Mudcat Café message #3945986 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #162666   Message #3945986
Posted By: Vic Smith
24-Aug-18 - 07:40 AM
Thread Name: New Book: Folk Song in England
Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
I'll try again and try to press the right key this time....

Pseudonymous writes:-
I was looking at Roud again and he said in one chapter that a lot of tunes served both as dance tunes and as song tunes. Now dance presupposes rhythm. Yet I could not tap my feet to much of what Walter Pardon sang, and I found myself thinking that the strong sense of rhythm in USA folk versions of British originals must have come from African influences. Am I incorrect in noticing a lack of rhythm, and how typical in your view is that relatively rhythmless delivery of 'traditional' English singing?

This is a very interesting question which calls for a thoughtful answer, particularly the part that says Am I incorrect in noticing a lack of rhythm? because this question implies that the answer should be 'yes' or 'no'.

One of the greatest influeneces on my thinking on anything - not just the area around folk music has been the writings of the great American novelist, philosopher and thinker, Robert Pirsig. I read his Zen & the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance as a young man and I have re-read it more times than any other book I have read. It led me on to read all the other things he has read. I must admit that I sometimes find his ideas difficult and I struggle with the concepts, but usually I find the truth in what he is saying. On this point, particularly if you haven't read his greatest book, you might like to have a look at the extracts that deal with this aspect on the Awakin website. Basically what Pirsig is saying that the answer to a question of this nature should be 'yes', 'no' or 'mu'
Mu means "no thing." Like "quality" it points outside the process of dualistic discrimination. Mu simply says, "no class: not one, not zero, not yes, not no." It states that the context of the question is such that a yes and a no answer is in error and should not be given. "Unask the question" is what it says.

Elsewhere Pirsig suggests that an answer of 'mu' implies that you are asking the wrong question and I believe that you are in this case. I really have to go out now, but I want to try to answer this point more fully when I come back home.