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BS: What isn't Folk?

jaze 22 Aug 01 - 09:24 PM
blt 22 Aug 01 - 02:09 AM
GUEST,Boab 21 Aug 01 - 02:26 AM
Art Thieme 21 Aug 01 - 01:05 AM
masato sakurai 18 Aug 01 - 01:41 AM
Little Hawk 17 Aug 01 - 09:46 PM
catspaw49 17 Aug 01 - 09:26 PM
Little Hawk 17 Aug 01 - 09:14 PM
M.Ted 17 Aug 01 - 08:16 PM
Little Hawk 17 Aug 01 - 01:48 PM
M.Ted 17 Aug 01 - 01:13 PM
Bill D 11 Aug 01 - 01:37 AM
T in Oklahoma (Okiemockbird) 10 Aug 01 - 11:41 PM
Bill D 10 Aug 01 - 06:11 PM
GUEST 10 Aug 01 - 09:49 AM
masato sakurai 10 Aug 01 - 02:42 AM
M.Ted 09 Aug 01 - 01:20 PM
masato sakurai 09 Aug 01 - 11:21 AM
M.Ted 09 Aug 01 - 10:07 AM
Phil Cooper 08 Aug 01 - 11:53 PM
DougR 08 Aug 01 - 11:28 PM
Art Thieme 08 Aug 01 - 10:34 PM
Burke 08 Aug 01 - 05:43 PM
Mr Red 08 Aug 01 - 05:35 PM
Murray MacLeod 08 Aug 01 - 05:26 PM
M.Ted 08 Aug 01 - 05:11 PM
Philibuster 08 Aug 01 - 07:08 AM
Murray MacLeod 08 Aug 01 - 06:37 AM
Bill D 07 Aug 01 - 11:52 PM
toadfrog 07 Aug 01 - 11:39 PM
Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull 07 Aug 01 - 11:26 PM
Bert 07 Aug 01 - 10:49 PM
Art Thieme 07 Aug 01 - 09:03 PM
M.Ted 07 Aug 01 - 06:13 PM
Bill D 07 Aug 01 - 05:11 PM
UB Ed 07 Aug 01 - 03:50 PM
rock chick 07 Aug 01 - 03:32 PM
rock chick 07 Aug 01 - 03:31 PM
GUEST 07 Aug 01 - 02:50 PM
M.Ted 07 Aug 01 - 02:32 PM
GUEST 07 Aug 01 - 01:12 PM
Whistle Stop 07 Aug 01 - 01:10 PM
M.Ted 07 Aug 01 - 12:29 PM
Murray MacLeod 07 Aug 01 - 06:04 AM
Peter Kasin 07 Aug 01 - 01:45 AM
catspaw49 07 Aug 01 - 12:29 AM
Big Mick 07 Aug 01 - 12:12 AM
Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull 06 Aug 01 - 11:54 PM
Mbo 01 Mar 00 - 12:20 PM
M. Ted (inactive) 01 Mar 00 - 11:23 AM
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Subject: RE: BS: What isn't Folk?
From: jaze
Date: 22 Aug 01 - 09:24 PM

Disco


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Subject: RE: BS: What isn't Folk?
From: blt
Date: 22 Aug 01 - 02:09 AM

Well, I wanted to say something about the a comment someone wrote about music genres that appear to have no "tradition" behind them, such as hip-hop. Actually, hip-hop does have a tradition, which includes work chants, blues, and jazz (especially improvisation), as well as rock and roll. I personally believe that all music forms we currently hear emerge from some sort of previous tradition or structure/images/rhythms/scales/plot lines/political perspectives. I think of folk as being distinct from other genres because of the issue of tradition--the folk tradition itself is distinct. Lines may be blurred because two (or more) genres can share some aspects--jazz and folk both use improvisation, both pass melodies down from one musician to another--but the melody and chording is different, the instruments are often different, the performance style is different. I don't think I would mistake a folk song for a jazz riff, but that is not to say that a jazz tune couldn't move in a folk direction or vice versa. It seems that we need a new way to imagine this whole discussion because the descriptions I've read so far seem to require a clear and discrete definition of what folk music is or isn't, as if the reality is that clear and that discrete. IMO, folk music has a depth and quality that isn't necessarily willing to fit into a category. Or, it may fit one definition for a while then slide off in another direction. Folk has a life, it resembles the inter-relatedness of family and friends more than it resembles a stack of dictionaries, if that makes any sense.

