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Folklore: What Is Folk?

Related threads:
Traditional? (75)
New folk song (31) (closed)
What is a kid's song? (53)
What is a Folk Song? (292)
Who Defines 'Folk'???? (287)
Popfolk? (19)
What isn't folk (88)
Still wondering what's folk these days? (145)
What makes a new song a folk song? (1710)
Does Folk Exist? (709)
Definition of folk song (137)
Here comes that bloody horse - again! (23)
What is a traditional singer? (136)
Is the 1954 definition, open to improvement? (105)
Folklore: Folk, 1954 definition? (133)
So what is *Traditional* Folk Music? (409)
'Folk.' OK...1954. What's 'country?' (17)
Folklore: Define English Trad Music (150)
What is Folk Music? This is... (120)
What is Zydeco? (74)
Traditional singer definition (360)
Is traditional song finished? (621)
1954 and All That - defining folk music (994)
BS: It ain't folk if ? (28)
No, really -- what IS NOT folk music? (176)
What defines a traditional song? (160) (closed)
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How did Folk Song start? (57)
Should folk songs be sung in folk clubs? (129)
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What is a folk song? Version 2.0 (59)
FILK: what is it? (18)
What is a Folksinger? (51)
BS: What is folk music? (69) (closed)
What is improvisation ? (21)
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nutty 13 Feb 01 - 11:03 AM
nutty 13 Feb 01 - 11:13 AM
granny 13 Feb 01 - 11:14 AM
katlaughing 13 Feb 01 - 11:31 AM
Mary in Kentucky 13 Feb 01 - 11:36 AM
Jon Freeman 13 Feb 01 - 11:44 AM
mkebenn 13 Feb 01 - 11:49 AM
Bert 13 Feb 01 - 12:46 PM
GUEST,The Dane 13 Feb 01 - 12:54 PM
nutty 13 Feb 01 - 12:57 PM
catspaw49 13 Feb 01 - 12:59 PM
Katcina 13 Feb 01 - 01:09 PM
katlaughing 13 Feb 01 - 01:12 PM
Jon Freeman 13 Feb 01 - 01:17 PM
GUEST 13 Feb 01 - 01:27 PM
McGrath of Harlow 13 Feb 01 - 02:06 PM
Bert 13 Feb 01 - 02:16 PM
Alice 13 Feb 01 - 03:06 PM
wysiwyg 13 Feb 01 - 03:08 PM
nutty 13 Feb 01 - 03:19 PM
Cap't Bob 13 Feb 01 - 03:22 PM
Jim Krause 13 Feb 01 - 04:31 PM
Art Thieme 13 Feb 01 - 05:10 PM
Tyke 13 Feb 01 - 07:12 PM
wysiwyg 13 Feb 01 - 08:05 PM
Burke 13 Feb 01 - 08:33 PM
Amergin 13 Feb 01 - 09:42 PM
poor lonesome boy 13 Feb 01 - 11:25 PM
GUEST,Blind DRunk in Blind River 14 Feb 01 - 12:09 AM
Les from Hull 14 Feb 01 - 01:38 PM
Little Hawk 14 Feb 01 - 04:00 PM
Tyke 14 Feb 01 - 08:20 PM
Bill D 14 Feb 01 - 09:30 PM
GUEST,Fred 14 Feb 01 - 10:14 PM
GUEST,Amanda 17 Apr 02 - 07:15 PM
Bill D 17 Apr 02 - 07:27 PM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 17 Apr 02 - 07:28 PM
Lonesome EJ 17 Apr 02 - 07:37 PM
GUEST,Zulu 02 Dec 06 - 05:56 PM
GUEST,ohnonotagain 02 Dec 06 - 06:00 PM
GUEST,Zulu 03 Dec 06 - 02:48 PM
GUEST 03 Dec 06 - 03:31 PM
Fidjit 03 Dec 06 - 05:19 PM
Scrump 04 Dec 06 - 04:54 AM
GUEST,Janine 04 Dec 06 - 10:28 AM
GUEST,Frank Hamilton 04 Dec 06 - 01:33 PM
shepherdlass 05 Dec 06 - 07:55 AM
GUEST,JohnHenry 05 Dec 06 - 03:59 PM
M.Ted 06 Dec 06 - 12:01 AM
George Papavgeris 06 Dec 06 - 02:03 AM
The Sandman 06 Dec 06 - 05:00 AM
GUEST,Shimrod 06 Dec 06 - 02:33 PM
Declan 06 Dec 06 - 04:38 PM
Bill D 06 Dec 06 - 06:39 PM
GUEST,cecil. j . sharpe 07 Dec 06 - 03:27 PM
GUEST,Frank Hamilton 07 Dec 06 - 04:29 PM
GUEST,Cecil.J.Sharpe 07 Dec 06 - 05:31 PM
Bill D 07 Dec 06 - 05:51 PM
M.Ted 07 Dec 06 - 07:51 PM
Tim theTwangler 07 Dec 06 - 10:40 PM
FreddyHeadey 23 Jan 23 - 11:08 AM
GUEST 23 Jan 23 - 12:27 PM
Steve Gardham 23 Jan 23 - 05:29 PM
GUEST,Nick Dow 23 Jan 23 - 07:01 PM
r.padgett 24 Jan 23 - 02:57 AM
SPB-Cooperator 25 Jan 23 - 08:40 PM
GUEST,Dan Themsan 26 Jan 23 - 03:40 AM
r.padgett 26 Jan 23 - 04:02 AM
Dave the Gnome 26 Jan 23 - 04:33 AM
GUEST,Dan Themsan 26 Jan 23 - 05:01 AM
Dave the Gnome 26 Jan 23 - 05:33 AM
GUEST,Nick Dow 26 Jan 23 - 07:12 AM
GUEST,Dan Themsan 26 Jan 23 - 08:22 AM
MaJoC the Filk 26 Jan 23 - 08:32 AM
GUEST 26 Jan 23 - 08:36 AM
Dave the Gnome 26 Jan 23 - 09:59 AM
Steve Shaw 26 Jan 23 - 10:14 AM
GUEST 26 Jan 23 - 11:19 AM
Steve Shaw 26 Jan 23 - 12:18 PM
GUEST,Nick Dow 26 Jan 23 - 12:19 PM
GUEST,Jim Knowledge 26 Jan 23 - 12:39 PM
Steve Shaw 26 Jan 23 - 12:46 PM
GUEST,Dan Themsan 26 Jan 23 - 12:47 PM
Steve Shaw 26 Jan 23 - 01:09 PM
Dave the Gnome 26 Jan 23 - 01:21 PM
Steve Shaw 26 Jan 23 - 01:29 PM
Dave the Gnome 26 Jan 23 - 01:38 PM
Rigby 26 Jan 23 - 02:29 PM
Steve Shaw 26 Jan 23 - 03:15 PM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 26 Jan 23 - 03:44 PM
Steve Shaw 26 Jan 23 - 05:48 PM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 27 Jan 23 - 01:11 PM
Steve Shaw 27 Jan 23 - 05:18 PM
Mo the caller 27 Jan 23 - 06:12 PM
Mo the caller 27 Jan 23 - 06:14 PM
GUEST 27 Jan 23 - 06:23 PM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 27 Jan 23 - 08:27 PM
GUEST 28 Jan 23 - 12:35 PM
GUEST,Roderick A Warner 28 Jan 23 - 01:09 PM
GUEST,Dan Themsan 28 Jan 23 - 01:29 PM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 28 Jan 23 - 04:56 PM
PHJim 29 Jan 23 - 12:08 AM
GUEST,Hans Detman 29 Jan 23 - 03:46 AM
GUEST 29 Jan 23 - 04:10 AM
GUEST 29 Jan 23 - 05:43 AM
GUEST,Dan Themsan 29 Jan 23 - 06:04 AM
Steve Shaw 29 Jan 23 - 06:15 AM
Lighter 29 Jan 23 - 10:14 AM
Lighter 29 Jan 23 - 02:11 PM
Steve Gardham 29 Jan 23 - 02:39 PM
GUEST 29 Jan 23 - 04:02 PM
Lighter 29 Jan 23 - 04:44 PM
GUEST,Dan Themsan 29 Jan 23 - 04:59 PM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 29 Jan 23 - 05:07 PM
GUEST 29 Jan 23 - 05:30 PM
Steve Gardham 29 Jan 23 - 05:35 PM
Steve Shaw 29 Jan 23 - 06:33 PM
GUEST 30 Jan 23 - 03:19 AM
Mo the caller 30 Jan 23 - 08:26 AM
r.padgett 30 Jan 23 - 10:49 AM
Dave the Gnome 30 Jan 23 - 10:50 AM
Dave the Gnome 30 Jan 23 - 11:21 AM
Steve Shaw 30 Jan 23 - 12:52 PM
Steve Shaw 30 Jan 23 - 05:36 PM
Dave the Gnome 30 Jan 23 - 06:05 PM
Steve Shaw 30 Jan 23 - 08:46 PM
Stilly River Sage 31 Jan 23 - 01:57 PM
The Sandman 31 Jan 23 - 02:32 PM
Steve Shaw 31 Jan 23 - 05:11 PM
GUEST,the Sandman 31 Jan 23 - 05:29 PM
Steve Shaw 31 Jan 23 - 05:32 PM
Dave the Gnome 31 Jan 23 - 05:48 PM
Steve Shaw 31 Jan 23 - 06:04 PM
Steve Shaw 31 Jan 23 - 06:17 PM
r.padgett 01 Feb 23 - 02:05 AM
GUEST,1954 01 Feb 23 - 02:06 AM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 01 Feb 23 - 03:29 AM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 01 Feb 23 - 03:49 AM
GUEST,1954 01 Feb 23 - 04:06 AM
Dave the Gnome 01 Feb 23 - 04:13 AM
GUEST,Nick Dow 01 Feb 23 - 04:46 AM
Steve Shaw 01 Feb 23 - 04:49 AM
GUEST,Nick Dow 01 Feb 23 - 05:41 AM
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GUEST,Phil d'Conch 01 Feb 23 - 05:58 AM
Dave the Gnome 01 Feb 23 - 06:26 AM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 01 Feb 23 - 06:36 AM
GUEST,Roderick A Warner 01 Feb 23 - 09:15 AM
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Subject: HELP -what is folk music?
From: nutty
Date: 13 Feb 01 - 11:03 AM

