mudcat.org: True Traditional Music
Lyrics & Knowledge Personal Pages Record Shop Auction Links Radio & Media Kids Membership Help
The Mudcat Cafeawe

Post to this Thread - Printer Friendly - Home
Page: [1] [2] [3]


True Traditional Music

GUEST 29 Nov 09 - 12:57 PM
Severn 28 Nov 09 - 10:34 AM
Jack Blandiver 28 Nov 09 - 07:58 AM
Jack Blandiver 28 Nov 09 - 07:56 AM
ard mhacha 28 Nov 09 - 06:58 AM
Jerry Rasmussen 28 Nov 09 - 06:42 AM
MikeL2 28 Nov 09 - 06:03 AM
Jack Blandiver 28 Nov 09 - 04:59 AM
Jack Blandiver 28 Nov 09 - 04:42 AM
Spleen Cringe 28 Nov 09 - 04:31 AM
Spleen Cringe 28 Nov 09 - 04:14 AM
Jerry Rasmussen 27 Nov 09 - 10:42 PM
Jack Blandiver 27 Nov 09 - 06:41 PM
Stringsinger 27 Nov 09 - 06:28 PM
Jack Blandiver 27 Nov 09 - 06:23 PM
Stringsinger 27 Nov 09 - 06:19 PM
GUEST,Russ 27 Nov 09 - 11:08 AM
Jerry Rasmussen 27 Nov 09 - 08:31 AM
Valmai Goodyear 27 Nov 09 - 05:01 AM
Ron Davies 26 Nov 09 - 01:37 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 25 Nov 09 - 04:21 PM
Jim Carroll 25 Nov 09 - 03:07 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 25 Nov 09 - 02:48 PM
Joe Offer 24 Nov 09 - 01:12 PM
Jack Campin 24 Nov 09 - 11:46 AM
John P 24 Nov 09 - 10:47 AM
Jerry Rasmussen 24 Nov 09 - 07:39 AM
Jack Blandiver 24 Nov 09 - 07:17 AM
Jack Campin 24 Nov 09 - 05:35 AM
Jack Campin 24 Nov 09 - 04:45 AM
Spleen Cringe 24 Nov 09 - 02:44 AM
Jack Campin 23 Nov 09 - 05:19 PM
Amos 23 Nov 09 - 04:02 PM
The Sandman 23 Nov 09 - 03:44 PM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 23 Nov 09 - 03:35 PM
Jack Blandiver 23 Nov 09 - 03:26 PM
GUEST,glueperson 23 Nov 09 - 03:11 PM
TheSnail 23 Nov 09 - 02:55 PM
GUEST,Ed 23 Nov 09 - 02:52 PM
Jack Campin 23 Nov 09 - 02:41 PM
Jack Campin 23 Nov 09 - 02:28 PM
Amos 23 Nov 09 - 02:16 PM
Waddon Pete 23 Nov 09 - 02:02 PM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 23 Nov 09 - 01:56 PM
TheSnail 23 Nov 09 - 01:55 PM
Amos 23 Nov 09 - 01:51 PM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 23 Nov 09 - 01:41 PM
Marje 23 Nov 09 - 01:31 PM
richd 23 Nov 09 - 01:26 PM
MGM·Lion 23 Nov 09 - 01:19 PM
Share Thread
more
Lyrics & Knowledge Search [Advanced]
DT  Forum
Sort (Forum) by:relevance date
DT Lyrics:






Subject: RE: True Traditional Music
From: GUEST
Date: 29 Nov 09 - 12:57 PM

Refresh


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: True Traditional Music
From: Severn
Date: 28 Nov 09 - 10:34 AM

Somme aspects of the oral tradition and folk process will NEVER die!


As long as there is a traditional context, any song used in it becomes a folk song. I give the example of the lulabye. When my daughter was in infancy, I would sing her to sleep using all the traditional lullabyes I remembered while sitttting in a dark room next to her crib rocking in a in a rocking chair. If she didn't want to go to sleep that particular night and I ran out of traditional lullabyes, I sang any slow song I could think of until the job was done and that became a folk song the second I sang it, EVEN if it reverted back to its origins the moment I stopped. I've heard several mothers use the Elvis hit "I Can't Help Falling In Love With You" as a lullabye, so Elvis didn't just borrow "O Sole Mio" and "Plaisir D'Amour", he managed to give back as well.

I've marched in cadence to Manfred Mann's "Doo Way Diddy" just like I have to the traditional derivatives of "She Wore a Yellow Ribbon", "The Crawdad Song", Civil War era tunes while re-enacting or any other "Jody Calls" from US Army basic training.

The "Jody Call" is another context where new verses are made and passed on in a "traditional Manner", as are Barracks songs and kids' playground songs, both as often as not parodies of familiar tunes P.D. and popular. Some of the parents' military songs from the world wars even made it to the playgrounds amidst"Mine Eyes Have Seen The Glory Of The Burning Of The School" and the like, as I remember singing:

First Marine bought the bean, parlez-vous
Second marine cooked the bean, parlez vous
Third Marine ate the bean
And PFFFT all over the submarine
Hinky-dinky parlez-vous

Third Marine jumped the fence
And milked a cow with a monkey wrench

...and on into infinity. Or taunts like :

Roses are red
Violets are blue
You've got a nose
Like a B-52


....So professional singer-songwriters be damned, there are "Traditional Folk Songs" being created in barracks and on playgrounds as we speak, and as long as there are soldiers and children the folk process will never die and the cycle will continue.

