Mudcat Café message #3937914 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #162666   Message #3937914
Posted By: Steve Gardham
17-Jul-18 - 10:04 AM
Thread Name: New Book: Folk Song in England
Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
>>>>>>>This emphasis makes it difficult, in terms of Karpeles' view, to argue that material composed in, say, 1950 would count as 'folk' music, on the basis that it has not been through the mill of re-fashioning and re-creation.<<<<<< Tzu


And therein lies one of the best examples of why we can't place hard and fast boundaries on this 'definition'. You say tentatively '1950'. Everybody here will probably have a different idea of when this date should be, or how long it takes a song to become a folksong. Those who have attempted to do this have offered when the song passes from one generation to another. That can be 25 years or 50 years or a century or in the case of playground songs, one year group to another. Be interested to see if Jim could put a date to this.


Examples:
My Brudda Sylvest, dated 1908, American. By 1950 the song was being sung in a variety of forms in English pub sings with no-one having any memory of where it came from, (probably spread during WWI WWII forces intermixing)

Common Bill, dated about 1870, Music Hall, published as a folk song in Lucy Broadwood's English County Songs, 1893, and appears in several later collections.

Many of the Music Hall songs of Harry Clifton, Harry Linn and J. B. Geoghegan appeared in the collections round about 1900 simply because they sound and look like folksongs.

Mayhew's 'London Labour etc.' contains an account of an interview by Mayhew with the writer of 'Bonny Bunch of Roses O' (probably John Morgan who wrote several other pieces that went into oral tradition)

I could go on quoting examples going back to the 17th century.

BTW the first draft of the 54 definition did include the descriptor that any song of which the author is known could not be a folksong. For obvious reasons within a year this descriptor was dropped.