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Why do our songs last so long ?

GUEST,DrWord 14 Sep 15 - 07:59 PM
GUEST,Allan Conn 14 Sep 15 - 04:41 AM
Stringsinger 11 Apr 14 - 02:58 PM
GUEST,highlandman at work 11 Apr 14 - 02:27 PM
GUEST,Dazbo 20 Nov 06 - 06:26 AM
Azizi 19 Nov 06 - 07:54 PM
GUEST 19 Nov 06 - 07:00 PM
Rumncoke 19 Nov 06 - 11:51 AM
GUEST,thurg 19 Nov 06 - 10:58 AM
Azizi 19 Nov 06 - 10:24 AM
Azizi 19 Nov 06 - 10:09 AM
GUEST,thurg 19 Nov 06 - 09:47 AM
George Papavgeris 19 Nov 06 - 05:31 AM
Mo the caller 19 Nov 06 - 03:33 AM
GUEST,.gargoyle 19 Nov 06 - 03:27 AM
Thomas the Rhymer 19 Nov 06 - 02:41 AM
George Papavgeris 19 Nov 06 - 02:35 AM
Azizi 19 Nov 06 - 02:17 AM
Azizi 19 Nov 06 - 01:58 AM
Soldier boy 18 Nov 06 - 08:22 PM
Soldier boy 14 Nov 06 - 09:27 PM
Azizi 14 Nov 06 - 08:52 PM
Azizi 14 Nov 06 - 08:45 PM
Charley Noble 14 Nov 06 - 08:43 PM
Soldier boy 14 Nov 06 - 08:39 PM
Soldier boy 14 Nov 06 - 07:49 PM
Darowyn 13 Nov 06 - 03:57 PM
Azizi 13 Nov 06 - 03:16 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 13 Nov 06 - 03:12 PM
Azizi 13 Nov 06 - 03:10 PM
GUEST,thurg 13 Nov 06 - 02:59 PM
Azizi 13 Nov 06 - 02:45 PM
Shaneo 13 Nov 06 - 10:46 AM
GUEST,Jack Campin 13 Nov 06 - 10:28 AM
MMario 13 Nov 06 - 10:22 AM
Scrump 13 Nov 06 - 10:11 AM
Mo the caller 13 Nov 06 - 07:42 AM
GUEST,fidjit 13 Nov 06 - 07:33 AM
Genie 12 Nov 06 - 11:10 PM
Peace 12 Nov 06 - 06:12 PM
McGrath of Harlow 12 Nov 06 - 06:11 PM
Genie 12 Nov 06 - 05:34 PM
PSzymeczek 12 Nov 06 - 05:06 PM
Mo the caller 12 Nov 06 - 03:23 PM
Ron Davies 12 Nov 06 - 02:17 PM
Azizi 12 Nov 06 - 01:48 PM
Peace 12 Nov 06 - 12:09 PM
Bill D 12 Nov 06 - 12:06 PM
McMullen 12 Nov 06 - 10:56 AM
Bill D 12 Nov 06 - 10:54 AM
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Subject: RE: Why do our songs last so long ?
From: GUEST,DrWord
Date: 14 Sep 15 - 07:59 PM

As Glenn said a year and a half ago:

"I don't know what stray cosmic particle caused this thread to resurrect, but it reminded me that I miss Azizi!"
I feel that too. What an incredibly engaged and engaging mudcatter. Here's to more "stray cosmic" events keeping threads in the present. Dear readers, newbies or oldies at this forum, a bit of perusing Azizi's posts will show a newcomer and remind an oldCatter of the richness of culture and scholarship lurking in this place.
keep on pickin'
dennis
    I'm going to close this thread. It's been drawing a lot of Spam.
    -Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Why do our songs last so long ?
From: GUEST,Allan Conn
Date: 14 Sep 15 - 04:41 AM

I would disagree with the point that all modern music is written to make money. Much obviously is. However there are plenty of musicians out there writing and playing songs for the fun of it. Making music because they enjoy making music. Art for art's sake. I myself know various good musicians, and some better than good, who write their own songs and tunes and have never made any real serious attempt to make money out of it. Even many professional musicians surely do not bow to the more commercial aspects?


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Subject: RE: Why do our songs last so long ?
From: Stringsinger
Date: 11 Apr 14 - 02:58 PM

I think the answer is: sub structure. Each traditional folk song had a folklore behind it which is not true of most of the popular music from 1800's to today which is primarily composed by single known authors/composers. There are still folk cultures today throughout the world which bear little resemblance to the popular music industry, still cultivating their musical heritage away from the narrow scope of main stream media.