(Maybe Joe Hickerson, if he's reading this, can write a NEW final verse to "Where Have All The Flowers Gone" adressing this part of the cycle).

The work gangs are pretty much gone here, but anything you sing to yourself in rhythm as you hoe your garden becomes as much a folk song as "Ain't No More Cane On The Brazos" until the task is done, after which it can go on back to its original context once its temporary purpose is served.

My mother is 94 and is in a seniors home. Once when she was in the rehab building and I was waiting for her, I heard the muzak in trhe building playing Buddy Holly, Chuck Berry and Jackie Wilson. There are people in the home in their 70's now to whom that music was the sundtrack of their lives and the same age my late pre-war 1941 born oldest sister would've been if she were still alive, people considered "old folks" listening to music my parents couldn't stand when my sister played it.

Choose your own examples. Draw your own conclusions.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: True Traditional Music
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 28 Nov 09 - 07:58 AM

Forgot to mention Peter Bellamy! Shame on me!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: True Traditional Music
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 28 Nov 09 - 07:56 AM

Thanks for that link. Seamus Ennis is among my all time musical heroes along with Jordi Savall, Sun Ra, Gegorio Paniagua, Don Cherry, Jim Eldon, Harry Cox, Glen Sweeney, Daevid Allen, Derek Bailey, Michael Hurley, Ian Curtis, Frank Zappa, Rene Zosso, Rahsaan Roland Kirk etc. etc.

See The Seamus Ennis Appreciation Society thread.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: True Traditional Music
From: ard mhacha
Date: 28 Nov 09 - 06:58 AM

Seamus Ennis and his quest for the real tradition,
http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/weekend/2009/1128/1224259585306.html


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: True Traditional Music
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 28 Nov 09 - 06:42 AM

If the definition of folk music is music that doesn't sell, my albums are pure folk... Maybe that's because I have never written a song with any thought about whether people will even like it, let alone buy a recording of it. I write for my own enjoyment, because it is such a delight to play with words and melodies. The whole process of song writing for pleasure hasn't changed since the time of the Greeks. If through some weird quirk, one of my songs became commercially viable, it would be unintentional. The song would still be small, and done for the pleasure of creation. My other writings are done for the same purpose.

Folk music isn't measured by units sold.

Jerry

Glad to see all of you folks back...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: True Traditional Music
From: MikeL2
Date: 28 Nov 09 - 06:03 AM

Hi

Well said SOP......This thread develops along depressingly similar lines to the vast majority of threads here. Your view makes me just a little happier that music is alive and well.

I woke up today feeling more cynical than usual and I would forward the view that the difference between traditional music and "marketed music" is that with traditional no one remembers who is legally entitled to claim the royalties and to market it music for financial gain.

Good music ( this is extremely subjective to individuals) exists as a means of enjoyment and entertainment whether you are a musician or a listener.

My own slant on this is that for me music is like wine.....if you like it, it is good. The doesn't mean that what other people like isn't. !!!!

Cheers " holding my glass of Rioja

Mikel


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: True Traditional Music
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 28 Nov 09 - 04:59 AM

their essentially cultural craft

Should be their essentially creative cultural craft.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: True Traditional Music
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 28 Nov 09 - 04:42 AM

I am not a musical scholar. I just play stuff.

Me too, just as a Horse Definitioner I carry in my heart the ideal that all music at least can be folk when it occurs in an essentially amateur / recreational / designated folk context. What the horse definition does is to put individual human beings back into the equation, whereas The 1954 Definition & the Folk Process remove them altogether, dealing instead with the collective mass. Never felt part of the collective mass myself - who does?

When I said the Folk Process was dead back there, I was, of course, being ironic, though from Jim Carroll's point of view it's as dead as a proverbial door nail simply because it no longer applies to the strictures of those sorts of songs in their pure Traditional context which no longer exists anyway. They have been removed from their natural habitat; a natural habitat which is no more; they are now the reserve of taxonomists and taxidermists - I avoid their threads because they smell of formaldehyde.

Traditional Musical Process is part and parcel of all music however; it is the creative urge by which musicians can formulate their essentially cultural craft and put it to whatever use they see fit. It as never been more alive than it is today. As Ian Curtis once sang: the past is now part of my future; the present is well out of hand. Exciting times indeed!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: True Traditional Music
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 28 Nov 09 - 04:31 AM

That would be "early rock and roll". Early "rock and rock" is much more one dimensional...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: True Traditional Music
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 28 Nov 09 - 04:14 AM

"I wanted to talk about the whole process of how music evolves, and what role music of the past has to do with that evolution."

It's an interesting question Jerry. When you go back to look at early rock and rock, its roots and antecedents (blues, hillbilly music, etc) are really obvious. They become less so over the years, as rock music develops as a genre in its own right. Yet, you can trace the evolution of rock and see how one development/innovation led to the next or came about as a reaction against what came before (e.g, punk developing as a reaction to 70s soft rock and AOR, but with it's roots in 60s garage band music).

