mudcat.org: Mediation and its definition in folk music
Lyrics & Knowledge Personal Pages Record Shop Auction Links Radio & Media Kids Membership Help
The Mudcat Cafeawe

Post to this Thread - Sort Descending - Printer Friendly - Home


Mediation and its definition in folk music

Stanron 19 Feb 20 - 04:12 AM
Jim Carroll 19 Feb 20 - 04:41 AM
Jack Campin 19 Feb 20 - 07:29 AM
GUEST,jag 19 Feb 20 - 08:49 AM
Jack Campin 19 Feb 20 - 09:16 AM
Stanron 19 Feb 20 - 09:42 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 19 Feb 20 - 09:47 AM
Jim Carroll 19 Feb 20 - 10:07 AM
Jack Campin 19 Feb 20 - 10:19 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 19 Feb 20 - 10:35 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 19 Feb 20 - 10:35 AM
Jim Carroll 19 Feb 20 - 10:37 AM
GUEST,jag 19 Feb 20 - 10:46 AM
GUEST,jag 19 Feb 20 - 10:48 AM
GUEST,Starship 19 Feb 20 - 11:00 AM
GUEST,jag 19 Feb 20 - 11:11 AM
Jack Campin 19 Feb 20 - 11:47 AM
Jim Carroll 19 Feb 20 - 12:10 PM
GUEST 19 Feb 20 - 12:22 PM
GUEST,jag 19 Feb 20 - 12:45 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 19 Feb 20 - 01:50 PM
GUEST,jag 19 Feb 20 - 01:59 PM
Stanron 19 Feb 20 - 02:00 PM
Jack Campin 19 Feb 20 - 02:27 PM
GUEST,Starship 19 Feb 20 - 02:43 PM
Steve Shaw 19 Feb 20 - 02:59 PM
Steve Gardham 19 Feb 20 - 03:05 PM
Joe Offer 19 Feb 20 - 03:08 PM
Steve Shaw 19 Feb 20 - 03:12 PM
GUEST,jag 19 Feb 20 - 03:46 PM
Steve Gardham 19 Feb 20 - 03:52 PM
GUEST,jag 19 Feb 20 - 04:21 PM
Steve Shaw 19 Feb 20 - 05:52 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 19 Feb 20 - 06:06 PM
Jim Carroll 19 Feb 20 - 07:31 PM
GUEST,Big Al whittle 20 Feb 20 - 01:32 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 20 Feb 20 - 01:52 AM
GUEST,paperback 20 Feb 20 - 02:36 AM
GUEST,jag 20 Feb 20 - 03:27 AM
Jim Carroll 20 Feb 20 - 03:27 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 20 Feb 20 - 06:43 AM
Stanron 20 Feb 20 - 07:09 AM
Jim Carroll 20 Feb 20 - 07:12 AM
Brian Peters 20 Feb 20 - 07:24 AM
Jim Carroll 20 Feb 20 - 07:44 AM
Jim Carroll 20 Feb 20 - 08:18 AM
Jack Campin 20 Feb 20 - 10:08 AM
GUEST,jag 20 Feb 20 - 12:07 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 20 Feb 20 - 12:23 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 20 Feb 20 - 12:42 PM
Steve Gardham 20 Feb 20 - 01:38 PM
GUEST,jag 20 Feb 20 - 02:02 PM
Steve Gardham 20 Feb 20 - 02:52 PM
GUEST 20 Feb 20 - 04:07 PM
Jim Carroll 20 Feb 20 - 05:46 PM
GUEST,Big Al Whittle 21 Feb 20 - 03:12 AM
GUEST,Big al whittle 21 Feb 20 - 03:16 AM
GUEST,Big Al whittle 21 Feb 20 - 03:20 AM
Jim Carroll 21 Feb 20 - 04:00 AM
GUEST,Big Al Whittle 21 Feb 20 - 04:38 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 21 Feb 20 - 04:39 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 21 Feb 20 - 04:42 AM
GUEST,Big Al whittle 21 Feb 20 - 05:03 AM
GUEST,jag 21 Feb 20 - 05:18 AM
GUEST,jag 21 Feb 20 - 05:20 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 21 Feb 20 - 05:22 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 21 Feb 20 - 05:25 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 21 Feb 20 - 05:27 AM
Jim Carroll 21 Feb 20 - 05:28 AM
Jim Carroll 21 Feb 20 - 05:28 AM
Steve Shaw 21 Feb 20 - 05:33 AM
GUEST,jag 21 Feb 20 - 05:45 AM
GUEST,jag 21 Feb 20 - 05:56 AM
Jim Carroll 21 Feb 20 - 07:19 AM
GUEST,jag 21 Feb 20 - 07:37 AM
Jim Carroll 21 Feb 20 - 08:13 AM
An Buachaill Caol Dubh 21 Feb 20 - 08:42 AM
GUEST,jag 21 Feb 20 - 08:57 AM
GUEST,Big Al Whittle 21 Feb 20 - 12:07 PM
Jim Carroll 21 Feb 20 - 12:36 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 21 Feb 20 - 12:52 PM
An Buachaill Caol Dubh 21 Feb 20 - 03:16 PM
Steve Gardham 21 Feb 20 - 05:10 PM
Steve Gardham 21 Feb 20 - 05:29 PM
Brian Peters 21 Feb 20 - 06:05 PM
An Buachaill Caol Dubh 21 Feb 20 - 07:59 PM
Jim Carroll 22 Feb 20 - 03:53 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 22 Feb 20 - 04:29 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 22 Feb 20 - 04:47 AM
Jim Carroll 22 Feb 20 - 04:49 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 22 Feb 20 - 05:09 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 22 Feb 20 - 05:14 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 22 Feb 20 - 05:15 AM
Jim Carroll 22 Feb 20 - 05:23 AM
GUEST,jag 22 Feb 20 - 05:46 AM
Jim Carroll 22 Feb 20 - 06:33 AM
GUEST,Jack Campin 22 Feb 20 - 06:34 AM
An Buachaill Caol Dubh 22 Feb 20 - 06:35 AM
Jim Carroll 22 Feb 20 - 06:38 AM
GUEST,jag 22 Feb 20 - 07:03 AM
An Buachaill Caol Dubh 22 Feb 20 - 07:08 AM
GUEST,jag 22 Feb 20 - 07:30 AM
Jim Carroll 22 Feb 20 - 08:21 AM
Steve Gardham 22 Feb 20 - 10:01 AM
Jim Carroll 22 Feb 20 - 10:58 AM
GUEST,jag 22 Feb 20 - 11:49 AM
Jim Carroll 22 Feb 20 - 12:25 PM
GUEST,jag 22 Feb 20 - 12:54 PM
Jim Carroll 22 Feb 20 - 02:51 PM
Brian Peters 22 Feb 20 - 03:04 PM
Brian Peters 22 Feb 20 - 03:08 PM
Jack Campin 22 Feb 20 - 04:10 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 23 Feb 20 - 02:14 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 23 Feb 20 - 02:27 AM
Jack Campin 23 Feb 20 - 05:10 AM
GUEST,jag 23 Feb 20 - 06:06 AM
Jim Carroll 23 Feb 20 - 06:13 AM
GUEST,jag 23 Feb 20 - 06:47 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 23 Feb 20 - 07:36 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 23 Feb 20 - 08:26 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 23 Feb 20 - 09:03 AM
GUEST,jag 23 Feb 20 - 09:11 AM
GUEST,Starship 23 Feb 20 - 09:15 AM
GUEST,jag 23 Feb 20 - 09:19 AM
Jim Carroll 23 Feb 20 - 09:49 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 23 Feb 20 - 11:58 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 23 Feb 20 - 12:13 PM
GUEST,jag 23 Feb 20 - 12:13 PM
Brian Peters 23 Feb 20 - 12:35 PM
Jim Carroll 23 Feb 20 - 12:36 PM
Brian Peters 23 Feb 20 - 12:44 PM
Jim Carroll 23 Feb 20 - 01:24 PM
Brian Peters 23 Feb 20 - 01:48 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 23 Feb 20 - 02:23 PM
Jim Carroll 23 Feb 20 - 03:06 PM
The Sandman 23 Feb 20 - 03:48 PM
Steve Gardham 23 Feb 20 - 06:00 PM
GUEST,Big Al Whittle 23 Feb 20 - 07:32 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 23 Feb 20 - 07:55 PM
GUEST,big al whittle 23 Feb 20 - 08:26 PM
Jim Carroll 24 Feb 20 - 03:25 AM
Jim Carroll 24 Feb 20 - 03:51 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 24 Feb 20 - 03:59 AM
GUEST,jag 24 Feb 20 - 04:30 AM
GUEST,Big Al Whittle 24 Feb 20 - 04:55 AM
GUEST,Big Al whittle 24 Feb 20 - 06:33 AM
Jim Carroll 24 Feb 20 - 06:46 AM
GUEST,jag 24 Feb 20 - 07:02 AM
GUEST,big al whittle 24 Feb 20 - 07:47 AM
Jim Carroll 24 Feb 20 - 08:12 AM
GUEST,big al whittle 24 Feb 20 - 10:04 AM
Richard Mellish 24 Feb 20 - 10:28 AM
Jim Carroll 24 Feb 20 - 11:23 AM
Jack Campin 24 Feb 20 - 11:42 AM
Steve Gardham 24 Feb 20 - 12:35 PM
Joe Offer 24 Feb 20 - 01:49 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 24 Feb 20 - 01:58 PM
GUEST,jag 24 Feb 20 - 02:13 PM
GUEST,jag 24 Feb 20 - 02:14 PM
Steve Gardham 24 Feb 20 - 02:21 PM
Jim Carroll 24 Feb 20 - 02:34 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 24 Feb 20 - 04:50 PM
Steve Gardham 24 Feb 20 - 05:29 PM
Jim Carroll 25 Feb 20 - 03:06 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 25 Feb 20 - 03:08 AM
Jim Carroll 25 Feb 20 - 03:53 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 25 Feb 20 - 05:46 AM
GUEST,Big Al Whittle 25 Feb 20 - 06:04 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 25 Feb 20 - 07:10 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 25 Feb 20 - 07:17 AM
Brian Peters 25 Feb 20 - 08:24 AM
GUEST,jag 25 Feb 20 - 09:01 AM
Brian Peters 25 Feb 20 - 09:15 AM
Jim Carroll 25 Feb 20 - 09:27 AM
Jack Campin 25 Feb 20 - 09:47 AM
Brian Peters 25 Feb 20 - 10:04 AM
GUEST,jag 25 Feb 20 - 10:07 AM
GUEST,jag 25 Feb 20 - 10:37 AM
Jack Campin 25 Feb 20 - 11:08 AM
Steve Gardham 25 Feb 20 - 11:09 AM
Jack Campin 25 Feb 20 - 11:17 AM
GUEST,jag 25 Feb 20 - 11:50 AM
Brian Peters 25 Feb 20 - 12:09 PM
Brian Peters 25 Feb 20 - 12:33 PM
Steve Gardham 25 Feb 20 - 02:36 PM
Steve Gardham 25 Feb 20 - 03:00 PM
Brian Peters 26 Feb 20 - 09:00 AM
Jack Campin 26 Feb 20 - 09:05 AM
Steve Gardham 26 Feb 20 - 02:47 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 26 Feb 20 - 02:53 PM
The Sandman 27 Feb 20 - 03:55 AM
GUEST,Derrick 27 Feb 20 - 04:19 AM
GUEST,Cj 27 Feb 20 - 04:58 AM
Jack Campin 27 Feb 20 - 05:26 AM
Jim Carroll 27 Feb 20 - 05:39 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 27 Feb 20 - 06:18 AM
Steve Gardham 27 Feb 20 - 10:34 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 27 Feb 20 - 12:29 PM
Steve Gardham 27 Feb 20 - 12:58 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 27 Feb 20 - 01:13 PM
Steve Gardham 28 Feb 20 - 10:12 AM
Jim Carroll 28 Feb 20 - 10:59 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 28 Feb 20 - 12:50 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 28 Feb 20 - 01:19 PM
Jim Carroll 28 Feb 20 - 01:25 PM
Jim Carroll 28 Feb 20 - 01:42 PM
GUEST,Hilo 28 Feb 20 - 01:53 PM
Jim Carroll 28 Feb 20 - 01:56 PM
Brian Peters 28 Feb 20 - 02:39 PM
Jim Carroll 28 Feb 20 - 03:08 PM
Brian Peters 28 Feb 20 - 03:20 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 29 Feb 20 - 01:53 PM
Steve Gardham 29 Feb 20 - 02:05 PM
GUEST,Big Al whittle 29 Feb 20 - 02:19 PM
Jim Carroll 29 Feb 20 - 03:03 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 29 Feb 20 - 05:08 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 29 Feb 20 - 07:30 PM
Jim Carroll 01 Mar 20 - 02:45 AM
The Sandman 01 Mar 20 - 02:55 AM
GUEST,Cj 01 Mar 20 - 03:54 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 01 Mar 20 - 03:58 AM
Jim Carroll 01 Mar 20 - 05:11 AM
Steve Shaw 01 Mar 20 - 06:00 AM
GUEST,Peter Laban 01 Mar 20 - 06:05 AM
Jim Carroll 01 Mar 20 - 06:53 AM
GUEST,Big Al Whittle 01 Mar 20 - 06:59 AM
Steve Gardham 01 Mar 20 - 10:43 AM
Steve Gardham 01 Mar 20 - 11:57 AM
Steve Gardham 01 Mar 20 - 12:10 PM
GUEST,big al whittle 01 Mar 20 - 01:27 PM
Brian Peters 01 Mar 20 - 03:21 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 01 Mar 20 - 03:23 PM
Steve Gardham 01 Mar 20 - 03:43 PM
Steve Gardham 01 Mar 20 - 03:56 PM
Jack Campin 01 Mar 20 - 04:14 PM
Steve Gardham 01 Mar 20 - 04:30 PM
Steve Shaw 01 Mar 20 - 06:53 PM
Jim Carroll 02 Mar 20 - 03:45 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 02 Mar 20 - 04:00 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 02 Mar 20 - 04:10 AM
Jack Campin 02 Mar 20 - 04:16 AM
Jack Campin 02 Mar 20 - 04:21 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 02 Mar 20 - 04:21 AM
The Sandman 02 Mar 20 - 04:40 AM
GUEST,big Al Whittle 02 Mar 20 - 04:44 AM
The Sandman 02 Mar 20 - 04:47 AM
Jim Carroll 02 Mar 20 - 04:54 AM
The Sandman 02 Mar 20 - 05:03 AM
Steve Shaw 02 Mar 20 - 05:05 AM
Steve Shaw 02 Mar 20 - 05:07 AM
Jack Campin 02 Mar 20 - 05:15 AM
The Sandman 02 Mar 20 - 05:22 AM
The Sandman 02 Mar 20 - 05:27 AM
The Sandman 02 Mar 20 - 05:31 AM
Jim Carroll 02 Mar 20 - 05:37 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 02 Mar 20 - 06:02 AM
GUEST,Big Al Whittle 02 Mar 20 - 06:03 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 02 Mar 20 - 06:06 AM
Steve Shaw 02 Mar 20 - 07:18 AM
GUEST,Brimbacombe 02 Mar 20 - 07:36 AM
Steve Shaw 02 Mar 20 - 10:01 AM
Jim Carroll 02 Mar 20 - 10:31 AM
Steve Shaw 02 Mar 20 - 10:37 AM
Jim Carroll 02 Mar 20 - 10:47 AM
GUEST,jag 02 Mar 20 - 10:58 AM
Jim Carroll 02 Mar 20 - 11:24 AM
GUEST,jag 02 Mar 20 - 11:46 AM
Jim Carroll 02 Mar 20 - 12:06 PM
Jim Carroll 02 Mar 20 - 12:10 PM
The Sandman 02 Mar 20 - 12:43 PM
GUEST,big al whittle 02 Mar 20 - 01:00 PM
GUEST,bjg al whittle 03 Mar 20 - 03:59 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 03 Mar 20 - 04:09 AM
Brian Peters 03 Mar 20 - 04:40 AM
Jim Carroll 03 Mar 20 - 04:43 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 03 Mar 20 - 05:22 AM
GUEST,jag 03 Mar 20 - 06:34 AM
Jack Campin 03 Mar 20 - 07:32 AM
Howard Jones 03 Mar 20 - 08:05 AM
Brian Peters 03 Mar 20 - 08:14 AM
Jim Carroll 03 Mar 20 - 08:28 AM
Jim Carroll 03 Mar 20 - 12:45 PM
The Sandman 03 Mar 20 - 01:06 PM
Jack Campin 03 Mar 20 - 01:19 PM
Brian Peters 03 Mar 20 - 01:27 PM
The Sandman 03 Mar 20 - 02:04 PM
Jim Carroll 03 Mar 20 - 02:19 PM
Jeri 03 Mar 20 - 04:12 PM
Jeri 03 Mar 20 - 04:17 PM
The Sandman 03 Mar 20 - 04:34 PM
The Sandman 03 Mar 20 - 04:40 PM
Jack Campin 03 Mar 20 - 05:35 PM
Jack Campin 03 Mar 20 - 06:22 PM
The Sandman 04 Mar 20 - 01:39 AM
Jim Carroll 04 Mar 20 - 02:17 AM
The Sandman 04 Mar 20 - 04:22 AM
Jim Carroll 04 Mar 20 - 04:26 AM
GUEST,jag 04 Mar 20 - 05:45 AM
The Sandman 04 Mar 20 - 06:55 AM
Brian Peters 04 Mar 20 - 06:55 AM
Jim Carroll 04 Mar 20 - 06:58 AM
The Sandman 04 Mar 20 - 07:18 AM
The Sandman 04 Mar 20 - 07:23 AM
GUEST,jag 04 Mar 20 - 08:01 AM
Jeri 04 Mar 20 - 08:12 AM
Jim Carroll 04 Mar 20 - 08:15 AM
Vic Smith 04 Mar 20 - 08:23 AM
Jim Carroll 04 Mar 20 - 08:54 AM
GUEST,jag 04 Mar 20 - 08:59 AM
GUEST,jag 04 Mar 20 - 09:32 AM
Jim Carroll 04 Mar 20 - 10:11 AM
Jim Carroll 04 Mar 20 - 11:18 AM
The Sandman 04 Mar 20 - 11:56 AM
Jeri 04 Mar 20 - 12:20 PM
GUEST,Cj 04 Mar 20 - 12:26 PM
Brian Peters 04 Mar 20 - 12:51 PM
Brian Peters 04 Mar 20 - 01:00 PM
The Sandman 04 Mar 20 - 01:08 PM
Jim Carroll 05 Mar 20 - 03:19 AM
The Sandman 05 Mar 20 - 03:49 AM
Brian Peters 05 Mar 20 - 05:34 AM
Jim Carroll 05 Mar 20 - 06:08 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 05 Mar 20 - 06:27 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 05 Mar 20 - 06:31 AM
GUEST,jag 05 Mar 20 - 06:41 AM
GUEST,jag 05 Mar 20 - 06:56 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 05 Mar 20 - 07:00 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 05 Mar 20 - 07:21 AM
Jim Carroll 05 Mar 20 - 07:31 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 05 Mar 20 - 08:09 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 05 Mar 20 - 08:10 AM
Jim Carroll 05 Mar 20 - 08:17 AM
GUEST,jag 05 Mar 20 - 09:15 AM
GUEST,Starship 05 Mar 20 - 09:17 AM
Jim Carroll 05 Mar 20 - 09:59 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 05 Mar 20 - 10:16 AM
Jim Carroll 05 Mar 20 - 10:52 AM
GUEST,jag 05 Mar 20 - 11:38 AM
Brian Peters 05 Mar 20 - 12:18 PM
GUEST,jag 05 Mar 20 - 01:02 PM
Jim Carroll 05 Mar 20 - 01:07 PM
Jim Carroll 05 Mar 20 - 06:20 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 05 Mar 20 - 11:06 PM
Jim Carroll 06 Mar 20 - 03:33 AM
Jim Carroll 06 Mar 20 - 03:54 AM
GUEST,jag 06 Mar 20 - 04:32 AM
Jim Carroll 06 Mar 20 - 05:26 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 06 Mar 20 - 05:28 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 06 Mar 20 - 06:13 AM
Jim Carroll 06 Mar 20 - 06:15 AM
Jim Carroll 06 Mar 20 - 06:17 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 06 Mar 20 - 06:19 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 06 Mar 20 - 06:22 AM
Steve Shaw 06 Mar 20 - 06:34 AM
Steve Shaw 06 Mar 20 - 06:36 AM
GUEST 06 Mar 20 - 06:47 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 06 Mar 20 - 06:48 AM
Steve Shaw 06 Mar 20 - 06:56 AM
Brian Peters 06 Mar 20 - 06:57 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 06 Mar 20 - 07:03 AM
Brian Peters 06 Mar 20 - 07:22 AM
Jim Carroll 06 Mar 20 - 07:31 AM
Brian Peters 06 Mar 20 - 07:31 AM
GUEST,jag 06 Mar 20 - 07:32 AM
GUEST,jag 06 Mar 20 - 07:37 AM
Vic Smith 06 Mar 20 - 08:28 AM
Jim Carroll 06 Mar 20 - 08:59 AM
GUEST,jag 06 Mar 20 - 09:15 AM
Jim Carroll 06 Mar 20 - 09:33 AM
GUEST,jag 06 Mar 20 - 09:41 AM
Jim Carroll 06 Mar 20 - 10:04 AM
The Sandman 06 Mar 20 - 10:10 AM
Jim Carroll 06 Mar 20 - 10:31 AM
Jim Carroll 06 Mar 20 - 10:31 AM
GUEST,Georgina Boyes 06 Mar 20 - 10:38 AM
GUEST,Starship 06 Mar 20 - 10:44 AM
GUEST,jag 06 Mar 20 - 11:05 AM
Jack Campin 06 Mar 20 - 11:06 AM
GUEST,jag 06 Mar 20 - 11:11 AM
Jim Carroll 06 Mar 20 - 11:14 AM
Jim Carroll 06 Mar 20 - 01:25 PM
Brian Peters 06 Mar 20 - 02:22 PM
The Sandman 06 Mar 20 - 02:34 PM
Joe Offer 06 Mar 20 - 02:38 PM
Jeri 06 Mar 20 - 02:54 PM
Jim Carroll 06 Mar 20 - 02:56 PM
Joe Offer 06 Mar 20 - 03:10 PM
GUEST,jag 06 Mar 20 - 03:44 PM
Steve Gardham 06 Mar 20 - 03:48 PM
Steve Gardham 06 Mar 20 - 03:49 PM
GUEST,jag 06 Mar 20 - 03:52 PM
Steve Gardham 06 Mar 20 - 03:57 PM
Steve Gardham 06 Mar 20 - 03:58 PM
GUEST,jag 06 Mar 20 - 03:58 PM
GUEST,jag 06 Mar 20 - 04:03 PM
GUEST,Starship 06 Mar 20 - 05:07 PM
Jack Campin 06 Mar 20 - 05:47 PM
Joe Offer 06 Mar 20 - 06:51 PM
Jim Carroll 06 Mar 20 - 08:25 PM
Joe Offer 06 Mar 20 - 10:30 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 07 Mar 20 - 12:29 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 07 Mar 20 - 12:56 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 07 Mar 20 - 12:59 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 07 Mar 20 - 01:04 AM
The Sandman 07 Mar 20 - 02:42 AM
Jim Carroll 07 Mar 20 - 03:34 AM
Jack Campin 07 Mar 20 - 03:36 AM
Jack Campin 07 Mar 20 - 03:56 AM
Brian Peters 07 Mar 20 - 05:02 AM
Vic Smith 07 Mar 20 - 06:42 AM
GUEST,jag 07 Mar 20 - 07:03 AM
The Sandman 07 Mar 20 - 09:08 AM
Jack Campin 07 Mar 20 - 09:17 AM
The Sandman 07 Mar 20 - 09:48 AM
Jeri 07 Mar 20 - 10:36 AM
Joe Offer 07 Mar 20 - 04:39 PM
Jim Carroll 07 Mar 20 - 08:18 PM
Joe Offer 08 Mar 20 - 03:37 AM
Jim Carroll 08 Mar 20 - 04:48 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 08 Mar 20 - 05:00 AM
The Sandman 08 Mar 20 - 05:18 AM
Jim Carroll 08 Mar 20 - 06:02 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 08 Mar 20 - 06:19 AM
Jim Carroll 08 Mar 20 - 06:37 AM
Jim Carroll 08 Mar 20 - 06:48 AM
Joe G 08 Mar 20 - 06:53 AM
The Sandman 08 Mar 20 - 07:04 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 08 Mar 20 - 07:12 AM
Jim Carroll 08 Mar 20 - 08:04 AM
GUEST,Guest 08 Mar 20 - 10:19 AM
Jim Carroll 08 Mar 20 - 10:40 AM
GUEST,Cj 08 Mar 20 - 01:01 PM
Brian Peters 08 Mar 20 - 01:38 PM
Steve Shaw 08 Mar 20 - 02:34 PM
Jim Carroll 08 Mar 20 - 02:43 PM
Brian Peters 08 Mar 20 - 02:47 PM
Jim Carroll 08 Mar 20 - 03:41 PM
Jim Carroll 08 Mar 20 - 03:41 PM
GUEST,jag 08 Mar 20 - 03:46 PM
Steve Gardham 08 Mar 20 - 05:13 PM
Brian Peters 08 Mar 20 - 07:26 PM
Jim Carroll 08 Mar 20 - 07:58 PM
Jim Carroll 09 Mar 20 - 03:55 AM
Jim Carroll 09 Mar 20 - 03:55 AM
Joe G 09 Mar 20 - 05:45 AM
Jim Carroll 09 Mar 20 - 06:05 AM
Joe G 09 Mar 20 - 06:13 AM
GUEST,jag 09 Mar 20 - 06:38 AM
Jim Carroll 09 Mar 20 - 06:41 AM
Steve Gardham 09 Mar 20 - 09:29 AM
Steve Gardham 09 Mar 20 - 10:02 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 09 Mar 20 - 10:05 AM
GUEST,jag 09 Mar 20 - 10:21 AM
Steve Gardham 09 Mar 20 - 10:24 AM
GUEST,Cj 09 Mar 20 - 10:25 AM
GUEST,jag 09 Mar 20 - 10:44 AM
Steve Gardham 09 Mar 20 - 10:48 AM
GUEST,jag 09 Mar 20 - 10:54 AM
GUEST,jag 09 Mar 20 - 10:55 AM
Steve Gardham 09 Mar 20 - 10:58 AM
GUEST,Starship 09 Mar 20 - 10:59 AM
Steve Gardham 09 Mar 20 - 11:00 AM
Steve Gardham 09 Mar 20 - 11:04 AM
GUEST,jag 09 Mar 20 - 11:06 AM
Steve Gardham 09 Mar 20 - 11:16 AM
Jim Carroll 09 Mar 20 - 11:37 AM
Steve Gardham 09 Mar 20 - 11:39 AM
Steve Gardham 09 Mar 20 - 11:42 AM
GUEST,jag 09 Mar 20 - 12:14 PM
Steve Gardham 09 Mar 20 - 01:23 PM
An Buachaill Caol Dubh 09 Mar 20 - 08:20 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 10 Mar 20 - 04:04 AM
Jim Carroll 10 Mar 20 - 04:20 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 10 Mar 20 - 04:30 AM
Jim Carroll 10 Mar 20 - 04:34 AM
Jim Carroll 10 Mar 20 - 05:36 AM
GUEST,jag 10 Mar 20 - 06:23 AM
An Buachaill Caol Dubh 10 Mar 20 - 06:41 AM
Brian Peters 10 Mar 20 - 06:43 AM
Jim Carroll 10 Mar 20 - 07:07 AM
GUEST,jag 10 Mar 20 - 07:16 AM
Jim Carroll 10 Mar 20 - 08:00 AM
Jim Carroll 10 Mar 20 - 08:00 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 11 Mar 20 - 03:27 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 11 Mar 20 - 03:38 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 11 Mar 20 - 03:46 AM
Jim Carroll 11 Mar 20 - 04:17 AM
Steve Gardham 11 Mar 20 - 04:34 AM
Jim Carroll 11 Mar 20 - 05:00 AM
Jim Carroll 11 Mar 20 - 05:31 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 11 Mar 20 - 06:39 AM
Jim Carroll 11 Mar 20 - 11:26 AM
Brian Peters 11 Mar 20 - 03:22 PM
An Buachaill Caol Dubh 11 Mar 20 - 03:42 PM
Jim Carroll 11 Mar 20 - 03:42 PM
Steve Gardham 11 Mar 20 - 04:07 PM
Steve Gardham 11 Mar 20 - 05:02 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 11 Mar 20 - 05:20 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 11 Mar 20 - 05:20 PM
Steve Gardham 11 Mar 20 - 05:36 PM
Jim Carroll 11 Mar 20 - 06:20 PM
Jim Carroll 12 Mar 20 - 04:36 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 12 Mar 20 - 07:13 AM
Jim Carroll 12 Mar 20 - 08:31 AM
Steve Gardham 12 Mar 20 - 11:43 AM
Vic Smith 12 Mar 20 - 12:41 PM
Richard Mellish 12 Mar 20 - 12:52 PM
Jim Carroll 12 Mar 20 - 01:02 PM
Vic Smith 12 Mar 20 - 01:22 PM
Jim Carroll 12 Mar 20 - 01:29 PM
Dave the Gnome 12 Mar 20 - 01:35 PM
GUEST 12 Mar 20 - 01:43 PM
Jim Carroll 12 Mar 20 - 02:06 PM
Steve Gardham 12 Mar 20 - 03:12 PM
RTim 12 Mar 20 - 03:52 PM
Steve Gardham 12 Mar 20 - 04:10 PM
Jim Carroll 12 Mar 20 - 04:17 PM
Jim Carroll 12 Mar 20 - 04:25 PM
Steve Gardham 12 Mar 20 - 05:32 PM
GUEST,jag 12 Mar 20 - 06:00 PM
Jim Carroll 13 Mar 20 - 03:48 AM
The Sandman 13 Mar 20 - 04:04 AM
Jim Carroll 13 Mar 20 - 05:19 AM
Jim Carroll 13 Mar 20 - 05:21 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 13 Mar 20 - 05:41 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 13 Mar 20 - 05:58 AM
Jack Campin 13 Mar 20 - 06:27 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 14 Mar 20 - 02:29 AM
Jim Carroll 14 Mar 20 - 04:28 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 14 Mar 20 - 09:11 AM
Jim Carroll 14 Mar 20 - 09:22 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 14 Mar 20 - 09:33 AM
Jim Carroll 14 Mar 20 - 10:14 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 14 Mar 20 - 01:16 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 14 Mar 20 - 01:26 PM
Jim Carroll 14 Mar 20 - 01:57 PM
Jim Carroll 14 Mar 20 - 01:59 PM
Jack Campin 14 Mar 20 - 03:27 PM
Jim Carroll 15 Mar 20 - 04:31 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 15 Mar 20 - 07:22 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 15 Mar 20 - 07:23 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 15 Mar 20 - 07:28 AM
Jim Carroll 15 Mar 20 - 07:45 AM
GUEST,jag 15 Mar 20 - 03:24 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 15 Mar 20 - 07:58 PM
Jim Carroll 15 Mar 20 - 08:20 PM
Joe Offer 15 Mar 20 - 08:22 PM
Jim Carroll 15 Mar 20 - 08:33 PM
Steve Shaw 15 Mar 20 - 08:39 PM
The Sandman 16 Mar 20 - 03:29 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 16 Mar 20 - 04:00 AM
Jim Carroll 16 Mar 20 - 04:12 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 16 Mar 20 - 04:18 AM
GUEST 16 Mar 20 - 04:28 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 16 Mar 20 - 04:55 AM
Jim Carroll 16 Mar 20 - 05:04 AM
GUEST,Peter Laban 16 Mar 20 - 05:40 AM
GUEST,Derek Schofield 16 Mar 20 - 06:06 AM
Jim Carroll 16 Mar 20 - 06:18 AM
Jim Carroll 16 Mar 20 - 07:34 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 16 Mar 20 - 08:06 AM
An Buachaill Caol Dubh 16 Mar 20 - 08:44 AM
gillymor 16 Mar 20 - 09:01 AM
GUEST,Peter Laban 16 Mar 20 - 09:56 AM
Jim Carroll 16 Mar 20 - 10:42 AM
Brian Peters 16 Mar 20 - 12:24 PM
Jim Carroll 16 Mar 20 - 12:46 PM
Brian Peters 16 Mar 20 - 01:00 PM
Brian Peters 16 Mar 20 - 02:03 PM
Jim Carroll 16 Mar 20 - 02:21 PM
An Buachaill Caol Dubh 16 Mar 20 - 06:07 PM
Nick 16 Mar 20 - 06:11 PM
Jack Campin 16 Mar 20 - 07:20 PM
GUEST,Big Al whittle 17 Mar 20 - 03:06 AM
Jim Carroll 17 Mar 20 - 04:32 AM
GUEST,Peter Laban 17 Mar 20 - 05:47 AM
Jim Carroll 17 Mar 20 - 06:00 AM
Rain Dog 17 Mar 20 - 06:06 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 17 Mar 20 - 06:27 AM
GUEST,Derrick 17 Mar 20 - 06:44 AM
Nick 17 Mar 20 - 06:45 AM
Joe Offer 17 Mar 20 - 07:24 AM
Share Thread
more
Lyrics & Knowledge Search [Advanced]
DT  Forum
Sort (Forum) by:relevance date
DT Lyrics:









Subject: Mediation and it's definition in folk m
From: Stanron
Date: 19 Feb 20 - 04:12 AM

I read, mostly, with interest the thread 'Dave Harker, Fakesong'. I was particularly interested in the use of the word 'mediation'. It's use does not seem to accord with any dictionary definitions that I can find. Is there a definition for the way it is used in Folk music?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and it's definition in folk m
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 19 Feb 20 - 04:41 AM

It's already been introduced in the new thread on source singers
Can I respectfully suggest that, to avoid conflict, you deal with it there
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and it's definition in folk m
From: Jack Campin
Date: 19 Feb 20 - 07:29 AM

It's not very different from the way Chaucer used it in the 14th century (he was "mediating" astro-navigational theory for a popular audience) though people with a more theoretical bent have used the term for many other purposes - Adorno seems to have started this.

something to get you well and truly confused

The context of Harker's writings (where this started) is VERY much more straightforward.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and it's definition in folk m
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 19 Feb 20 - 08:49 AM

I only had only one more thought for Harker discussion, wasn't going to bother but this is an example of it.

It struck me that writing a book from a very specific philosophical perspective, published on an academic imprint, allowed Harker to avoid explaining a lot of things that underly his approach. Either the reader is supposed to already understand the approach, including the jargon, or they find out about it from the bibliography.

I think that is a cop out as it makes like hard for many people who are experts on (or like me just interested in) his subject matter. I wonder if the other volumes in that 'Popular Music in Britain' books series are like that.

I had a mate who fell in with one of the Marxist groups of the 1970's. His attempts to explain what is was all about involved literature like the abtract to the paper Jack links. I came to the conclusion he didn't understand it either.

Back on topic, I disagree with Jim that this should be in his other discussion. It would be handy to have something specific to refer to (not too often I hope).


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and it's definition in folk m
From: Jack Campin
Date: 19 Feb 20 - 09:16 AM

There isn't a heck of a lot of explaining required for this particular concept. What Harker is doing is pretty well set out in his previous book, which is not at all technical cultural/political theory once you get past the turgid introduction.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and it's definition in folk m
From: Stanron
Date: 19 Feb 20 - 09:42 AM

I really don't want to get involved with the Jim Carroll show. I'm more interested with the word, and it is fascinating stuff.

Following from Jack Campin's post I get that the subject of the link is not at all straightforward. So I tried looking at Chaucer's words;

http://sites.fas.harvard.edu/~chaucer/glossar.htm

The nearest is 'mediatour' which seems to be an obsolete form of, you guessed it, mediator. Am I right to assume that in the musical context it means 'a person who explains'? Is it that simple?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and it's definition in folk m
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 19 Feb 20 - 09:47 AM

Just to clarify: the thread on singers and their sources states that the term mediation has been used too much in the past, it does not appear to be a thread about mediation or intended to discuss mediation.

To offer a few ideas to Stanron's question:

The use of the term 'mediation' in discourse about folk music pre-dates the work of David Harker. The earliest example I found was, I think, a piece by Vic Gammon, whose supervisor was a historian, so the term seems to have come into discussions of songs and musical practices of the past via history. I think the details are on the Fakesong thread.

The dictionary definition which to me comes closest to the general idea is defn no 2 in the OED: Agency or action as an intermediary.

Harker's introduction explains the way he uses the term. Here is one quotation from it, but to get a better idea of the approach he takes it is probably better to read the introduction and/or the book itself.

'By mediation I mean not just simply the fact that people passed on songs … but that in the very process of so doing their own assumptions, attitudes, likes and dislikes may well have significantly determined what they looked for, accepted and rejected.'

The thread on Harker had some interesting points on mediation and diverged into discussion of the work of various mediators, especially Cecil Sharp.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and it's definition in folk m
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 19 Feb 20 - 10:07 AM

"I really don't want to get involved with the Jim Carroll show."
That's aright - I'll come to you
This is about no-called defintion - the show is by the multi-poster who posts nine-in-a-line (see last examples on closed thread)

"mediation" -is the invented 'wet-dream' of academics who wish to prove that the working people were incapable of making up their own minds about their own culture

Singers continued to learn and fill-out their own songs while they continued to sing - as Walter Pardon proved with 'Dark Arches' a family song his uncle's refused to teach him in full because of its 'dirty' nature
That is not 'mediation' in anybody's description
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and it's definition in folk m
From: Jack Campin
Date: 19 Feb 20 - 10:19 AM

To repeat Harker's definition:

By mediation I mean not just simply the fact that people passed on songs … but that in the very process of so doing their own assumptions, attitudes, likes and dislikes may well have significantly determined what they looked for, accepted and rejected.

Perfectly straightforward idea and you'd have to be pretty insecure to find it threatening.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and it's definition in folk m
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 19 Feb 20 - 10:35 AM

And very odd indeed to suppose it had anything to do with onanism.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and it's definition in folk m
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 19 Feb 20 - 10:35 AM

Or perhaps I should have said involuntary nocturnal wotsits.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and it's definition in folk m
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 19 Feb 20 - 10:37 AM

They/we looked for folk songs - simple as that, the fact that Sharp defined pretty clearly what he meant by folk songs excuses him from not inclding all the other stuff that was circulating at the time
Harker's "may well" is indicative that it is his assumption and his alone that the collectors own tastes affected what was collected - as he never discussed the songs or the singers he had no grounds for making such a claim
Hoist on his own petard - I think
Later work has proved beyond a shred of doubt that the singers Identified with and took ownership of the songs they and as being 'local' or 'Norfolk' or Scots.... (or wherever they might have originated) tends to vindicate Sharp's decision as being pretty accurate
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and it's definition in folk m
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 19 Feb 20 - 10:46 AM

I think the threat is where the pattern of usage insinuates that the "may well have" could be left out.

In the natural sciences the need to think about sampling bias is so much a given that the word 'collecting' is usually adequate.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and it's definition in folk m
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 19 Feb 20 - 10:48 AM

crossed with Jim


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and it's definition in folk m
From: GUEST,Starship
Date: 19 Feb 20 - 11:00 AM

When an outsider enters the picture, the picture changes. Something like the Hawthorne effect in anthropology. The very act of recording someone singing can change how the singer approaches a song and thus presents it. We know that because it happens. People who have recorded songs know that it's a good take so far. Enter that thought and suddenly the singer's BP is up a bit, breathing goes funny and the take ends up being junk only fit for the editing-room floor. Remember the first time you heard your voice after it had been recorded. A majority of people say, "That's not me," or "My voice doesn't sound like that." Intermediaries inevitably affect the material they are recording. It seems to be ubiquitous in all forms of human interaction, and I don't really understand why we'd expect this area of human endeavor to be substantially different. YMMV, and that's cool with me.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and it's definition in folk m
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 19 Feb 20 - 11:11 AM

So why not use the words like 'collecting' and 'editing' and if we have something to say about how they were done then say it.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and it's definition in folk m
From: Jack Campin
Date: 19 Feb 20 - 11:47 AM

Because the word draws attention to something systematic that can be examined - the ways in which matters personal to the collector might influence what the listening and reading public ends up with. This won't be random noise, they'll be present in everything the collector does, at least at the same time for the same project. For a trivial example, the systematic euphemistic substitutions you see for obscenities.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and it's definition in folk m
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 19 Feb 20 - 12:10 PM

"The very act of recording someone singing"
This depends entirely on the relationship between the singer and collector
We recorded our singers for as long as we could manage
We recorded Walter over twenty years - he became a close friend and I believe what we got from him was 'natural' - we have his the recording he made of himself before he was ever 'discovered' which confirms that belief
We recorded Kerry Traveller Mikeen McCarthy regularly fro, 1975 to his death in 2005 - Mikeen was another family friend , as was Tipperary Traveller, Mary Deleney and Clare singer, Tom Lenihan - all important sources of information on singing styles and functions

One of the things we found fro Mikeen was how some singers altered their singing to suit their particular surroundings - street singing and ballad selling required one approach, singing in noisy pubs, another - singing on the site was entirely different to both - he referred to it as 'fireside style'

Personally, I love singing and sing all the time (often to the annoyance of Pat) but I cannot bear to listen to my recorded voice - I never have
Maccoll once told us that he could not listen to any of his early recordings
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and it's definition in folk m
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Feb 20 - 12:22 PM

"For a trivial example, the systematic euphemistic substitutions you see for obscenities. That is part of editing, which I think is a better word because it is more specific.

I agree the concept is useful as a wider term, especially as 'mediator', but Harker's definition as quoted above only covers the collecting side of things. It doesn't include euphemistic substitutions or selective dissemination for a wider audience.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and it's definition in folk m
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 19 Feb 20 - 12:45 PM

Sorry, 12:22 PM was me. I'll continue

I have no problem with Alfred Williams, Cecil Sharp, Alan Lomax and Jim Carroll being described as mediators in the context of them being between sources and recipients. But in the context of what did or did not get into Sharp's notebooks or onto Jim's tapes - and why - I think 'collector' is a better term because it is more specific to the relevant process.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and it's definition in folk m
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 19 Feb 20 - 01:50 PM

Jag: I'm not clear whether you are suggesting that notebooks and tapes would not be things made by 'mediators' even if these, or selections from them, were then presented to the public?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and it's definition in folk m
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 19 Feb 20 - 01:59 PM

@Pseudonymous. I am suggesting that 'mediator' is a wider term than 'collector' (and 'editor', 'giver of talks on folk music', 'music producer' etc)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and it's definition in folk m
From: Stanron
Date: 19 Feb 20 - 02:00 PM

There seems to be two areas of mediation being discussed. The artist (?) mediates between the material and his audience and the collector mediates between the source material and the collectors target audience or recipients.

So is David Harker mediating when he selects material which supports his overall thesis?

When I go to a dictionary for a definition I get a short, precise sentence or maybe a couple of sentences.

In one or two sentences can anyone define 'mediation musical'?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jack Campin
Date: 19 Feb 20 - 02:27 PM

So is David Harker mediating when he selects material which supports his overall thesis?

He says in the intro to "One for the Money" that he is trying his best to make his ideological position clear but also to present the facts in a way that is not coloured by that - so that anyone coming after can use his historical account regardless of their intentions. I think he comes reasonably close to achieving that, and his book is certainly the better because he tried to. (His history has a lot of stuff you will almost certainly never have thought of. Did you know that after WW2, because of shortages, people used to return used 78s so the shellac could be recycled when they bought a new one?)

A dictionary will get its descriptions of what words mean from actual usage. Harker's books would be one place they could get their information. There is no point in looking to a dictionary when he's perfectly clear about what his words mean. Playing "yah boo sucks you got the dictionary meaning wrong" over terms of art is just puerile.

You really want a definition based on a translation of Adorno? What use would it be?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,Starship
Date: 19 Feb 20 - 02:43 PM

I was at a second-hand book store years back and it advertised itself as purveyors of the finest literature. Of course, in the process of purveying such literature, someone made a decision as to what qualified as literature. I expect some collectors are 'better' than others, although the meaning of better in that context will likely mean different things to different people, perhaps dependent on what they intend doing with the product or their reason(s) for reading the stuff in the first place.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 19 Feb 20 - 02:59 PM

Does anyone know what this thread is supposed to be about?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 19 Feb 20 - 03:05 PM

Surely the meaning of 'mediation' is crystal clear as expressed above by Jack I think. There is nothing sinister about it. It can be used positively and negatively, even neutrally and can be applied to any musical process. I just can't see any problem and am astounded it is even being discussed.

I also believe it can be applied to a conscious act or an unconscious one but perhaps that is something worth discussing?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Joe Offer
Date: 19 Feb 20 - 03:08 PM

I certainly think that "mediation" is an appropriate topic for discussion. I think that any time a collector collects, some amount of mediation takes place - that collector is the one who "mediates." It always exists when collecting takes place, but the matter to be discussed is the level of mediation, and the effect that the mediation has.
Certainly a valid topic for discussion.
Jack Campin's definition of mediation above is a pretty good place to start.

-Joe-


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 19 Feb 20 - 03:12 PM

Kick us off then, Joe. Give us that solid definition. Then it might transpire that those outside this peculiar in-crowd might just know what y'all are talking about...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 19 Feb 20 - 03:46 PM

I don't think it is clear from Jack's quote of Harker because that is not consistant with what Jack said about Chaucer " 'mediating' astro-navigational theory for a popular audience". The quote from Harker only covers the collecting end but in Fakesong Harker seems to include the presentation - which is more like what Jack says Chaucer was doing.

I'm not going to read it again to check but the impression I came away from with Fakesong is that mediation comes up over and over again because a main theme is collecting from the 'prolitariat' and presenting to 'bourgoisie' - the whole process. The mediation is where the faking comes in no "may well have" in the "siginificantly determined."

Which reduces the usefulness of the term and leads people to regarding it as prejudicial or a "threat". And leads to a discussion about something that should be clearer.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 19 Feb 20 - 03:52 PM

I'm not fully clear myself whether we are using the term in its widest sense which you only need to go to a cheap dictionary for. Starship's 11 a.m. post covers it pretty well but doesn't cover all the bases. Let us take a simple example of any singer, traditional or otherwise who learns a song. Just that simple process must be to some degree 'mediating' that song in a myriad of possible ways, alter a word, a tone, a length of a note. To some degree that person is changing it, consciously or unconsciously, which is 'mediation'. Similarly a collector, recorder of some information, even using the best recorder in the world, is by taking it from one habitat to another 'mediating' said item, and in other ways as well. As I said it's a matter of opinion whether that might be a negative act or a positive one. If this isn't clear, Steve, please ask any questions, or even challenge what I've written.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 19 Feb 20 - 04:21 PM

With apologies if it annoys, but I think this post from Jack Campin is informative

From: Jack Campin
Date: 09 Feb 20 - 06:41 AM

I just looked up mediation and related words in the OED. Seems the original mediator was Jesus Christ mediating between God and Man; later applied to the Pope's role; and it is first used in something like Harker's sense by Chaucer, describing his role as a scientific popularizer in his treatise on the astrolabe.