Songs written specifically for commercial purposes which include popular music on the top ten stations, Broadway show songs, and some jazz tunes, the last maybe not for commercial gain exclusively, since I argue that jazz overall is an outgrowth of traditional folk music associated with African-American heritage, folk songs are not written to make money.
They become popular, particularly during the folk revival of the Sixties, by accident in association with popular singing groups such as the Weavers, Kingston Trio or P.P. and M.

To enable the necessary knowledge behind each song, investigation of the folklore, cultural framework, sociology, and ethnomusicological (phew, that's big word) is necessary.

In American folk music, two main currents exist, Appalachian or so-called Anglo-American styles and just as equally important, the contribution of African-American styles, both of which are independent of their commercial value in the music marketplace.

Rock and roll is a commercial venture though some form of it will inevitably survive in a folk context, though the songs will have been changed through aural transmission, as has been the case for early popular songs that wandered into the folk domain such as Stephen Foster's "Angelina Baker" morphing into "Angeline the Baker", a hoe down tune or a song such as
"Old Dan Tucker" written for the New York stage by Dan Emmett which became a folk tune with many new verses and used as a folk dance song.

Aside from the two major influences in American folk music, there are many smaller contributions by European, Asian and Latino sub-cultures that blend with the so-called
Anglo-American and Afro-American ones.

So, the songs last because of the potent background of cultural heritage by specific pockets of folk life that still are under the radar, even today, of the commercial music business.
Corporate musical imperialism of the commercially popular song will not erase them.


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Subject: RE: Why do our songs last so long ?
From: GUEST,highlandman at work
Date: 11 Apr 14 - 02:27 PM

I don't know what stray cosmic particle caused this thread to resurrect, but it reminded me that I miss Azizi!
-Glenn


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Subject: RE: Why do our songs last so long ?
From: GUEST,Dazbo
Date: 20 Nov 06 - 06:26 AM

Because they have lasted so long. You know the songs that have survived the test of time but don't know those that didn't. It's a bit like saying the Romans were wonderful builders judging by what's still standing (but ignores all the buildings that collapsed as soon as, or shortly after, completion).


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Subject: RE: Why do our songs last so long ?
From: Azizi
Date: 19 Nov 06 - 07:54 PM

GUEST,thurg -,

Thanks for listing those tunes from that website. Here's the hyperlink: http://www.maryjanelamond.com/music.html

maryjanelamond.com also has links to her video clips, but for whatever reason, the videos wouldn't work for me.

Thanks again, thurg...

And btw, whatever did you mean by your comment that I of all people would understand the fact that you got a bit carried away posting that list?

:o)


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Subject: RE: Why do our songs last so long ?
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Nov 06 - 07:00 PM

preservatives.


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Subject: RE: Why do our songs last so long ?
From: Rumncoke
Date: 19 Nov 06 - 11:51 AM

I was listening to a TV program yesterday as I was busy in the kitchen, on the subject of musical theory, and it started off with various songs using a pentatonic scale, and the presenter said that Humans are most likely genetically programmed to use that scale.

If a song is pentatonic it can be played on the black notes of a piano - presumably on the white notes of a harpsichord?

My own theory is that if a tune has a good melody and rythm, a few nice twiddly bits but not too difficult to remember or sing, with words which are relevant at the time and can be parodied or the tune nicked for a new set, and which generally gives opportunities for audience participation either with refrains, replies or echoes, then it is most likely to get taken up by those with a good ear and memory, and so spread and persist wherever people go. And it will most likely be pentatonic. If it is easy to harmonise with even better.

