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New Book: Folk Song in England

Joe Offer 05 Jul 18 - 05:37 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 05 Jul 18 - 05:39 PM
RTim 05 Jul 18 - 05:58 PM
Steve Gardham 05 Jul 18 - 06:34 PM
Steve Gardham 05 Jul 18 - 06:39 PM
Steve Gardham 05 Jul 18 - 06:47 PM
RTim 05 Jul 18 - 07:08 PM
Jim Carroll 06 Jul 18 - 04:16 AM
Brian Peters 06 Jul 18 - 04:49 AM
Brian Peters 06 Jul 18 - 05:01 AM
Joe Offer 06 Jul 18 - 05:04 AM
Richard Mellish 06 Jul 18 - 05:07 AM
Jim Carroll 06 Jul 18 - 05:38 AM
Brian Peters 06 Jul 18 - 05:48 AM
Jim Carroll 06 Jul 18 - 05:58 AM
Howard Jones 06 Jul 18 - 06:01 AM
Brian Peters 06 Jul 18 - 06:14 AM
Vic Smith 06 Jul 18 - 06:22 AM
Jim Carroll 06 Jul 18 - 06:32 AM
The Sandman 06 Jul 18 - 06:42 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 06 Jul 18 - 07:00 AM
The Sandman 06 Jul 18 - 07:02 AM
Jim Carroll 06 Jul 18 - 07:13 AM
The Sandman 06 Jul 18 - 07:50 AM
GUEST,Jack Campin 06 Jul 18 - 08:00 AM
Howard Jones 06 Jul 18 - 08:01 AM
Jack Campin 06 Jul 18 - 08:09 AM
Howard Jones 06 Jul 18 - 08:23 AM
Jim Carroll 06 Jul 18 - 08:25 AM
Jack Campin 06 Jul 18 - 09:32 AM
Jim Carroll 06 Jul 18 - 10:41 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 06 Jul 18 - 10:48 AM
Jim Carroll 06 Jul 18 - 11:03 AM
GUEST,Jack Campin 06 Jul 18 - 11:08 AM
GUEST,The Tailors Goose 06 Jul 18 - 11:44 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 06 Jul 18 - 12:27 PM
Jim Carroll 06 Jul 18 - 12:29 PM
Richard Mellish 06 Jul 18 - 02:55 PM
Steve Gardham 06 Jul 18 - 04:13 PM
Brian Peters 06 Jul 18 - 04:38 PM
Brian Peters 06 Jul 18 - 05:23 PM
Jack Campin 06 Jul 18 - 05:40 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 06 Jul 18 - 06:24 PM
Jim Carroll 06 Jul 18 - 09:10 PM
Brian Peters 07 Jul 18 - 03:03 AM
Jim Carroll 07 Jul 18 - 03:32 AM
Brian Peters 07 Jul 18 - 04:15 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 07 Jul 18 - 04:42 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 07 Jul 18 - 05:35 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 07 Jul 18 - 05:51 AM
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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Joe Offer
Date: 05 Jul 18 - 05:37 PM

The levity helps, Steve - and this is 1101. This thread has become a bit grumpy. Lighten up, folks. I really don't want to have to start closing threads.
-Joe-


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 05 Jul 18 - 05:39 PM

At the risk of continuing a topic where there is clearly passionate disagreement:

I cannot resolve this percentages disagreement in my own head: I lack the data and I'm not clear about how one could conclude that a broadsheet/print origin was a fact. Just because a printed version is the earliest known version it does not mean there were no oral versions before this. I guess this is maybe where the Wittgenstein bit comes in.

Not quoting pages numbers this time, but I think Roud does acknowledge that there may be oral origins for some of these, but says if so how we can we know? The quality of language/aesthetic judgements have been suggested as one way of deciding, but this is a very subjective area.

But unless I am wrong, Roud's book is intended to apply only to a 'corpus' collected up until the mid 20th century, and collected mainly by the people whose stories Roud tell us, and the percentages apply to this corpus, as represented mainly by the songs within that category to which Roud has given numbers. Have I got this right?


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: RTim
Date: 05 Jul 18 - 05:58 PM

This rumbles on while good old songs are still being sung all over, by some singers who don't care of the origins.........There is nothing else to be said, and opposites here will never agree...Nothing is wrong!

Tim Radford


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 05 Jul 18 - 06:34 PM

Apologies, Joe
I have genuinely tried hard to stay out of this one but when someone is constantly misquoting you and twisting your words it's quite difficult not to defend yourself.

