Mudcat Café message #1956776 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #98509   Message #1956776
Posted By: RTim
03-Feb-07 - 03:48 PM
Thread Name: Folk Process - is it dead?
Subject: RE: Folk Process - is it dead?
The Folk Process.

I would like to tell you of what Frank Purslow wrote on an LP insert in 1975, and was recently re-issued on CD (on Forest Tracks Records) about a version of a song that I recorded - ie. The Saucy Sailor Boy. (on Folk Songs From Dorset)

"These are Mrs. Gulliver's words, but the very fine tune in the mixolydian mode (which was almost certainly pentatonic - minus 2nd & 6th degrees) is from Tim's own repertoire of tunes. This particular one he heard many years ago at Sidmouth and "it just stuck".
Should you feel this is cheating, I can only point out that singers have been altering tunes and texts and changing the relationship of tunes and texts for centuries: it is, in fact, an essential part of the "folk process" {HIS quotes} and is the main difference between art music which is always performed as conceived by the original composer - and folk music - which depends upon continual re-creation (regeneration or degeneration as the case may be) at the hands of each performer.
The usual type of tune to which this song is sung is not, in fact, very English: a heavily accented 3 / 4 obviously inspired by the landler type tunes beloved of the German bands which used to be a regular feature of 19th century towns. I do not think the words are of very great age, probably not earlier than the 1830's. The broadside texts I have seen are all of a fairly late date."

That is the quote in total. I think it explains The Folk Process.

Tim Radford