Anne


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Subject: RE: Why do our songs last so long ?
From: GUEST,thurg
Date: 19 Nov 06 - 10:58 AM

Azizi -

I've probably gotten a little carried away here, but you of all people should understand that! Anyway, here are a number of samples from the Cape Breton singer Mary Jane Lamond, from: http://www.maryjanelamond.com/music.html ... No doubt there would have been a way of linking them, but I don't know what it is. My apologies! If you look at the track listings from the albums, you'll find these among them. I have put an NB in front of the songs that are done in a straight traditional manner. They are all some manner of call-and-response songs in Scottish Gaelic:


From "Storas":
[mp3] Gur e mo rn an Dmhnallach (It is my love the MacDonald Man)
[mp3] Bal na h-Aibhne Deas (Ball at Southwest Margaree)
          Cumha Aoghnuis( Lament for Angus)
          An Gaidheal am measg nan Gaidheal (Gael among the Lowlanders)

"Gaelic Songs of Cape Breton":
NB [mp3] Illean Aigh
          Cead Deireannach Nam Beann
          A Fhleasgaich Vasail
          Puirt Eos Peadair (Joe Peter's Tunes)
NB [mp3] Oran a' Phiognaig
          Am Braighe (lead singer a male in this one; in Cape Breton men participate in waulking, or milling as it's known in C.B.)
NB [mp3] Nighean Dubh, Nighean Donn

"Lan Duil":
NB [mp3] Ill ill illean's (may be some children singing here,maybe just child-like voices)

"Suas e!":
       Oran Snomh (Spinning Song)
[mp3] Seinn O
          Dmhnall Mac 'ic
          E Hor
NB [mp3] Oran do Ghille a Chaidh a Bhthadh
             (On the Drowning of a Young Man)

"Bho Thir Nan Croabh"
NB [mp3] He Mo Leannan: Hey My Love
NB [mp3] Cha Bhi Mi Buan: I Will Not Survive   
          Ba, Ba, Ba, Mo leanabh: Hush, Hush, Hush My Little Baby (maybe a mistake in the titles here?)


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Subject: RE: Why do our songs last so long ?
From: Azizi
Date: 19 Nov 06 - 10:24 AM

My first thought after hearing that Scottish waulking clip is how much it sounds like traditional African, and traditional Native American music. It's not just the call & response but also the percussive tune that reminds me of African and Native American music.
Perhaps other folks here might think that clip reminds them of completely different ethnic music.

I remember reading an article or book some time ago in which the author theorized that call & response was the beginning pattern of music for all people throughout the world. The author then took the position that one sign of increased civilization was when people left call & response behind and graduated to more complicated forms of musical construction...

While I didn't like [and still don't like that pre-civilization theory], maybe there's some truth in the author's belief that call & response songs are found throughout the world.

[It occurs to me that this conversation may be off topic of the thread's focus on "why our songs last so long". But maybe it's not off topic at all...and if it is maybe it's a sidebar conversation that would be of interest to other folks besides me].


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Subject: RE: Why do our songs last so long ?
From: Azizi
Date: 19 Nov 06 - 10:09 AM

Thanks, thurg.

The sound clip's hyperlink is
http://www.mustrad.org.uk/sound/primit7.ra

**

The World Library of Folk and Primitive Music Volume 3 -Scotland Rounder CD 1743 is http://www.mustrad.org.uk/reviews/r_index.htm.


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Subject: RE: Why do our songs last so long ?
From: GUEST,thurg
Date: 19 Nov 06 - 09:47 AM

Azizi -

"And lastly, Darowyn, you wrote that "...Call and response work songs are common in the Gaelic tradition for both male and female".

Would you please share an example or examples of those songs and/or online sources if any for information and examples of those songs?"


There doesn't seem to be much of this stuff on-line, but here's a brief clip of a group of women singing a "waulking" song in the Isle of Lewis in Scotland (waulking is part of the process of making woollen fabric, involves pounding wet wool onto a table - someone correct m if I have the details wrong): http://www.mustrad.org.uk/sound/primit7.ra ... The clip comes from: World Library of Folk and Primitive Music Volume 3 -Scotland Rounder CD 1743 at http://www.mustrad.org.uk/reviews/r_index.htm.


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Subject: RE: Why do our songs last so long ?
From: George Papavgeris
Date: 19 Nov 06 - 05:31 AM

Schoolkids still sing coach trip songs, Mo - at least I heard some. But it's more than those songs. I am thinking more of some wassailing songs which get verses added and adapted to be more topical, for example.


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Subject: RE: Why do our songs last so long ?
From: Mo the caller
Date: 19 Nov 06 - 03:33 AM

George, you mean like the 'coach trip' songs, Quartermasters stores, and You'll never get to heaven? Does anyone sing these anymore, now that everyone has their own car?