I wonder now, though, if rock is in a post-evolutionary phase? Anyone can access its entire history at the click of a mouse, as well as its antecedents, related genres, spin-offs and blind alleys, and create a music that doesn't necessarily naturally follow on from what came before, but takes its cues from a gigantic historic pick and mix. Exciting times, huh?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: True Traditional Music
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 27 Nov 09 - 10:42 PM

Apparently the IFMC is a British invention. I've never even heard of it over here. But then, I am not a musical scholar. I just play stuff. If I had, I'd not feel bound by their definition. You are correct, this thread is not directly concerned with the definition of folk music. There are umptybillion threads on Mudcat that have explored that question with no agreement. It's a valid discussion, and perhaps yet another thread can be started. I wanted to talk about the whole process of how music evolves, and what role music of the past has to do with that evolution.

Thanks for the post though, SoP.

Jerry


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: True Traditional Music
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 27 Nov 09 - 06:41 PM

All musics operate with respect of community, tradition and process - all musics are, therefore, traditional - but not necessarily folk, which isn't really what this thread is about. I'd have a look at the ICTM if I were you; they were formerly the IFMC who came up with 1954 Definition in the first place. It's got nothing to do with dilution - on the contrary, it is taking a serious look at ethnomusicology.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: True Traditional Music
From: Stringsinger
Date: 27 Nov 09 - 06:28 PM

"I mean, if you look at the objectives of The International Council for Traditional Music (formerly The International Folk Music Council) which are: to further the study, practice, documentation, preservation and dissemination of traditional music, including folk, popular, classical and urban music, and dance of all countries. I think that just about covers it!"

What it covers is an attempt to dilute the definition to suit contemporary audiences.
I don't know anything about the International Council for Traditional Music but its
goals are amorphous and I don't think they cover it at all. I can see that they might want to preserve some commercial music and some classical but it ain't folk and never will be.
Popular music is music industry driven. Classical music is academy trained music. Urban music is a sub-genre of pop.

There is a tradition in the commercially-based popular music field but it ain't folk.
It's money-driven whether we like it or not.

Classical music is a tradition but it ain't folk. You learn that in music school, pure and simple.

Just because you like certain forms of music, that doesn't mean it qualifies as folk music.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: True Traditional Music
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 27 Nov 09 - 06:23 PM

Dream on, Stringsinger! Traditional Folk is as much a marketing myth as anything else. Conversely, of course, Rock and Roll, Rock, Rap, Hip Hop, Country, and Jazz have deep Traditional roots in their respective communities.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: True Traditional Music
From: Stringsinger
Date: 27 Nov 09 - 06:19 PM

Musical imperialism is the province of the music industry which seeks to promote a product that will appeal to at the most the greatest common denominator and at least
a mid-line market. Some of the music is good.

Traditional folk music is not traded like a commodity for a musical Wall Street.
It comes out of a community that has sung and played music that was passed down
through generations. That's why it is traditional and not made for the market.

There is an analogy here between the "commons" or the public ownership and privatization
of a resource. Traditional folk music is public. Rock and Roll, Rock, Rap, Hip Hop, Country,
and even some forms of jazz are bins in a record store that has been privatized. It's a given commodity to sell to likely audiences. Traditional folk music isn't sold like that.
You can't buy and sell it on the music market because it wasn't created for that purpose.

I love all kinds of music but I believe I know the difference between commercial music
and traditional folk.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: True Traditional Music
From: GUEST,Russ
Date: 27 Nov 09 - 11:08 AM

Jerry,
In the US, among fiddlers (as opposed to violin players) key pedantry is the rule rather than the exception. If you're in a G jam and you suggest the D Forky Deer (as I learned it), God help you.

Russ (permanent GUEST and old time banjo player)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: True Traditional Music
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 27 Nov 09 - 08:31 AM

A good point, Valmait:

Many, Many years ago I used to play fiddle. I wasn't very good but I met a kid in highschool who plaed hammered dulcimer and he mentioned to me how badly he wanted to get someone to play fiddle with him. I asked him "how desperate are you?" I had figured out a handful of tunes on a wonderful fiddle I bought at a tag sale, and told him if he played loud enough, I'd give it a try. He was pretty heavy handed on the hammered dulcimer, so we were a match made in hell. As long as he played really loud, we were o.k.

One of the tunes I knew was Forked Deer (Which I pronounced Fork-ed deer.) It's so long ago now that I don't remember which key I played it in. It was the only key I COULD play it in. When we performing once, a real fiddle player came up after our set and I figured he was going to ridicule my playing (which would have been legitimate of him.) Instead he said, "Why did you play Forked Deer in D?" (or whatever key I played it in.) NOBODY plays that tune in D! "Someone does now," I answered. I guess there not only are lyric, tune and definition pedants, there are even key pedants.

Sheesh!

God help us common folks.