I remembered it when looking at the SOED. None of the definitions really fit.

I am left thinking that in the widest sense it is 'being between' or 'placing oneself between' two parties to convey some information or idea.

Jack quotes Harker "By mediation I mean not just simply the fact that people passed on songs … but that in the very process of so doing their own assumptions, attitudes, likes and dislikes may well have significantly determined what they looked for, accepted and rejected." but I think Harker's actual usage should go on", how they edited it and the way in which they selected from it, presented it or explained it."


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 19 Feb 20 - 05:52 PM

Should we just sing songs or play tunes?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 19 Feb 20 - 06:06 PM

Starship wrote: "When an outsider enters the picture, the picture changes." I think this is right. This is one thing that makes 'qualitative research', including research into folk and related practices, and even a simple thing like an 'interview', potentially difficult if you aim to find out what other people's worlds are like.

But has mediation happened at this point?

NB Hadn't heard the phrase 'Hawthorne Effect' for ages! But I've used the underlying concept.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 19 Feb 20 - 07:31 PM

"I think this is right"
Why do you make it a poing to totally ignore what is as if they had never been made Pseud - was that part of your training ?
I'm glad I never went to that college
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,Big Al whittle
Date: 20 Feb 20 - 01:32 AM

It appears to be an argument about an argument. the 20 minute argument or the 1954 argument (bystanders ask themselves)....all will be revealed!!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 20 Feb 20 - 01:52 AM

@ Jag. I think I agree with your suggested extension of Harker's definition. Because if the mediator comes between two things then you need the extension to provide the 2nd thing.

Regarding Steve's point: I think you could perhaps say, as Steve does, that a singer mediates a song, but perhaps this only happens when they perform it, or try it out while learning it in the presence of somebody else, as again, there is nothing to create the sense of 'in betweenness'. Does this makes sense?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,paperback
Date: 20 Feb 20 - 02:36 AM

I'm glad I never went to that college

-----

Had you, I'd ask for my money back


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 20 Feb 20 - 03:27 AM

I don't think widening the scope to include singer to singer oral transmission or performance for the enjoyment of listeners is useful. Does the cultural studies usage include putting oneself between the song and the listener?

Learning a song of a recording of Harry Cox and singing it at a singaround or as a payed gig is one thing. Choosing what to record from Harry Cox, what to include on an album and what say in the sleeve notes, or singing it as part of a lecture about source singers, is another.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 20 Feb 20 - 03:27 AM

"Had you, I'd ask for my money back"
Much preferred the education of the Traveller sites and the West Clare farmyards - and you didn't end up with a massive student's debt hanging round your neck !!!!
They really did know more about these subjects than do many of the self-serving, self-appointed 'experts'
I often wonder what the 'Pop's' Johnny Connors and the Duncan Williamsons would have made of some of this nonsense
Jim Carroll

Two of my favourite analyses of a classic ballad by two masters of their trades:

Edward, (Child 13) What Put The Blood, 'Pop’s ‘ Johnny Connors, Wexford Traveller.

"I heard this song from my grandmother’s uncle again, Johnny Murphy, the brother of Mick Murphy, he’d dead now, both men is dead, they were very old.
My grandmother; well, she’s still living, she’s 106 –
Seems the Murphys, the Gommers, you know, they were tradition, they were poets, undiscovered poets, you know.
J. C. Where did he get it, d’you know?
P. J. God knows where he got it, probably from his great – great grandfather
But the song is anyway… I’d say the song, myself, goes back to.... depicts Cain and Abel in the Bible and where Our Lord said to Cain.... I think this is where the Travellers Curse come from too, because Our Lord says to Cain, “Cain”, says Our Lord, “you have slain your brother, and for this”, says Our Lord, says he, “and for this, be a wanderer and a fugitive on the earth”.
“Not so Lord” says he, “this punishment is too severe, and whoever finds me”, says he, “will slay me, “says he “or harass me”.
“Not so”, says Our Lord, says he, “whoever finds Cain and punishes or slains (sic) Cain, I will punish them sevenfold”.
And I think this is where the Travellers curse come from.
Anyway, the song depicts this, this er....
I call it Cain and Abel anyway; there never was a name for the song, but that what I call it, you know, the depiction of Cain and Abel.”

Dowdled verse
What put the blood on your hands my son?
Son, come tell it unto me..
It’s the blood ofa hare I killed the other day,
And I killed most manfully- ee.
And killed most manfully, idle-ee

That’s too red for the blood of a hare.
Son… etc
Well, it’s the blood of me youngest brother that I killed the other day
And I killed most brutefully - ee.
And I killed…. Etc

What will you do when the Lord comes around?
I will put my foot on board of a ship
And I'll sail to a foreign country - ee.

What will you do with your two fine horses?
I will take the collars all of their necks
And they’ll plough no more for me – ee

What will you do with your fine hounds?
Well I will strip then straps all off their necks
And they’ll run no more for me- ee

What will you do with your two fine children?
I’ll give one to me mammy and the other to me daddy
Sure, they’ll keep them company-ee

What will you do with your fine house and land?
I will it here to the birds all in the air
And they’ll breed in that for they-ee

What will you do with your beautiful wife?
Sure she will put her foot on board of a ship
And she’ll sail along with me-ee

Dowdled line

See ‘12c Henry My Son Pop's Johnny Connors’

Edward, Edward. A Scottish Ballad” (Child 13) Bertrand Harrison Bronson
"Edward” has justly held a place of honor among ballads ever since it was first given to the world, in 1765, in the Reliques of Thomas Percy. For many persons, indeed, it has come to typify the whole category, so that “Edward” is what they think of when the popular ballad is mentioned. Ballad-lovers who wish to win converts are likely to point first to “Edward” as exemplifying more strikingly than any other piece the peculiar merits of this kind of literature. No class in public speaking neglects it; no concert baritone but includes it in his repertory. All this is sufficient testimony to its universal appeal.
Its right to these laurels was confirmed by the great master, Francis James Child. “Edward,” he said, “is not only unimpeachable, but has ever been regarded as one of the noblest and most sterling specimens of the popular ballad


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 20 Feb 20 - 06:43 AM

Regarding the question of whether it is 'useful' to use the concept of mediation to refer to interpretations of songs by singers:

Could we consider the possibility that it might actually be a positive thing? I ask this because some people complain that terms like 'tradition bearers' in effect factor out the individual creativity of the singers. I think that his phrase was one of Lloyd's when he was in Sharpian mode as opposed to Marxist mode.

Moreover, terms like 'song carriers' and 'tradition bearers' distract attention from the fact that if the song is old it will have been sung in a variety of very different historical contexts. You do not have to believe in a Marxist or Marxian theory of history as class struggle to agree that this is the case. The song is likely to have meant something different to each of the people who sang it or even discussed it. Changes made to the song may reflect the particular time they were made, or even more personally the attitudes, opinions and values of those making the change.

I think the same applies to the music chosen, as some tunes have acquired particular connotations.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Stanron
Date: 20 Feb 20 - 07:09 AM

@ Steve Shaw and Al Whittle, perhaps I should have made it clearer in the thread title. Thanks, by the way, to whoever completed the missing bit of the word 'music'.

In the 'Dave Harker, Fakesong' thread the word 'Mediation' was used a lot but not as in the standard definition. I tried a number of online dictionaries and my own ancient Collins to see if there was a music or musicology definition but I could find none. So I asked here.

I like words. I particularly like words to have specific meanings. When words have clearly defined meanings I am better able to understand things like wot this thred is all about. Innit?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 20 Feb 20 - 07:12 AM

"Sharpian mode as opposed to Marxist mode."
What a stupid generalism - I take it this is another gem from Harker
Politically, Bert was a very private man - his politics never surfaced in his work with folksong
Epithets like this are really not helpful
You people appear to make it up as you go along
The cliché "class struggle" was typical of Harker's half-digested Trotskyism - he appeared not to know too much about him either
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Brian Peters
Date: 20 Feb 20 - 07:24 AM

Here’s my take – though I should say that ‘jag’ has been on the money with every post:

Every communicator is a ‘mediator’. Every teacher, journalist, TV presenter, orchestral musician or historian. As a blanket term it’s so non-specific as to be of limited use, so generally it’s reserved for cases such as a go-between in a dispute, while teachers are still called teachers, and so forth. Harker proposed a new definition of the word. The relatively anodyne formulation in his introduction has been posted twice already but, as two posters pointed out immediately, the coy phrase ‘might have been’ doesn’t begin describe what is to follow, and the devil is in the detail of the usage.

Of Scott, Fakesong reports that he “collated, 'patched up', 'made up' “ material, as well as cutting and expurgating verses. In doing this, we are told, Scott “did not deign to notice [workers’ culture], let alone allow its songs and music to appear unmediated.”

Regarding George Gardiner’s collection we read: “This self-censored material, collected according to Sharp's methods, then altered musically for commercial publication after a further filtering and privileging of modal tunes,.represented the highly-mediated product of the dominant cultural values...”

In both of these examples it’s clear that the ‘mediation’ being described is wholesale editing, and that it is being carried out according to a cultural agenda. That’s a long way from the usual sense of ‘mediation’. Although there is an occasional concession to the idea that not all ‘mediators’ were as bad as one another (“In the work of Ritson, too, we see the beginnings of a genuinely scholarly approach to mediation”), the general sense of the word is pejorative. Both Sharp’s and Baring-Gould’s ‘mediations’ are described as ‘doctoring’ with all the implications of falsification and deception that the word implies. And since the entire thrust of the book is the appropriation and misrepresentation of ‘workers’ culture’ by the bourgeoisie, it’s clear that ‘mediation’ in the Harker sense is a Bad Thing.

The word has thus acquired so much baggage that to bring it into any current discussion in our field is to risk ambiguity and controversy. This isn’t helped by the fact that, where Harker felt justified in lumping together Percy, Scott, Child, Sharp and Williams (whose methods and aims were very different), we now find the net spreading further, so that even a modern and meticulous collector like Mike Yates, or a singer who writes a memoir, such as Bob Copper, can find themselves described by a term that might be entirely innocuous on the one hand, or offensively derogatory on the other. The new usage was one of the Big Ideas in Fakesong, but it's now time to move on.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 20 Feb 20 - 07:44 AM

I totally agree with our summing up of 'mediation" - a method of communication and passing on, rather than the abusive way it has been misused by Harker and his disciples

"time to move on."
It has been for a while
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 20 Feb 20 - 08:18 AM

"When words have clearly defined meanings I am better able to understand things"
Wise words indeed Stan - would that more people applied the same to the term "folk song" (as they once did)
Jim


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jack Campin
Date: 20 Feb 20 - 10:08 AM

Harker proposed a new definition of the word

He didn't. If anybody did, it was Adorno back in the 1930s. The term is very widely used in musicology, though no two writers use it in quite the same way. Which is why looking for a dictionary definition is totally pointless.

It's a concept that is extremely useful in understanding how the present klezmer repertoire got to be the way it is, even if the term isn't always used explicitly. Ditto with ANY situation where the music of an "outsider" minority gets adopted by a host culture.
Harker is anything but an oddball.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 20 Feb 20 - 12:07 PM

I think Harker was applying the term to the communication/description/invention/imagination/ or whatever (the subtitle of the book uses manufacture) of a music genre rather than individual songs.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 20 Feb 20 - 12:23 PM

Harker isn't an oddball at all. He is very bright.

"This isn’t helped by the fact that, where Harker felt justified in lumping together Percy, Scott, Child, Sharp and Williams (whose methods and aims were very different)"

As I said, Harker is very bright, and I feel that it misrepresents the whole book to describe what it attempts and what it does as simply 'lumping together' the people named above. One the contrary, the book sets out to set each person in his context.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 20 Feb 20 - 12:42 PM

@ Jag, I think I can see what you mean, when you say Harker was trying to outline the development of a music genre. I think you are trying once again to dispel this false idea that the book is about people 'faking' songs which they pass off as coming from the folk (though some people plainly did call 'folk' material which in many senses was anything but).

However, I don't think Harker's focus is on a 'music genre'. To begin with, he isn't much concerned with the music side of things; this is not a musicological analysis. He is interested in ideas and concepts, in the different ways people through time have thought about and written about what people in England and Scotland were doing with music.

More generally, demanding simplistic definitions of complex concepts and then jumping up and down gleefully pointing fingers at people who don't comply with such demands or agree that they are sensible, implying via 'innit' that the demand is so obviously reasonable that only a thicko does not understand it is, put simply, not very clever. IMHO.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 20 Feb 20 - 01:38 PM

All of the editors/collectors mentioned in Harker and here mediated their choices of songs, their publication of songs and their theories on the songs and their evolution, but in many different ways, and with some obvious overlap. How we respond to those mediations is surely a pure matter of opinion. Take Bert for example, I don't know of anyone who would say he didn't improve the material he passed on, but the problem for anyone researching is that we don't fully know the extant and the exact details, though it is possible to make informed guesses. In FS in England he mediated in all sorts of ways by overemphasising some aspects of the subject and playing down others. But then all writers do that. I am mediating in writing this post, but no doubt that will be emphasised by the responses to it very shortly.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 20 Feb 20 - 02:02 PM

"I am mediating in writing this post." Mediating what?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 20 Feb 20 - 02:52 PM

Mediating what has already been posted. Mediating the ideas of others by putting my stamp on it.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Feb 20 - 04:07 PM

I noted Bronson had something to say about definitions, in the context of the word 'ballad'.

"In the end precise limits must set limits arbitrarily."

Perhaps any person who regarded Bronson as some sort of prophet/giant upon whose shoulders we stand who must be treated with reverence and not ever taken issue with on any account might usefully consider this quotation?

Hello Steve
Regarding your kind offer about the index to Roud, I have asked the library to get me a copy. When it comes, I'll scan or copy the missing pages myself. Your offer was very kind, but doing it this way seems least trouble all round. Thanks again!

People seem especially exercised by what was said about the Copper family, including a comment meant as praise from Joe Offer. I'm happy to stand by what I said about the Copper family. As it happens I have 'seen' them; they were on Jules Holland. I have a CD with them on, and my favourite song from it was howled down as 'not folk' by a usual suspect when I put it forward as a favourite.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 20 Feb 20 - 05:46 PM

" Bronson as some sort of prophet/giant upon whose shoulders we stand who must be treated with reverence"
Not "reverence, but with the respect they have merited by their contributed to folk song and balladry, nest to whom most of today's academics are rats snapping at the heels of these - giants
Te work of these people says everything that needs to be said ot their contribution
The only "reverence" on display here is that handed on a platter to a long rejected work now resurrected by people who show little respect for or understanding of the art form being avouded

This continual deference of an extremely flawed work without addressing the many criticisms of it becomes tiresome and evasive
It is erecting a straw man to argue that Harker didn't claim “faked songs” "fake songs" - that has never been an issue
He did something far more fundamental in that he attempted to undermine was regarded up to then as the recognized creative culture of English working people by describing it as a “faked tradition”
He at no time discussed the songs or the singers, let alone the relationship between the two; instead, he targeted the collectors
A "very bright" person would have done what he attempted to do with a little more panache - his sledgehammer brutishness was unsubtlely brutal
His repetitively formulaic nature made it both distasteful and difficult to read - any good thriller writer knows the secret of a successful novel is to have your baddie kill off his victims differently each time

“On the contrary, the book sets out to set each person in his context."
No it doesn't - Harker lumps his victims together as a privileged class who, at best, patronise their informants - at worst, showed contempt for them as instinctive and gullible peasants
Far from being a good book, for me it failed on all counts - which is basically why it was rejected first time around

It seems that, to some people, being considered "very bright" requires only that you make the right noises
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,Big Al Whittle
Date: 21 Feb 20 - 03:12 AM

I'm not really sure you can avoid 'putting your stamp' on music.

Is such a thing to be avoided.
Someone like Brian, shows his passion and commitment for a piece - its obviously important to him that he imparts to his audience what it is that moved him and inspired his interest.

Surely this isn't a negative thing. admittedly the source singer never had a Martin guitar, a concertina, an accordion to accompany himself with.

Are you sure picking at the bones of folksong in this manner is productive. deriding others efforts.
'Mediator' sounds to much like 'medium' - communicating with the dead. When look! this thing is alive, it moves!!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,Big al whittle
Date: 21 Feb 20 - 03:16 AM

a bit like Finegan's Wake!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,Big Al whittle
Date: 21 Feb 20 - 03:20 AM

It needs that splash of your spirit!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 21 Feb 20 - 04:00 AM

"Are you sure picking at the bones of folksong in this manner is productive. deriding others efforts."
Simple question Al - define folk song
If you can, it isn't - if you can't "Ay there's the rub"
To some people, whether or not folk song represents part of the history of the working people and their culture is important enough to slog out
Doesn't stop anybody (including us) enjoying singing and listening to it, but for those like myself, it's an added bonus- maybe not everybody's bag, of course
Jim


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,Big Al Whittle
Date: 21 Feb 20 - 04:38 AM

The problem is that folksong is so much more than 'part of the history' of anything.

Its a huge body of work. its a set of techniques. its a mode of expression. Its an artistic movement of the 20th century that spills out into the art, the drama, the literature, the performance modes, the politics and so many of the aspects of the life that we lived in those years.

Still if it gives you pleasure - looking at it that way, as something that can be contained in definitions - fair enough.

I always felt part of something bigger than that. I suppose it comes from a religious upbringing, you look for Jesus's face ever day in the margarine tub.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 21 Feb 20 - 04:39 AM

"He did something far more fundamental in that he attempted to undermine was regarded up to then as the recognized creative culture of English working people by describing it as a “faked tradition”

Some posters have been spinning a leftist about folk being the 'recognized creative culture of English working people' or 'labouring classes' or 'working class' on Mudcat for years. I did not need to read Harker to know that the idea is nonsense.

I just needed a brain.

People have tried to argue that Child believed this was true. He didn't. Not one piece of evidence suggests that he did, and a great deal suggests that he did not. Not one piece of evidence suggests that Sharp believed it, either.

The idea appears to have come in mainly through a combination of the influence of left US people like Lomax and also through CP influence including Lloyd and MacColl.

I defer to Jim's expertise on derision.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 21 Feb 20 - 04:42 AM

And the assertion that Lloyd's approach to folk was not affected by his politics would be so bonkers that for me you would have to question the integrity of anybody making it. It's plain to see for anybody who has read his work.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,Big Al whittle
Date: 21 Feb 20 - 05:03 AM

I think Pseudonymous (bloody funny name!) a lot of us were socialists and wpouldn't have seen much to disagree with if there were a political agenda. If it was there , we missed it.

The overwhelming message was not really anything to do with the stuff that Johnson and Corbyn pollute our lives with.

more it was hymn to creativity, a celebration of some music and some people we were scarcely (if at tall) aware of.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 21 Feb 20 - 05:18 AM

"folk being the 'recognized creative culture of English working people' or 'labouring classes' or 'working class' ... ...Not one piece of evidence suggests that Sharp believed it"

The first chapter of "Some Conclusions" is good evidence, unless you are going to quibble and suggest he didn't think it was 'recognized'.

If someone uses word 'mediation' for a singer putting himself between a the song (or it's characters, or its authors politics, etc) and the listener then they need find another word for what Harker used it for and mentally substitute the new word most of the times they read it. If they don't they will have trouble understanding what peaple are writing about.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 21 Feb 20 - 05:20 AM

bad edit, putting 'the' in the right place "If someone uses the word 'mediation' for a singer putting himself between a song..."


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 21 Feb 20 - 05:22 AM

"Its an artistic movement of the 20th century". Interesting point of view.

@ Jim: I should not respond to your taunts as this is what you want. But I would not be the first to point out your habit of misrepresenting what other posters have said on these threads. Indeed, I have concluded that this itself is one way in which you conduct the 'war' you have said you are fighting. Plain absurdity, such as denying that violent imagery is violent appears to be another.

I do not care how much 'information' you have put up: in my view you have put up a lot of stuff which turns out to be untrue or contentious and a lot of stuff which is subjecting not wholly coherent. Moreover, you tend to be a bit repetitious. So it is hard work sorting the wheat from the chaff.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 21 Feb 20 - 05:25 AM

subjecting not wholly coherent

should have put 'subjective and not wholly coherent'.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 21 Feb 20 - 05:27 AM

@ Jag. I disagree about Sharp. No it isn't. Sharp is speaking about common people and has quite a different concept. He has a peasant-based concept.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 21 Feb 20 - 05:28 AM

" I should not respond to your taunts as this is what you want. "
Nobody is asking you to
If you think Dave Harker's book isn't about the existence (or not) of a pPwople's Culture, that is your prerogative - I do and am entitled to say so
If you continue to interfere with my right as a member I shall request that ou be stopped
You are entitled to prove that what I put p is untrue - so far you have only made empty accusations
Please get out of my hair - Ive just about had enough of your appalling behavior


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 21 Feb 20 - 05:28 AM

" I should not respond to your taunts as this is what you want. "
Nobody is asking you to
If you think Dave Harker's book isn't about the existence (or not) of a pPwople's Culture, that is your prerogative - I do and am entitled to say so
If you continue to interfere with my right as a member I shall request that ou be stopped
You are entitled to prove that what I put p is untrue - so far you have only made empty accusations
Please get out of my hair - Ive just about had enough of your appalling behavior


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 21 Feb 20 - 05:33 AM

"He has a peasant-based concept."

Blimey. Drivel.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 21 Feb 20 - 05:45 AM

Ah, now I see it the missplaced 'the' was part a of a failed edit of 'himself' to 'themself'


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 21 Feb 20 - 05:56 AM

@Pseudonymous. I think you are confusing what Sharp said and did with Harker's 'mediation' of that. First paragraph of Chapter 1 of "Some Conclusions" has, for example, "Indications, therefore, of those special gifts for which a nation is renowned will usually be conspicuous in the output of its lower and unlettered classes." We need to read the rest, of course, for the context.

Beware the mediator!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 21 Feb 20 - 07:19 AM

"Peasant"
Perhaps it's time to understand what this word means
It is and has never has been an insulting term (as suggested by Harker and others here)
It defines a rural person's relationship to the land - at one time it had a solid meaning which legally elated a farmer to the landowner, but it lingered on long after feudalism disappeared to describe a landless farmer who rented land

Sharp used an archaic term, but his respect for the people as creative artists is made quite clear from this extract from Some Conclusions (Chapter 2 - Origins)
Jim Carroll

Whatever theory of the origin of the folk-song be accepted, it is not difficult to realize the causes which, in the main, have led to its genesis. But we are faced with a problem of far deeper complexity when we come to trace the course of its descent. Before, however, we embark upon this investigation there is a preliminary
objection which must be discussed.
In the preceding chapter we have defined the folk-song as “the song created by the common people ”. This definition involves the assumption that the folk-song is the unaided composition of the unskilled ; and this few, perhaps, will be prepared to concede offhand. To some it will seem fantastic to credit the unlettered peasant with the capacity to compose music, good, bad, or indifferent. For, by general admission, the technical difficulties with which the musician has to contend are at least as great as those which confront the sculptor or the painter; yet one may search in vain in the country village for evidences of the peasant image or picture-maker. Surely, it will be argued, it is far more probable that the folk-song is only the fashion¬able song of a bygone day, the composition of the skilled musician, which found its way into the country villages where, although long ago forgotten in the town or city of its origin, it has since been preserved. To put it in another way, the folk¬song, it is contended, is not a genuine wild-flower, but, in the jargon of the botanist, a “garden-escape”.
On the face of it, this looks the easier and more plausible explanation ; and it evades a very awkward assumption. But, unfortunately, it does not square with facts. For, if the music of the common people originated in the towns, the sheet- music and song-books of the past would surely bear evidence of the fact. And this they fail to do. To search for the originals of folk-songs amongst the printed music of olden days is mere waste of time. Moreover, there is a further difficulty. Composed music differs generically from folk-music ; it belongs to a different order. Folk-music, as we shall presently see, is distinguished by certain technical peculiari¬ties, which are absent from art-music ; while, on the other hand, art-music possesses many musical attributes which are not to be found in the music of the common people, or in that part of it which we call folk-music. But, apart from technical differences, the extreme naturalness, the spontaneity, freshness and unconventionality of folk-music are just those qualities which are conspicuously absent from the popular song-music of past centuries. Indeed, folk-music is as distinct from art- music as is the wild flower of nature from the gorgeous blooms of the cultivated garden. As well search for a wild rose in a well-kept garden, as for a folk-song in the song-books of the past.
These considerations force us to the conclusion that folk-music has in some way or other originated amongst those who play and sing it; that it is the product of the folk muse, and that neither the skilled musician nor


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 21 Feb 20 - 07:37 AM

Is there a word for what a singer (or actor?) does when 'putting themselves between' their material and the listener? Does mediation get used for that? There must be vast amounts of discussion about it.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 21 Feb 20 - 08:13 AM

"'putting themselves between' their material and the listener?"
I think this is common to most forms of popular music which are based on a 'star' system in which the songs become secondary - even immaterial
Pop music fans I have discussed this with have summed it up perfectly for me by suggesting that folk song carries "a message" - not a term I would used, but fine by me for the time being
Not sure it needs a term to describe it
Music hall type performers seemed to need to 'act out' their songs which, at the very least, suggests a lack of confidence in them
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: An Buachaill Caol Dubh
Date: 21 Feb 20 - 08:42 AM

"As well search for a wild rose in a well kept garden, as for a folk-song in the song-books of the past".

Since accuracy and precision seem to be in fashion, what period does he mean by the rather vague term "the past"? Even an approximation would do.

Would a century previously count as "the past" to everyone's satisfaction?

Then if a "song-book" from c.1800 can be adduced which manifestly contains songs which might be/could be/are accepted, by The People Who Decide, as "folk-songs", the contention falls. I'll wait a while and see what happens.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 21 Feb 20 - 08:57 AM

I meant 'put oneself between' as a conduit, not a barrier. Without that the story stays in someone's head or on the page.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,Big Al Whittle
Date: 21 Feb 20 - 12:07 PM

I suppose it depends on personality.

Some people will be happy to be the curator of primary sources.

Other people will want to interpret or use the source material as a departure point.

In a way, both types will 'put their stamp' on the 'folk experience'.

even if you do nothing to source material - by transplanting it to another place in history, you will change it - you give it another context.
The modern listener will have experienced Peter paul and Mary, Bartok, Brecht, steeleye, the watersons. The original listeners would have had different responses.

Its a sort of Jurassic Park syndrome.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 21 Feb 20 - 12:36 PM

"I meant 'put oneself between' as a conduit,"
Sorry - misunderstood
In our experience, that's the basis for mots traditional performances
Walter Pardon and Mikeen McCarthy both described at great length how they saw their songs while they sang them - Mikeen said it was "like sitting in the pictures"
Mary Delaney was intresting, even though she was blind from birth, she described appearance, even colours, presumably as sh imagined them (mental pictures)

"Without that the story stays in someone's head or on the page."
I'm not sure of this Jag - if a song is sung competently well, even with a lack of interpretation, the songs are clearly enough structured for any intelligent audience to make their own interpretation

"what period does he mean by the rather vague term"
Interesting point An Buachaill
I think this is the side of Sharp that has always needed discussing
In the end, it doesn't really matter whether a song originated in a print or not as long as it enters the process and becomes accepted as "ours to do with what we wish" - that's 'the folk process'
Nobody knows where these songs originated - some obviously came from print - but others scream - "this is who I am, (sailor, soldier, farmworker... whoever) what happened to me and what I think about it"
For me, this has been the most fascinating aspect of working with Irish singers on local songs

I've recently started attending a local history course here in Clare and find that so much that the tutor has been talking about it covered by locally made songs
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 21 Feb 20 - 12:52 PM

@ Jag. Hello.

I think I am going to stick by my point about Sharp.

Your quotation is of course an accurate quotation. But it does not for me fully sum up the concept of the 'common people'/'peasantry' as described by Sharp, which has been discussed on the Harker thread. And when I look closely at your quotation, it says 'lower classes' not 'lowest class'. I think this is important. It certainly does not 'labouring class'. Sharp's view was also closely linked with theories of race/nationality.

So for me, the assertion that Sharp thought folk songs were the product of 'working people' and that there was a consensus dating back to Child about who produced these songs is an oversimplification. And I have seen this statement made repeatedly on Mudcat.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: An Buachaill Caol Dubh
Date: 21 Feb 20 - 03:16 PM

A couple of points, first re. Jim Carroll paragraph; I agree with views arising from mention of these song-books and songs being "accepted" &c., and would only add here that "the Scots Musical Museum" of 1787-1803 is worthy of some consideration and study - extensive study. Not alone for its contents, but for the editorial work of Robert Burns, who did most of the scholarly work for James Johnson's publications (as well as a substantial proportion of their contents, of course). It might be interesting to follow up the names of Antiquarians David Laing, who has been mentioned in passing either here or in the thread about "source singers", and William Stenhouse, who as far as I can see has not. J C Dick, an American scholar of more than a century ago, is also important with regard to musical settings (not arrangements). Just some more authorities whose works are of value.

The imagining of the actions and characters of songs whilst singing them (and considering, privately and periodically, how to deliver them) is something I recognise very well, and consider indispensable to a vivid performance. I know that last word might be discountenanced by any who think a song should be passed on exactly as received. That's another issue.

So too are those issues about race and nationality and the "folk". These considerations go back rather further than is generally stated. In the eighteenth century, the crucial words are "character", "climate" and "costume". Herder has occasionally been adduced: a significantly earlier writer who addressed some relevant ideas is Allan Ramsay. His "Tea-Table Miscellany" would have been better known in his own day than his "The Ever Green", and contains a fair representation of the kind of Pastorals made by "ingenious young gentlemen", but the Preface to "The Ever Green" would, again, be valuable reading. Again, Ramsay was Scottish (died 1748 I think). Good Luck.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 21 Feb 20 - 05:10 PM

HI ABCD
Some interesting points. I have long held the theory that David Laing was the main ballad broker in the early 19th century, not mediating perhaps himself, but encouraging the others and passing material and ideas between them. He also worked closely with Sharpe.

I don't see Stenhouse in that role. He wrote a useful commentary on the material in Johnson/Burns giving background info on the songs.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 21 Feb 20 - 05:29 PM

Got carried away there. Need to be more specific in view of the thread title. I don't believe Laing was mediating the ballads themselves but as he travelled about the country with his day job he was definitely mediating between the editors.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Brian Peters
Date: 21 Feb 20 - 06:05 PM

The discussion of what class of person Sharp was talking about is tangential to the thread topic, but the following may help to understand his point of view:

Some Conclusions, p97
"On the other hand, the actual occupations of his life less often form the subject of the peasant's song, although there are a certain number in which the pleasures of ploughing, sowing, reaping and other farming operations are extolled... After all, it is not unnatural, seeing that his hours of work are long and arduous, that the labourer should find more recreation in songs of romance and adventure than in
those which remind him of his toil."

Looks like the labouring classes, then.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: An Buachaill Caol Dubh
Date: 21 Feb 20 - 07:59 PM

Yes, Steve Gardham, I agree entirely re. Stenhouse, and had added the name so that his work would go along with Laing's rather than seeming to be forgotten or dismissed (and J C Dick for similar reason); David Herd has been mentioned already. Stenhouse's labours have often made my personal researches both shorter and longer, since the reader often finds himself following a web of cross-references. And, since Charles Kirkpatrick Sharpe made pictures for the Bannatyne Club, there's another Scottish name that might be included in this long survey of collecting and mediating.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 22 Feb 20 - 03:53 AM

" I know that last word might be discountenanced by any who think a song should be passed on exactly as received. That's another issue."
If that had ever been a 'rule' for singers, we would only have ever have had one version of Barbara Allen rather than the two hundred plus that we know to have been made down the years and all over the English-speaking world
The situation is different for collectors (outsiders) in that you need to pass on the songs as you get them
For instance, the song 'Dark Arches' that our point-scorer made such an issue of (because she could find nothing else:
When Walter Pardon sought out a full version of this song, which his uncles would only sing a few verses of to him because of its 'indecent' nature, he was doind what every traditional singer in history had done - seeking out a fuller or 'better' version to sing.
That is not 'mediation' - or if it is, our entire tradition has been 'mediated' - if Dave Harker is right, that makes our entire folk repertoire 'Fakesong' - nonsense of course.
As collectors, Pat and I recorded the fragment and archived it as such - it went into the British Library listed as a (frag)
Had we re-recorded the full version (which I was surprised to find later, we hadn't), we would have annotated it with the information of where Walter had obtained it, but Walter did that every time he sang it publicly

It makes me angry when I read the 'Little People' snapping at the heels pf 'giants' like Bert Lloyd, accusing them of faking songs - he did no such think, as far as anybody knows
Bert was a singer who set out to instigate an interest in the music he felt important by singing good versions of songs rather than pert - remembered fragments
Some of tne neo-academics who still say that Bert and others 'faked' songs are still denigrating them for not being what they feel he should have been
They are like the the householder who was interviewed about Traveller's life-style said to the 'Travelling People' interviewer - "why can't they be just like us"

'Musical Museum' is one of my favourite collections - despite being one of the worst indexed
We have an early edition (cost all of £4) which is beginning to crumble - a pain in the bum
Burns was one of the most important of the Scots collectors - someone from farming stock taking down songs from the people he grew up with
That he became Scotland's most revered poet by using his native vernacular is something to be admired - yet there he is, high on Harker's hit-list accused of adapting what he collected "to suit bourgeois taste"
Bloody insane

"I think I am going to stick by my point about Sharp."
Of course you are - why change a lifelong habit and accept the facts ?
The large lump I put up was a direct quote from 'Some Conclusion' - it was a continuation of earlier points which were then continued at length later in the chapter
But why watch your argument fall to pieces by accepting what Sharp actually wrote !!!!
Sharp was of his time and class, yet he did more to put working people's culture on the map than most others have ever done - before or since
Nowadays it seems, many 'academics' are busily ferreting way desperately trying to prove that the agricultural poor had no culture, but had to pay bad poets to speak for them
Who to follow eh ?
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 22 Feb 20 - 04:29 AM

Hello Brian

If the aim is to give readers of this thread a full picture of Sharp's concept, then, for, me, picking out small extracts and mediating them in ways that suit a particular view may not be the way to go about it. I feel that this is what you may be doing.

The point I was making is that at no point did Sharp state that folk songs were written by the lowest class. So for me a post which says he was referring to the 'labouring classes' plural doesn't focus on the point I was making.

But what we need to note, I suggest, is that in this piece as a whole, Sharp is not talking about the words. Granted, he noted them down, but the focus of the piece is what sort of music should be taught in state schools, where the teaching of music had been made compulsory. It was written as part of an ongoing dispute between Sharp and other interested parties about what sort of songs children should be taught to sing.

Sharp himself had already published one set of songs for use in schools and homes, which included what they called 'national songs', ones with known composers and lyricists. But at this point he had changed tack. He was arguing that national songs should not be taught in schools; what should be taught was songs using tunes that he had collected, which he thought would improve the minds of the lower classes and provide national unity and lead eventually to the production of national 'art' music based on the traditional melodies he was collecting. These songs, as Sharp eventually published them for public consumption, would have words modified in various ways, including the removal of dialect or ungrammatical language and a general cleaning up to suit the mores of the time.

As it happens, your use of the term 'labouring classes' tends to confirm my point. And Jim's assertion that Sharp was focussed on the agricultural poor certainly has no foundation in what Sharp wrote. Nor does it describe the sample from whom Sharp took the material he collected, as has been discussed in some detail.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 22 Feb 20 - 04:47 AM

Regarding Dark Arches: What I pointed out was that Jim had stated plainly om the past week or so that this was the only song Pardon ever used printed materials to fill out the words of. I pointed out that over a period of several decades either Pat and Jim or Jim alone, posting on Mudcat had made a contradictory assertion, stating that 'some' or 'several' of his pieces had been made in this way.

I am happy to discuss whether this contradictory set of messages illustrated 'mediation' as this term is used in folk music, but I am sure we could find lots of other ways to describe it.

Nobody on these threads has said that the working class had no culture. It would be a ridiculous statement to make. Harker himself said no such thing. I don't know where Jim got the idea that he did.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 22 Feb 20 - 04:49 AM

"If the aim is to give readers of this thread a full picture of Sharp's concept, then, for, me, picking out small extracts and mediating them in ways that suit a particular view may not be the way to go about it. I feel that this is what you may be doing."
Which is what you have constantly done, as Harker did before you

"Sharp state that folk songs were written by the lowest class"#Jus as well, as nobody knows who wrote them
What he said is that they belonged to the lower classes - he intimated that they made them and quoted Motherwell in saying they should not be interfered with so as not to destroy the language i which they had been made (Some Conclusions) and Motherwell's Minstrelsy)

He ws forecd to modify the songs he published for schools otherwise they would not have been accepted - what were published in the collections and the Journal were as collected - a red herring

"And Jim's assertion that Sharp was focussed on the agricultural poor certainly has no foundation in what Sharp wrote."
Don't think he took many songs from charted accountants or bus drivers
Don't be silly
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 22 Feb 20 - 05:09 AM

"As well search for a wild rose in a well kept garden, as for a folk-song in the song-books of the past".

The question was asked which past. Sharp would have been speaking of the recent past, because he was arguing in favour of a new folk song book, his. And we all know what those turned out to be like.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 22 Feb 20 - 05:14 AM

For an analysis of the people from whom Sharp took songs, the previous thread referred people to the historical research of Beaman, who went to some lengths to demonstrate that not all of them were people selling their labour for pay, his definition of working class. One was a farmer employing lots of people (but still a peasant according to Victorian definitions).

I think it might help if Jim a) read Harker b) read the last thread.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 22 Feb 20 - 05:15 AM

Bearman, sorry mistyped it.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 22 Feb 20 - 05:23 AM

If you care to look up Sharp's changing attitudes towards the working people he collected from yuo need to go no further than Harker himself (contradictory as it it)
Sharp left the Fabians because of their connection with the emerging Labour Party, but as his work progressed he changed his mind and rejoined, largely influenced by Mary Webb, who persuaded him to taka a 'class stance'
His close collegue, Mary Neal was an active campaigner for the betterment of working conditions and a suffragette
Hardly the "distainful ivory towerists" you people pant them
Please read the books you quote from
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 22 Feb 20 - 05:46 AM

On the subject of the thread, as I read him, Harker was not talking about collectors mediating individual songs but a category of song that they were seeking out. He also regards them as mediating the world of a conceptual group of people - 'the Folk' - who they regarded as having created and/or developed that body of song.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 22 Feb 20 - 06:33 AM

"but a category of song that they were seeking out."
You mean - folk songs ?
That's not mediation - it's doing what you say you're doing
Culturally "the folk" were identified specifically in 1846 by William Thoms - it is their songs, dances and music Sharp was collecting
If you're a transpotter, you are not mediating if you don't look for buses
Jim


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,Jack Campin
Date: 22 Feb 20 - 06:34 AM

Sharp is not talking about the words. Granted, he noted them down, but the focus of the piece is what sort of music should be taught in state schools

It is quite conceivable that the songs Sharp was looking for might have used words that largely derived from knowable print sources, set to tunes which had evolved in oral tradition into an idiom largely independent of the one they started out in. And Sharp would have been more interested in the kinds of melody his "peasants" had created or preserved. Did he make that distinction himself?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: An Buachaill Caol Dubh
Date: 22 Feb 20 - 06:35 AM

Just for the sake of providing some material which is of interest and some particular relevance to a broader discussion than the work of Sharp, here are two quotations from Allan Ramsay and Robert Burns:

"When those good old Bards wrote, we had not yet made Use of imported Trimmings upon our Cloaths, nor of foreign Embroidery in our Writings. Their Poetry is the Product of their own Country, not pilfered and spoiled in the Transportation from abroad: Their Images are native, and their Landskips domestick; copied from those Fields and Meadows we every Day behold.
    The Morning rises (in the Poets Description) as she does in the Scottish Horizon. We are not carried to Greece or Italy for a Shade, a Stream or a Breeze. The Groves rise in our own Valleys; the Rivers flow from our own Fountains, and the Winds blow upon our own Hills. I find not Fault with those Things, as they are in Greece or Italy: But with a Northern Poet for fetching his Materials from these Places, in a Poem, of which his own Country is the Scene; as our Hymners to the Spring and Makers of Pastorals frequently do . . . However, I do not expect that these Poems should please every Body, nay the critical Reader must needs find several Faults; for I own that there will be found in these Volumes two or three Pieces, whose Antiquity is their greatest Value; yet still I am perswaded there are many more that shall merit Approbation and Applause than Censure and Blame. The best Works are but a Kind of Miscellany, and the cleanest Corn is not without some Chaff, no not after often Winnowing: Besides, Dispraise is the easiest Part of Learning, and but at best the Offspring of uncharitable Wit. Every Clown can see that the Furrow is crooked, but where is the Man that will plow me one straight?"
                         Allan Ramsay, Preface to "The Ever Green".

"Wherever the old words could be recovered, they have been preferred; both as generally suiting better the genius of the tunes, and to preserve the productions of those earlier Sons of the Scottish Muses, some of whose names deserved a better fate than has befallen them. - "Buried 'midst the wreck of things which were". Of our more modern Songs, the Editor has inserted the Authors' names as far as he could ascertain them; and as that was neglected in the first Volume, it is annexed here. - If he have made any mistakes in this affair, which he possibly may, he shall be very grateful at being set right. Ignorance and Prejudice may perhaps affect to sneer at the simplicity of the poetry or music of some of these pieces; but their having been for ages the favourites of Nature's Judges - the Common People, was to the Editor a sufficient test of their merit."
                      Robert Burns, Preface to The Scots Musical Museum, Vol. II.

The date of Burns's Preface is 1788; of Ramsay's, 1724.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 22 Feb 20 - 06:38 AM

"I think it might help if Jim a) read Harker b) read the last thread."
It might help if you read what is put up rather than denigrating the sender
Harker did the latter big time and got his arse kicked for doing little else
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 22 Feb 20 - 07:03 AM

"If you're a transpotter, you are not mediating if you don't look for buses"

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-35725299

What if you are a tunespotter and you find one attached to some ill-fitting words?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: An Buachaill Caol Dubh
Date: 22 Feb 20 - 07:08 AM

If anyone had mentioned a "Pacer" to me until a minute or two past, I'd have been thinking of horses, and preparing to tug the oul' forelock as the Gentry rode by...

I'll get my plaid now (a bit of "mediation" going on there).


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 22 Feb 20 - 07:30 AM

Culturally "the folk" were identified specifically in 1846 by William Thoms - it is their songs, dances and music Sharp was collecting

Joseph Jacobs thought that they didn't exist "The Folk is simply a name for our ignorance... ... Yes, I repeat it, the Folk is a fraud, a delusion, a myth."
https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Folk-Lore/Volume_4 /The_Folk

"Fraudsong" doesn't work quite so well.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 22 Feb 20 - 08:21 AM

"Joseph Jacobs thought that they didn't exist ""
Thom's definition caught on and became the international identification of lore tales, dance music, songs.... and pretty well everything else associated with the people ever since
In the end it doesn't matter once you accet the uniqueness of what we call folk song, which has so much else going for it
Folklore works as an identification tag
Jim


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 22 Feb 20 - 10:01 AM

Just a simple question...were any of the songs in Thoms's work folk songs by ANY definition? If you accept what was in Thoms's book as folk songs what else are we allowed to accept?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 22 Feb 20 - 10:58 AM

Did Thoms collect folk songs ?
I understood that lore was his thing (hope that wasn't a trick question (maybe you're mixing him up with William Henry Thomas)
Are you that inse cure that you need to use terms like "allowed to accept"
Nobody makes any rules here - this is something that has been generally accepted worldwide for over a century
It seed my life pretty will up to now, but then again, I always was a "starry-eyed naivete" as you well know!!
How long has that train I missed been gone ?
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 22 Feb 20 - 11:49 AM

Quote from a response to Thoms' suggestion on the term Folklore "we must announce to our future contributors under the above head, that their communications will be subjected to a careful sifting—both as regards value, authenticity, and novelty" (full context at https://blog.oup.com/2008/07/folklore/)

The Folk being mediated as soon as they were given a name?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 22 Feb 20 - 12:25 PM

Sorry - don't understand
We are discussing the term what people choose to do with it
I can think of no greater mediation that to claim long-rejected pop songs yesteryear, music hall compositions, Pleasure Garden pieces.... and everything that has been crammed under the same umbrella have anything whatever to do with the original term
Once a term has been accepted and established by general agreement for any significant length of time, then that's how it reains until a significant number of people decide to make it something else
Deliberate, agenda-driven misuse doesn't hack it, nor do claims of small numbers of self-appointed and self-promoted 'experts'
Language doesn't work like that, otherwise George Orwell would have been writing fact, not fiction when he wrote 1984
Jim


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 22 Feb 20 - 12:54 PM

Jim, did anyone record Walter Pardon singing "Grandfather's Clock"?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 22 Feb 20 - 02:51 PM

"did anyone record Walter Pardon singing "Grandfather's Clock"?"
It's on his list on the other thread but it was one of those songs he wasn't particularly interested in singing so we didn't push it
I think Mike Yates must have - I'll check later
He did sing the amazing ' The Old Man's Advice' - a parody of 'Clock' which advocated all agricultural workers should Join the newly resurrected Agricultural Workers Union
Walter's uncles were founder members when it was re-established by George Edwards
HERE

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dnTAkQAGzac
Jim


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Brian Peters
Date: 22 Feb 20 - 03:04 PM

‘jag’ wrote: ”as I read him, Harker was not talking about collectors mediating individual songs but a category of song that they were seeking out.”

He claimed both, and the alteration of song texts (and, to a lesser extent, tunes) was one of the main planks of the argument that the category ‘folk song’ was fraudulent. Selectivity – i.e. leaving out stuff not deemed suitable – and the social backgrounds of the collectors were the other chief lines of attack, but misrepresentation of the actual repertoire was of paramount importance. Consider this passage on Baring-Gould (p 166):

“Baring-Gould wrote 'fresh verses' to replace a 'great part of the words' that was 'obscene or indelicate' .... his assumptions about being 'imbued with the feeling of the folk poet' are staggeringly arrogant... Tampering with the texts was totally in order... Sheppard would often change the rhythm of a piece, or invert a musical phrase... 'Frequently the whole character of the original song was changed to what was practically his own invention in the style of his period'... What he was doing, of course, was to 're-write' a culture.”

In other words, the various textual and musical emendations were precisely the means by which ‘workers’ culture’ was ‘mediated’. Elsewhere in Fakesong the most is made of every possible example of editorial intervention, often at the level of the individual song. We’re told that Bishop Percy:

“’puffed out the 39 lines of the Child of Ell; he pomatumed the Heir of Lin till it shone again; he stuffed bits of wool into Sir Cawline, Sir Aldingar: he powdered everything'. The texts were “maimed beyond recognition” and “would have been quite unrecognizable in the culture from which [they] came” It’s suggested that “such restoration might be tantamount
to forgery”.