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Subject: RE: Why do our songs last so long ?
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 19 Nov 06 - 03:27 AM

You have a limited exposuer to "POP." Much of my material is 50 years old, even more is 100 to 150 years, and some is 200. They have commercial/pop composers/performers like Cole Porter, Steven Foster, Joe Young, Richard Rodgers, Jimmie Rodgers, Charlie Parker, Johnny Mercers, Jerome Kern, Oscar Hammerstein, Lorenz Hart, Benny Goodman, Ira Gershwin, Ray Henderson, Gerorge Gershwin, Lew Brown, Duke Ellington, Ray Charles, Count Basie, Fats Waller, Tommy Dorsey, Oscar Peterson, Ella Fitzgerald, Bobby Holiday, Miles Peterson, Miles Davis, Stan Getz, Nat King Cole, Louie Armstrong, John Coltrane, Count Basie....and outside of Foster this is not even the civil-war-era...and beyond.

The list for 1970 to present could be equally as long (Doors, Who, Animals, Turtles, Jimmy Dean, Jagger, Plant etc)....but it is a shorter time span.

You are painting apples and oranges with a mighty broad brush. It is a stupid question. You might as well ask, "Why do uncommon surnames like Gershwin and Rodgers appear more than once?"

Your view is probably skewed because all you know and play is "Folk" and you seldom step outside your "comfort zone."

Sincerely,
Gargoyle


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Subject: RE: Why do our songs last so long ?
From: Thomas the Rhymer
Date: 19 Nov 06 - 02:41 AM

Because they have so many verses. Some of the original folksongs haven't ever been sung all the way through... and even after many consecutive generations of constant singing... have barely scratched the surface of character development and background...
;^)ttr


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Subject: RE: Why do our songs last so long ?
From: George Papavgeris
Date: 19 Nov 06 - 02:35 AM

There is also another category of folk song, that is constantly revitalised, adapted and updated, and so can withstand the passage of time; I refer to the type of song where each (short) verse is self-contained, a little like some shanties, and allows the participants to make up their own verses to add to it. These new verses are usually topical, don't last long in folk memory themselves, yet the skeleton-song remains.

I know of such songs in the Cretan ("mantinada") tradition, and I am sure I have heard similar in the English and Irish traditions; they would be typically tavern-songs or used in celebration at a wedding or even at a wake; each freshly made-up verse extolling the virtues of the person or event celebrated.


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Subject: RE: Why do our songs last so long ?
From: Azizi
Date: 19 Nov 06 - 02:17 AM

Yes, yes I know that preview should be my friend, but instead I tend to cut, paste, and run.

:o)

Let me try that first question again:

Darowyn,
if I understood you correctly, in your 13 Nov 06 - 03:57 PM comment to you gave an example of a Senegalese student of yours use traditional African instruments as well as modern electronic instruments to create what you considered to be a traditional composition"

-snip-

And since I'm here, let me post this example from Youtube:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jw-hZSoi_Y8

African Queen by 2Face Idibia

This song is a huge contemporary hit song from Nigeria, West Africa.

I posted that video hyperlink on Mudcat's thread.cfm?threadid=95631&messages=180#1865855 along with this comment:

"This is a very high quality video of a very catchy tune. The beat sounds like reggae to me, but it might be another genre of music. Imo, the singer has a great voice.

The video shows the traditional kora {or a kora like instument} being played as part of this song's accompaniment."
-snip-

Darowyn, am I correct in assuming that you would not categorize this song as a new/traditional song even though it's instrumentation includes a kora?

[Actually, I was just looking for an excuse to include this song on more threads. It has a catchy tune and positive lyrics.
Plus, I love its visuals]

;o))


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Subject: RE: Why do our songs last so long ?
From: Azizi
Date: 19 Nov 06 - 01:58 AM

You're welcome, Soldier Boy.

****

Darowyn,
if I understood you correctly, in your 13 Nov 06 - 03:57 PM comment to you gave an example of a Senegalese student of yours use traditional African instruments as well as modern electronic instruments to create what you considered to be a aand Indian {East Indian?} students creating traditionaland a "perfect piece of traditional African music" .

You also wrote "I've seen classical Indian musicians use a Korg Triton in my own studio too."
-snip-

I'm assuming that a Korg Triton is some newfangled electronic or computerized system and not the name of some monster from the deep lagoon.

Btw, did you mean East Indian musicians? Not that it matters in the context of this question about classical musicians using
non-acoustic instruments or equipment [if that is the right word] to create traditional or traditional-like compositions.

And lastly, Darowyn, you wrote that "...Call and response work songs are common in the Gaelic tradition for both male and female".