Jerry


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: True Traditional Music
From: Valmai Goodyear
Date: 27 Nov 09 - 05:01 AM

Could we remember dance music as well as songs? Social dance tunes are still played for their original purpose. Tunes several centuries old co-exist with recently-written ones and both are constantly modified under the fingers of musicians to fit what their instrument, tastes or abilities require. They are transmitted in print, by ear in sessions, and by ear from recordings, and are constantly changing. This sounds like the live folk process to me.

Will Fly recently started an interesting debate about developments to the recently-written tune The Sweetness of Mary in the thread 'The folk process and tunes'.

Valmai (Lewes)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: True Traditional Music
From: Ron Davies
Date: 26 Nov 09 - 01:37 PM

J. S. Bach is praised to the skies here.   This is not, strictly speaking, germane to the thread, but it's interesting to note that this was not universal in his own day. Bach was admired for keyboard skills but his music was considered old-fashioned by some. And Johann Scheibe, a composer and music critic, said that Bach took away "the natural element in his pieces by giving them a turgid and confused style...".   I understand that Bach got back at Scheibe by casting him as a figure of ridicule in 'Der Streit zwischen Phoebus und Pan". Somehow it must have been possible to know that Scheibe was being portrayed--sort of a musical roman a clef, I suppose.

And he had problems supporting his family.   With the large family he had--Garrison Keillor says it's because his organ had no stops--Bach was hard-pressed, and he complained, for instance that "when a healthy wind blows" the income he derived from funerals went way down.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: True Traditional Music
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 25 Nov 09 - 04:21 PM

Hey, Jim: It's true that there are very few remaining "traditional singers" left (without arguing what that means to different people.) The folk process: new songs being written, and then being shaped as they are passed around from singer to singer, is very much alive.

Last weekend I did a concert with my friend Susam Trump. Susan is a great admirer of my song writing and has recorded at least four of my songs. At the concert, she sang one of mine, Screen Porch Door. I had written the song about when I was a kid. During the summer we lived more on our front porch than in the house because it was cooler, and we could watch the parade of neighbors "out to catch the evening breeze." My father would always blow up when we ran out the screen porch doorway, leaving the door to slam loudly. At least at home, my father watched his language. I'm sure he swore a storm around his drinking buddies, but he rarely swore at home. The one thing that could set him off was when we slammed the screen porch door. No matter how many times he warned us not to do it, in the heat of the moment when we wanted to go out, we'd the door running and were almost out of earshot before he yelled at us.

When Susan sang the song, she brought her memories of sitting on the front porch swing at her Grandmother and Grandfather's house when she was a little girl. The line I'd written:
"And that's about the only time my father ever swore," became"
"And that's about the only time my Grandpa ever swore."
That's how the folk process works. Every song had an original songwriter, whether his or her name is lost to posterity. If the song was good, other people started to sing it, changing the lyrics to suit them. Many years later, folklorists gather different variants of the same song and its origins are lost in time.

Susan has changed the lyrics on other songs I've written, always with a good reason. She's not the only one. I've had people write an additional verse to one of my songs, thinking it was a traditional song. That's why all this desire to make a definitive, iron-clad definition of what is traditional music is futile. I've written an additional vese to old gospel songs that were artifically shortened by the need to fit the song onto a 3 minute recording. Some of those additional verses may be picked up by others and eventually be a seamless part of the song.

All of this is fine with me. I'm pleased that people change the lyrics on my songs to make them their own. I even found myself in the awkward position of singing an old gospel song where I'd added a verse in front of the group I learned the song from. They were very gracious. It wouldn't surprise me if they start doing the verse I added.

Music is supposed to be fun. Getting all wound up about definitions, or whether the songs evolve through time seems counterproductive.

I have no problem with people changing some of the words in songs I've written any more than I do changing or combining lyrics from more than one version of the same traditional song. As long as it's done out of respect. Maybe even if it isn't...

Jerry

Thanks for the post, Jim


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: True Traditional Music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 25 Nov 09 - 03:07 PM

"The folk process is anything but dead."
Can't speak for the US Jerry, but on this side of the pond it's been a gonner for a long time.
This isn't to say that the songs aren't still performed - they are, in the diminishing number of clubs, but the people who once made and preserved them are now passive recipients of whatever they listen to and have no say in their form, style, subject matter.....
The last living tradition was among the Travellers, who dropped the ball when portable televisions became available and, as somebody put it at the time, "Barbara Ellen was deposed by Sue Ellen!"
We virtually witnessed this happen sometime between September 1973 and March 1975 (remember where I was then better than I remember where I was when Kennedy was shot).
There were still old singers in substantial numbers around here imn the West of Ireland for some time following this, but their adiences were largely carrying tape recorders or listening to them in concerts - their contemporaries had lost interest in the old "diddly-di" and "come-all ye's".
The last of the English 'big' singers hadn't even sung at home - too young - but only ever before folk club and festival audiences.
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: True Traditional Music
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 25 Nov 09 - 02:48 PM

I don't know if anyone is left who is interested in conversing about the subject of this thread: how all music is forged out of an awareness and appreciation for tradition. Before the old songs were freeze-dried and stuck into the Traditional Music locker, musicians were naturally creating new music that grew out of the "traditional" music of the day. I picture some poor bugger who created a new song only to be told, "Sorry, the deadline for traditional music was last Thursday. You just missed it."

