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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
GUEST,Frank Hamilton Communal folk music or individual? (102* d) Communal folk music or individual? 11 Feb 07

The more I study songs the more I see that they emanate usually from a single individual and that the versions of the songs that are supported supposedly by many different contributions don't seem to hold up. Usually it's one singer or performer who makes a definitive version of a song popular and lasting. In this way, what we call folk music is really a form of art song. Many of the "folk" songs are composed in the way that Schubert composed songs that are now "folk" in Germany. This brings into question how important the traditional base of the song may be. We find that in discussions about such people for example as Ewan McColl, he not only changed his name but his interpretation may be far different than his sources and he places his stamp on the material giving the audience an erroneous impression that it is somehow more "traditional". Each song comes from a particular individual who places his/her stamp such as Leadbelly did with "Goodnight Irene" or folk-style songs such as written by Woody Guthrie or Ewan. The performers who find themselves on the concert stage today singing folk songs are more like art singers than specific representatives of a homogenous folk culture. Not sure about this but it bears discussion. How "folk" is folk?

Frank Hamilton

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