singing copmpetitions are is of course another matter.)


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Subject: RE: Traditional song....is Burns traditional
From: GeorgeH
Date: 21 Jul 00 - 05:28 AM

No.

He used traditional material as the basis for a lot of what he did. Choosing to do that is to set oneself aside from the tradition.

Not that it matters a fig in terms of the worth of his works.

(Someone really ought to put this question to Jack Campin; he could give you "chapter and verse" on Burns relation to the tradition.)

G.


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Subject: RE: Traditional song....is Burns traditional
From: Bagpuss
Date: 21 Jul 00 - 06:25 AM

I know I'm not answering the question at all - but I really don't care whether Burns is traditional. I like his music and I sing it. I suppose it all depends on your definition of traditional - and this thread shows that there is no single set definition, we all have our own ideas.

Bagpuss


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Subject: RE: Traditional song....is Burns traditional
From: GUEST,Pam
Date: 21 Jul 00 - 01:44 PM

Rabbie Burns was arguably the best songwriter/collector of all times. His songs go from being hilarious to terribly sad; from romantic to bawdy. The man was a genius. Such a shame he died a pauper like to many other great people.


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