I was admin on Paltalk a few evenings ago when I had to admonish a gentleman for not singing a folk song - his reply was

"Well , Hell - you tell me what it is and I'll sing it"

I've pondered on the question ever since and the only reply I can think of is

"If you knew a folk song - you wouldn't need to ask"

That isn't much help either
So come on Mudcatters - help me out

WHAT IS FOLK MUSIC?

HOW CAN/WOULD YOU DEFINE IT

IS DEFINITION DEPENDENT ON CULTURE(does it mean different things to different people)?

I would be really grateful for your comments


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Subject: RE: HELP -what is folk music?
From: nutty
Date: 13 Feb 01 - 11:13 AM

Perhaps I should have posted this in the "Conversation Stoppers" Thread


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Subject: RE: HELP -what is folk music?
From: granny
Date: 13 Feb 01 - 11:14 AM

Hmm..off the top of my head, I'd say, it's the stuff you sang or played because you felt like it and wanted to -- as opposed to repetoire you were required to learn, by someone.

In addition to that, songs/music that is not particularly written for shock value or for show, like a lot of rock, pop, etc., is. More like the music of thoughtfulness and reflection.


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Subject: RE: HELP -what is folk music?
From: katlaughing
Date: 13 Feb 01 - 11:31 AM

Oh, nutty!! You've stepped in the BIG one now! **BG** This is the eternal question that drives us nuts for thread after thread of everyone's definition. Just to get an idea, put "folk" in the filter box, set the date to 3 years and watch what comes up.

Good luck,

kat


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Subject: RE: HELP -what is folk music?
From: Mary in Kentucky
Date: 13 Feb 01 - 11:36 AM

Or take the easier route and click here, because Alice has already documented several of these memorable threads and made them easier to get to. This was found on the FAQs thread and the links page.


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Subject: RE: HELP -what is folk music?
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 13 Feb 01 - 11:44 AM

Nutty, I'd hoped that question would not crop up in relation to PalTalk. The what is folk question does crop up fairly regulary in these forums and the only certainty is that there will be no agreed definition. Some may say a form of music that has been passed down in an oral tradition for x years, others may include modern songs written in a particular style, others may wish to bring commercialism into the equation, etc. I just settle on "if it sounds like folk to me, it is folk".

For the purposes of PalTalk, I would suggest that the definition could be any form of music that you would normally expect to hear in a Folk Club that accepts both traditional and contemporary music. I know this is vague and it doesn't answer how to explain Folk to others but it is the best I can come up with at the moment.

Jon


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Subject: RE: HELP -what is folk music?
From: mkebenn
Date: 13 Feb 01 - 11:49 AM

Yea, Jon, that'll work. I don't want to question if a song is acceptable. I'm more worried if people will want to hear it. LOL Mike


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Subject: RE: HELP -what is folk music?
From: Bert
Date: 13 Feb 01 - 12:46 PM

It's what we do here.


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Subject: RE: HELP -what is folk music?
From: GUEST,The Dane
Date: 13 Feb 01 - 12:54 PM

How about this:

Folk music is the opposite to classical music. Where as classical music was traditionally written for the courts in Europe, folk music was written by and for the people.

This could also explain why so many folk song deal with rebel themes. This was one of the only modes for the people to express their opposition to the ruling classes.


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Subject: RE: HELP -what is folk music?
From: nutty
Date: 13 Feb 01 - 12:57 PM

Jon - the question was asked and I am just trying to be fair and find an answer - there is no ulterior motive here

I was particularly interested on the "CULTURAL" aspect of the question as, even in my own folk club, there is a definite blurring of the edges for traditional folk/contempory folk/blues/county songs/gospel songs/hymns, all of which are acceptable to sing

Yes,Kat - I did try to bring up the threads but was 'timed out' before I got a result - I presumed there were just too many for the search engine to cope with.
If you think it's all been said and don't wish to comment - thats no problem at all - I will just have to make up my own mind


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Subject: RE: HELP -what is folk music?
From: catspaw49
Date: 13 Feb 01 - 12:59 PM

Oh yippee.........yet another thread on the subject huh? Gee, will someone finally have a definitive answer we can all agree on???(no) Will we hear the horses/cows/pigs don't sing line??(yes) Will everyone think they are right??(yes) Will anyone bother to go back and read the voluminous quantities already written??(no) Has the very word now been so bastardized and stolen that this is an incredible waste of time, just talking about it??(yes) Am I less than in a good mood??(yes)

Spaw


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Subject: RE: HELP -what is folk music?
From: Katcina
Date: 13 Feb 01 - 01:09 PM

Poor Spaw needs a warm fuzzy something.


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Subject: RE: HELP -what is folk music?
From: katlaughing
Date: 13 Feb 01 - 01:12 PM

Sorry, nutty, didn't mean to offend...that's what the **BG** was for.

MaryinK, thnaks, I am sorry, Alice, that I forgot about that documentation.

Spaw, darlin'...tok the words right outta my mouth, i was jist trying ter be perlite.**BG**

kat


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Subject: RE: HELP -what is folk music?
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 13 Feb 01 - 01:17 PM

Nutty, I never thought otherwise. Why I had hoped it would not crop is simply that I have read hundreds of posts on this subject and have never seen agreement on the subject.

I have proposed a definition that I think would be suitable for PalTalk, what do you think about it?

With regards to the Song Circle room, I do expect some degree of difference of opinion as to where the boundaries of folk lie just as I expect Adimins to use thier own judgement as to what that clearly is not folk may or may not be acceptable in the room.

There is for example a certain amount of pop music that I would let go at least once round without getting excited about, an example could be an accoustic version of Hotel California. Another Admin could hear the same song and put their foot down straight away.

Jon


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Subject: RE: HELP -what is folk music?
From: GUEST
Date: 13 Feb 01 - 01:27 PM

Granny comes closest among responses so far.

But, It whatever it is it is certainly classical music. It's just that it's the people's classical music - what folk's acturally sing, like in their kitchens and on the porch, or in ceremonies, political rallies, anywhere, and if they really sing bad, there's always the shower.

It's world-wide and it's no particular muscial style and it's been around since creation, certainly since before musical notation.

With few exceptions, you don't get paid to sing it, with even fewer exceptions you don't much to sing it.

Mudcatters come closer to getting it right than most, in that they treat blues is a slice of the folk pie. All of what I wrote above would apply to blues.

Some would certainly agree, although it sounds crude, that it's like diarea. Meaning that you can only hold it in so long, then its got to come out. Its an art form that satisfies a need to express just like with canvas and brush.

Some think of humans as the industrious, brainy creatures with opposible thumbs, the tool users or tool makers. I disagree; humans are the communicative creatures. It's our mouths, not our thumbs, where our basic characters manifest.

Check out those who are deaf or mute - how cleverly they compensate. Communication is the most intense human compulsion. Think about solitary confinement; that most basic prison discipline. Folk music, for those with music in their genes, in whatever form, satisfies that fundamental need to to express.

When I see paintings on the walls of caves in southern France, I wonder what vocal arts may have accompanied.


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Subject: RE: HELP -what is folk music?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 13 Feb 01 - 02:06 PM

"the opposite to classical music"

The term opposite doesn't mean anything in this context. It's like saying that the opposite of an apple is a banana. And it doesn't work anyway - Carolan is classical music, for example, and round our way he gets included in most sessions.


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Subject: RE: HELP -what is folk music?
From: Bert
Date: 13 Feb 01 - 02:16 PM

Hey Spaw you miserable ol' fart. I gave you a definition just 3 posts before yours. So stop ranting on and read the bloody thread - you never know, even YOU might learn something.

Gotcha!!! ;-)

Bert.

P.S. Gotta do something to jar him out of that bad mood.


