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The Folk Process

Related threads:
Folk Process - is it dead? (244)
what is the Folk Process (35)
Steps in the Folk Process (54)
The New Folk Process (youtube link) (19)
What does the term 'folk process' mean? (23)


The Sandman 08 Sep 09 - 03:12 AM
GUEST 08 Sep 09 - 03:18 AM
Howard Jones 08 Sep 09 - 03:39 AM
theleveller 08 Sep 09 - 03:52 AM
greg stephens 08 Sep 09 - 03:57 AM
MGM·Lion 08 Sep 09 - 04:23 AM
Howard Jones 08 Sep 09 - 04:51 AM
GUEST, Sminky 08 Sep 09 - 05:08 AM
glueman 08 Sep 09 - 05:16 AM
Jack Blandiver 08 Sep 09 - 05:46 AM
Howard Jones 08 Sep 09 - 05:54 AM
Richard Bridge 08 Sep 09 - 05:59 AM
GUEST,Shimrod 08 Sep 09 - 06:00 AM
The Sandman 08 Sep 09 - 06:25 AM
Jack Blandiver 08 Sep 09 - 06:30 AM
GUEST,Mr Red 08 Sep 09 - 06:33 AM
Howard Jones 08 Sep 09 - 06:34 AM
MGM·Lion 08 Sep 09 - 06:37 AM
Howard Jones 08 Sep 09 - 06:42 AM
Howard Jones 08 Sep 09 - 07:03 AM
Jack Campin 08 Sep 09 - 07:11 AM
BobKnight 08 Sep 09 - 07:11 AM
glueman 08 Sep 09 - 07:14 AM
Jim Carroll 08 Sep 09 - 07:25 AM
Jack Blandiver 08 Sep 09 - 07:31 AM
The Sandman 08 Sep 09 - 07:49 AM
Jack Campin 08 Sep 09 - 07:51 AM
The Sandman 08 Sep 09 - 07:54 AM
GUEST,Shimrod 08 Sep 09 - 08:07 AM
Jack Blandiver 08 Sep 09 - 01:12 PM
Jack Campin 08 Sep 09 - 01:22 PM
Brian Peters 08 Sep 09 - 01:28 PM
Jamming With Ollie Beak (inactive) 08 Sep 09 - 01:31 PM
Brian Peters 08 Sep 09 - 01:37 PM
The Sandman 08 Sep 09 - 01:44 PM
Jim Carroll 08 Sep 09 - 01:48 PM
Goose Gander 08 Sep 09 - 01:50 PM
MGM·Lion 08 Sep 09 - 01:54 PM
Jamming With Ollie Beak (inactive) 08 Sep 09 - 01:56 PM
Jack Campin 08 Sep 09 - 02:08 PM
Jamming With Ollie Beak (inactive) 08 Sep 09 - 02:13 PM
theleveller 08 Sep 09 - 02:32 PM
GUEST,Sedayne (Astray) (S O'P) 08 Sep 09 - 03:13 PM
McGrath of Harlow 08 Sep 09 - 03:32 PM
Brian Peters 08 Sep 09 - 03:33 PM
Jim Carroll 08 Sep 09 - 04:07 PM
Jamming With Ollie Beak (inactive) 08 Sep 09 - 04:42 PM
glueman 08 Sep 09 - 04:52 PM
Goose Gander 08 Sep 09 - 05:41 PM
McGrath of Harlow 08 Sep 09 - 06:11 PM
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Subject: The Folk Process
From: The Sandman
Date: 08 Sep 09 - 03:12 AM

How important is it as an ingredient in what defines a folk song,or if you prefer,a song that is compatible with the accepted traditional repertoire?


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Subject: RE: The Folk Process
From: GUEST
Date: 08 Sep 09 - 03:18 AM

Definition of your terms please.

accepted
folk
song
traditional
repertoire
ingredient
important


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Subject: RE: The Folk Process
From: Howard Jones
Date: 08 Sep 09 - 03:39 AM

I am one of those who believe it is the crucial factor in identifying a folk song. There are plenty of very good songs which are perfectly compatible with the traditional repertoire, but until they have gone through the "folk process" and developed recognisable variants they cannot be "folk songs".


