Mudcat Café message #3948073 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #162666   Message #3948073
Posted By: Steve Gardham
04-Sep-18 - 01:05 PM
Thread Name: New Book: Folk Song in England
Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
Thanks for coming back in, jag. The evidence in the book and other evidence we have would seem to suggest that communal singing of full songs was rare in oral tradition. Regardless of what category you would put coach parties and the practice of community singing in, this is not normally regarded as part of our folk song tradition, though it could be argued that it is. The over-riding feature of this type of singing is it relies on singing medleys of choruses. It certainly was/is a practice of the 'folk' but it has its own features. The vast majority of what has been recorded as folksong in this country is narrative, the ballad, and generally, but with a few exceptions as we have seen, this is one singer, one song. Even the iterative catalogue songs more often than not need a lead singer with others coming in on the bits of refrain and repeats.

The short answer to your question is that communal singing would seem to be much more a feature of the revival than anything earlier in oral tradition.