Pseud, when I wrote 'FACT...……...first appeared' it should actually say 'earliest extant version' which is what I have published. Obviously this cannot guarantee that there wasn't something before that, which is why the following statement is only an OPINION, but nevertheless based upon examining hundreds of thousands of examples of all related genres.
This included studying the actual ballads themselves and what we can find of their evolution, contemporary accounts of interviews with ballad writers, named authors, stylistic characteristics and many many other clues contained within the texts themselves such as datable events, historical and social clues. Then of course there is the added weight of other scholars who have studied the material in detail and independently have come to the same conclusions.

Part of the problem of the romanticist outlook is these people have not studied the material in any detail.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 05 Jul 18 - 06:39 PM

Tim,
I can't believe you wrote that in seriousness! Of course songs are there to be sung. I do as much of that as anybody and I'm sure Jim does too. Are you really suggesting we shouldn't talk about their history?


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 05 Jul 18 - 06:47 PM

'opposites here will never agree'. Is there some law that says that we have to?


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: RTim
Date: 05 Jul 18 - 07:08 PM

Steve - What I wrote is fact - many don't care about the history - that does not mean I am one of them....as I am sure you really know!

Unless you are like Steve Roud and make a living out of all this research etc., you only use the history when you introduce a song you may sing, or you are asked about it afterwards.
When we sing from such a rich and varied catalogue of songs, sometimes we use songs that have been composed - and should I choose to sing one - then it is as important a song to me as a song collected only ever once from a traditional singer who happened to have been born close to where I myself have been born.

Yes - History is important - but so is continuing to sing- anything, and This thread has got out of control and drifted from reality. My last words - I hope.

Tim Radford


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 06 Jul 18 - 04:16 AM

"Nothing has 'shrunk'. My stance has always been on that corpus on numerous threads and in my published work."
Then why did your derisive comments follow ten programmes which covered the entire corpus which dated back to our earliest folk songs?
"You are here referring to MY OPINION which is at least as equally valid as yours."
No - I am referring to the definitive and often condescending way in which your opinion was delivered - even your eventual "perhaps I should say I.M.O." was delivered in a condescending manner
"(and at one angry stage) 100% claim"
I'll dig it out if you wish (I have already done so, with references), but I really don't want to want to descend this discussion to that level - we've done that too often between us.
In an apparent fit of anger you said something like "arguing with you had raised my estimation of the figure to 100%" - I've accepted that was an angry outburst
"Child's broadsides"
Child used broadsides throughout his work - at no time did he indicate that he changed his "dunghill" contempt" for them -
That is shown without a doubt by the fact that his description of them has continued in use up the the present day - even some feller who writes for Musical Traditions even uses it as a pseudonym !!
Would he have allowed it to be included in his collection if he didn't believe it?
Even if 'the scales had fallen from his eyes' it wouldn't matter; bad poetry is bad poetry - the proof of the pudding lies in the volumes of unsingable songs that litter our shelves

I owe you no apology Steve - at no time have I "misinterpreted" your arguments, yet you have said on several occasions that I have.
I suggest we put this distasteful bickering to bed (both of us) and approach this serious subject seriously - it really is worth the effort.
Like Steve Roud's I have respect for the work you have done - I disagree strongly with some of your conclusions
I don't suppose it is of any comfort that I feel the same about Cecil Sharp :-)

Pseu
"I lack the data and I'm not clear about how one could conclude that a broadsheet/print origin was a fact. "
The data to enable us to reach such a conclusion does not exist and it never will
All the earliest printing date proves is that was when the song went into print - everything else has to be common sense
The fact that working people were capable om making songs and had the will to do so is a major factor as far as I am concerned
Our observations of how the singers from living traditions regarded the songs from printed page - the limitations of, or sometimes total lack of literacy. the suspicion of, the way songs were regarded as creations of their communities - "Norfolk songs", Traveller's songs", "me daddie's songs"... and a whole host of hints to be thrown into the melting pot.
James Hogg's mother, the ballad singer, provides a view from the heart of a thriving ballad tradition

"‘there was never ane o’ my songs prentit till ye prentit them yoursel' and ye hae spoilt them a’ togither. They were made for singin’ an’ no for read in’, but ye hae broken the charm now, an’ they’ll never be sung mair’"

We are indebted to the Travelling communities of Ireland and Scotland for some of our best and rarest ballads - largely pre-literate.

What it boils down to is, once you accept that working people were capable and desirous of making songs, they have a major claim to having made our folk songs - those songs dealt with their lives and experiences and they did so displaying knowledge of the subject matter described and the passion of people who underwent the experiences described
I don't believe the hacks were capable of that and even if they were - why should they bother ?
They weren't social reformers setting out to change the world - they were hard-driven writers of verse out to make a few pennies.