blt


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Subject: RE: BS: What isn't Folk?
From: GUEST,Boab
Date: 21 Aug 01 - 02:26 AM

An old pal,singer-up-front for "the Marras"our resident bunch in Hexham Northumberland many moons ago, a fella by the name of Tony McMahon, effectively silenced a "traddie bigot",describing folk music as being "what folk sing and play".Like many another, I am a fan of traditional music and song----but not to the point of blindness. "Traditional" music can be likened to the antique business; a "digger" can hold high in triumph a newly howked-up two-hundred-year old jam jar. So what?---It's a bloody JAM-JAR for gawd's sake! Similar crap is so often inflicted upon followers of folk tradition---some of the stuff triumphantly "discovered" should have been left to moulder and fade away in whatever niche it had lain over the centuries. Such crap, fortunately, lasts no longer in the popularity stakes in present times than it doubtless did eons ago. Boab


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Subject: RE: BS: What isn't Folk?
From: Art Thieme
Date: 21 Aug 01 - 01:05 AM

Any thread about kicking Max in the balls sure as hell ain't folk !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Art


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Subject: RE: BS: What isn't Folk?
From: masato sakurai
Date: 18 Aug 01 - 01:41 AM

Spaw, I'm not offended at all. Rather, I enjoy reading most messages here. Admittedly, this is not the right place for "academic" discussions.


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Subject: RE: BS: What isn't Folk?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 17 Aug 01 - 09:46 PM

Admit it, Spaw. You have never heard a horse sing. That's what is really bothering you...

- LH


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Subject: RE: BS: What isn't Folk?
From: catspaw49
Date: 17 Aug 01 - 09:26 PM

No offense intended here Masato, but I'm with Ted. I think what really gets me is that most of the folks that I really enjoy in "folk" wouldn't have a friggin' clue as to what that paragraph said.

Apparently the writer attended the Soren Kierkegaard School of Obtuse Expression.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: BS: What isn't Folk?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 17 Aug 01 - 09:14 PM

Scotty: Aye, lad! Ye canna make warp nine wi' the dylithium crystals in this kinda shape! I'm doin' all I can and she'll only make warp 7 and a half! I'm an engineer, not a miracle worker!!!

Jim: Mr. Scott...(dramatic pause)...a miracle...(even more dramatic pause)...is what we're going to have to have...(3rd dramatic pause)...on this occasion! (short dramatic pause) I know you can do it.

[long exasperated sigh from Scott. Spock raises one eyebrow meaningfully. Show breaks for wonderbra commercial, as the Klingons close in for the kill.]

- LH


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Subject: RE: BS: What isn't Folk?
From: M.Ted
Date: 17 Aug 01 - 08:16 PM

The William Shatner threadcreep is permeating the entire Forum--she can't take it, Jim--she's gonta blow, any second!


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Subject: RE: BS: What isn't Folk?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 17 Aug 01 - 01:48 PM

Any and all songs recorded by William Shatner are NOT folk! Why? Because when William Shatner records a song it transcends all known genres. His music is simply beyond classification.

Keep this in mind, and give generously to the WSSBA! We need to expand our facilities and provide a breeding area for tribbles.

- LH


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Subject: RE: BS: What isn't Folk?
From: M.Ted
Date: 17 Aug 01 - 01:13 PM

Thanks for the quotes, Masato--they are statements which are so reasonable that they don't convey a great deal of meaning--Since they come from the leading lights in the field, we now know why the Smithsonian Folklife Festival showcases everything from lawyers closing statements, to New York Taxi cabs--Only thing that they don't seem to ever feature are singer/songwriters--


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Subject: RE: BS: What isn't Folk?
From: Bill D
Date: 11 Aug 01 - 01:37 AM

that's a very 'personal' definition, Okie..(sorta like the 'horse singing' methphor) *grin*...not exactly useful for everyone...if you vacuum to Beethoven, and I vacuum to Highland Pipe tunes, we are gonna have problems cataloging our record collections together...


