Mudcat Café message #3879711 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #162666   Message #3879711
Posted By: Jim Carroll
02-Oct-17 - 03:49 AM
Thread Name: New Book: Folk Song in England
Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
I don't wish to extend this - I have made my position quite clear on the idea that our folk songs originated in print for money
I'll add a couple of points and leave it there for perhaps less acrimonious discussion
Steve mentioned Burns, who was collecting songs from unlettered Scots country people which he gave to James Johnson for publication in his 'Scots Musical Museum', the title of which declares the songs to be old
I dug out Mary Ellen Brown's 'Burns and the Tradition last night - this is her quote on Burns.

In a famous biographical letter to Dr Moore written after he had received acclaim as a poet, Burns described the influences he had come under when he was a boy and specifically mentions his mother and an old woman, loosely connected with the family, who provided him with an early stock of songs, tales, legends, beliefs, proverbs, and customs:

"In my infant and boyish days too, I owed much to an old Maid of my Mother's, remarkable for her ignorance, credulity and superstition. - She had, I suppose, the largest collection in the county of tales and songs concerning devils, ghosts, fairies, brownies, witches, warlocks, spunkies, kelpies, elf-candles, dead-lights, wraiths, apparitions, cantraips, giants, inchanted towers, dragons and other trumpery."

The oral artistic creations, cumulatively built and recreated, passed on from generation to generation, stable in general form but varied in individual performance, were his birthright and a natural and universal part of the general society in which he lived - where traditional custom, belief, and practice dominated and overt creativity and innovation were not sought. This traditionally oriented way of life and the oral artistic communications it supported and sustained played a far more signifi¬cant role in shaping and determining the directions of Burns' artistry than has been recognised.
Like all writers or creative artists, Burns was not an isolate; and he cannot be realistically divorced from the milieu in which he lived. He was a product of what had gone before and what was and his artistry often lay in uniquely blending, juxtaposing, or representing this. He was a part of a long tradition.

Steve had already conceded that the Bothie worker made songs by the hundreds unaided by printed versions - if them, why not other agricultural workers
I also dug out 'I have a Yong Suster', popular song and the Middle English Lyric, (Karin Boklund Lagopoulou, which examines song-making as far back as the 1300s and discusses at length oral composition in pre-literate Early England, comparing it to that common in Eastern Europe,.
My first clash with Steve was when he asked me disparagingly "do you believe that romantic rubbish" - not a good start to a sharing of ideas and experiences.
THere are a lot of us "romantics" about.
Time to mend fences perhaps
Jim Carroll