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Subject: RE: The Folk Process
From: theleveller
Date: 08 Sep 09 - 03:52 AM

I don't understand the question. What is the folk process and what is a traditional repertoire? And how come I've enjoyed 45 years listening to and performing folk songs without knowing?


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Subject: RE: The Folk Process
From: greg stephens
Date: 08 Sep 09 - 03:57 AM

In my book, the "folk proces" is the essential part of any definition of folk. If a song has fixed words and tune, it is not a folk song. Simple. Obviously, other people have other opinions and think all sorts of fixed songs can be called folksongs. Well, that is their privilege. Top err is human.


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Subject: RE: The Folk Process
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 08 Sep 09 - 04:23 AM

I don't think we can entirely escape the 1954 statement, ESPECIALLY   the existence-of-variant-versions requirement. It is something that non-folkies don't understand — I once many years ago played my father the Copper Family's Presents Song - ie their version of The 12 Days Of Xmas, & he was genuinely distressed and disorientated: "But that is an absolutely standard song that everybody knows" he kept saying. Whereas we all know about versions, the oral tradition, and so on; and it is to a huge extent the existence of variants that bespeaks to us the true traditionality of a song, tale, dance, &c, however any particular individual might perform or choose to accompany it and in whatever style.


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Subject: RE: The Folk Process
From: Howard Jones
Date: 08 Sep 09 - 04:51 AM

Leveller, the "folk process" is the process of oral transmission of a song during which changes (conscious or unconscious on the part of the singer) take place and different variants arise.

Using the term "folk song" in a technical sense, this process is an essential characteristic. However the term has come to have a broader meaning which defies precise definition but which arouses strong passions, at least on Mudcat. Nowadays many people prefer the term "traditional song" to mean one which has gone through the folk process, to differentiate it from "folk song" in the wider popular meaning.

There are numerous threads debating these topics ad nauseam, usually without coming to any concensus. I suspect this one will be no different. If you must, try searching for "what is folk?" or "1954 definition".


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Subject: RE: The Folk Process
From: GUEST, Sminky
Date: 08 Sep 09 - 05:08 AM

Variants are evidence that a song has been passed on orally over time/distance. They are therefore an indication of longevity - nothing more.

However, where once there was only a single means of transmission, today we have TV, iPods, WWW, CDs and YouTube to name but a few.

If you believe that a song must change before it can be called a 'folk' song then it follows that you must also believe there can be no new folksongs - and I wish you well.

However, there are some of us who reject this 'rear-view-mirror' mentality and rejoice in the enrichment of the folk repertoire by modern creations.


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Subject: RE: The Folk Process
From: glueman
Date: 08 Sep 09 - 05:16 AM

There you have it Sminky.


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Subject: RE: The Folk Process
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 08 Sep 09 - 05:46 AM

I don't think we can entirely escape the 1954 statement,

Not around here you can't anyway, MtheGM - a not altogether unexpected state of affairs given the autistically intransigent Cultural Fundamentalism that is is the defining factor of the Folk Revival. What is The Folk Process anyway? Or rather - what was it? What were its laws? What were its mechanisms? Sure the evidence is there, but the interpretation of that evidence seems to overlook the fundamentals, seeing humanity in terms of its collective objectivity rather than its individual subjectivity.

This is a fundamental flaw of not just TFP and the 1954 Definition but also the foundation of the folk song revival as a whole - in effect a social condescension which saw these grubby rustics as passive carriers of a cultural phenomenon they couldn't possibly understand, rather than the active determinators of that phenomenon that they most surely were. Could, therefore, our entire concept of The Folk Process (and the 1954 Defination) have its roots in the sloppy, selective & agenda driven field-work on the part of the early collectors who saw the songs as being of greater significance than their lowly, ill-educated singers? Perish the very thought!


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Subject: RE: The Folk Process
From: Howard Jones
Date: 08 Sep 09 - 05:54 AM

Sminky, variants are also evidence of a unique creative process, one which is not the work of an individual or people working in collaboration, but the work of a series of people each bringing their own individuality not only to the performance but to the actual structure of the song.