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Subject: RE: HELP -what is folk music?
From: Alice
Date: 13 Feb 01 - 03:06 PM

The List ( What is a Folk Song? http://www.mudcat.org/thread.CFM?threadID=2224 --

Acceptable in Folk Club http://www.mudcat.org/thread.CFM?threadID=2225 --

How to Create a Folksong (FS for Dummies) http://www.mudcat.org/thread.CFM?threadID=2624 --

young folkies? http://www.mudcat.org/thread.CFM?threadID=3532 --

Methodologies http://www.mudcat.org/thread.CFM?threadID=4110 --

Methodologies - - who writes the songs? http://www.mudcat.org/thread.CFM?threadID=4215 --

The demise of Folk Music http://www.mudcat.org/thread.CFM?threadID=4255 --

The demise of Folk Music, Part II http://www.mudcat.org/thread.CFM?threadID=4914 --

Oldest Folk http://www.mudcat.org/thread.CFM?threadID=4913 --

Shortest Definition of folk http://www.mudcat.org/thread.CFM?threadID=4892 --

Old Folkers http://www.mudcat.org/thread.CFM?threadID=8373 --

Mudcat's Future http://www.mudcat.org/thread.CFM?threadID=8715 --

Brand new folksongs available http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=13012 --

Art Thieme, Allan C. http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=13044 -- and others) Mudcat Threads Discussing "What Is Folk?" - follow this link and you'll find more than enough.

Alice


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Subject: RE: HELP -what is folk music?
From: wysiwyg
Date: 13 Feb 01 - 03:08 PM

Yeah, nutty, simply asking questions can be hell, eh? *BSEG* (friendly)

OK, TODAY my thought is, it's whatever music people are willing to argue about as to whether it is or ain't FM.

Now if only we could reclaim those intitials we could take over all the FM radio stations and each one could have its own format reflecting what they think FM is. Cool. Get the Martians behind that one heh!

~S~


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Subject: RE: HELP -what is folk music?
From: nutty
Date: 13 Feb 01 - 03:19 PM

A couple of hours ago this seemed important

Since then - I've tripped over one of the dogs and broken a toe - at least , if it isn't broken it should be - it's black , swollen and excrutiatingly painful

Till the pain subsides I will definitely be back in the real world


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Subject: RE: HELP -what is folk music?
From: Cap't Bob
Date: 13 Feb 01 - 03:22 PM

I am rather curious as to when the term "Folk Music" came about. I grew up during the 30's and 40's and don't recall using the it during those years. "Folk Music" (at least the term), to my recollection, became popular during the 50's and 60's.

Cap't Bob


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Subject: RE: HELP -what is folk music?
From: Jim Krause
Date: 13 Feb 01 - 04:31 PM

I have been avoiding this thread whenever it pops up, but I can't any longer.

Folk music is that music which people perform for their own enjoyment and entertainment. When money changes hands, it ceases to be folk music, and becomes business.
Jim


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Subject: RE: HELP -what is folk music?
From: Art Thieme
Date: 13 Feb 01 - 05:10 PM

I've said all I ought on this---at least until somebody pushes my button -- and then it's like finding a hundred dollar bill laying in the street. I probably could not just walk on by. I might just keep it to (for) myself. But probably I'd feel a need to be honest with this old world -- and tell it like it is -- the truth of it.

(For that point of view, please see all those other threads.)

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: HELP -what is folk music?
From: Tyke
Date: 13 Feb 01 - 07:12 PM

Sorry i don't know what "Folk Music" is! It might be music that I lisent to in an English Pub. Even if I have paid to get into the room it could still be Folk Music. The money paid insure that the people in that room have come to listen! To the music and not to talk over it. A minnimal ammount paid on the door put's the room under the control of the Organisers giving them the right to ask people to keep quiet and observe some common curtisy to the singer's. I would walk in or out of a Folk Club whilst someone was in the middle of a song. Broken conections aside I apply the same rule to myself whilst in the Paltalk Room.

The oldest Folk Club in the World is the Topic Folk Club in Bradford West Yorkshire England. It was established in 1956 when the Rusians sent Tanks into Hungary (I thik it was Hungary my History might not be that good!). The Bradford Communist Party all resigned in protest and started the Topic Folk Club so that they could all still meet on Friday Nights and sing the Same Songs. The pit falls of deciding who is singing an apopriate song for the Paltalk room are many. Including what happened one Friday Night at the Topic FC. Bob Dylan turned up to do a floor spot before he was famous. He was turned away because he had an Acoustic Guitar and this was a Traditional Club! I wonder if who ever it was that turned him away has ever lived it down! I bet his or her mistake drove them nutty (Sorry could not resist that)Its a minefield being an MC you have my simpathy even if and when you get it wrong. I refer you to an Old Yorkshire Saying " Them what never make's a Buggar make's Buggar all" Cheers


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Subject: RE: HELP -what is folk music?
From: wysiwyg
Date: 13 Feb 01 - 08:05 PM

Dang, Tyke, you're hot! Welcome to the Mudcat!

Sorry, gotta shout-- WELCOME TO THE MUDCAT!

~S~


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Subject: RE: HELP -what is folk music?
From: Burke
Date: 13 Feb 01 - 08:33 PM

nutty, Sorry about your toe. Such a little thing that can hurt so much! Put it up & listen to some music.

Personally I'd prefer a narrow definition of folk, but for something like PalTalk you have to be more flexible. What was done that you thought did not fit?


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Subject: RE: HELP -what is folk music?
From: Amergin
Date: 13 Feb 01 - 09:42 PM

How about if we discuss something that can actually be answered....like How many licks does it take to get to the tootsie roll in the center of a tootsie pop....


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Subject: RE: HELP -what is folk music?
From: poor lonesome boy
Date: 13 Feb 01 - 11:25 PM

100 bottles of beer on the wall. Everyone knows the words and the tune and nobody can remember how they learned them. Of course, nobody's gonna pay me to play it on a Friday night, so I'll stick to retuned acoustic Johnny Cash songs as a backup.


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Subject: RE: HELP -what is folk music?
From: GUEST,Blind DRunk in Blind River
Date: 14 Feb 01 - 12:09 AM

It's 99 Bottles of Beer, loser!

Okay, so, like for a sereous questiobn like this, eh, ya gotta sit back, crack of cold one and think.

Okahy.

Well, I figger its' like music that comes from the folk, eh? and the folk are, like, losers cos they probably don't never listen to Ozzie or Guns n Roses or even Metallica, eh? The folk are either old geezers who lost their friggin brane cells in the 60's or else they are weerd chicks who where them stragne expensive kind of sandles...like Birkumstocks, eh? And they eat helatth food too, eh? Like that stuff...well, it's made of beans or something. you know? That white jiggly stuff. It's grooss!!1

Anwyway, maybe that's folk music.

So who flippin cares? Not me. I'm gonna have another beer instaed. I got real tired thinking about this wuqestion. UUURP! Pardon my French.

- BDiBR


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Subject: RE: HELP -what is folk music?
From: Les from Hull
Date: 14 Feb 01 - 01:38 PM

Quick nurse - the screens! It's happening again.


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Subject: RE: HELP -what is folk music?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 14 Feb 01 - 04:00 PM

"Less" is right. I've been to Hull. :-D (sorry, I couldn't resist!)

- LH


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Subject: RE: HELP -what is folk music?
From: Tyke
Date: 14 Feb 01 - 08:20 PM

Sorry my Dyslexica srikes again! My last controbution shoud have read I would NOT walk in or out of a folk club room whilst someone was singing.


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Subject: RE: HELP -what is folk music?
From: Bill D
Date: 14 Feb 01 - 09:30 PM

since Alice posted those threads, I don't have to say anything..*BG*...almost everything I have said is in them, and I am the best authority.

(I don't always DO folk, but I know when I'm not *WINK*)


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Subject: RE: HELP -what is folk music?
From: GUEST,Fred
Date: 14 Feb 01 - 10:14 PM

I still like Tom Lehrer's line: "The problem with folk music is that it was written by the people."


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Subject: What is Folk Music?
From: GUEST,Amanda
Date: 17 Apr 02 - 07:15 PM

I am doing a essay on folk music for school, and I would like to know if some of you could help me out with what it is, what it is all about, and some of the most famous songs and/or artists. You help will be greatly appreciated. Thanks

- amanda


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Subject: RE: What is Folk Music?
From: Bill D
Date: 17 Apr 02 - 07:27 PM

better tell us what grade this is for, amanda...the type of answer you get will ....ummmmmm....vary..


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Subject: RE: What is Folk Music?
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 17 Apr 02 - 07:28 PM

You might start with this thread: folk


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Subject: RE: What is Folk Music?
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 17 Apr 02 - 07:37 PM

Check here also


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Subject: Folklore: What is folk
From: GUEST,Zulu
Date: 02 Dec 06 - 05:56 PM

The question was asked again last night at MRFC and i think i know part of the answer.No not all the answers,but,just part of it.Is it how many names you can drop into the intro pre song?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What is folk
From: GUEST,ohnonotagain
Date: 02 Dec 06 - 06:00 PM

no.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: GUEST,Zulu
Date: 03 Dec 06 - 02:48 PM

Well have i been to some other kind of clubs for the past 20 years then ?Could have sworn i heard at least 20 name drops per performer at the last Trad Folk club i went to.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: GUEST
Date: 03 Dec 06 - 03:31 PM

What is folk? That which by any other name would be a rose.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: Fidjit
Date: 03 Dec 06 - 05:19 PM

Someone mentioned Tom Lehrer.
Well. "We are the folk song army. Every one of us cares"

Chas


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: Scrump
Date: 04 Dec 06 - 04:54 AM

My understanding is this: the definition of folk music is music that cannot be defined.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: GUEST,Janine
Date: 04 Dec 06 - 10:28 AM

If I like it it's folk music: if I don't it isn't. Probably

Jan


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: GUEST,Frank Hamilton
Date: 04 Dec 06 - 01:33 PM

I've been studying folk music for many years. It seems to be a prism. It depends on which light you shine on it. Usually a definition would include that which is accessible to people, music that can be easilly reproduced by those who haven't studied music formally.