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Subject: RE: BS: What isn't Folk?
From: T in Oklahoma (Okiemockbird)
Date: 10 Aug 01 - 11:41 PM

I never tire of repeating my favorite definition: folk music is music you use at the same time you are doing something else. Any music can be folk music if it occurs in a multitasking environment. If you play Beethoven on your record player and sit on the couch listening, it isn't folk; but if you vacuum the carpet while listening, it is folk.

T.


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Subject: RE: BS: What isn't Folk?
From: Bill D
Date: 10 Aug 01 - 06:11 PM

well, MTed did say 'often'


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Subject: RE: BS: What isn't Folk?
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Aug 01 - 09:49 AM

Au contraire there MTed! Some of us *are* interested in academic sources, and do follow them up, even though we may not discuss things academic in Mudcat.


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Subject: RE: BS: What isn't Folk?
From: masato sakurai
Date: 10 Aug 01 - 02:42 AM

To quote some of Dan's comments: "folklore represents a particular mode of collective and spontaneous thought"; "In its cultural context, folklore is not an aggregate of things, but a process--a communicative process, to be exact"; "folklore communication takes place in a situation in which people confront each other face to face and relate to each other directly"; "In sum, folklore is artistic communication in small groups"; "Some traditions are folklore, but not all folklore is traditional." For Alan, the answer to the question "Who are the folk?" is: "Among others, we [in italics] are!" [of course, except when we do not communicate artistically in small groups--my interpretation].


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Subject: RE: BS: What isn't Folk?
From: M.Ted
Date: 09 Aug 01 - 01:20 PM

Are their any particular points from either of these sources that you'd like to pass on--people hereabouts often don't even bother to follow up links, let alone heading for the library to look up academic texts--


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Subject: RE: BS: What isn't Folk?
From: masato sakurai
Date: 09 Aug 01 - 11:21 AM

For you to know what folklorists and ethnomusicologists say, the following may help you: Alan Dundes, "Who Are the Folk?" reprinted in his Interpreting Folklore (Indiana UP, 1980, pp. 1-19); Bruno Nettl, The Study of Ethnomusicology (U of Illinois Press, 1983, chapter 23: "I've Never Heard a Horse Sing"); Philip V. Bohlman, The Study of Folk Music in the Modern World (Indiana UP, 1988, passim); Dan Ben-Amos, "Toward a Definition of Folklore in Context," reprinted in Readings in American Folklore, edited by Jan Harold Brunvand (Norton, 1979, pp. 427-443).


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Subject: RE: BS: What isn't Folk?
From: M.Ted
Date: 09 Aug 01 - 10:07 AM

I take it back about Tony McManus, Murray, if he plays Balkan music, he's OK by me--And wow, Murray, Albanian dance rhythms are the coolest of the ultra cool, so you are right up there in my book--where is this cafe, anyway? I would love to hear you, and your friend play some of this stuff!!


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Subject: RE: BS: What isn't Folk?
From: Phil Cooper
Date: 08 Aug 01 - 11:53 PM

I would classify two catergories of folk performers: My favorite type, which is a performer, like Art, who performs because they really like a song and want to communicate that sense of the song to an audience. The other is the performer who is up on stage exuding "Look at me singing." I would prefer to keep my definition of what's not folk to myself.


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Subject: RE: BS: What isn't Folk?
From: DougR
Date: 08 Aug 01 - 11:28 PM

What is not? Classical, Pop, Country, Blues (steady there), Jazz, Gospel. But there is a hell of a lot of crossover.


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Subject: RE: BS: What isn't Folk?
From: Art Thieme
Date: 08 Aug 01 - 10:34 PM

That old "hoss singing" line keeps returning ad infinitum. And this kind of thread keeps on keeping on too. We all think that we're the first to say it.