If it looks like we can actually have a concersation, I'd also like to talk about the process by which recently written songs become folkized. I've seen that with some of my songs, and I heartily approve. I can give some examples, as well as changes I've made in recently written songs by others. The folk process is anything but dead.

Jerry


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: True Traditional Music
From: Joe Offer
Date: 24 Nov 09 - 01:12 PM

I'm sorry that this thread was interrupted by a personal squabble, which I moved over here (click).
Please go on with the original topic of discussion. further squabbling is not permitted in this thread. As for the two people involved, I will not tolerate any further disturbances from either of you. If I find them, I'll dispatch you to the loony bin.
Please - no apologies, and no further discussion of the squabble in this thread. Let's go back to the original topic of discussion.
Thanks.
-Joe Offer-


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: True Traditional Music
From: Jack Campin
Date: 24 Nov 09 - 11:46 AM

But the idea that really caught my interest here is wondering if the type of musical collusions/collisions that made Appalachian music, Cajun music, and the blues are still going on. Or has the prevalence of rock music and the shrinking world made that a thing of the past? Does anyone know of any blending of different types of traditional music to make a new idiom in the last hundred years or so?

Jazz (Black song traditions mixed up with white dance and military music)

French cafe music (northern French bagpipe-based dance music mixed up with jazz harmonies when transferred to the accordion)

Scottish dance music of the same period (similar process starting with the fiddle repertoire, the standard lineup being originally derived from American dancebands of the early 20th century)

Rembetika (Turkish fasil music increasingly mixed up with all kinds of other stuff)

Arabesk (Turkish fasil music with Kurdish folk tunes and Arabic backings)

Tango (Cuban dance rhythms and Argentine song lyrics on German instruments with harmonies from jazz)

Klezmer (Romanian, Ukrainian, Gypsy and Jewish music all mixed up)

The Hungarian "new song" (started in the 19th cetury but really got under way after WW1)

Samba (African dance adapted to urban Brazil around WW1)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: True Traditional Music
From: John P
Date: 24 Nov 09 - 10:47 AM

Getting back to a couple of things that caught my interest earlier:

Spleen Cringe: There is no "traditional folk music". There are, however, plenty of traditional folk musics. Lots of different countries and regions have them - and guess what? They don't all sound the same! They're not a single genre! I presume, JohnP, you play a couple of them, perhaps from the UK/US traditions, rather than from, say, the Mongolian or Uzbekistani or Malian traditions? Personally I'm a huge fan of traditional folk musics from India, Pakistan, North Africa and the Middle East. None of them sound much like Dock Boggs or Lizzie Higgins, f'rinstance, much as I love the music of those two individuals. I guess that's not what you mean when you describe traditional music as a "genre"?

Yes, obviously there lots of traditions from lots of places. And no, they don't all sound the same. They do, however, sound a lot more like each other than any of them sound like modern pop or classical music. Since almost everyone on Mudcat is primarily involved with European or American folk music, it seems like if we need to delve into other traditions for specific discussions or examples, it is easy to get more specific. Most of the time it's not needed.

I have a lot of familiarity with European, British Isles, and American traditional idioms, and I hear common themes and similarities all over the place. I listen to but don't know much about Andean, Turkish, Greek, and North African music. They have the stamp of tradition in my ear, even though the melodies and rhythms are different. They don't sound anything at all like what I hear on the radio most of the time. For my purposes -- and that's all that really matters when I'm playing or listening -- I can easily lump them into one genre with a bunch of interweaving idioms.

Which brings us to:

Amos: But for any meaningful discussion within that broad stream, the fact must be faced that there are many traditions, of different temporal lengths, with different degrees of literacy or other devices in their transmission, and different musical dimensions. But it is absolutely obvious to me there is no single "tradition". There is a sheaf of them, wending and dividing and rejoining through time.

I love the interweaving of traditions -- in fact that's part of how the music came to be. I've noticed that European music gets more odd the farther east it goes -- German and Austrian music is pretty straightforward, Hungarian starts moving away from the "standard" modes and harmonic patterns, Bulgarian can be like that or more Turkish in sound, etc. I sometimes get accused of playing Bulgarian music when I'm playing Swedish music. There is a type of polska in 3/4 time that is rhythmically very nearly the same as a daichovo in 9/8, and which uses a scale that includes a one and a half steps between two of the notes. A cursory listening can make them sound like they come from the same tradition.

But the idea that really caught my interest here is wondering if the type of musical collusions/collisions that made Appalachian music, Cajun music, and the blues are still going on. Or has the prevalence of rock music and the shrinking world made that a thing of the past? Does anyone know of any blending of different types of traditional music to make a new idiom in the last hundred years or so?

Perhaps one of the reasons that rock music has become the music of the people is because it lends itself very well to mixing with any other musical genre or idiom, without losing the basis of what makes it rock. I hear Mexican rock, a few different types from Africa, Euro folk-rock, jazz fusion, rock based on classical music, and, of course, the blues. All definitely rock, all definitely influenced by and fused with completely different genres.