Of course modern creations can enrich the repertoire, and I sing a good many myself. It's not impossible for newly-created songs to become "folk songs" in time - it's happened with John Connolly's "Fiddlers Green" and a number of Ewan McColl's songs, for example. It's perhaps more difficult than it was, because we have a mental concept of a "correct" version of a song and easy access to printed or recorded sources to verify the correct version, but it's not impossible.

Modern creations have always enriched the folk repertoire - where do you think the songs came from? Some were undoubtedly created by now-unknown "folk", while others can be traced back to popular music of the time. In both cases, it is the evolution of the songs as they are passed on which makes them "folk songs". Most singers included both popular and traditional songs in their repertoire, and some (Walter Pardon for example) made a clear distinction between them. However, quite often music hall and other relatively recent popular songs found in the repertoires of traditional singers varied from the originals, so you could say they were going through the folk process.

There seems to be a feeling in all these discussions that by making a distinction between songs which have gone through the folk process and modern creations, we are somehow saying that the modern creations are not worthy. That's not the case. All we are saying is that traditional songs have a particular characteristic - they have shown longevity precisely because they have appealed to successive generations of singers, each of whom has left their own imprint, not just in interpretation but also on the structure of the song itself. I happen to think that makes those songs particularly interesting. A modern song, no matter how fine, has still to do that.

I find it helpful to be able to differentiate the two, just as Walter Pardon did. But when it comes down to songs I wish to sing or to listen to, there are only good songs and bad songs, and they can come from either category.


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Subject: RE: The Folk Process
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 08 Sep 09 - 05:59 AM

Howard, you are right. Leveller did not know because he did not and does not want to know, and Sminky overlooks that songs do still change, despite recording media. Sweeney O'Pibroch for some unfathomable reason is devoted to gymnastics of thought entirely to deny the nature of folk arts.


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Subject: RE: The Folk Process
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 08 Sep 09 - 06:00 AM

Ah! So those were the 'thought crmes' that you were hoping to accuse us of in the other thread that you started were they, SO'P?

- Autistically intransigent Cultural Fundamentalism.

- Social condescension.

- Supporting sloppy, selective & agenda driven field workers.

I don't know - the lengths that some people will go to to get their favourite music admitted to the folk canon!


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Subject: RE: The Folk Process
From: The Sandman
Date: 08 Sep 09 - 06:25 AM

absolutely spot on, Sminky.
logically[Using Howards logic] a song like Caledonia becomes a folk song,because Dougie decided to change a verse,yet Ewan MacColls Freeborn Man,hasnt because no one has changed it,that is ridiculous.
what one should make clear,is that it is one of the ingredients but not the sole defining point,that a song can be a Folk song without it being folk processed.there are other factors that are important
in the Computer age,and in the future,songs will and are being learned orally via the computer,people can go back and check the words of a new song in minute detail.
so the accidental changing of words could well disappear.
does that mean the only new folk songs will be modern songs that have been deliberately altered, if that is the case logically I could claim
That if I [for example ]altered the words of Sailortown, or The January Man that makes it a folk song but if it isnt altered it cant be a folk song.
no ,that will not do ,we must also look at why traditional folk songs have survived,it is not solely to do with the fact they have been folk processed,it is do with quality,those that were no good have been forgotten.
also if one follows Howards logic further ,modern songs could not become a folk song until they have passed a certain amount of years duration,what does this have to be ten years,25 years, fifty?.
no the folk process is only a part ingredient,one cannot rule out a quality song ,and say it is not a folk song just because the words are so well written and timeless that no one can improve them


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Subject: RE: The Folk Process
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 08 Sep 09 - 06:30 AM

Sweeney O'Pibroch for some unfathomable reason is devoted to gymnastics of thought entirely to deny the nature of folk arts.

More to clarify their nature actually.


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Subject: RE: The Folk Process
From: GUEST,Mr Red
Date: 08 Sep 09 - 06:33 AM

The Folk Process is being there and doing it

what happens then is the frailty of the human cerebelum and Mondegreens.

And I wouldn't have it any other way.


