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Why do our songs last so long ?

Azizi 13 Nov 06 - 03:16 PM
Darowyn 13 Nov 06 - 03:57 PM
Soldier boy 14 Nov 06 - 07:49 PM
Soldier boy 14 Nov 06 - 08:39 PM
Charley Noble 14 Nov 06 - 08:43 PM
Azizi 14 Nov 06 - 08:45 PM
Azizi 14 Nov 06 - 08:52 PM
Soldier boy 14 Nov 06 - 09:27 PM
Soldier boy 18 Nov 06 - 08:22 PM
Azizi 19 Nov 06 - 01:58 AM
Azizi 19 Nov 06 - 02:17 AM
George Papavgeris 19 Nov 06 - 02:35 AM
Thomas the Rhymer 19 Nov 06 - 02:41 AM
GUEST,.gargoyle 19 Nov 06 - 03:27 AM
Mo the caller 19 Nov 06 - 03:33 AM
George Papavgeris 19 Nov 06 - 05:31 AM
GUEST,thurg 19 Nov 06 - 09:47 AM
Azizi 19 Nov 06 - 10:09 AM
Azizi 19 Nov 06 - 10:24 AM
GUEST,thurg 19 Nov 06 - 10:58 AM
Rumncoke 19 Nov 06 - 11:51 AM
GUEST 19 Nov 06 - 07:00 PM
Azizi 19 Nov 06 - 07:54 PM
GUEST,Dazbo 20 Nov 06 - 06:26 AM
GUEST,highlandman at work 11 Apr 14 - 02:27 PM
Stringsinger 11 Apr 14 - 02:58 PM
GUEST,Allan Conn 14 Sep 15 - 04:41 AM
GUEST,DrWord 14 Sep 15 - 07:59 PM
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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: 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: Soldier boy
Date: 14 Nov 06 - 07:49 PM

refresh


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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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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
Date: 19 Nov 06 - 07:00 PM

preservatives.


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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,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: 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: 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,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: 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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