There are lots more passages relating to songs having been tampered with:

“Hogg took at least one text down from 'a crazy old man, and a woman deranged in her
mind', in 'plain prose', which the Ettrick Shepherd promptly worked up into verse. Kinmont Willie and Jamie Telfer remain under suspicion” (p 60)

“He [Scott] admitted to having 'restored' part of a text, made 'conjectural emendations', 'supplied' verses, 'corrected' one version from another, and 'collated' two variants according to his notions of 'merit'... Child found 'not quite forty petty alterations' one piece, and 'numerous alterations' in another.” (p 69)

“They [Bruce & Stokoe] sifted through Hepple's songs, picked bits and pieces out of Bell's Rhymes, and often altered them to 'fit'” (p 165)

Some of these claims may well be accurate, though I quote them purely to demonstrate the focus of Harker’s attack. He’s on a stickier wicket when discussing Cecil Sharp, who comes in for a major kicking regarding his editing of songs for publication. However, as I described on the earlier Fakesong thread, Bearman has disproved the specific accusations regarding Geordie and Wraggle Taggle Gypsies, and I was able to debunk the claims regarding several other named songs, after an afternoon’s investigation. Harker’s interpretation of Sharp’s disinclination to use the phonograph (for which there were several good reasons) is that “Sharp's... power to edit repertoires, separate tunes from words and generally intervene in workers' culture before it became public would have been severely undermined.” In other words, his ‘doctoring’ of the songs would have been discovered. In Fakesong, ‘mediation’ of the actual material is essential to the notion of the ‘mediation’ of culture, but – as I also pointed out before – this makes the term highly ambiguous in its usage. Already in his thread I’ve had a post of a verbatim and entirely representative quote from Cecil Sharp described as a ‘mediating’, which only goes to prove my point that the term has been so devalued by sloppy usage as to be useless. And that Mudcat can sometimes be a looking-glass world.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Brian Peters
Date: 22 Feb 20 - 03:08 PM

There seems to be some uncertainty here as to what Cecil Sharp was talking about when he referred to “the song-books of the past”. These would have been collections of early 19th century art music compositions, certainly including the works of Charles Dibdin - whose songs Sharp made a point of saying had almost completely died out amongst the peasantry in spite of their previous popularity - and Henry Bishop, whose ‘Home Sweet Home’ he likewise never heard in the field. He might also have been thinking of the British Songster of 1786, which contained the hits of the day from the pleasure gardens, though I haven’t found any reference to it in his writings. His point was that composed ‘art-songs’ of this kind were not only qualitatively different from the songs he described as ‘folk’, but had no been adopted by ‘the folk’. He gave due consideration to the idea that folk songs might be ‘garden escapes’ from the popular or art music of the past, but finally came down on the side of the theory that they were “the musical creations of the common people”, albeit through the cumulative effects of variation and selection rather than necessarily in their original composition.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jack Campin
Date: 22 Feb 20 - 04:10 PM

I've just been looking through the earliest version of the ideas in "Fakesong", Harker"'s "Cecil Sharp in Somerset: Some Conclusions" (Folk Music Journal 1972, No. 3). It goes through much the same complaints about Sharp's unreliability, but doesn't use the word "mediation" anywhere that I've noticed. It's a dense slog to get through. As well as the more explicit semiotic language, the more expansive scope of "Fakesong" makes for a much easier read. As do the occasional flashes of sarcasm. Grumbles about technical vocabulary get it dead backwards here.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 23 Feb 20 - 02:14 AM

@ Jack.

Hello

1. I think you are right about Adorno, though the little I know about his use of the term suggests that he uses it in a much more complicated way than Harker does in Fakesong.

2. One For the Money is indeed interesting. It shed some light on John Hammond (of Carnegie Hall Concerts fame), for example. Some later chapters particularly caught my attention.

3 You asked about other books in the series: I have one by Richard Middleton who wrote the introduction to Harker. It's about popular music and was an OU textbook. It is a very theory thick book with some detailed musicology in it. For me it is a 'dipper-in' when you have the mental energy for it. He too mentions Adorno and mediation, but sort of takes it as read that you are familiar with Adorno. But I think maybe Middleton wants to take from Adorno a view that jazz and popular music as part of the culture industry make capitalism more acceptable because pleasurable. And that capitalism is unavoidable and all consuming. Middleton seems to take much of what is labelled 'folk' as part of the culture industry. But in my experience pointing out how revivalist folk people do (and probably have to) in fact engage with aspects of the culture industry (as, for example, in making and selling CDs) makes one few friends on Mudcat.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 23 Feb 20 - 02:27 AM

Looking back at my posts earlier, it is the idea that folk song was written by the lowest class that I cannot agree with. Brian is right that Sharp did use 'labouring classes'. Yes, But he also in the same paper argued that folk (music) came from the 'race', and was therefore a fit basis for musical education in schools and for a future national art music. When first reading him, I felt his ideas didn't always fit together and Brian's useful discussion brings this aspect of the slightly contradictory ideas he has home to me. Because I don't think Sharp wanted to argue that the music of the labouring classes was a fit basis for a national art music: his focus is on the 'race', which he seems to conceive of as Saxon/Aryan and to be made up of 'the common people'. I also come back to the point made before about time frames: Sharp pushes origins back into some unknown and undated (undatable?) past so who knows what his views might have been about social stratification at that time and when this uneducated, non-literate common people is supposed to have existed. And Sharp was used to interacting with the very top middle classes: one of his books was dedicated to two princes who had been his pupils. I tend to think that the 'common people' he envisaged might have included anybody below the nobility, who, I think, have tended over history not to be English/old Saxon, though Victoria was partly German herself and was married to a German. Following 1066 they were and for generations spoke French.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jack Campin
Date: 23 Feb 20 - 05:10 AM

Sharp seems to have a conception of English society rather like Gerard Winstanley's, the "Norman yoke" - the division is not so much ethnic (though the descendants of the Norman aristocracy did tend to retain their wealth) as that the Norman *system* survived for centuries. Perhaps William Morris knew about Winstanley and the other 17th century radicals? - they weren't common knowledge until people like Christopher Hill and E.P. Thompson wrote about them in the 1960s.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 23 Feb 20 - 06:06 AM

@Pseudonymous re your 23 Feb 20 - 02:27 AM post. I think you are overcomplicating things in your discussion of Sharp. He sets out his way of thinking at the time very clearly in Chapter 1 of "Some Conclusions".

One line of thought I have had whilst reading about 'mediation' of Folk music is "have I, during the 'second revival', been conned or unintentionally misled?". I read "Some Conclusions" in the mid 1970's but, despite the convincing criticisms of it in recent discussions, I don't think it sent me down the wrong track. I found one reason why.

Like some others I have been looking at the first edition of "Some Conclusions" found online. Having finished another book (which you will want to discuss) and looking for a place on the shelf for it I discovered that the "Some Conclusions" I had read was the 1965 edition edited by Maud Karples. It has a 1964 Preface giving 9 pages of Sharp mediated by Karples. I think that takes the edge off many of the criticisms (and probably gives scope for some new ones) so whilst the first edition is what we need for discussing the 'first revival' if we are considering what other people say about Sharp we shouldn't miss out Karples later thoughts.

Off-topic, harking back to Harker. The chapter title "The Strong Men and Women before Agamemnon is an unacknowledged 'quote' from Vaughan Williams' 1954 Appreciation of Sharp in the later editions of "Some Conclusions". Except that Vaugham Williams has "there were strong men before Agamemnon". He also has "... tunes which the average amateur could easily sing... ... with accompaniments which their sisters or girlfriends could easily play"


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 23 Feb 20 - 06:13 AM

"it is the idea that folk song was written by the lowest class that I cannot agree with. "
Then the English were far less creatively cultural than the Scots who were noted for their masses of bothy and improvised waulking songs, milking and churning chants, not to mention the beautiful folk prayers and hymns found in Carmichael's 'Carmina Gadelica'
The 'tic Paddies' across the Irish pond left them standing by creating many thousands of local songs covering every aspect of existence from shipwrecks, national independence songs - right though to to murder ballads and on the-spot pieces about farting in church
Bernard Manning sure goth things the wrong way round big time
Even the non-literate Travellers were streets ahead of the English as song-makers
Do you think it was an inferior education system or were the English naturally backward ?
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 23 Feb 20 - 06:47 AM

@Brian Peters. Thanks for your comments about mediating the songs - I take your point.

I guess with the older collectors changing a song with an 'antiquarian' or 'folklorist' hat on is different to making them into songs for contemporary singers.

Most of the mediating I have been the recipient of is album cover notes and performers introductions. I wonder how much of the background information associated with the older collections is essential packaging ("tell us something about this song") and marketing hype ("Ancient..., Relics of...") rather than deeply meaningful theorising.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 23 Feb 20 - 07:36 AM

"I wonder how much of the background information associated with the older collections is essential packaging ("tell us something about this song") and marketing hype ("Ancient..., Relics of...") rather than deeply meaningful theorising."

This is an interesting point. I referred a while ago to a PhD by Matthew Ord which went into some of these issues in respect of revivalist materials. The practice of producing 'liner notes' is one that caught my attention, not least because a great many of these appear to have been flawed. Ord goes beyond written texts to look at 'multimodal' semiotic practices. By this he means that images, text and sound work together to create a picture. It was a University of Newcastle thesis and you will find it by googling.

@ Jag@ I respect your point of view and the civility with which you express your ideas, but I wonder whether finding a 'simple' view of Sharp's piece risks misrepresenting it.

@ Jim: I wrote 'it is the idea that folk song was written by the lowest class that I cannot agree with' in the context of the discussion of Sharp. To clarify my point: I do not deny that anybody can make up a song, and I never have. The point I was making but probably did not express well enough was that I think it is an oversimplification of Sharp to say that he believed that the old English songs he was collecting had been produced by the lowest social stratum, and that his discussion of their more broad racial origin would make this view illogical if he did hold it.

However, I would tend to agree with Bert Lloyd that the idea of a purely oral tradition stretching back over centuries is a non-starter.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 23 Feb 20 - 08:26 AM

Regarding the 'Carmina Gadelica', a quick google shows me that this text is suspected of being mediated. It almost goes without saying, I am coming to think. The wiki entry suggests that it is not generally thought of as presenting a 'literal' account of what was happening in the oral tradition. Regarding who wrote the various pieces contained therein, I do not know what information is available. So I don't feel that this text is particularly useful in arguing that 'folk' stuff was originally written by the lowest class, even if some very very poor people were singing it.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 23 Feb 20 - 09:03 AM

The 2nd chapter in Ord's thesis is about the Radio Ballads. He looks at them as an example of revivalist practice and discusses how tape editing was used to 'contruct working class culture' (by which I think he means present, or present an image of).

Then he discusses Topic Records. And he goes on to Pentangle. I liked Pentangle.

Ord uses the term 'mediation' several times, but does not refer to Adorno. He cites somebody called 'Georgina Born' on musical mediation.
He does refer to Dave Harker, but also, and more often, to Ben Harker, including his work on theatre and on communists on radio.

He discussed the revival with many of those involved, including Bill Leader. It is an academic piece but interesting.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 23 Feb 20 - 09:11 AM

Sharp, 1907, "Some Conclusions", one occurance. "No collector would accept as authentic a folk-air which came to him through the mediation of an educated singer."


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,Starship
Date: 23 Feb 20 - 09:15 AM

Pseudonymous wrote, "However, I would tend to agree with Bert Lloyd that the idea of a purely oral tradition stretching back over centuries is a non-starter."

A childhood game often used in schools and at parties wherein one person whispers a phrase to another person who in turn does the same to another, etc., would attest to the veracity of that statement. Somebody somewhere created the initial lyrics. If they were written to make money (broadsheets/chaps) or to protest a grievance, someone wrote/created the words. That they exist today attests that they--meaning the song lyrics--have entered the 'tradition', but what that means in the final analysis is anyone's guess. Everything has a starting point. My understanding from reading the educated opinions of the many excellent researchers and thinkers who have posted to this thread (and others of its kind) indicate that if there is a known author then the song cannot be traditional, but that defies logic on a few counts. So I admit to being confused as to what exactly is meant by traditional songs or lyrics, mediated or not. I am happy to be educated. If that is too far off topic, then forget I asked, because it is not my intent to start a war of words as to what is meant by the terminology.

Some years back (about fifty) the Tasaday were 'discovered' in the Philippines. They were a then unknown "stone-age" people newly found by anthropologists(??). It turned out the whole thing was pretty much a hoax. It will take wiser heads than mine to determine if similar occurrences have happened in the tradition or entered the tradition due to intent, happenstance or circumstance.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Georgina Born: https://www.music.ox.ac.uk/about/people/academic-staff/university-lecturers-and-college-fellows/georgina-born/


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 23 Feb 20 - 09:19 AM

... So Sharp's usage predated Adorno.

Pseud. - G Born is one of the authors of that paper that Jack Campin linked near the top.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 23 Feb 20 - 09:49 AM

""However, I would tend to agree with Bert Lloyd that the idea of a purely oral tradition stretching back over centuries is a non-starter.""
Utter nonsense
The first chapter of 'Folk Song in England' compares the oral tradition with the primitive practice of tribesmen telling their thoughts to inanimate objects such as trees (Bowra's suggestion also)
Bert makes a comparison between the ballad, 'Lady Isobel and the Elf Knight' and the medieval sword hanging in the Leningrad Museum which is illustrated with a knight displaying the heads of two women victims
He was always expressing his belief that these songs were many centuries od - and international
You really are main this up

I assume you hastily dipped into Wiki for your info on yet another new colection(to you) Carmina Gadelica
I suggest you look further -
Some academis to question what Carmichael did with it - others do not, but that was not why I put it up
Nobody has ever suggested that the contents came from 'the Scottish People' - as opposed to your theory that English people didn't (or couldn't) make their own songs
You are ducking and diving like a politician
Try working things out for yourself
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 23 Feb 20 - 11:58 AM

@ Jag: Interesting quotation from Sharp. Do we have to consider his use of the word 'educated' in the context of his discussion of the illiterate and the unlettered?

On G Born: was that the paper that mentioned ANT theory? I'll go back and see. Never felt much inclined to get involved with ANT theory, always had sneaking suspicion it was some kind of post-modernist playful academic joke. Probably just me.

@ Jim.

The comments you make about Lloyd's more expansive "waffle" are not pertinent to the question of whether he believed that there was a pure oral tradition once literacy had been established. I cannot be bothered just now to plough through his book to find the quotation I want, but I know it is there. At one point he says he thinks literate people write better songs than non-literate people. I suspect he might have been thinking of his own 'improved' versions.

"your theory that English people didn't (or couldn't) make their own songs". Yet another example of the misrepresentation of what posters say.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 23 Feb 20 - 12:13 PM

From the paper linked by Jack Campin. When I've got a year or two to spare I'll have a look through this. :) In the meantime, a definition from that paper. I see what Jack means about Harker being more straightforward!


"We take the concept of mediation to refer to the bidirectional transmission, translation and/or transformation of one relatum (eg musical sound) by another relatum (eg technologies, discourses, social relations, sites and spaces). Musical sound is both constituted by and enmeshed in specific constellations of mediations (Born 2019). The concept may initially be clarified by Latour’s distinction between intermediaries, ‘what transports meaning or force without transformation’, and mediators, which ‘transform, translate, distort, and modify the meaning or the elements they are supposed to carry’ (Latour 2005, 39). Citing Hennion (Hennion 1991), Latour suggests that ‘a mediator?…??creates what it translates as well as the entities between which it plays the mediating role?…??The layering of intermediaries is replaced by chains of mediators’ (Latour 1993, 78)."


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 23 Feb 20 - 12:13 PM

"Do we have to consider his use of the word 'educated' in the context of his discussion of the illiterate and the unlettered?".

In the context of that whole discussion. He is talking about mode changes to tunes used in John Gay's The Beggars Opera. "Gay, who was a townsman and, therefore, steeped in the music of his day, would unconsciously modernize the tunes, which he sang to his collaborator." (Gay was not a musician)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Brian Peters
Date: 23 Feb 20 - 12:35 PM

"Cecil Sharp in Somerset: Some Conclusions" (Folk Music Journal 1972, No. 3).. goes through much the same complaints about Sharp's unreliability, but doesn't use the word "mediation" anywhere that I've noticed.”

I’m familiar wih this paper, Jack, and it does use a derivative of the term just once, on p 239: “...he [Sharp] was advocating the grafting onto his own class's music of suitably mediated musical (and not literary) values...”, which refers to his preference for a new English art music based on musical structures from folk song. So Harker was using the term back in 1972, but had not yet weaponised it. The rest of the article contains as you say almost exactly the same content as the corresponding chapter in Fakesong.

Staying with Sharp, he does indeed claim that folk music is the product of a race, but his use of the term makes it clear he’s talking about the English as a race ('nation' might describe his usage better), and not any over-arching North European grouping – in fact, the English race is seen as opposed to the German as far as folk music is concerned. Sharp’s only reference to ‘the Arian race’ is specifically concerned with the possible Eastern origin of ballad themes (probably based on Child’s introductions) and from the context is clearly being used in its old sense of ‘Indo-European’, rather than is later usage to mean ‘Nordic’.

It’s also pretty clear who Sharp means by the ‘common people’ or ‘lower classes’: those people involved in “ploughing, sowing, reaping and other farming operations”, according to him. Of course this is an over-simplification since, as Bearman has shown, the singers’ list includes a number of other occupations (blacksmith, gardener, quarryman, etc) as well as the majority who were involved in agricultural work – farmers as well as labourers. You could quibble about the description of some of those people as ‘peasants’ – even according to Sharp’s understanding of the word - but “anybody below the nobility” pushes the envelope too far.

As for Sharp “push[ing] origins back into some unknown and undated (undatable?) past”, this doesn’t really describe his view. Although he looked back with approval to a pre-Reformation ‘Merrie England’ as a time when the populace was “renowned throughout Europe as a nation of dancers and ballad-singers”, at no point did he claim that the songs he collected had such distant origins. Dating folk song presented “an insoluble problem”, because the continuing evolution of the form rendered it timeless - “it belongs not to one period but to many” - and he directly rejected claims that modal tunes must be more than 300 years old. Of the songs, he wrote: “...some have a long history behind them, while others are comparatively of recent birth... Our inability to ascribe a great age to the folk-song will come as a disappointment to those who attach value to a song in proportion to its antiquity... we can but reiterate that the value of the folk-song lies in its own intrinsic qualities. If it is beautiful, it needs nothing to recommend it.” He had songs in his collection about Nelson, Napoleon and Dick Turpin, which could obviously be dated as 'no earlier than...' The question of ‘origins’ was one he preferred to skate around, believing that the evolutionary process he described was what really mattered.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 23 Feb 20 - 12:36 PM

"The comments you make about Lloyd's more expansive "waffle" "
More arrogance - Bert was at this far longer than your ficvve minute forays into the net for handy soundbites
If he taled waffle, why proffer his opimion as argument

"whether he believed that there was a pure oral tradition once literacy had been established."
You never mentioned "once literacy had been established." when you quoted him
Beside the point anyway
It has been long established that our song tradition has relied heavily on non literate pariah communities like Travellers who are the nearest to a pure oral tradition as has ever s=existed in these islands
It has never been established how influential literacy was in preserving the song traditions
The general belief has always been that literacy did far more damage to the preservation of our folk singing than it did good
The fact that the rise in literacy and the development of technology coincided with the decline of folk traditions certainly suggest that this was the case

When will you come to terms with the fact that you know less than else anybody posting here about folk song ?
Most of us have been at this for decades - a bit longer that your few months
Just pack this talking down to those people - it makes you look silly
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Brian Peters
Date: 23 Feb 20 - 12:44 PM

”My understanding if there is a known author then the song cannot be traditional, but that defies logic on a few counts. So I admit to being confused as to what exactly is meant by traditional songs or lyrics, mediated or not.”

I don’t think many people would demand author anonymity as a qualification. As far as I’m concerned, traditional songs are those that have been passed on from one generation to another, though how many generations are required is still something that might be argued about. Steve Roud in ‘Folk Song in England’ suggests two. But this really is a minefield we should think twice about venturing across...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 23 Feb 20 - 01:24 PM

I don’t think many people would demand author anonymity as a qualification
Not even the '54 definition demands that
Don't think 'passing on from one generation to another' qualifies it as traditional otherwise remembered pop and art songs would fit the bill
A bit more complicated as that
Jim


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Brian Peters
Date: 23 Feb 20 - 01:48 PM

"One line of thought I have had whilst reading about 'mediation' of Folk music is "have I, during the 'second revival', been conned or unintentionally misled?". I read "Some Conclusions" in the mid 1970's but, despite the convincing criticisms of it in recent discussions, I don't think it sent me down the wrong track.."

This issue is the subject of an ongoing research project that I hope one day to publish, so I shan’t say too much just yet – though I would certainly avoid the word ‘conned’. Like Sharp, Lloyd and MacColl had their own idea about what was worth preserving and working with, and in some respects their tastes weren’t dissimilar to Sharp’s – Child Ballads, modal tunes, etc. Later revivalists adopted many of the same assumptions, so we’ve arrived at a situation in which, for instance, some of the Child Ballads most popular in the revival were vanishingly rare in oral tradition, as far as we know. But this raises the important question of whether the Revival is required to be authentic, in terms of presenting a completely representative sample of the most popular songs in tradition. Harker criticized Sharp for not feeling obliged to do this, but all Sharp was doing was publishing his 'best stuff'. In the present revival, most artists performing traditional songs choose their material according to what they find the most attractive musically (often preferring modal tunes just as Sharp did) and stirring textually, regardless of their popular footprint - otherwise we’d all be singing ‘The Farmer’s Boy’ instead of ‘Tam Lin’. ‘Three Drunken Maidens’, for example, is a popular song in the revival purely because Bert Lloyd’s ‘improved’ version caught on after he’d introduced it, chiming with an emerging view of women as strong and independent protagonists. In fact it was never common in tradition – Lloyd's sleeve notes claiming that “it spread like wildfire, reaching the far north of England by the 1760's”, seem to based on a single broadside from York and just two oral versions. It’s certainly worth checking some of the claims in Lloyd’s notes, though there’s a lot of good information and erudition there too. Babies and bathwater again.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 23 Feb 20 - 02:23 PM

Hello Brian

I'm honestly looking forward to reading your piece.

However, once again, I don't feel that your description of what Sharp did is quite accurate.

I don't think it really represents what Sharp did to say "all Sharp was doing was publishing his 'best stuff". What Sharp did, among other things, was to publish songbooks harmonised and otherwise modified versions of tunes, accompanied by edited versions of words, including some composites.

"presenting a completely representative sample of the most popular songs in tradition … Harker criticized Sharp for not feeling obliged to do this". Is this really what Harker's argument throughout the book is about? I'm not sure that Harker would use the phrase 'in tradition' at all. I'm not sure he thought like that. He would, I think, regard the term itself as a piece of 'mediation'. Would his view not be that what a lot of mediators did was sort of abstract stuff they judged to be 'folk' from what people were actually doing, rather than focus on the whole picture of what people at any point in time were doing? And a lot of the time what they were doing was enjoying a lot of stuff that would not be counted as 'traditional' or 'folk'. I think that is the sort of argument he is advancing overall, when he is not pointing out that a mediator appears to have had nothing at all to say about the people who sang the songs and the contexts in which they were used over the ages.

Sorry if I appear to nit-pick.

It may be that taking 'common people' to include everybody bar the nobility is pushing the envelope too far, but I am certain I have heard people claim that it was only the 'lowest class' and 'labouring class' and as Brian seems to agree, Sharp himself took songs from people who were not the bottom of the heap, and from some who were relatively educated (eg those related to vicars).


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 23 Feb 20 - 03:06 PM

" Sharp himself took songs from people who were not the bottom of the heap,"
One of Sharp's best songs, 'Lark in the Morning' was taken from a woman on her hands and knees in the mud in the pissing rain picking stoned and throwing the in a sack
When she'd finished, she grasped his lapels and said, "isn't that beautiful"
Doesn't get much lower down the social scale than that
(See Fox-Strangeway's biography)

Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: The Sandman
Date: 23 Feb 20 - 03:48 PM

I think the problem is the person who in another thread called Walters singing embarrasingly bad, despiet the fact his diction was clear and he holds the tune well, there seems to be an attempt to wind people up flame situations and gennerally engage in provocative trolling


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 23 Feb 20 - 06:00 PM

'Babies and bathwater again.' Precisely, Brian. Most of us here follow that principal.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,Big Al Whittle
Date: 23 Feb 20 - 07:32 PM

What exactly are the implications of Jim being right and Pseudonymous being wrong and vice versa?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 23 Feb 20 - 07:55 PM

I wrote above:

However, I would tend to agree with Bert Lloyd that the idea of a purely oral tradition stretching back over centuries is a non-starter.

I was told that this was utter nonsense. You will see who said this above.

I have since looked out the book and shall now quote from it.

'No doubt in the past it was the folklorist's lack of truly intimate contact with his singers that made him see them as noble rustic savages, not only unlettered but never brought into contact with the educated world. Yet even a century and a half ago many of the finest ballad informants were among the best-educated, if self-educated, members of their community.'

Regarding 'travellers' (SIC) he says 'even among the folk on the road it is usually the best educated, the book-and newpaper-readers, the alert and progressive thinkers, who provide the most important, most coherent songs.... Far from illiteracy being, as some have pretended, almost a sine qua non of the authentic folklore condition, at least where ballads are concerned it is probably a negative factor, as the experienced American collector Phillips Barry maintained.'

Lloyd discusses the idea of 'orality later in the chapter on page 24. He takes on broadsheets on page 27, saying that these and the rest of folk song are 'as mixed as Psyche's seeds'.

Therefore, I would argue that I was not writing 'utter nonsense' when I said that Lloyd did not agree with the idea of a purely oral tradition stretching back centuries. The 'Psyche's seeds' simile, when added to his comments about literacy and illiteracy, seem to me to prove that I was not talking 'utter nonsense'. You may quibble about the detail, but 'utter nonsense' will not do.

Just on the topic of Sharp, Lloyd describes his views as 'an ideology of primitive romanticism with a vengeance'. But then he approves a Sharpian definition of folksong ie the 1954 one.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,big al whittle
Date: 23 Feb 20 - 08:26 PM

but supposing you're right (can I call you pseudy?).

does it matter whether the folksongs were written by posh blokes or peasants.

They're all dead. It doesn't matter to them, I don't suppose. Why are you getting worked up about it?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 24 Feb 20 - 03:25 AM

"oral tradition stretching back over centuries "
Can't make out who originally said that from the mess of your posting, which indicates that you haven't understood it fully
If it was Phillips Barry, he was a fine collector but somewhat off-the-wall when it came to analysis on occasion
In 'Green Mountain Songster' he wrote a long rambling analysis of the song 'Lake of Col Fin' where he links it to mermaids, sunken islands and magical drownings
While he did some fine collecting, he shows little understanding of the abilities of the people he collected from

"“Popular tradition, however, does not mean popular origin. In the case of our ballad, the underlying folklore is Irish de facto, but not de-jure: the ballad is of Oriental and literary origin, and has sunk to the level of the folk which has the keeping of folklore. To put it in a single phrase, memory not invention is the function of the folk”.

'Lake of Col (or Cool) Finn' (sometimes called Willie Leonard' is one of the finest ballads of domestic tragedy ever made in these islands - it has been stongly suggested that it is linked to an actual event that took place in Northern Ireland

Barry goes on to say about its Oriental origin that it "sank to the level of folklore"
A poor understanding of the oral tradition, as has been shown over and over again.

The first reports of an oral tradition were by 'The Venerable Bede' in the 8th century when he threw his toys out of the pram at cattlemen passing a harp around and singing coarse secular songs when he was trying to preach in gospel
Song have obvious links to the dim past - as far back as Home, with very little evidence of them having been maintained in print
Occasionally, writers like Boccaccio, Shakespeare, Hardy and others, have raided the tradition to make their songs, but by and large, they have been passed on orally - that is largely an undisputed fact
Our working knowledge goes back no further than the beginning of the 20th century, but its longevity is beyond dispute - go ask the shepherds who were reported to have been singing 'Froggie Went a-Courtin' by Thomas Ravenscroft in 1549

You are totally misrepresenting Bert Lloyd's attitude, both to Sharp and to literacy with your undigested misquotes
Lloyd was well aware of the effect that mass literacy had on the oral trdition - he spoke of it at length on many occasions
He included the media in that awareness when he described television as 'The Idiot's Lantern'
Of course literacy was helpful while the tradition was in its prime - how could it not be - it was a way of passing on orally created songs and stories, but eventually, reliance on it was one of the major reasons songs stopped being made

I hope you are not suggesting Lloyd claimed that Travellers were literate - nobody could possibly have been that barmy
The Travelling communities are only now accepting literacy as important to their survival
We spent a great deal of time over the thirty years we worked with Travellers helping them with official documents few of them were unable to read
Travellers had many skills most of us don't come near to having - reading wasn't one of them
Stop grabbing quoted lines out of context

I din't know q=what the hell "SIC" was about - that is now the chosen identification of most people whose origins are the road - - it needs to be spelled with a capital "T"
Your attitude reeks of the Neanderthalic racism of "they aren't real gypsies"
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 24 Feb 20 - 03:51 AM

Back to teh type of people Sharp collected songs from
I took a shufti at Sharp's collection last night - retired farm workers and road labourers, sailors, fairground showmen - a number of them found in 'Unions' (workhouses)
One singer couldn't sing to him unless she was "doing her ironing"
Fox Strangeways tells the story of his looking for one of his important singers, Mrs Overd - a heavy-drinking widow living in a disreputable part of Langport, in Somerset (she stripped willows for a chair manufacturer)
On enquiring, Sharp was told she was in the local pub, which is where he eventually found her
When he spoke to her she grabbed him by the arm, dragged him into the street and began dancing with him shouting, "Me fancy-man's come for me at last lads"
Sharp didn't collect from poor people - my arse he didn't
jIm Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 24 Feb 20 - 03:59 AM

Big Al:

I think you will find that it is Jim and his pals who are getting worked up.

I agree that Mudcat is supposed to be about 'knowledge'. That is why it seems worth while to try to sort the myth, propaganda and 'PR' from what few facts we have. But even attempts to do just this, as in the book by Roud, or in Steve Gardham's studies relating to broadsheets, or in the excellent biographies of A L Lloyd of Ewan MacColl, or in anything remotely viewable as 'academic' get subjected to the sort of abusive and personalised unpleasantness that Steve Shaw and The Sandman have nicely demonstrated in their recent posts.

It would help if people made an effort to distinguish between an attack on a person and disagreement with what they say. This seems to be a step too far for some.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 24 Feb 20 - 04:30 AM

@Brian Peters. Sounds like an interesting project. My "conned or unintentionally misled" was the range of possibilities on the pessimistic side - conned relating to 'fakes' and the concept of a 'culture industry' as mentioned up the thread.

On the positive side I am just re-reading the sleeve notes on the first few LPs I bought (second hand) in the late 60's. From what I have since learned I don't feel misled but I can see some differences in approach.

(rest of post saved for if/when the discussion comes back that way)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,Big Al Whittle
Date: 24 Feb 20 - 04:55 AM

I meant implications for the music

1) Posh Blokes done it

2) Peasants done it

Discuss.

Let's skip the Jim/Pseudo confrontation.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,Big Al whittle
Date: 24 Feb 20 - 06:33 AM

Think about it.

Ordinary songs are written by all kinds of people.
Posh blokes like Andrew Lloyd Webber
Poor blokes like me, and all my mates

Why should folksongs be different. True, they were written a long time ago.

but why would things be different back then?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 24 Feb 20 - 06:46 AM

"Why should folksongs be different."
It's not who writes them Al - it's what happens to them after they are written that makes them 'folk'
I'm never sure whether 'Greensleeves' counts as a folksong with anybody, it does with some - it has been suggested that that was written by Henry VIII
He is certainly named as having written 'The Hunt is Up'
Amazing what a bout of STD does for creative inspiration !!
Jim


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 24 Feb 20 - 07:02 AM

Poor blokes who did really well at it would be popular musicians.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,big al whittle
Date: 24 Feb 20 - 07:47 AM

Doesn't always work out like that - its a funny business.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 24 Feb 20 - 08:12 AM

"who did really well at it would be popular musicians."
A very wise veteran fiddle and concertina player/storyteller and singer, from around here, Junior Crehan, (now dead twenty years) once told us, "the music started to go downhill when they started paying us to play and we took it into the pubs"
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,big al whittle
Date: 24 Feb 20 - 10:04 AM

In The Tudors, Anne Boleyn was dancing and Alex Smeaton was fiddling away to the tune of All things Bright and Beautiful.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 24 Feb 20 - 10:28 AM

From: Jim Carroll - PM
Date: 24 Feb 20 - 06:46 AM

> "Why should folksongs be different."
It's not who writes them Al - it's what happens to them after they are written that makes them 'folk' <

Hang on Jim! That's what the Steves and various others have been saying. I thought you were taking the opposite line:
(a) that lots of ordinary people are (or anyway were in the past) quite capable of writing songs (which most of us can agree with), and
(b) that that's where the songs that deserve to be called folk songs came from.

Or were you being sarcastic?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 24 Feb 20 - 11:23 AM

"That's what the Steves and various others have been saying."
No it isn't Richard
Tey are both suggesting that most songs originated on the broadside presses, leaving no room for the possibility that working people might have made them in response to their own experiences
Even the long accepted definition allows for a commercial made song being taken up adapted, re-adapted.... to as stage where it become the property of 'the folk - a folk song -
I've no problem with that - it has always been assumed that our repertoire is a mixture of absorbed broadsides and ananymouslt composed pieces   
I do have a prob with the suggestion that 'the ordinary people' produced next to nothing of their own and relied entirely on that produced by 'their betters (for the want of a better term)

One of our major finds, in Ireland and among travellers, was that, beside the standard folk repertoire, both had made large numbers of songs covering every aspect of their lives
Steve G wrote that off as 'a handful of retired people' filling in the empty houses by scribbling poems, the mass of the working people being "too busy earning a living" to indulge in such things
Steve Roud appears to regard locally produced songs as too few to be important.
I believe that a once rich song-making tradition was gradually replaced by a commercial industry making songs for sale
If that's the case, we have to re-think how wer regard the importance of folk song as history carriers
Jim


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jack Campin
Date: 24 Feb 20 - 11:42 AM

Stepping back to where this started - it might be productive to look a bit wider than just one collector (or one small group of collectors) did.

There are a lot of different ways a piece of folk music might end up with a listener getting the wrong idea of what its original form and context was. Sometimes the problem is with the person publicizing it, sometimes with the listener, sometimes history moves on and background information is lost. There may be many people involved in creating a simple muddle.

I'm thinking here of a examples from Scottish music and klezmer, where we can sometimes trace the same tune for centuries through many different forms. Sometimes the people later in the chain know how they got the piece they're playing and sometimes they don't. Highland pipers often think the versions of "Flowers of the Forest" and "Caller Herrin" they play are just the way the tune is - in fact they are so different from the original as to be barely recognizable. Then there are all the "Irish" tunes that are no such thing; the tune may be unchanged but the backstory is a new invention.

My guess is that folklorists have established a substantial vocabulary to discuss this sort of thing - one term like "mediation" won't cut it.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 24 Feb 20 - 12:35 PM

one term like "mediation" won't cut it.

Whilst this is correct, Jack, it does cover all of the usages in Harker. What would probably be a more useful idea is if we had separate threads on the different types of mediation. We are jumping about from one to another on this thread and the previous one, at cross purposes, and causing confusion. At least I would suggest we need to be clear about which mediators and what type we are discussing. Even just one mediator like Sharp can be said to have mediated in several different ways.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Joe Offer
Date: 24 Feb 20 - 01:49 PM

I've often wondered where Lead Belly would have ended up without the Lomaxes. Quite possibly, he would never have been released from prison. He would have died behind bars, but his music would have been unmediated and authentic. I'm glad that he was released from prison, but I wish that the Lomaxes had left his music alone. They made him into a commercial product, and I think that is a shame.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 24 Feb 20 - 01:58 PM

I din't know q=what the hell "SIC" was about - that is now the chosen identification of most people whose origins are the road - - it needs to be spelled with a capital "T"

I'll explain what SIC was about. When you are quoting word for word from a book sometimes you find a mistake in a book. But if you just quote it it might look as if you had made the mistake not the person you are quoting. So what you do is put (SIC) after the word. It means something like 'It was written like this in the original'.

In the case of Lloyd, who I quoted accurately, he did not use the capital letter for the word 'travellers'. I know that people nowadays prefer a capital. In order to show that the lower case letter was what Lloyd put, I wrote (SIC) after it.

As somebody pointed out, the aim of my post was to support using quotation a statement I had made about Lloyd's book.

Lloyd is one of the mediators discussed in the Harker book where we originally came across the term 'mediation'. I have said several times that I don't think it would be possible to hold a sensible discussion about Harker's view of Lloyd on Mudcat and recent posts seem to me to confirm that viewpoint.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 24 Feb 20 - 02:13 PM

If, like other people, you put it in lower case and in square brackets (to show that it was an insertion) then it would look like other people's acronymns.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 24 Feb 20 - 02:14 PM

... wouldn't look like ...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 24 Feb 20 - 02:21 PM

That piece of mediation was really neat, Joe. It shows we both have a sense of humour! (Apologies. Private joke)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 24 Feb 20 - 02:34 PM

Capital T wasn't a convention when Bert was writing - much later
Your hindsight observation (if that's what it was) is as inappropriate as your criticism of the mistakes of the pioneer giants of folk song
You misrepresent Bert my taking hi oout of context - his view on the destructive effect of literacy was universally held - h would have been an oddball if he had thought otherwise
One of his close colleagues at one time was Broadside expert, Leslie Shepherd who said exactly the same
Whatever they thought anyway, what I stated was a recognised fact

"Whilst this is correct, Jack, it does cover all of the usages in Harker."
Much of the argument here has shown farly conclusively that it most certainly does not Steve, no matter how often you claim it does
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 24 Feb 20 - 04:50 PM

fair point Jag


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 24 Feb 20 - 05:29 PM

In that case, Jim, you ought to explain which usages of the word in Harker are wrong.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 25 Feb 20 - 03:06 AM

"usages of the word in Harker are wrong."
That has been done at length far better than I could by Brian Peters
The fact that the book was so soundly placed in the dustbin of history back in the day confirms much of what has been said here

I have no desire to continue the ludicrous discussion on Berts opinion of broadsides, but I would like to take the question of literacy and its effects on the tradition further when I have time
We recorded a fair amount of information on this subject from the singers themselves, mainly from the Clare and Traveller ones
It really isn't as simple as just learning songs from print and them later becoming 'traditional' - far more complicated that that
One of the high points of our work with Tavellers was meeting Mikeen McCarthy, a Traveller ballad seller, street and 'fireside' singer, lore-bearer and storyteller...... from rural West Kerry
Mikeen described taking (mainly) his father's songs into a printer's shop, reciting them over the counter and having them run off as 'ballad sheets' to be sold at the local fairs and markets
Far from being hastily produced 'hack productions', these were examples of the 'oral tradition in print' (along with non-traditional songs)
Mikeen also described how, when the family met up with Travellers from elsewhere, they would spend time swapping songs, to be sung and sold - a peep at how the oral and ballad selling traditions worked
The last known ballad sheet sold in The West of Ireland was a parody of a 1950s pop song, entitled 'The Bar With no Stout' - based on a real-life situation faced by a local publican at the time
We once asked Mikeen if he knew of any song that had been specifically made to be sold on the ballad sheets - he replied, "Why should anybody go to the trouble of doing that - there were plenty of songs available to sell in those days"
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 25 Feb 20 - 03:08 AM

I have been reading Fowler's literary history of the ballad, and finding it reasonable. His basic approach is to take the earliest written examples of 'ballads' he can find and to try to trace changes in form/structure through the ages.

If I have read him aright, he believes that the ballad as a literary form arose out of a mixture of the romances and 'vernacular' literature including old carols, all of which he discusses via written forms. Some of his history struck me as a bit too broad brush. But he was a person with a very wide knowledge of old materials and texts.

I am thinking that this book will have particularly interested a person who wanted to look at dating particular songs?

I suppose Fowler is a 'mediator', he takes material and analyses and discusses it in terms of his own values, which would include a view that the ballad is a 'literary form' and that it makes sense and is important and interesting to trace how certain features of it developed.

Probably worth a thread on his own account. Thanks for the reference.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 25 Feb 20 - 03:53 AM

"who wanted to look at dating particular songs?"
Impossible as far as traditional songs (and certainly ballads) as Steve Gardham has somewhat reluctantly admitted
As we have no deep understanding of the ral traditions earlier than 1899 we have to decide whether 'unlettered folk' were capable of having made them - the subject matter, use of vernacular and folk humour, familiarity with subject matter, trade terms, and work practices, sympathies displayed.... and much more, suggests strongly that 'the folk' made many, if not most of our folk songs

It strikes me sometimes that some people don't want the folk to have made the folk songs for some unfathomable reason
It's been said oten enough that the ballads are "far too good to have been made by the rural poor"
I beg to differ
If 'the sweepings of the London Streets' could understand Hamlet, there's no reason why their rural counterparts couldn't have made 'Young Hunting' or 'Long Johnny More' - folk tales set to music
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 25 Feb 20 - 05:46 AM

1. I'll take my views on what Steve says and on whether he says it 'reluctantly' from Steve, on the basis of prior experience with certain posters on mudcat with a record of misrepresenting others.

2 "That has been done at length far better than I could by Brian Peters". Again, I think it is best to look at what Brian said rather than take second-hand accounts of it. Same reasoning as before.

3 @ Jim: So why recommend the book by Fowler then? Given that you fundamentally object to his methodology (though that is assuming that you grasped it in the first place)

4 I confess that I do not know the source of the quotation 'the sweepings of the London Streets [sic]'. But I am assuming it must be ironic in referring to the poorest in Elizabethan and Jacobean terms as, basically, excrement. A source would be interesting. to be honest, I don't think the poorest people in London would have been able to spare the entrance fee.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,Big Al Whittle
Date: 25 Feb 20 - 06:04 AM

Keep doing that!

Possibly Elizabethan theatre got a bad press from people like my Dad who never actually went there.

he thought I went to folk clubs to consort with loose women and score drugs and carouse with the sweepings of the streets.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 25 Feb 20 - 07:10 AM

On Fowler, Steve and Jim will know this, but for the benefit of anybody who hasn't looked into it, what Fowler says is this:

'The lack of any extensive study of the evolution of ballad style cannot be blamed entirely on the tyranny of Child's edition. To a considerable extent this deficiency is attributable, I think, to an excessive current regard for the supposed autonomy of the oral tradition. It is very commonly assumed that the date of the manuscript or printed collection in which it appears can safely be ignored, unless perhaps the date is so early that it can be used to impress the reader with the antiquity of the ballad in question. Although I do not want to be rigid about it, my aim is to adopt precisely the opposite attitude. I shall assume that a given ballad took the particular shape it has about the time it was written down, unless there is specific evidence to the contrary. It is only in this way, I believe, that a literary history of the ballad can be written.'

"carouse with the sweepings of the streets'. Better to stick with CAMRA pubs than risk it? :)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 25 Feb 20 - 07:17 AM

Fowler ends by praising Mrs Brown of Falkland. He doesn't think she was much good at writing original ballads, but that she has a significant artistic role, and distinctive style, in her re-creations of old ones.

He ends by saying:

'Yet except for that poet who composed the Scottish masterpieces for Percy's Reliques, no-one has contributed more to English and Scottish balladry than Mrs. Brown of Falkland'.

I suppose Fowler was highlighted on the Harker thread as his work highlights possible examples of mediation, as well, of course, as being an example.

Mrs Brown was the daughter of a Professor, and her mother came from a singing family of the Scottish highlands.

So it does seem, let's say, a book for a strong oral tradition theorist to be recommending. But interesting nevertheless.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Brian Peters
Date: 25 Feb 20 - 08:24 AM

Inspired by Jack Campin's references to the musicological history of 'mediation', I took a look at Georgina Born (an almost impenetrable thicket of jargon and bad English) and also a review of Antoine Hennion’s A Passion for Music. I’ll share a sample for the good of your souls:

Born writes: “Mediation, then: from one perspective, as the clue to transcending idealist ontologies of music; from a second, mediation as diplomacy, as the negotiation between apparently incommensurable worlds.” In case that’s already got you losing the will to live, she goes on to describe Adorno’s “philosophically-overdetermined and sociologically partial account of the dialectic between autonomous music and the commodified music of the culture industry.” I can at least attempt to unpick that – we’re talking about what happens when music is developed commercially for public consumption which, to be fair, would describe the work of quite a few of Harker’s ‘mediators.’

Hennion considers the contrast between a painting - which can be considered from any number of perspectives but is finally a fixed object – and music, which is amorphous, “always on the verge of permutation”. It always needs to be remade, which leads to a proliferation of infinite intermediaries, interpreters, and re-producers. “Music is event and advent, which means that it is perpetually transformed by any contact with its public, on whose listening it inevitably depends. Hennion attempts to unravel the influence of mediators, which can be institutional, technical, economic, social, political, or individual, including, to be specific, universities, musicians, instruments, politicians, promoters, patrons, and on and on. Mediation focuses more on the construction and presentation of music than on its artistic quality or on an analytical study of the art object itself. Hennion also cites the example (very apposite to us in the folk music world) of the alternative ‘Baroque’ and ‘modern’ interpretations of Bach’s music, leading to two substantially different musical objects.

This is a much more sophisticated, and also far less judgemental, concept of ‘mediation’ than Fakesong’s sometimes reductive, sometimes generalised usage. When Harker writes that “[James Henry] Dixon knew the 'pace-egg' drama through the mediation of a young besom-maker,” he means that one of the actors involved in the drama ’recited’ (probably, sang) it directly to Dixon. So why on earth not just say so and make it clear to the reader?

Further usages where ‘editing’ would have done perfectly well: “songs were further mediated in the processes of editing and publishing”; [of Lloyd and Vaughan Williams’s book] “Even the tunes were subject to further mediation”; [of Kidson’s attempts to regularize tunes for publication] “’what the singer obviously means' , as mediated by the 'expert' collector”; Chambers was “a mediator of others' mediations”.

But it’s not just used narrowly for textual or musical emendations – at the other end of the scale, we’re told that the “Scots people and culture” were “mediated by Thomson.” Harker is adopting a Humpty-Dumpty definition of ‘mediation’ – and if you accept it, then of course none of his individual usages is ‘wrong’.

This practice makes meaning unclear, possibly leading to ambiguity or suspicion. Could the besom-maker perhaps have written down the pace-egg song for Dixon after a gap of several years, could he have learned it second-hand from a relative and relied on his imperfect memory, or could he even have found it in a book of local customs? No: he was an actual participant in the drama, and he conveyed it first-hand to Dixon – but we’re not told this by Harker’s prose. As a reader, I like to know exactly what is meant, without having to do a google search to find the original document that Harker ‘mediated’. As a reader I also get very weary of being beaten over the head by constant repetition of the author’s pet words, whether ‘mediator’ or ‘bourgeois’. It just gets very tiresome.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 25 Feb 20 - 09:01 AM

I think the “through the mediation of” rather than “from the singing of” ( if that is what it was) is Harker giving priority to comment over information. Mediation specifically carries the caveats incorporated in Harker’s usage. Singing relies on common sense knowledge that it may not have been carried away correctly or taking up words to say that. Since Harker’s focus is misinformation he embeds that in his jargon term then keeps using it. At least he defines it (sort of) - we have to know what his flavour of Marxism embeds in words like proletariat.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Brian Peters
Date: 25 Feb 20 - 09:15 AM

I think I agree with that, jag, but personally I'd rather have received the information.