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Subject: RE: The Folk Process
From: Howard Jones
Date: 08 Sep 09 - 06:34 AM

SOP, you refer to "a social condescension which saw these grubby rustics as passive carriers of a cultural phenomenon they couldn't possibly understand, rather than the active determinators of that phenomenon that they most surely were. Could, therefore, our entire concept of The Folk Process (and the 1954 Defination) have its roots in the sloppy, selective & agenda driven field-work on the part of the early collectors who saw the songs as being of greater significance than their lowly, ill-educated singers?"

Surely Sharp came to the opposite conclusions - he says that "folk songs originated among those who play and sing it; that it is the product of the folk muse, and that neither the skilled musician nor his compositions have inspired its creation". He goes on to argue that songs which originate from an individual are then shaped by the community. Sharp's (admittedly romantic) view of the primitive peasant untouched by outside influences was not to deny their creativity, rather to say that they possessed a particular kind of creativity which truly expressed their inherent native culture without having been contaminated by other ideas.

Sharp's language can appear patronising to modern ears, and ideas about the original sources of folk songs have moved on. It is also true that his fieldwork was selective by modern standards, and he had an agenda. However his "Conclusions" were centred around the idea of these "grubby rustics" creating and developing their songs, rather than being mere passive carriers of them.


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Subject: RE: The Folk Process
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 08 Sep 09 - 06:37 AM

Yes one can Dick. It's not just a matter of QUALITY, it's also a matter of CATEGORY and of accepted DEFINITION.

I happen to think that 'Les Sylphides', Diaghilev Ballet, 1910, music Chopin, choreography Michel Fokine, is a wonderful dance creation. And I happen also to like Folk Dance. But the QUALITY of the first doesn't in itself make it the second, does it! And would you want it to?

Unless that is we are to go back to that BLOODY HORSE of Satchmo's or Broonzy's or whoever the smartarse was who thought he'd said something profound when all he has said was bollox... 'a DREARY axiom' as Bert Lloyd called it.


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Subject: RE: The Folk Process
From: Howard Jones
Date: 08 Sep 09 - 06:42 AM

"what happens then is the frailty of the human cerebelum and Mondegreens."

That's a rather negative and degenerative view. Of course, forgetfulness and misunderstandings play their part, but often a singer would make deliberate changes, adding or subtracting to make the story more understandable or better to sing.

There is also evidence that many of them did not have a fixed idea of either text or tune, and would "make it up as they went along", not in the dismissive modern sense but more in the way of a good storyteller or comedian, who will create their tale around a fixed structure of events, but never the same way twice.


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Subject: RE: The Folk Process
From: Howard Jones
Date: 08 Sep 09 - 07:03 AM

Dick, the folk process is just that, a process. If Dougie Maclean changes the words to Caledonia or you change the words to The January Man, that alone doesn't turn them into folk songs. It may be the start of the folk process, and if others take up the changed versions and especially if they make further changes of their own, then they will turn into folk songs.

That takes time. You know perfectly well it is a nonsense to suggest a timescale. It could be only weeks or months, more likely it will take years, but a song doesn't automatically become a folk song only after a fixed period of time.

Let me turn the question round. If you do not admit the folk process, what do you consider distinguishes a folk song from other types of song?


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Subject: RE: The Folk Process
From: Jack Campin
Date: 08 Sep 09 - 07:11 AM

There seems to be a feeling in all these discussions that by making a distinction between songs which have gone through the folk process and modern creations, we are somehow saying that the modern creations are not worthy. That's not the case. All we are saying is that traditional songs have a particular characteristic - they have shown longevity precisely because they have appealed to successive generations of singers, each of whom has left their own imprint, not just in interpretation but also on the structure of the song itself. I happen to think that makes those songs particularly interesting. A modern song, no matter how fine, has still to do that.

The process can take place very quickly, and usually does with children's songs. Longevity doesn't come into it. Look at the discussion here on folk-processed versions of the Barney the Dinosaur song.

The drug-culture parody of "American Pie" was being sung in New Zealand within months of the original song coming out. This is a Scottish version of it (adapted to fit a footballer whose career terminated in a series of drug scandals) from more than 20 years later: Stephane Paille.   It's swum off and joined the ecosystem of traditional song. Maybe somebody here has one of the earlier versions?   I didn't note down the one I heard in NZ.


