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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
Bounty Hound What makes a new song a folk song? (1710* d) RE: What makes a new song a folk song? 31 Aug 14

I was going to leave this tread alone now, but having read Jim's post of 30 Aug 14 - 02:05 PM felt actually very sad, particularly for you Jim is this really reflects where you are now, so wanted to respond to one or two points.

I have yet to be persuaded that that process is still a living one.
Our folk songs recorded and reflected the aspirations of entire communities
They were part of those communities social history - a ground-level view of their everyday lives.
Ask the likes of Jez Lowe what he is doing with songs like 'Taking on men' and 'Black Trade' songs like those are exactly what you describe above.

The oral tradition no longer exists to cater for such creations, technology has guaranteed that they are stillborn, fixed in the form the creator gave them, and more importantly, the sole property of the creator.
Not true at all, technology (the advance of which is beyond all our control) may give a definitave version of a song as the writer intended it to be, but that in no way stops others from changing and adapting a song to suit their particular needs from that song, or even changing words to make it more relevent for them, and this is something that happens all the time. It is also my experience that most writers of 'modern folk' are only too pleased if someone else wants to sing/share/perform their song, and very, very few of them are precious enough to maintain it to be their 'sole property'

Thousands of youngsters are now taking up traditional music, guaranteeing its survival for at least another two generations.
Absolutely true, and long may that continue, but what you fail to go on to say, is that those thousands of youngsters are altering and adapting that traditional music, and adding their own compositions to it, thus ensuring the continuation of the 'folk process'

And one final thought, society has changed dramatically in recent years, particularly in the way we interact socially, or convey news, so following the same logic Tim Hart used about accompanying tradition song with electric instruments, if 300 years ago, someone who had just written a song and had facebook and twitter available to share it, they would of course have done so! Modern technology is widely used, and rightly so, to preserve traditional song for future generations, so is it not a bit of a double standard to maintain that if a new song is passed around via digital rather than oral means it disqualifies it from being 'folk'

We have to live with the here and now, come and join us in the 21st century Jim, you never know, you might just like it!

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