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Bayard and how to 'operationalise' ?

GUEST,Karen 10 Dec 19 - 09:43 AM
Jack Campin 11 Dec 19 - 09:46 AM
GUEST,Karen 11 Dec 19 - 03:15 PM
Jack Campin 12 Dec 19 - 09:13 AM
GUEST,Karen 12 Dec 19 - 04:39 PM
Jack Campin 12 Dec 19 - 06:14 PM
GUEST,Karen 12 Dec 19 - 06:26 PM
GUEST,Karen 12 Dec 19 - 06:27 PM
Jack Campin 12 Dec 19 - 07:24 PM
Jack Campin 13 Dec 19 - 03:50 PM
GUEST,Karen 13 Dec 19 - 05:29 PM
GUEST,Karen 14 Dec 19 - 01:38 AM
Jack Campin 14 Dec 19 - 05:40 AM
GUEST,Mike Yates 14 Dec 19 - 07:08 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 14 Dec 19 - 07:20 AM
GUEST,Karen 14 Dec 19 - 07:22 AM
GUEST,Karen 14 Dec 19 - 07:44 AM
Jack Campin 14 Dec 19 - 07:49 AM
GUEST,Karen 14 Dec 19 - 07:52 AM
leeneia 14 Dec 19 - 09:51 AM
Nick 14 Dec 19 - 11:13 AM
GUEST,Karen 14 Dec 19 - 11:16 AM
GUEST,Karen 14 Dec 19 - 12:18 PM
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Subject: Bayard and how to 'operationalise' ?
From: GUEST,Karen
Date: 10 Dec 19 - 09:43 AM

I cannot find a thread about Bayard, and his melody/tune families idea and I am just embarking on my first reading of his Prolegomena.

This is on JSTOR.

Is there anybody out there interested in discussing it, and how it can/should be 'operationalised'? Also any stuff from literature critiquing it I guess.

I have some knowledge of music theory and modes, operative word 'some'.

Hoping this counts as 'knowledge' for Mudcat purposes.


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Subject: RE: Bayard and how to 'operationalise' ?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 11 Dec 19 - 09:46 AM

I tried to reply but Mudcat promptly went offline for two days before I could post it.

There is a discussion of tune families in Nettl's "The Study of Ethnomusicology" which you can read on Google. He covers a lot of other people besides Bayard. The point I hadn't thought of is that all these different classifications use different principles - Bartok's was nothing like Bayard/Bronson. In particular, linguistic aspects (metre, rhyme scheme) mattered much more to Bartok and those he influenced than they did to Anglophones. The Bartok-influenced study I've looked at most is Vinko Zganec on Croatian songs; nothing like Bayard. But the textual way of doing it goes back in the Anglophone world to the classification of hymn and psalm tunes adopted early in the 19th century; in secular music it was used on a massive scale in the French "Le Clé du Caveau" (you can read that on Google, at least the first edition).

Kodaly is a bit more like Bayard, since his big project was to unify families across the (perhaps rather dodgy construct of) historically Hungarian and related peoples, over many centuries. Janos Sipos is quite a bit saner although he covers an even wider range of cultures, right across Turkic Central Asia (and has some to-me-incomprehensible remarks about Native North American music which attempt to pull that in somehow). Sipos's work is mostly available free.

Nettl is pretty pessimistic about the prospects for unifying these different family classifications across national boundaries.


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Subject: RE: Bayard and how to 'operationalise' ?
From: GUEST,Karen
Date: 11 Dec 19 - 03:15 PM

Gosh. I knew the moment I asked the question I was going to get so much more information that I could deal with! But I do appreciate this summary of points. I had guessed that different people might use different criteria because well, that's just life. But now I have some names to think about...

I'll have a loot at Nettl. He sounds like a sensible chap. Does he include eg the Scottish/English border within his pessimism? Is it down at that level? And would this not challenge Bayard who seems to be working on a cross Atlantic and therefore National boundary level. Are these sensible questions, even.

I am very new to this 'tune families' way of thinking. Nut it has caught my interest. So please be patient.

Thank you for the response


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Subject: RE: Bayard and how to 'operationalise' ?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 12 Dec 19 - 09:13 AM

Bayard's scheme includes the whole Anglophone tradition so the Scottish/English border isn't relevant; his "nation" isn't defined by nation-states. The problem is with his methodology, which is based exclusively around melodic contour, which maybe doesn't make the right differentiations for other cultures.

I don't think anybody's tried to classify the tunes of the various nations of the British Isles in isolation from each other - unless maybe somebody inspired by Breathnach had a go for the songs of the Gaeltacht? They might be an autonomous enough unit for that to work.

