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Cecil Sharp and the Keeper

DigiTrad:
THE KEEPER


Related threads:
(origins) Lyr/Origins: The Keeper (37)
Lyr/Chords Req: The Keeper (Frank Hennessy) (10)


The Sandman 20 Oct 06 - 05:15 AM
nutty 20 Oct 06 - 07:09 AM
GUEST 20 Oct 06 - 07:26 AM
Mick Pearce (MCP) 20 Oct 06 - 08:26 AM
The Sandman 20 Oct 06 - 08:33 AM
The Sandman 20 Oct 06 - 09:07 AM
Mick Pearce (MCP) 20 Oct 06 - 10:59 AM
Fidjit 20 Oct 06 - 03:58 PM
dick greenhaus 20 Oct 06 - 05:33 PM
Richard Bridge 20 Oct 06 - 08:27 PM
The Sandman 21 Oct 06 - 06:04 AM
Snuffy 21 Oct 06 - 06:53 AM
The Sandman 21 Oct 06 - 06:58 AM
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Subject: c sharp and the keeper
From: The Sandman
Date: 20 Oct 06 - 05:15 AM

It is reasonable to assume, when four different encyclopaedia on the web, talk about Cecil Sharps, bowdlerisation of the Keeper that this information is correct.
Then I go to TONY MCARTHY[BAWDY BRITISH FOLK SONGS;he says.
To some of the collectors who went out to find what they imagined to be the dying music of the peasantry, at the end of the last century,this was a matter of some horror..They were impressed by the beauty of the melodies but felt obliged to edit or suppress many words.
THEN I go to my own personal experience, we sang the keeper at school, the version from Sharps songs for schools,   which had no SEXUAL CONNOTATIONS, and certainly was not about rape.
ThenJim Carroll[ A Respected collector himself] says Sharp changed the words of songs to make them acceptable in schools.
If anyone can provide the text to the original version and also the version in the schools version, It would clarify matters.


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Subject: RE: c sharp and the keeper
From: nutty
Date: 20 Oct 06 - 07:09 AM

This link will take you to an original broadside in the Bodleian Library. There is no doubt that Sharp would be shocked at the content. In Fact, it is catalogued in the Bodleian as being about Sexual Intercourse. THE KEEPER


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Subject: RE: c sharp and the keeper
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Oct 06 - 07:26 AM

Thanks Nutty.
Cap'n,
I said Sharp changed the songs in order to get them accepted in schools AMONG OTHER REASONS.
He was very much a product of his own times. Try and beg, borrow or steal a copy of 'Some Conclusions'; also Maud Karpeles biography of Sharp is enlightning, as if Fox-Strageways biography.
Please don't make the mistake that Dave Harker did with 'Fakelore' and throw the baby out with the bathwater. It's easy to be right in hindsight
Jim Carroll
PS Won't be able to finish this discussion till Sunday - off to the UK AGAIN


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Subject: RE: c sharp and the keeper
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 20 Oct 06 - 08:26 AM

Have a look at Malcolm posts in Lyr/Origins: The Keeper , where you can see the version published for schools and the original collected version.

Here's a quote from Maud Karpeles' Cecil Sharp on the subject: "The following year (1906) the collaboration between Sharp and Baring-Gould resulted in the publication of English Folk Songs for Schools. The songs are drawn from their collections; and the Introduction explains that 'this collection has been made to meet the requirements of the Board of Education, and is composed of melodies strictly pertaining to the people, to which words have been set as closely adhering to the original as was possible considering the purpose of the book'. Cecil Sharp was not very happy about the texts in this volume, although he had given his approval to them. But he felt, rightly or wrongly, that the all-important thing was to get the songs with their beautiful melodies introduced in to the schools, and if a slight bowdlerization of the words would assist the object, then the end justified the means."

This section (pp 52/53 in my edition) goes on to explain his reasons for altering published texts, quoting from the preface to Folk Songs from Somerset: "...In a few instances the sentiment of the song has been softened, because the conventions of our less delicate and more dishonest time demand such treatment, but indication has been given, and we plead compulsion and not desire in these alterations..."