One of the things that has disturbed me the most in all this is that, if we are to accept this theory we will have to re-estimate the work of centuries, often by people who were alive when the broadside presses were churning out their songs and singers were singing their folk songs
Surely someone would have noticed that these songs were town products rather than the 'country songs' everybody referred to them as?
Our own researches have to be a sum of all ideas and not donned and discarded like shoes
There has been far too much throwing the baby out with the bathwater to make room for the latest academic fad - it's about time we learned to respect the pioneers, for all their limitations, rather than using the Dave Harker-like 'hit-list' approach to scholarship   
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Brian Peters
Date: 06 Jul 18 - 04:49 AM

Come on, Joe, surely this thread isn't deserving of closure? I can remember ferocious 'what is folk?' discussions on here in which people were calling each other mentally ill and threatening physical violence!

I think Pseudonymous has made some very useful contributions by approaching the Roud book without preconceptions. I notice that he(?) mentioned the review by Clinton Heylin in The Spectator. Heylin is not exclusively a folk/rock specialist, having written a well-researched if sometimes tendentious book about Child 243, entitled 'Dylan's Demon Lover', a few years ago. However, his review of Roud is incoherent, factually inaccurate in several respects and full of petty point-scoring. He actually attempts to be patronising in his dismissals of Roud, which is rather like a toddler kicking a professional rugby forward on the shins.

When Heylin states "when a man has written at such length on English folk song and still has the chutzpah to pronounce that ‘origins do not matter’", he is damning Roud for being open-minded. It's been well-established on this thread that we cannot be certain that a given broadside is the origin of a particular song, only that it is the earliest extant version - though of course we may hold strong and informed opinions on the matter. All Roud is doing in saying that "origins do not matter" is trying to avoid the kind of intractable dispute we have seen here. What interests him is how the songs were used in popular culture.

Heylin believes that "the more interesting story, which still needs to be told" is that of "the centuries when English folk song was part of a vibrant, largely oral, British tradition". By this I assume he means the centuries prior to the 17th, when the earliest recognizable ballads begin to appear in print. However, those centuries represent precisely the era for which we have little conclusive data, and aren't likely to get much more.

Personally I find the matter of 'what people actually sang' two or three hundred years ago of great interest, whether or not it conforms to my or Cecil Sharp's definition of whether it was 'folk song'. I do think, though (and I attempted to raise this near the beginning of the thread) that Roud tries to have it both ways in accepting on the one hand that (as Pseudonymous again noted above) a song needs to have been passed on through a couple of generations to be considered 'folk', while on the other, criticizing Edwardian collectors for ignoring (say) Music hall material that was of recent origin.

Both of the folk revivals of the 20th century more or less accepted the corpus of songs as defined by Sharp and others. The point about that corpus was that it wasn't defined simply by whether the songs had passed into participatory popular culture (as things like football chants undoubtedly have), but also by a time period. Sharpian folk song derives mostly from a period from (maybe) 1750 to 1850. It has its own textual and musical characteristics, and it simply sounds different from the music of a later era like Music Hall or minstrelsey. Many - though by no means all - of us who have been part of the second folk revival recognize those characteristics and warm to them. Some Mudcat debates over the years might have been simplified if that had been acknowledged.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Brian Peters
Date: 06 Jul 18 - 05:01 AM

Regarding Pseudonymous's question about modes, the Edwardian collectors and later revivalists like Lloyd did get rather over-excited by the concept, especially by the regular occurrence in collected melodies of scales that weren't the regular major.

What we know now, thanks to the availability of many sound recordings from which we can make our own judgements, is that the intervals that define the different modes (i.e. the flattening of the sevenths, thirds and sixths) are often precisely the intervals that traditional singers pitched with a degree of ambiguity. So to try and force every melody into a modal category like 'dorian' when the thirds or sevenths may be either flat or sharp within a single verse, or possibly hit on the quarter-tone, is to over-simplify a complex phenomenon.

A further issue is that early collectors like Sharp (and Lloyd in Penguin 1) expressed a bias towards non-major tunes. Roud and Bishop's Penguin 2 tried to correct this - but that had the result that some folkies found a lot of the tunes rather bland since so many of them were major.

Personally I love my Mixolydian and Dorian, and am almost certainly biassed towards them in my own song selection, but then I'm a product of the Folk Revival and not a country pub singer of the 1920s.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Joe Offer
Date: 06 Jul 18 - 05:04 AM

Yeah, Brian, but there are still very interesting posts being added to this thread - yours, for example. I'm still trying to convince myself that I ought to read this tome. I don't appreciate the grumpiness of certain Mudcatters, but there is still a lot of interesting stuff here.
But to those of you who dwell on being insulted and on insulting others to pay them back - that stuff is really, really boring. This is a thread about a book and about music. It's not about grumpy, old men.
-Joe, grumpily-


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 06 Jul 18 - 05:07 AM

I tried a while ago to get to the bottom of the "100%" but it led me to another thread and got too confusing so I gave up. I believe the only place it has appeared in this thread is in posts from Jim attributing it to Steve G. I don't think anybody has ever really claimed 100% print origin even for the classic corpus, let alone for the totality of folk song. As for that figure being "extended to folk tales and tunes"; I missed that, but clearly such a claim would be nonsense.

