Mudcat Café message #3939042 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #162666   Message #3939042
Posted By: GUEST,Pseudonymous
23-Jul-18 - 04:41 PM
Thread Name: New Book: Folk Song in England
Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
Well, we'll see.

I have been looking into Gerould, though as I have a pdf and not a book it is a bit frustrating to read. However, he seems to have a 'use' rather than an 'origin' definition of folk, rather like Roud (p3 of the 57 Galaxy Reprint of Gerould) and Karpeles. It seems Gerould had a specific 'recreation' theory about this. I still have a lot to read in Gerould.

Gerould has got me thinking just how it may be that the same stories (whether in ballad/narrative song form or not) crop up all over Europe. I found, as you will see from a new thread, which may or may not lead to discussion, a specific example where a work by a known Anglo-Norman poet got itself into a number of European languages.

This is really quite off-topic, but I am not going to criticise Roud for not going into all these theories and this far back in history, as a) he has enough of interest to say without it and b) Gerould himself at times flags up when he is being conjectural.

Unlike Roud, Gerould's discussion of music is closely linked with his discussion of words. He explains why on pages 11-12. However, Gerould can do this because the ballad as 'genre' is narrower than the concept of 'folk music'.

I have been listening to some 'collected' English folk, mostly via Spotify. One thing that strikes me is how sober the singers sound, yet much traditional singing is said to have taken place in pubs, and, according to some first-hand accounts given by Roud, in quite rowdy circumstances. Plus, of course, in the past people didn't drink water because it wasn't as safe as beer. I'm wondering what if anything was lost or at least different when the Victorian/Edwardian collectors interacted with tradition bearers in the sober contexts they did.

Gerould's last chapter (on American folk songs) reminds us how many ballads came back to the UK from the US, including some we might describe as 'blues', but I don't think Gerould does. Roud also charts the effect that American music has had on what the people in England sings, going back surprisingly far.

I was always told that my ancestors had been abolitionists, and I know that some ballads in the Bodleian touch on slavery. I don't remember anything on this in Roud, but I might be wrong. This might be an interesting area of study.

A few thoughts.