Later she says: "Thirdly, as has already been mentioned, there are songs in which the sentiment was too outspoken for the conventions of the early part of this century. In the present day there would be little to give offence."

(present times was 1967 - MCP note).


Hope this gives some background.

Mick


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Subject: RE: c sharp and the keeper
From: The Sandman
Date: 20 Oct 06 - 08:33 AM

DEAR JIM, Ihave made it clear elsewhere that I admire Cecil Sharp, but I Think other early folk song collectors, deserve the same recognition.,
But we should be able to make FAIR criticism of Sharp as well WHICH I think is what I have done.
   TO Malcolm Douglas, I Have alot of respect for your scholarship, but on this occasion it is not me that is ill informed.


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Subject: RE: c sharp and the keeper
From: The Sandman
Date: 20 Oct 06 - 09:07 AM

SO the original broadside is different, from Sharps schools version.
And even if Sharp did have very good reasons, perhaps he was right, perhaps he wasnt.
he still altered the text and bowdlerised the song,that is not necessarily a judgement, but a fact.


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Subject: RE: c sharp and the keeper
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 20 Oct 06 - 10:59 AM

Dick

I think you miss the point - it's irrelevant that the schools version differs from the broadside version; most collected songs differ from broadside versions of the same song, that's part of the folk process.

It is relevant that the version published for schools wasn't what he collected, but those were the times. He was no different from other collectors - Baring-Gould found the words he collected for the same song to be too gross. (I seem to recall that Kidson in TT will print a verse of a song and then dismiss the rest as doggerel and omit it). But while Sharp may not have published the original text in the schools edition, he did collect and keep the text as sung - you can go and read his notebooks at CSH (at least you could in former times, I don't know about current status) or look at the published collection by Karpeles.


Mick


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Subject: RE: c sharp and the keeper
From: Fidjit
Date: 20 Oct 06 - 03:58 PM

I'm still altering the words. 'Cos like Sharp's singers, they couldn't remember all the words either.
Part of the living tradition.
Chas


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Subject: RE: c sharp and the keeper
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 20 Oct 06 - 05:33 PM

IMO. the most egregious bowdlerization Sharp committed was to "On Yonder Hill There Stands a Maiden" (or Oh! No John"), in which he totally lost the point of the story in which the lady is instructed to answer "no"--regardless of the question. But while Sharp was a brilliant collector of traditional material, who says that his work was traditional?


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Subject: RE: c sharp and the keeper
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 20 Oct 06 - 08:27 PM

What we need to do is to recapture the "original" words, then we can decide which version to sing.

Personally, I have always thought the Keeper was pretty obviously sexual, what with the references to the hidden bow, 'n'all.


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Subject: RE: c sharp and the keeper
From: The Sandman
Date: 21 Oct 06 - 06:04 AM

Yes I agree, it was important that Sharp kept the original text, fair play to him .I never subscribe to the philosophy that the ends justifies the means[ Baring Gould and Sharp attitude to bowdlerisation for songs for schools]look at the terrible political atrocities that have been justified using this philosophy.


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Subject: RE: c sharp and the keeper
From: Snuffy
Date: 21 Oct 06 - 06:53 AM

There is a vast difference between bowdlerising texts in order to promote particular political, religious or moral views and reluctantly "toning down" a text to get it published at all.

As MCP has pointed out above, Sharp was not happy with what he had to do: he spelled it out quite clearly in the preface to Folk Songs from Somerset, quoted above: "...In a few instances the sentiment of the song has been softened, because the conventions of our less delicate and more dishonest time demand such treatment, but indication has been given, and we plead compulsion and not desire in these alterations..."

When the alternatives were minimal "bowdlerisation" or total suppression, what would you have done?


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Subject: RE: c sharp and the keeper
From: The Sandman
Date: 21 Oct 06 - 06:58 AM

Probably, takenout of my knapsack a fiddle and played a few tunes.


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