The Carroll doth protest too much, methinks.

Picking up the separate matter of modes, raised by Pseudonymous: Sharp wanted the tunes to be ancient, so seized on and gave prominence to ones that seemed to correspond to the old church modes, but I reckon Grainger's interpretation was the right one.

Another instance of variability is in Cecilia Costello's alternative cadences for The Grey Cock, implying major or minor.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 06 Jul 18 - 05:38 AM

"whether or not it conforms to my or Cecil Sharp's definition of whether it was 'folk song'. "
It really is time this one was put to bed Briain
Whatever Sharp thought and whatever mistakes he made, we are discussing what we all thought up till recently - including you, no doubt
If he was wrong, so were we all
I find what people sang centuries ago interesting too - that doesn't make it folk

"I don't think anybody has ever really claimed 100% print origin even for the classic corpus, "
Please don't make me trawl through all the threads again Richard
I don't make things up - I've never seen the point in sdoing so
Jim


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Brian Peters
Date: 06 Jul 18 - 05:48 AM

...we are discussing what we all thought up till recently - including you, no doubt... If he was wrong, so were we all

Well, Jim, I'm sure I have been wrong about many things. I took Lloyd's FSE as gospel for many years and, although as most of us acknowledge it's an exhilarating read, there are things in there that I no longer believe. I also think it sensible to take account of recent research and not accept all of Cecil Sharp's ideas as the last word on the subject.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 06 Jul 18 - 05:58 AM

Fine Brian
Then it has nothing to do with what Sharp believed than
I think it's a long time since he was regarded as having 'the last word' on anything - by anybody
Jim


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Howard Jones
Date: 06 Jul 18 - 06:01 AM

If Roud's choice if title, deliberately echoing AL Lloyd's, was meant to be provocative, he has certainly succeeded.

Leaving aside any implications in the title, Roud is clear that he is writing a social history setting out the context in which what we broadly term 'folk song' existed. That included other forms of song which existed alongside and in some cases became transformed into folk song. He acknowledges the difficulty, indeed the impossibility, of finding a hard-and-fast definition of folk song, while at the same time finding that some sort of definition is required. Like everyone else, he has had to fudge it, because like any genre of music it is incapable of precise definition.

The overheated debate about broadsides has perhaps obscured the real point. Whether the broadsides were original songs or recycled folk songs created by the people, the broadside printers would not have bothered publishing them if they did not believe there was a market for them. Irrespective of the origins of the songs, this suggests that broadsides played a significant part in disseminating the songs more widely into the oral tradition, whether they had originally come from there or from other sources. The unsingable ones, by definition, would not have made it into the tradition.

I don't think anyone has seriously disagreed with Jim's point about the ability of the folk to create their own songs, and I take his point him that the songs of social commentary in particular are most likely to have been composed by the folk themselves. However there are other songs in the canon, and many others may well have originated on the stage or written for broadside publication.

It is I think well established that the creativity within folk songs comes not only from original composition but also how singers moulded and changed songs once they came into their possession - some would say the latter is the more important. Folk music can be considered 'the voice of the people' because it incorporates both elements. The creation of a folk song is an ongoing process in which the original composition is only the start. The difference between an 18th century stage song which has been absorbed into the tradition and a 19th century music hall song is that this process has not had time to work on the latter. Given time these too might have become folk songs.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Brian Peters
Date: 06 Jul 18 - 06:14 AM

The difference between an 18th century stage song which has been absorbed into the tradition and a 19th century music hall song is that this process has not had time to work on the latter.

Sensible post all round, Howard, and the above is true but not necessarily the whole story. I don't claim to be any kind of an expert, but my understanding is that Music Hall compositions were using new tricks like chromatic melodies and modulation, which weren't a part of those older songs.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Vic Smith
Date: 06 Jul 18 - 06:22 AM

Brian wrote:-
"I also think it sensible to take account of recent research and not accept all of Cecil Sharp's ideas as the last word on the subject."


... and, of course, Brian is right. Further, we also need to accept that modern academic standards in a wide range of disciplines has become much more rigorous and discerning and that there is much more emphasis on detailed research discipline than there was previously. In addition there is far more recognition that whatever your socio-political beliefs you will be hounded by your peers for bringing preconceptions to your work. For example, I doubt if another E.P. Thompson could emerge today and bring such an overbearing influence to historical academic practice as he did in the 1960s and 1970s. I would give Roud's book as a good example of these qualities of being extremely thorough and careful.