From a process standpoint, rock is even doing the whole change-through-the-gnerations thing. Just listen to Crossroads by Robert Johnson and then by Cream.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: True Traditional Music
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 24 Nov 09 - 07:39 AM

Thanks for that last post SOP. I had hoped that there might be a little thoughtful, insightful reflection on how all music is built upon what has gone before, but I'm afraid that in the UK conversations quickly descend to firing rounds from behind barricades. That seems to be a uniquely English phenomenon, although friends like Peter seem perfectly comfortable stepping beyond arguments about definitions to reflect upon how we all make music.

For the record, I love what I think of as traditional music and still get a rush out of singing the old songs. That love shapes the songs I write and my respect for the tradition has not waned over the years. I wrote a song about it many years ago. It's not a folk song I suppose, and certainly is not traditional. But it honors the tradition.

"We are walking in the footsteps of those who've gone on before
And their music will keep on ringing until we meet on that Golden shore"

This has become a UK thread. You'll notice that almost no one from the U.S. is posting. I think I'll leave this discussion to my U.K. friends, of which I have many. I don't have any more to add.

Thanks for the posts.

Jerry


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: True Traditional Music
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 24 Nov 09 - 07:17 AM

Jerry started this off with an interesting point stated in a charming and intelligent way. Anybody want to get back to it?

I've always thought of Folk and Traditional as dynamic adjectives descriptive of musical context & process rather than the insubstantial & misleadingly conservative & reactionary genre nouns they've become. The 1954 Definition does not describe a musical genre, rather it contextualises music as Folk in terms of its human process regardless of genre. We might niggle over its reading, but in terms of a contemporary appreciation of music in context, it is, perhaps, supremely ironic that the musics most likely to be called Folk or Traditional are those which are no longer subject to the sort of processes described by the 1954 Definition on account of their somewhat precious revival status.

As a performer of such material (however so eccentric in terms of the wholly non-traditional revival orthodoxy) I treat it with the kid-gloves of the purist, like handling anything anciently precious, no matter how robust such things are in and of themselves. In other words, I become as conservative and reactionary as the best of them in terms of a wider ecology in which I regard their continuing presence in this word not only vulnerable, but perilous. As I said back there in my post of 23 Nov 09 - 11:38 AM: the music of any given tradition and the music of a revival / reinvention of that tradition are two very different things. The former exists in its wild state, running free in its natural habitat. The latter exist, at best, in captivity - at worst, stuffed in a glass display case. The former could be said to be traditional; the latter, perhaps rather less so... I don't mean this in any pejorative way - I am a Revivalist Traddy of some 36 years standing and proud of both it and my brethren and sistren who continue to make it all worthwhile - Shimrod included.

However, The Revival has only very tenuous links to the history and culture which gave us The Tradition. History and culture is a good thing to be aware of in terms of musical process, which is why I reacted as I did to Jo Taylor's post of 22 Nov 09 - 05:03 PM. To what extent are trad. English tunes (16, 17 18c?) an aspect of our wider culture? And to what extent has an awareness of that historicism permeated into that culture as a whole? I might sit playing 13th-Century Cantigas de Santa Maria on a reconstruction of a medieval bowed-lyre, but how are people who don't know that meant to access it in terms of musical empiricism? In the Folk Scene, there is a tendency towards a pedantry which I feel is totally unnecessary when it comes to dealing with such public reactions as Jo has described. After all, you have to walk many miles in the real world before meeting another folkie, let alone one shares your love of trad. English tunes (16, 17 18c?).

Is Folk Music something we might only appreciate if we've done the book-work? Well, if 3 years of Mudcat has taught me anything it's that the answer to such a question is a resounding Yes. Not that I was in any sort of doubt at all, and not that see any harm in that, but in terms of musical empiricism - Ministry of Sound it ain't. This is how I interpreted the OP Of this thread, that so-called Folk Music lacks the essential immediacy which is one of the defining factors of a truly traditional, or indeed folk, music. In other words, a music which is as natural to you as the words you speak; the music you grew up with as cultural ambience, a music which needs no words to tell you what it is; a music you are born with. In that music are the seeds of everything - like the thrill I felt on my 6th birthday in the summer of 1967 when I flipped over my band-new copy of All You Need is Love and heard the exquisite modal piping sounds at the opening of Baby You're A Rich Man and recognised therein a kindred empathy to an ancient music I've been questing after ever since. Even when I was six I realised it was the beginning of something amazing. As Camus said: A man's work is nothing but this slow trek to rediscover, through the detours of art, those two or three great and simple images in whose presence his heart first opened.

As much as culture defines of individualism, it is our individualism that redefines our culture; all is change, mutability and enrichment; all is process, everything is tradition.

Enjoy!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: True Traditional Music
From: Jack Campin
Date: 24 Nov 09 - 05:35 AM

There is no "traditional folk music". There are, however, plenty of traditional folk musics. Lots of different countries and regions have them - and guess what? They don't all sound the same! They're not a single genre! I presume, JohnP, you play a couple of them, perhaps from the UK/US traditions, rather than from, say, the Mongolian or Uzbekistani or Malian traditions? Personally I'm a huge fan of traditional folk musics from India, Pakistan, North Africa and the Middle East. None of them sound much like Dock Boggs or Lizzie Higgins, f'rinstance, much as I love the music of those two individuals. I guess that's not what you mean when you describe traditional music as a "genre"?