The problem is that we're all not born with a knowledge of what came before.
We have to re-invent the wheel every time another person/ego/horse/whatever picks up a guitar and decides to make "our music" in their own image. At that point their ego gets involved. Someone says, "You guys don't have a clue." They respond, "You never did have a clue."

If it does not come to blows, we'll be lucky.

If we were all empaths it'd be much easier to live in this world me thinks.

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: BS: What isn't Folk?
From: Burke
Date: 08 Aug 01 - 05:43 PM

Library of Congress does not really try to make a distinction between "folk" and other music for classification. It it very geographically driven.

If you run down to the Library of Congress and browse at M1627 you'll find collections of secular vocal music not limited to one particular place. You'll find things like "Folk songs of the world" but also "National anthems, psalms and hymns."

You will not find anything from one-three specific geographical locations. US songs will be one place (mostly M1629 but also M1630.18), Irish American (M1668.2), Ireland M1744, and so forth. Under each country there is provision for both General, where traditional music usually ends up, and Popular Music. Topical songs are in M1978 so we have Cowboy songs in M1978.C6; Fathers M1978.F26; Sailors M1978.S2.

Fiddle tunes end up with the rest of the solo violin music in M40

There's not one way to classify music that will suit everyone.


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Subject: RE: BS: What isn't Folk?
From: Mr Red
Date: 08 Aug 01 - 05:35 PM

**IMHO**
when it's entertainment
once the $'s become more important than the music and where it's coming from


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Subject: RE: BS: What isn't Folk?
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 08 Aug 01 - 05:26 PM

I didn't use to be a Balkanophile, M.Ted, until some years ago when I heard our local Edinburgh guitar hero Tony McManus play some of these tunes (written, as he put it, in socket-wrench sizes rather than time signatures).

Over the last year or so I have got to know an Albanian violinist (political refugee) quite well, and he jams with us at our local cafe most weekends, so I have got used to 11/16 and similar strange rhythms.

Murray


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Subject: RE: BS: What isn't Folk?
From: M.Ted
Date: 08 Aug 01 - 05:11 PM

Sorry, BillD, I didn't know who I was talking to either--it was an anonymous GUEST----and Murray, I never figured you for a Balkanophile! Macedonian music is definitely complex--


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Subject: RE: BS: What isn't Folk?
From: Philibuster
Date: 08 Aug 01 - 07:08 AM

I always defined Folk as music that evolved, because it was good enough for the next generation to sing it.

People changed the lyrics to fit themselves and the times, because the tune was so at the pulse of the people.

The only other definition, if it sounds like Folk, it is.

I just love the irorny. A community devoted to a style of music that no two members can actually agree on what is. The beauty that is folk. Besides, it makes for great arguements. =)

.02$


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Subject: RE: BS: What isn't Folk?
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 08 Aug 01 - 06:37 AM

Simplicity is far from being an essential part of folk music. Listen to some Macedomian dances, which by any conceivable standard qualify as folk music, and the rhyhmic complexity betokens a highly sophisticated musical cultire.

As for the songs, many of the traditional songs performed by, say, Martin Carthy, or June Tabor are hugely complex both lyrically and rhythmically.

I am of course, talking about "real" folk music here.

Murray


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Subject: RE: BS: What isn't Folk?
From: Bill D
Date: 07 Aug 01 - 11:52 PM

not sure who MTed was responding to.....

and toadfrog..."I can't think of even a single reason to say it is any more a "folk song" than (say) "Take Me Out to the Ball Game"......but I can think of reasons...*grin*

you, (toadfrog) are actually on the right track..'simplicity' is one trait...not necessarily an essential one, but a common one...now, as to the other 27 traits...*smile*


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Subject: RE: BS: What isn't Folk?
From: toadfrog
Date: 07 Aug 01 - 11:39 PM

I agree with Frank, although I'm not sure he gave a "definition." "Folk music" seems often to get defined as stuff composed by "folk singers." I don't buy that. We all know songs by Woody Guthrie, and at least one of them, "This Land is My Land," is an outstanding song that will be around a long, long time. But I can't think of even a single reason to say it is any more a "folk song" than (say) "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" or "Sidewalks of New York." Both songs were written to make money. So?