Sipos's enormous collection of tunes from Azerbaijan is a free download. His classification is a bit odd, with sections like "tunes moving on Locrian chords" - he's using harmonic language to organize an idiom which is entirely free of harmony. But I haven't read the thing in detail and he obviously knows exactly what he's doing.

Sipos's home page

There are some recent Turkish attempts to adapt the classical makam system to describe Turkish folk music. This needs non-trivial changes in the system, since Turkish folk doesn't have a heck of a lot in common with classical music. Unfortunately I haven't yet managed to get my hands on the recent book that describes this. I assume what they end up with is a catalogue of scales and cadential patterns which are more or less conscious knowledge among folk performers themselves, even if they don't have a standard language of their own for it. (Turkish folkies will happily use the classical names for modes that mean something utterly different in the classical setting).

The book I'm trying to get: Turkish Folk Music Modes (Turkish language only)


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Subject: RE: Bayard and how to 'operationalise' ?
From: GUEST,Karen
Date: 12 Dec 19 - 04:39 PM

I was only looking to think about some British Isles stuff, but all this is amazing!


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Subject: RE: Bayard and how to 'operationalise' ?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 12 Dec 19 - 06:14 PM

Problem with restricting your scope to Bayard is that his enterprise ran out of steam long ago. Maybe John Moulden still uses it? - but it isn't an ongoing research area and doesn't seem to have generated any tools you can use for examining music in a wider context. It's a static catalogue, and Bartok's system isn't much better. Using the makam system (or a generalization of it) has the potential to say more about the dynamics of tune relationships, how one tune gets transformed into another.

I was in a pub last night where a fiddler played a tune she called "Setanta's Revenge". I guess she thought of it as Irish, but to me it was simply another member of the family of "Katherine Ogie" tunes - which would have been a great help to picking it up quickly if I'd had an instrument handy, all I would need to learn is the features that made it stand out from the rest of the family. Over the years my memory has tended to discard the names of individual tunes, but the landscape they live in has got a lot more navigable.s


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Subject: RE: Bayard and how to 'operationalise' ?
From: GUEST,Karen
Date: 12 Dec 19 - 06:26 PM

OK thanks.

To be honest I read something that referred to Bayard, and wanted to understand Bayard to understand what I was reading about, if you see what I mean. To follow the thread of what was being argued.

When you say 'doesn't seem to have generated any tools', this seems to mean that it is tricky to what I call 'operationalise'. In other words to decide when songs are and are not in what he calls a 'family'. Am I making sense? And is this what you meant?

Actually in the bit I read I think there may have been some broad generalisations about Irish as opposed to English tunes, but I would have to check that. Perhaps I will come back to you to ask when I fell I've got to grips with it a bit more?

Thank you again for the fascinating information. It has left my head reeling!


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Subject: RE: Bayard and how to 'operationalise' ?
From: GUEST,Karen
Date: 12 Dec 19 - 06:27 PM

To be honest, I was a bit surprised that there wasn't stuff on Bayard on Mudcat, but if he is considered old hat or to have run out of steam that might explain it?


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Subject: RE: Bayard and how to 'operationalise' ?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 12 Dec 19 - 07:24 PM

The main "consumer" of Bayard's work was Bronson, but when he points to tune relationships he doesn't go on to say how they arose. It's like the early days of biological taxonomy before people could create timelines of DNA variation.

Any singers reading this? Do you internalize and make use of tune classifications in the way I described myself doing with instrumental tunes?

I just realiized I've ignored the most widely used classification method in the folk world - chord progression. That certainly has practical implications for its users.


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Subject: RE: Bayard and how to 'operationalise' ?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 13 Dec 19 - 03:50 PM

This thread always gets adverts featuring beautiful dark-skinned women in white lingerie. I don't quite get the connection.

I suspect the best way to classify tunes would be by automatic clustering based on a massive accumulation of subjective judgments of relatedness. Which is most likely to happen if someone can figure out how to make money from it.


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Subject: RE: Bayard and how to 'operationalise' ?
From: GUEST,Karen
Date: 13 Dec 19 - 05:29 PM

I've got an array of handbags. I think the connection is with the poster not the thread? :)


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Subject: RE: Bayard and how to 'operationalise' ?
From: GUEST,Karen
Date: 14 Dec 19 - 01:38 AM

I did find an article describing somebody's attempts to devise a computer programme to identify tune families, which is what made me wonder whether there were other attempts to codify the process, as opposed to it just being subjective as you said.

How useful if at all do you think Bayard is in trying to work out the 'history' of a tune?


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Subject: RE: Bayard and how to 'operationalise' ?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 14 Dec 19 - 05:40 AM

Working out the chronology of a cladistic tree could be interesting if the branching reveals something about process - borrowings from new sources or the introduction of new musical paradigms.

