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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
Scrump What IS Folk Music? (132* d) RE: What IS Folk Music? 15 Mar 07


The question of anonymity of authorship is interesting, because what would happen if somebody uncovered documentary evidence that (say) Shakespeare had written a song that had hitherto been regarded as "Anon". Would that mean that a song previously regarded as 'folk' would suddenly be disqualified? Cecil Sharp would have said so, presumably.

I think that I might find (but, of course, don't actually know until I - or you - do it!) that most of these disgruntled individuals think that existing definitions of 'Folk Music' are too narrow and should be adjusted to include their own particular favourite type of music. I think that I also might find that these people just want to assert that their favourite musical form is 'folk' but they want an 'expert'or 'authority' to justify their position for them.

You may well be right that some people have such motives, but I don't think you can assert that applies to all people who think that existing definitions of 'Folk Music' are too narrow. I think many of us just want to get closer to a definition that includes what we think is folk music, that others might exclude from their definition. This needn't be our 'favourite musical form', just something that we consider ought to be included in the definition. These people are not necessarily 'disgruntled', they are just trying to come up with a better definition than one that currently doesn't satisfy everybody.

As others have said, things have moved on a bit since 1954. At that time there probably weren't some of the types of music now regarded as 'folk' by some people, e.g. the contemporary songwriters who perform(ed) their own songs such as Guthrie, Dylan, Paxton. If these people had been around in 1954, maybe the definition would have been different? I'm not saying it would have been, because I bow to the knowledge of those who are familiar with the document in question, but I'm just raising questions like this as part of this discussion (which again I assert our right to have, regardless of previous discussions that may or may not have taken place).

I think the term 'Folk Police' is shorthand for blinkered bigots who have their own idea as to what folk music is or isn't, and tries to impose that view on everybody else, riding roughshod over any objections.


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