Would you please share an example or examples of those songs and/or online sources if any for information and examples of those songs?

Thank you!

Azizi


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Subject: RE: Why do our songs last so long ?
From: Soldier boy
Date: 18 Nov 06 - 08:22 PM

And thank you Azizi for your PM to show me how to do it. Much appreciated.


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Subject: RE: Why do our songs last so long ?
From: Soldier boy
Date: 14 Nov 06 - 09:27 PM

Thank you Azizi. I can't do that techno blue-clickerty stuff.


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Subject: RE: Why do our songs last so long ?
From: Azizi
Date: 14 Nov 06 - 08:52 PM

Charlie, did you make any audio tapes or write down any of the Ethiopian work songs that you heard during your Peace Corp experience in the 1960s?


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Subject: RE: Why do our songs last so long ?
From: Azizi
Date: 14 Nov 06 - 08:45 PM

Here's the link to the thread that Soldier boy referred to:

So what is 'TRADITIONAL'Folk Music ?"


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Subject: RE: Why do our songs last so long ?
From: Charley Noble
Date: 14 Nov 06 - 08:43 PM

To "good melody and good rhyme" I would add a "good story", one that you remember long after you've forgotten the words of the verses!

Some of the work chants that were passed on from generation to generation disappeared when the task became obsolete. While many sea shanties are still song, many more evaporated before anyone thought to write them down. Others such as "What Do You Do with a Drunken Sailor" persist without the march around the capstan, whatever a capstan might be!

I do wonder if some of the agricultural work chants I heard while in the Peace Corps in Ethiopia in the 1960's are still alive in the fields, or whether they have been replaced by the roar of the John Deer tractor or its Asian equivalent. Maybe when I return for a visit I should try out a translation of "The Field Behind the Plow."

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Why do our songs last so long ?
From: Soldier boy
Date: 14 Nov 06 - 08:39 PM

I have enjoyed reading this thread. It contains a lot of good down to earth common sense.

There is another thread on the same Mudcat page as this thread titled "So what is 'TRADITIONAL'Folk Music ?" which contains some very similar lines of discussion found here.
You might like to plough through it to see what I mean and make your very valuable contributions there as well.
I also hope that it will help to inform and add to the discussions posted here.

A sort of mutually beneficial cross-fertilisation of ideas I guess (hope).


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Subject: RE: Why do our songs last so long ?
From: Soldier boy
Date: 14 Nov 06 - 07:49 PM

refresh


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Subject: RE: Why do our songs last so long ?
From: Darowyn
Date: 13 Nov 06 - 03:57 PM

Having spent some time with West African musicians over the past few years, I can testify to the constant refreshing of the tradition from many sources.
A Senegalese student of mine recorded a set of songs in Dacca within the Griot tradition, using traditional African instruments, Halam, Kora, Djembe, Fender Precision Bass, Korg Triton Synth, and the flute solo was synthesized using a Midi guitar.
The result- a perfect piece of traditional African music.
A visitor to Africa today would find Rap and Reggae everywhere. Both genres have African precursors, but it is a re-import on an even greater scale than when the British Invasion of the sixties brought the blues back to the USA.
I've seen classical Indian musicians use a Korg Triton in my own studio too.
On another point, Call and response work songs are common in the Gaelic tradition for both male and female tasks.
Finally to answer the question that heads the thread,
It's the survival of the fittest. Songs evolve or become extinct according to how effective they are in the society of the day.
Darwinism exemplified!
Cheers
Dave


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Subject: RE: Why do our songs last so long ?
From: Azizi
Date: 13 Nov 06 - 03:16 PM

sorry about that repeated "on a roll" comment. And btw, I prefer whole wheat bread and hold the mayonnaise please...

Also, sorry about the formatting of that cheer.

:o)

And thurg's comment about African traditions being constantly revitalized, revised and expanded reinforces my comment about the new form of call & response cheers. Btw. the earliest example of this playground rhyming activity that I've found was in a mid 1970s field recording of Washington DC Black girls.


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Subject: RE: Why do our songs last so long ?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 13 Nov 06 - 03:12 PM

Why shouldn't they last long?

You can replace the word "songs" with other items - drawings, books, sculpture, etc.   Songs do not last longer than anything else.