"Singing relies on common sense knowledge that it may not have been carried away correctly" - maybe, but what does 'correctly' mean here? If a simple song is performed for the collector by a participant currently actively involved in the drama, then what meaningful degree of 'mediation' has gone on? Once we get to the point where everything we say, sing or play is 'mediated' at the moment we utter it, what is the use of the word?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 25 Feb 20 - 09:27 AM

"Fowler,"
Attempting to claim, or even suggest origins of ballads whose motifs pre-date Christianity is like setting up a company to mine pots of gold at the end of rainbows
There are no answers available and there never will be
Harker takes it on himself to demand that 'folk song' collectors should have done what was not within their remit
Whether he and his disciples like it or not, those who actually spent time in contact with the singers who were pert of the preservation of these 'folk songs' were far closer to being qualified to come to an informed estimation of the significance of folk song than any desk-bound purveyor of impenetrable long words will ever be - as far away from a definitive answer as they/we may have been
I believe I learned far more about the oral tradition from an evening with Mikeen McCarthy, Tom Lenihan, Mary Delaney.'Pop's' Johnny Connors oor Walter Pardon, than I would have from a lifetime of reading books/articles written by someone who wouldn't know a folk/traditional/sean nós singer if one regaled them with a twenty-verse ballad
Much of what is being quoted here makes me relieved that I never became involved in folk-freemasonry
It seems to deliberately unnecessarily complicate an extremely fundamental human act

We once recorded Tom Lenihan singing the epic, 'Farmer Michael Hayes' to explain the song to us - his reply was "I just have"   
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jack Campin
Date: 25 Feb 20 - 09:47 AM

"Singing relies on common sense knowledge that it may not have been carried away correctly" - maybe, but what does 'correctly' mean here? If a simple song is performed for the collector by a participant currently actively involved in the drama, then what meaningful degree of 'mediation' has gone on?

Possibly quite a lot. I have two examples in mind.

There is a klezmer lament which was recorded towards the end of WW1 from a old Jewish fiddler playing at the door of his house in a village devastated by warfare. You can work out the tune he had in mind, and for sure he meant every note of it, but he was an old, enfeebled man weakened physically and emotionally by the terrible experiences he'd lived through; his tone is like somebody bowing a ukulele with dental floss. He would have learned it when he was much younger and could play it with full technique; it was his old self who was doing the mediating.

Because one of the instruments I play is the ocarina, I've got to know the way it comes across on web forums. These are dominated by the role it played in the Zelda computer games; a lot of people get one because it's in the game and try to play the motifs ("themes" would be too grand a term) used in it. Which has two problems: (1) the ocarina in the games isn't real, its sounds were created on a keyboard and played through the Nintendo SNES sound chip, so playing those ditties isn't always technically possible, and (2) the motifs are embedded in the soundworld and storyline of the game, which gives them most of their meaning. Result is, you get a lot of YouTubes where gamers are trying to do the impossible, with their imaginations filling in huge chunks of musical texture and context that their viewers aren't getting at all.

In both these examples there is an extreme disconnect between what the player thinks they're doing and what the listener hears them doing.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Brian Peters
Date: 25 Feb 20 - 10:04 AM

"'what meaningful degree of 'mediation' has gone on?'

"Possibly quite a lot. I have two examples in mind. There is a klezmer lament which was recorded towards the end of WW1 from a old Jewish fiddler.. You can work out the tune he had in mind, and for sure he meant every note of it, but he was an old, enfeebled man."

I get what you're saying, but our besom-maker was one of the participants in the mummers' play at the time he performed the song for Dixon. You could argue that Dixon might have heard a different kind of performance of the song if he'd witnessed the play being performed, but the kind of nuanced differences he might have heard would have been beyond his powers as a collector anyway. Even if he'd filmed the actual performance, someone somewhere would still argue that it was 'mediated', but how useful would that be for any practical purpose? And, I repeat, why not say that the besom-maker sang (or recited) it to Dixon?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 25 Feb 20 - 10:07 AM

Unless we get some detail, interpretation, or insight into the two transfers Harker could just have said “We have this second hand from Dixon who got it first hand from a mummer”

Nearly crossed with Jack who gives an example of detail, interpretation an insight.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 25 Feb 20 - 10:37 AM

How many of the people watching these motifs played on youtube have not got their imaginations full off the same stuff?

How many performances rely on nostalgia on the part of listeners for their full effect? “It’s a long way to Tipperary” could mean a lot to my grandfather but I don’t think musical accuracy had much to do with it.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jack Campin
Date: 25 Feb 20 - 11:08 AM

How many of the people watching these motifs played on youtube have not got their imaginations full off the same stuff?

Me for one. I've never seen the game played and have no idea what it feels like to be playing it. (I started playing ocarinas years before any of the Zelda games were developed).

Film scores do the same. One number popular with the bedroom ocarina video crowd is "Concerning Hobbits" from the Lord of the Rings film. I've never seen the film or listened to a recording of the soundtrack, and to me none of these attempts sound anything like a tune. If you hadn't seen the film and only knew the tune from those videos, you'd have no earthly reason to play it.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 25 Feb 20 - 11:09 AM

Many thanks for your post of 8.24, Brian. As I read it it is saying pretty much what I have clumsily been trying to say.

I completely agree with you, the word 'mediation' taken on its own is far too wide-ranging for our purposes. It needs qualifying/explaining which type of mediation we are considering. To lump the whole lot together, or to not explain, which Harker seems to have been guilty of, is pretty meaningless.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jack Campin
Date: 25 Feb 20 - 11:17 AM

To lump the whole lot together, or to not explain, which Harker seems to have been guilty of, is pretty meaningless.

Maybe, but that doesn't imply that what he's saying is meaningless. He could say much the same things about Sharp a few years earlier without using the term, so it doesn't do anything essential for his arguments.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 25 Feb 20 - 11:50 AM

If you hadn't seen the film and only knew the tune from those videos, you'd have no earthly reason to play it.

So I guess such a tune wouldn't survive long in oral\aural transmission without whatever it was associated with. I wonder if there are 'tunes of little value' neglected by the collectors because they were after something 'to use' rather than recording, say, a ritual (or dance maybe) that they were associated with.

So a selective representation of the musical culture - which I think is one of Harker's points.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Brian Peters
Date: 25 Feb 20 - 12:09 PM

"that doesn't imply that what he's saying is meaningless. He could say much the same things about Sharp a few years earlier without using the term, so it doesn't do anything essential for his arguments."

It may not in that specific case, but the problem arises when the term used to describe Sharps alleged 'doctoring' is applied willy-nilly to Bishop Percy, F J Child, and a working-class Yorkshire mummer. Not least because his discussion of Sharp in both pieces is riddled with inaccuracies, whether accidental or intentional, and displays clear bias. I would be the last to say that there's nothing worthwhile in Fakesong but, as I said on the other thread, when the scholarship in a specific area you know something about is so badly flawed, it makes it difficult to trust anything else, and the slapdash use of 'mediation' doesn't help. However, I would guess that Steve G finds some merit in the chapters on the collectors pre-Child, which were the ones I found useful, at least as an introduction to characters I knew little about when I first read the book.

I tend to agree with Jim about obscure technical language, in our field especially - I much prefer to read plain, informative English. Wading through some of the high-falutin' musicological stuff I quoted above made me wonder whether the use of that level of jargon is a device to show how clever you are, or a device to disguise how clever you aren't.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Brian Peters
Date: 25 Feb 20 - 12:33 PM

Just to get us away from all this abstraction for a moment, here's a direct question for Steve (genuine curiosity, not attempted point-scoring). While I was checking through Harker I found a comment regarding James Hogg, the Ettrick Shepherd, who apparently regularly tampered with his informants' material except in the case of 'mussel-mou'd Charlie' (an itinerant ballad-seller in Aberdeen), and Mrs Betty Cameron of Lochaber:

“Both remained staunch political reactionaries as well as being culturally conservative to the end, and so could have their songs 'copied verbatim' for Hogg's 'betters', without benefit
of further mediation.”

I’d be interested to know whether you have independent information about Hogg’s reliability, and whether it’s really true that he left certain songs unedited because they came from ‘political reactionaries’.

Just by the way, I was interested to notice that both Scott and Hogg are chastised for not identifying their singers, instead using terms like 'country singer', 'old woman', 'girl', 'blind old man', or 'old persons residing at the head of Ettrick Forest'. One might have expected praise for Cecil Sharp for, not only noting meticulously the names of every singer, plus time and place, but also taking photographs of them and, in some cases, giving quite a bit of detail about their singing. If one had expected it, one would have been disappointed.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 25 Feb 20 - 02:36 PM

Hi Brian,
Sorry to disappoint but I only have the claims of contemporary and later scholars and the correspondence to go by. Chambers has something to say on Hogg and his reliability and of course Lang defends Scott. The best source for Scott's tampering is his own later regrets and admittance, but once again we will not be certain of the extent of it. There are strong claims that some of the people who were sending him material were mediating it before they even sent it to him. I can recommend the books of Mary Ellen Brown on this period, particularly those that present the correspondence of the collectors.

Personally I don't have a massive beef with collectors of this period not identifying their sources. It simply wasn't a requirement then. The collecting and editing and publishing were the important aspects to them.

One possible reason for not tampering with Mussel-mouthed Charlie's repertoire is his pieces were well-known in Aberdeen and collectors in that area would have spotted the tampering straight away.

Regarding the 'political reactionaries' I have no recollection of reading this angle. Scott was a staunch loyalist, militarist, and very much part of the establishment, but I have not encountered any influence of this in his ballad making or editing, and I have to confess I have not read any of his novels.

As for Sharp's collecting methods, I have nothing but praise for the man, always have had, always will have. I am eternally grateful for what he did in that respect. You already know what my beefs are and I'm not repeating them.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 25 Feb 20 - 03:00 PM

1800 Scotland and 1900 southern England were different planets. I don't see any point in comparing them.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Brian Peters
Date: 26 Feb 20 - 09:00 AM

Thanks Steve, no smoking gun but interesting stuff. I do have one of Mary Ellen Brown's books, and must look at it again.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jack Campin
Date: 26 Feb 20 - 09:05 AM

Personally I don't have a massive beef with collectors of this period not identifying their sources. It simply wasn't a requirement then.

May not have been a requirement but it was often done when the source was an individual singer. Burns usually did it and C.K. Sharpe was pretty consistent about it.

It was not common for people to identify broadside sources, though.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 26 Feb 20 - 02:47 PM

A repeat request please which no one answered last time. Motherwell's famous influential essay on how collecting and publishing should be carried on. Was that in his original Minstrelsy as well as later editions, or did it just appear in later editions, and if so at what point did it appear?

Sharpe was behind a lot of the early publications and some of the manuscripts were in his possession but I'm not aware he published anything substantial on the ballads. Macmath appears to have finished up with a lot of this and then passed it on to Child.

What publications of Burns actually give his sources? Very little identified in Johnson. My little paperback of Merry Muses doesn't have sources but the original may have.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 26 Feb 20 - 02:53 PM

"And, I repeat, why not say that the besom-maker sang (or recited) it to Dixon?"

May I suggest a possible reason? Let's go back to the definition we have been using, though it isn't ideal:

'By mediation I mean not just simply the fact that people passed on songs … but that in the very process of so doing their own assumptions, attitudes, likes and dislikes may well have significantly determined what they looked for, accepted and rejected.'

Harker has been discussing the various sources that Dixon made use of. He speaks approvingly of the few occasions when Dixon used singers as a source and the besom-maker was one of these. It may be that Harker wanted at this point to emphasise that the humble besom-maker, just like the other kinds of source, will have had his own attitudes and assumptions about the song. These will be part of the culture that Harker argues was too often ignored or 'manufactured' by collectors.

I can see one might imagine that Harker thinks of a performance of the play as in some sense 'authentic' and that the man will be 'mediating' that 'authentic' version, but I don't think we need to think that way in order to come up with a reason why he uses the term at this point.

I'm not sure that Harker is saying that there is any 'unmediated' version, if this makes sense? Because each and every version will be an interpretation?

Til

But I do agree that it can be a bit irritating when he repeats words.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: The Sandman
Date: 27 Feb 20 - 03:55 AM

Who was CK Sharpe, do you mean Cecil Sharp?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,Derrick
Date: 27 Feb 20 - 04:19 AM

Who was C K sharpe?

See here,

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Kirkpatrick_Sharpe


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,Cj
Date: 27 Feb 20 - 04:58 AM

'By mediation I mean not just simply the fact that people passed on songs … but that in the very process of so doing their own assumptions, attitudes, likes and dislikes may well have significantly determined what they looked for, accepted and rejected.'

Surely this is the folk process? Consciously or not, we all err to what we prefer or are capable of.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jack Campin
Date: 27 Feb 20 - 05:26 AM

Burns often identified sources in his letters, but doesn't seem to have thought a wider public needed to know.

Sharpe's largest single oral source was his childhood nurse. On paper he used a ragbag of stuff like the notebooks of Robert Mylne and the tunebooks of rural instrumentalists. Laing was more extreme, dumpster-diving outside lawyers' offices for historical documents.

For song texts, I suspect the slip songs and chapbooks were more reliable than the artier and more prestigious publications - after all they were expecting to sell the stuff back to the same class of people who created it. You see that very clearly with tunes - fiddlers' tunebooks are way more usable than any of the posh copperplate-engraved coffee-table collections.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 27 Feb 20 - 05:39 AM

"Surely this is the folk process?"
It most definitely is which is the opposite to the way Harker used the term mediation as a stick to beat the collectors and to prove that the songs were "fake"
Gershon Legman devoted a fifty page chapter to 'The Merry Muses' in his wonderfully symbolically-titled 'Horn Book'
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 27 Feb 20 - 06:18 AM

Regarding Motherwell

There is a Folk Music Journal piece by William B McCarthy dated 1987. 'William Motherwell as Folk Collector'. I have only skimmed this, but I learned from it that Motherwell took over The Minstrelsy part-way through the process. McCarthy seems to be arguing that there was in effect a change in editorial process part-way through.


At one point McCarthy says that an introduction was promised in a piece published in one part (it seems to have been published bit by bit). If I read this correctly it would imply that there was no introduction in the original versions of the early parts at least.

This piece is on JSTOR and I think if you google you will find it. Some interesting and - rational - discussion of Harker's work in it also. As I say, I have only skimmed it, so it is worth checking what it says for yourself.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 27 Feb 20 - 10:34 AM

Thanks, Pseu. I have all of the EFDSS Journals. I'll have a re-read of McCarthy but it probably hasn't got the info I need. That Motherwell took over the process is complete news to me. I know he paid other collectors but I thought the actual publications were all his own work.

Of course the 'folk process' is a type of mediation, but it is very different to the mediation of the editors. I don't think you'd get many people to agree with you that what Percy did was part of the folk process.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 27 Feb 20 - 12:29 PM

Hello Steve

You put this:

"I don't think you'd get many people to agree with you that what Percy did was part of the folk process."

Just to clarify that it wasn't me who was saying that it was. Of course, you did not mean to imply that is was me, but it is possible that his post might be read that way by someone who had not followed the thread.

Let me know what you make of McCarthy. He says that 'fascicles' of the book on Minstrelsy began to appear in 1824, and that at first Motherwell was just a contributor but that in time he became editor as well and that the complete work was published in 1827.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 27 Feb 20 - 12:58 PM

Yes, reread the brilliant article. It has lots to say relevant to this thread and previous thread, is respectful of Harker's article of the previous year, although inevitably picks out the faults in reference to M. BTW the article is in the 1987 Journal, (Vol 5, No.3) not the 85.

McCarthy taught lit & folklore at Uni of the Ozarks in Clarksville Kansas and presumably used the copies of M's mss at Harvard. In his little bio it says he was preparing a book on the prolific contributor to M, Agnes Lyle. Sounds vaguely familiar although I haven't got that book (Should have it). I do have his 'The Ballad Matrix' of 1990.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 27 Feb 20 - 01:13 PM

Hello Steve
Glad the ref was useful, sorry about typo on dating. I found the article interesting.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 28 Feb 20 - 10:12 AM

I meant to add, it very much looks like M's famous intro was indeed part of the 1827 complete work.

If it hasn't already been published at some enormous price way beyond my pocket, then I'd say M's mss are arguably the most important items that still need publishing. Okay so most of them are in Child but it would appear that there is a lot of useful information along with ballads, on the singers for instance. No need to republish Crawfurd/MacQueen as that's already available in 2 volumes and remaindered copies still turn up. (Emily Lyle made a superb job of this).


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 28 Feb 20 - 10:59 AM

Delighted to b reminded of McCarthy's article - the antithesis of everything Harker stood for
Not only does he give a balanced view of Motherwell's work, warts and all, but he puts Harker's contradictions in context
On the one hand, Dave the destroyer attempts to undermine Motherwell with the old usual out-of-context sniping - "idealist", subsequent to yhe nobs... et al, but he blasts his own legs from under himself with his own summing up the people he had spent an enire book attempting to destroy:

"Their contribution was crucial. Without their collecting, and irrespective of their mediations and their motives we would not have had hundreds of songs recorded and published for posterity."
(McCarthy quoting Harker)

All the collectors were 'guilty' of that, though you wouldn't have guessed it reading 'Fakesong'


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 28 Feb 20 - 12:50 PM

"On the one hand, Dave the destroyer attempts to undermine Motherwell with the old usual out-of-context sniping - "idealist", subsequent to yhe nobs... et al, but he blasts his own legs from under himself with his own summing up the people he had spent an enire book attempting to destroy: "

It's just silly to describe Harker's book as 'attempting to destroy' anybody.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 28 Feb 20 - 01:19 PM

In particular, it would be silly to describe Harker as 'attempting to destroy' Motherwell. I have read Harkers' book, including what he says about Motherwell, so such a remark would tend to confirm me in a suspicion that the poster simply had not read (and/or understood) Harker's book. Nobody is denying that Harker's book has its flaws, but there seems to be little point in trying to hold a rational discussion about it unless one is prepared to get to grips with what it does and does not set out to do.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 28 Feb 20 - 01:25 PM

"It's just silly to describe Harker's book as 'attempting to destroy' anybody."
WE've ben here a hundred times and you have never responded
Which Mother ell book ?
He anthloged ballads - he never wrote "a book"
Until you do you will have no part in this
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 28 Feb 20 - 01:42 PM

Apologies - I thought you suggested Motherwell wrote a book - my mistake
We've all read Harkers book - it was soundly rejected thirty years ago
What is "silly" is that someone could come here, linger for five minutes, and tell us we're "silly" because we don't agree with her
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,Hilo
Date: 28 Feb 20 - 01:53 PM

Who rejected it, I truly am curious ? I have just gotten the book through inter library loan, so I feel unable to comment. but I would like to know who rejected it and on what grounds,


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 28 Feb 20 - 01:56 PM

Just about everybody
Harker told several conference audiences that he was no longer accepting bookings to speak because of the hostile reception
I was at two
It was rejected on the grounds that it flew in the face of a century's scholarship and failed to convince all but a few
Jim


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Brian Peters
Date: 28 Feb 20 - 02:39 PM

"who rejected it and on what grounds"

Take a look at Steve Roud's comments in 'Folksong in England' and the 'New Penguin Book of English Folk Songs': Fakesong has “warped the debate ever since” is one of several disparaging comments. And he's not the only one to have made that kind of judgement.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 28 Feb 20 - 03:08 PM

The end result being that we have a revival which thinks Neil Young is a folk singer
Jim


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Brian Peters
Date: 28 Feb 20 - 03:20 PM

It’s very telling to compare McCarthy's approach to Motherwell with that of Harker. Although he is diplomatic in his references to Fakesong it’s clear that, while it may be a ‘helpful handbook’ (I said the same myself), the scholarship falls down when you get into the detail. Harker has misunderstood the relationship between Motherwell and Crawfurd, who he seems to believe was the go-between who actually collected in the field, whereas in fact Motherwell collected the vast majority of the songs himself, and had formed the view that oral sources were of prime importance some time before meeting Crawfurd. Perhaps the most damning comments (albeit delivered in a velvet-gloved hand) related to Harker’s characteristically disparaging remarks about the singers’ identities having been ‘suppressed’ by Crawfurd: “Crawfurd’s texts remain unrecognised because they were non-existent... Crawfurd had no part in gathering or selecting texts for the Minstrelsey.” So it was Motherwell who concealed his informants’ names, not because he didn’t value their contribution, but because “an editor should respect the anonymity of his sources.”

Where McCarthy praises Motherwell on the grounds that his introduction “exhibits unexpected insights into oral process in ballad composition”, and that he exhibits “a keen understanding of balladry as a living art,” all we get from Fakesong is the usual litany of political comment: “arch reactionary...”; “wielding a truncheon on behalf of the state..”; “violent denunciations of reformers...” “'instinctively' Tory ideas and 'monarchical principles'...”; “naive and mystical notion of cultural history...”; “his attitude to working people remains patronizing..”, and so on and so forth. McCarthy, on the oher hand, praises Motherwell for his ability to cross the class divide and persuade his sources to trust him. It’s refreshing after Fakesong to read content that’s concerned with the subject’s actual work, rather than the author’s own preoccupations.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 29 Feb 20 - 01:53 PM

Motherwell's work is available on archive.org.

A number of editions are available, here is a link to an 1827 version dedicated to Sharpe.

https://archive.org/details/minstrelsy00mothgoog/mode/2u

At the risk of being dull, may I point out it isn't strictly accurate to say "all we get from Fakesong is the usual litany of political comment". I won't quote, but page 55 of Fakesong disproves the remark. It discusses Motherwell's focus on collecting from oral tradition. Harker praises this in both Ritson and Motherwell. McCarthy quotes Harker on this (page315).

McCarthy believes that in the early days of putting out the Minstrelsy Motherwell did put together composites, and argues that 'Hindhorn' is one such composite. McCarthy prints a letter sent to Scott asking him if he can help him to 'correct' a so-called flawed version of a song taken down from recitation. This is how McCarthy dates a change in heart in Motherwell, attributing it to the reply from Scott. But I cannot find Harker discussing the 'fake' composite: he is more interested in the fact that Motherwell changed and developed as a collector rather than an editor. Had Harker been focussed merely or even significantly on discovering 'fake songs', he would have missed a trick here.

Whatever one thinks about Harker's brand of left-wing politics, I am not alone in finding it interesting that such a right-wing character should be so interested in old songs, some of which were being sung by people of low social status. McCarthy also touches upon this. He calls Motherwell a 'High Church Tory' and wonders what M's informants made of him.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 29 Feb 20 - 02:05 PM

It's not difficult to understand why M would have had an interest in these ballads. Ever since Percy published the Reliques middle and upper classes had taken an interest in traditional songs and ballads, and in Scotland this had also been fuelled by numerous early publications, Scott's Minstrelsy being arguably the most influential. By 1824 M was a relative latecomer to the scene.

Scott himself was pretty right wing.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,Big Al whittle
Date: 29 Feb 20 - 02:19 PM

' a revival which thinks Neil Young is a folk singer'

"Southern Man" by Neil Young

Southern man, better keep your head.
Don't forget what your good book said.
Southern change gonna come at last.
Now your crosses are burning fast.

Southern man.

I saw cotton and I saw black.
Tall white mansions and little shacks.
Southern man, when will you pay them back?

I heard screamin' and bullwhips cracking.
How long? How long?

Southern man, better keep your head.
Don't forget what your good book said.
Southern change gonna come at last.
Now your crosses are burning fast.

Southern man.

Lily Belle, your hair is golden brown.
I've seen your black man comin' round.
Swear by God, I'm gonna cut him down!

I heard screamin' and bullwhips cracking.
How long? How long?

Filli me oory oory aY!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 29 Feb 20 - 03:03 PM

"Whatever one thinks about Harker's brand of left-wing politics
Nothing to do with his politics - some of us sympthise with them to one degree or another
He was a unsubtly crap writer and a poor researcher - he lacked the the fore-knowledge to deal with his chosen subject

Harker's politics, far from being new, date back to the Russian Revolution - and earlier - Harker is/was a self-declared Trotskyist
Your persistent Harking (pun intended) on politics, which you have persisted in since you re-arrived here is perhaps indicative of your own - which, I'm sure, nobody has the slightest interest in - we deal with our politics below the line on this forum
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 29 Feb 20 - 05:08 PM

Actually, Harker has denied being a 'Trotskyist'. When I read this, I corrected my own incorrect statement to the effect that he was one.

Nobody is claiming that Harker could predict the future, least of all Harker.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 29 Feb 20 - 07:30 PM

But it would be a boring world if we all thought the same way about everything


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 01 Mar 20 - 02:45 AM

I don't care what he denied - he belonged to an organisation that followed the policies of Trotsky - simple as that
I'm not criticising his for that - on the contrary
From the beginning you have made politics an issue in your undermining of Walter Pardon and the source singers - a 'leftie plot' - you raised it here with Harker, as if we objected to his politics
This has no place in this discussion - another 'straw man' to avoid the real issues
Harker made the social, class, political status of Sharp in the same way - not as an intelligent argument but as a bludgeon to beat the pioneers for being new to their game and reflecting the post-Victorian attitudes of their times
Their strength was that they overcame their class prejudices, went out on the 'folk-face and got their hands dirty, and gave us the culture of working people at its very best - and sweated in order to do so
People tend to forget the state of Sharp's health when he ventured into the Appalachians and brought back all those wonderful songs and ballads
HERE
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: The Sandman
Date: 01 Mar 20 - 02:55 AM

I am not alone in finding it interesting that such a right-wing character should be so interested in old songs, some of which were being sung by people of low social status."
not unusual[ and debatable wheter it warrants the term interesting] at all BASCAM LUNSFORD WAS RIGHT WING AND VERY INTERESTED More latterly Nick Griffin [national front] and then someone on this forum called Georgina Dale who stood as a BNP candidate


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,Cj
Date: 01 Mar 20 - 03:54 AM

Searching through decades old comments for ammunition eh, Pseud? Methinks the lady is obsessed, somewhat.

When I read Jim's posts, there is sometimes bluster to get through, on occasion there is lazy keyboard work and sometimes he does seem to be swatting at flies that nobody else can see, but there is always a point to what he brings to the discussion and that point is usually made from experience and knowledge.


Whereas, your posts have the same amount of bluster and fly-swatting, but at the heart of them there is almost always bitterness and trolling. I've long since dismissed almost all you type as your "point" seems to be nothing more than having a constant go at Jim and his life's work.

And one thing more - constructing "proper" sentences doesn't make you right, and in this instance, it certainly doesn't make you come across as a decent person.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 01 Mar 20 - 03:58 AM

Oh by the way somebody recommended Wilgus. I imagine that his section on African American songs stirred up some controversy. More relevantly, he did not rate Sharp's theory much and he described it as Darwinian as opposed to Spenserian, and I think on this thread we agreed with that.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 01 Mar 20 - 05:11 AM

"More relevantly, he did not rate Sharp's theory much and he described it as Darwinian as opposed to Spenserian"
That again is a hastily snatched totally undigested quote - go read rge whole book
Wilgus's 'Folk Songs Scholarship.... is an overview of 20th century folk song reasearch - it is unequaled by any other study in my opinion
He examines the collectors and researchers in the context of their time, (which Harker totally failed to do) and highlights the weaknesses and the strengths
Taking a single criticism to use as a stone to hurl in an argument more or less sums up the attitude of the Harker- worshipers
I have little doubt that if Destructive Dave's interest had been in science or medicine he would have chosen Galileo or Faraday, or Boyle or Newton as his targets
We should be capable of learning from those who came before - not pulling down their work in order to replace it with the latest theory

Thank you Cj - much appreciated
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 01 Mar 20 - 06:00 AM

The litany of recent abusive posts from "guests" prompts me once again to call for an end to anonymity on this forum. There is not one single good reason why anyone discussing folk music should not be signed in. A bad reason is that they wish to be disruptive. I am following this thread with avid interest but I lack the depth of knowledge to say much. The likes of Brian, Steve and Jim do possess that knowledge and I want to hear what they have to say without the constant barracking, especially of Jim. HiLo appears to know nothing about this music (at least, he/she never says much about it) and KarenH/"Pseudonymous" is on a one-woman mission to discredit Jim. It's rubbish and I'm sick of it.

As a compromise, I might suggest to the moderators that any guest post that isn't in the format "Guest, full real name" should be deleted.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 01 Mar 20 - 06:05 AM

And again Steve, ditto to all of that.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 01 Mar 20 - 06:53 AM

Cmaon lads and lasses
There is one thread of any real interest to many of us on the go here - don't give the powers that be the excuse to close it pul--eeze
The garden's far too wet to do any work in it and it will be for most of the year
Jim


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,Big Al Whittle
Date: 01 Mar 20 - 06:59 AM

The reason I have become a non member is that I don't want to get tempted into one of the many games of cowboys and indians that you and your mates have running below the line, Steve. It just ends up with name calling and silliness.

this thread is something different. It is about how people who have spent much of their lives working in the medium of folk music view their roles, and the respective roles of main players in the game - their philosophy.

to me Jim Carroll is most compelling when he talks about his own engagement with singers rather and his own motivation, rather than swapping shots with the 'meaning of life' brigade. you have the feeling none of them could climb into the ring and do a couple of rounds with a genuine philosopher. Its all instinct and woolly thinking.

Similarly Brian Peters is a singer and performer and musician that I have enormous respect for. i would love to hear of his thoughts behind his role, and how he delineates his bailliewick.

definition is for entymologists and crossword puzzles.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 01 Mar 20 - 10:43 AM

Anyway,
before the mud-slinging erupted we were discussing Motherwell's excellent contributions. I have had another thorough look through McCarthy's excellent article and it has prompted me to go through Motherwell's Minstrelsy in detail analysing the sources using his own notes and those in Child based on the Mss.

To repeat my wishes expressed earlier in a slightly more coherent way.
We already have easy access to:
Child's notes in ESPB
Crawfurd 2 vol set by Lyle.
What info there is in Minstrelsy A&M, but there must be a lot of useful unpublished material left in the manuscript and notebook, particularly the bawdy stuff. Who else would dearly like to see this published? Both of these are available in Glasgow and at Harvard.

I've done a bit of number crunching with Minstrelsy and will post the results later tonight.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 01 Mar 20 - 11:57 AM

Before I post my findings I think in view of the combative nature of this thread I ought to point out a few realities highlighted by McCarthy.
Despite Motherwell's name appearing on the cover of Minstrelsy Ancient and Modern he was not directly responsible for about half of the items it contained as these were edited by SOE before he took over. I have worked out that the whole was originally published in 12 perhaps 13 parts and that M didn't take over the editorship until about the end of the 6th part although before that he contributed advice and notes no doubt. (I've not managed to find out who the original editor was but it should be easy enough to do so.)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 01 Mar 20 - 12:10 PM

What this means, as I will demonstrate, is that much of the material in MA&M had already been mediated, possibly several times, before it was published in MA&M. Much of the material in the latter half of the book comes directly from Motherwell's own collecting and any mediation appears to be minimal, i.e., small corrections to orthography, and such as dialect being made consistent, which was standard at the time.

There are 65 items in the book of which 21 items come directly from M's own collecting, the great bulk of these collected in Kilbarchan in 1825 from the likes of Mrs Lyle, Laird and Thomson.

As stated the early half of the book is made up of items from other published collections as follows:-
Scott's Minstrelsy, 7
Percy's Reliques, 4
Cromek, 1
Finlay, 2
Jamieson's Popular etc., 3
Herd, 1
Sharpe, 2
Johnson, 2
Ramsay, 1
Maidment, 1

There are also 5 modern imitations in the first half.

Another 7 are collations from several sources (by M)
Broadside , 1
Peter Buchan's Gleanings (mainly from broadsides), 1

And the other 6 are from James Nicol via Peter Buchan.

I intend to look closely at the Nicol contributions and look at Child's opinions on these as well.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,big al whittle
Date: 01 Mar 20 - 01:27 PM

in practical terms though, do these great thinkers on the subject have a message for modern practicioners of the craft?

Ir seems to me, that Brian Peters might think so. I'd love to hear his thoughts on the matter.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Brian Peters
Date: 01 Mar 20 - 03:21 PM

Hi Al,
Thanks for the warm words, but I don't know that I do have anything engraved on tablets for the benefit of modern practitioners. Most of the young singers and musicians that I know are pretty good at finding out stuff for themselves. However, I'll tell you about my bailiwick (ooh, missus!) since you asked.

I've made my living from music for over 30 years, and I've always sung and made music informally as well, just for the pleasure of it. Reading Bert Lloyd in the early days inspired me to look at the songs as more than just entertainment - there are many layers beyond the actual song: the history of the time, the evolution of the songs themselves, the stories of the people who sang them, and the work of the collectors who preserved them. I disagree with people who pop up on Mudcat from time to time to tell me that analysis somehow damages the songs because they already 'speak for themselves'. Of course they can be enjoyed purely as songs, and I never forget that as a pro I'm there to entertain every audience I play for - but all the layers are there for those of us who want to explore them.

I've always believed in digging for songs that aren't the same ones that everyone else is doing, and that's taken me into the work of F J Child, and the collectors like Sharp, Gardiner, the Hammonds and so on. That's led me in turn into research and teaching, which frankly hasn't been a bad career move, since quite a lot of my work over the last decade or two has been in teaching. A number of years ago I began a project with my American friend Jeff Davis (whose music is wonderful, BTW) on Cecil Sharp's Appalachian collection - we took our presentation to the Library of Congress amongst many other venues. That made me appreciate the incredible feats of endurance, perseverance and intellectual curiosity that Sharp had shown in his travels with the indefatigable Maud Karpeles and, the more I found out about him, the more I respected his work. I also began to realise that a lot of negative comment I'd read about him was palpably untrue. Fakesong is not the only source of misinformation about Sharp, but it has been very influential - especially in the field of cultural studies - even though many researchers into folk song itself have more or less dismissed it. So I tend to view it through the prism of the attack on Sharp which, though obviously not the sole focus of the book, seems to have been the starting point (given the 1972 paper) and the centre of the attempt to debunk the notion of 'folk song'. It's been interesting to me to find out more about, for instance, the work of Motherwell in the course of this thread.

Sharp was writing over a 100 years ago, and produced his theoretical work (the first attempt, really, in the field) only four years after collecting his first song, so obviously he got some things wrong - though Roud and Bishop, for instance, are very positive about his work on modal scales. Anyway, although I sometimes enjoy a good argument on Mudcat, and like to correct misinformation when I see it, I've no intention of getting into a fight about Cecil Sharp in this thread, despite some wildly ill-informed comments above.

This probably wasn't what you wanted at all, Al, but I'm trying to explain what motivates me in the context of the present discussion.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 01 Mar 20 - 03:23 PM

@ Steve: I am following what you are saying with interest. I thought the McCarthy article was a good lead.

I also found online a collection of Motherwell's own poetry with a memoir by John MConechy. Harker cites this in his bibliography, and it is where he found the information about Motherwell's active support for 'Orangeism' and his being called to London to answer questions about it.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 01 Mar 20 - 03:43 PM

Okay Nicol contributed the following to MA&M via Buchan.

Kemp Owyne 34A (only 2 versions, the other from Mrs Brown.)

Young Hastings (Hind Etin) 41C, (s versions, the A version, a typical Peter Buchan special of 54 repetitious stanzas, B is a Kinloch fragmentary version with 19 and Nicol's C has 14.)

Earl Richard (Knight & Shepherd's Daughter) 110E, well-known, Child gives 12 versions or more.

Billie Archie (Archie O' Cawfield) 188D (A is Percy 45 sts, B is Glenriddell 30 sts, C is Buchan 31 sts, Nicol's has 20, E Macmath 4, and F a US version with 17)

Redesdale & Wise William 246A, Nicol has 28 sts, B is Harris Ms with 19 and C is a Kinloch fragment.

The last, Young Bearwell, 302 is the most interesting so separate post.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 01 Mar 20 - 03:56 PM

Set the scene. About half way through publishing ESPB, Child ceased his scathing comments on the demerits of certain versions for various reasons which we can all conjecture about. (This can be fun)

However almost his last gasp, or perhaps we could term it the penultimate gasp, he suddenly returns to his previous scathing comments at number 302 0f 305 ballads. The only known copy of this ballad (and of course there are plenty of others before that mostly from the pen of Peter Buchan). Here's what he had to say:

'One of not a few flimsy and unjointed ballads found in Buchan's volumes, the like of which is hardly to be found elsewhere, that require a respectable voucher, such as Mr Nicol undoubtably was, for the other 5 pieces communicated by him were all above suspicion, and have considerable value. It will not, however, help the ballad much that it was not palmed off on Buchan in jest or otherwise, or even if it was learned from an old person by Mr Nicol in his youth. The intrinsic character of the ballad remains, and old people have sometimes burdened their memory with worthless things.'

He concludes his headnote with:-
'It may also, and more probably, be the effort of some amateur ballad-monger in northern Scotland whose imagination was unequal to the finishing of the inane story which he had undertaken.'

I used the word 'penultimate' earlier because Child's parting shot before drawing his last breath in the headnote to 304 is even more telling.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jack Campin
Date: 01 Mar 20 - 04:14 PM

Someone else who knew Motherwell: Andrew Blaikie. I have no idea how much you can find about him in print. David Johnson was researching him near the end of his life, and I heard him give a talk about Blaikie that filled an hour with interesting stuff none of which I wrote down. Probably the last time I saw Johnson alive. This stuff is presumably in orderly shape in Johnson's nicotine-reeking papers but where they went I don't know.

Somehow Blaikie's ballad tunes dropped out of sight. I think the transcript on my website was the first time they ever got published in full. Whereas the other half of his manuscript, the copy of the Straloch ms, got a fair bit of attention.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 01 Mar 20 - 04:30 PM

I've come across the name before but not being primarily interested in the tunes of the ballads I haven't followed it up. McCarthy mentions Blaikie as having pricked down Motherwell's tunes. I would imagine they are all preserved in the 2 lots of manuscripts in Glasgow and Cambridge, Mass. can you give a clickie to your website please, Jack?

Where they cross a comparison of Motherwell's and Mrs Brown's tunes would be interesting.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 01 Mar 20 - 06:53 PM

"Of course they can be enjoyed purely as songs, and I never forget that as a pro I'm there to entertain every audience I play for - but all the layers are there for those of us who want to explore them."

Very wise words. "All the layers" applies to all genres of music. You can hear a great tune and be deliriously happy just tapping your feet to it. Or you can let it capture you so that you look into its structure, its context and its history, and, if you're a musicologist, you can break it down for close analysis of its component parts. The mighty Mozart recognised this and he wrote music for popular consumption, but he never once compromised his art, and there is something for everyone in all his music, there for your taking if you want it, and nothing at all for snobs to use to exclude anyone else. One day, towards the end of his short life, he went home to his wife Constanze and was delighted to tell her that he'd heard ordinary people in the Vienna streets whistling tunes from The Magic Flute. Whenever you read or hear "folkies" saying things that make you feel excluded because you don't know enough, the one clear thing is that you almost certainly know a damn sight more than they do, mainly because you really enjoy the music, at whatever level you like, while they get all angst-ridden about all the whys and wherefores we hear about in this thread. As the great John Seymour said (sorry, can't resist quoting him, or quite possibly misquoting him), there's many a musically-uneducated Welsh male voice choir singer who understands a damn sight more about Beethoven than many a professor of music...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 02 Mar 20 - 03:45 AM

"in practical terms though, do these great thinkers on the subject have a message for modern practitioners of the craft?"
Anybody who gets involved in folk song does so at his/her own level of interest; if they are lucky, that level never ceases to expand and develop
I started as a singer, fell into bad company and was encouraged to lift the corner and look underneath the songs - from them on, you never really stop
Not fo everybody, I suppose, but it suits me
Working in Ireland added enormously to the pile of work I wan to do before....
I started a local history course a month ago and find myself stumbling across facts on the locality that are covered by some of the songs we have recorded, the local murder of a landlord mentioned by a singer we recorded who had "forgotten it"
The same singer gave us a song about an incident that happened during the 'Tan Times' which has never been documented and has faded from local memory, but old Mikey Kelleher described as having happened
When we played it to someone from the same area he said, "That's my father he's singing about"

As a singer, the background information adds to your understanding of the songs, vise versa, if you are interested in social history
My concern with research is that far too often the humanity of the subject gets lost in the paperwork
These songs are extensions of life in the past - if you lose sight of that, you lose the point of their existence

I remember the story of two Liverpool kids coming out of a class being held by a very popular teacher, one said to his mate, "Yis gorra watch that bugger, if you let your guard down for a minute you find yourself lernin' summat"
Songs are a bit like that
Jim


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 02 Mar 20 - 04:00 AM

Returning to Wilgus for a moment. I don't find him a useful alternative to Harker. Harker's main focus is on English and Scottish collectors, editors and theorists and their historical contexts. Wilgus is mostly US focused, with a strong focus on theoretical disputes. He seems to have come at the subject via an Eng Lit 'new criticism' approach.

Earlier in the thread I commented on Wilgus's view of Sharp. I was told I was wrong, so I double checked and I was right. Wilgus doesn't think much of Sharp's theorising and he does regard it as derivative. He has more time for Sharp's descriptive work on melodies, but even then he says it wasn't in any sense complete, more that it provided a basis for future students. He repeatedly mentions the 'racial' nature of Sharp's theorising, and his Darwinism. His last sentence leaves us with the idea that Sharp failed where US theorists succeeded.

More detail anon.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 02 Mar 20 - 04:10 AM

I agree with Steve Shaw about enjoying music. I have made music all my life, though not for profit, just as a family and community activity. I sometimes do fundraising stuff for good causes, including the good cause of getting other people involved in making music.

Unlike many posters on Mudcat I came to A L Lloyd late in life, so the communist bent of his work, including Folk Song in England shines out for me, and not being a fan of Stalin or the former Soviet Bloc, it put me off. Right at the start of his book you get a lot of nonsense about how 'folk' in what was then the Soviet bloc are happily singing away their folk songs, no longer afraid of the bosses. This sort of stuff can only have come from the pen of one supportive of those regimes. I have re-read this post the disasters in the Balkans and to be honest the blithe ignorance Lloyd shows of the ethnic conflicts that must have been simmering away at the time he wrote comes across as shocking. The same applies to Lloyd's bizarre attempts to trace songs back to Russia via imagery in some Russian museum. I am with Harker in supposing that this piece of 'jackanory' says more about Lloyd's political bent than it does about how to research the history of themes or songs.

I'm just telling it as I see it.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jack Campin
Date: 02 Mar 20 - 04:16 AM

Lloyd's tracing "The Outlandish Knight" (or the story elements in it) to central Asia has nothing to do with the Soviets. He's going back to a period when capitalism didn't exist and the Rus were still in Scandinavia. It might be a bit romantic but not in any sort of Marxist way.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jack Campin
Date: 02 Mar 20 - 04:21 AM

Blaikie's ballad tunes:

http://www.campin.me.uk/Music/Blaikie.abc


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 02 Mar 20 - 04:21 AM

As a mediator, Lloyd makes a good contrast with Motherwell. On the one had we have a Scottish protestant who was very active in Scottish 'Orangeism' (to quote MConechy) to the point where he was summoned to Parliament to account for himself, and whose attraction to 'folk' was that it harked back to some pre- Reform Act middle ages when the lower classes had not been given ideas by stuff like the Scottish Enlightenment. On the other hand, we have a Communist whose party membership was one of the factors which enabled him to make a career out of folk music and who argued a Marxist line that through the ages folk had reflected the dialectic.

Almost as big a contrast as you can get, I suppose. But we don't really need Harker to point that out to us.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: The Sandman
Date: 02 Mar 20 - 04:40 AM

it seems no one has been able to find a definition for this word.
From the point of view of performing music[ which is what i am concerned with] ,listening and absorbing is far more important than whether Sharp was a racist, or finding a defintion for mediation.
my interest is in performing the music, can cnabody tel me the advantage of knowing the definition of mediation when it comes to performing trad music


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,big Al Whittle
Date: 02 Mar 20 - 04:44 AM

Many thanks to Brian and Jim for such considered and well structured answers.

I am frequently reminded of a saying from Dale Carnegie's book - how to win friends and influence people - 'no one evr kicked a dead dog'.

I'm pretty sure most of the texts discussed will stimulate thought and discussion for many years ahead. Even those we may not agree with.

The elephant in the room of course is without denying folksong at one time had a shelf life, why do so few people relate to it and what it expresses?

i remember as a young man seeing a surrealist painting. People standing round at a cocktail party apparently not noticing an express train headed through tunnel in the centre of the mantle piece. It seemed to me at the time a damn good metaphor for the folkscene in Exeter in the 1960's Down at The Jolly Porter every Tuesday, there seemed to be an express train of traditional folksong headed through the room, totally indifferent to how the modern world had dissociated itself.

as I look down the topics of mudcat , i see several of the songs we sang at the Jolly Porter fifty odd years ago.

The truth it seems to me is that we are all embarked on a voyage that we do not fully comprehend. Quite early on I can remember someone dissing the work of the Hammonds because, (forgive me if my memory has deserted me) they transcribed lyrics and not melodies.

Is the squabbling productive or necessary? if we are truly embarked on a campaign to preserve something of our folk heritage, that is.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: The Sandman
Date: 02 Mar 20 - 04:47 AM

Is the squabbling productive or necessary? if we are truly embarked on a campaign to preserve something of our folk heritage, that is."
the important thing is to sing the songs and play the music


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 02 Mar 20 - 04:54 AM

"without denying folksong at one time had a shelf life, "
Sorry Al - there's no evidence many of them they did
As the themes are invariable timeless and universal descriptions of the human condition, there is no reason for them not to have been re-adapted down the ages
Love will always be love, war will continue to be war....
Barbara Allen was "an old Scotch lady" when London was on fire
Today's composed songs are like the light bulbs that have been deliberately weakened so they won't last too long - the Music Industry decides how long they last and what's 'the new thing'
The folk songs didn't work like that
Jim


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: The Sandman
Date: 02 Mar 20 - 05:03 AM

As a singer of tradtional songs
i find it important to listen to source singers,it is of interest to know some of their background but probably not relevant to actually performing. the most important factor is listening to how they perform
i do not find it of any use to be told that a collector like Sharp was possibly a racist, or that percy grainger was a masochist, or that lood was this and motherwell was that, and i tell you why
because when i choose a text of a song i quite often, if i think it necessary will alter it anyway, it is called the folk process,so mediation whatever that is supposed to be unless it is the folk process is irrelevant in my opinion. if mediation is the folk process say so and cut the waffle


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 02 Mar 20 - 05:05 AM

Well we do need scholarship as well, Dick. Of the right kind, of course. The political leanings of the protagonists are, I suggest, at best marginal to the discussion and could lead us astray. If you don't like so-and-so because he was allegedly a Marxist, then you're free to avoid his music/writings, but you may just be missing something if you do. I regard Wagner's politics as throughly detestable and I won't buy any of his music (though I won't turn the radio off if Wagner comes on). That's my personal choice which I don't try to sell to anyone else, and I might well be missing something. The fighting starts if I criticise someone for not being of the same opinion.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 02 Mar 20 - 05:07 AM

That was a response to your 00:47 post.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jack Campin
Date: 02 Mar 20 - 05:15 AM

the music, can cnabody tel me the advantage of knowing the definition of mediation when it comes to performing trad music

If you want to know what Harker meant by it, read his book. It's clear enough.