The issue of whether folk music is commercial or not is up in the air. There have been folk artists deemed traditional by folk music scholars (maybe an oxymoron here) that have made money at it.

Coming to it from the standpoint of a musical educator, I would say that it must be music that is easilly taught either by imitation or through having it in your cultural background.

But there is something to be said for folk music being morphed from popular music of the stage, or other media. Many of the folksongs that we know were originated as popular show pieces such as "Angeline the Baker" or "Old Dan Tucker".

The traditional ballads might have originated from epic poems by a single author and then played with or changed by others throughout the years.

I think the definition of what it is has expanded through the years and can't easilly be pinned down any more. You can't define it by a method of exclusion which seemed to be the way it was done in the Fifties and Sixties by various folk clubs and organizations with an agenda. Are the songs by Ewan McColl (AKA Jimmy Miller) typical of the folk tradition?
Some have a question about that. Ewan was a professional entertainer, actor, playwright.
Now take Pete Seeger who has been known to use thirteenth chords on his banjo accompaniments. Is he a folk singer? He eschews that term applied to himself these days.

So we have to look at the music from different standpoints. If it is music "of the people" then Irving Berlin would have to qualify. Somewhere in the world, a Berlin song is being played today. If folk music reflects a specific tradition of music then the parameters are narrowed to a particular sub-culture and that gets tricky too. Lomax in his use of "Cantrometics" attempted to show that there wasn't much variation in the early traditional country music singing styles of the US and the later commericialized approach   later.

Then you have to separate the performance from a song. When Doc Watson does "Over the Rainbow", has he suddenly stopped being a folk singer?

In short, we are playing around with semantics. The same discussion takes place amoung jazz musicians. Is jazz strictly improvisation or can arrangements of jazz by big bands be called "jazz" as well?

The problem is that when we use words to define music we run into all kinds of headaches. It may not be necessary to define folk music by sorting it out.

Maybe there is a relative basis here. Some songs or performers are more "folk-like" then being all or nothing.

At this point, I simply don't care any more. I like the performer/song or not and go with that.

The problem arises when academicians who have their agendas start dissecting music for their scholastic enterprise and some of this may be helpful and sometimes not.

If some would like to imprison music into certain parameters, that's OK if the rules of the game are understood by the participants.

In the meantime, let's just enjoy folk music whatever it is.

Frank Hamilton


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: shepherdlass
Date: 05 Dec 06 - 07:55 AM

When I'm dealing with folk revivals for academic study, because I'm looking at revivals, I define folk music as what they chose to perform in folk clubs at a given time (leaving tradition - another vexed term - to define anything with a clear continuity to past non-revival players). But these are merely definitions of convenience - and I've always had to state them as such.

In the real world, outside these definitions, folk can be as broad or as narrow as you like. Almost everyone ("the folk"?) can sing a version of "Yesterday" or "Angels" ... are they folk songs? Or are only the popular songs that have lasted a century or so qualified? Then comparatively few people know even the more famous "folk" songs like "Mattie Groves" or "Hughie the Graeme" - so are they folk or traditional or are they now appropriated and adopted into art songs, even though they originated among "the folk"? Oh, these threads just tie you up in knots, and I'm feeling particularly knotted by now.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: GUEST,JohnHenry
Date: 05 Dec 06 - 03:59 PM

folk music is the music of any peoples of any culture of anywhere. It is different to classical music but its also different to popular music. Folk music is any song sung, tapped, hummed, whistled or played on anything by anyone who isnt a professional musician. Thats not to say professional musicians dont or cant play folk as some of these people could be trained,its worth noting the 'Cultural Assets' policy run for quite some time now in South Korea where skilled musicians considered to be playing national music (and folk is national relative to the context whether pro or anti the location) are taken as cultural assets and required to teach a certain number of people their skills over a period of time. This could be seen as restrictive artistically but questions of aesthetics have no real place in folk music, its only people with comfort that question such things


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: M.Ted
Date: 06 Dec 06 - 12:01 AM

If Pete Seeger eschews "folksinger", and Frank Hamilton doesn't care anymore, then it doesn't matter anymore.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: George Papavgeris
Date: 06 Dec 06 - 02:03 AM

don't think twice - it's all right


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: The Sandman
Date: 06 Dec 06 - 05:00 AM

m ted, sorry but if I go into a greengrocers and ask for potatoes ,Iexpect to get potatoes not tomatoes.
If I go to an evening of jazz I expect just that, not an evening of classical Music.
If i go to a folk club I have a fairly good idea of what to expect, PARTICUARLY IF THE ORGANISER CLARIFIES FURTHER eg contemporary singer with guitar etc.,personally I prefer Home made music   to the term Folk,    but we all know what folk music is APPROXIMATELY [even if its hard to define]FROM BLUES TO SEAN NOS it is quite a broad church.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 06 Dec 06 - 02:33 PM

'GUEST Frank Hamilton'
Do you describe Bob Dylan as 'Bob Dylan (AKA Robert Zimmerman'? Just wondering ...


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: Declan
Date: 06 Dec 06 - 04:38 PM

I'm re-entering a debate I told myself I wouldn't ever do again, but for what its worth my opinion is roughly as follows.

Labels are useful to point you at things you are likely to find interesting. For example if I go into a record shop with a Folk Music section, I expect I'll be more interested in what I find there than the stuff in the hip-hop section. Whether this is true or not depends on how knowledgable/diligent the shop staff are in filing their content. The same goes in choosing festivals. Once I go to the appropriate section I will make my choices based on what I find there and will not agonise over whether or not it meets someones definition of what is 'folk' or 'traditional'.

The term traditional has a specific meaning in copyright law which is useful in resolving legal disputes, but to me has no other meaning in classification of music.

In formal academic study people tend to define the meaning of the terms they use in the context of what they are writing. These will vary from time to time and from place to place. Given the 'revival' happened 30-40 years ago in the countries that needed a revival, the term revivalist is losing/has lost its meaning. The work of the early revivalists has passed through a couple of generations at this stage and probably merits classification as traditional as much as much of the music that was classified as trad by the early revivalists.

If a source singer who wrote/learned a song in the thirties was trad to someone in the 50s, surely a song from the 50s is trad to someone born in the nineties and singing/playing in the naughties.

To me the importance is whether the song is rooted in a style or tradition which can be described as folk or traditional. It may be of interest to academics to split hairs between calling something tradional or 'in' or 'of' the tradition, but I couldn't be bothered.

What matters to me is whether the tradition is in a healthy state and where I come from I am delighted to say this is the case. There are more young musicains in Ireland playing music in traditional styles (and many of them are more aware of this than people of earlier generations) than there were at the height of the so called revival.

To me the important thing is that the body of music (or song) is traditional rather than a particular tune or song. I love tradtional Irish music (and music from many other traditions considered folk or not). If the tune is a quality one in the tradition it doesn't matter to me whether it is a week old or hundreds of years - although I am delighted that some songs and tunes from those days have survived.

I'm off now to play some music, in a variety of styles, at my local session. And no one will care much what the source of the music is - as was very much the case when the original collectors went out collecting the songs/tunes.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: Bill D
Date: 06 Dec 06 - 06:39 PM

ah, Captain Birdseye! A man with discernment! *smile* It IS a 'broad church', but there is much that does NOT belong in the pews.
---------------------------------------------------------------------

" Once I go to the appropriate section I will make my choices based on what I find there and will not agonise over whether or not it meets someones definition of what is 'folk' or 'traditional'."

This is reasonable unless the section is large and the store has vague ideas of categories, making the process of choosing tedious.

"... surely a song from the 50s is trad to someone born in the nineties and singing/playing in the naughties."

A dangerous distinction....Simply being a bit 'older' is not enough to
qualify something as truly 'trad'. There are a number of reasons to reserve some label for those 'older' songs or tunes which go back, (in style, subject matter, mode of presentation, mode of transmission...etc.) to the era before serious recording and 'commercial' music. It has nothing to do with 'good', and it is possible to play both 'trad' and 'sort of related to and derived from trad' in the same evening....but IF I wish to go to a concert and/or buy a CD of older stuff with a certain feel, it is helpful to have a label that assures me that's what I will get. Gradually subsuming more & more under 'folk' and 'trad' also gradually dilutes the categories until they lose most of their meaning.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: GUEST,cecil. j . sharpe
Date: 07 Dec 06 - 03:27 PM

Oh shut up !!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: GUEST,Frank Hamilton
Date: 07 Dec 06 - 04:29 PM

Is Bob Dylan folk music? In one way yes. People are familiar with his work which is based as was Woody Guthrie on a body of traditional work. So this fits the theory of songs being changed to fit different times.

Does his songs resonate with a large population who likes to sing his songs? Sure.

Bob has done his homework in that he knows who the trad singers are who have influenced him.

He is also a popular music singer and does this take him out of the trad folk category?
Don't think so. A lot of early country folk musicians such as the Carter Family sold lots of recordings in their time.

So we have to expand the definition of folk music as again the prism.

This doesn't mean we have to exclude the traditional field recorded singers or players.

What this all means is that we have to open our ears and minds to include the idea that anything that appeals to a large population might be a form of folk music if it is accessible in terms of being able to be reproduced by easilly by real people.