Marketing people realize that the same customers who buy Dock Boggs and Lizzie Higgins are a likely market for Asik Veysel or Gnawa drumming, so in their terms they are in the same genre. If you want to hear some Asik Veysel on the radio you're more likely to hear him on a programme that also features Lizzie Higgins than one featuring Atomic Kitten or Eddi Reader.

And people who like to understand what the music they're listening to actually means will use the same sort of reasoning on it for Asik Veysel and Dock Boggs (both came from cultural and religious backgrounds that influenced what they did in ways that nobody in a professionalized commercial form of music-making would ever experience).

The interesting thing about the sort of pop-and-rock-gone-feral that Jerry started off this thread with is that it ends up being an utterly different genre in practical terms. Where would you hear a bunch of geezers playing Buddy Holly for fun? Except in their homes, probably nowhere. You can't buy their performances on CD, they don't get played on the radio. You need the approach of an ethnomusicologist to locate that music at all unless you happen to be their neighbours. As a genre, it relates more closely to the corroboree music of the Australian Aborigines than it does to Springsteen in a plastic box or Beyonce from iTunes. (YouTube has made that sort of music-making a bit more public, but not much).


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: True Traditional Music
From: Jack Campin
Date: 24 Nov 09 - 04:45 AM

Jerry started this off with an interesting point stated in a charming and intelligent way. Anybody want to get back to it?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: True Traditional Music
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 24 Nov 09 - 02:44 AM

C'mon, MtheGM. You love it really!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: True Traditional Music
From: Jack Campin
Date: 23 Nov 09 - 05:19 PM

Cage's use of Irish music in Roaratorio is pretty incidental, and it was planned out before most of those players were even born. Basically it's a response to Joyce, i.e. the highest of high culture.

I take Jerry's original question to be about what happens when a group of people takes some kind of music from outside to its bosom and makes a tradition out of it. There is one elephant-in-the-room example of that: religious music. Whether it's Catholic chant, Protestant hymns or Islamic calls to prayer, most believers end up performing music from the tradition of the culture their religion came from. What happens next is the interesting bit. Gregory the Great, Luther and Mohammed couldn't have predicted Corsican folk polyphony, Hebridean psalms, or Sudanese Koranic recitation.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: True Traditional Music
From: Amos
Date: 23 Nov 09 - 04:02 PM

Subaine:

It was viewed as leading edge new-music experimental stuff at the time, and I doubt much thought was given to the tradition of ancient tree-thumping behind it.

A


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: True Traditional Music
From: The Sandman
Date: 23 Nov 09 - 03:44 PM


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: True Traditional Music
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 23 Nov 09 - 03:35 PM

"Do a search for 2 Girls, 1 Cup ... which, sadly, fails to live up to the hype."

Oh dear SO'P, sounds like it was something a dissapointment for you! Sadly my own interest in watching other people eat shit (and various permeations of same), rather died the death at around age two or so. Thanks for the considerate recommendation though :)

I do like the pig/shitting/rotting/eating/fucking fantasy scene in Last Tango however, which like the rest of the film, might offer some interest? And of course there is that scene in Salo, though I don't know as I'd recommend anyone "Google it."


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: True Traditional Music
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 23 Nov 09 - 03:26 PM

He eventually selected the best one for its long and varied spines which produced a wide rangeof tones when plucked.

I've got rain-sticks made from dried inverted cactus stems, the spines on the inside catch the seeds.

OF course you could, if you chose, define this as merely the most recent episode in the long tradition of playing music on trees and hollow logs and the like.

How else could you define it?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: True Traditional Music
From: GUEST,glueperson
Date: 23 Nov 09 - 03:11 PM

Grumpy Music had much to commend it as a description. Reflexive, self-serving, reactionary. A rolling stone that gathered so much moss, it's pretty much all greenery these days.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: True Traditional Music
From: TheSnail
Date: 23 Nov 09 - 02:55 PM

Amos
in a large SOuthwestern nurdery

Like it.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: True Traditional Music
From: GUEST,Ed
Date: 23 Nov 09 - 02:52 PM

Some traditional music from Manchester: here

Believe me, this is more of a tradition than much mentioned above. It involves real people rather than conjecture, mind.

Ed


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: True Traditional Music
From: Jack Campin
Date: 23 Nov 09 - 02:41 PM

I hadn't heard of the Cage connection Amos mentioned, but came across this recently:

cactus tune on Oddstruments


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: True Traditional Music
From: Jack Campin
Date: 23 Nov 09 - 02:28 PM

I wonder if in the UK one finds Northern English and Scottish ears are more attuned to 'Slow Airs' and further South in the Midlands down to the South coast Morris tunes are more easily responded to/recognised.

I was talking about Scotland there. I've no idea how the sort of tune I was playing (Nathaniel Gow's "Mr Ronald Crawford", say) would be perceived in England.

But it is absolutely obvious to me thare is no single "tradition". There is a sheaf of them, wending and dividing and rejoining through time. So it would be helpful for the muddy-headed ranters to mention which ones they were ranting about before pounding their chests.

