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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
Jerry Friedman Original Music That Sounds Traditional? (83* d) RE: Original Music That Sounds Traditional? 10 Feb 99

Bobby Bob, "chuffed to little mint balls"--I'm ROTFL!

Margarita, who's the secret Scots poet?

Shambles, outside of mathematics, every category has fuzzy boundaries, as Pete M. so rightly remarked about "purist". That doesn't mean every category is useless. Tufted ducks may hybridize with ring-necked ducks, but MOST of the time you know which one you're looking at. (I'd love to look at a tufted duck some day--a great tick for an American twitcher. And they eat zebra mussels.)

Dick's comment about traditions, and something several people have said about every song having an author, bring up a point I'd like to make. There's a theory that folk songs are the work of many hands. Maybe somebody wrote the original version, but since then it's been folk-processed.

Thus in a sense it's the work of the people, the folk, as a whole. [*] To some folkies, this quality has a certain mystique. Such a song is not and never was any kind of individual property; it arises from and belongs to a tradition. The version(s) we have came from no commercial or motive and no pose; most of what brought them to being was people making the song the best they could and remembering the best they could, in the way that was natural to them. I believe this, not what Dick said, is the usual meaning of the word "traditional".

I see nothing wrong with responding to this mystique. I don't myself; I don't enjoy "Die Loreley" any more when it's credited to Silcher than when it's called a folk song. But is this part of what the people who like the "traditional" category are responding to?

[*] Of course, Tom Lehrer had the last word on this (in his intro to "The Folksong Army), as he did on so many things. Is this the first footnote in the Mudcat?

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