In this way rock might well be folk. If enough kids can sit down and make music in different settings with the same songs that are recognizable and easilly played...well it's the "people's music".

We have to get used to the idea that not all folk music is really good. Some of it is doggerel...bowlderized to such a degree that it has become incomprehensible over time. Some of it may require too many footnotes to communicate.

One of the hallmarks is that it may not be confined to one way of doing it. Lyrics and tunes can grow, change through time by a communal process. This is one definition of folk which again is a way of looking at it.

It might defy copyright laws if it is to survive as folk over a long period of time.

It's the old "blind men and the elephant" game. It depends on which part of the anatomy we are "looking" at.

Dylan would have to be placed alongside of Woody since both derived their songwriting from traditional sources as did A.P. Carter or Leadbelly. Are they folk singers? Why not?

That said, many art and pop singers are out of the loop. They may have imitators but they are too sophisticated or highly specialized to be accessible to everyone who wants to perform their songs.

Folk=people. Songs that everyone can somehow participate in their recreation.
I think the part of folk music that I believe defines it is its accessibility.

Frank Hamilton


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: GUEST,Cecil.J.Sharpe
Date: 07 Dec 06 - 05:31 PM

I'm buggered if I know, or care for that matter music is music man!!!! 'When it hits you feel no pain' Bob Marley, folk singer


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: Bill D
Date: 07 Dec 06 - 05:51 PM

why, Cecil! And I have always held you in the highest esteem! *grin*

"music is music".....indeed! So if I advertise a concert saying there going to be "music", you'll be right over?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: M.Ted
Date: 07 Dec 06 - 07:51 PM

Captain Birdseye, if you have to ask whether something is a potato or not--well, you deserve whatever the fellow gives you;-)

At any rate, I like what Frank Hamilton has to say--I am very interested in the things that are derived from tradtional/folkloric sources-

I also make careful note of this comment "I'm off now to play some music, in a variety of styles, at my local session. And no one will care much what the source of the music is"-as it seems to be true that those who are part of a living tradition define the tradition as something that exists in the present--even though they may be aware of it's past, and also of what is and isn't part of the tradition--


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: Tim theTwangler
Date: 07 Dec 06 - 10:40 PM

Jeez how many more times will there be enough bored and sufficiently anal catters to go through all this again.
Folk music is what I say it is you are all wrong and so am I.
The constant navel gazing about it is a waste of energy just go somewhere and do it.
If we all spent as much time writing and performing and listening to the stuff as we do discusing what it is we might have some decent music on the radios and Tv,s of the world instead of the stuff that gets out there because there is a dollar to be made by some person who neither write perfoms listens or cares what folk music is.
Next topic
WHich is the best guitar to buy?
I allready own......Blah blah blah!!!!!!!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: FreddyHeadey
Date: 23 Jan 23 - 11:08 AM

BBC Radio 4 news has a go at defining folk.
;)
One of the comments was
"you can stick 'Folk' on the end of any genre and you've got something completely new and exciting,,,"

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m001h3yy

> skip to about 38:40


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: GUEST
Date: 23 Jan 23 - 12:27 PM

so if i record John Cage 4'33 and call it folk, it is something completely new and exciting,
well of course every perfomance of anything is new, whether it is exciting is in the ears of the beholder and a subjective decision.
"you can stick 'Folk' on the end of any genre and you've got something completely new and exciting,,,"
pseudo-intellectual. pompous TWADDLE.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 23 Jan 23 - 05:29 PM

All 'genres' are artificial constructs, convenience labels, that overlap with many other genres. All that is useful is a list of characteristics some of which for 'Folk' are admirably listed here, and on other threads. Trying to set hard and fast boundaries is pointless for this very reason.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: GUEST,Nick Dow
Date: 23 Jan 23 - 07:01 PM

Here's to subjectivity! You might not know what it is, but are pretty sure what it isn't! Works for me, and several generations of singers.
Just remind me. When does night become day?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: r.padgett
Date: 24 Jan 23 - 02:57 AM

Ah but is folk music in particular song and music for the singers (of), the audience, the academics or the pub landlords to sell beer and promoters to profit

Whoa

Ray


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: SPB-Cooperator
Date: 25 Jan 23 - 08:40 PM

A few hours after day becomes night.....

I think it avoids a lot of verbal bloodletting by saying to each individual: it is up to you what you think folk is, as it is up to me what I think it is.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: GUEST,Dan Themsan
Date: 26 Jan 23 - 03:40 AM

When does night become day?
At Dawn Today in the UK it was 7 48.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: r.padgett
Date: 26 Jan 23 - 04:02 AM

What is folk (music and song) such a difficult question to define!

Is it Country or is Country music a close brother/sister?

Is folk Rock based on folk music/song?

What is contemporary folk song, that is songs for example written in the traditional folk style and copyrighted so that performance fees can be made to the composer ~ is this "folk"?

I ask only and make no decisions

Ray


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 26 Jan 23 - 04:33 AM

It's always a tough one. When Granny's Attic sing "Does your mother know?", is that folk? When Ed Sheeran sings "The parting glass", is that folk? There used to be those who insisted that it had to be a traditional song, sung by a traditional singer. Fortunately we now seem to have a much broader church. While I do not believe that "anything goes", I am glad to see that mainstream performers, writers and media are seeing that folk music is indeed for the masses and not for an exclusive group of enthusiasts


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: GUEST,Dan Themsan
Date: 26 Jan 23 - 05:01 AM

" There used to be those who insisted that it had to be a traditional song, sung by a traditional singer". quote.
Can you give examples.
I do not care who it is for, I like performing certain material.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 26 Jan 23 - 05:33 AM

I am not searching through years of Mudcat posts, Dan, but I can assure you that even on here there were comments like pop singers can never sing a folk song and popular music should never be sung in folk clubs. I am also assured that there were folk clubs where the rules were explicit about what could and could not be performed. Although, to be honest, I never cwme across one. May have been before my gime


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: GUEST,Nick Dow
Date: 26 Jan 23 - 07:12 AM

When does night become day?
At Dawn Today in the UK it was 7 48.
Who told you that?
Did you believe them? It might have been 7.50 down the road and 7.48 up in the next county.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: GUEST,Dan Themsan
Date: 26 Jan 23 - 08:22 AM

" There used to be those who insisted that it had to be a traditional song, sung by a traditional singer".." Dave the Gnome
I have never come across a club that insisted that it had to be a traditional song, sung by a traditional singer, you have made that up.
          There were a few clubs that insisted that it was traditional music only, they generally called themselves Traditional clubs, the policy was clear, Those clubs never excluded Revival singers from singing traditional songs and there was plenty of choice of other clubs with different polcies
The Singers club had a different policy again, but it was clear.
No one was obliged or forced to go to any of those clubs., there were blues clubs where blues was the order of the day
There is a club in Croydon which is a folk and blues club, and a different club called Croydon Folk Club, are you against a club that specialises in Blues? or is your dislike of policy or rules applicable to trad music clubs?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: MaJoC the Filk
Date: 26 Jan 23 - 08:32 AM

> When does night become day?

My inner pedant insists: Depends how far West you are (one degree of longitude Westwards is four minutes later), and how far North (sign and magnitude are season-dependent). (See also the Wikipedia page on the Equation of Time, if you're that bored, for how noon wanders about during the year.)

Meanwhile, back at the Subject line, a judge once (approximately) said: I can't define pornography, but I know it when I see it. I think the same holds with folk music; hence the persistence and vituperation of the arguments.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: GUEST
Date: 26 Jan 23 - 08:36 AM

Nick Dow, night did become day, Dawn occurred. the timing varies but it happened.
Anyone that says that it did not happen is deluded.
Beethoven is considered a Classical composer, you agree?
Earl Scruggs is classified a Bluegrass Banjo player.
A. L. Lloyd or Bert Lloyd, was an English folk singer and collector of folk songs, and as such was a key figure in the British folk revival of the 1950s and 1960s.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 26 Jan 23 - 09:59 AM

I don't dislike anything, Dan. And if you read my post more carefully you will see I did not say that any clubs insisted on traditional songs sung by traditional sings. I said that there were those who did and I apologise for not making it clear that I meant in discussions such as this. My reference to clubs was entirely separate and you have confirmed that some did have their own rules. Thank you.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 26 Jan 23 - 10:14 AM

"Beethoven is considered a Classical composer, you agree?"

Er, I don't entirely...


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: GUEST
Date: 26 Jan 23 - 11:19 AM

HA HA, YOU ARE RIGHT b


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 26 Jan 23 - 12:18 PM

Do speak up...


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: GUEST,Nick Dow
Date: 26 Jan 23 - 12:19 PM

Right well, that's obviously hit home then. You can't educate a cabbage.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: GUEST,Jim Knowledge
Date: 26 Jan 23 - 12:39 PM

I `ad that Jan `adlow from the BBC in my cab once. The Radio Times reported she `ad been earmarked to produce a series of programmes about traditional songs and music, their origins and background and she was looking to interview as many people in `er opinion `oo could provide some kosha info.
I said, " Morning Jan. Broadcasting `ouse again?"
She said, "Yes please Jim. Oh, by the way Jim you and you`re lot `ave been doing trad songs for years. `av` you ever come across situations where certain songs `ave been the cause of a Bull and Cow?"
I said, "Well yeah. I remember some punters decided to do a club in "The Chequers" pub near Uckfield. They settled on "`ands Cross Traditional Music Club", very original. It was also decided, in order to maintain their trad. ideas, that potential singers material would be put before the committee to ensure it met their requirements."
She said, "That sounds novel. `ow many people fitted the bill?"
I said, "None, it folded after a couple of weeks!!"


