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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
Frank Hamilton How can we make folk music more apealing (121* d) RE: How can we make folk music more apealing 05 Oct 99


Not all of the Lomax recordings for the Library of Congress featured professional musicians who made recordings for the likes of Ralph Peer. Many of these were field recordings by unknown musicians and singers. Some of these recordings may have been made well past 1928 by singers who were not known on any record labels by such people as Sidney Robertson Cowell.

As to the loss of valuable documents, I don't know how many were lost. I do know that the Lomaxes, particularly John Senior was collecting folk songs before the Library of Congress. John senior's compiling of cowboy songs was not received with much support. Although we owe something to the recording process by the commercial labels in the twenties, this by no means represents the body of music called traditional folk.


My suggestions have been 1. Smaller concerts, intimate venues, school classrooms, house concerts, and more field study to unearth more traditional material. I don't think that traditional folk music has to follow the "brass ring" of the commercial music business to succeed.


Some folk music has been commercialized. But not all. The process of commercialization has nothing to do with folk music. But popular songs written in a contemporary vein or by established composers are not folk songs because they 1. have not gone into aural transmission, 2. don't necessarilly reflect a cultural sub-group, 3. have not undergone changes such as many variants, 4. are often composed to make money in the music business, and 5. are somehow frozen in a published form which if deviated from creates infringement of copyright law suits.

Frank Hamilton

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