Can't think of a good trad example, but one from popular music is the "middle eight" in a different key. Totally unsingable for normal human beings unless you have a guitar in your hand to keep you on pitch - it was not a development that could ever have happened in a purely unaccompanied tradition.

Maybe all such modulations show the influence of instruments? - "The Bluebell of Scotland" has to have been written by a lady at the piano. But does it fit into a Bayard family?


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Subject: RE: Bayard and how to 'operationalise' ?
From: GUEST,Mike Yates
Date: 14 Dec 19 - 07:08 AM

While I am a great fan of Bayard's work, I used the website 'Fiddler's Companion' while looking for fiddle tunes that had been taken to the States by European/British/Irish musicians, some of which now form the basis for the new CD 'Oh, Listen Today... - The roots of American Old-Timey fiddle music' (Musical Traditions MTCD517). 'Fiddler's Companion' is a great place to seek out tune families and relationships.


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Subject: RE: Bayard and how to 'operationalise' ?
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 14 Dec 19 - 07:20 AM

Hmm. Hadn't thought about the 'middle eight' in that way. But not sure about 'totally unsingable' without guitar in hand for 'normal human beings'. Some modulations are trickier than others? But I'm a poor singer, I know what note I want to make but what I hear in my head and what comes out of the mouth don't always match up. My problem is unplanned and unwelcome modulations mid line....

I don't know enough about all traditions to answer any questions about modulations within traditions that lack instruments, or even about what would count as a 'purely unaccompanied tradition' eg could it exist alongside an instrumental tradition?

These are interesting questions.


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Subject: RE: Bayard and how to 'operationalise' ?
From: GUEST,Karen
Date: 14 Dec 19 - 07:22 AM

All I've got today is a small sock advert in the top right hand corner.


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Subject: RE: Bayard and how to 'operationalise' ?
From: GUEST,Karen
Date: 14 Dec 19 - 07:44 AM

So Mike, what in particular about Bayard do you think is interesting/valuable etc? (Still ploughing through it, by the way).


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Subject: RE: Bayard and how to 'operationalise' ?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 14 Dec 19 - 07:49 AM

No adverts at all right now. I was looking forward to all those gorgeous dark ladies wearing nothing but handbags.

Fiddler's Companion gives you a pretty one-eyed perspective. The vast majority of the sources cited are Irish or Irish-American, often thoroughly obscuring a tune's longer and well-established origin and development in England or Scotland. And they never, ever correct anything. TheSession works much better since you can be sure someone will be along eventually with a post that sets the history straight.

http://abcnotation.com has a graphical display of related tunes when you look at one in particular. I'm not sure how the relatedness is calculated.


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Subject: RE: Bayard and how to 'operationalise' ?
From: GUEST,Karen
Date: 14 Dec 19 - 07:52 AM

he he he


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Subject: RE: Bayard and how to 'operationalise' ?
From: leeneia
Date: 14 Dec 19 - 09:51 AM

For those of us who never heard of him, Samuel Preston Bayard was an American musicologist and collector, 1908-1997. You can read about him on Wikipedia.


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Subject: RE: Bayard and how to 'operationalise' ?
From: Nick
Date: 14 Dec 19 - 11:13 AM

I had never heard of Bayard before today so had a quick whizz through his intro to Hill Country Tunes, sped read Prolegomena and an article on A Fresh Look on the concept of tune family.

I must be very stupid but I couldn't see what the point of it all was. Or how anyone would find it useful to playing music? Or increasing understanding of it. I must be missing something.

(And I did think the "The Crocodile Rock Halter One Piece With Eyelets [which] embodies a fearless spirit of the wild waters of Kakadu" by Camilla at £340 looks a bit of a rip off)


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Subject: RE: Bayard and how to 'operationalise' ?
From: GUEST,Karen
Date: 14 Dec 19 - 11:16 AM

Thanks, Leeneia. I am reading a 'Prolegomena' (introduction/preparatory discussion) he wrote on the topic of the study of the principal 'melodic families' in British-American folksong.

After a long period of study, Bayard decided that the number of 'distinctly different melodies' circulating among 'modern folk singers' was far lower than many people believed. He felt that some melodies should be seen as 'variants' or 'versions' or 'closely related airs' and that this was a much larger proportion that many people believed. As I said, I'm still reading through it.

The Prolegomena don't set out a detailed study of such a family, more of an introduction to the ideas and general ideas eg the difficulties of tracing the 'history' of any particular melodic family and variants, the different ways, such as length, structure, etc in which a tune may get modified through what he calls 'oral recreation'.


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Subject: RE: Bayard and how to 'operationalise' ?
From: GUEST,Karen
Date: 14 Dec 19 - 12:18 PM

@Nick
But does it come in white?


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