I need to add that some of these thoughts have been provoked by reading Penelope Lively's essay Reading and Writing in her 2013 book Ammonites and Leaping Fish which I have just finished this morning. Successful as a novelist, she also had a very precise intellect, the sort of outstanding thinker that gets chosen to be on the Board of Governors of the British Library as she was.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 06 Jul 18 - 06:32 AM

Sorry Howard - this in no way addressed the 90-odd% claim and its implications
None of what you say is relevant to the fact that, to accept those percentages is to undermine the role of 'people' as composers
Songs of social commentary are more likely to have originated on the broadside presses
Songs dealing with the everyday effects of what was happening in the wider world - wars, land enclosures, the changes in the countryside due to industrialisation, the necessity of using marriageable children as steps up the social ladder.... most of the events covered in our folk songs, are far more likely to have originated with the people who faced the problems
The love songs are universal - they effect us all
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: The Sandman
Date: 06 Jul 18 - 06:42 AM

Songs of social commentary are more likely to have originated on the broadside presses"
your opinion can you please back that statement up with facts or statistics? if you cannot then your opinion counts for little.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 06 Jul 18 - 07:00 AM

Steve

Thanks for the clarification on corpus, and for the points about methodology.

Tim

Tending to agree that we won't reach a consensus, but sad that other aspects of Roud's book aren't addressed. Because I think it's fascinating. But I am just a newbie on these threads and to this topic on anything other than a superficial level.


Jim

On Harker: I haven't read him first hand so I cannot comment much. He took a particular Marxist approach to the Victorian collectors. Roud doesn't appear to agree with his analysis (!). But at least anybody reading this thread and wanting to know who Harker was would be able to consult his Roud and find the answer. Roud likes to take what he calls a 'balanced' approach, though he fully acknowledges how middle class collectors have been. Roud, understandably, doesn't think there is anything wrong with being middle class.


On all that earliest printing proves is earliest printing. I think everybody agrees with that. I don't think anybody is denying that ordinary people can contribute songs to a tradition/genre already in existence. Thanks for explaining your reasons for preferring 'oral' origins. But maybe it would need to be argued on a case b case basis for the corpus in question.


On Child: On the basis of what has been said, it seems to me that in his collecton he included a number of dunghills. However, the full quotation appears to be to the effect that one can find jewels within the dung hill. I think I have found a source for this quotation in case anybody else is interested in seeing it in context.

Child 1872, in Hustvedt 1930: 254

I found this in a piece by E David Gregory. I think (happy to be corrected) that Roud describes him as American, but he is from Hitchin and went to Keele and Sussex Universities.


E David Gregory has described Child's later approach to broadside ballads as


" ambivalent, even schizophrenic. He heartily disliked them, yet he soon realized that he could not avoid them entirely. So he devised a rule of thumb in dealing with them. If he concluded on the basis of other evidence that a ballad was traditional, then he would print any broadside variants that he had come across. But in almost all other instances he rejected broadside texts out of hand"

          This is from a pdf online called jewels_left_in.

On Hogg, by coincidence we read one of his novels recently, and so looked at his life.

The quotation attributed to Margaret Hogg (nee Laidlaw) was actually written by James Hogg, who was a story-teller, and a professional one, long after the event. He is interesting because he tried to make a career out of being a 'peasant poet'. I am not sure that Hogg was a reliable narrator. I suspect that Margaret would have been literate as the Presbyterians held literacy in high esteem. I am not saying she did not also have an oral tradition, just that as usual things are complicated. She was married to a stock dealer and tenant sheep farmer who went bankrupt. Her son was first taught reading by a local churchman. They sent him to a small private school. Margaret clearly valued literacy. My understanding is that Hogg worked for Walter Scott collecting oral ballads, though his approach and Scott's to the material differed as Hogg felt more 'inside' the tradition, though he tried to make a living within literacy society as a 'peasant poet'. Incidentally I am sure that I came across a hint that Hogg himself wrote some of the songs he supplied to Scott; he did write songs and play music, having reputedly been inspired by the poetry of Burns!

If as "Margaret" claims writing ballads down led to their disappearance then logically we'd have none left. So this quotation does not seem to reflect a historical truth. "Margare"t is right that songs are for singing, and that aspects of performance cannot be captured in print. This is something mentioned by Roud, who comments that collectors often did not deal with this aspect. In fact some of them would not collect in pubs.

Just saying that things are complicated.