When I was in college, we all sang "Kisses Sweeter than Wine," which I think was written by Pete Seeger, so that everybody knew was a "folk song." Does anybody sing that any more? I haven't heard it in a long, time. It wasn't good enough to last, and it wasn't a folk song by any reasonable definition.

I also suggest that simplicity is an essential trait in a folk song.


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Subject: RE: BS: What isn't Folk?
From: Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull
Date: 07 Aug 01 - 11:26 PM

When did folk music statr to become popular? I hope this question makes sense, I guess it was when people became able to record themselves? If a folk song gets to number 1 on the hit parade, is it still folk, or does it then become pop?


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Subject: RE: BS: What isn't Folk?
From: Bert
Date: 07 Aug 01 - 10:49 PM

Sticking to the original topic of WHAT ISN'T, might I suggest The Eurovision Song Contest


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Subject: RE: BS: What isn't Folk?
From: Art Thieme
Date: 07 Aug 01 - 09:03 PM

Ah, good people, this old fray back again? I guess I've said my say too many times already. I'll let those polemics stand for my input to this late incarnation of those threads.

Art


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Subject: RE: BS: What isn't Folk?
From: M.Ted
Date: 07 Aug 01 - 06:13 PM

I don't think you understand my point about Woody, so I will say in another way, one more time, and then leave it at that--Woody's music used traditional/folk music for his songs, and he learned that music from those around him, who had learned it the same way. And writing topical songs, in the way that he did, is tradition, in and of itself.

How or why this makes ethnic music invisible is not clear from your post--

Anyway, I am not sure you are interested in eliminating and ruling out various kinds of music, what exactly is it that you are eliminating them from?

Most music has traditional and folk elements of one kind or another--even the genres that pops up one day and are gone the next--


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Subject: RE: BS: What isn't Folk?
From: Bill D
Date: 07 Aug 01 - 05:11 PM

since someone has refreshed this, let me add a thought that has been buzzing about in my head recently...

I like categories and structure, as you can see from my attempts to make some sense out of the 'definition' problem...others don't.

But the point is: Definitions and categories are NOT necessary, and even if you use them, can be totally subjective...*as long as they are for YOU--privately* If you wish to categorize your songs, records...etc., by key signatues, age of the composer, color of the record jacket or "songs that make me cry" and "songs that don't"...that is fine! Many folks just have a list of "songs I like" and that is enough for them.

BUT...when songs, (or anything else), need to be sorted and filed and located, like books in a library, they need a system that is coherent, regular and understandable!

For books we had the Dewey Decimal System...then The Library of Congress System...and librarians 'try' to assign #s that will allow anyone to go the shelves and find material easily.

Hows about we all run down to the Library of Congress and see just what books are in the 'folk music' section? Hmmmm?....are the Beatles there? Woodie?...will the "Life of Loreena McKinnet" be there when it is written?...maybe...maybe not!

Now, the question of whether a web site and/or a database conforms to a regular system, is, as they say, another matter..*weak smile*..

The Library of Congress is a managed, 'moderated' database, just as our database is..(by Dick & Susan)...the forum is NOT moderated as to musical structure, which pleases some and displeases others....but the fact that we have an eclectic bunch here that KNOWS a lot about music, does NOT make categories disappear..........

enough....


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Subject: RE: BS: What isn't Folk?
From: UB Ed
Date: 07 Aug 01 - 03:50 PM

I'm looking forward to Max covering this in a permathread. In the meantime, here's my favorite nest of blue clickeys on the subject (Thanks Alice!).

Alice's Efforts


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Subject: RE: BS: What isn't Folk?
From: rock chick
Date: 07 Aug 01 - 03:32 PM

Well what a debate you have started,my little bit of input is I Can't tell you what isn't folk? but what folk is , it is all about life past and present, here and now, there and then.