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Subject: RE: The Folk Process
From: BobKnight
Date: 08 Sep 09 - 07:11 AM

Although I've been on the general music scene for a looooong time, It's only in the last five or six that I've come back to the folk/tradition scene.

Therefore as a relatively "fresh" eye, it seems to me that some people have a need to put down borders and definitions to everything. What is Folk, what is traditional, etc, etc? If you don't recognise it when you hear it.....


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Subject: RE: The Folk Process
From: glueman
Date: 08 Sep 09 - 07:14 AM

"If you don't recognise it when you hear it....."

Bob, entire swathes of Mudcat is devoted to trying to prove folk is anything but what you hear. Fortunately you and I know better.


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Subject: RE: The Folk Process
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 08 Sep 09 - 07:25 AM

"And how come I've enjoyed 45 years listening....."
Enjoyment is a matter of personal taste; it is not a defining factor.
Longevity has no part in the equasion whatever.
Irish Travellers were singing newly composed folk songs of their own making right up to the disappearance of their singing tradition in the mid-seventies.
Acceptance, absorption into and adaptation by a community is what makes a folk song, not whether it has been around for a long time (like Rule Brittania, say.)
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: The Folk Process
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 08 Sep 09 - 07:31 AM

what happens then is the frailty of the human cerebelum and Mondegreens.

I refuse to accept that some of the most perfect poetic literature ever produced is the result of frailty and randomness. This is an insult to the mastery of the song-makers to whom we owe everything. Yes - there is frailty, and there are Mondegreens, but there is, above all, a tradition of purposeful creative genius, adaptation, transfiguration, inventiveness and reductive refinement which is all but denied by The Revival.

Unless that is we are to go back to that BLOODY HORSE of Satchmo's or Broonzy's or whoever the smartarse was who thought he'd said something profound when all he has said was bollox... 'a DREARY axiom' as Bert Lloyd called it.

A far more dreary axiom, IMHO, is the 1954 Definition. However so silent, The Bloody Horse is at least still playful and frisky. Not bollocks, especially as all music can, in truth, be seen as Traditional Music, even using the dusty regulations of the 1954. Again I quote the aims of The International Council for Traditional Music (formerly the International Folk Music Council who gave us the 1954 Definition in the first place): to further the study, practice, documentation, preservation and dissemination of traditional music, including folk, popular, classical and urban music, and dance of all countries.


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Subject: RE: The Folk Process
From: The Sandman
Date: 08 Sep 09 - 07:49 AM

to continue my view point,lets take the tunes tradition.
nobody turns round and points at the northumbrian tradition and says the following tunes are compositions and have not been folk processed and are therefore not folk tunes:
barrington hornpipe.
bonny cragside.redesdale hornpipe,archies fancy,high level bridge hornpipe,rothbury hills,nancy,the lass of falstone,billcharltons fancy,the herd on the hill.
nor do irish musicians exclude,the home ruler,the congress reel, or ocarolans compositions.
the trouble with Howards definition is it makes a fetish out of the folk process.Quite anumber of traditional folksingers particularly ,very occasionbaly made up their own words and tunes of a character quite in distinguishable from the genuine tradtional songs.there is no guarantee that all documentation of folksongs is correct at any time and if value is to be judged by the process rather than the merits or faults of a song,then we would end up saying that is not a folk songbecause there are very few versions and it has not been processed song.
when a field collector records a folk singer,he accepts or rejects items as folk songs according to whether they are in the universal idiom or not_- but if he accepted one or another song in this way and is then told by the singer that it is in fact his own authorship,the collector will automatically stop calling it a folk song.,on the other hand if the singer pretends its a song learned from his grandad,then the song remains a folk song.but the collector has been fooled which proves that the song is already a folk song which has miracuously skipped the folk process.
this is what John A Brune was out to prove when he tricked MacColl[RadioBallads].
since folksongs are so hard to define[even for A L Loyd]perhaps we should judge the songs on good taste and lasting value,this is what musicians appear to be doing with tunes,
musicians do not say half the northumbrian tradition is composed and not been folk processed,so it is not a folk tune,or the Congress Reel,and the Home ruler are modern and have not been FolkProcessed so they are not folk tunes.,or [god forbid]OCarolan has not been rewritten by Frankie Gavin,so his composotions are not folk tunes


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Subject: RE: The Folk Process
From: Jack Campin
Date: 08 Sep 09 - 07:51 AM

some people have a need to put down borders and definitions to everything. What is Folk, what is traditional, etc, etc? If you don't recognise it when you hear it....