Whaddam I Like??


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 26 Jan 23 - 12:46 PM

so if i record John Cage 4'33 and call it folk, it is something completely new and exciting..."

Well if you record it and take 4'34 over it, you CAN call it folk, because it'll have been through the folk process!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: GUEST,Dan Themsan
Date: 26 Jan 23 - 12:47 PM

How would you describe Beethoven, as a Bluegrass musician?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 26 Jan 23 - 01:09 PM

Beethoven was the bridge between the classical and romantic eras in music.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 26 Jan 23 - 01:21 PM

So was he classantic or romical?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 26 Jan 23 - 01:29 PM

He's my hero, and that's good enough for me! His bust lives in our living room and I ruffle his hair every time I pass him.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 26 Jan 23 - 01:38 PM

It's better than his hair living in your living room and ruffling his bust!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: Rigby
Date: 26 Jan 23 - 02:29 PM

So are Beethoven's arrangements of Scottish folk songs folk?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 26 Jan 23 - 03:15 PM

And what about Benjamin Britten's folk song arrangements (as sung by Kathleen Ferrier, for example)? Surely every folk singer "arranges" his or her songs according to their predilections? I'm not bothered but I'm just sayin'...


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 26 Jan 23 - 03:44 PM

Oy...

Speaker+Listener+Subject = (sub)genre. Nobody speaks for both sides of the convo (obviously) and the music just plain does not care. Labels are worse than useless if you're not even in the right book, much less on the same page.

If just one person in the audience knows the true copyright history of a song and everybody else is ignorant of same... you'll get two genre for one performance of one song by one artist.

Walk in to any library on the Dewey system and you'll find Beethoven shelved under Classical. Same for a brick & mortar record store. Romantic won't have a bin unless it's a specialty shop.

Silly thing is, I dont know anybody that actually uses the labels for themselves. 99.9% of the folks I know file their own collections all jumbled together and shelved by media, then alpha-by-artist.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 26 Jan 23 - 05:48 PM

"Walk in to any library on the Dewey system and you'll find Beethoven shelved under Classical."

Well that's right. You'd also find Palestrina, Gesualdo, plainchant and Hildegard of Bingen, as well as Michael Tippett, Britten and even Gershwin under the same category. Maybe even Harrison Birtwistle. When I did a course on plant taxonomy at university we were taught that classification was there to serve several purposes, and the same body of plants could be categorised in a variety of different ways according to to the user's need. No one system of classifying music can be set in stone as the be-all and end-all. There's a limit as to how much you can atomise the classification of music genres before you make your system useless to library users. On the other hand, a scholarly analysis of the last thousand years of "classical music" will break it up into much smaller categories, a classification system which, among other things, helps to elucidate the evolution of music down the centuries. When I walk into the library I want big categories to direct me quickly to the right ballpark of bookshelves. After that, even alphabetical might cut it...


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 27 Jan 23 - 01:11 PM

On the other hand, a scholarly analysis of the last thousand years of...

Yup: A tomato is a fruit or a veggie depending on the speaker & subject. If it's an instructor saying [X] is or ain't [Y]… it is, or it ain't. End of discussion for the them chasing a sheepskin.

Regency dance tunes that doubled as capstan songs were both “work” and “pop” before either genre label or school of academics was in existence. Any speaker/scholar is/was free to:
a) Retroactively assign the entire millennium to a late 19th century (sub)genre.
b) Process instrumentals as stone silence.
c) Create an entirely new 20th century (sub)genre for the thousand year gaps of their own creation.

Any listener will have no idea what the labels actually mean until they've heard the speaker out. There are no assurances all or none of it will apply to the next speaker.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 27 Jan 23 - 05:18 PM

Well, Phil, that was as clear as mud...


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: Mo the caller
Date: 27 Jan 23 - 06:12 PM

Our choir sometimes uses the brown book published by OUP of folk song settings. Can't say that that really feels like Folk (not 'folk the way I like it' at any rate)


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: Mo the caller
Date: 27 Jan 23 - 06:14 PM

reading back up the thread to 2005, the student who asked us to do their homework for them got rather more than they bargained for.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: GUEST
Date: 27 Jan 23 - 06:23 PM

She was a poet, called Hazel Bolton, sadly she is not with us any longer


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 27 Jan 23 - 08:27 PM

Steve: Surely you've read about...
The 15-16th century Howe! Hissa! (Shanty) and Sea Shanties from 'The Complaynt' (1549)?
The Royal Navy fife and fiddle capstan songs sailors worked 'in silence' to?
The 'proto'-shanty?
Tomatoes?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: GUEST
Date: 28 Jan 23 - 12:35 PM

I have no problem with a Blues club calling itself a Blues club.
I have a choice I go or I go somewhere else.
I have no problem with a club calling itself an Acoustic Music Club or a Fiddle and Accordion club or a Singer Songwriters club, they have rules and people know what to expect.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: GUEST,Roderick A Warner
Date: 28 Jan 23 - 01:09 PM

Creative musicians in my experience don’t tend to waste their energy on labels and artificial barriers, rules and the restrictions of others… thankfully…


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: GUEST,Dan Themsan
Date: 28 Jan 23 - 01:29 PM

Creative musicians in the Folk world do not put as much or hardly any energy into improvisation, compared to Jazz Musicians, Songwriters put their energy in to writing songs not improvisation, you are talking Boloney
audiences do want to know what they are going to get, they do not expect to go to a Folk Club and have a whole evening of Rock and Roll and they are the ones who pay the piper..
On the positive side Folk Clubs provide the opportunity for home made music.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 28 Jan 23 - 04:56 PM

Rules cut both ways: "That is not folk" - "Yes it is!" - "That is folk." - "No it is not."

The rules are what they say. The program is what they do. Say as you do; do as you say, is not human nature. Sooner or later, everybody feels entitled to a little bending &c.

As a discographer, I've seen the same old, familiar bins at every retail outlet and bootsale every year. Buyers & sellers find them useful starting points. The internet & lecture hall are mostly nonsense.

And, it's not unusual to see inventory shifted from one bin to another. What was once folk or bleeding edge rock & roll might be in the oldies section by now... same music.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: PHJim
Date: 29 Jan 23 - 12:08 AM

FOLK is a four letter word that starts with "F", ends with "K" and if you use it, they won't play your songs on the radio.


If it takes more than two trips to get your gear from the car to the stage, it ain't folk.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: GUEST,Hans Detman
Date: 29 Jan 23 - 03:46 AM

If u have no car its Horsemusic.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: GUEST
Date: 29 Jan 23 - 04:10 AM

Walter Greaves did it on his bike.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: GUEST
Date: 29 Jan 23 - 05:43 AM

I don't do any Bob Dylan songs so am I still a folk singer?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: GUEST,Dan Themsan
Date: 29 Jan 23 - 06:04 AM

Since you do not tell us what you sing, how can we tell?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 29 Jan 23 - 06:15 AM

In flowering plant taxonomy there are lumpers and splitters. Take a species, a genus or a family and you'll have those botanists who will include and those who will exclude. I'm suspecting not dissimilar sentiments in threads like this one. Meanwhile, the
poor old music sits there in the middle, doing what music does best, being wonderful in different ways to different people. I think it was Vladimir Ashkenazy who said something like, this whole bloody music thing is a complete mystery to me...


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: Lighter
Date: 29 Jan 23 - 10:14 AM

Folk" has a widely acknowledged core of specific titles like "John Henry," "The Seeds of Love," "Lord Randall," and "The Irish Washerwoman," to name a very few.

"Folkness" is a mostly (but not entirely) subjective quality shared by such pieces.

How one defines "folk" in general depends on how much kinship is thought to exist between such examples and other titles under consideration. And outside academia (and sometimes within it) the criteria of "kinship" are wildly subjective.

"Folk" was once a useful label for distinguishing "anonymous music and song of the people" from formal, attributed compositions that were performed according to the published sheet music.

For various reasons that basic distinction has been lost.

"Folk" is still a useful term, but without specific context it covers multitudes and can be downright misleading.

So caveat emptor.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: Lighter
Date: 29 Jan 23 - 02:11 PM

In other words, if someone says "I love folk!" or "That's not folk!" or some similar generalization without explaining what they mean, they shouldn't expect the addressee to know what the heck they're talking about: except that it isn't Mozart and it isn't hip-hop. (Or is it?)


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 29 Jan 23 - 02:39 PM

None of this is rocket science...the language is constantly evolving...what used to be classified as 'folk' had more defined boundaries. However the term has evolved to cover a much wider field with much more overlap into other genres. We can't bury our heads in the sand over this. When discussing folk with different audiences I would temper my usage of the term to accord with these. Not a problem. When I'm discussing with TSF members we would use something like the IFMC 54 descriptors, but when using the word with my fellow performers we would be discussing something much wider, more a style of music, with very flexible boundaries.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: GUEST
Date: 29 Jan 23 - 04:02 PM

I know people who no longer go to folk clubs becquse they hear little traditional music, and they occqsionally hear people performing in an unpractised manner or attempting to sing with crib sheets.
It is impossible to please everybody but not having a clear club policy does not help .
I have no problem with a club calling itself Blues Club or Acoutsic Music Club or Tradtional Song Club OR c


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: Lighter
Date: 29 Jan 23 - 04:44 PM

The controversy mostly arose in the early '60s with celebrity performers like Burl Ives, the Kingston Trio, and Peter, Paul, and Mary. They and others had originally been singers of modernized versions of traditional songs, and were marketed as "folk singers" and "singers of folk music."