If I say "Mona Lisa" I am sure 99.9% of you reading this can picture the painting in your mind. If I say "Card Players" by Paul Cezanne, I would bet that fewer than half of you would recall this from memory or even know of its existence. Both paintings are still around, one is more famous, but both are great works of art.

Songs are the same. It doesn't matter what culture, age or even quality. There are many different factors that keep a song in public perception.


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Subject: RE: Why do our songs last so long ?
From: Azizi
Date: 13 Nov 06 - 03:10 PM

And, since I'm on a roll, let me also share this longest quote about call & response music:

Also, {since I'm on a roll}, I'd like to share this long excerpt from
http://www.reference.com/browse/wiki/Call_and_response_(music)

"In West African cultures, call and response is a pervasive pattern of democratic participation -- in public gatherings in the discussion of civic affairs, in religious rituals, as well as in vocal and instrumental musical expression. It is this tradition that African bondsmen and women brought with them to the New World and which has been transmitted over the centuries in various forms of cultural expression -- in religious observance; public gatherings; sporting events; even in children's rhymes; and, most notably, in African-American music in its myriad forms and descendents including: gospel, blues, rhythm and blues, jazz and jazz extensions.

These forms also possibly influenced the evolution of call and response in the ancient Indian Classical Music technique of Jugalbandi.

Call and response is likewise widely present in other parts of the Americas touched by the trans-Atlantic slave trade. Known under the Spanish term coro-pregon, it can be found in Afro-Latin music based on religious chants.

Folk music
It is common in folk traditions of choral singing of many peoples, especially in African musical cultures. In the West, it is most readily seen in the sea shanty, African-American work songs, and the dance-songs of various European countries including France (particularly Brittany) and the Faeroe Islands.

Classical music
In classical European music it is known as antiphony.

Popular music
The phenomenon of call and response is pervasive in modern Western popular music, as well, largely because Western music has been so heavily shaped by African contributions. Cross-over rhythm and blues, rock 'n' roll, and rock music exhibit call-and-response characteristics, as well. One example is The Who's song, My Generation."
-snip-

The entire comment can be found at http://www.reference.com/browse/wiki/Call_and_response_(music)

****
"Call & Response" is a living tradition. Although this is definitely off topic, as a matter of information, the children's performance activity that I've named "foot stomping cheers" uses a modified form of call & response which I have termed "group/consecutive soloists" pattern. The group voice always starts off the cheers. The soloist responds to the groups' question. The cheer may 'end' with the soloist statement or it may end with the group voice. However, a signature of this type of cheer is that the cheer is repeated again and again until every member of that informal group has a chance to be the soloist.

Here's an example of the text of a foot stomping cheer from the mid 1980s, Pittsburgh, Pa; African American girls {about 8-12 years old}, compliments of my daughter and her friends:

GET DOWN
All:      I saida D-O-W-N.
          That's the way we get down.
          D-O-W-N
          That's the way we get down.
Group:    Hey, Danielle.
Danielle: What?
Group:    Show us how you get down.
Danielle: No way.
Group:    Show us how you get down.
Danielle: Okay.
          I said D-O-W-N
          And that's the way.
          That's the way.
          That's the way.
          I get down.
Group:    She saida
          D-O-W-N
          And that's the way.
          That's the way.
          That's the way.
          she gets down.

{Repeat the entire cheer with the next soloist, and continue repeating from the beginning without pausing until everyone has a turn as soloist.}

Cheers are recited with drama and attitude while performing a syncopated syncronized routine made with bass sounding foot stomps, and {individual} handclaps. Sometimes body patting also is added to the mix. This particular cheer is reminiscent of "let me see your motion} children's ring {circle} games.

For more information & examples about foot stomping cheers, your welcome to visit this page of my website:

http://www.cocojams.com/street_cheers_example%200104.htm


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Subject: RE: Why do our songs last so long ?
From: GUEST,thurg
Date: 13 Nov 06 - 02:59 PM

I would think that one of the difficulties in dating African musical traditions in the U.S. would be the probablity that African traditions were being constantly revitalized, revised and expanded by new arrivals from Africa for as long as the slave trade was in operation, whether legally or illegally. "Pure" African music heard in the U.S. in, say, 1880, might have survived in the U.S. for two hundred years, or it might have survived for a mere thirty years or less.


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Subject: RE: Why do our songs last so long ?
From: Azizi
Date: 13 Nov 06 - 02:45 PM

GUEST,Jack Campin,

I found your comments on Iranian chanting during political demonstrations to be very interesting. I'd love to know more.