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Subject: RE: BS: What isn't Folk?
From: rock chick
Date: 07 Aug 01 - 03:31 PM

Well what a debate you have started,my little bit of input is I Can't tell you what isn't folk? but what folk is , is all about life past and present


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Subject: RE: BS: What isn't Folk?
From: GUEST
Date: 07 Aug 01 - 02:50 PM

MTed,

If we use the definition you seem to be to allow Woody to fit in a strict definition of folk music, you make ethnic music as folk/traditional music invisible.

Of course, there are music subcultures which aren't defined by ethnicity, or by cross-fertilization between ethnic groups (more common in North American music subcultures than many Old World (regardless of continent) music subcultures.

Techno/rave music is a subculture. Hip hop is a subculture. But there isn't a *tradition* of performance of those kinds of music from generation--that is the conventional definition of tradition, ie that it is multi-generational and handed on through the subculture in question.

Which is why I like Frank's definition so much. It isn't hard to eliminate many contemporary forms of music based on either the subculture argument or the tradition argument. If a genre of music lacks both, it isn't considered folk or traditional by people who know and are familiar with folk and trad music. If a genre of music lacks an ethnic basis, it doesn't mean it can't be considered a folk tradition though, as has been pointed out. But that (lack of ethnic roots) may well prove to be an exception in the long run (ie after several generations).

Fairly substantial numbers of people who share roots in the specific subculture have to care enough about the music to hand it on to the next generation. Historically, this has been done through musical families and neighbors. The contemporary world has changed that somewhat because of transportation and communication technological developments, but not near to the extent that some people imagine.

Its not all that easy to start a new music genre in a subculture and sustain it over multiple generations. Cajun music is a good example of this, as are a good number of other music genres.


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Subject: RE: BS: What isn't Folk?
From: M.Ted
Date: 07 Aug 01 - 02:32 PM

I think Woody did perform the music of his cultural group-- he performed for dances,and all the local occasions, and on the radio, as did others musicians of his time. He was a trasient musician, as was the tradition, and he made up songs on the spot, in a traditional fashion, to satisfy the needs of the occasion--he took what he had come by and made it do what he wanted it to do--in that way he was like a lot of others, but he was able to express in a way that others couldn't, and he had a desire and an ability to connect that was unique--If you break him off from his roots, you do him a disservice--


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Subject: RE: BS: What isn't Folk?
From: GUEST
Date: 07 Aug 01 - 01:12 PM

Frank's assessment of folk music is among the most astute I've come across. While I wholeheartedly support the idea that all folk music is culturally based as Frank defines that, there is a lot of grey area about the "tradition" part.

As some have pointed out, if we use Frank's definition, Woody Guthrie doesn't really fit the definition.

And as ludicrous as it might sound, I would say that according to the strict definition of folk music, Woody really wasn't an authentic folk musician in the strict sense. That is in fact, what I believe.

Woody didn't perform the music of his cultural group, he created almost a new category of folk music culture in the US, much the same way Ewan MacColl did in Britain: the folk music revivalist tradition. In Britain, self-penned traditional sounding songs were not often considered to be true folk, in the US they were.

But to illustrate the difference as I see it: Dolly Parton's roots are in an authentic folk subculture, but the music she performs professionally usually doesn't.


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Subject: RE: BS: What isn't Folk?
From: Whistle Stop
Date: 07 Aug 01 - 01:10 PM

Interesting that someone revived this thread -- it's the first one I posted to, back when I had a name rather than a handle. Ah, but I was so much older then...

The problem with definitions is that they rely on other words, which we then have to define. I often hear "folk" defined with reference to "traditions" (as Frank Hamilton has done); I think it is interesting that we will argue endlessly about the meaning of the word "folk," but seem to assume that we share a common definition of the word "tradition".

Some seem to feel that a tradition needs to be hundreds of years old, but I think this assumption ignores the fact that life runs at a much faster clip now than it used to, and everything -- communications, technological developments, population growth and migration -- occurs much more quickly than it did in the old days. Since all of these things are factors in the development of traditions, I would argue that traditions can also arise and become established much more quickly than they used to.