That's not quite what's going on. The idea of valuing variation by a community as a creative form is alien to the world of MCPS-enforced copyrighted popular music (and of mainstream art music until quite recently). Saying that there is something distinctive about music that's been through some such intervention is a step towards recognizing the artistic creativity of people who are marginalized by the commercial music market. As far as the pop industry is concerned, those drug-culture parodies of "American Pie" and playground versions of "I Love You" are just plain wrong. (Ultimately the reason the industry tries to enforce a perception of them as wrong is simply that they can't collect payment for them). As far as we pompous authoritarian folk police are concerned, they're a fucking gas.

It goes further than freedom of expression. It's about listening to what is expressed in creative impulses that are beyond the policed and standardized world of the market, and valuing it.


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Subject: RE: The Folk Process
From: The Sandman
Date: 08 Sep 09 - 07:54 AM

Howard ,I never said I do not admit the folk process,my viewpioint is that it is only one of the ingredients,and that to say it is the sole ingredient is a mistake.
I have illustrated why it is amistake to make a fetish out of it.


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Subject: RE: The Folk Process
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 08 Sep 09 - 08:07 AM

"Again I quote the aims of The International Council for Traditional Music (formerly the International Folk Music Council who gave us the 1954 Definition in the first place): to further the study, practice, documentation, preservation and dissemination of traditional music, including folk, popular, classical and urban music, and dance of all countries."

You can quote this as much as you like, SO'P, but it's a set of "AIMS" - not a definition. Nowhere does it state that "folk, popular, classical and urban music" are identical or equivalent forms. As I read it the ICoTM have just widened their aims and objectives - not abandoned the distinction between folk music and other types of music.


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Subject: RE: The Folk Process
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 08 Sep 09 - 01:12 PM

No one said it's a definition, Shimmy. Rather, the statement of such aims would suggest that the ICTM regard folk, popular, classical & urban musics as being Traditional. Maybe we might like to explore the differences, therefore, between Folk Music and Traditional Music. Even the 1954 definition in no way accounts for a music in terms of its genre, rather states a formulae by which any music might be considered a Folk Music, and, by implication, a Traditional Music according to processes which are, in fact, common to all musics, which can be, and probably are, Folk Musics in the sense of the 1954 Definition, depending on how we might define such nebulous concepts as community which, in recent folkloric terms can be as a few as two people. If any two people can have their own folkloric traditions, or their own language (as can be demonstrated) they can also have their own Folk Music.


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Subject: RE: The Folk Process
From: Jack Campin
Date: 08 Sep 09 - 01:22 PM

Maybe we might like to explore the differences, therefore, between Folk Music and Traditional Music.

Or maybe we might want to discover something interesting about music itself, rather than get trolled into pompous superficial arguments kicked off by people who never explain why they're so devoted to stirring shit.


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Subject: RE: The Folk Process
From: Brian Peters
Date: 08 Sep 09 - 01:28 PM

"I refuse to accept that some of the most perfect poetic literature ever produced is the result of frailty and randomness. This is an insult to the mastery of the song-makers to whom we owe everything."

So were the hundreds of ballad variants all written by the same master song-maker (a perfectionist who couldn't stop redrafting, perhaps?), or by hundreds of master song-makers who were either plagiarising one another or else coming up with remarkably similar ideas by pure coincidence?

(PS: as you well know, the 'Folk Process' is not just about "frailty and randomness", and no-one says it is)


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Subject: RE: The Folk Process
From: Jamming With Ollie Beak (inactive)
Date: 08 Sep 09 - 01:31 PM

Or maybe we might want to actually play the music, rather than get trolled into pompous superficial arguments (a novel idea, I know)

Charlotte Olivia Robertson (Ms)


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Subject: RE: The Folk Process
From: Brian Peters
Date: 08 Sep 09 - 01:37 PM

...and maybe we might want to play music and talk about it - though not necessarily simultaneously.