I'd also love to be able to answer the question you directed to me about the possible survival of African American music from the 18th century {or even earlier for that matter-since the first enslaved Africans came to the USA in 1619}. However, answering that question is far beyond my capability.

That said, I'm gonna try to answer it anyhow.

:o}

I believe that the religious chants of the Nigerian {Yoruba}, Benin religion of Orisha Vodoun {erroneously called Vodoo}have survived for 200 years plus in the United States {and in the Caribbean, and Brazil}. For an example of such a chant, see this Youtube video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SYxjiYlbFiU

-snip-

With regard to secular music, rather than the lyrics and tunes of particular songs surviving, I think that one can point with a great deal of assurance to the survival of the way songs are structured, the way particular musical instruments are played, the types of body stance and body movements that are used in dancing, and the way other performance activities occur.

See this quote about the survival of African musical traditions in the United States:

"The record shows that African musical traditions survived in some places. Occasional reports from travelers, tutors, and British officers mention musical practices in the rural South that clearly had African origins. African traditions flourished in well-documented public celebrations by slaves on election days and Pentecost in the North, and weekly at Congo Square in New Orleans."

http://www.history.org/foundation/journal/winter02-03/music.cfm


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Subject: RE: Why do our songs last so long ?
From: Shaneo
Date: 13 Nov 06 - 10:46 AM

The sentiments expressed in the lyrics of folk songs are thing we really care about ,Songs like ''Joe Hill'' or ''Farewell My Green Valleys'' for example. When I sing these songs I go to that place in the song, it's the 'caring' about the song that keeps it alive,


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Subject: RE: Why do our songs last so long ?
From: GUEST,Jack Campin
Date: 13 Nov 06 - 10:28 AM

One of the most effective call/response chants I've ever heard was when I was on a political demonstration where most of the participants were Iranians - much faster, more energetic, and more textually complex than the usual British "What do we want?" "When do we want it?" number. I have occasionally heard this in newsreel footage of demos from other parts of the Middle East, and there is something similar in some kinds of Arabic folk music where voice and instruments alternate. So maybe sailors from the Persian Gulf could have helped contribute this technique to the shanty tradition?

A question for Azizi: how far back can we trace African-American songs, with real evidence? Is there anything which we *know* has survived in Afro-American oral tradition with little change to either words or melody from 200 years ago or more, and which didn't originate from anything European?


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Subject: RE: Why do our songs last so long ?
From: MMario
Date: 13 Nov 06 - 10:22 AM

just another comment on the "call and response" bit - while not quite the same thing, you will frequently find audiences singing the "burden" lines of ballads.


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Subject: RE: Why do our songs last so long ?
From: Scrump
Date: 13 Nov 06 - 10:11 AM

Because floor singers are always told "three songs" rather than "ten minutes" ;-)


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Subject: RE: Why do our songs last so long ?
From: Mo the caller
Date: 13 Nov 06 - 07:42 AM

Genie - I liked it


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Subject: RE: Why do our songs last so long ?
From: GUEST,fidjit
Date: 13 Nov 06 - 07:33 AM

Something to do with the "time warp" we are in.

Chas

Actually it's 'cos we like them.


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Subject: RE: Why do our songs last so long ?
From: Genie
Date: 12 Nov 06 - 11:10 PM

"Why do our songs last so long ?"

Maybe because we're afraid whenever we actually finish the last verse they'll make us get off the stage?


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Subject: RE: Why do our songs last so long ?
From: Peace
Date: 12 Nov 06 - 06:12 PM

"RE: Why do our songs last so long ?"

Ever since Dylan broke the three-minute-single barrier with "Like a Rolling Stone" back in the Sixties . . . .


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Subject: RE: Why do our songs last so long ?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 12 Nov 06 - 06:11 PM

There are hundreds of chanteys and work-songs in the Anglo tradition built on call and response Truen enough - but shanties weren't exclusively or even predominantly Anglo. Sailors came in all colours and nationalities, and the shanties moved between ships where all kind of languages were spoken. And black shantymen were fairly common I believe.
.....................
Folksongs are like yogurt - that's certainly an interesting simile.


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Subject: RE: Why do our songs last so long ?
From: Genie
Date: 12 Nov 06 - 05:34 PM

leneeia beat me to the main point.
Q: Why do folk songs last so long?
A: Maybe they don't. We just don't know the ones that didn't.