When these artists branched out into recent, pop-like material, they still were marketed as "folk singers," and what they sang became "folk" by definition.

Years ago I posted a quote from the music critic of the prestigious "New Yorker" magazine, who called a composer of radically experimental music a "folk musician," apparently because her compositions she didn't fit into any mainstream category.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: GUEST,Dan Themsan
Date: 29 Jan 23 - 04:59 PM

Perhaps UK Folk Clubs have become too concerned with bums on seats, and are happy to allow any kind of Acoustic Music, the positive of this is that it is a place for home made music, rather than passive music consumerism, the negative of this could be that you end up pleasing no one.
There are performers who want to just go to music sessions or singers who want to just sing blues, or singers who want to sing for example Scottish Traditional Bothy ballads, or singers who want to sing their own material.
Then there are some clubs where singers nights are more popular than guest nights, this might possibly indicate that there are some singers who do not want to listen to others, but just want to do their own thing, and a few of them are not aware of how mediocre they are.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 29 Jan 23 - 05:07 PM

No new or unique ground here. A given folk song and folk music in general are two subjects, not one or the same. OP needs to answer at least three questions: who is using the label; the target audience and what are they labeling?

According to the principle of the Five Ws, a report can only be considered complete if it answers these questions starting with an interrogative word:
Who
What
When
Where
Why


It's relatively easier to define or get consensus on a folk song. A folk song CD or set list is just that much more difficult. A club, label or artist will step on somebody's toe, at some point… c'est la vie, c'est la guerre, c'est la populaire...


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: GUEST
Date: 29 Jan 23 - 05:30 PM

The OP is no longer with us she has passed on.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 29 Jan 23 - 05:35 PM

Personally I find it quite healthy that a wide variety of music and poetry is being performed at our local singarounds. Even where traditional material is sometimes in a minority it shows that being performed well it can stand up alongside other material like pop songs and other material in a folk idiom.

The only aspect that worries me is the percentage of performers who insist on using phones and paper copy. The only way I can find to discourage this is to show how much better performance can be without these crutches. It also helps if the organisers are not using cribs, setting a good example.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 29 Jan 23 - 06:33 PM

Excellent post there, Steve.

"...except that it isn't Mozart..."

Well there's a story that the Magic Flute was so popular in Vienna that the tunes from it were widely whistled by folks in the streets, which delighted Mozart. I'd like to bet that the whistled melodies weren't always note-perfect... So does that mean that they may have gone through the folk process...?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: GUEST
Date: 30 Jan 23 - 03:19 AM

The final product is what matters, perfomance with a crib sheet is acceptable if the perfomance is practised and good and if tha material is good, no one wants to hear three blind mice or the Birdie Song performed with a crib sheet and out of tune.
Content as well as form is important.
I do not go to a Folk Club to hear pop songs, if you want to sing Popsongs start a popular music club.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: Mo the caller
Date: 30 Jan 23 - 08:26 AM

I've been to one or two folk sessions (the jump in and play or sing type rather than round the room clubs) where some of us regulars were put off by one or two guitar strumming singer song writers. What had been a respectful varied group who looked to see if someone was trying to play or hadn't had a turn before starting, was taken over by miserable songs that weren't my idea of folk.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: r.padgett
Date: 30 Jan 23 - 10:49 AM

"one persons definition of folk music is not always anothers." perhaps?

Ray


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 30 Jan 23 - 10:50 AM

Yep - Good point r.padgett (Is it Ray?)


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 30 Jan 23 - 11:21 AM

Sorry - Yes, I saw it is Ray on an earlier post. I knew I had seen it somewhere :-)


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 30 Jan 23 - 12:52 PM

As in, one man's fish is another man's poisson...?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 30 Jan 23 - 05:36 PM

Well now, I've just watched one of those wonderful Transatlantic Sessions repeats, and the amazing bunch of usual suspects sang a wonderful version of the Beatles' song "I will." If they came to sing it like that at my folk club, far from walking out I'd buy all the buggers a pint. Hey but Dick...it was a "pop song..."


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 30 Jan 23 - 06:05 PM

Steve, my mate Mike does a wonderful version of 'Blackbird'. It would certainly be welcome at any folk show I attended.

And going back to to a song I mentioned earlier, I would much rather see Granny's attic perform this pop song than listen to any number of old farts discussing how folk clubs are not as good as when they were lads :-D


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 30 Jan 23 - 08:46 PM

Well, Dave, I have my Do*nu*el but at least you have your Dick... :-) :-) :-)

That's an amazingly good version of a song that, er, maybe, should never have been written. But that's folk for you too. Young maidens getting shagged up against thorns and taking the blame... Young maidens having to dress up as boy sailors... Young maidens getting murdered by lads with penknives...

I love it (as long as it's just yarns...)!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 31 Jan 23 - 01:57 PM

Dick, you're off your rocker. And off of the subject. Stuff has been moved or deleted.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: The Sandman
Date: 31 Jan 23 - 02:32 PM

Are Parodies Folk Music? Hard Times Of Old England.is a parody of The Roast Beef of Old England, but is considered by many to be folk music.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 31 Jan 23 - 05:11 PM

I would say that it's not a parody. A parody is generally some sort of a piss-take, even if fairly reverential, of the original. Further, "Hard Times" goes back almost as far. I'm guessing that the fact that it's a "parody" (by your definition) escapes most people who sing it today. Further again, it's a song with serious intent, not quite what you'd expect of a parody. My friend Martin Cole and I recorded this 20 years ago. He sang and played the guitar and I played a diatonic harmonica in G (which I had to retune to get a low note!). It didn't make it on to our CD but it could have done. It never occurred to me that it was some sort of parody. I'd also remind you that simply recycling a tune with different words doesn't necessarily add up to a parody. Woody Guthrie reused tunes for his songs all the time. If a song carries an important message, who cares if it's using an old tune?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: GUEST,the Sandman
Date: 31 Jan 23 - 05:29 PM

The Roast Beef of Old England" is an English patriotic ballad. It was written by Henry Fielding for his play The Grub-Street Opera

"The Roast Beef of Old England" is an English patriotic ballad. It was written by Henry Fielding for his play The Grub-Street Opera, which was first performed in 1731. The lyrics were added to over the next twenty years. The song increased in popularity when given a new setting by the composer Richard Leveridge

When mighty Roast Beef was the Englishman's food,
It ennobled our veins and enriched our blood.
Our soldiers were brave and our courtiers were good
Oh! the Roast Beef of old England,
And old English Roast Beef!

But since we have learnt from all-vapouring France
To eat their ragouts as well as to dance,
We're fed up with nothing but vain complaisance
Oh! the Roast Beef of Old England,
And old English Roast Beef!

Our fathers of old were robust, stout, and strong,
And kept open house, with good cheer all day long,
Which made their plump tenants rejoice in this song—
Oh! The Roast Beef of old England,
And old English Roast Beef!

But now we are dwindled to, what shall I name?
A sneaking poor race, half-begotten and tame,
Who sully the honours that once shone in fame.
Oh! the Roast Beef of Old England,
And old English Roast Beef!

When good Queen Elizabeth sat on the throne,
Ere coffee, or tea, or such slip-slops were known,
The world was in terror if e'er she did frown.
Oh! The Roast Beef of old England,
And old English Roast Beef!

In those days, if Fleets did presume on the Main,
They seldom, or never, return'd back again,
As witness, the Vaunting Armada of Spain.
Oh! The Roast Beef of Old England,
And old English Roast Beef!

Oh then we had stomachs to eat and to fight
And when wrongs were cooking to do ourselves right.
But now we're a… I could, but goodnight!
Oh! the Roast Beef of Old England,
And old English Roast Beef!


HARD CHEESE OF OLD ENGLAND
(Les Barker)

There's Cheddar and Cheshire and Lancashire too,
Leicester's bright orange and Stilton is blue.
It waxes so lyrical, what can you do but sing,

Oh the hard cheese of old England,
In old England very hard cheese.

Derby got green bits because of the sage,
And when it gets older its kept in a cage.
What does it hum when it reaches this age but,

They say double Gloucester is twicest as nice,
They say double Gloucester there, I've said it twice,
Its nice in potatoes but nicest in mice.

Those damn foreigners aren't worth a mention,
Old Gorgonzolas is renowned for it stenchen,
His brother Emil wrote novels in French and sing,

There's Swaledale and Wendslydale, Rutland to add,
Shropshire and Cornish you may not have had,
It's not bad on salads this ballad's not sad and sing,

My young love said to me my mother won't mind,
And my father once liked you for your lack of rind,
No cheese greater love for his food than mankind.


Copyright Les Barker
A Traditional English Food song pre-dating Lymeswold
@food @English @parody


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 31 Jan 23 - 05:32 PM

Well that's a puzzling non-response to what I've just said..