(It amuses me no end when people take the trouble to type out messages to an online discussion group to mock other people wasting their time by discussing things on said online discussion group!)


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Subject: RE: The Folk Process
From: The Sandman
Date: 08 Sep 09 - 01:44 PM

well said.Brian.
as a matter of fact I have spent something like three hours today playing music,and tonight I am out to play some more.
Jack Campin,if you dont like it f########## off


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Subject: RE: The Folk Process
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 08 Sep 09 - 01:48 PM

"Or maybe we might want to actually play the music, rather than get trolled into pompous superficial arguments (a novel idea, I know)"
And maybe we want to do both - do you want to make the choice for us?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: The Folk Process
From: Goose Gander
Date: 08 Sep 09 - 01:50 PM

"This is a fundamental flaw of not just TFP and the 1954 Definition but also the foundation of the folk song revival as a whole - in effect a social condescension which saw these grubby rustics as passive carriers of a cultural phenomenon they couldn't possibly understand, rather than the active determinators of that phenomenon that they most surely were."

You seem very fluent with this material, SO'P. So you should be able to cite chapter and verse to back up this claim. So please give us some citations, particularly in support of your argument that folklorists described traditional ballad singers as "passive carriers of a cultural phenomenon they couldn't possibly understand."

"Could, therefore, our entire concept of The Folk Process (and the 1954 Defination) have its roots in the sloppy, selective & agenda driven field-work on the part of the early collectors who saw the songs as being of greater significance than their lowly, ill-educated singers?"

Who are these early collectors? In what ways was their work "sloppy, selective & agenda-driven"? Let's have names, let's have specific examples.


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Subject: RE: The Folk Process
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 08 Sep 09 - 01:54 PM

JWOB, if you don't enjoy the analytical aspects of the subjects, nobody is forcing you to read them. Some of us happen to benefit from studying the theories as well as just trolling merrily on without thinking about any of it. Why should you try and discourage us? You get on with your thing, &, if you don't like our approach, just leave us to get on with it without your assistance, OK? What harm would we be doing you if you just didn't bother to read these threads at all - and why do you, if they cause you such distress?


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Subject: RE: The Folk Process
From: Jamming With Ollie Beak (inactive)
Date: 08 Sep 09 - 01:56 PM

And maybe we want to do both - do you want to make the choice for us?
- a predictable answer from Jim Carroll

I make my own choices, and, unlike some, don't pretend to speak for anyone else.

"Who are these early collectors? In what ways was their work "sloppy, selective & agenda-driven"? Let's have names, let's have specific examples"
- Michael Morris

I'm tempte to take the academic path here and say we want three verifiable sources for each example give.

Charlotte Olivia Robertson (Ms)


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Subject: RE: The Folk Process
From: Jack Campin
Date: 08 Sep 09 - 02:08 PM

as a matter of fact I have spent something like three hours today playing music,and tonight I am out to play some more.
Jack Campin,if you dont like it f########## off


Well I was leading the Sandy Bells session on Sunday for four hours. But I can't get out to play now unless Marion can help carry my instruments - my heart condition has got to the point where I can only walk a couple of hundred yards carrying a small bag. So I'm stuck here a lot. Mainly I'm playing the flute and finalizing versions of files to upload to my website, but in the moments when I'd reading Mudcat I'd rather not feel like that Samuel Beckett character who described life as being forced to eat your own puke, puke it up and eat it again until you got to like it.

You know perfectly well when you're repeating yourself.


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Subject: RE: The Folk Process
From: Jamming With Ollie Beak (inactive)
Date: 08 Sep 09 - 02:13 PM

why do you, if they cause you such distress?
- MtheGM
I had to read that three times before I relised you'd used a very archaic word (distressed) However nothing could be further from the truth. If this weren't yet another variation of the "What Is Folk?" theme, my interest might be there...speaking of repeating yourself...

Charlotte Olivia Robertson (Ms)


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Subject: RE: The Folk Process
From: theleveller
Date: 08 Sep 09 - 02:32 PM

...and after all the definitions, classifications, semantics arguments and fallings-out (falling-outs?)the songs remain and we sing them as we feel is fitting, whether they have been handed down orally or collected and written by Sharp, Child or the ballad sellers whose works form collections like those in the Bodleian - or have come to us via CDs or downloads. Well, that's folk music for you - no respecter of persons.