There are roughly three different subcultural traditions I meet with personally here in southern Scotland: the singer-songwriter crowd (on Radio Scotland: Ian Anderson's show), the Scottish revivalist folk scene (Archie Fisher's "Travelling Folk"), and the fiddle and accordion music scene (Robbie Shepherd's "Take the Floor"). They overlap pairwise, and you often get misunderstandings when somebody used to one of them walks into an event that's mainly the other. I use the sort of instruments you might expect to find in the revivalist folk scene, but the music I play is mainly the fiddle-and-accordion-club repertoire, so neither of them quite knows what to make of me. And the singer-songwriter crowd (who dominate the participant music sessions around where I live in Midlothian) really don't know what to make of my tunes - it's very, very rare for any of them to have any idea how to accompany one on their guitar, however good they may be at blues or John Prine songs. (Oh, and a fourth category: the "world music" scene, as represented on Scottish radio by Mary Ann Kennedy's show. My ventures into that cause equal bafflement in all the other three).


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: True Traditional Music
From: Amos
Date: 23 Nov 09 - 02:16 PM

In another tradition, John Cage staged a piece called, if I recall aright, "Child of Tree" in which the instruments included various plants. One of the "new music" musicians of the era, Miles Anderson, a renowned trombonist, told me a hilarious story about auditioning various cactii in a large SOuthwestern nurdery, using a portable amp and a contact mic. He eventually selected the best one for its long and varied spines which produced a wide rangeof tones when plucked.
OF course you could, if you chose, define this as merely the most recent episode in the long tradition of playing music on trees and hollow logs and the like.



A


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: True Traditional Music
From: Waddon Pete
Date: 23 Nov 09 - 02:02 PM

Hello Jerry,

Yes, there is a difference between perceptions of folk music, depending upon where you are.

I have always felt that US folkies have more of a grasp on the genre than others. Utah Phillips talked a great deal of sense about folk music, its usage and its origins. You can still find his views on the web.....(but you knew that!)

Best wishes,

Peter


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: True Traditional Music
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 23 Nov 09 - 01:56 PM

"DO they use Thirds in traditional music?"

Interesting question Amos, hopefully Jack Campin will be along shortly to enlighten us?

I'm sure someone may have made use of dried cow pats/elk dung/llama doo-doo at some point in the history of (folk) music, after all people have used shite for every other kind of early innovation (such as constructing buildings and as fuel for fire etc.)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: True Traditional Music
From: TheSnail
Date: 23 Nov 09 - 01:55 PM

Thirds never sound quite right in even temperament.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: True Traditional Music
From: Amos
Date: 23 Nov 09 - 01:51 PM

DO they use Thirds in traditional music?

Depends on your definition of third...



A


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: True Traditional Music
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 23 Nov 09 - 01:41 PM

Awww, do you think?

Well... As Sweeney is indulging in the Oirish there, I'd no doubt read that as 'Thurd' - which strictly speaking, is in fact a vernacular variant of the term "You total feckin' Arse'ole!", and thus clearly a far more formal expression of affection than the common "Thurd" - YMMV.
:)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: True Traditional Music
From: Marje
Date: 23 Nov 09 - 01:31 PM

One traditional singer (i.e. not a classical opera singer, right?) - and I wish I could remember which one - said something like, "I know the difference between traditional music and any other kind of music. It's as clear to me as the difference between night and day, and just because I can't tell you exactly where one ends and the other begins, it doesn't follow that they're both the same." In other words, we're talking about a distinctive and recognisable genre of music, even if any attempted definition is a bit flaky for some purposes. Other genres of music (jazz, swing, rock)are just as hard to define precisely, but equally distinctive. Can't we just move on and talk about traditional music without someone invoking the mythical "folk police" and declaring that it's impossible to discuss this music because no one knows what it is?

A much more interesting, and less contentious, line of inquiry is the difference, mentioned by Jerry above, between US and UK interpretations of the term "traditional" music, as demonstrated in his original post at the top. I think, for one thing, we're looking at, one one hand, a young country where anything "traditional" may be relatively recent, and on the other, an old country where the traditions stretch back over many centuries.

Marje


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: True Traditional Music
From: richd
Date: 23 Nov 09 - 01:26 PM

O good! I do like it when Sweary O'Pillock and Mthef'nG*T start gettin' it on. Watch it boys, or Joe'll be round with his redish-brown type, just as soon as he's back from his bout of Cornish wrestling.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: True Traditional Music
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 23 Nov 09 - 01:19 PM

Can't make heads or tails of what he thinks he is on about. Can anybody?"

... Well almost, sort of, nearly, yes possibly. >>>

Good summary, Crow Sister. But watch it — Sweeney will get all subtle & call you 'a turd' if you go on like that about him. He's ever so sensitive, you know — one has to make allowances.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate
Next Page

  Share Thread:
More...

Reply to Thread
Subject:  Help
From:
Preview   Automatic Linebreaks   Make a link ("blue clicky")


Mudcat time: 23 January 10:54 AM EST

[ Home ]

All original material is copyright © 1998 by the Mudcat Café Music Foundation, Inc. All photos, music, images, etc. are copyright © by their rightful owners. Every effort is taken to attribute appropriate copyright to images, content, music, etc. We are not a copyright resource.