You will certainly have used the concept yourself, in deciding what repertoire to adopt. The alternative would be an act where you stand there fondling your watch chain while belting out an arrangement from "British Minstrelsie" accompanied by a fat lady in crinolines at the pianoforte. The reason you decided NOT to make a career of that is because you saw how that kind of presentation mediated its material and you chose a different set of filters.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: The Sandman
Date: 02 Mar 20 - 05:22 AM

ok steve fair enough.
I generally turn Wagner off, BUT I DO NOT TURN BASCAM LUNSFORD off , but then his music seems to be forgotten shame really he was a good banjo player
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B3M5dJl2SgA


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: The Sandman
Date: 02 Mar 20 - 05:27 AM

jack , i do not mind fat ladies, but preferably not in crinoline, theres many a tune played on an old fiddle, as the german musicianer said


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: The Sandman
Date: 02 Mar 20 - 05:31 AM

Jack as a professional performer
i sing that which i like ,
however audiences have expectations ..
so i do not sing blues which i like because
1.imo
i do not stylistically sing it well
2 it is notwhat audiences pay me to perform, however sometimes at home for my own pleasure i sing it as i do all forms of folk music.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 02 Mar 20 - 05:37 AM

"i find it important to listen to source singers,"
Listening to the poor phrasing and the lack of understanding exuded by may of today's 'folksingers', that should be compulsory - most of the older singers excelled in making the songs work narratively and logically
Some of the 'breathy little girl' women singers who sing from parts of their body unknown to man could learn a lot from Cecilia Costello, or Sheila Stewart or Maggie Murphy or ANNIE MACKENZIE singing an "old shepherd's song from the 16th century"
As they used to say in The News of the World "All human life is there"
Jim


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 02 Mar 20 - 06:02 AM

Wilgus on Sharp (p56-64 of Anglo-American Scholarship … ) Part One

Section heading is ‘Cecil J Sharp and the English Darwinians’.

W sketches a history of modern English folksong study. He quotes from Parry’s inaugural address to the FSS. Parry hoped to ‘save something primitive and genuine from extinction’ and to recard ‘what loveable qualities there are in unsophisticated humanity’.

W then outlines how Sharp got involved, his early attempts to get funding for folksong collection, and his joining the FS Soc management committee.

Next, W describes Sharp’s ‘violent’ dislike of the 1906 Board of Education decision to recommend the use of ‘National or Folk Songs’, and explains that there was an argument in the public press, followed, in 1907, by Sharp’s ‘Some Conclusions’.

Sharps’ opponents, W says, defined traditional songs as those with ‘a long life in the public ear’. W says this would include songs that weren’t even folk transmitted, apart from the question of whether they originated with the folk. Sharp was unhappy with this.

W says that the strengths of Sharp’s piece are a) his analysis of melody and b) his study of the process of variation in tunes, but that neither was intended to be the last word on the question. Their main usefulness is in setting out a basis for future researchers. Regarding S’s analysis on musical aspects of ‘folk’ W says ‘These conclusions provide such a feeble reed that Sharp is reduced to writing, “We know a folk-tune when we hear it;- or we don’t’


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,Big Al Whittle
Date: 02 Mar 20 - 06:03 AM

Keep doing that!

What I was saying was that no doubt Latin teachers can converse in Latin with each other. But its a dead culture.

Why not have the songs sung by breathy little girls. Why pretend that microphones don't exist? If being a breathy little girl is what it takes to communicate with a contemporary audience, why not?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 02 Mar 20 - 06:06 AM

Sharp, according to W, made little of the word-tune relationship, despite claiming that the 2 aspects should be seen as inseparable. He says Sharp, like Gummere, drew a sharp ‘art’ v ‘folk’ dichotomy.

Regarding S’s theory on origins, W does describe it as derivative, just as I said. In fact, he makes fun of it, saying ‘Sharp accepts so many arguments advanced by differing theorists that his comments on folk poetry can hardly be taken seriously’ and ‘Perhaps his failure to include the popular theory that the ballads have continuity exclusive of the romances is merely oversight’.

W says that neither Grummere nor Sharp understood the differences between them, but that Sharp’s theory of origins was radically different from that of Gummere.

W then discusses Sharp’s 3-part theory, showing how S believed that the ‘racial character’ of the community determined the sort of material selected via the folk process. He thinks that S got the idea for the theory from a criticism made of Gummere by Franz M Bohme.

W asserts that Sharp’s theory continues to influence the EFDSS. He provides an anecdote about Vaughan Williams public lectures at Bryn Mawr in 1932, which, he said, could have been written by Sharp himself, so faithful were they to the ‘virtues and limitations’ of Sharp’s ‘credo’. I’m going to quote this because may give an idea of where Wilgus is coming from as an American.

V W said, in his last lecture ‘You may think, judging from previous lectures, that I think folksong the one thing needful [for the future of American music], and that conditions in America do not admit of folk songs because there is no peasant class to make and sing them.’
W’s comments on this are: ‘The concessions he makes regarding “the folk songs of the Negro, those of the Indian, those of the English settlers” and those of other immigrant groups fail to modify significantly the limitation common to both his and Sharp’s conception of folksong. Sharp’s belief that folksong was the “unaided composition of the unskilled” extended to the original germs of melody, a rambling and indefinite tune or a string of commonly used phrases – in either case as instinctive, though individual, creation, differing generically from composed music. Thus the source of folksong is again pushed beyond our sight.’

W says that the focus of Sharp was on the ancient and not on the traditional, with song whose source we cannot see, rather than one demonstrably derived from an original. He quotes Sharp as saying “no one has ever witnessed the actual creation of a folksong, and now, of course, no one ever will. “. W says S’s faith in ‘tradition’ was after all limited.

W finishes by praising American scholars, who admitted what Sharp stopped short of, namely that his ‘evolutionary process’ could transmute the dross of broadside doggerel into the gold of folksong.

I posted previously this on Wilgus: "More relevantly, he did not rate Sharp's theory much and he described it as Darwinian as opposed to Spenserian"

There was a patronising response to the effect that I had not read the book and I was wrong. I think I have now demonstrated that I was not wrong. If anything I understated that degree of criticism of Sharp in Wilgus.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 02 Mar 20 - 07:18 AM

The breathy little girls have hitched their affectation on to folk music culture, Al, but hey, we don't have to listen, except when we have to by accident...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,Brimbacombe
Date: 02 Mar 20 - 07:36 AM

Many of the 'breathy little girls' - if my assumption on whom is being referred to is correct - are steeped in folk culture. Maybe they could be described in less patronising terms?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 02 Mar 20 - 10:01 AM

It's a characterisation that has been used here a number of times before. In my view, it's accurate but admittedly undiplomatic. If you adopt an affectation that makes you sound like a breathy little girl, there are those who would describe you precisely thus. Maybe it's not fair to use that description, but to my ears the sound is inauthentic. As I said in reply to Al, you don't have to listen, but occasionally you end up listening to it by accident.

And by the way, Jim didn't actually call them "breathy little girls." He referred to them as "breathy little girl" women singers, a description of their singing style, not of their appearance, etc. That makes a difference.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 02 Mar 20 - 10:31 AM

"I find it sad that Jim feels he has to denigrate and patronise current female folk singers. "
No more than I am disappointed that they should choose such an ethereal voice so far from reality Joe
I am totally aware that, for some, this is the natutal voice for some women, but far too many others it has become an affectation not unlike Marilyn Monroe's 'god-awful' rendition of 'Happy Birthday to You' at the Kennedy Birthday concert'
'Poor Little Me' doesn't begin to describe it
I'm a strong supporter of feminism and that falseness really doesn't do the image of woman any good
Try this for GOOD NATURAL SINGING
Lift's the hair off your head every time
Jim


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 02 Mar 20 - 10:37 AM

Agreed, Jim. In m'humble, that style of singing sits just as uneasily with folk song as would coloratura soprano or singing with heavy vibrato.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 02 Mar 20 - 10:47 AM

Can I add that there's another aspect to this voice
Producing it takes twice the breath as a normal chest-tone one - so often I've seen otherwise skillful women totally incapable of handling long-line singing
I was discussing this with Tom Munnelly once when we were at a conference - he disagreed, until we watched a young woman struggling her way through a ballad and being forced to take a breath after every fourth word - I counted them off on my fingers for Tom, who later concurred

The other problem is, in many ways, worse
Many women singers suffer from the dreaded 'gear change'
As they descend the scale they reach a point where they are forced to shift from head to chest voice - they are unable to maintain one tone, which jars for the listener - that's what they remember
We discussed this a great deal with Peggy Seeger in the Critics Group, who pointed out that if you put in a great deal of work you can conquer the second problem, but seldom the first, so why not just develop your natural voice   
Jim


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 02 Mar 20 - 10:58 AM

Do I understand this correctly?

Someone who chooses a breathy voice - perhaps a mother singing to her child or a milkmaid relaxing her cow - is not a 'folk song singer'? And someone who has not 'developed their natural voice' is not a 'folk song singer' either?

Do they get mediated into obscurity when the the recording device doesn't come out for their songs?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 02 Mar 20 - 11:24 AM

" is not a 'folk song singer'?"
Not at all, though source singers tend to sing in their natural voice and deliver their songs in speaking grammar, putting the commas and full stops in the right places and not breaking up lines unnaturally
We actually interviewed Tom Lenihan at length about this and he confirmed that, as far as the line (and his health) could manage, he sang as he spoke
He even described how he would use minute 'hum' rather than leave a gap
Tom was very much a 'SINGER' rather than someone who just remembered songs, and was recognised as such
The Irish sum all this beautifully by using the phrase 'tell a song' rather than 'sing' one

None of this is part of the definition, it;'s a long-tem observation of what tends to happen

Not sure what the 'mediation' bit meant - hope it wasn't sarcastic - heaven forfend :-)
Jim


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 02 Mar 20 - 11:46 AM

How good were collectors as transcribing song words when singers had a strong local accent and maybe a local dialect or used local idiom or 'turn of phrase'?

We only have to look at mudcat to find examples of people with an experienced ear getting lyrics from a recording not quite right and being helped out by people more familiar with the accent and/or dialect of a singer.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 02 Mar 20 - 12:06 PM

Personally, I never attempt to transcribe accents - standard english does just as well
Dialect and vernacular words are essential
Our collection is of recordings - I'd rather pass those on
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 02 Mar 20 - 12:10 PM

Just been sent this fascinating artile for download from Academia

PhD –The University of Edinburgh –2009
Walter Scott, James Hogg and Uncanny Testimony:Questions of Evidence and Authority
Deirdre A. M. Shepherd

Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: The Sandman
Date: 02 Mar 20 - 12:43 PM

MEAN WHILE I have been entertaining people and singing tradtional songs , and having interesting discussions with people of my own age about irish folklore, locally written songs, and about the fairies, time well spent in my opinion


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,big al whittle
Date: 02 Mar 20 - 01:00 PM

the development of recording technology and its influence on the way people sing would make a study on its own.

I can remember the late Barrie Roberts telling me about how sometime in the 1960's , Folkways came up with a few quid and gave it to someone who should have known better to record folkmusic of the Irish community in Birmingham.

Recording was such privilege in those days that local folkies were queuing to actually be on a real record. Barrie , who had quite a avuncular plummy English accent did Follow me down to Carlow, and Harvey Andrews learned The Patriot Game.

Nowadays as a moderately unsuccessful musician, I've got a couple of 24 track recording machines in my back room, and the recording machine is (as Jim was saying) the norm. You can store a lifetimes music on a single SD card, as recently as the 1980's for the same quality, you would need thousands of pounds worth of ampex tape, slicing tape, splicing block etc.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,bjg al whittle
Date: 03 Mar 20 - 03:59 AM

sorry didn't mean to stop the conversation!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 03 Mar 20 - 04:09 AM

Jag's point about mediation and recording devices is a good one.

How many 'takes' of a song have there been before the one selected as a 'keeper'? How much prior practice and discussion took place before a particular conversation was recorded and saved for posterity?

I have mentioned previously a PhD by a person called Ord. He looks at other ways in which folk is 'packaged' including background noises on tapes giving a effect of 'authenticity' when the whole recording situation is a highly non-authentic situation. You can look at the pictures on CD covers too. All of these send 'semiotic' messages about the content.

As for people being strong feminists, insults I perceived as sexist, including ones about Maggie Thatcher and handbags (linked with utterly mistaken accusations that I voted pro Brexit) were one of the reasons I unsubscribed from Mudcat.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Brian Peters
Date: 03 Mar 20 - 04:40 AM

Someone who chooses a breathy voice - perhaps a mother singing to her child or a milkmaid relaxing her cow - is not a 'folk song singer'?

I'd be very surprised if folk song collectors have been filtering material according to singing style (Jim clearly agrees). However, Revival singers over the years have sometimes adopted particular mannerisms that had little to do with any traditional model, from the all-purpose 'Folk Voice' (nasal tone, West Country accent, etc), to Peter Bellamy's bleating, Maddy Prior's extravagant slides, and the breathy voice that some recent singers have used. Even the least mannered revival singer sounds different from a recording of a source singer, in respect of regional accents, pace, etc. Some afficionados of traditional singing can barely listen to the revival version. Expressing a personal taste about a revival style is generally a simple matter of taste, not a judgement about what is 'folk' and what is not.

I've never heard a traditional singer use a breathy voice, but I have heard some Traveller singers incorporate stylistic elements from Country music. You might like that or you might not, but you wouldn't judge 'folk' authenticity on those grounds.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 03 Mar 20 - 04:43 AM

"How many 'takes' of a song have there been before the one selected as a 'keeper'? "
A collector records and keeps every - try checking some on-line collections
We tend to use the fullest and best quality ones for albums
This is yet another failed attempt to suggest that collectors filter what they collect through their own personal tastes
Not a very good point at all

I don't know what collections Ord (wonderful name for someone involved in folk song study) is referring to
The only collector to have ever done what he describes is Peter Kennedy in his themed multi-cassette series - he was castigated universally for having done so
It is not common practice   
I suggest you find out if that is what he is referring to
And another two Harkerisms bite the dust

"sorry didn't mean to stop the conversation!"
Far from it Al - you made an important point
I'd like to discuss it more when the dust settles
Jim


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 03 Mar 20 - 05:22 AM

… which leads me to the point that a lot of 'mediation' is what they would call 'gendered'. A quick google turns this up:

https://www.theguardian.com/music/musicblog/2014/mar/10/folk-forgotten-feminism-music-festival-lineups-discrimination

I leave it up to those who fully support feminism to find more examples for themselves, and then to share their critiques with us.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 03 Mar 20 - 06:34 AM

" Expressing a personal taste about a revival style is generally a simple matter of taste, not a judgement about what is 'folk' and what is not."

Nevertheless when expressed by experienced people as a contribution to a thread about mediation, I think it is both mediation and comment on the mediation of traditional sources by singers. And when it comes from a collector it leaves me wondering (though I think Jim has since answered the point) if, say, when time and tape are limited, a Traveller's singing in a Country and Western influenced style may get left out.

Likewise I wonder if 'experienced' or 'practised' source singers who handle a 'break' in their vocal range well may be prioritised over those who don't.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jack Campin
Date: 03 Mar 20 - 07:32 AM

I'd be very surprised if folk song collectors have been filtering material according to singing style

They decide who to collect from in the first instance. Singing style will be one of the criteria for awarding somebody the grandiose and totally bogus title of "source singer".

There are zillions of songs and variants of songs out there. Anybody with an age in double figures will know stuff that nobody else in the world does, and if anybody came looking, they'd be the source for whatever it might be. Some people know more unique stuff than others, but for the material they have in common with everyone and his brother - why bother with it? It's no more special because a "source singer" has blessed it. An ethnomusicologist would have a reason to look at common repertoire, but for a collector Sharp's attitude makes sense - just get the unique material while you can.

Is "source singer" a term used by anyone but British folkies? I don't think it exists in mainstream academic folklore studies.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Howard Jones
Date: 03 Mar 20 - 08:05 AM

I think the term "source singer" exists only because revival singers like me see a clear distinction between ourselves and the likes of Walter Pardon, Fred Jordan etc. I am a singer of traditional songs, but to describe myself as a "traditional singer" seems to claim an authenticity I do not deserve. It is a small but important distinction, but one which is perhaps relevant only to those inside the folk revival. I doubt it is of much significance to academics, unless they are studying the revival itself.

I am faintly embarrassed when young musicians hold my generation in the same regard as we used to look up to the "old boys", just because we had the opportunities to hear the greats not only of the tradition but of the revival, who they can hear only on recordings. Perhaps after 50 years of playing and singing folk I should accept that I and others of my generation maybe do represent some sort of continuity. Nevertheless I am still a bit uncomfortable with that, and still want to make the distinction between me and the "source singers" (however unsatisfactory a term that might be).


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Brian Peters
Date: 03 Mar 20 - 08:14 AM

'Source singer' is a construct of the British folk music community. A lot of the literature simply uses the term 'folk singer', but we've been around the block many times with that term, and it's entirely obvious why some felt the need to find an alternative. Personally I'm quite happy with 'traditional singer' but, when that too became ambiguous owing to the usage as 'someone who sings a traditional song', then yet another term was coined. 'Source singer' keeps the distinction between 'tradition' and 'revival', but some people dislike it because it reduces the Walter Pardons of this world to reservoirs of material for folkies to use. I'm not particularly attached to it, but I can see why it's there. If we're to reject it we're still going to need something.

Regarding singing style as a basis for selection, I know of no examples. Collectors recorded Walter Pardon's repertoire, music hall and all, because he had a large number of songs learned from his family, not because of the way he sang. Sharp certainly made comments on singers' styles, but this was not a gateway. There are recordings available of Country-inflected Traveller singers, which argues against that style having been filtered out. I've also heard field recordings of women singing through the natural'break'. Jim can no doubt tell us more.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 03 Mar 20 - 08:28 AM

"I think it is both mediation and comment on the mediation of traditional sources by singers."
Thar depends entirely on whether peoples estimation of folk song is based on personal taste - it shouldn't be and, in my experience seldom is
If there are no specific examples produced the suggestion remains no more than a "what if"
Folk song collectors decide to collect from people who know folk songs - what else should we do ?
We'v been through the difference between folk song collectors, musicologists and social historians
I think Howard is sport on - we used to talk about collecting from 'traditional singers' - then it was argued that the revival could lay claim to having its own traditions
'Source singers' is ok with me, but the way things are deteriorating, I expect to have to fight to hang onto that particular musical chair in the not-to-distant future - which is why I'm quite happy to cling onto a century's research and usage
Repetition and continuity is only a small part of what makes up traditional song

"'practised' source singers who handle a 'break' in their vocal range"
Most of our source singers were old and way passed their prime - we would have lost a hell of a lot of songs if collectors in any way 'prioritised'
An extremely rare Irish and treasured version of 'Well sold the Cow' was recorded from a Clare singer dying of throat cancer - he had a great deal of trouble producing tune, never mind handling a break in his vocal range'
I've never been in the position where I've had to 'leave out' any singer, no matter what they sing - it tends to leave you with a bit of a reputation
I'll tell you the story of recording light opera from the 'bare-fist fighter' Donegal Traveller sometime
Jim


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 03 Mar 20 - 12:45 PM

I wonder if I might ask a question of Jag (I think I've worked out the answer regarding Pseudo)
I started collecting (big-time) in 1973 and have never really stopped - it has occupied a large pert of my life fairly continuously since that time
In that time what Pat and I found was treated with respect - even gratitude from those who found a use for it
Now suddenly we are accused of being 'mediatory' (is that a word) of our work being unreliable and unrepresentative of 'The Voice of the People' (the title we were happy to contribute to when we were approached by Topic)
What has changed - why are we now subjected to a barrage of questions and accusation about the result of out work after nearly half a century?
Is there something you are not telling us ?
Please don't tell me that is not happening
Jim


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: The Sandman
Date: 03 Mar 20 - 01:06 PM

is it of importance as to who came up with the term Source Singers?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jack Campin
Date: 03 Mar 20 - 01:19 PM

It doesn't matter who thought of it. The point is it's a rather nonsensical concept, not something compellingly suggested by the subject matter like "index patient" in epidemiology. The main point of it seems to be self-congratulation by British collectors for finding such rare and wonderful specimens.

Incidentally I had a look at The Handbook for Folklore and Ethnomusicology Fieldwork this weekend, too what it had to say about "mediation". No mention in the index. But it does have some handy tips about constructing metadata, pulling your 4WD out of mud and coping with local customs around alcohol.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Brian Peters
Date: 03 Mar 20 - 01:27 PM

"The main point of it seems to be self-congratulation by British collectors for finding such rare and wonderful specimens."

In my experience, like that of Howard Jones above, 'source singers' is generally used by revivalists like me to give due credit to those from whom we get the songs. There's sometimes a whiff of hero-worship about it.

That 'Handbook' sounds very useful, Jack!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: The Sandman
Date: 03 Mar 20 - 02:04 PM

Souece singers are important, they represent the roots of the music, source musicians are important for the same reason,in many diiferent tradtions this is the case,
i believe jack is interested in eastern european music?as i understand it source musicians and singers let us say for example in bulgaria[ where there is unusual throat singing, do you agree jack, or are tese bulgarian throat source singers not important?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 03 Mar 20 - 02:19 PM

" do you agree jack, or are tese bulgarian throat source singers not important?"
From what little I've gleaned from a large international record collection and several visits to Eastern Europe, Jack's knowledge of international music is somewhat superficial as well Dick
Jim


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jeri
Date: 03 Mar 20 - 04:12 PM

WTF is "bulgarian throat source" singing?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jeri
Date: 03 Mar 20 - 04:17 PM

Having lookedd it up, it appears to be singing, not any sort of overtone thing. But I suppose I was helping somebody skew this thread off-topic, so never mind.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: The Sandman
Date: 03 Mar 20 - 04:34 PM

jeri, I am referring to singing a melody and a drone by one singer, on first hearing almost unbelievable.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: The Sandman
Date: 03 Mar 20 - 04:40 PM

jeri perhaps you should search further, as i understand and when i first heard it it was performed by a solo singerand was an example of bulgarian roots or source music ,hence its relevance to jacks comment,is that clear


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jack Campin
Date: 03 Mar 20 - 05:35 PM

I have heard a fair bit of Bulgarian singing - there are local groups that do it - but I haven't one singer provide their own drone - the usual style is polyphonic so there wouldn't be any need. I can ask round. It would make sense for it to happen in Moldavia, where the local whistle style backs the melody with a growled drone.

There is a "throat singing" style done by the Yörük nomads of Anatolia, but it's really different (and not at all like Tibetan or Mongolian singing). That I can easily find more about. I think it hardly survives in the wild now, any more than nomadism in Turkey does.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jack Campin
Date: 03 Mar 20 - 06:22 PM

More to the basic point Dick was making - I can't speak to Bulgarian practice, but Turkish transcriptions of folk songs are meticulous about labelling the source, and the word they use ("kaynak") is an exact equivalent of the English "source", i.e. primarily hydrological. But they don't have a concept of "source singer" - there are just singers who happen to be the source of specific songs.   (Though everybody agrees Asik Veysel was awesome).


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: The Sandman
Date: 04 Mar 20 - 01:39 AM

thanks jack, unfortunately i cannot find a link to the style of drone and melody singing that was an example of Bulgarian solo vocal and drone, i was lucky enough to see this on uk television in the 1980s.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 04 Mar 20 - 02:17 AM

Maybe not Bulgarian
DO YOU MEAN THIS DICK ?
Jim


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: The Sandman
Date: 04 Mar 20 - 04:22 AM

no but it was similiar in sound but just voice, however the important point i was trying to make is that roots or source singers/musicians of whatever nationailty are of importance because they are the roots of the music before commercialisation has altered the origins


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 04 Mar 20 - 04:26 AM

"no but it was similiar in sound but just voice, "
There's version of an accompanied Mongolian singer doing the same as the one I put up on Bert Lloyd's 'Folk Song Virtuoso
Would you like a copy of the programme Dick ?
If so, I'll drop in in PCloud today
Jim


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 04 Mar 20 - 05:45 AM

@Jim Carroll. In response to your question.

You tell us things that the singers you collected from said and report to us views that they expressed, for example about the different sorts of songs in their repertoires. Unless that is verbatim quotes from your recordings then it is, to readers here, second-hand information. Even if it is on your tapes by choosing what you do and do not say about the singers you are being selective. I guess you chose what information to pass on based on the context in the discussion. The same is likely to apply if you give a talk - what you present will tend to fit the context or current theme. So what we get will only be part of your whole (non-recorded) experience during collecting. Your accounts are second-hand to us, so you are mediating, and they are selective - but not neccessarily selected deliberately by you.

I have no problem with that, and many people who post here and know a lot about folk song - even if they disagree strongly with you in discussions here - have said how your collecting has preserved a huge amount that would otherwise have been lost. You and Pat must be very good at building up a rapport with the singers so that they would trust you with their songs and tell you about themselves.

However, the evidence on this forum is that you repeatedly 'get the wrong end of the stick' when reading other people's posts and respond to things they didn't say. For me that is enough to leave open to doubt anything you tell us that other people said.

How do I know that some of your first-hand accounts don't contain misunderstandings on your part?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: The Sandman
Date: 04 Mar 20 - 06:55 AM

jag , it is very easy to make misundrestandings on the net , there is no body language ,the internet is a flawed way to communicate. wheras communication face to face with people leaves less room for misunderstanding, and Jim is as you said good at that, so why not accept his first hand accounts that are not besed on internet misundertstandings


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Brian Peters
Date: 04 Mar 20 - 06:55 AM

I have to say that, if I were Jim C, I'd be rolling my eyes, throwing out my arms and asking, "what would you have had us do?"   The collecting practice of Jim, Mike Yates, Tom Munnelly and other relatively recent exponents was explicitly designed to avoid the pitfalls and omissions the early collectors were blamed for. Jim has posted many verbatim accounts of his interviews - is it now being suggested that these too have been 'tampered with'? I take on board jag's compliments regarding Jim and Pat's collection, but to me this whole line of questioning illustrates the pernicious effect of Fakesong: all 'mediators' must be distrusted as a default position. It begins to seem a bit like a conspiracy theory. FFS, these people should be getting knighthoods, not having every aspect of their work and personal integrity questioned. They got off their arses and did the stuff that no-one else thought or could be bothered to do, and that's all the material we have to go on, whether from Jim or Francis Collinson or Cecil Sharp or Anne Gilchrist - there's not going to be much more to come. Surely their work is more important in its own right than something that's there just to be pulled apart?

On jag's final point, I strongly suspect that Jim Carroll is not the only contributor to Mudcat whose online persona - especially in the context of a passionate argument - is different from their persona at home or at work.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 04 Mar 20 - 06:58 AM

"Unless that is verbatim quotes from your recordings then it is, to readers here, second-hand information."
I've put loads of quotes - particularly from Walter
Our collection is not on line yet, but some of it will be this year on the BL
Getting the impressions from no recorrded information has always been part of what a clollector does - you simply don't get to record everything
- we spent as much time with Walter and the Travellers without a recorded as we did recording them -- more in fact
I get the wrong end of th stick occasionally as we all do
You have Walters quotes to go by
What it boils down to is that, despite the fact that you appear never to have collected yourself, you don't trust those who have
That is a seismic shift on the folk scene that I have been involved in for the last fifty years
I ask again - what has happened to make that happen
Might I suggest that the shift is away from the scholarship that has taken place and what the singers have reported to take in a folk sene that no longer accepts the old definitions of folk song to make room for a folk song that no loner has a definition
If I have got things wrong - it is up to the accusr to provide evidence to prove I have - claiming that I might have wouldn't stand up as evidence in any court I know of
Proof is the responsibility of the accuser, not the accused m'lud !!
"Bring you witness love and I'll never deny you" - as the song says
Jim


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: The Sandman
Date: 04 Mar 20 - 07:18 AM

let us take Peter Kennedy, my personal experience was of a mild form of aggression from him. He seemed to think he owned the songs, and attempted to intimidate me.
the songs are not owned by anyone and if you put them in a book and sell the book you must expect people to sing and record them., it is morally unacceptable to the bootleg a track from an lp and try and sell it, because the song has been arranged he does not own the arrangement, itwas not his arrangement to sell, hpowever despite his curmudgeonly attitude , i forgive the poor old dote, because he collected the songs[ i understand he did not always treat his sources very well]
he did mange to recprd n boyle [ because he allowed him to have his rant about jungle music] which we must also be grateful for the songs belong to everyone


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: The Sandman
Date: 04 Mar 20 - 07:23 AM

TO PARAPHRASE FRED TRUEMAN.i would throw him off the cliff at whitby but i am a kind man so iwould have keith fletcher below to catch him.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 04 Mar 20 - 08:01 AM

Way up at the top of this discussion a number of people seemed to agree that although Harker's definition of 'mediation' was not prejudicial the way he applied it to most collector's was.

Someone pointed out that there was nothing threatening about the term itself. It's a technical term with a number of definitions.

My last post was mainly to explain to Jim (at his request) how I came to regard him as a 'mediator'. It's simple - he is between us and his singers. I also explained how in most cases the context of passing on the information meant that we got the parts that he thought were relevant at the time. There will be other things that Jim thinks are important that have never come up so he has not told us about, or put in a discussion we have forgotten. Even if he wrote a book (which I would want to read) he would have to be prepared for scholarly types to cross-question him on things. Other people may have written things that don't fit with Jim's account and it is part of a scholar's job to notice those things ('compare and contrast' etc.)

As for the 'getting the wrong end of the stick' part there are a number of posts where I have asked Jim something and tried to make myself really clear and he has assumed I am saying something else, usually something that he strongly disagrees with. He has been accused higher up here I think) as setting up straw men, but I don't think that is deliberate. So I was pointing out that it leaves open in my mind the possibility that he might make mistakes. In contrast there are other people who do seem to understand my questions so - rightly or wrongly - I tend to give more weight to their opinions.

Most people are familiar with the idea of a mistake. I sometimes make mistakes. Some of you may even have made them yourselves.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jeri
Date: 04 Mar 20 - 08:12 AM

Thanks Sandman, I'll look for more. I'm familiar with the Tuvan and Inuit varieties, and modern American overtone singing, but never heard of Bulgarian.

Also, questioning collectors has been a thing since I've been on the internet (early 90S), and before that for as long as I remember. As in FJ Child leaving out certain types of song because of reasons. And John Jacob Niles (did he collect it, or did he write it.) If they were around, and enjoyed being trolled, these discussions might go into the millions, except merely the thousands.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 04 Mar 20 - 08:15 AM

Your're conteradicting yourself Jag
You claim that Harker wasn't taking a pop at the collectors, while at the same time to are claiming that my 'mediating' makes me untrustworthy and unreliable - you list your accusations but provide no proof
I think it's been pretty well established that Harker's use of the term was intended as abusive - you've confirmed that with you use of the term
Again I ask - what has changed to make our work - which was/is highly respected, now untrustworthy
Haaaaaaaave you any sew evidence or for that matter, have you any examples of our untrustworthiness
Or is it just that what Walter, Mikeen and Tom Lenihan had to say is inconvenient ?
I can only hold my breath for so long at my age
Jim


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Vic Smith
Date: 04 Mar 20 - 08:23 AM

Dick wrote: -
let us take Peter Kennedy....... He seemed to think he owned the songs, and attempted to intimidate me.

Totnes Folk Festival - sometime in the mid 1970s. Tina and I sang Billy Taylor in the main concert venue. Peter Kennedy was in the hall with a stall selling his Folktrax cassettes. At the end of the concert Peter approached me.... we had had a few conversations before this and knew one another.

Peter > Where did you get that version of 'Billy Taylor'?
Vic > I recorded it from Cameron & Jane Turriff when we were staying with them for a week in Fetterangus.
Peter > Ah good! That's not one of mine then.

What followed remains one of the most embarrassing moments of my life and I still squirm when I think about it. The arrogance of what Peter said hit me like a hammer; very unusually for me, I totally lost my temper. I bawled at him at the top of my voice.

Vic > What fucking difference would it have made if it had been 'one of yours'?

The crowd leaving the concert fell silent and every eye turned on me. Peter, probably fearing violence on my part ran out of the hall.

I never saw him again after that to be able to apologise for my outburst, but he once wrote me a letter threatening to sue me for something that I had written about him in Karl Dallas' "Folk News". I replied telling him to go ahead as I was sure of my facts in the article and produce it to back up what I had written. I never heard from him again.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 04 Mar 20 - 08:54 AM

Karl Dallas once embarked on a series of themed songbooks - not world-shattering, but interesting for all that
He did two. Songs of War and Songs of Toil, but was forced to abandon the project because of the demands of money from Dallas

The 'Voice of the People' series was originally intended to be a re-issue of the edited, 'Folk Songs of Britain' series with full versions - it was abandoned because of the same reason - this time, we probably gained more than we lost
I'm working on filling out the set for anybody who might like to hear the songs in full - I've digitised the booklet and combined it with the Caedmon version, which has a few differences
Will let people know when it's finished

As far as I'm concerned, nobody owed Kennedy anything - least of all, an apology
Jim


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 04 Mar 20 - 08:59 AM

"You claim that Harker wasn't taking a pop at the collectors" Jim Carroll

"Harker's definition of 'mediation' was not prejudicial the way he applied it to most collector's was" Me.

I didn't claim that Harker "wasn't taking a pop at collectors". On the contrary I referred to a consensus amongst several posters here that he was.

You misread and misrepresent my post Jim. Which is why I don't need "examples of our untrustworthiness" to wonder if you might be mistaken about what other people mean.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 04 Mar 20 - 09:32 AM

To put it simply Jim.

You just misrepresented what I had said about Harker. I think it was a mistake on your part because you didn't understand what I wrote. How do I know you did not misunderstand other people who you tell us about?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 04 Mar 20 - 10:11 AM

"You just misrepresented what I had said about Harker."
Ttally immaterial to this Jag - you made specific accusations which you are obviously neither going to qualify or withdraw, which more or less sums up this whole shebang

Harker, rather than carrying out a much-needed study of the flaws of the work done by Sharp and his collegues, chose to launch a personal attack on them without providing background substantiation - you are doing exactly the same
Your statement on Harker was ambiguous, to say the least
You wrote "a number of people seemed to agree that although Harker's definition of 'mediation' was not prejudicial the way he applied it to most collector's was".
On this occasion, you don't state one way or the other which side of the line you are on, but in the past, both you and Pseud have defended Harker vigorously - I think it fair enough to assume you didn't agree with the attacks on harker on this occasion
Quite often I take what is said to what I believe to be its logical conclusion - - sometimes wrongly - but I invariably read what is said

I go along entirely with Dave Hanson - I think we're finished here - I am anyway
Jim


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 04 Mar 20 - 11:18 AM

Can I just explain why I persist in this argument about collectors
Personally I don't give a fiddler's fart how people regard our work as long as they treat those we collected from with the respect we believe they deserve - and above all, learn from what they had to offer
I honestly believe that the folk scene in England has lost its way, despite having a healthy history of research and an enviable supply of source material which, for various reasons, has been neglected
There is also a whole body of research work on the art of singing which has been ignored and, in some cases, actively suppressed because of revival small-mindedness and because of the quaint idea that singing standards don't matter - even that working to achieve them spoils the enjoyment of singing - "after all - it's only entertainment"
People would rather discuss MacColl's name change and political leanings than the work he/we did in the Critics Group
Listening critically and analytically to how our source singers tackled their songs might help to repair some of the damage

I don't believe Ireland or Scotland have these problems, or not to the same extrent
'Kist o' Riches has thrown open Scottish traditional singing as an art form big time - the Carpenter Collection stands to add to the Scots ballad repertoire enormously

Youngsters in Ireland have been pouring into the music scene here for some time now, the same is beginning to happen on the singing side
Standards have never been a problem here - no reason why they should have been with such accomplished source singers
It's ironic that MacColl has always been respected here far more than he was in the U.K., certainly as a song-maker
Now, as an interest in the ballads takes hold, I have little doubt that his work as a song researcher will climb -
Peggy plays to full houses whenever she comes here
I watched her perform here in Clare a few years ago - she sang far more ballads than she intended to at our request - she didn't think "they'd go down"
She could have marched an packed audience, relatively unused to narrative singing over the Cliffs of Moher that night without a complaint   

It really is time England caught on to what they stand to lose before it's too late
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: The Sandman
Date: 04 Mar 20 - 11:56 AM

as they treat those we collected from with the respect we believe they deserve.
Two leading revivalist singers levelled this complaint to me in person against PeterKennedy, buton the basis of finances


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jeri
Date: 04 Mar 20 - 12:20 PM

People like to name certain unpopular people as trolls, but the primary reason Jim seems to post here is to fight with people. He's done good in the past, but these days, it's just fighting. As it's been said many times before, just ignore the trolls.

Questioning authority may be annoying to authority (or collectors), but I think it's necessary.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,Cj
Date: 04 Mar 20 - 12:26 PM

There seems to be a trait within the human ego that propels people to muck-rake over past growth for tiny stones rather than plant something new. Rather than achieve something themselves, they find an easier route in life wrecking the achievements of others. We see it everywhere, but in the arts especially.

I can see that to a point it helps us progress as a species - Those who do not remember their past are condemned to repeat their mistakes etc - but so often, it merely seems to be inadequate people attempting to make themselves seem cleverer, or more important, or "better" than those they are criticising.

It reminds me of the mediums threatening arch-sceptic Harry Houdini, that once he died he'd have no control over what words the mediums put into his mouth.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Brian Peters
Date: 04 Mar 20 - 12:51 PM

"Questioning authority may be annoying to authority (or collectors), but I think it's necessary."

It may be, but respecting knowledge is necessary too. We can see all around us what happens when it is not.

I agree with Cj's post as well.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Brian Peters
Date: 04 Mar 20 - 01:00 PM

Yesterday I happened across a Mudcat thread from 2015 discussing an NPR programme that attempted to debunk Alan Lomax's work. My old friend Jeff Davis made contribution that I feel is relevant here:

"It is as shame that we couldn't have done Lomax's work for him, or for Sharp, Creighton, Flanders, Fife - all of them. Our work would have been so much more complete, detailed, unprejudiced, unblemished, and unassailable, and unworthy of criticism. Oh, yes, and more energetic.

Pardon me for a lifetime while I get up from the desk, put the instruments in their cases, the books on the shelf, abandon the fine warm house, the consoling relationship, to go find, effortlessly, some unheard of music in some far away place and make a stunningly perfect job of it."


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: The Sandman
Date: 04 Mar 20 - 01:08 PM

well said Brian. Jim has doneggod asthe football commentators say,
he is not an arm chair collector


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 05 Mar 20 - 03:19 AM

Thanks again Brian, delighted to be reminded of that thread
Pioneers like the Lomaxes were in the same position as Sharp and his colleagues in entering unexplored territory with all the prejudices of their society hanging around their neck and by god - didn't they do good ?
Co-incidentally (remember what has happened to Walter here) around the same time of that thread another one was opened attacking Woody Guthrie's contribution to folk song (rednecks will be rednecks wherever they land)

When we started working with Travellers we had no idea what we would find - neither did the Travellers know what to make of us - a chalk and cheese existence
We were overcautious and clumsy to start with, but we were lucky to begin with people who shared our interest in and respect for the old songs - 'Pop's' Johnny Connors acted as our 'minder' over the first few weeks and kept us on the straight aand narrow when we were going wrong

To illustrate - one night, after a recording session on a site in Shepherds Bush in London, followed by too many hastily drunk pints, Johnny decided to introduce us to 'Little' Bill Cassidy, his brother-in-law
Bill was a the most stylish singer we recorded, with a bit of a drink problem - he was very young for a traditional singer in our experience and had a largish family who we thought were his siblings at first
They were camped outside London, adjacent to Heathrow Airport, so we left the Shepherd's Bush Pub and headed of to find him which we did - we ended up eventually lying on a field around an open fire listening to glorious renditions of 'The Outlandish Knight', 'The Grey Cock' and songs we had never heard before, sung superbly by a somewhat drunk 'Little' Bill; I was much better because the amount I had consumed.
I was the tape-recorder driver, and my mate Denis did the talking - he was the agreed driver and sober (Pat wasn't with us)

Everybody was extremely friendly with the exception of a huge Traveller with hands the size of building bricks, who kept leaning over making sarcastic comments like 'Aren't we the quaint ould Oirish people?"   
'Pop's' Johnny grasped what was happening and said, "You'll be wanting to record Paddy Doherty then"
We recorded 'Roses of Heidelberg' and 'You Will Remember Vienna' from this giant to a background of a huge full moon and planes taking off every five minutes just over the fence - Paddy became a good friend and introduced us to his mother, from Donegal, with a repertoire of 'big' ballads we never got to record

That was one of our first introductions to a totally new world full of wonderful talented and generous people - some people who refer to Travellers as 'Thieves' 'layabouts' and 'slave-owners' need to remember that all societies are made up of a mixture, including their own
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: The Sandman
Date: 05 Mar 20 - 03:49 AM

YES THAT IS QUITE TRUE, THERE ARE UNDOUBTEDLY MORE CRIMINALS AMONGST THE NON TRAVELLER COMMUNITY THAN AMONGST THE TRAVELLER COMMUNITY


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Brian Peters
Date: 05 Mar 20 - 05:34 AM

Bill Cassidy's 'Outlandish Knight' is a terrific recording. Vi don't think I've heard anything quite like it.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 05 Mar 20 - 06:08 AM

That night was the first recording we made of it from him - may not have been the greatest quality but it did it for my
Interestingly regarding this discussion Bill Came from a family of storytellers, which is why, I believe, he had big narrative ballads
The family, particularly his father Johnny, can be heard on the album 'The Cassidy' recoded by American collecror, Alan McWeeney and issued on th Travellers own label, 'Pavee Point' - magnificent

Bill's brother Andy is included singing the song from Rio Bravo, 'My Rifle, Pony and Me'
We were one present during a very loud argument in a West London pub _ both Bill and Andy had learned most of their songs from their father - Bill's style was very tradition, Andy preferred Country and Western so he sang 'The Outlandish Knight' in that style
The Travellers were arguing passionately over who was the best singer - we were asked our opinion, but demurred
They didn't need us - the tradition won hands down
Jim


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 05 Mar 20 - 06:27 AM

I am absolutely with Jag when he says that when Jim misrepresents what we and other posters say it undermines his own credibility. Jag is not the first to make this point, not, by any means, the first to complain how that Jim misrepresents what others say. I know Steve Gardham not long ago asked Jim for the 'nth time' not to do it.

And this misrepresentation often involves alleging that people said things that Jim wants to argue against. Looks like a good example of 'mediation' to me. And unpopular as this may be, if ever a person was 'mediated' then that person was Walter Pardon, whatever his status as a 'source singer'.

It is absolutely right to look back at collectors from the past with a critical eye, including Alan Lomax. Not least if you are researching the history of a particular song. When Brian researches the 'history' of songs he must come up against questions such as the reliability and possible mediation and bias of the sources of information he finds.

I have more to say but as this post may well be deleted I am probably going to do the 'multiple post' thing at some point today.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 05 Mar 20 - 06:31 AM

@ Jag. Jim said on the Harker thread that it was the most difficult book he had ever read. This was about 30 years ago. I don't see what was particularly difficult about it, especially for somebody presumably familiar with the class based approach of A L Lloyd. Not compared with some material we have looked at. And in view of the fact that much of what Harker says had been said before, especially about some of the mediators. But I don't get the feeling that Jim remembers what the book said or its argument or much detail, and that this affects the responses he makes to people trying to discuss it as well as the aspects mentioned by Jeri in the post above.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 05 Mar 20 - 06:41 AM

@Jim Carroll. "both you and Pseud have defended Harker vigorously"

Pseud has. I haven't. Show me where.

Jim, in 50 years time you won't have people who know you to speak up for you. A singer or researcher using your recordings and wondering about you will go to whatever the wayback machine has become and read your posts on mudcat. They will see that you attack people for things they didn't say, or that someone else said, and bury the nuggets of information that you add to a discussion amongst a load of strong but poorly expressed opinion. What conclusion will they draw about the reliability of your accounts?

On in the thread on Steve Roud's book I plugged a couple of first hand accounts of yours (on was your account of a Traveller dictating 'fanmily' songs to be printed so they could be sold at fairs). I though it was an important pointer to what may have gone on the the past put it kept getting passed over because it was buried in the middle of posts ranting about Roud's approach.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 05 Mar 20 - 06:56 AM

crossed with Psudonymous.

As I have said I found Harker badly written, really hard work and regard his Marxist framework was a lazy way of not having to discuss the sociological and commercial aspects properly. If I had read "The Imagined Village" first I wouldn't have bothered with Harker after part 1.

(I forgot to mention that my post 04 Mar 20 - 09:32 AM was not consecutive with the one now before it. It was in response to one from Jim that was deleted along with at least one other)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 05 Mar 20 - 07:00 AM

It's news to me if I have 'defended Harker vigorously'. The book has good and bad, and, as somebody said early on throwing out the baby with the bathwater isn't a good idea. I think, for example, I was one of the few posters to try get to grips with what Bearman said about him, and I posted links to a number of review pieces discussing his work. What I have done, or tried to do, is to get a clear view of what he does and does not say across as it seems to me that some posters have not read the book and may have a false picture of what it does and does not do.

But if people want to call me a 'Harkerist', well let them get on with it.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 05 Mar 20 - 07:21 AM

I think it is worth keeping Jim's more colourful posts as screen shots for the benefits of any future researchers or biographers. The best ones get deleted too quickly.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 05 Mar 20 - 07:31 AM

"as somebody said early on throwing out the baby with the bathwater"
Which is why Fakesong is such a destructive book
That is exactly what Herker does
Sorry - I have asked Jag to qualify his accusations - he refuses
We have also been told not to rise to the bait
I'll wait for a bus that is going where I want to be
Jim


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 05 Mar 20 - 08:09 AM

@ Jag: I think this was a good post. Spot on. But likely to fall on deaf ears, I think.


"y last post was mainly to explain to Jim (at his request) how I came to regard him as a 'mediator'. It's simple - he is between us and his singers. I also explained how in most cases the context of passing on the information meant that we got the parts that he thought were relevant at the time. There will be other things that Jim thinks are important that have never come up so he has not told us about, or put in a discussion we have forgotten. Even if he wrote a book (which I would want to read) he would have to be prepared for scholarly types to cross-question him on things. Other people may have written things that don't fit with Jim's account and it is part of a scholar's job to notice those things ('compare and contrast' etc.)"