Personally I don't want any babies to be thrown anywhere.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: The Sandman
Date: 06 Jul 18 - 07:02 AM

The broadside presses were there to sell broadsides and make money what indications or records are there songs of social comment[ depending on what you mean by social comment] , sold more than songs about murder or coinfessions at the gallows. can you be more specific about what exactly you mean by social comment.
the term social comment these days refers generally to songs criticising the political establishment and the ruling class.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 06 Jul 18 - 07:13 AM

"He took a particular Marxist approach to the Victorian collectors."
Not particular
As far as I know, Marxists never had an approach to Sharp (I've read enough Marx to come under that description - not strictly true)
Dave' hatchet job was all his own
"The quotation attributed to Margaret Hogg (nee Laidlaw) was actually written by James Hogg, "
The quotation is reported in Walter Scott's journals as being said to him by Mrs Laidlaw - her son may well have repeated it - I'm sure he did - I would have done.
Our folk songs are based around the firesides, not the pubs
Try singing a twenty verse ballad in a crowded pup sometime and see how welcome you are made.

"if you cannot then your opinion counts for little."
If you persist in your bad manners I suggest you go elsewhere Dick - you and yours have just managed to close a thread by attacking a dead man
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: The Sandman
Date: 06 Jul 18 - 07:50 AM

Please answer the question, it has nothing to do with manners then kindly explain exactly what you mean by songs of social comment, because nowadays the term is often used to describe songs criticising the political establishment.
or do you mean songs about highwaymen executions or what please clarify . be kind enough to refer to the topic in question, as you have already managed to evade answering a question about providing copies of a tape. I would appreciate a civil reply unless your intention is to close this thread in the manner you closed the last thread.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,Jack Campin
Date: 06 Jul 18 - 08:00 AM

money what indications or records are there songs of social comment

Erin go Bragh

A very quick look round similar broadside archives anywhere in the UK, Ireland or France will show any amount of comparable stuff.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Howard Jones
Date: 06 Jul 18 - 08:01 AM

Jim, the "90%" claim is purely quantitative ie that a percentage of songs in oral tradition can be found in print. I don't have the book in front of me, but I don't recall it claiming that these were all by professional composers (although many of them were).

Whatever the origin of a song, singers and their audiences would only take it up if they felt it related to them in some way. Whether that is because it came from someone with direct experience of the subject or from an imaginative professional songwriter, once it had been taken up and turned into folk song it became the voice of the people. If the sentiments of a song expressed their own feelings, why should it matter who originally composed it? It almost certainly didn't to the singers, or the songs wouldn't have entered the tradition and been passed on.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jack Campin
Date: 06 Jul 18 - 08:09 AM

Another instance of variability is in Cecilia Costello's alternative cadences for The Grey Cock, implying major or minor

They imply no such thing. The modality of a tune is not determined by the pitch it ends on.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Howard Jones
Date: 06 Jul 18 - 08:23 AM

" my understanding is that Music Hall compositions were using new tricks like chromatic melodies and modulation, which weren't a part of those older songs."

True Brian, what I was trying to refer to was their acceptability to enter the folk tradition, rather than their musical styles which are clearly different.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 06 Jul 18 - 08:25 AM

Sorry Howard - the claim is that they originated in print
I would have no problem with your interpretation whatever; other researchers, like Bob Thomson, who first drew out attention to the up-to-then underestimated number - his thesis was largely based on it.

You seem to be avoiding why you believe these songs were made for money than the natural result of people's experiences
I never get tired of repeating singer Joe Coneeley's statement, 'If a man farted in church in those days, somebody made a song about it".
Joe and his generation had a rich oral tradition to draw on for his song-making template
His repertoire included four rare Child ballads and a host of other songs, including the extremely rare in Ireland, 'Girl With a Box on her Head'
His immediate area contained a treasure trove of big classical storytellers
A far cry from the rapidly declining English scene of the early twentieth century
Jim Caarroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jack Campin
Date: 06 Jul 18 - 09:32 AM

Try singing a twenty verse ballad in a crowded pup sometime and see how welcome you are made.

Outside of a puppy there's nothing that grabs your attention as much as a good narrative ballad.

Inside of a puppy you can't find a seat to sing it.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 06 Jul 18 - 10:41 AM

THaanks for spotting the hilarious typo - I was very tempted to comment on it myself but I would probably made a dog's breakfast of it.
I meant to respond to your comment
"Erin Go Bragh" is what I was attempting to describe, songs commenting on effects rather than advocating change
Jim


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 06 Jul 18 - 10:48 AM

Jim. Re your 7.13 am message.

Thanks for corrections. Note taken.

Somewhere I had picked up the idea that Harker's 'Fakesong' was written from a Marxist perspective (and there are various such perspectives), and that this perspective was applied to the Victorian folk-song collectors.

Do you have a ref for the Scott version of the anecdote?

Thanks again.