In my opinion, Woody Guthrie was primarily responsible for the establishment of a white American singer-songwriter tradition that took hold in the space of just a few years in the 1930's. It drew on a number of other traditions -- some much older (the British ballad tradition, by way of Appalachia), some not so much older (cowboy songs), some comparatively recent (black blues). But there was enough about it that was unique that, in my opinion, it established a recognizable genre of its own. This genre resonated with enough people that a form of folk music tradition was born right then and there, and has continued to flourish to the present day. I think something similar happened with early rock and roll, which also drew together the threads of other traditions to form a recognizable genre of its own, practiced primarily by a relatively distinct sub-population (young postwar males with southern roots from the lower rungs of the economic ladder). I would consider both the Guthrie singer-songwriter tradition and the early rock and roll/rockabilly tradition to constitute "folk" music. [However, the latter so quickly and dramatically achieved commercial success that it was soon wrested away from its folk roots.]

I don't necessarily expect a lot of people to agree with me on this, and I recognize that there are still plenty of blurred boundary lines and opportunities for hair-splitting. But, despite all the lingering disagreements and general fatigue that this topic induces, I still think it is one of the more interesting subjects we discuss on this forum.


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Subject: RE: BS: What isn't Folk?
From: M.Ted
Date: 07 Aug 01 - 12:29 PM

As I understand it, it isn't really a yes or no question--it is more just a situation of figuring out which elements come from where and what the processes might have been.

There are different things that you can look at-- Woody generally used traditional melodies, and I'll assume that he learned them by hearing them, so generally, whatever else is going on, the melody is always going to satisfy a very tight definition of folk/tradtional.As to topical lyrics, even if the events are new, the process of creating them is traditional (at least the way Woody did it)--even the political elements are characteristics of topical broadsides--a lot of his other songs, as well, would be written with traditional ballads other songs that he had heard as a model, so they would be coming out of a tradition--

Some of his lyrics probably are more influenced by the contemporary or popular music, but which ones are more derived from popular music than from traditional is a doctoral thesis for somebody--


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Subject: RE: BS: What isn't Folk?
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 07 Aug 01 - 06:04 AM

Sure it wasn't an "abscess" you were thinking about, Spaw?

Murray


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Subject: RE: BS: What isn't Folk?
From: Peter Kasin
Date: 07 Aug 01 - 01:45 AM

Frank Hamilton's definition makes sense to me, but then, how would Guthrie's songs be defined? Is there a separate definition for modern songs composed in a folk idiom? I've heard it said that these days "folk" refers to singer/songwriter's acoustic music while "traditional" refers to what was once universally called "folk." "Acoustic," another definition I've heard for modern genres sounds to me to be a better term for the modern composed songs and they then would be less likely to be confused with traditional material. What category does the "sounds like, walks like, talks like, but isn't" song go to?


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Subject: RE: BS: What isn't Folk?
From: catspaw49
Date: 07 Aug 01 - 12:29 AM

Ya' know, I had an abstract once. Hurt like hell and my jaw was really swollen. Had to have that tooth pulled. Of course this was long before I had my "Complete Oral Rehabilitation" last June and now my mouth is in A-1 shape with no abstracts on the horizon. Wait a minute........I'm thinking of abcess, not abstract.

..........well......screw it.........never mind........

Spaw


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Subject: RE: BS: What isn't Folk?
From: Big Mick
Date: 07 Aug 01 - 12:12 AM

OK, Frank. At long last I can buy into, at least in the main, a definition of what folk music is, and in the abstract, what it isn't. Interesting, though, when I apply your definition to your old acquaintance Woodrow G's stuff. Much of it would be considered folk, but much of it wouldn't. I have read every damn thread on this we have had here, but this one finally makes some sense.

All the best,

Mick


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Subject: RE: BS: What isn't Folk?
From: Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull
Date: 06 Aug 01 - 11:54 PM


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Subject: RE: BS: What isn't Folk?
From: Mbo
Date: 01 Mar 00 - 12:20 PM

What's Ragg Mopp anyway?

--Mbo


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Subject: RE: BS: What isn't Folk?
From: M. Ted (inactive)
Date: 01 Mar 00 - 11:23 AM

No problem, Frank--


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