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 05 Mar 20 - 08:10 AM

Except I don't enjoy reading stuff by people who struggle with English grammar/complex sentences/lexical issues.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 05 Mar 20 - 08:17 AM

I find it indicative that so far these posters have not chosen to comment on a desciption of a live session taking place within a living tradition where big ballads were performed, followed by that of a group of 'unlettered' Travellers arguing the merits and demerits of their living tradition - both major factors in our understanding of how our song traditions worked
This debate has, in my opinion, has been bedevilled by the fact that, basically it has hardly emerged from book covers and that the practices and opinions of those who gave us our traditional songs come a poor second to the opinions of 'the experts'
Our understanding of our traditions must come from finding out how and why our source singers sang - not what the self-appointed boffins thought about it - surely ?
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 05 Mar 20 - 09:15 AM

"Our understanding of our traditions must come from finding out how and why our source singers sang

Go on then, how and why did Walter Pardon sing "My Grandfather's Clock"?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,Starship
Date: 05 Mar 20 - 09:17 AM

' Go on then, how and why did Walter Pardon sing "My Grandfather's Clock"? '

Because it's a good song ;-)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 05 Mar 20 - 09:59 AM

As a matter of fact, G C was one of the songs he regarded as not very good - it doesn't appear in his notebooks and wasn't included on his own recordings
This is the point I've been trying to hammer home - because a singer knows al sorts of songs, it doesn't mean he/she rates them all the same - why should they, they're not
Is it a "good song" - matter of opinion surely ?
On the other hand, Walter was extremely proud of his family's Trade Union parody of G C - 'The Old Man's advice' - for him, it tickes all the boxes, both as a song and as a part of his family history as activists in organising agricultural workers to fight for better conditions

By the way, I've been told by Make Yates that, as far as he knew Walter never sang Yellow Rose of Texas'
Jim


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 05 Mar 20 - 10:16 AM

Re Yellow Rose of Texas

See here

http://www.mustrad.org.uk/articles/pardon2.htm#rep

You will find Yellow Rose of Texas listed.

Notes to the CD Put a Bit of Powder on it CD, a project Yates was involved with.

The same place Pardon says several times that songs came round on broadsheets and also says that is how his grandfather learned them.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 05 Mar 20 - 10:52 AM

That's the Musical Traditions own listing, not Mike's
You'll have to ask them
Does it really matter - it's a n indifferent song despite having an interesting provenance ?
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 05 Mar 20 - 11:38 AM

Thanks for you reply Jim.

I asked about "My Grandfather's Clock" because as a child I knew many people of Walter's generation (family and neighbours) some of whom who knew the song. I wonder if anyone would have been interested in where they learned it. But they did sing. Non of them were 'source' singers, though for one local song they could have been if someone had thought to record them.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Brian Peters
Date: 05 Mar 20 - 12:18 PM

"unpopular as this may be, if ever a person was 'mediated' then that person was Walter Pardon, whatever his status as a 'source singer'."

Popularity has nothing to do with it - the above is effectively meaningless in the present discussion. It's already been asserted by those who believe 'mediation' to be a useful concept that it applies to every singer who ever opened his or her mouth in company, never mind singing into a recording device. Can you expand your point by explaining to what degree Walter P was 'mediated' compared with, say, Anna Brown, Mary MacQueen, Sam Fone, Louis Hooper, Marina Russell, Phil Tanner, Sam Larner, Jeannie Robertson or Will Noble? Or, come to that, Dillard Chandler, Texas Gladden, Iron Head Baker or Robert Johnson?

"It is absolutely right to look back at collectors from the past with a critical eye, including Alan Lomax. Not least if you are researching the history of a particular song. When Brian researches the 'history' of songs he must come up against questions such as the reliability and possible mediation and bias of the sources of information he finds."

There's nothing wrong with casting a critical eye - I've had plenty to say on this forum in the past about the provenance of songs that came to us via Bert Lloyd and Ewan MacColl. But what I'm talking about here is not legitimate and evidence-based criticism, it's biased and inaccurate attempts at demolition. Did you take the trouble to follow the Lomax thread? In what was by present Mudcat standards a very enlightening and good-mannered discussion, people coming from different places and with different views - some critical of Lomax - formed a consensus that a particular radio programme was a travesty of the truth. That kind of thing is not a necessary 'challenge to authority', it's just destructive. By the way, I research the history of songs, not the 'history'.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 05 Mar 20 - 01:02 PM

@Pseudonymous. Can you remind me what it is about the accounts of Walter Pardon that you don't find convincing?

From knowing skilled and semi-skilled people of Walter's generation I don't find anything particularly remarkable or suspicious about the way Walter and his family are described.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 05 Mar 20 - 01:07 PM

"unpopular as this may be, if ever a person was 'mediated' then that person was Walter Pardon,"
Why let the facts get in the ay of a convenient agenda ?
This individual had never heard of Walter before a few months ago so there is no way she can possibly know if and how Walter was 'mediated'
But again, way let an uncomfortable truth get in the way
Can you explain on what you have based such a definitively dogmatic statement please ?   

The disinterest in reaching the truth on this subject is made almost palpable by her ignoring the fact that the very first person ever to record Walter Pardon was Walter Pardon - I've put the list up
I've also put up the facts about what his notebooks show as preferences and the list of songs he would choose to sing if asked - all ignored
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 05 Mar 20 - 06:20 PM

"unpopular as this may be, if ever a person was 'mediated' then that person was Walter Pardon,"
Rather late now, but it will be interesting to see id this will be substantiated in ny way tomorrow
Somehow, I doubt it
There's an old Billy Connolly joke -"If you want to confuse a policeman, ask him a question"
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 05 Mar 20 - 11:06 PM

@ Jim

You put:

' "unpopular as this may be, if ever a person was 'mediated' then that person was Walter Pardon,"
Rather late now, but it will be interesting to see id this will be substantiated in ny way tomorrow
Somehow, I doubt it'


1 There was a thread on Walter Pardon. It began with a post which listed articles and websites and films relating to him, and being, therefore, examples of his being mediated. Additional information was provided by some posters, including a doctoral thesis by David Hillery, which Steve Gardham and I both read. Relevantly, this thesis used the term 'mediation' in respect of 2nd wave revival song collectors. Given that one Jim Carroll was mentioned as such a collector it would appear that you might be one of the collectors included in the comments. I think that all this substantiates a view that Walter Pardon was mediated.

2 If you want to confuse a policeman ask him a question. Ha ha. What a wag you are! But here goes: what do you think the word 'disinterested' means? Confused?

3 You wrote, regarding the Pardon repertoire list that included 'The Yellow Rose of Texas: 'That's the Musical Traditions own listing, not Mike's You'll have to ask them'.

Once again we get muddle.

On the Musical Traditions web site you can find word for word the sleeve notes for a CD called 'Put a Bit of Powder on it, Father'. The top of the MUSTRAD page explains this. It says:

"As a service to those who may not wish to buy the records, or who might find the small print hard to read, we have reproduced the relevant contents of the CD booklet here."

The piece has an introduction by, guess who? Mike Yates. And what does he say? He says:

"Most of the recordings on this CD had been recorded either by Bill Leader or myself and I found that listening to Walter again brought back many memories of him. I also rediscovered pages of notes that I had made whilst talking to him, and these were used as the basis for my sleeve notes. But I was not able to incorporate all this material into the sleeve notes, and so I have selected and edited some of my notes into several of the sections which follow, in the booklet to this MT production: … "

He then lists the sections involved. These include the repertoire. Mike wrote the following about this section:

"The Walter Pardon Repertoire contains the titles of 182 songs we are aware that Walter knew. Details are given of which songs were issued on commercial recordings. Where the word 'tape' is shown after a song title, this indicates that an unissued recording is known to exist."


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 06 Mar 20 - 03:33 AM

"examples of his being mediated."
There was no such thing Pseud - there were uncorroborated claims by you that Walter was both mediated and hyped to fame which were shot down in flames as were you claims of Bob Copper being 'a showman' - you upset a great number of people in the process - you are continuing to do so

We do get in a muddle – a deliberately created muddle by you and Jag, neither of whom appears to have a track record of having done any work nor understanding the subject in hand, which was my the point of my question, by the way
You both claim that Harker did not attack those wrote about - patently untrue
He didn't analyse their work and counter it with alternatives of his own - instead he questioned the collectors' class backgrounds, their motives, their veracity and their attitudes towards those they were collecting from - he never dealt with the material they came back with, which in fact was the real evidence - he very wisely brushed that aside
He did what every defence lawyer in a rape trial as made their stock-in-trade - he undermined the credibility of his victims

You and Jag have done exactly the same
We – Pat and I, Mike Yates, Bob Thomson, Roy Palmer...... have done the spadework, gone out in the field, got information and songs from our singers and brought it back for examination
Instead of discussing what we found you have sought to undermine our methods our vracity and our motives (it has even been suggested by someone that we were self-promoting)
What Walter had to say blows much of your claims clean out of the water so what do you do - you question Walter's position as a source-singer and his intelligence (someone who allows himself to be manipulated, as you suggest Walter did, cannot be regarded as very bright)   

The obviously stupid thing in all this is that, apparently, neither you nor Jag has the knowledge or the experience to make such claims
You have been here five minutes and have no experience of listening to Walter sing, let alone talk
I get the impression that Jag is in the same position, yet he makes accusations against our work which he refuses to qualify other than to attempt to undermine my ability to read what people post
You prefer the patronising approach, suggesting my "colourful" descriptions of a live tradition in action are of no present interest but should be archived in case someone can make use of them in the future - not very subtle, to say the least

It is difficult to judge a motive for your behaviour as you both choose to operate behind a cloak of anonymity
I believe Harker did what he did for the same reason many aspirant PhDers have described to us when they approached us for help - to give them something 'different' with which they could impress their examiners
Harker had no track-record in folk song so he thought being outrageous and challenging a century's scholarship might do the trick
He had tried his hand earlier on something else with 'One For the Money', but there he was a very small fish in a very large pond with literally thousands of would be glittering-prize-winners writing 'scholarly’ articles about pop song - everything from the Altamount deaths to a suggested link between Beethoven melodies and ABBA
Pulling down the Pioneers seemed to fit the bill

Can I please ask both of you again - substantiate your claims and accusations
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 06 Mar 20 - 03:54 AM

By the way
This is a message as I received it from Mike Yates last month

'Yellow Rose of Texas' is mentioned as being a late song that Walter sang. It's on his Wikipedia page. It does not say where this idea comes from. I certainly never heard him sing it.
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 06 Mar 20 - 04:32 AM

"You both claim that Harker did not attack those wrote about"

JIM. NO I DO NOT. Go back to the top of the thread and READ MY POSTS

I have no intention of copying my posts down here for the benefit of someone who finds it easier to set up straw men than responding to what people actually say.

I had dropped out of this discusion and came back because you asked me question. If you don't like the answer and can't engage in a sensible conversation about it then that's just tough.

From your last post I now understand why you are so touchy about the idea of 'moderation'. You want to live in a world where only the opinions of collectors matter and they can talk whatever crap they want and ignore anyone who disagrees.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 06 Mar 20 - 05:26 AM

You have had every opportunity to prove your claim of moderation yet you persist
I have no intention of entering into a dialogue with you until you either qualify your accusations of my work or withdraw them, over and out

Jim


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 06 Mar 20 - 05:28 AM

@ Jag. I think it goes further than this. For in my opinion, Jim gets thread after thread closed. If he feels he isn't 'winning the battle' he ups the emotional ante until it all kicks off and the thread gets closed. I think that's what he is doing now. It isn't the opinions of collectors that must have primacy I don't think, for me it is the opinions of Jim, and I share your previous thoughts on how people encountering his work on Mudcat may regard his reliability as a source of information.

@ Jim. Assuming you have passed on the whole of what Mike Yates said to you, then I suggest that Mike Yates refreshes his memory by looking at what he and Ron Stradling wrote on the MUSTRAD site. It's there for the whole world to see. And the song is mentioned in the work by Dave Hillery which, I think, you mentioned yourself on another thread. Thanks: it was a fascinating piece of work. The best thing I have read on Pardon, and I think I have read everything there is.

@ Brian. I am happy with my use of inverted commas. It is the case that a lot of 'stuff' written about songs and their origins looks like history but isn't really. And a person looking into where particular songs came from will no doubt encounter this material. By the way, I think you were a science teacher of some sort? I didn't catch in your 'bailliwick' what you did for a living, but I have it in mind that it was physics? I might be wrong, sorry if so.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 06 Mar 20 - 06:13 AM

I did the print screen thing, so if it is deleted I can refer to it.

I don't mind being sworn at by Dick Miles. I am sure it will gain him whatever the folk equivalent of 'street cred' is and help ensure better sales of his CDs and more attendance at his national tours.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 06 Mar 20 - 06:15 AM

"Assuming you have passed on the whole of what Mike Yates said to you"
How dare you suggest I distorted what mike said - in fact I included what I believe remlevant in order to save you 'finer feelings'

In full
"although I refuse to be drawn into the Mudcat mess, I do read what that appalling person has to say (a woman?). 'Yellow Rose of Texas' is mentioned as being a late song that Walter sang. It's on his Wikipedia page. It does not say where this idea comes from. I certainly never heard him sing it. You may like to know that the song 'Little Old Log Cabin in the Lane', sung by Walter, should be on the new Musical Traditions CD. I don't think that you listed this title in the list of Walter's songs. If you did, then I missed it, and apologize.
Nil carborundum.
Mike"

Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 06 Mar 20 - 06:17 AM

Please can we stop this garbage before someone takes it into their head to close this discussion down and create yet another no go area
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 06 Mar 20 - 06:19 AM

Two patronising wazzocks then.

And he'll have got the message about reading what he and Ron Stradling put. I thought that Jim's list of Walter's songs had some others missing, as the numbers in different counts don't add up. The issue of this song and who said what about whether he sang it illustrates another point I made at the outset of the Pardon thread: it isn't always easy to sort the facts out. Indeed, I think it was Mike Yates who comments in one of the MUSTRAD pages, that Walter would tell different people differing things about where he heard the same song.

Mike Yates is the one who starts articles with a quotation from Marx but goes hairless if one mistakenly believes he is a Marxist, whereas he only finds it a useful tool for analysis at times. I apologised to him for confusing these points already.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 06 Mar 20 - 06:22 AM

Re Jim's post 6 March 3.33. I think we are once again up against the problem that Jim may not have grasped the definition of 'mediation' that this thread has gone with. By the way, it has been said that the term is 'meaningless'. This is not the case.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 06 Mar 20 - 06:34 AM

Flippin' 'eck. I've said repeatedly that I want to read this thread untrammelled, but you wouldn't know I'd said it because someone deletes it every time. Yet this hectoring nonsense from Pseudonymous is allowed to stand. Someone in moderator heaven is doing a protecting job that is not in the best interests of this forum.

One more time. Jim has his ways as we know He's easy to rile and don't you just know it. But he (and Brian) towers above everyone else here in terms of his depth of knowledge and his experience of first-hand collecting and then of archiving material. So I appeal to the couple of people here who clearly know less than a tenth of what Jim's got to cut out this blatantly jealous snapping at his heels. You're reading books. Jim's been out there for decades doing the hard yards. So just leave it out, eh?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 06 Mar 20 - 06:36 AM

Full stop intended before "He's."


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST
Date: 06 Mar 20 - 06:47 AM

Turning once again to Bert Lloyd, at the start of his book he says something to the effect that England has got to the point where people can make a living out of folk song. There is, he says, nothing wrong with that.

But within the folkworld several threads seem to define folk in opposition to the commercial. This maybe some sort of Sharpian/Victorian nostalgia for pre-industrial days of old, or it may be leftish anti-capitalism, or it may be some combination of both.

I think this is why when it is pointed out that much of the stuff relating to Pardon and, indeed, the Copper family, has been disseminated via commercial routes, some people get so agitated. But it is a simple fact. The Copper family, or some of them, have been on national television singing stuff from a commercially available CDS! Deal with it, people.

I will point out once again that it was Joe Offer who praised Copper for being a showman. For me the overexaggerated response to what was intended to be praise is OTT and bonkers.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 06 Mar 20 - 06:48 AM

Sorry forgot to sign it. I think I may change my 'name' to 'that appalling woman'. In homage to Mike Yates. :)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 06 Mar 20 - 06:56 AM

"But within the folkworld several threads seem to define folk in opposition to the commercial. This maybe some sort of Sharpian/Victorian nostalgia for pre-industrial days of old, or it may be leftish anti-capitalism, or it may be some combination of both."

Why should it be any of that? Folk music and "the commercial" can walk past each other or interact at their edges without confrontation. Opposition could be in the eye of the (often non-performing) beholder...

I could also point out to you that neither Sharp nor the Victorians knew the "pre-industrial days of old" any more than we do.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Brian Peters
Date: 06 Mar 20 - 06:57 AM

Returning for a moment to the topic (please mods don't delete his one), here's what Steve Roud, a scholar I respect greatly, has to say about Fakesong, and 'mediation' in particular, in Folk Song in England. It does concur in many respects with what I’ve been trying to say here, though I should add that it’s a while since I read it and it did not inspire directly my contributions.

[p 8]
"... this new academic promise was soured by negative polemic from some quarters, which still reverberates strongly in the field, and has also been perpetuated by those from outside our field who, seeking a general understanding of the subject, have been deliberately misdirected.

This negativity became the new orthodoxy, and the early collectors came under fire from all sides. Their motives were questioned, their honesty impugned, their editorial practices dissected and found wanting, and their collecting and publishing rebranded as ‘mediation’, which although technically a neutral word is always used in a negative sense. Their theories (or assumptions) about the songs were rubbished, and they stood accused of misrepresenting and misappropriating the working classes and their culture. All their claims for the importance of folk song were denied because they were based on flase principles and selective vision. Above all they were found guilty of being ‘bourgeois’, and acing entirely within the frame of, and in the interests of, heir own class. Following this line of argument, ‘folk song’ was declared never to have existed...”

[p 177]
“What we got was facile bourgeois-bashing... the bourgeoisie had invented the whole notion of ‘folk song’ for heir own purposes... the new orthodoxy... is only now showing signs of losing its grip. he tendency is mentioned many times in this book, precisely because it was influential and cannot be ignored, though it must be refuted.”


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 06 Mar 20 - 07:03 AM

I checked back to Hillery's thesis and he gives Mike Yates's 2000 Put a Bit of Powder on it CD booklet as his source for Pardon's repertoire.

Let us assume that Yates himself never heard Pardon sing it, that his memory is accurate. In that case, either it is a mistake on the booklet, or the information came to Mike in some other way than hearing Pardon sing it.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Brian Peters
Date: 06 Mar 20 - 07:22 AM

"Brian. I am happy with my use of inverted commas. It is the case that a lot of 'stuff' written about songs and their origins looks like history but isn't really. And a person looking into where particular songs came from will no doubt encounter this material. By the way, I think you were a science teacher of some sort? I didn't catch in your 'bailliwick' what you did for a living, but I have it in mind that it was physics? I might be wrong, sorry if so."

I have never been a physics teacher, though I'm intrigued as to how and why you should try to find this out. Before I set out on my musical career over 30 years ago I was a scientist, which is possibly a factor in my respect for evidence and accuracy over ignorance and agendas.

When I research a song, I use multiple sources. But do I, for instance, examine broadside copies from the Roxburghe collection or the Bodleain, and think to myself, "ooh, maybe it's a forgery?"

No.

When I hear a recording of a traditional singer performing the song, do I wonder whether some nefarious collector was holding up the words for him or her to read from, or asking him or her to sing a flattened 7th in bar 4?

No.

When I sift through the archives for 100-year-old newspaper accounts mentioning instances of particular song having been sung in various public contexts, do I sneer, "it's only the MSM, no-one believes that crap?"

No.

When a highly respected and now deceased revival singer who had a pivotal part in our modern understanding of the song tells me in the course of a lengthy Facebook Messenger exchange that she learned it from a BBC radio broadcast 60 years earlier, do I think that she couldn't possibly have an accurate memory over that distance in time?

No. Though I do take the trouble to corroborate the broadcast in question.

When I hear Bert Lloyd's version and read what he had to say about the song, do I think, "Oh, Bert again, with another of his fabrications, I can ignore that one"?

No. Though I do check it against other variants and find one 'unusual' line.

Treating every source as 'suspect' is waste of time. Gaining a sense of which ones might be suspect is useful. I'm not convinced that you have the foggiest idea what research in this field actually consists of, but that's the story around these parts.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 06 Mar 20 - 07:31 AM

Their names are/were Mike and Walter
Denigrating them by using surnames was a way bullying teachers used to terrorise thos left in their care when I was at school - you, lke they, impress nobody, please at least try to make your postings respectful to thosee not on involved or dead
It takes very little effort to treat people with respect but it does take good manners
I'll put up some more about source singers after coffee and Bargain Hunt
Jim Caaroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Brian Peters
Date: 06 Mar 20 - 07:31 AM

A few loose ends...

When reading my quotes from Roud, please excuse the dodgy letter 'T' on my ancient keyboard, and try to make sense of the typos.

Re 'jag', I do think Jim misunderstood one of his or her earlier posts, which was critical of Harker, not supportive. Maybe put that one aside and move on? For me that online misunderstanding in no way compromises Jim's activities as a collector.

Who is this 'Ron Stradling', anyway? Rod's brother perhaps?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 06 Mar 20 - 07:32 AM

Folk music and "the commercial" can walk past each other or interact at their edges without confrontation.

Yes, except, and I think it is a topic for another thread, is it possible to draw a line between the two? Jim gives an account of a Traveller getting songs printed up for selling at fairs. Is that Folk music or commercial?

I am just reading Keith Summers' "Sing, Say or Pay!" and notice an anecdote - Percy Richardson:"I was 17 when I started and I did it till 1932 when I married. We used to buy the News of the World for tuppence and they had songs in them. My poor old mother used to stitch them to pieces of brown paper for us." What's more important, where the songs came from or what "the folk" in a Sussex pub actually did.

I got onto that because before I was going to point to Peter Kennedy's 1955 film from the Blaxhall Ship as an example of the inevitability of resource limitation leading to 'mediation'. The finished film is only about 20 minutes (so a time limitarion) and it looks like it was made with a single camera, so to keep each song complete we get the atmosphere of the pub from "B roll" pictures that don't fit the sound we hear with them. Similarly there seem to be edits at the beginning and end of some of Alan Lomax's published (so a time limitation) recordings at the Ship to get some 'atmosphere' included.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 06 Mar 20 - 07:37 AM

Should have gone on to clarify that my point is that editing is needed and therefor an editor has to choose what they think gets the relevant information over.

Superfluous 'before' in one sentence.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Vic Smith
Date: 06 Mar 20 - 08:28 AM

Brian:-
I got onto that because before I was going to point to Peter Kennedy's 1955 film from the Blaxhall Ship as an example of the inevitability of resource limitation leading to 'mediation'. The finished film is only about 20 minutes (so a time limitarion) and it looks like it was made with a single camera, so to keep each song complete we get the atmosphere of the pub from "B roll" pictures that don't fit the sound we hear with them. Similarly there seem to be edits at the beginning and end of some of Alan Lomax's published (so a time limitation) recordings at the Ship to get some 'atmosphere' included.
I will have to look again at my DVD of this film to confirm this, but isn't there a sequence where there are two shots of one of the singers are singing the same song and they are wearing different ties (or was it jackets) in the film?
When I consider the huge amount of editing of recorded (or filmed) interviews that I have made for radio (or television) programmes over the years in order to fit the time available, I would have to say that every single edit was an act of mediation.... and I don't consider that my mediation was anything more than a necessary act for the job that I was doing. Mediation need not be a dirty word.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 06 Mar 20 - 08:59 AM

"which was critical of Harker, not supportive"
No problem with that Brian - my point is that, overll, they have supported what Harker had to say to the extent of confirming it by continuing to question the role of collectors in general (Pat and I in particular)
Jag has yet to qualify his Harker-like condemnation of our work ("misinterpretation of what we found because of my failure to understand what is being said" I think just about sums it up)
Pseud has brought what she believes to be my (and ridiculously) Mike Yates's politics into the argument - straight out of Harker's textbook   
I dis not mean to suggest that they have never criticised Harker, any more they can suggest that have I never supported him
At the time, we looked forward to what he was doing - the fact that he decided to use a steamroller rather than a microscope somewhat put paid to that

Bugger "mediation" - it has no place here - a meaningless catch-phrase to win an argument

In relation to an argument I once had with Georgina Boyes at a conference, Mikeen McCarthy and Water Pardon turned out to be two of the most important sources of information on traditional songs we ever met, Walter on the songs, Mikeen on their transmission
Both shared the (then new to me) phenomenon of visualising the songs they sang
It was Bob Thomson who first drew this to my attention when he reported how Ken Goldstein had described how American singer, Sarah Cleveland visually re-lived all the songs she sang (it transpired that Lomax had done the same thing with Texas Gladden)
When we thought we had won Mikeen's trust well enough to try an experiment, we recorded him singing three traditional songs and two 'popular' ones (Early in the Month of Spring, 'Dear Irish Boy' and The Blind Beggar' and 'The Night You Gave me Back my Ring' and 'I Wish all my Children Were Babies Again')
The results were remarkably consistent - the traditional ones produced long, detailed descriptions, the non-traditional ones, virtually nothing
I had given a talk on Mikeen at a Conference (article to be found as 'Mikeen McCarthy, Ballad Seller') and had suggested that Mikeen's descriptions showed how singers differentiated between their differing songs
Georgina had claimed that they didn't - her response was "Perhaps the modern songs don't contain the pictures that the older ones did" - which was exactly the point I was making
I'm paraphrasing from forty years ago, but I'm sure I have that right - Ian Russell had a recording of the talk and published it as an article.
One of the most important things we got from our source singers was how the 'folk songs' were very much a part of their feelings and experiences, whil the pop ones were little more than superficial entertainment with no shareably 'message' to draw from emotionally

It brought home the importance of the work we did on relating to our songs in the Critics Group - we, as outsiders to the tradition, worked to attain something that traditional singers already had as singers (which is why I keep bringing up what I believe to be the importance of that work - by the way (not my "starry eyed adulation of MacColl")
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 06 Mar 20 - 09:15 AM

Jim, I was going to follow Brian's suggestion to draw a line under it but you just quoted me as saying something I didn't say.

Jag has yet to qualify his Harker-like condemnation of our work ("misinterpretation of what we found because of my failure to understand what is being said" I think just about sums it up)

I think that just about sums it up.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 06 Mar 20 - 09:33 AM

And your point is ?
Isn't that exactly what you and your running mate have been doing ?
If you wish to continue on Harker please address that fact
I've finished and moved on, so should we all
I should thing what I wrote about source singers and ther material is enough to move on to - but you choose   
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 06 Mar 20 - 09:41 AM

Jim, my point is that nowhere in this discussion have I said what you quote me (in the quote marks) as saying. I know I didn't say it, everyone else knows I didn't say it (they can search for it). But you say I said it and ask me to qualify it.

I have no reason to doubt that you report what your singers say honestly. I can't be sure that you do it accurately, because you don't quote me accurately. It's as simple as that.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 06 Mar 20 - 10:04 AM

"I can't be sure that you do it accurately,"
Thence hangs your problem - I don't fake quote - you have been gibven pages of transcripts
Over and out on this
Jim

|


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: The Sandman
Date: 06 Mar 20 - 10:10 AM

I have no reason to doubt that you report what your singers say honestly. I can't be sure that you do it accurately, because you don't quote me accurately. It's as simple as that."
EVEN IF WHAT YOU SAY IS TRUE, Which appeers to be another debate or debatable. you are generalising about ,Jim from one particular incident, never generalise from the particular, this thread is reminscent of the mad hatters tea party


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 06 Mar 20 - 10:31 AM

Hands across the pond

"Texas Gladden spoke of having an image in her mind for every one of these old stories. “I have a perfect mental picture of every song I sing. I have a perfect picture of every person I learned it from, very few people I don’t remember. When I sing a song, a person pops up, and it's a very beautiful story. I can see Mary Hamilton, l can see where the old Queen came down to the kitchen, can see them all gathered around, and I can hear her tell Mary Hamilton to get ready. I can see the whole story, I can see them as they pass through the gate, I can see the ladies looking over their casements, I can see her as she goes up the parliament steps, and I can see her when she goes to the gallows. I can hear her last words, and I can see all just the most beautiful picture"
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 06 Mar 20 - 10:31 AM

Hands across the pond

"Texas Gladden spoke of having an image in her mind for every one of these old stories. “I have a perfect mental picture of every song I sing. I have a perfect picture of every person I learned it from, very few people I don’t remember. When I sing a song, a person pops up, and it's a very beautiful story. I can see Mary Hamilton, l can see where the old Queen came down to the kitchen, can see them all gathered around, and I can hear her tell Mary Hamilton to get ready. I can see the whole story, I can see them as they pass through the gate, I can see the ladies looking over their casements, I can see her as she goes up the parliament steps, and I can see her when she goes to the gallows. I can hear her last words, and I can see all just the most beautiful picture"
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,Georgina Boyes
Date: 06 Mar 20 - 10:38 AM

Before it gets treated as evidence of my views, can I say that I can barely remember that conference forty years ago, let alone guarantee the accuracy of a snatch of conversation I'm reported to have had there.
I'm more than happy to stand by what I've written, but see no reason to vouch for words someone else is putting in my mouth.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,Starship
Date: 06 Mar 20 - 10:44 AM

https://www.folkmusic.net/htmfiles/inart558.htm

Good article that's worth a read.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 06 Mar 20 - 11:05 AM

Back to editing as mediation.

In the Blaxhall Ship film the change from jacket and tie to coat and muffler is for the last verse of The Nutting Girl. The camera pans back to the singer at the end of the chorus but before he starts it cuts to the different clothes. I wonder if there was some "issue" with the 'punchline' verse on the version with the more smartly dressed company.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jack Campin
Date: 06 Mar 20 - 11:06 AM

I have no reason to doubt that you report what your singers say honestly. I can't be sure that you do it accurately, because you don't quote me accurately. It's as simple as that.
EVEN IF WHAT YOU SAY IS TRUE, Which appeers to be another debate or debatable. you are generalising about ,Jim from one particular incident,


It isn't one incident. He's been systematically twisting people's words and lying about what they said (when the original was in plain sight) for years. MANY people's words. Anyone who disagrees with him about the most trivial issue.

Combine the barefaced lies with the disgusting arrogance and the endless rehashing of the same tiny fund of anecdotes, and why would anybody want to check out what he may have done off Mudcat? I never have and never will. All I know of him is how he comes across here, and you shun people like that.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 06 Mar 20 - 11:11 AM

Here's A Health To The Barley Mow
1955 Blaxhall, Suffolk
http://www.eafa.org.uk/catalogue/5


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 06 Mar 20 - 11:14 AM

You said what you said Georgina
I remember it well - it was important enough to have made an impression
I really can't be arsed to respond to Jack's gratuitous abuse which has now become commonplace here
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 06 Mar 20 - 01:25 PM

Just become available for download on Academis (200+ pages worth) James Hogg and the traditional culture
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Brian Peters
Date: 06 Mar 20 - 02:22 PM

Vic, it wasn't me that mentioned the Blaxhall Ship film, fond as I am of it. However, I agree with you that 'mediation' need not necessarily be a dirty word - unless it's deliberately used in a pejorative sense.

I enjoyed the anecdote about Mr Kennedy too.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: The Sandman
Date: 06 Mar 20 - 02:34 PM

Brian ,Peter Kennedy bootlegged from a folk on two pay of the lp Dunmow Flitch atrack called the bald headed end of the broom and then started to try and sell tacky cassettes of the one track, VERY SAD REALLY


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Joe Offer
Date: 06 Mar 20 - 02:38 PM

After all this, I'm not sure we have an adequate definition of "mediation." As I understand it, mediation is what happens in the process of a collector passing on the work of a performer to a larger audience. In my understanding, mediation in itself is neither good nor bad - it's just the process of handing the work from a performer to a group of people through a third person, the mediator. The mediation of some mediators has a strong effect on what the ultimate audience receives, and the good mediators have an almost transparent effect on the end product. So, to my mind, the mediation is always present, and it's the effect of that mediation that is either good or bad.
And I'm not sure that's totally correct - sometimes, strong mediation can have a very good effect.
But for a collector like Jim to say there is no mediation in his work, I'd say that has to be incorrect. The mediation is always there, and then it's up to us to evaluate the effects of that mediation.

-Joe-


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jeri
Date: 06 Mar 20 - 02:54 PM

Joe, I don't think "performer" is all that relevant to folk songs that were sung in people's homes, or other setting. I figure "mediator" is someone who can, and does, decide what to share with other people. This isn't necessarily bad, as collectors have to limit the scope of their collecting somehow. Sometimes, it's about what type of song to include, sometimes it's a selection of versions, or verses. Any collector isn't the only one around.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 06 Mar 20 - 02:56 PM

"But for a collector like Jim to say there is no mediation in his work,"
Not the way Harker used the term an how it is been suggested here Joe
Some of Harkers supporters have openly suggested that how we have presented our singers views is untrustworthy
Harker based his book on that premise when he chose the title 'Fakelore'
We passed on what we got and, when it became uncomfortable for one poster, she went as far as to say the singer had no claim to being a source singer and had been hyped into one by a revival plot - it's all up for the reading
For the average, non-academic folkie 'Mediation' is what you do to stop a fight - nothing to do with our music - I'd never come across the term used in this way until this melee
If we want to make these discussions all-inclusive they need to be in a language understands and agrees on otherwise they become exclusive clubs
Jim


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Joe Offer
Date: 06 Mar 20 - 03:10 PM

Did Harker give a definition of the term in his book, Jim? Can somebody quote it? I just don't see that we have settled that definition in these two lengthy threads, and I think it's a rather basic thing.

Your definition does not fit the ordinary, general definition of the word, although I agree that the term can take on different meanings in different situations - your definition puts "spin" on the word and makes it appear to be something bad, and I see the word as neutral.

-Joe-


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 06 Mar 20 - 03:44 PM

Did Harker give a definition of the term in his book, Jim? Can somebody quote it?

I thought it was right at the top of the thread, but it seems to have gone. I referred to it in my post of 19 Feb 20 - 04:21 PM

In that post I quoted Jack Campin's quote from Harker "By mediation I mean not just simply the fact that people passed on songs … but that in the very process of so doing their own assumptions, attitudes, likes and dislikes may well have significantly determined what they looked for, accepted and rejected." but I am not sure now whether the ellipsis (...) was me or Jack.

I suggested (having just read the book) that Harker's actual usage should go on ", how they edited it and the way in which they selected from it, presented it or explained it."

To me Harker's actual usage was often as if the words "may well have" were ommited which, to me, is how his usage comes over as being prejudicial.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 06 Mar 20 - 03:48 PM

Jack 19th Feb.
To repeat Harker's definition:

By mediation I mean not just simply the fact that people passed on songs … but that in the very process of so doing their own assumptions, attitudes, likes and dislikes may well have significantly determined what they looked for, accepted and rejected.

Perfectly straightforward idea and you'd have to be pretty insecure to find it threatening.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 06 Mar 20 - 03:49 PM

Me 19th Feb.

Surely the meaning of 'mediation' is crystal clear as expressed above by Jack I think. There is nothing sinister about it. It can be used positively and negatively, even neutrally and can be applied to any musical process. I just can't see any problem and am astounded it is even being discussed.

I also believe it can be applied to a conscious act or an unconscious one but perhaps that is something worth discussing?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 06 Mar 20 - 03:52 PM

I forgot I had the PDF on this computer here you go:

"By mediation I understand not simply the fact that particular people passed on songs they had taken from other sources, in the form of manuscript or of print, but that in the very process of so doing their own assumptions, attitudes, likes and dislikes may well have significantly determined what they looked for, accepted and rejected. Not only that, but these people's access to sources of songs, the fact that they had the time, opportunity, motive and facilities for collecting, and a whole range of other material factors will have come into play. (D Harker, Fakesong, Introduction, p xiii)

Jack Campin may have taken it from Harker's earlier book


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 06 Mar 20 - 03:57 PM

Which is precisely why I suggested that several threads would be needed if the thread wasn't to erupt into the chaos it has. There are many types of mediation and this thread jumps about crazily from one to another.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 06 Mar 20 - 03:58 PM

Oh and whoever posts next it won't in reality be 400 as some of these posts will be deleted, probably this one.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 06 Mar 20 - 03:58 PM

I think he means passed on songs, in the form of manuscript or of print, that they had taken from other sources but it's ambigious.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 06 Mar 20 - 04:03 PM

... but its ambiguous - which is probably why it was left out up the thread.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,Starship
Date: 06 Mar 20 - 05:07 PM

Maybe the thread can be re-titled: Mediation and its many definitions in folk music.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jack Campin
Date: 06 Mar 20 - 05:47 PM

The end of that quoted paragraph from Harker's intro points to situations where allocating blame doesn't come into it. Any effort to set up collection events will exclude people who won't or can't participate, or will mutate their songs into something very different from how they'd normally sing them. Turn up with the sort of recording rig used by Alan Lomax in the mid-century, or Bartok and Saygun on their "field trip", and you attract people who like the idea of performing to a mike and shut out those who don't, or are too tied up with looking after a houseful of children or a mountainsideful of sheep to get away. The collecting relationship itself sets up filters. (Gender being another one, and religious belief being similarly important).


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Joe Offer
Date: 06 Mar 20 - 06:51 PM

So, I take it then, that I was correct in thinking the word "mediation" usually requires further description. It IS the passing on of something, but that action of passing on always has a variety of factors that demand description.
-Joe-


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 06 Mar 20 - 08:25 PM

"Did Harker give a definition of the term in his book, Jim? Can somebody quote it?"
As far as I can see, Harker doesn't actually use the term 'mediation' in 'Fakesong', it certainly doesn't appear in the index - someone appears to have waved a magic wand to conjure it up here
It is used in that appalling 'One For the Money', which I regarded as little more than an act of revenge taking
When I fisr=t git it - (I hesitated, because I assumed it was about pop song, which bores me as much as football and golf), but I did as I always do with that sort of thing and looked up MacColl and the Critics to see how wide the coverage of the revival was
MacColl's name appears in the index as "see Jimmy Miller with no listings - the mysterious Jimmy Miller has a number of reference - all inaccurate from my experience
For a 'scholar' to use the name of an established artist that had been changed four decades earlier is downright bad scholarship - certainly indicative that anything written about that artist should be automatically rejected
He didn't write anything about Cary Grant or Archie Leach or Judy Garland or Ethel Gumm !!
Downright spite
Out of curiosity, I looked up Robert Zimmerman - nothing - plenty on Bob Dylan though
That's tabloidese level

""mediation" usually requires further description."
Why not use the language everbody understand Joe - are we afraid Joe Public might climb over the wall and disturb our private meeting - a passing source singer maybe ?
It seems those using it freely here are having to check on its meaning
THis is getting like the wonderful'The Establishment' piss take on academese (for those who remember the Golden Days of Stage satire)
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Joe Offer
Date: 06 Mar 20 - 10:30 PM

The full text of Fakesong is here:

If you use [CTRL-F] to search the text, you will see that Harker uses the term "mediation" many times. This seems to be his main passage defining mediation:
    The scope and content of Fakesong were partly determined by the need to present a substantial historical account of the mediation of songs. By mediation I understand not simply the fact that particular people passed on songs they had taken from other sources, in the form of manuscript or of print, but that in the very process of so doing their own assumptions, attitudes, likes and dislikes may well have significantly determined what they looked for, accepted and rejected. Not only that, but these people’s access to sources of songs, the fact that they had the time, opportunity, motive and facilities for collecting, and a whole range of other material factors will have come into play. Ideological and material factors in this process did not occur separately, of course. So, while we cannot ‘read off’ what a person did with songs from, say, their class position, it is still the case that their social origins, education, occupation (or lack of it) and so on were obviously connected with how they felt, thought and acted, in relation to songs as to everything else.
    These things happened, not in a mechanical or an inevitable way, but they were linked all the same. Fakesong aims to show why these people mediated songs, who they did it for, and how their practices and the results of their mediations related to more general cultural and historical tendencies and developments. But in order to do this with any degree of thoroughness, we have to know who the people were, and that in itself sets limits on the historical period and the range of materials we can examine.

This seems to be a very reasonable statement. As I've said above, collectors like Lomax had a very strong mediation effect on the work they collected, and I am sure you are aware of this. On the other hand, more recent collectors like you are well aware of the effect of the mediation of earlier collectors, and you are much more careful to reflect the work of source singers honestly and transparently. We have made great strides in our processes for collecting the work of source singers. Unfortunately, many of the source singers have died before "enlightened" collectors got to them.

Frank Warner collected from Frank Proffitt early on, and he did a very good job. I think that Sandy Paton collected from Frank Proffitt maybe twenty years later, and the music that Sandy collected from Proffitt was (in my opinion) far superior to that which Frank Warner collected. We've learned a lot through the years. And if nothing else, Sandy Paton had recording equipment that was far superior to what Frank Warner had.

The first song Frank Warner collected from Frank Proffitt was "Hang Down Your Head, Tom Dooley," in 1939. Warner was still collecting songs from Proffitt in 1958, and Proffitt died in 1965. Young Sandy Paton collected songs from Frank Proffitt in 1961-1962, using superior equipment. I think there's a significant difference in mediation between Frank Warner and Sandy Paton, although both did excellent work. Sandy was very concerned about the sound quality of the recordings he made, and wanted to make recordings that people could listen to and really enjoy. Frank Warner was more interested in documenting the songs he collected. In 1984, Frank's widow, Anne Warner, published the remarkable book, Traditional American Folk Songs from the Frank & Anne Warner Collection, which is one of my favorite books in my library. The songs from Frank Proffitt take up more than 60 pages in the book, and the Frank Proffitt chapter is just excellent.

But I have recordings of Frank Proffitt from both Frank Warner and Sandy Paton, and I far prefer the Sandy Paton recordings. Partly, I think that's because Frank Warner was "old school" and Sandy Paton was "enlightened." But another factor is that Sandy had far better recording equipment (plus a very engaging personality).

I have heard a few of the field recordings that Jim Carroll has made, and I hope to hear more. I think that Jim's collecting falls into the "enlightened" category, and that his mediation is very near to transparent. You can find many of the recordings Jim collected at the Clare County Library.

-Joe-

Liner notes from the three Sandy Paton recordings of Frank Proffitt:


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 07 Mar 20 - 12:29 AM

I shall have more to say, but one point I would make is that we should not take the quotation from Harker as meaning either that the definition applies only to the collection of songs, and does not apply also to the book or article or web site or CD or whatever other medium through which the songs (whether complete or edited) are transmitted. Nor should it me thought that the definition does not cover the ideological framework or frameworks stated or implied through those other media.

Taking the definition in this way would undermine part of Harker's project, which is to lay out for inspection the political, and often nationalistic, ideologies of those who are doing the collection/printing/publishing/introducing/editing.

For as we all know, modern concepts of 'folk' seem to date from the 19th century. They were not current, for example, when Motherwell or Scott were doing their work. Part of what Harker is doing is setting out how people's ideas about the stuff they were collecting have changed over time.

Harker provides this background, and he does so through left-wing eyes, though in most cases his 'facts' about the histories of the mediators do stand up. People might not like to face the fact of Sharp's racist comments, or Motherwell's illiberal anti-Catholicism and political Conservatism, but they are there. And worth noting because they are of historical interest. Let us not forget that some of these folk songs also are of historical interest, which is why some of the collectors went round collecting them.

It isn't only people of Harker's political persuasion who think it is worth thinking about the contexts of those who collected and edited and regurgitated folk. Roud makes the point that it is worth knowing about in his very different book on Folk Song in England.

Regarding Jim Carroll's practice, I may have something more to say, but it will be in the context of the above comments. Particularly as they focus on changing and developing views of how to define and conceptualise this body of song (the old 'definitions argument), but also in terms of the basics of qualitative social research, since part and parcel of the work of Carroll and Mackenzie has been an attempt to go beyond song collection into some sort of broader theorising.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 07 Mar 20 - 12:56 AM

Let's take the proposition that traditional singers visualise the events in songs.

This has been advanced as some sort of research finding: a mediation if you like. So to research it you'd need a clear definition. Not easy to do. More than one definition involved.

What is a traditional singer, and which sort of song? Already we hit problems (how to define a trad/folk song). Then is it just narrative folk songs (ie basially ballads) or all trad songs? And then is it just folk songs or all narrative songs?

Then you have to decide about sampling = a point the Sandman has raise in the past. For me, and I only have basic social science (joint major) this is a question.

Then you have to decide how you are going to find out. You would need to choose methods, quantitative or qualitative (ie stuff you can count or more textual results). If qualitative you need a design that does what can be done to avoid biasing the outcome in terms of the questions you ask and other well-known problems.

To be fully transparent you have to account for all these definitional and methodological decisions, and, ideally, make any raw data available for people to look at as well.

On this basis, I do not agree that the work of Jim Carroll in collecting and mediating stuff about Pardon or the others has been transparent. In fact if you read his various anecdotes as told on Mudcat with care I think you can construct a persuasive argument that each time he tells them they are subtly changed to suit whatever point he wants to be making at the time. Example the one about the Irish Traveller selling songs to a printer: only in one version do we get told that the song in question (singular in that telling) was one that was well known and had featured (albeit perhaps not in the precise version sold to the Irish printer) on broadsheets before.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 07 Mar 20 - 12:59 AM

I don't often rate Lloyd but from time to time he makes a reasonable point. On commercial folk stuff he says there is nowt wrong with making money as it gets the songs sung, but he does regret that copyright can interfere with things (not sure how much he made from this source but as Harker points out he did all right out of the business and good luck to him on one level).

Lloyd calls it a 'grey area'.

But since he acknowledges the role of broadsheets (the Psyche's seeds quotation) he also realises that commercial elements have been involved for centuries.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 07 Mar 20 - 01:04 AM

Of course, Brian Peter's background in 'science' makes him an expert in research in 'this field' so I look forward to his accounts of how to plan and carry out a research project with genuine interest.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: The Sandman
Date: 07 Mar 20 - 02:42 AM

Jack Campin (whom I honestly respect as he is a person you can have a decent conversation with and who has taught me stuff) put:
Hilarious, jack campin the man that insulted ther late great Roy Harris, Roy was one of the most skilled   performer with an audience, he sent me this personal message
Greetings Dick, Thanks for backing me on Mudcat. Who is this Jack Campin? Outside of Mudcat I've never heard of him.
All Best, ROY


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 07 Mar 20 - 03:34 AM

I said that the term 'mediation' does not appear in the index, I really am not prepared to re inflict a re-reading of 'Fakesong at my age - it was a depressing enough experience the first and second time around
Whether I understood it or not is something that will have to be judged by someone who knows something about folk song

I have placed Harker's main points against our own (mine and Pat's Joe - it was a team effort) recordings of what we have been told by in the field - doesn't even come a runner up - he knew little more about folk song than our masked heroine do though he appears to have read a few books rather than attempting to fill in a void of ignorance with a few hastily trawled snippets from the internet (have you managed to plough your way through McCarthy yet ? - you should - it really is worth it)

The only way you will ever earn the right to comment on the
work of others is to actually examine it - otherwise they know SFA about what others have done, other than the few snippets other than the little that has been made available

I was intending to try and persuade the National Sound Archive to include tales, lore and backgound information up when they put our collection on line, but discussions here makes me wonder whether it wouldn't be best served by waiting for a generation who is more interested in our people's culture to come along rather rather than throw it at people who seem more interested than strutting their stuff to gain attention

Anyway, enough of this pleasant banter - back to the serious exchange of ideas (if I can find space among the downpour)

I have always believed that the answer to many of these questions lies in a full examination of all the work that has ever been done in the past, not the constant replacement of it with yet another fad, like the discarding of used underpants, which seems to pass for scholarship post Harker
If we can't learn from the past then we might as well do nothing and wait for a celestial chariot carrying all the answers

I am beginning to understand from continuing work here in West Clare that there is still a deal to be learned from the communities the songs stories and traditions were taken from

Old friends, Bob and Jaqueline Patten showed the valus of followning the footsteps of some of the early collectors in their case, Baring Gould - they generously shared much of what they found with our archive
Other generous souls, Mike Yates, Bob Thomson, Hugh Shields and Tom Munnelly, Barry Taylor.... made the point of passing on what they had done

One of the practices we did discover was 'family songbooks' and diaries - notebooks of handwritten songs from the family repertoire   and accounts of singing and storytelling, somtimes in the form of letters to relatives abroad - I heard Peter Cook give a talk on similar in Shetland once

I am convinced that there is much from the BBC collection that may have been recorded in the way of interviews that have never been examined
I'm waiting with some interest to see if researchers like John Moulden turn up anything from the huge and as yet largely un-examined Sam Henry Collection

The Sharp diaries as yet remain a mystery to me - are there more accounts of what the singers had to say..... ?

