Mudcat Café message #3938074 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #162666   Message #3938074
Posted By: GUEST,Pseudonymous
18-Jul-18 - 06:30 AM
Thread Name: New Book: Folk Song in England
Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
Yes, of course Scotland still is part of the UK/Britain, though opinion there is divided on whether to continue as such. Though if you go back far enough in time the old kingdoms took in swathes of what are now England and Scotland, eg Northumbria, once a kingdom of the Angles, took in Edinburgh. The ancient kingdom of Rheged likewise crossed the border. A friend in Scotland still calls the English 'Anglish', though he would have been living in Northumbria had he been born in the same place centuries earlier.

I think somebody suggested that English people are not musically creative any more. People in England are still being musically creative, albeit not writing folk songs, which, on some arguments is impossible nowadays, as the via oral tradition preservation criterion cannot apply except retrospectively.

I thought of writing a list starting with Lennon and MacCartney and including examples from English/British musicians and songwriters with varying ethnic backgrounds, including rappers and British Asian music. I know (before somebody points it out to me) that as 'commercial' music this won't count as 'folk', which is supposed to be non-commercial at the point of origin, but it shows creativity.

I've written songs; I know several people who have made up songs. Some of these are in one of the many 'pop' genres, some are observational comedy.


My penny's worth is that non-literate people probably made more use of their memories than literate people, as they could not write stuff they needed to remember down. The idea (not that anybody here expressed it) that non-literacy was a sign of lack of intelligence is a relatively recent one. So I wouldn't buy that as an explanation for lack of song-making. Even young kids can memorise nursery rhymes. The fallibility of memory is presumably one source of variation in old songs passed down 'orally'.

On the lack of old 'ballads' as a template, I agree with Jack.

Re the comment that Roud lacks songs whereas these are in Lloyd. The two books are quite different in aim and scope. But I think that the point that Roud and Bishop already produced a book of songs is a fair one. But not all the 'lyrics' in Lloyd have music alongside them, though many do, so it isn't really a source book. I find Lloyd rambly in places, whereas the Roud book is more organised.