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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
Gibb Sahib What makes a new song a folk song? (1710* d) RE: What makes a new song a folk song? 07 Sep 14


Jim,

"scholars today are receptive to the many ways performers and audiences conceptualize what they (performers and audiences) call "Folk,"

Then we need to know how they have incorporated their receptiveness into a new definition - so far nothing.


Why on earth would the scholars make a new definition? I just said that in my opinion the use of "folk" as if it were a scholarly term is nonsense, has no functional value, and in my observation is not used (i.e. with the pretense of meaning something universal) outside parochial, stuck-in-the-past circles.

They are receptive to non-scholarly meanings of "Folk" because 1) these do not threaten to be confounded with a precise / scientific meaning…because there isn't one. Even "1954" is non-scholarly - even if it was considered so in the past.
2) the trend is to respect the ideas of people you're studying, and, in the appropriately designated contexts, use the most efficacious language when in dialogue.

Like I said in the example before, when someone in India tells me something is "folk music," I don't say "Oh no, you're wrong - that isn't folk because of xyz". I try to determine what ABC makes them call it that. Then I can have conversations with them and we can use "folk" to communicate on the same page. But in my own research/writing, I don't confuse the broad audience by calling that thing "folk" (nor do I say, again, that it's not). I might say that the people FGH customarily refer to this as "folk," but more importantly I describe it in neutral terms.

You don't have to go as "far off" as India to apply this. It's all about being descriptive rather than prescriptive.


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