Enjoy!


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Subject: RE: The Folk Process
From: GUEST,Sedayne (Astray) (S O'P)
Date: 08 Sep 09 - 03:13 PM

or by hundreds of master song-makers who were either plagiarising one another or else coming up with remarkably similar ideas by pure coincidence?

In the world of traditional craft such concepts of plagiarism have little meaning. To what extent, for example, could a master cooper of the village of Brancepeth in Country Durham, circa 1830, be said to be plagiarising the work of a master cooper in the village of Reepham in Norfolk in the same year, or thereabouts? Both were time-served tradesmen and both are producing faultless barrels in a centuries old tradition of barrel making which is perhaps all but lost to us now. Ploughmen likewise; etc.

I have a notion that the narrative morphology of folk song & folk tale is hard-wired into the human brain as an essential aspect of our preparedness for the structures of language itself. Levi-Strauss extended this to apply to everything from basic syntax through to the classical sonata form. Whilst this doesn't account for specific instances & analogues, it does account for the necessity that drives such a proliferation.   

and maybe we might want to play music and talk about it - though not necessarily simultaneously.

My thing is to play morris tunes on my old Overton low-D tabor pipe in my left hand whilst tapping the rhythm out on the computer keyboard with my right. Thus my particular brand of rhetorical bullshit is born directly of English Traditional Music. In that bit above there, for example, I was playing the version of Country Gardens learnt many years ago from a Folktrax cassette of Kenworthy Schofield; and now, via a cunning segue, I'm playing The Cuckoos Nest as taught to me by Raymond Greenoaken back in 1982, all the while tapping away with my right hand, never dropping a beat...


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Subject: RE: The Folk Process
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 08 Sep 09 - 03:32 PM

When singers change the words or the way a song is sung, conciously or unconsciously, to match the way they are feeling, or the situation, or just because they feel like it, that's part of the folk process - even if they made up the song in the first place.

When this topic comes up, I always find myself reaching for something Sydney Carter wrote (in "Green Print for Song"):

"Having made a song, you sing it...if like me, you seldom sing it the same way twice; fresh possibilities will keep appearing. You change a word, you bend a note; did it work, or didn't it? What you put down, in the end, is nothing but a variant. There is no right version, yet; no fixed version, anyway, not even when you've printed it."

Moreover, the process is liable to continue with other people if they sing the song. And that is something in which Sydney Carter rejoiced, and something in which I think many songwriters rejoice - the sense that something you crafted has come to life and moved out of your control, and stayed alive.


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Subject: RE: The Folk Process
From: Brian Peters
Date: 08 Sep 09 - 03:33 PM

"Both were time-served tradesmen and both are producing faultless barrels in a centuries old tradition of barrel making which is perhaps all but lost to us now."

Substitute 'song' for 'barrel' and we're almost on the same hymnsheet. 'Plagiarism' was a joke, by the way.

Pipe-and-keyboard: now that's a fine thought!


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Subject: RE: The Folk Process
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 08 Sep 09 - 04:07 PM

"a predictable answer from Jim Carroll"
And a predictable response from somebody who appears to want to tell us what are "pompous superficial arguments"
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: The Folk Process
From: Jamming With Ollie Beak (inactive)
Date: 08 Sep 09 - 04:42 PM

"pompous superficial arguments"

I would say everything you post Jim Carroll, but there is no 'everything', it's just the same old same old (worded differently) over and over again, much the same as this thread is the old "What Is Folk" arguement dressed up in new clothing.

Charlotte Olivia Robertson (Ms


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Subject: RE: The Folk Process
From: glueman
Date: 08 Sep 09 - 04:52 PM

What Jim fails to recognise is no matter how many words he throws at our ignorance and his own genius, we're still not buying.


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Subject: RE: The Folk Process
From: Goose Gander
Date: 08 Sep 09 - 05:41 PM

Still waiting for those citations, SO'P.


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Subject: RE: The Folk Process
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 08 Sep 09 - 06:11 PM

Why discuss different ways of seeing these things when you can throw insults at people you disagree with about them?

After all, that worked when you were in the school playfround.


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