Mudcat Café message #1951270 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #98509   Message #1951270
Posted By: Scoville
29-Jan-07 - 11:20 AM
Thread Name: Folk Process - is it dead?
Subject: RE: Folk Process - is it dead?
Short answer: No.

Long answer: I always assume that somebody else is going to hear something different in a piece of music than I might hear, and I think that, logically, I have to extend this to things that I write. I've taught people tunes as they sounded to me, then heard them playing them slightly differently six months later. Sometimes they misremembered them, sometimes they heard another version somewhere else and borrowed something they liked from it, sometimes it was a "spontaneous mutation". Whatever. I don't take it personally. I also discourage people from getting too fixated on my dulcimer strum pattern, etc., when teaching tunes, not because I'm possessive about "my" version but because I would rather they focus on the spirit rather than the letter of the music.

I think "wrong" is relative--if I'm playing in a group and everyone else wants to play version A of "Granny Will Your Dog Bite" with no accidentals, and I insist on playing version B with the accidental, I'm relatively wrong, at least in that situation. It's the same tune overall, though, so I may not be absolutely wrong. But overall, I think one has to be pretty far wrong to actually be wrong.

Personally, I'd rather be variant-tolerant than a slave to the definitive version. It drives me nuts when people insist that so-and-so's way is the only way to do a tune.