It is these people who had the answers to many of these questions - not self appointed 'experts' who hastily scrabble around using impenetrable language to keep them out and keep their clubs exclusive talking-shops

I'll continue to put up what the generous people we met passed on - with Jack's permission, of course

"the Jim Carroll show".
I count six postings in the trot - all "full of sound and fury, signifying nothing" - no doubt there will be more when I finish this far-too-long message
Self-awareness appears not to rate too highly with some people   
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jack Campin
Date: 07 Mar 20 - 03:36 AM

I was annoyed with Roy for the same reason I have often been annoyed with you - a pointless change of handle, which made years of previous discussions he'd been part of into gibberish. In his case the previous handle "Burl" was a godawful choice anyway - he never mentioned who he really was, so I assumed he was Burl Ives (I could have checked and found Ives was dead, but it didn't occur to me).

Why an excellent singer should self-sabotage his own forum presence by those shenanigans I can't imagine. It's like Kierkegaard having pseudonymous arguments with himself.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jack Campin
Date: 07 Mar 20 - 03:56 AM

Frank Warner collected from Frank Proffitt early on, and he did a very good job. I think that Sandy Paton collected from Frank Proffitt maybe twenty years later, and the music that Sandy collected from Proffitt was (in my opinion) far superior to that which Frank Warner collected. We've learned a lot through the years. And if nothing else, Sandy Paton had recording equipment that was far superior to what Frank Warner had.

That's a similar situation to the Bartok/Saygun one. Bartok's early collecting was done with a portable cylinder machine he schlepped around Eastern Europe on horseback, which meant he got fairly terrible recordings but could go almost anywhere to get them. Thirty years later, Saygun set him up with far superior equipment in Turkey for their short collecting visit - but it meant the singers had to come to the machine. They got a lot of locally prominent musicians, but not the same random selection of ordinary people singing in their home setting as Bartok had first got.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Brian Peters
Date: 07 Mar 20 - 05:02 AM

"Of course, Brian Peter's background in 'science' makes him an expert in research in 'this field' so I look forward to his accounts of how to plan and carry out a research project with genuine interest."

I don't think I'll bother. I could explain about apostrophe placement if you're interested.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Vic Smith
Date: 07 Mar 20 - 06:42 AM

Apologies to Brian who didn't mentiom the Blaxhall Ship film and to Jag who did.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 07 Mar 20 - 07:03 AM

@Vic Smith. No problem - its' nice to think I made sense ;-)

Thanks for pointing out the change of attire of the singer. Doesn't look like any attempt was made to disguise the switch. I wonder if there was a story behind it.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: The Sandman
Date: 07 Mar 20 - 09:08 AM

Roy never changed his handle, you however seem to lose the handle easily i think you should be discussing meditation not mediation, jack try taking up yoga


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jack Campin
Date: 07 Mar 20 - 09:17 AM

Roy started out as Burl and changed to RoyH.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: The Sandman
Date: 07 Mar 20 - 09:48 AM

yes and here it is quite clear, yet you chose to pick a fight with him.Subject: Burl changes name
From: RoyH (Burl) - PM
Date: 22 May 12 - 08:16 AM

Hello Fellow 'Catters,
I've grown a little tired of signing myself Burl, so as of now my new Mudcat name is RoyH.
nothing pointless about it as far as he was concerned, Jack take up meditation and stop flying off the handle so quickly


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jeri
Date: 07 Mar 20 - 10:36 AM

Drop it.
Roy changed his handle. The end.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Joe Offer
Date: 07 Mar 20 - 04:39 PM

Jim, when did you start collecting field recordings, and what recording equipment have you used over the years?
-Joe-


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 07 Mar 20 - 08:18 PM

My first efforts to recording were in 1969 - the year I moved to London
A friend back in Liverpool asked me to record his grandfather, a docker who had volunteered to fight in WW1 (underage as many were) had fought in the trances in Belgium and was wounded out
Me, John Faukner and Sandra Kerr sat with a tape recorder running for three days while the old man, Tommy Kenny, relived his life, totally forgetting we were there - a life- changing experience
At the time, I didn't have a tape recorder, but we borrowed a Uher from Charles Parker
Eventually, when I hooked up with Pat, we bought a second hand Uher from the BBC via Charles, and used it till it stopped working some time around 2008 - beautiful little machine which gave us good enough recordings to issue on albums - everything we issued (but one album) was recorded on the Uher, using an AKG 202 cardiod mike (also acquired second hand from the BBC
The exception was 'Paddy's Panacea' (Tom Lenihan) which was recorded on a borrowed Nagra, which was recorded on a Nagra (the Rolls Royce of tape recorders)
The Nagra was returned to EFDSS and stolen in a burglary a month alter (always regretted not keeping it:-) )
We now have a Nagra, but it's a bit inconvenient as it's single speed-single track and expensive to use because of the number of tapes needed
Never really got on with digital sound - too 'perfect' (read 'cold')
All our work has been in a domestic situation using a hand-held mike

Sorry to bang on at such length, but I intended to reply to Al about my feelings on technology, way back

We started recording traditional singers in 1973 after hearing a radio broadcast on Travellers, an interview with author, Jeremy Sandford, who had published a collection of interviews entitled 'Gypsies', recorded from British and Irish Travellers in England
One of his informants was a Wexford Traveller, Pop's Johnny Connors, who sang a song he had made during the programme
He was camped about three miles from were we were living, so we set out with a Critics Group friend, Denis Turner, asked Johnny would he sing for us..... we've never stopped since
Three months later we went to Clare to find singers - found plenty - and recorded there every year until we moved here in 1999
We are still looking for singers and occasionally finding them
Jim


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Joe Offer
Date: 08 Mar 20 - 03:37 AM

Jim, can you tell us more about the "huge and as yet largely un-examined Sam Henry Collection." I really like Gale Huntington's Sam Henry's Songs of the People. What else is in the Sam Henry collection that should be published?

-Joe-


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 08 Mar 20 - 04:48 AM

Songs of the people represents a small prt of what Henry collected, the rest is in his home in boxes and is yet to be examined
John Moulen is the expert on this, he gave a magnificent talk on Hnery in Belfast in October
Last year there was a beautiful TV film about Henry on Ulster Television which mentioned the untouched material - it was linked to at the time
I'll see if I can find it later

Changed my mind - that should do it

Shouldn't bother with part two - an anticlimax IMO
Jim


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 08 Mar 20 - 05:00 AM

@ Brian. Thank you for the offer, but the misinformation you provided about the 'subjunctive' put me off taking advice on English from that source.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: The Sandman
Date: 08 Mar 20 - 05:18 AM

Travels in the Subjunctive

If I could just step back in time
I'd sojourn by a waterfall, and every morning
I'd drink of all the beauty and the mystery
that it affords. I'd note with gratitude
the little watermill, and for its silent slave
the ponderous millstone grinding endlessly.

I'd sing the praises of what might have been.
The peace that finally decided to remain--
that donned the robes of nevermore,
a fitting tribute to a war whose only spoils
were obsolescence, sacrifice and pain.

The master poets might just move a bit
along the bench to make a little
space for me to take my place among them,
though this is merely flight of fantasy
the sun could never shine upon.

It could, however, flame the skies
with joys we do not even know. More,
they will surely owe their genesis
to us, not air or space or star.
I see subjunctive journeying as its own eponymn...
another tool of consciousness to say:
"It is not time for rest. Seek on."
       ~

Copyright © Robert Ludden | Year Posted 2014


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 08 Mar 20 - 06:02 AM

Meant to wish you good luck at The Cork Folk Club tonight Dick
Watch out for the 'Cute Cork Hoors'
Jim


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 08 Mar 20 - 06:19 AM

1 We were provided with links to stuff about Carroll and Mackenzie on the Clare County Library web site. This includes personal information about the two. "They met in London in 1969 as members of a singing workshop run by singer, songwriter and playwright Ewan MacColl,".

When I put this same information in a thread about Jim Carroll, hoping that Jim might keep his personal anecdotes to one thread, and that he might put up some information about the many publications the two claimed to have produced, I was told I was 'doxing' Jim by putting personal information on line. On that basis, Clare County Library web site is 'doxing' Jim Carroll.

But in reality neither Clare Library nor I were doxing Jim Carroll.

2 The sleeve notes on Puck to Appleby raise interesting questions relevant to mediation, being an example of it. Sleeve notes as a genre are a relatively recent invention. Somebody claimed that Wilgus originated the idea, but I don't know whether this is the case.

There seems to be no agreed format, but often information is provided about singers' backgrounds as well as about the songs.

I would not take what it says in the Puck to Appleby sleeve notes as gospel. There are several reasons for this.

The first one has been outlined by Jack Campin higher up this post.

Secondly, there is a detailed and negative review of some other sleeve notes b the same couple on MUSTRAD. This casts doubt on the quality of their work. I cannot comment on all the points made by the reviewer, but some I can and fully agree with.

I can see that this is, as the reviewer said 'utter rubbish': "Throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, famine, evictions, political upheaval and general poverty led to mass emigration from Ireland". The reviewer thought that the problem was that JC and PM don't grasp the meaning of the word 'throughout', which is a reasonable way of thinking about it. But I think the problem may be a lack of a grasp of grammatical factors, ie how the adverbial functions in the sentence as a whole. JC and PM appear not to have grasped what they had done wrong, even given this level of feedback. They claimed that people in Clare were laughing at the reviewer's lack of an understanding of mass emigration.

Thirdly, claims are made in the Puck to Appleby notes and the web site regarding the history of the song Barbara Allen. Twice we are told that it first appeared in print in an 18th century work by Allan Ramsay. However, it appears that there was a broadside earlier than that. By coincidence I was looking at this:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/5jBl5r50P0zKGJm5nLTpwpq/never-heard-of-barbara-allen-the-worlds-most-collected-ballad-has-been-around-for-450-years

I will note that even the information provided about Child by Carroll and Mackenzie on the Clare web site is wrong. He did not assemble his ballads from 'printed' sources: some of them were from manuscripts. Even I know that.

2 Following the links provided leads one to a lecture by JC and PM. One can imagine a lot of what they say: we have all read it over and over on Mudcat. The interesting bit is where it gets 'theoretical'. The claim is made that they discovered

"We found what seemed to be an innate feeling, an understanding, about the songs which has no bearing on intellectual ability or learning"

I note the non standard use of 'no bearing on' here, but the general idea is clear. They claimed a particular research finding to the effect that particular people had an 'innate' understanding and feeling about songs, enabling them to distinguish proper folk from the other rubbish. Assuming they know what 'innate' means, this is a strong claim, and one for which in my view there is no justification whatsoever in the bits of tape recorded stuff they produce to back it up. It is for me an example of mediation and worth discussing. How come certain people are not born with this understanding and feeling?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 08 Mar 20 - 06:37 AM

" I was told I was 'doxing' "
Will you stop doing this Pseaud
You put far more than that up - most of it highly inaccurate and speculative
What you put up was deleted - are you honestly claiming that the moderators would deliberately delete information on our work in Clare ?
It was a moderator who introduced me to the term 'Doxing' when she described to me what you were doing
I really think it's time the moderators did something about your behaviour here - preferably without laying the blame on your victims this time
You are continually destroying a good thread
In the meantime, our of respect for the other members of this thread, of which you display very little
Stop these personal attacks now
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 08 Mar 20 - 06:48 AM

Incidentally, My information on Barbara Allen referred to published collections and was taken from Child's notes
I have constantly pointed out that it was considered 'an old Scotch Song' in 1666, when Pepys mentioned it in his Diary
I also belive it probably existed far earlier than that in the oral tradition, as did many claimed to have originated in print be people who know no more than I do when these songs started
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Joe G
Date: 08 Mar 20 - 06:53 AM

Pseud - you really need to get a life rather than carry on this interminable feud with Jim - it's getting very tiresome now. I've had disagreements, sometimes heated ones, with Jim but, as I'm sure he will agree, we both move on - and don't take over threads with endless, pointless arguments


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: The Sandman
Date: 08 Mar 20 - 07:04 AM

thankyou JoeG , i would second your comments


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 08 Mar 20 - 07:12 AM

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/244216/English_Glossary.pdf

Discussion of both subjunctive and adverbials herein.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 08 Mar 20 - 08:04 AM

thank you JoeG , i would second your comments too
We all have our disagreements and were're usualy all equally to blame for them and need to put them behind us
Attacks on individual's work is something else altogether
Over and done with, I hope
Jim


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,Guest
Date: 08 Mar 20 - 10:19 AM

Pseudonymous - "Sleeve notes as a genre are a relatively recent invention'. Really? As Folkways was issuing extensive booklet notes back in the early 1960's, I think that this shows how little you actually know, despite your attempts to prove just how clever you think you are. And by the way, it is Jim and Pat. Drop the surnames stuff.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 08 Mar 20 - 10:40 AM

MASS EMIGRATION FROM CLARE
The highest year for emigration was 1851 the figure 9,499 - averaging 180 people per week, leaving the county.Mass Emigration from Clare

KILRUSH AND THE FAMINE

Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,Cj
Date: 08 Mar 20 - 01:01 PM

"What did you do today, dear?"

"Well, I spent my day winding up this old man who has spent vast periods of his life recording traditional singers and researching into traditional music"

"That's nice dear... but I thought you liked folk music?"

"Yes, but you know how I can't stand people who actually DO things. It's SO much easier to sit on the sidelines and criticize. Look - he reacts! Tee hee hee. And who knows? One day I may end up referred to on a footnote to a footnote"


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Brian Peters
Date: 08 Mar 20 - 01:38 PM

I can heartily recommend the From Puck to Appleby CDs to anyone who enjoys real traditional singing. Here's a link to the Musical Traditions review, written by someone who knows what he's talking about.

Geoff Wallis wrote in fRoots that it was "quite simply the most important and vital album of traditional song to emerge for some time."


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 08 Mar 20 - 02:34 PM

Geoff gave my harmonica CD a very nice review about 15 years ago, so he clearly knows what he's talking about! ;-)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 08 Mar 20 - 02:43 PM

"Sleeve notes as a genre are a relatively recent invention."
Can I just reiterate what I suggested earlier
Im y opinion, some of the best notes on folk songs and ballads are those written specifically for some of the early albums and rally could do with resurrecting as additional information to their understanding as sung pieces.
The early Library of Congress albums carried notes by Lomax, Borkin, Charles Seeger and Bronson, among others and are freely downloadable from the Smithsonian site.
Particularly noteworthy are those to the Riverside series 'English and Scottish Popular Ballads, written by Ken Goidstein, with I suspect, the assistance of Ewan and Bert
I suppose 1957 is relatively 'recent ' to some (centenarians maybe!!)
Jim Carroll

English and Scottish Ballads (review B H Bronson)
Thanks to the encouragement of many small successes, Kenneth Goldstein and Riverside have recently issued the boldest single venture yet in their eight double-sided LP set of Child ballads, sung unaccompanied by Ewan MacColl and A. L. Lloyd. It is not, I think, an exaggeration to declare that this is the most important event in the field since the publication of Sharp and Karpeles’ Southern Appalachian collection.
It may be short of ideal that eighty-odd ballads are sung by only two persons, but in spite of their professional status, both of these men, in their very different styles, carry conviction. Lloyd, although he has learned most of his songs from print, sounds more folklike; but MacColl is rooted in a strong family tradition, and wins our fullest assent.
The length of many of these versions as sung by MacColl and Lloyd is a new experience, and as such it prompts reconsideration of ballad-form by bringing into sharp focus questions hitherto un¬asked or but dimly perceived. For one thing, it shows that the ideal musical structure is inevitably a non-recurrent phrasal pattern for the quatrain. Repetition is an important part of the ballad’s effect, but internal repetition within so short a unit tends toward a monotonous extreme. The phrasal scheme abab doubles the number of repeated melodic statements from, let us say, forty to eighty, and at the same time doubles the frequency of repetition, abba is less insistent, and is intrinsically more shapely and artful. It is the favorite Irish “Come-all-ye” pattern, and sustains very well a short song. But both it and abca have the disadvantage of doubling the phrasal beginning and ending of a repeated tune: that is, abbaabbaabba; or abcaabcaabca, etc. Whereas, abcd allows the maximum variation and widest phrasal spacing within the recurrent unit, sepa¬rating every phrasal repetition by the tune’s whole length. How important this is can be seen in MacColl’s “Gil Morris,” which would be less of a tour de force and much more satisfying if the tune were not shaped on an identical mid- and final cadence. If, moreover, the non-recurrent pattern is so built that the tune’s final calls us back to the beginning, we have in this circularity the maxi¬mum continuity combined with the greatest variety possible. Such a tune is MacColl’s “Lang Johnny More,” where a major four- phrase tune begins on the tonic and ends on the second degree.
The influence of ballad music on ballad-form has never been sufficiently explored, perhaps in part because of students’ lack of opportunities to hear and ponder the whole range of effects. Listening to these longer British ballads, we can make a beginning. It becomes apparent that laws of natural selection have been operating here for a long time. It is clearly the music that has dictated, and probably created, the rhetorical and syntactical habit of the ballad’s textual line, which must be seized auditorially as a musical phrase; and of the tactics of the stanzaic statement, which ought not to overrun the tune. Mid-cadence and final cadence are virtually musical rhyme, and, in the vast majority of cases, chime on the dominant and tonic. Think, for examples, of “Barbara Allan” in most of its musical forms. Such a correspondence, reinforced by the mid-cadence and final pauses, makes accompanying verbal rhyme almost inevitable.
Again, the music has governed the strategy of dialogue in the typical ballads. It has determined that speakers should ordinarily be given a whole tune’s length to themselves. Splitting the tune among different speakers is likely to confuse. When it is done, it comes easier if a refrain-line occurs between the first and second speeches;
and, certainly, to split a single phrase of the tune between speakers is almost never possible. The refrain-line in such cases is best unrelated to the narrative path; is preferably aphoristic or syllabic—so as to sharpen the break. The very idea of refrain is, of course, musical in origin, and its types must accord with the scheme of the tune. When the refrain is internal, it is a further concession by the narrative to lyricism; when the refrain is external, the tune fixes the shape it must take and keep. Controlling the speakers in melodic blocks makes for simple confrontations of balanced proportions, of question and answer, of agreement and disagreement, of formulaic reply, and discourages all subtlety and indirection. Innuendo and irony do not flourish under these conditions. Thus, for example, in MacColl’s impassive traditional singing of “Thomas the Rhymer,” when the Queen of Elfland guerdons Thomas with the “tongue that can never lee,” his mordant protest, tactless in the extreme, is simply swallowed up by being couched in the same vehicle and voice as the Queen’s offer. The quasi-statuesque aloofness of tradi¬tional rendition subdues slight inflections or modulations of idea: irony of statement gains no foothold; a more flexible medium would be requisite. Such subtleties, consequently, do not survive in oral transmission: the ballad text simply loses what doesn't sing, and one may suspect the magic finger of Walter Scott in the stanzas occasioning these comments. (This song MacColl learned, both words and tune, from the Minstrelsy.)

Syne they cam’ to a garden green,
And she pu’d an apple frae a tree:
“Tak’ this for thy wages, True Thomas,
It will gi’ ye the tongue that can never lee.”

“My tongue’s my ain,” True Thomas said,
“A guidly gift ye wad gie to me!
I neither dought to buy or sell,
At fair or tryst where I may be.

“I dought neither speak to prince or peer,
Nor ask grace from fair ladye.”
“Now hold thy peace,” the lady said,
“For as I say, so must it be!”

Another example of melodic domination can be cited from the breathtaking ballad of abduction, “Eppie Morrie”:

They’ve taken Eppie Morrie, then,
And a horse they’ve bound her on,
And they ha’ rid to the minister’s hoose
As fast as horse could gang, could gang,
As fast as horse could gang.

Then Willie’s ta’en his pistol oot
And set it to the minister’s breist:
“O, marry me, marry me, minister,
Or else I’ll be your priest, your priest,
Or else I’ll be your priest.”

Willie’s ironic threat is lost in the singing, and the mere listener is sure to miss the point.
In such ways as these, the ballad music has exerted its ineluctable and unremitting influence on the ballad words, on the ballad rhetoric, on the ballad style, on the dramatis personae of balladry, their range and complexity of character and habit of expression. As primary condition and chief limiting factor of the ballads’ existence, it is the music that has always, both directly and indirectly, been shaping and defining and setting bounds and rendering inimitable this genre of popular art. With the multiplication and ensuing study of such living records as are now technologically possible and commercially feasible, the integrity of the ballad-form may begin to be understood.

The Ballad as Song, B H Bronson, University of California Press


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Brian Peters
Date: 08 Mar 20 - 02:47 PM

Joe Offer contributed a couple of interesting posts a day or two ago.

"I have recordings of Frank Proffitt from both Frank Warner and Sandy Paton, and I far prefer the Sandy Paton recordings. Partly, I think that's because Frank Warner was "old school" and Sandy Paton was "enlightened." But another factor is that Sandy had far better recording equipment (plus a very engaging personality)."

I don't have either the Warner book nor any Proffitt recordings with me right now but, while accepting that the Folk Legacy stuff is very good, I would certainly put the Warners into the 'enlightened' category, if providing information about the singers and reproducing their comments about the songs is one of the criteria. Their account of Frank P's comments on the 'Song of a Lost Hunter' ballad is one of the most remarkable examples of a singer's 'backstory' that I've ever read. I can't remember what recording equipment they used, but I do know that they were so short of tape that they were able to record only incomplete versions of many of the songs they found. I'd certainly recommend anyone here to go and here Jeff Warner's excellent and moving account of his parents' collecting expeditions, From the Mountains to the Sea.

"I have heard a few of the field recordings that Jim Carroll has made, and I hope to hear more. I think that Jim's collecting falls into the "enlightened" category, and that his mediation is very near to transparent."

I would second that.

"I take it then, that I was correct in thinking the word "mediation" usually requires further description. It IS the passing on of something, but that action of passing on always has a variety of factors that demand description."

Well yes, but that isn't dissimilar to the point I was making about the essential uselessness if the word. Better to use a word the meaning of which is clear, like 'editing', 'notating', 'transcribing', 'collating', 'rewriting', 'publishing' , etc., and then discuss the extent to which the action is transparent or justified. This is what happens in most of the literature. Contributing to this thread has involved me in consulting the writings of William McCarthy, D. C. Fowler, Emily Lyle and Steve Roud. All of them manage to discuss the kind of issues we're talking about here without using the word 'mediation', except for Roud who dismisses it out of hand. I've already posted a lengthy quote from Roud's FSE regarding Fakesong but, for those who missed it the first time, here's the bit directly relevant to the subject in hand:

"Their [the collectors'] motives were questioned, their honesty impugned, their editorial practices dissected and found wanting, and their collecting and publishing rebranded as ‘mediation’, which although technically a neutral word is always used in a negative sense."


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 08 Mar 20 - 03:41 PM

Imany thanks for all this but I don't wamn it to become about Pat and I more than to stop this unnecessary sniping by somebody wh hasn't examined our work and is dredging up out of context and unrepresentative quotes
There is something I'd like to deal with tomorrow on one review - I was hoping I wouldn't have to as it once led between us and Musical Traditions. which we all (Pat and myself and Rod Stradling) very much regret and have put in the past
Bits of it have already surfaced andf I have no doubt, if unchecked, will continue to do so
"Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow"
Jim


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 08 Mar 20 - 03:41 PM

Imany thanks for all this but I don't wamn it to become about Pat and I more than to stop this unnecessary sniping by somebody wh hasn't examined our work and is dredging up out of context and unrepresentative quotes
There is something I'd like to deal with tomorrow on one review - I was hoping I wouldn't have to as it once led between us and Musical Traditions. which we all (Pat and myself and Rod Stradling) very much regret and have put in the past
Bits of it have already surfaced andf I have no doubt, if unchecked, will continue to do so
"Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow"
Jim


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 08 Mar 20 - 03:46 PM

"... the essential uselessness if the word. Better to use a word the meaning of which is clear, like 'editing', 'notating',..."

I agree, but, on the first day of this discussion I asked "why not use the words like 'collecting' and 'editing' and if we have something to say about how they were done then say it" and I thought Jack Campin's answer beginning "Because the word draws attention to something systematic that can be examined ..." had some merit.

If we are interested in a particular collector and a particular body of collected material then informed comment on the individual components is important. However, in Fakesong Harker was addressing the cumulative representation (miss-representation in his view) of song over 250 or so years, so 'mediation' was for him a useful term for him. Other authors doing similar things (e.g. Georgina Boyes) manage with just the occassional use of the word.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 08 Mar 20 - 05:13 PM

Perhaps a list of the different degrees/types of mediation as they apply to our music might be a start.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Brian Peters
Date: 08 Mar 20 - 07:26 PM

"Because the word draws attention to something systematic that can be examined..."

And there's the rub. Is the work of anthologists and collectors from Percy to Lloyd, in its entirety, a 'systematic process' that can also be applied to all the rest, from Alan Lomax to Jim Carroll? I don't believe so. If one accepts that all of the above are elements in a concerted effort by the bourgeoisie to appropriate and misrepresent 'workers' culture' then Harker's concept of 'mediation' has some validity. If not, the house of cards comes crashing down.

Otherwise we're in broad agreement, I think.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 08 Mar 20 - 07:58 PM

We seem to be talking about talking in order to avoid talking about what we are talking about - the songs themselves
Jag, somewhat kafkaesquly makes acusations which he will not describe, but alludes to my so called habit of getting what people say wrong - which he refuses to name
Pseud continues her holy crusade to pick holes in our work
Steve want's to hold a meeting to discuss what to discuss
This is getting to resemble a Boulting Brothers comic satire (or maybe a Gogol novel, but not as well written)
Sharp, Broadwood, Grainger, The Hammonds.... produced a body of work that inspired and entertained my generation for most of our lives
In the 21st century a tiny group of deskbound academics decided we were wrong in believing a century (at least) held belief that what we were dealing with was 'The Voice of the People'
Where did they - MacColl, Lloyd, Lomax Bronson, Goldstein, Henderson, Cook, Hall..... and all the giants go so sadly wrong ?
So far we have a now admitted badly written, poorly researched book and a an indifferent remake (The Imagined Village) - I won't begin to describe my feelings on the farrago claimed to be 'folk' of the group that borrowed its name from THE LATTER
Why not just take the bull by the goolies and discuss the"fakenness" of folk
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 09 Mar 20 - 03:55 AM

As I understand the term 'mediation' as used by Harker in 'One For the Money', it implied that what the collectors brought back from their singers in no way represented 'The People's Culture' but had been adapted to appear that it did - "Fake Songs" - fairly unequivocal
Georgina's book widens the point to suggest that the societies that produced these songs, stories, lore... had been misrepresented and, in fact 'Imagined'
It seems to me that the great contradiction in all of this is that a number of the people who have embraced these arguments are the same people who have argued that today's folk scene is thriving, that it is no longer possible, or even desirable to understand and discuss what 'folk' means - that material sung by pop artists like Ed Sheeran and Neil Young have their place in today's "healthy" folk scene....

I have always been under the impression that, allowing for a little straightening out, what the early collectors brought back was a fair representation of the 'FOLK, REPERTOIRE' (It wasn't their job to bring back things that had been commercially shipped from the outside to be sold and to pacify)
Any 'mediation' that has taken place has been that been deliberately carried out by today's performers - the groups in funny costumes or pullovers, the removal of the narrative nature of the songs, the peculiar phrasing, the introduction of often unnecessary and intrusive accompaniments of songs that arrived unaccompanied, the use of harmonies that turned the interpretation of the songs from narrative to musical - and the bizarre move to 'Electric Folk, producing unfollowable drowned out renditions of the best of our long narrative ballads      
If there has been any distortion and misrepresentation of our folk songs it is in the latter days of the folk revival that it has taken place

To see the misrepresentation of some of our most beautiful 'Big Ballads' in a 'big' way I would highly recommend you seek our a recording of Maddy Prior's 'In Praise of Ballads' some of the best examples assembled into an hour and a quarter long radio programme   
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 09 Mar 20 - 03:55 AM

As I understand the term 'mediation' as used by Harker in 'One For the Money', it implied that what the collectors brought back from their singers in no way represented 'The People's Culture' but had been adapted to appear that it did - "Fake Songs" - fairly unequivocal
Georgina's book widens the point to suggest that the societies that produced these songs, stories, lore... had been misrepresented and, in fact 'Imagined'
It seems to me that the great contradiction in all of this is that a number of the people who have embraced these arguments are the same people who have argued that today's folk scene is thriving, that it is no longer possible, or even desirable to understand and discuss what 'folk' means - that material sung by pop artists like Ed Sheeran and Neil Young have their place in today's "healthy" folk scene....

I have always been under the impression that, allowing for a little straightening out, what the early collectors brought back was a fair representation of the 'FOLK, REPERTOIRE' (It wasn't their job to bring back things that had been commercially shipped from the outside to be sold and to pacify)
Any 'mediation' that has taken place has been that been deliberately carried out by today's performers - the groups in funny costumes or pullovers, the removal of the narrative nature of the songs, the peculiar phrasing, the introduction of often unnecessary and intrusive accompaniments of songs that arrived unaccompanied, the use of harmonies that turned the interpretation of the songs from narrative to musical - and the bizarre move to 'Electric Folk, producing unfollowable drowned out renditions of the best of our long narrative ballads      
If there has been any distortion and misrepresentation of our folk songs it is in the latter days of the folk revival that it has taken place

To see the misrepresentation of some of our most beautiful 'Big Ballads' in a 'big' way I would highly recommend you seek our a recording of Maddy Prior's 'In Praise of Ballads' some of the best examples assembled into an hour and a quarter long radio programme   
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Joe G
Date: 09 Mar 20 - 05:45 AM

You might find the songs performed by the folk rock bands impossible to follow Jim, I and thousands of others certainly don't. In fact, as I have said before, there are many people whose way into folk music will have been through folk rock and other modern interpretations


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 09 Mar 20 - 06:05 AM

"I and thousands of others certainly don't."
You have my undying admiration
The songs are deliberately made non-narrative, the words - when you can hear them, are tailored to fir the instrumentation which i at best, distracting, but usually so loud that it drowns out everything else
It's like trying to tell a story to the accompaniment of an angle-grinder
I'm not saying they can't be enjoyed by those who enjoy such things - but not as stories and certainly not as folk songs
I think we might have been here before Joe - Sheepcrook and Black Dog maybe ??
Jim


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Joe G
Date: 09 Mar 20 - 06:13 AM

Indeed we have Jim and we'll have to agree to disagree again :-)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 09 Mar 20 - 06:38 AM

"Is the work of anthologists and collectors from Percy to Lloyd, in its entirety, a 'systematic process' that can also be applied to all the rest..."

I don't think so either, but I think Harker presents it more as a cumulative narrative about 'the Folk' amongst the middle classes. His lowest level of granularity is the collector (or maybe 'the collection' as in a group of songs bundled together somehow). He is not talking about things at the level of a song so the seperate elements that Steve Gardham listed can be lumped together as 'mediation'.

Things get lumped together when similar features make them stand together within a discussion of a much wider scope. Steve Roud's discussion of Fakesong and The Imagined Village, and the various reviews of either or both, left them grouped together in my mind. Having since read them I think that is misleading (and unfair on G Boyes) if focusing on the detail of what they say but not so much when when thinking about 'the story' that has come down to us.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 09 Mar 20 - 06:41 AM

We will indeeed - why wouldn't we ?
It's beside the point anyway Joe
I said what I said to illustrate the strange double standards of those wh accuse Sharp and co of 'mediation' sometimes for financial gain or self promption, yet are quite happy to accept some of the extreme and very real mediation that has taken place withing today's revival without a murmer of disapproval
Beyond me
Jim


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 09 Mar 20 - 09:29 AM

Some of us are more interested in the degree of dishonesty involved in some of the mediation. As far as I'm concerned the vast majority of any of the mediation in the small world of 'folk' has either been positive or at least neutral.

e.g Bert. Ask yourself the question...would you rather have Bert's sometimes dishonest mediations with the songs and their histories, or nothing at all? I know where I stand. That doesn't mean I don't wish he had been more open about his interventions.

e.g., Cecil Sharp. Ask yourself the question...would you rather have the fruits of his 'mediation' or nothing at all? I know where I stand. That doesn't mean I don't regret his leaving people with the impression that these songs were made up by ploughboys and milkmaids somewhere back in 'Ye olde Englande'.

You can apply that principal to all of the collectors/editors/mediators/folklorists or whatever.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 09 Mar 20 - 10:02 AM

The mediations involved in the current revival have nowt to do with what the collectors and editors were doing then and to bring in this type of mediation is simply to cloud the issue even further.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 09 Mar 20 - 10:05 AM

For me, 'mediation' per se is not necessarily a bad thing. Nor is it necessarily dishonest. For example, say you take an old song and put your own twist on it, say to reflect current events you happen to care about. Then this is a form of mediation. Interpreting and evaluating the opinions and attitudes underpinning that mediation is another matter, and one that can be done in many different ways. Even a person who made alterations might not remember exactly why they did it, or may not have done it with any great degree of conscious thought, or might later in life look back on it and interpret what they did in a particular way eg 'I must have been thinking about x or y when I did that version'.

I have no doubt that Sharp was partly motivated at various points by financial considerations. He had to make a living after all. The same to some extent with antiquarians who were interested in and sometimes dealt in manuscripts. Ditto broadside printers, and some of those who sold material to them. The same with a great many people who produced song books in the days before industrialisation brought in records, CDs etc.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 09 Mar 20 - 10:21 AM

I am not sure that adding harmonies, either by a revival performer or Sharp counts as 'mediation'. It is deliberate and openly done act. Similarly the Aran jumpers, flat caps on stage and accompaniment style rooted in different traditions.

Way up this thread I said that one line of thought I have had whilst reading about 'mediation' of Folk music is "have I, during the 'second revival', been conned or unintentionally misled?"

I still have the vinyl I bought second hand in the late 1960's the sleeve notes on which introduced me to 'folk music'. So I have been listening to them and reading the notes. Purely by chance I started off with a selection that covers most of the names people still talk about.

No, I wasn't conned. Everyone was open about what they were doing. Nothing I have read since - including the moaning and nostalgia on that interminable 'state of UK Folk Music' (or whatever it was called) thread leaves me thinking that those people were doing anything they weren't telling me about. I think Bill Leader's notes on a couple of early Topic samplers were excellent.

But maybe I am the sort of skeptic who enjoys bubbles being popped. I react with glee at snippets like Walter Pardon's family singing "My Grandfather's Clock", the Coppers editing some bawdy stuff out of the family repertoire, Fred Jordan topping up his repertoire, Suffolk singers have songs from the News of the World stitched onto brown paper and Scan Tester playing "Eidelweiss" at a festival session.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 09 Mar 20 - 10:24 AM

Sorry, jag, open or not it's still mediation by any definition.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,Cj
Date: 09 Mar 20 - 10:25 AM

I remember hearing that when Alan Lomax recorded Bess Cronin, Lomax was more interested in her simpler songs - Uncle Rat, What'd you Do etc, and it took Seamus Ennis visiting to get the ballads from her. Although Lomax did get a recording of Lord Gregory, so perhaps not as cut n dry as that. Good to have both sets of recordings, of course.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 09 Mar 20 - 10:44 AM

@Steve Gardham

I am not convinced. If the original collected melody line is kept then the person adding the harmony is not man-in-the-middle between the source and the listener. The listener is getting something 'based on' what was collected.

And maybe even if the melody line is worked on. Is Vaughan Williams' English Folk Song Suite mediation?

But I did say earlier that I think regarding performer -> audience (in the widest sense) as mediation makes the term less useful. Something like 'interpretation' may be better for that.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 09 Mar 20 - 10:48 AM

Whatever other terms you like to use it's still all mediation of some sort. If you add or take one iota of anything or take it from one context and use it in another then technically this is mediation.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 09 Mar 20 - 10:54 AM

So Vaughan Williams' English Folk Song Suite is mediation? Michael Turner mediated Mozart?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 09 Mar 20 - 10:55 AM

On second thoughts, Michael Turner may be a Yes.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 09 Mar 20 - 10:58 AM

All of them, yes, yes, yes!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,Starship
Date: 09 Mar 20 - 10:59 AM

Until people accept a definition of mediation, it will mean turzledo. Some people will be speaking and others hearing something completely different.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 09 Mar 20 - 11:00 AM

Which is why you and some of the rest of us are saying we need to be qualifying what is being mediated and in what wayS.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 09 Mar 20 - 11:04 AM

Sorry that last post was in answer to jag, not Ss.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 09 Mar 20 - 11:06 AM

Hmm. Widening the term so much that is it not much use could be a way of kicking it into the long grass so that we have to use more specific terms.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 09 Mar 20 - 11:16 AM

Please do! Like many another term we get bogged down with here it has many connotations and usages. It has been useful here because it covers all of the types of mediation being discussed, but very confusing for the casual follower for that same reason.

I just looked it up in 2 very different dictionaries. In my Collins Gem all it gives is the definition of the act of intervening between two people with conflicting views (could be very relevant here). In my Chambers' 20thC it gives a whole range of meanings which include the very general broad one that I have used above.

So, for those interested in continuing the discussion we would do well to itemise the different types of mediation as it applies to folk music and perhaps start using different less confusing vocabulary.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 09 Mar 20 - 11:37 AM

"Lomax was more interested in her simpler songs -"
Was not aware of that
It was Jean Richie whose name constantly cropped up in connection with Bess, though I'm aware Lomax recorded her
Have listened to the lot on the Lomax site - well worthwhile
There's a story of how Ennis was asked to sing during one of his visits
He chose a somewhat risqué song which was greeted with total silence
When he hastily began to apologise, the family burst out laughing - they were winding him up
Jim


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 09 Mar 20 - 11:39 AM

Here's a start.
Do we want to consider the mediations of song writer, singer, collector, editor, publisher/printer, anthologist etc.?

Let's take the first one' writer, an obvious place to start, at least most writers are influenced by and use material that has gone before, tunes, parts of tunes, themes, subjects, lines, verses and any combination of these. Obvious examples are parodies and burlesques.

I've just been looking at the 'Sweet William' thread. Anyone reading one of the versions there will immediately see that most of its verses are found in other ballads. In fact it could well be a hotchpotch of other ballads strung together in the 18th century or even more recently.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 09 Mar 20 - 11:42 AM

Another excellent example is given in that same thread, Cecilia Costello's wonderful and unique 'Grey Cock' is actually made up of 3 different ballads, as pointed out in that and many other threads. No one is suggesting that Mrs Costello actually strung them together but whoever did was an absolute genius. One of my favourite ballads.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 09 Mar 20 - 12:14 PM

Hang on, what about https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Folk_process ?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 09 Mar 20 - 01:23 PM

Note there is no mention of 'oral tradition' there, because in theory other forms of transmission are acceptable within the 'folk process' but the normal form is 'oral' or 'aural'.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: An Buachaill Caol Dubh
Date: 09 Mar 20 - 08:20 PM

With regard to who made songs which lasted for a long time in oral tradition, anyone interested in anything not already addressed repeatedly might find a recent posting about maritime working songs to be of some relevance. Who made these songs?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 10 Mar 20 - 04:04 AM

@ Jag. Hello. Responding to your post to the effect that particular practices aren't mediation because they are open. I'm not sure that this eliminates them, as it seems to me that the key thing is whether they reflect attitudes and opinions. So on one level harmonising would be, as presumably it reflects an attitude that doing this is better/valid/enjoyable etc. Maybe the term mediation is useful in that it does make us think about 'why' ie the attitudes and opinions (assuming we want to think about stuff at all, which may not always be the case)? Not trying to be definitive here, just putting forward thoughts.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 10 Mar 20 - 04:20 AM

"Who made these songs?"
Nobody knows who made these songs and probably, we never shall
I was once accused by Steve of having a 'political agenda' for insisting that I believed that the 'ordinary people' made our folk song, in which case, I would suggest that the converse might be the case; if it is possible that working people could have made these songs, what possible motive could anybody have to insist they didn't, as some do ?
If they were able to - why didn't they ?

Most of our folk songs are full of 'working class' language', they reflect the experiences of working people in the language of working people, and they invariably take the side of those people against the unfairness and inequality of the times
Our poaching and transportation songs are obviously a result of the effects of the increasing hardships brought on by the enclosures which brought about the 'Poaching Wars which ran from 1760 to 1914
Why on earth should a town-based hack advocate on behalf of a poverty -stricken countryman who, in many cases, he despises, if his deriding, 'country bumpkin' songs are anything to go by ?
Real sailor songs stink of pitch and salt - not like the antiseptic drivel churned out in the hundreds by Dibden, or even the 'Jolly Jack Tar' patriotic nonsense to be found in Ashton's unreal 'Real Sailor' Songs'
Every type of folk song, from love songs to going to sea or war, or working at T' mill poverty raises a similar question mark
Of course it is possible, in fact, highly likely that the people who are depicted in the songs made those songs - they would have had to have been very backward not to have want to make them - expression in verse has always been a feature of human existence

We now know for certain that right up to the first part of the 20th century, Irish country people were making songs in their may thousands in every County in Ireland to reflect what was happening around them, shipwrecks, land wars, mass evictions, the struggle for independence, the organised cattle raids.....
Here in Clare we have songs on everything, from the schoolteachers who were pressurised by a local priest to marry because it was indecent for two unmarried people to work together, right through to the half-dozen songs about The West Clare Railway - all covered in songs
We were told by a local singer a few years ago, "If a man farted in church somebody made a song about it"
The pre-literate Travellers were still making songs on their lives in the 1970s when we first met them
Were the English working people so untalented and uncreative as to have to hire bad poets to do that on their behalf ?
What a sorry lot they must have been if that was the case

Why anybody should want to be so certain as some people appear to be that they didn't its totally beyond me - if I can be accused of having a political agenda, why shouldn't I counter by suggesting that those who would depict working people as creativeless might have a motive of their own
I haven't - yet, but I feel it coming on any day now !
Jim


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 10 Mar 20 - 04:30 AM

I'm just ignoring Jim's posts, based on past experience. I think Jack Campin probably had the best take on this.

I will recommend Boyes' book 'The Imagined Village', especially for somebody who has like me been actively involved in Morris or folk dance of one sort or another. We have all come across people who seem to think it is a mortal sin not to dance something according to the commandments of Sharp and Boyes' book gives us some insight into how this state of affairs may have arisen. Also good for some of the comments by Karl Dallas on the 2nd revival. I have to take it back to the library soon, but I very much enjoyed the book and lots of what it had to say. Very different from Harker though often bracketed with it.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 10 Mar 20 - 04:34 AM

"I'm just ignoring Jim's posts,"
About time too - you're out of your class
Citing someone who posts little other than unprecedented and somewhat hysterical hatred only underlines that fact
If you continue to undermine what I have to say I will request the moderators to sort you out
Jim


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 10 Mar 20 - 05:36 AM

The moderators remarkably quick in 'naming and shaming' those who respond to your bad behaviour but equally noticeable in their silence when it comes to stopping you
About time that was reversed
Jim


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 10 Mar 20 - 06:23 AM

I said "deliberate and open", not just open. The examples I gave were derivative creative works which I think is a better way of looking at it.

I am suggesting that being an intermediary between a melody on the page and a listener is not mediation. Saying, by way of introduction, "this is the tune of a song sung when milking a cow" is mediation.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: An Buachaill Caol Dubh
Date: 10 Mar 20 - 06:41 AM

@ Jim Carroll. Just to respond briefly, we are "singing from the same hymn-sheet", and you are doing so both more eloquently, and with greater knowledge and extent of resources, than I. Good Luck, ABCD.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Brian Peters
Date: 10 Mar 20 - 06:43 AM

"Saying, by way of introduction, "this is the tune of a song sung when milking a cow" is mediation"

I'd have called that 'providing context'. As soon as you call it 'mediation' you throw suspicion on it, for reasons discussed earlier.

Steve's example of Cecilia Costello's 'Grey Cock' is a fine case of something, but I'm not sure what. At what level in the chain might that collation have occurred? Conscious rewrite, individual creativity, 'folk process'? Queen Caroline Hughes presents an example of a singer mixing elements from different ballads, but her outcomes were nothing like as coherent as 'Grey Cock', and she was a bit of a one-off anyway.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 10 Mar 20 - 07:07 AM

"is a fine case of something, but I'm not sure what"
Me neither as all Cecilia Costello's songs were Irish anyway - from Ballinasloe, County Galway, to be exact
Irish scholar, Hugh Shields did an excellent work of research on the 'Grey Cock', by the way
Far more detailed than anything I've ever seen
Jim


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 10 Mar 20 - 07:16 AM

"I'd have called that 'providing context'. As soon as you call it 'mediation' you throw suspicion on it, for reasons discussed earlier."