Also, maybe they're more like yogurt than like cottage cheese.   Yogurt doesn't "spoil" nearly as quickly because it's still alive.   Maybe that means folk music is full of active cultures (transforming itself daily). Maybe it means it's crawling with microbes. Take your pick. ;)


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Subject: RE: Why do our songs last so long ?
From: PSzymeczek
Date: 12 Nov 06 - 05:06 PM

"Maybe Lightfoot's 'Wreck Of The Edmund Fitzgerald' (How long was that song?)."

Officially, Naemanson, 6 minutes, 28 seconds.


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Subject: RE: Why do our songs last so long ?
From: Mo the caller
Date: 12 Nov 06 - 03:23 PM

Why do they last so long and pop songs don't?
Because any good pop song will be adopted and sung in folk clubs and become a folk song, the rest forgotten.
Anyway lots of pop songs from the 60s have been recycled more recently.


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Subject: RE: Why do our songs last so long ?
From: Ron Davies
Date: 12 Nov 06 - 02:17 PM

Why do they last so long? Because they slow down when we sing them.

"How we love to sing of the open sea, as the sailors used to do"
"But we find each time that we sing these songs, they take longer to get through".......


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Subject: RE: Why do our songs last so long ?
From: Azizi
Date: 12 Nov 06 - 01:48 PM

Just for the "record", in my 11 Nov 06 - 09:07 AM I made reference to European/European American ballads not having a built in structure for audience participation such as is the case with African American and other African Diaspora folk songs which are use call & response patterns.

Although it seems that I was incorrect in thinking that it's the norm for White audiences at folk concerts to sit back, listen, and not join in with a performer or performers, nowhere in my post did I say that African Americans and other Black people were the only folks to use the call & response pattern.

While it is a matter of documentation that call & response is a signature pattern of Black music & song, that does not mean that Black folks were {are} the only folks to have used or to currently use such a pattern. As some here have mentioned, a case in point is the composition of shanties. Of course, some ship crews were interracial {Black/non-Black} which-in my opinion-probably contributed to the use of call & response patterns for shanties. However, it is more than possible that White folks could have used call & response patterns to compose songs without any contact with or imitation of Black folks.

I recognize that this discussion about the use of call & response patterns is a minor sidebar to the main discussion on this thread. However, I feel it is important to clarify my position about this point.

Best wishes,

Azizi


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Subject: RE: Why do our songs last so long ?
From: Peace
Date: 12 Nov 06 - 12:09 PM

OK then. Because we LIKE them.


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Subject: RE: Why do our songs last so long ?
From: Bill D
Date: 12 Nov 06 - 12:06 PM

no, McMullen...not that simple. If it were that simple, we wouldn't have so much fun debating it.

Besides...there are many old, trad songs that are NOT very good.


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Subject: RE: Why do our songs last so long ?
From: McMullen
Date: 12 Nov 06 - 10:56 AM

because there good, simple as


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Subject: RE: Why do our songs last so long ?
From: Bill D
Date: 12 Nov 06 - 10:54 AM

A bunch of people have already said most of what I would:

"good songs last"
"topics of regular concern to regular people"
"often tweaked & improved so that they are even better than when 'new'"
"tunes that are 'reasonably' easy to sing and remember"


But the issue of when they BECOME folk is harder. Effsee makes a certain kind of point. The songs (s)he refers to are regularly sung by
people who are deep into the 'folk' tradition.....still, it is common in many areas to have a semi-official definition of what it means to be included. (Antique autos have VERY precise limits...and regular antiques are pretty narrowly defined. Likewise, ethnic foods lose their status if changed or 'adapted' too freely.)

"Sammy's Bar" is a song which has many of the characteristics which 'probably' will in time integrate it into full "folk" status, and there are few arguments when hearing it at a gathering of 'folk'. ...Still, most of those who sing it do know who the author was and do not alter the tune or words much. When it is old enough that it is regularly collected in oral tradition, and sung by many who have no idea of the author...and perhaps altered a bit....it will have moved beyond that 'provisional' status.
It's not a clear or hard & fast rule, but 50+ years is a common age when songs have 'settled' into the corpus....IF they retain most of the other characteristics. (I would suggest that "Itsy-Bitsy, Teeny-Weenie, Yellow Polka-Dot Bikini" will NOT make it...no matter how old it gets..*grin*....we may sing it forever, but as a 'novelty' song.)


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