Tzu


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 06 Jul 18 - 11:03 AM

"Do you have a ref for the Scott version of the anecdote?"
We have a two volume set of the Journals here
I'll try to find it when I get time
Jim
Just checked on net - can't find the Journal reference, but a fascinating description of the meeting can be found here on page 122.

(clickety compliments of Joe Offer)

Far too long to blue clickie, I'm afraid
Jim


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,Jack Campin
Date: 06 Jul 18 - 11:08 AM

Surely "Erin Go Bragh"/"Duncan Campbell" is advocating change?

Come all you brave fellows that here of this song—
I dont care a farthing to where you belong—
For I'm from my shore, in the Highlands so braw
But I ne'er took it ill when called Erin-go-Bragh.


I'm pretty sure the anti-bigotry message there is what Dick Gaughan had in mind when he revived it.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,The Tailors Goose
Date: 06 Jul 18 - 11:44 AM

He would nae understand that


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 06 Jul 18 - 12:27 PM

Re Brian's remarks on modes (eg July 6th, 5.01)

The background sort of explains how it came about that I was given simplified info like 'folk song is modal'.

I agree about liking dorian and so on.

Not sure I agree that modulation was 'new', but the poster probably meant 'new to commercial popular music'. You get it in Tin Pan Alley songs as well. It's meant to add musical interest.

On a lighter level: I have certainly heard 'modulation' in some live performances, if not approached via whatever introductory chords 'art' music would find appropriate. In fact it is my own tendency to 'modulate' that prevents me from singing much. :)

The other interesting point, for me, as a beginner, in Roud was that it is believed early performances were not accompanied, leaving it an open question about which chords to choose for a harmonised version.

On cadences, I think the Bishop chapter in Roud does convince a reader that some singers sang the same song in what could be analysed as different modes. Also that using some versions of modal analysis, more than one mode seemed to feature in any one song. I think some early Sharp comments reflect this.

Also, my theory is limited but as I use it, the term 'cadence' refers to more than the end note of a song. It refers to the approach to the end, whether melodic or harmonic (ie with chordal backing). But the theoretical point that the end note need not reflect the mode I wouldn't argue with.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 06 Jul 18 - 12:29 PM

"He would nae understand that"
Wha', me Jimmy?
My old man was born in Glasgow and spent his life with the nickname Scotty, even though you couldn't burn you way through his Scouse accent with a blow-torch

I'm not familiar with Dick's text, but I still think it's a complaint about and a reaction to prejudice rather than a campaign message against it
Maybe splitting hairs - I do that a lot
Jim


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 06 Jul 18 - 02:55 PM

I said
"Another instance of variability is in Cecilia Costello's alternative cadences for The Grey Cock, implying major or minor"

Jack said
"They imply no such thing. The modality of a tune is not determined by the pitch it ends on."

Perhaps I should have said "suggest" rather than "imply". The note that a tune ends on is a very strong indication of the tonic. The same notes with different tonics strongly suggest different modes/scales.

But perhaps a better comment on Cecilia Costello's alternative versions is that it illustrates the variability.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 06 Jul 18 - 04:13 PM

Tim,
I didn't really doubt you. It just seemed a strange statement for such a thread.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Brian Peters
Date: 06 Jul 18 - 04:38 PM

"He took a particular Marxist approach to the Victorian collectors."
Not particularly:
As far as I know, Marxists never had an approach to Sharp (I've read enough Marx to come under that description - not strictly true)
Dave [Harker]'s hatchet job was all his own.


Dave Harker was SWP, and no friend of the CPGB or the likes of Lloyd and Maccoll. In the final sentence of 'Fakesong' he states: "How far he [i.e. Harker himself] succeeded in doing so, and whether the effort was worth it, will be best judged by his comrades in the Gorton Branch of the SWP and those in other socialist parties."

I had an interesting chat recently with one of Mr Harker's former SWP colleagues in Manchester, who had been horrified by his assault on folk song and found his methods lacking in proper Trotskyite analysis, so it would appear that, even by its author's preferred criteria, 'Fakesong' wasn't an unbridled success.

Having spent some time examining Dave Harker's work, it's clear to me that, while he is well-researched in terms of having examined much relevant source material, his representation of it is biassed and tendentious. Following some of his footnotes back to their sources often reveals that they are misquoted or presented in an inaccurate context, and he quotes very selectively in order to present his targets in the worst possible light. Compare for example his account of Baring-Gould's relationship with source singers with that provided recently by Martin Graebe in his excellent biography, which gives a far more detailed and sympathetic analysis of the reverend's motives.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Brian Peters
Date: 06 Jul 18 - 05:23 PM

Just going back for a moment to my remark about Cecil Sharp not having had the last word on the subject, it's nonetheless interesting that both Lloyd and Roud in their respective takes on 'Folk Song in England' actually accept quite a few of Sharp's ideas.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jack Campin
Date: 06 Jul 18 - 05:40 PM

The distinctively modal feature of "The Grey Cock" isn't its finalis - it's the missing note. It's hexatonic, somewhat ambiguous between D minor/dorian and F major/lydian (though D seems to be implied more often than F, since C rarely occurs).