But it might be wrong. It's second-hand information. "I recorded this from a girl milking a cow" is not second-hand, or mediation, but the tune itself then is, because it relies on the intermediary's transcription.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 10 Mar 20 - 08:00 AM

Further to Cecilia Costello
She is often heralded as a fine example of an English traditional singer - the finest to some, yet all her songs were learned from her Irish father, as was her singing style, which gives us a somewhat skewed view of 'the English repertoire
These include four rare Child Ballads, 'The Grey Cock', 'The Green Wedding (Child 221), The Cruel Mother and the controversial Jew's Daughter - all popular among Irish singers
I think it no accident that these ballads were learned in a town which was, and still is, influenced by the Traveller singing culture, due to the large annual fair which it is still noted for
Over the last three years I have reached the conclusion that there were possibly more Child ballads current in the Irish oral tradition in the latter half of the 19th into the 20th century than there were in among the English singers

It seems to me that since these discussions on Harker and mediation began there has been a great deal of ducking and diving taking place to avoid actually examining what effects the new-fangled mediation had on ou singing traditions - all that has happened is a loud trumpeting of Harker's allegations (which is all they are)

An Buachaill Caol Dubh
"and you are doing so both more eloquently"
Not sure that's true, but thanks anyway
Most of what I have to say I have acquired from the singers we met - I have never given a talk without playing their recordings and quoting what they had to say
All the albums we issued (with the exception of those few we had no control over) included singers talking as well as singing - we didn't want to present them 'just' as singers
It takes a thread like this to do that
Jim


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 10 Mar 20 - 08:00 AM

Further to Cecilia Costello
She is often heralded as a fine example of an English traditional singer - the finest to some, yet all her songs were learned from her Irish father, as was her singing style, which gives us a somewhat skewed view of 'the English repertoire
These include four rare Child Ballads, 'The Grey Cock', 'The Green Wedding (Child 221), The Cruel Mother and the controversial Jew's Daughter - all popular among Irish singers
I think it no accident that these ballads were learned in a town which was, and still is, influenced by the Traveller singing culture, due to the large annual fair which it is still noted for
Over the last three years I have reached the conclusion that there were possibly more Child ballads current in the Irish oral tradition in the latter half of the 19th into the 20th century than there were in among the English singers

It seems to me that since these discussions on Harker and mediation began there has been a great deal of ducking and diving taking place to avoid actually examining what effects the new-fangled mediation had on ou singing traditions - all that has happened is a loud trumpeting of Harker's allegations (which is all they are)

An Buachaill Caol Dubh
"and you are doing so both more eloquently"
Not sure that's true, but thanks anyway
Most of what I have to say I have acquired from the singers we met - I have never given a talk without playing their recordings and quoting what they had to say
All the albums we issued (with the exception of those few we had no control over) included singers talking as well as singing - we didn't want to present them 'just' as singers
It takes a thread like this to do that
Jim


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 11 Mar 20 - 03:27 AM

Going back to the topic of this thread:

It has been suggested that the term 'mediation' is meaningless or useless because it is possible to distinguish a many different sorts of mediation. I think one can turn this on its head: it is because mediation occurs in so many contexts relevant to folklore that it is useful to bear in mind when encountering material from that source.

The Briggs Memorial Lecture by musician and academic Richard Jenkins that I referred to is a 'case study'. It discussed what has been written on the history of a song called 'The Streets of Loredo' or 'The Cowboy's Lament'.

This song is often said to belong to a family called 'The Unfortunate Rake'. Jenkin demonstrates that this name is the result of badly done historical research. If anything the family ought to be called 'The Unfortunate Lad', as that is the title of most of the known early (ie 19th century) variants, except for one, the earliest known variant, which was called 'The Buck's Lament' and set in Covent Garden, London.

The song is also often said to have an Irish origin. Jenkin traces this claim back to a piece written early in the 20th century (published 1911) by the amateur folklorist Phillips Barry. In that piece Barry claimed that an Irish antiquarian had made the link. Jenkin reports extensive research in the background papers of the antiquarian in question, which have been preserved. They turned up no evidence to support Barry's assertion. There is no evidence that the antiquarian in question ever mentioned a song called 'The Unfortunate Rake'. Jenkins therefore concludes that claims of an Irish origin for 'Loredo' rest on 'flimsy evidence, at best'.

The piece claimed to be an ancestor of Loredo is frequently stated to have been collected in Dublin. However, earlier pieces, going back to a collection published by PW Joyce in 1909, give Cork as the place of collection by the same collector. Jenkin traces this change of place back to a mistake in a 1955 piece by Lodewick, and shows how Goldstein repeated the mistake in liner notes to an LP featuring A L Lloyd among other people singing what purported to be versions of a song called 'The Unfortunate Rake'.

It almost goes without saying that Lloyd himself played a part in propagating this flawed historical narrative. Jenkins states that this part was played at a time when Lloyd's biographer described his attitude to historical truth as being 'cavalier'.

Jenkins concludes that this name is almost certainly wrong. He has searched everywhere for a 19th century broadside supposed to have that title and has come up with nothing but broadsides with the title 'The Unfortunate Lad'.

As Jenkins points out, dubious information about the origins of this song appear all over the internet, much of it obviously culled from the Folkways Rake LP.

This topic interests me because some friends and I also did some background research on the same topic, tracing references back through the literature, just like Jenkins did. Indeed, Jenkins cites Mudcat discussions as one source of sceptical voices relating to the folkloric narrative about the origins of the song.

Bringing things back to the point: an interesting question is whether applying the concept of 'mediation' defined in terms of the opinions, beliefs and attitudes of the mediators helps us to make sense of the way in which the narrative was constructed and disseminated over all those years. I think it can, not least in waking us up to the possibilities. So one such attitude might be a belief that certain people have done their homework properly before publishing academic-looking liner notes and magazine articles. One question might be whether Barry's high regard for Ireland as a source of music (a fully justified belief) may have swayed him in favour of finding an Irish source.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 11 Mar 20 - 03:38 AM

"the tune itself then is, because it relies on the intermediary's transcription." I agree, but suggest, with respect, that to fit with the definition we have been working with fully, some comment could be made upon the approach to transcription of the transcriber. Eg for Sharp we know something about the way he tried, when faced with singers who often sang successive verses differently, to produce something representing the essence. For me, just assigning the label 'mediation' is less interesting and useful than making use of the concept to interrogate what is offered to the end user of mediated material and, ultimately, to support evaluation of that material.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 11 Mar 20 - 03:46 AM

Sorry in above post should have specified that the defn mentions the attitudes and beliefs of the mediator. These are important and so often worth highlighting. And maybe this is why the concept of mediation can be useful.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 11 Mar 20 - 04:17 AM

There is not the slightest evidnce that Lloyd's work was in any way 'flawed' - not a scrap
As a singer he, MacColl and the rest took their songs from everywhere and didn't bother too much revealing where they got them friom because, in those days, nobofy expected them to
Maccoll took songs he had heard from his family and his Sots neighbours and filled them out from published collections - he was singing them to cinema queues in the depression - before the revival was a twinkle in anybody's eye
"Going back to the topic of this thread:"
I discovered recently that Bert took many of his 'unusual' songs from collectors like Helen Harness Flanders and Edith Fowke - he described them as 'English' because many were brought to Canada and the Eastern American States by emigrants leaving Britain and Ireland in the 19th century- go do your homework before snapping at the heels of giants

As far as 'The Unfortunate rake' is concerned - this is the most travelled song in the repertoire - our exampled tend to be later ones (probably) and were still being re-created in the twentieth century, notably at during WWI about a pilot dying in the wreckage if his bi-plane
You made a stupid issue of your theory that a Clare farmer learned it from a blues singer - basically because of it's 'St James's Hospital' reference
You refused even to comment on the information provided that 'St James's Hospital' was a Charity Institution for diseased young women on the site of the later St James's Palace before the reign if Henry VIII
That's the type of thing Harker would have done   

"Going back to the topic of this thread:"
It's never been departed from and suggesting it has is being manipulative
Please stop being aggressive - doesn't help with friendly discussion
I can't see any reference to St James's Hospital in the title, yet you wax lyrical on the subject, or any you've a mind to
Please stop attempting to manipulate this discussion
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 11 Mar 20 - 04:34 AM

Jim, once again you are way out of order. You have not answered a single point of Pseud's correctly and there is absolutely no aggression in his post. Bert made many many incorrect and misleading statements which are all well documented and as Pseud says well covered in the biography. Once again you are the BULLY!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 11 Mar 20 - 05:00 AM

"You have not answered a single point of Pseud's correctly and there is absolutely no aggression in his post."
Yes I have Steve - this is an old argument which concers the repertoire of one of Ireland's most important field singers, 'Tom Lenihan'
The aggression came from the suggestion that anything that Pseud doesn't wish to discuss is "off topic" - it's a constant theme of hers, even to the point of demanding that I should open a new thread at one stage - that cannot go unchecked if we are to have friendly discussions
You have yet to respond to any of my points, neither has Jag - god knows there's enough to pull down

Nit-picking slips by giants like Goldstein is easy meat for someone wishing to avoid the imprtant work they did - that's how Herker operated and it did a great deal of damage to our understanding of folk song - it helped creates the fog that now surrounds the term
That is why I keep suggesting that it is more important to discuss the repertoire than the characters of collectors which Harker chose to assassinate

Even the tunes are a bit of a red herring in all this
They were portable and quite often statched out of the air rather than be attached to single songs
This would be even more true if your 'print origins' theory was correct
'The Folk' had enough problems in reading the texts - reading tunes is still out of the reach of most of us
Jim


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 11 Mar 20 - 05:31 AM

By the way
"You have not answered a single point of Pseud's correctly"
If my reply to her was incorrect- correct it
I'm tired of people alluding to my being wrong without specifying where
Jim


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 11 Mar 20 - 06:39 AM

On disagreements within the world of folk experts, a whole section of Wilgus is about 'ballad wars'. And the book is full of cautions and areas where there have been different views. Partly what makes it interesting and I for one don't claim to have the answers.

I hope every body has a lovely day.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 11 Mar 20 - 11:26 AM

This is an example of a song recorded originally by R J Moeran who sent it to an early Folk Song Journal (singer unidentified)
Only the tune was published with a note that the words were too indecent to include
In the prtaining circumstances what should have happened to the song?
Jim Carroll

Girl of Lowestoft or The Hole in the Wall sung by Harry Cox, circa 1950 (rec by Alan Lomax)
If you go To Lowestoft
And ask for the Hole in the Wall
There you’ll find Polly Armstrong
She ain’t got a hole at all

She was a rum one, she was a funny one,
She was a rum one O

At last I found her hole
‘Twas underneath her frock
If you gave me all the world I coldn’t find my cock
She was a rum one etc

At las I found my cock,
My cock was in her hand
And if you gave me all the world
I couldn’t get him to stand
She was….

At last I got him up,
As stiff as a wooden pin
If you gave me all the world
I couldn’t get him in
She was….

At last I got him in
And wriggled him about
If you gave me all the world
I couldn’t get him out
She was….

At last I got him out, he was so stiff and sore,
If you gave me all the world   
I’ll never touch another whore
She was

Alternative first verse
If you go to Lowestoft
Sand ask fro the Rising Sun
It's there you’ll find two old whores
And my old woman is one


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Brian Peters
Date: 11 Mar 20 - 03:22 PM

"It has been suggested that the term 'mediation' is meaningless or useless because it is possible to distinguish a many different sorts of mediation."

Assuming this comment refers to my posts, it doesn't cover my range of objections to the term.

1. According to its general definition it's a broad, nonspecific term which can describe a considerable range of transactions.

2. Its usage in Fakesong is almost always pejorative, so to apply it in a wider context risks appearing condemnatory, whether or not this is the intention. In the present discussion there have been examples of finger-pointing and cries of 'mediator!' reminiscent of a 17th century witchfinder.

3. Its usage in Fakesong is also indiscriminate, involving its application to a variety of practices that are not comparable. Thus even in this narrow context it still requires additional qualification. This can lead (again, there are examples in the present discussion) of angels-on-a-pinhead arguments about whether a given practice can be described as 'mediation' or not.

4. It simply hasn't caught on. The literature, both ante- and post- Fakesong makes little or no use of it. For instance, I've recently been looking at the collection of essays entitled 'Folksong: Tradition, Revival and Re-Creation' (2004, eds. Russell and Atkinson) and, although several articles cover the work of collectors, the word 'mediation' scarcely appears, with the exception of David Atkinson's essay 'Revival: Genuine or Spurious', in which it is used once, in speech marks, and then rejected. Martin Graebe's biography of Baring-Gould devotes plenty of space to the Reverend's (somewhat notorious) editorial practices, but again doesn't refer at all to 'mediation'. It seems that it's only in this little corner of Mudcat that anyone is bothering with it at all.

I rest my case.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: An Buachaill Caol Dubh
Date: 11 Mar 20 - 03:42 PM

Let's just all wait and see if the term "stands the test of Time" and enters the tradition....


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 11 Mar 20 - 03:42 PM

It doesn't appear in Harker's index though it did several times in One For the Money
If it appears in the text I can't remember it - mush of what harker had to sy was perjuratibe


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 11 Mar 20 - 04:07 PM

Nice one, ABCD!
Jim,
Many thanks for the Harry Cox text. I don't think I've got that one. Is it on an accessible recording along with any others similar? The answer to your question has to be even today the use of the song would have to be severely mediated as it was then, to have any use to anyone other than a rugby team or a researcher into such material.

Brian, I thought we'd established that within our context the term was a somewhat vague umbrella term, that for more precise usage needed qualifying. Many other terms, 'folk' for instance, are wide ranging with multiple meanings and connotations, but it doesn't stop us using them. As I think I've established above there are many different types of mediation within our sphere of interest. It's a relatively simple job just to state which types of mediation we are referring to, and who is doing the mediating.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 11 Mar 20 - 05:02 PM

Brian
Re 'Grey Cock' which is indeed very relevant to this thread whichever way you look at it; my own personal belief is that it was put together by a quite sophisticated hand. I'm aware that there are a couple of other Irish related pieces that marry together 2 of the ballads, but to take 3 quite autonomous ballads, albeit similar in subject, and weave them together in such a clever way, has been the work of a very creative and knowledgeable hand. First of all you have to have intimate knowledge of all 3 ballads, and then recompose them so that they run along perfectly so that it leaves the singer, without knowledge of the 3 originals, marvelling at the end product. It is undoubtedly a masterpiece.

With more in-depth study it might be possible to arrive at the conclusion that the triple hybrid evolved from one of the double hybrids in which case the leap is not quite as astounding.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 11 Mar 20 - 05:20 PM

Put together by a sophisticated hand? At this point one of Sandman's comments about intellectual wankers might be apt?

The song has been used in arguments to suggest that 'House of the Rising Sun' originated in Lowestoft. (I thought everybody knew that one!) If memory serves me aright Lomax was mixed up in this line of arguments at some point. An example of mediation perhaps?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 11 Mar 20 - 05:20 PM

Just to clarify, the start of my last post was a joke.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 11 Mar 20 - 05:36 PM

500?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 11 Mar 20 - 06:20 PM

Good joke-tellers don't have top explain their jokes

You;'re entitles to your opinion Steve - it shows a distinct lack of understabnnding of the creative abilities of the non sophisticated though, which doesn't surprise me
The harry Cox song is on the Lomax site - link on the Harry Cox thread
Jim


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 12 Mar 20 - 04:36 AM

Continuing where I left off to watch crap on tele (and eat):
The Grey Cock is an Irish version, as are Mrs Costello's three other ballads and it is unique.
I'm often astounded by how ready Steve and others are to attribute such wonderful songs to the educated rather than 'the folk'
The ballad reeks of folk vernacular - 'the burning Thames' being typical, in line with the popular 'hot as the hobs of hell' folk saying and a superb example of the folk belief of the pain experienced by the dead in crossing water, the motif of many Irish folk tales
It also has similarities to the bothy night visiting song, 'I'm a Rover'
The Costello family came from County Galway, an area noted for Travellers - which means they were almost certainly familiar with Traveller songs and storytelling
In North Clare, the neighbouring county, Prof. James Delargy took stories from Paddy Sherlock, Traveller storyteller whose tales had similar motifs
Not too far from Ballinasloe, in Cloonfad., we were lucky enough to meet and take stories from one of the last of the Irish 'big storytellers' Jack Flannery
We got hour-plus long stories from him, 'The Spirit Horse under the Bridge', ' John, the Prince of Galway', 'The Cloak of Darkness' (invisibility)... and half a dozen others, all full as such motifs as are to be found in 'The Grey Cock'
Jack was a ex farmer, road worker living in a labourers cottage a mile outside Cloonfad, -
Born the week the Titanic sank, he was a masterful storyteller at 'high-art level, with all the techniques of the best of them - and a preference for "the long ones"   
Before you attribute these songs to 'the educated' you really need to be sure of your facts Steve
Jim


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 12 Mar 20 - 07:13 AM

Steve wrote:

my own personal belief is that it was put together by a quite sophisticated hand. I'm aware that there are a couple of other Irish related pieces that marry together 2 of the ballads, but to take 3 quite autonomous ballads, albeit similar in subject, and weave them together in such a clever way, has been the work of a very creative and knowledgeable hand. First of all you have to have intimate knowledge of all 3 ballads, and then recompose them so that they run along perfectly so that it leaves the singer, without knowledge of the 3 originals, marvelling at the end product. It is undoubtedly a masterpiece.

For some reason he seems to stand accused of falsely attributing a number of songs 'these songs' to 'the educated'.

Not only does this, in my eyes, misrepresent what he said, but it is also based on an incorrect view that anything offered so far has contradicted what he says. The idea that he needs to be sure of his 'facts' is risible, since what he are offered is what for me seems certain to be a highly mediated account of what was tape recorded in parts of Ireland. That account uses terms like 'almost certainly' which is a conjecture, not a fact.

The patronising last line just ends up being risible.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 12 Mar 20 - 08:31 AM

"For some reason he seems to stand accused of falsely attributing a number of songs 'these songs' to 'the educated'."
Steve has a history of claiming 'the folk' didn't make their own folk songs - he clims over 90% of them first appeared in print
Please try to keep up
Steve is quite vociferous in his claims - even insulting to those who disagree with him on occasions
There is no problem with anybody holding such views - it is when he presents them as 'facts' rather than "in my opinion" that the problems arise
I take the opposite view - so has the vast majority over the last century or so
If he believes this controversial theory, it is his responsibility to present far more evidence that he has so far
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 12 Mar 20 - 11:43 AM

FACT: Proof in hand. Approx 90% of those songs taken down in southern England c1890 to 1920 have their earliest extant manifestation in some form of urban commercial production.

OPINION: based on 50 years studying the relationship between those songs and their different versions both from oral transmission and from print, approx.95% originated in urban commercial production.

Whether the people who produced them were 'educated' or 'sophisticated' is for somebody else to decide.

As for evidence, I have now edited 5 books of the aforementioned material with their histories that we know of all clearly mapped out. Jim is very welcome to read those notes and rip them to pieces. I won't hold my breath though. At the invitation of a fellow scholar I have been asked to produce the earliest extant version of each of the songs in the corpus mentioned above and will embark on this as soon as my current projects are complete,i.e., this year.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Vic Smith
Date: 12 Mar 20 - 12:41 PM

In distinguishing between FACT and OPINION, Steve is demonstrating the prevailing thinking in all branches of history teaching and research. In the 1990s a number of important historians started to challenge the use of history as a nationalist tool.
Two quotes from the influential South African historian, L. van Sittert, written in 1991 demonstrate the change of thinking that the subject was undergoing. In a section of his essay called What is history? he writes:-

The tension between the elite histories of the literate professionals and the popular histories of the masses reveals “history” in all its many guises as ideology rather than fact, and always requiring critical engagement rather than mute acceptance of its claims, assertions and demands.

... and the 'critical engagement' called for evidence rather than view or opinion and the two must be clearly separated. He goes on to write:-
In the literate western tradition, up until the comparatively recent past such data was required to exist in written form to count for the purposes of historical reconstruction, but it is now widely acknowledged that oral, archaeological, linguistic and a host of other forms of data may be employed in making histories.

The debate surrounding these issues became the dominant discussion in the whole fields of researching history.
In our own little backwater, it becomes clear that the most important and influential recent book is the one by Steve Roud calling for an evidence-based approach and that evidence points towards a print-based origin for what we call traditional song - and we see this approach manifested in Steve Gardham's post above this one.
Van Sittert's call for 'critical engagement rather than mute acceptance of its claims, assertions and demands' could be interpreted for the likes of Harker to challenge in the way he did. Whether he went about this in thorough and unbiased manner is quite another matter.
I feel it is the right approach to engage written documents alongside 'oral, archaeological, linguistic and a host of other forms of data' but it seems to me that this will make it very dificult to reach a consensus.
This thread seems to be proving that.

Quotations taken from "THE MEANING AND ROLE OF HISTORY IN HUMAN DEVELOPMENT – Modern Approaches to the Teaching of History" - L.Van Sittert


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 12 Mar 20 - 12:52 PM

Steve quotes his "own personal belief" that The Grey Cock "was put together by a quite sophisticated hand.

Jim says this "shows a distinct lack of understanding of the creative abilities of the non sophisticated".

I think we can all agree that whoever combined what seem to have originally been three separate ballads into a single coherent whole did an excellent job.

So I can only conclude that Steve and Jim (both of whom I respect for their knowledge) have different interpretations of "sophisticated".


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 12 Mar 20 - 01:02 PM

Fact
Their first mainfestations IN Print are in now way proof that they
A were't taken from oral sources and printed
B The they hadn't existed and be remade for centuries earlier
The rest is your opinion alone and has no proof to back it up
Until we can establish that they hadn't come from the oral tradition, we will never know who made them - simple as that
As our knowledge of the oral tradition extends no further than the end of the 19th century that will probably never be established (without a time machine)
Fact - it is highly unlikely that people who could remake and sing our songs for as long as they have been doing could not have also made them
Fact - It is also unlikely that poets as inept as the broadside hacks were could possibly have made folk songs that dealt with the lives and experiences of 'ordinary'people

Once you agree that the ordinary people were skilful enough to have been capable of making our folk songs, you have to concede that they aare the most likely candidates for having don so - for a whole number of reasons - whatever little known historians have to say on the matter
Jim


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Vic Smith
Date: 12 Mar 20 - 01:22 PM

Fact - it is highly unlikely that.....
Fact - It is also unlikely....


If there is a degree of uncertainty or likelihood then, by definition, it is not a fact. It is an informed opinion.
This seems to reach to the core of the dilemma that I was pointing out in my previous post.

Cambridge Dictionary
Fact - something that is known to have happened or to exist, especially something for which proof exists, or about which there is information.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 12 Mar 20 - 01:29 PM

"what seem to have originally been three separate ballads "
As we don't know when this song first emerged in Ireland we don't even know that
The crowing cock, as a symbol of the dead returning to their graves, dates back as least as far as ancient India and as we don't know which came first, the whole song or the fragments that are claimed to have been brought together, we can't even be certain of that - chicken or egg (pun intended)
There are many examples of bits of songs which took on lives of their own - Lord Gregory/'Who's going to shoe....' for instance
The folk really were a clever lot when you examine their skills close up

It seems to me sometimes that some people don't want the folk to have made our folk songs
God only knows, we have been told that they were incapable of making ballads for long enough, sespite the incaluable party played by the unlettered Travellers in keeping them alive - sans literary skills
Jim


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 12 Mar 20 - 01:35 PM

whatever little known historians have to say on the matter

I seem to remember someone else using the argument that little known historians can be discounted. I await the claim that only eminent historians who have books on sale in mainstream bookshops should be quoted. Then I will believe that Jim has been possessed by the spirit of Hertford past...

:D


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST
Date: 12 Mar 20 - 01:43 PM

Isn't it possible that those old songs were past down orally through generations and then refined, and supposedly improved, by publishers to make them more palatable to genteel folks. This new bottles for old wine approach was certainly used to kick off the post war folk boom here in the states.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 12 Mar 20 - 02:06 PM

Every possibility Guest - in fact, given the the pressure under which the broadside hacks were forced to work in order to make a living, it's highly likely
Far quicker and easier to adapt something already in existence than burn the midnight paraffin lamps thinking up new songs to sell
The audiences weren't necessarily 'genteel' they just had to be adapted for the city dwellers
I agree Dave - I've always believed some of our best historians are local ones not working to please either publisher or general publishers
In this case, we are talking about opinions and logic - you can only talk historians if you have solid facts to deal with, otherwise you are left with snippets and common sense
The only historian, L. van Sittert I can find is an expert of prickly Pears in South Africa - don't know many songs about them
Jim


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 12 Mar 20 - 03:12 PM

Yes of course, I see, all of those Napoleonic songs, they date back to Tudor times. Silly me! :)

I am well aware that the broadside writers and indeed many others were taking material from earlier versions. I have plenty of evidence that that happened and have stated so above, but the FACT still stands 90%. Yes it's possible that some of these had even earlier manifestations, but when you have studied many thousands of versions as I have looking in detail at style, phraseology, historical content, etc., well I stand by my opinion. That's all it is an opinion of someone who has done the studying, research and the number crunching. Take it or leave it! It's of little import to me. I'm happy to concur with those who have done similar research.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: RTim
Date: 12 Mar 20 - 03:52 PM

Some people have ALWAYS voted Labour, many others have ALWAYS voted Tory...they will Never Agree......
The subject of the origin of the songs we love is as diverse...two different schools of thought that will Never agree!
This has been discussed and abused over and over again on these pages....same old arguments by the same people are trotted out until there is a stream of abuse between normally sane people and the Mediator has to step in and stop the discussion.

It seems to me - that the time has come to agree to dis-agree and move on!
Keep performing and or writing about the music...but be civil to each other.

Tim Radford


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 12 Mar 20 - 04:10 PM

Fine by me, Tim!

I suggested earlier that we look at the different types of mediation and pointed out how writers mediate. The next step in the chain, leaving aside for now the printers, is perhaps the singers. How did they mediate what they chose to sing and what they actually performed and recalled and passed on to the collectors. Part of this will be their families, communities, and audiences if any.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 12 Mar 20 - 04:17 PM

"Napoleonic songs,"
Beneath you Steve - or maybe not !
The argument has always been that the creation of these songs was a mixture of their having been made by the people and also of the professional rhymesters - and you know it - I've quoted this far more than I should have needed to

Final Song Carriers statement
"Well, there they are, the songs of our people. Some of them have been centuries in the making, some of them undoubtedly were born on the broadside presses. Some have the marvellous perfection of stones shaped by the sea's movement. Others are as brash as a cup-final crowd. They were made by professional bards and by unknown poets at the plough-stilts and the handloom. They are tender, harsh,, passionate, ironical, simple, profound.... as varied, indeed, as the landscape of this island.
We are indebted to the Harry Coxes and Phil Tanners, to Colm Keane and Maggie MaccDonagh, to Belle Stewart and Jessie Murray and to all the sweet and raucous unknown singers who have helped to carry our people's songs across the centuries."
More ducking and diving I'm afraid

When I first put that up you wrote it off as "starry-eyed naivety _ I really thought we'd moved on from there
We don't even know who wrote the Napoleonic ballads, but we know that ath the time of the Chartist protests later, industrial workers were scribbling songs by the hundreds and sending them off to the radical papers of the day, like 'Morning Star, and 'Red Dwarf' - I went through many dozens of them once   at the cost of my eyesight
, which makes it highly likely (not possible) that the hacks were borrowing stuff from people who were living the lives described so vividly

When this argument saturated, you not only presented your theory as fact - somewhat disdainfully, but you also threw in later versions for good measure with folk tales having originated in print for seasoning
This leaves the English working people as totally reliant on their 'betters' for their creative culture
That sounds like a man on a mission to me

You dismissed local poets as retired people scribbling away to fill in the empty hours till the man with the scythe comes knocking on the door - the younger ones were too busy feeding their families, according to one of your more than several excuses
You have totally ignored the FACT that the hardships of the Irish people acted as a spur to the creative song making by the rural poor, leavings as the English looking like a pretty sorry lot in comparison
I've saved a good deal of your gems but all are still searchable for those who have the time and interest
Jim


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 12 Mar 20 - 04:25 PM

Sorry Tim - not me
Who made our folk songs is essential to how we regard them beyond simple entertainment - if at all
As often as they are discussed, where they came from and what they represent
will remain in the forefront
We've tended to make the definition of folk song a taboo subject with, in my opinion, disastrous consequences - it's not going to happen with this one I'm afraid
I wernt to a local history class today and the subject of using local songs and old photographs - both annotated - came up as a subject for a future local exhibition - when we get our lives back (after the Dreaded Lugi Scare is over)
I'm really looking forward to moving on to that stage of our researches
Jim


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 12 Mar 20 - 05:32 PM

Twist as much as you like, Jim, but the facts remain. And the opinions.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 12 Mar 20 - 06:00 PM

Off the main topic, but possibly there are some facts involved - what is known about the 'supply chains' for the broadsides? Both on the content (songs) and distribution side. Who took what financial risks?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 13 Mar 20 - 03:48 AM

"Twist as much as you like, Jim, but the facts remain. And the opinions."
The fact remains that we haven't a clue who made our folk songs and we probably never shall
You choose not to dispute my pointing out that not only have you attempted to claim as 'truth' that historical equivalents of today's tabloid press made them rather than the people they have always represented and have been assumed were the makers, but you have extended that claim to folk tales
Fine by me - that's a pretty strong confirmation that this is your view of the creative abilities of the rural poor - non existent both on the song and story-making front
We slug it out o that basis now we know where we stand

I choose to believe that there is enough evidence that to show that the songs were maade by land and factory workers, sailors, soldiers, transportees, recruits for wars, victims of millennia of Enclosures, forced marriages.... all covered to one degree ot another by songs that were once considered so important by those who sang them to be claimed as their own

It's often that while literacy may have been a factor, possibly in the decline of our song traditions, recreational literacy was a late-comer on the scene -
The oral learning and transmission of our songs has been recorded as existing among 'the common people' far back as the early 700s - one thousand, three hundred years ago
As I said, unless you are prepared to claim that 'ordinary' people were incapable of having made our folk songs, you have no possible grounds for claiming that they didn't - if they didn't, why didn't they - the Irish and the Scots were busy making songs for the last few centuries, at least, - why where the English so backward in coming forward on the creative front ?

I don't think you'll find too much "twisting" in that - I await your response
Jim


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: The Sandman
Date: 13 Mar 20 - 04:04 AM

even more important is that we sing them and pass them on.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 13 Mar 20 - 05:19 AM

Violence is part of the history that made our songs
There can be nothing more 'violent than the unnecessary starvation of a million people and the forced emigration of a million more, but the Irish Famine produced many hundreds of Ireland's more important and long lasting songs - as a scream of protest and and a carrier of its history
Wars, being forced to resort to criminality, leading to public executions and transportation, first to America, later to Australia, is as 'violent' as it gets, yet again, they fed our song-making traditions for several centuries
Hardship, wars, mass hunger... all inspired songs - people who undergo such experiences have always felt the need to express them publicly - to record them and, if possible to change them   
That it what takes our folk songs way beyond the froth of commercially produced songs intended to divert and pacify the masses
All important art has a significance beyond entertainment - even the socially-coddled Beethoven felt the need to dedicate his Third Symphony to Napoleon because he believed his 'Rvolution' would make the world a better place - he changed his mind when the 'saviour' crowned himself 'tyrant'
You need to lift the corner of all creative art to see if there's anything underneath - there invariably is
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 13 Mar 20 - 05:21 AM

What "violent imagery" by the way ?
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 13 Mar 20 - 05:41 AM

"That's all it is an opinion of someone who has done the studying, research and the number crunching"

This sort of thing is why it is possible to have a discussion with Steve Gardham. I may not always agree with everything he says, but I do respect the work he has done and the spirit in which he shares his ideas with other Mudcatters.

Given the amount of provocation he is on the receiving end of, much of which I am sure is deliberate trouble-making, I feel that Steve shows admirable restraint.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 13 Mar 20 - 05:58 AM

Jim asks: "What "violent imagery" by the way?"

I honestly believe that Jim cannot even recognise it when he has written it.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jack Campin
Date: 13 Mar 20 - 06:27 AM

I suggested earlier that we look at the different types of mediation and pointed out how writers mediate. The next step in the chain, leaving aside for now the printers, is perhaps the singers. How did they mediate what they chose to sing and what they actually performed and recalled and passed on to the collectors. Part of this will be their families, communities, and audiences if any.

One example: shapenote singing in Protestant America. The recordings made in traditional settings have note names in place of real words. The idea being that sacred texts should not be performed in secular contexts like a collector's recording session. The Alevi of Anatolia and the Yarsani of a bit further east have similar restrictions - psalm/hymn tunes may be performed instrumentally outside a ceremony but the texts are only performed for real.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 14 Mar 20 - 02:29 AM

"How did they mediate what they chose to sing and what they actually performed and recalled and passed on to the collectors. Part of this will be their families, communities, and audiences if any."

Good question. Or maybe questions, for there is a lot in it.

Somebody told me to read Wilgus and somewhere he makes a point about collectors and researchers in the early days not being trained, which I took as implying that in the US where 'folklore' has been more of an academic subject, such training has taken place.

So maybe here we have a problem in terms of evidence, quality and quantity? Sorry if I sound like a broken record, but it is an honest point of view.

Jack's point about stuff not being 'real' outside particular contexts is a good one.

I think there may also be issues about informants actually creating stuff because somebody wants to collect it. There will be those who know more than I do, but is it not suspected that Mrs Anna Gordon may have played a part in 'creating' some of the ballads that she reported and which were published by Child?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 14 Mar 20 - 04:28 AM

Anna Gordon was quit specific when she said that she heard her ballads as child and sang them fro memory much later
Questioning the word of a woman who has been dead for as long as she has is utterly pointless as there is no way of knowing the truth of the matter
Her ballads have accepted and sung as genuine since and nothing is served by hanging a question mark over them now - what on earth is the point of changing that now ?
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 14 Mar 20 - 09:11 AM

"There will be those who know more than I do, but is it not suspected that Mrs Anna Gordon may have played a part in 'creating' some of the ballads that she reported and which were published by Child?"

To answer my own question: yes this has been suspected.

For those who have not heard of her, Mrs Gordon (1747-1810) was a Scottish woman, married to a professor of humanity/army chaplain/minister.   

She wrote down a lot of ballads. Some were published by Scott and Jamieson. Wiki says that 27 of the A texts in Child's EWSPB came from her.

I have come across several pieces referring to her. For example, there is a whole chapter in Fowler's Literary History of the Popular Ballad.

Controversy over how to position her has existed for a very long time, as far back as Scott and Ritson. Attempts to argue that questioning this demonstrate something contagious emanating from the 20th century work of Dave Harker would, for me, serve merely to undermine the credibility of those advancing such a view.   

However, it could be argued that she was not so much a singer as a collector. On that basis maybe a better example could be found. But on the other hand, people do refer to her 'repertoire' so it seems that she is sometimes regarded as a 'singer'.

Another problem here is that often what singers have said is presented to us in a mediated form, and sometimes by mediators who strongly hold particular ideological viewpoints about folk in general. So we get double layers of 'mediation', or, if you prefer it, 'interpretation'.

Another is that not all those seeking the views of singers have been interested in tunes. Indeed, some downplay the importance of the musical side altogether. I think this is a shame.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 14 Mar 20 - 09:22 AM

" have been interested in tunes."
Tunes have always been a moveable feast difficult to attach to one particular song or ballad
This would be much acceelerated if the literary origins therory were true
As it is, unless songs were learned orally a singer took a tune that fitted - fact
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 14 Mar 20 - 09:33 AM

"As it is, unless songs were learned orally a singer took a tune that fitted - fact"

Anybody who has spent an afternoon looking at the history of printed songs will be able to spot the flaw in this so-called assertion of fact.

Still, we need a bit of a laugh nowadays; stuff like this brightens up a dull afternoon.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 14 Mar 20 - 10:14 AM

"Anybody who has spent an afternoon looking at the history of printed songs"
A whole afternoon - bats my thirty years of interviewing singers and twenty talking to Irish singers from a song tradition that was still warm anyday
You support Steve in his theory that these songs came from print - how on earth could tunes be constant in such circumstances ?
Jim Caarroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 14 Mar 20 - 01:16 PM

Considering the way some people refer to the research of the last hundred years and moan about alleged attempts to overturn it, those same people appear to have an astonishing lack of awareness or understanding of what was said in that research. No names, no pack drill.

"As it is, unless songs were learned orally a singer took a tune that fitted - fact"

I repeat: anybody who has spent an afternoon looking at the history of printed songs will be able to spot the flaw in this so-called assertion of fact. To be clear, it isn't a 'fact', it's nonsense.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 14 Mar 20 - 01:26 PM

Well, perhaps somebody will come up with another example to fit Steve's suggestion, though I think we will probably end up with doubly mediated/interpreted material. I could speak from experience of being collected from, but it only happened once, so even I cannot say how far it would be fair to draw generalisations about 'self mediation' from it.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 14 Mar 20 - 01:57 PM

"Well, perhaps somebody will come up with another example to fit Steve's suggestion, "
Why should anybody want to "fit" his description ?
Despite attempting to make it a "fact" he has been forced to admit it's only a theory for which he has no proof
You really haven't been paying attention, have you ?
This has gone on for years
Simple statement to repeat - once you accept that the rural working people could have made their songs, you have to accept that they probably did
That was the accepted belief for over a century - nothing has happened to reject it
Hope you don't bey on horses !!
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 14 Mar 20 - 01:59 PM

Should read "bet" - it went before I could correct it
You still don't understand "meditated" do you! ?
Jim


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jack Campin
Date: 14 Mar 20 - 03:27 PM

unless songs were learned orally a singer took a tune that fitted
Anybody who has spent an afternoon looking at the history of printed songs will be able to spot the flaw in this so-called assertion of fact.


A heck of a lot of songs started out as some kind of parody using an existing tune - the tune came first, and often the audience was meant to recognize it and react to the connotations it had acquired. (Jim Maclean is a master at that).   Getting printed or not was irrelevant at the point of creation, though it was mostly easier to get a song sung if you told the purchasers of your sheet what the intended tune was.

It gets interesting when a specified tune starts drifting away from the writer's original idea. Matt McGinn habitually did that to his own songs, so it wasn't always obvious what was being parodied by the time he first sung it. "Chi mi na mor-bheanna" drifted quite far and fast from its author's explicit choice, but the (undocumented) process was still an evolutionary one, not a matter of picking any old unrelated tune that "fitted".


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 15 Mar 20 - 04:31 AM

"A heck of a lot of songs started out as some kind of parody using an existing tune "
Of they did, that was regular practice, particularly in the latter days of the tradition
Ther 'audiences changed when the singing moved from the farmhouse gatherings where the songs were (apparently) shadings of common and often everyday experience, to 'performances', often to strangers
The ballad sheet-tradition was far more influential in rural Ireland than was the town-based broadside one - the former represented the oral tradition in print
Singers like Matt McGinn (in particular) seemed far nearer to the people and the subject matter he wrote about that did the composers of unsingable songs - the aptly-named "hacks"

MacColl did exactly what Jack described McGinn doing with his tunes, only he did it as a common practice, choosing a tune form and experimenting with it ntil it became something else
'Sweet William' ('Famous Flaower of Serving Men'), which he got from 'Last Leaves' was a favourite and can be found in different forms in several of his own songs, Including 'Shoals of Herring' and 'Freeborn Man' - two different tunes from the same source
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 15 Mar 20 - 07:22 AM

@ Jack. You have, of course, pointed out one flaw in Jim Carroll's illogical and factually incorrect assertion, which was:

"As it is, unless songs were learned orally a singer took a tune that fitted - fact"

You have provided one example showing that it the dichotomy set up in this assertion of 'fact' is a false one. However, it wasn't only a matter of telling people what song to sing: some earlier printed lyric sheets stated in writing the tune to be used.

So I stand by my point that the statement was nonsensical. The fact that the person who wrote it had for many decades a hobby of recording himself chatting to singers makes it no less nonsensical or in any way means that that person has a right to be viewed as an 'authority'. Though I accept that the resource bank of sung material compiled may be of value to future revival singers looking for inspiration and that the collector has been generous in supplying digitised versions of the material on request.

Your point about tunes having connotations is a good one, though how far the various folk tunes collected by Sharp had connotations that distinguished them is something I don't know about. Perhaps these might have varied locally depending on which tunes were used for various songs?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 15 Mar 20 - 07:23 AM

I should have put 'telling people what tune to sing' not 'what song'. Woops.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 15 Mar 20 - 07:28 AM

Regarding broadsides in Ireland, I found a thesis by John Moulden online. Here is his summary of the piece. For those interested, it is findable by googling. I found it readable.


The first part presents a guide to all the known collections in Ireland and to the most significant in Britain, and lists their contents. The listing approaches a comprehensive survey of the corpus.

The second section considers trade practices, production and distribution, and examines the careers of some of the personnel.

The third outlines the nature of the oral song culture into which songs were introduced, how trade considerations conditioned what was produced; describes interactions between songs and the people and considers the effects of literacy and how the form and language of certain songs militated against their absorption. Finally in this section attempts are made to gauge the influence of the ballad trade upon the oral tradition and how the ballad trades of Britain and Ireland interacted.

The last part discusses a range of methods of using ballads in historical and cultural study and exemplifies them using a range of case studies. It also assesses the state of scholarly study of the ballad trade and scholarly use of ballads as evidence in Ireland, Britain and North America.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 15 Mar 20 - 07:45 AM

"You have, of course, pointed out one flaw in Jim Carroll's illogical and factually incorrect assertion,"
No incorrect assertion - Jack was referring to Matt McGinn who was not a traditional singer
Why do you try to find flaws by using examples you obviously do not understand ?
Will you please give your vendetta a rest - you are humiliating yourself
Please explain the logic of traditional singers taking tunes for their songs from broadsides
Of course they used a tune they knew - in the latter period of the tradition tunes were portable and moved from one song to another
Much of the reast of what you wrote was "nonsensical"
When the song making industry began to call the shote the readition died and the audiences moved from being creative to becoming passive recipients
R.I.P. the tradition

John's study and the others in the book (which you obviouly haven't read, deal largely with the 'borroadside' trade and, if I remember rightly, hardly touch the 'ballad-selling' trade, which was the main influence on the rural repertoire - apart from the locally made songs which have yet to be studied in full
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 15 Mar 20 - 03:24 PM

"The second section considers trade practices, production and distribution, and examines the careers of some of the personnel."

Thanks, I'll have a look, it might help with my off-topic(ish) question ofa few days ago. The reason I asked is because if what is in the broadsides matters then I think who knew what the broadside buying public wanted, and who may have tried to influence that might matter as well. And I wondered if the 'mediators' told us.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 15 Mar 20 - 07:58 PM

To be precise, since I think the topic was raised, John Moulden discusses various definitions in his 'definition' section and uses the term 'ballad' to refer to a piece of paper that carries song texts. (See page 45). This would include a broadside as a sub category, but he finds the term used ambiguously and does not regard it as synonymous with 'broadsheet'. He defines the terms he intends to use in a definitions section. Interestingly, he decides to avoid the word 'folk'.

Steve Shaw's charm and his many constructive contributions above the line are both legendary. I hope he has a lovely day and that he stays well.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 15 Mar 20 - 08:20 PM

Johh is fully aware i=of the sugnifu=icance of 'Ballads' - (song sheets sold at the fairs and markets) - John and I are fiends by the way, so I don't have tor scratch around his thesis to find snippets, as yo are doing
I live in an area whare these 'ballads' were still being sold into the 1950s, we recorded a ballad seller at great length, who described to us in great detail how they were produced, how he got them printed from his father's songs, how he went about selling them - even to the extent of how his singing in order to sell them differed from what he described as "fireside singing"
I have already put up the article based on my talk on ballad selling on one of these threads - (Mikeen McCarthy, Ballad Seller) bug if you wish, I'm happy to put it up again
Whatever I may have missed about the ballad selling in Ireland, on thing is certain - I know a million times more about it than you ever will

Your arrogance and unwillingness to debate intelligently with those of us who have been around far longer than you have and who have decades more experience than you is creating a situation where people will no longer be preapared to share information with you
Your choice, of course
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Joe Offer
Date: 15 Mar 20 - 08:22 PM

This thread has kinda started to go around in circles, so its time for closure has almost come. Don't be offended when it happens.
-Joe-


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 15 Mar 20 - 08:33 PM

"Don't be offended when it happens."
It is the only thread of any worth for those involved in research and it is wide ranging enough to continue for some toime yet
Threatening to close it because you have lost interest in it doesn't mean the rest of us have
If it closes, I shall complain to Max - I have been around long enough to remember the time when the members decided what was worthwhile debating
As this message will probably be deleted I will make sure it reaches thiose who I know to be still interested - as is my practice
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 15 Mar 20 - 08:39 PM

Bullshit, Joe Offer. You are solely responsible for letting this worthwhile thread go by allowing a book-reading, verbal-diarrhoea idiot to dominate it. You could have cleaned it up but you prefer to see Jim demonised. You have plenty of form on that. You should be bloody ashamed of yourself, mate. Worst piece of non-moderating I've ever seen. I tend to shrug on this board, but just for once I'm bloody annoyed. Look to yourself, Joe. It's about time you did....


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: The Sandman
Date: 16 Mar 20 - 03:29 AM

Ithink the thread should continue ,but wind up trolling aimed at anyone need to be modertated ,, please do not attempt to wind, Jim, up.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 16 Mar 20 - 04:00 AM

It's odd but I have a screen print of a post in which Jim Carroll actually names a song that his pal supposedly sold to a ballad printer and it was one already available in printed form, and one that nobody is claiming originated with the family, though of course they may have put their own spin on it. For me, the story without that information is another example of mediation within the world of folk, and rather a good one as you could interpret it in terms of the ideological position of the person who tells the yarn.

By the way, SHOCK HORROR.

*Lifelong musician reads books about music*


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 16 Mar 20 - 04:12 AM

This subject, far from being over, hasn't even begun to scratch the surface yet - we have so far not been allowed to discuss the effects of this so-called 'mediation' on our folk song traditions thanks to the side-lining and diversions
If the first revival was based on "Fake Folk Songs" as Harker's title made obvious he was claiming the second revival, based largely on the BBC project and put into motion by the collecting of Henderson in Scotland, Shudham Shaw in the Shetlands, Mike Yates and Fred Hamer in England and Tommy Munnelly in the Tepublic of Ireland..... and all the other collectors who took up the baton and continued to run with it
The revival, based on the 'Folk Songs' that had been collected by Sharp and his collegues and the ballads identified ran for many decades until it finally ran out of steam
One of the reasons that happened wasn't because the Harkerites lifted the scales from all our eyes regarding the 'fakeness' of the songs we had come to love - on the contrary
It was when too many people abandoned those songs and created a situation where we found ourselves in a situation where people were caiing that "folk" wasn't folk any more and had become something different which they couldn't explain
Our clubs began emptying as if they had been hit by an unnamed virus (analogy intended)
The refusal of some to discuss the effects of having "fake folk songs" in terms of what the singers sang and had had to say about their songs is pretty indicative that this infection has spread (or has been spread) to parts of the research side of folk song
Not all, by any means
Despite the fog that lies over the club scene at present, work continues on real folk song
Lately I have been bombarded on-line by freely downloadably papers on Sharp, Child, Ritson, Scott, on Chartist songs, Worker poets, collecting in Newfoundland, research in Ireland
Last night Pat and I spent a wonderful hour watching a terrific programme on Northern Irish fiddle playing - full of clips of young and old (mostly long dead) musicians talking about and playing this "fake" music
LOOK FOR THIS IF IT COMES ON LINE
This is only one of the many we are being offered by the Northern and Southern Irish media
It seems that a health and extremely active and determined resistance to the present malaise is alive and kicking among our true and clear- thinking folk devotees, despite efforts to quash it from behind the desks
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Mediation and its definition in folk music
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 16 Mar 20 - 04:18 AM

"Johh is fully aware i=of the sugnifu=icance of 'Ballads' - (song sheets sold at the fairs and markets) - John and I are fiends by the way, so I don't have tor scratch around his thesis to find snippets, as yo are doing"

1 'fiends': no comment

2 'snippets': not really. I quoted Moulden's own summary of the content of his doctoral thesis, as Jim will no doubt know due to his excellent grasp of all relevant documentary evidence, and I did it for the benefit of