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 31 Jan 23 - 05:48 PM

It's a good point Steve. Tunes are used and reused all over the place and this further blurs the lines of "what is folk?". Would those objecting to pop songs rail against someone singing The Seekers "The carnival is over" at a folk club? It is a pop song that uses a traditional Russia tune. Is Simple Minds' "Belfast Child" a pop song or does the tune make it folk? Does putting a folk song in the charts make it pop? Those trying to dictate rules have their work cut out!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 31 Jan 23 - 06:04 PM

Simple Minds? I happen to be staying (for the third time) in a hotel in Sicily for a week this summer which was founded and owned by Jim Kerr. I'll ask him! :-)


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 31 Jan 23 - 06:17 PM

Google Woody's song called "Way Up In The North West," about the Grand Coulee Dam. He uses the tune "On Top Of Old Smokey." Anyone care to tell me that his song is a parody?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: r.padgett
Date: 01 Feb 23 - 02:05 AM

No no, no parody ~ just part of the oral/aural tradition ~ new broadside/broadsheet? ballads had "to the tune of" and may well have been written that way (tune in mind)

Would help people to learn and sing and spread the news and currency of the song lyrics

Ray


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: GUEST,1954
Date: 01 Feb 23 - 02:06 AM

In 1954 the International Folk Music Council famously defined folk music as follows: “Folk music is the product of a musical tradition that has been evolved through the process of oral transmission.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 01 Feb 23 - 03:29 AM

...Oral transmission. &c.
Unless there's more to that, Harry Belafonte singing anything live in a football stadium would meet the standard. The council's own published & copyrighted standards could not.

Your "house" rules are a different beastie than sterile academics. Not all gen-u-wine folk songs play equally well North-South-East-West. These things are more unspoken than oral.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 01 Feb 23 - 03:49 AM

Bonneville Power Administration purchase order was cut in 1941: Lyr Req: Columbia River Collection (Woody Guthrie). Not folk?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: GUEST,1954
Date: 01 Feb 23 - 04:06 AM

It is the best definition to date.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 01 Feb 23 - 04:13 AM

It is the best definition for some people and purposes but not for everything and everyone. In my opinion.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: GUEST,Nick Dow
Date: 01 Feb 23 - 04:46 AM

Dave, Glad to see you are still participating in the discussion. Also to let you know that you are valued in the Folk scene, and I suspect upon Mudcat despite some of the less laudable comments that have been added and moved or deleted from this thread. Please send me an Email when you have time (I've lost yours), and keep playing and singing.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 01 Feb 23 - 04:49 AM

So if we stick to the oral transmission thingie, can it be possible to have folk music on a CD?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: GUEST,Nick Dow
Date: 01 Feb 23 - 05:41 AM

What a good point Steve! I personally feel CD's are a similar form of distribution to street literature in the 18th/19th century. The big difference is that the tune performance and copyright 'fix' the song. Then again this happened in smaller communities with acknowledged singers in an area. We hear of a proposed, and maybe even achieved 'Classless global music'. This is possibly a pen and ink folklorist's view, but nonetheless inspiring. I wonder to what degree community shapes the music in this day and age. I suppose for better or worse is, as always, subjective, as i mentioned above.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 01 Feb 23 - 05:43 AM

Mail sent Nick. See you soon all being well :-)


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 01 Feb 23 - 05:58 AM

The Americans do things differently. All the bios agree, Woody learned his stuff at his local public library. Quite fond of the concept meself.

Not in the bios: In Pampa, TX, The Carter Family on Mexican X-radio would come in on your dental bridgework. No radio required.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 01 Feb 23 - 06:26 AM

If I got a song from my own album, I had learned it

If I borrowed the album from the library, I had reseached it :-D


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 01 Feb 23 - 06:36 AM

Cyber folk? Songs from the Mudcat Worldwide Singaround.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: GUEST,Roderick A Warner
Date: 01 Feb 23 - 09:15 AM

Just read through this so a quick reply to amusing accusation: as a fluent baloney speaker and someone who has played sporadically in uk folk clubs for many years I always utilised a degree of improvisation in my guitar playing getting freer as time passed. When I was unable to sing anymore I would play instrumental guitar usually based on the twentieth century popular music canon, chromatic aaba forms in the main and would usually play improvised choruses. Added to this free improvisations based often on modal structures. I also played backup guitar often with a friend since deceased and usually improvised my accompanying lines to his basic ‘folk’ accompaniments and singing. Moreover, to tie in with another comment: given John Cage’s aims with 4 33 why could a performance not be considered as a form of ‘folk’ music? The sounds encompassed by the performative circumstance would be a democratic sonic experience created by the humans in the audience. And musician. Perhaps a concert could be launched called ‘Folk Cage?’ The score is easily accessible and a performer found with a banjo in a case maybe. Or similar sonic annoyance…


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: GUEST,jim bainbridge
Date: 01 Feb 23 - 03:44 PM

When I discovered this music, about 60 years ago now, the word 'folk' seemed to cover it all pretty well? I was happy with it anyway, although I now find the purists were at it even then (1954 definitions & such), and nowadays I shudder to hear the word.

'Folk' music has a serious perception problem- even the aficionados on here cannot define it, but there seems to be an urgent need to do this? No wonder the public have no idea what it is & still link it closely to Bob Dylan.... and don't ask me to define it!

   Rightly or wrongly, and despite their lack of comprehension, most people groan at the mention of the word. It's crucially a live music, and a delight to be involved in, so why is this?

   To take one small aspect of 'folk', here's often an exclusivity about it all, the closed circle of musicians (and singers) can be seen as unwelcoming, and there's often an element of the classical approach which does not accept the improvisation which is essential to jazz, for example - 'lets play number 37 next,' rustle of manuscripts.....

   Academic discussion is quite valid, but maybe there is also an element of one-upmanship in gatherings which is alien to the spirit of the music, sometimes involving tunes & songs from old collections which were rejected 200 years ago for good reasons, and should have been left to gather dust in a library.

I must admit I NEVER now listen to 'folk' programmes and there are no sessions where I live, so yes I'm out of touch, but I DO care about the music.
      I would be very pleased if some form of it regained its place as the people's music in 2023, but let's face it, most people yawn at the mere mention of 'folk' and simply perceive it as boring and irrelevant.
Sad, but true

ps or it could be that the 'people' are just not very intelligent- maybe a good argument, they did vote for Brexit....


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 01 Feb 23 - 04:17 PM

Interesting comparison there, Jim, with Brexit, and why the turkeys voted for it. I see on social media a lot of useful takes on the way the masses are manipulated on both sides of the pond, stuff like distractions by the powerful, and divide and conquer ploys by the media. I do see mass entertainment as having similar effects and probably part of the same propaganda. Mass entertainment is so ingrained in Western society now that any self-made music is seen as largely irrelevant or to be scorned.

This obsession with definitions is a waste of time. The 54 descriptors are fine when categorising songs from oral tradition but useless in trying to make sense of what comes under the folk umbrella in the modern world. This is a very complex issue and open to a wide range of opinions.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 01 Feb 23 - 04:55 PM

What I find most interesting, Steve, is why so many people on Mudcat - and so few anywhere else - tie themselves into knots trying to fit music they love into a highly abstract category they call "folk."


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: GUEST,CJS
Date: 01 Feb 23 - 04:58 PM

I was attracted to the music for several reasons.
Good Storylines, good tunes, an aura of anti establishment, circa 1966, a left wing political connection,
Ironically this has largely disappeared, perhaps this is the fault of the way the UK folk revival has been led over the last 30 years, where there has been a preoccupation with making the music more commercial.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 01 Feb 23 - 05:32 PM

...or it could be that the 'people' are just not very intelligent- maybe a good argument, they did vote for Brexit....

Intelligent folk only? Think of the children! Oh the humanity!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 02 Feb 23 - 11:13 AM

Some of the most intelligent people on the planet are just as easily manipulated, sometimes even the people doing most of the manipulating.

Spot on, Jon.

CJ, at grassroots level, all of that you describe is still there, at least in my neck of the woods. Admittedly a lot of those anti-establishment twenty-somethings have now joined the middle class and have moved their folk clubs into the leafy suburbs, but there are still plenty of us left on the left.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: StephenH
Date: 02 Feb 23 - 02:35 PM

I have managed to make my peace with the way people fling the term "folk" around. If pressed for my definition I would say something very close to the 54 description but, if asked to describe a particular group's music, I would use the term "folk" or some variant simply to
give people an idea of what to expect.
Similarly, again if pressed, I have a pretty definite idea of what I think constitutes a sea chantey but mostly keep quiet about it unless
involved in a serious discussion about the form.
I always enjoy the discussions on Mudcat about this, not in search of a final definition, but because there are so many thoughtful responses to the question from people whose opinions I have come to value through
reading their posts on a variety of topics.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: GUEST,Nick Dow
Date: 02 Feb 23 - 06:19 PM

Excellent! I was waiting for somebody to suggest the informal definition. It has worked for two or three generations of singers, and it beats Tweedle dum and Tweedle dee beating each other over the head with their conference papers. Here's to an informal subjectivity. I wish more people would accept that there is no burden of proof upon the singer, folklorist or writer. Chuck Berry was asked did he play 'Black music or Blues. He answered by saying he hadn't a clue what colour his music was. The simplest answers are often the best.


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