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 06 Jul 18 - 06:24 PM

I don't know The Grey Cock.

D Dorian D E F G A B C D
F Major F G A Bb C D E F
F Lydian F G A B C D E F


This singer sings a flat third for 'my dear love' at about 50 in. So that bit sounds minor.

https://www.8notes.com/scores/4735.asp

This also ends with a flat 3rd, major 2nd 1. That sound minor.

Haven't looked at the rest of it. For Lydian in with this 'tonal centre' wouldn't we need E – F# – G# – A# – B – C# – D#?

Too late for more thought on the subject. Too many ledger lines for comfort.

Brian: 05.23 Yes.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 06 Jul 18 - 09:10 PM

"Dave Harker was SWP, and no friend of the CPGB "
I know that Brian
Just before I left Manchester the SWP were planning a show to commemorate the Peterloo 150th anniversary and contacted me through a fiend of a friend to advise them on songs
I met up with them with a list of suggestions, only to find they didn't have a clue about folk songs - they ended up with a fifth rate rock band - they really don't have a line on folk song, neither does the left in modern general even though they played a major paaaart in getting the ball tolling with the Worker's Music Association and the early days of Topic records -
MacColl was forever falling out with the various organisations
We have an interesting radio programme on the history of Topic here called 'Little Red Label' - well worth a listen
Bob Thomson gave a lot of help to Harker when he was preparing Fakesong - he was furious at the outcome
Bed-time - we have a solid week of diddley-di music and song to face from tomorrow onwards
Jim


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Brian Peters
Date: 07 Jul 18 - 03:03 AM

Interestng, that, Jim, not least because the 200th anniversary of Peterloo is coming up very soon, and I'm involved in a project to commemorate it. Won't be 5th rate rock music, though - you really should have known better to put your trust in a 'fiend of a friend'.

There's a book coming out shortly about Peterloo-related broadsides - of which there are many.

Enjoy your diddly and singing.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 07 Jul 18 - 03:32 AM

Don't know whether you are aware of the Peterloo song I was given by Salford Historian, Eddie Frow when I was involved in the earlier project
I gave it to Sam Richards and Tish Stubbs for their "English Folk Singer" - I think they used the tune I put to it.

"Fiends"
Actually, the S.W.P. people I was dealing with were a fairly friendly and articulate crowd - just ignorant, as far as folk-song was concerned, and somewhat short-sighted as far as working-class culture was concerned -isn't that always the way
I got to meet Vanessa Redgrave (sighhhhh) while I was in contact with them; her husband was running the project
Jim


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Brian Peters
Date: 07 Jul 18 - 04:15 AM

Don't know whether you are aware of the Peterloo song I was given by Salford Historian, Eddie Frow when I was involved in the earlier project

I'm not, and I will look it up, thanks.

The broadsides of the period are often very wordy and require editing, but they convey a deep sense of bitterness and injustice. An old school friend of mine mentioned the other day that, in his youth, his grandfather would often mention a real sense of outrage over the events of 150 years earlier, particularly the notorious and much-reported slashing of a woman protester's breast by a yeoman's sabre.

I also found out recently that a newspaper reporter of the time, whose honest account of the day's events had been spiked by his pro-authority employer, walked away from his job and founded the Manchester Guardian.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 07 Jul 18 - 04:42 AM

Forgot a link to the sung version.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GqrW65xdeZw

But there seem to me to be some microtones in this ?????


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 07 Jul 18 - 05:35 AM

I looked up what Roud had to say on Harker, and lost the post.

But it is interesting, even if Roud dislikes what he calls 'facile Bourgeois bashing. So once again, Roud has something to offer.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 07 Jul 18 - 05:51 AM

There seems, perhaps, to be a long-standing feud between left factions, as illustrated not just by this thread, but also perhaps by this introduction to an early Lloyd piece which cites Harker in the references.

The tone varies but this bit is provocative

...Lloyd offers a combination of opinions that would fit snugly into the columns of The Sunday Telegraph or Daily Mail...

One can perhaps see why Jim expresses negativity about Harker.

Now Roud, while being plain about his view of some aspects of Harker's approach, does (p175) acknowledge the work of David Harker as making a contribution to the field through his research. especially into the NE.

I have learned a lot through this thread and through Roud. So well worth the money, I think, even though just maybe from time to time a bit of facile bourgeois bashing is good for the soul.


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