Mudcat Café message #2597369 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #119547   Message #2597369
Posted By: Gibb Sahib
25-Mar-09 - 06:52 PM
Thread Name: 1954 and All That - defining folk music
Subject: RE: 1954 and All That - defining folk music
M.Ted, thank you for this:

The "dispute" over the meaning of the word folk is actually over, and has been for a long time--as mentioned above, researchers, academics, anthropologists, ethnomusicologists, have moved on and found other words, and definitions for what they do.

The word "Folk" has pretty much been left for people to use as they please--the discussions about definitions here are pretty much irrelevant to anything--

I have said more than once in these threads that the work folk needs to be simply abandoned as something useful.

""Folk" as an adjective is almost completely worthless. Take any phrase that has it and remove the word "folk" and you'll find that the phrase still means exactly the same thing, without the excess verbiage."

I was with Sinister Supporter at the beginning of this, as I think his idea of "folk" being "anything designated as such" is basic common sense -- from a pragmatic, descriptivist perspective. Then he started to make what I see as an irrelevant (and inaccurate) division between "academics" and non-academics, in order to dismiss "academic" notions. Lost me there. The reason being, that, as M.Ted says, "academics" have questioned and argued over "folk" from all these perspectives, including the supposed non-academic perspective that S.S. advocates.

This is why I never use the word "folk" when I am trying to convey something precisely or trying to understand something truly. This is why, sorry to tell you Sinister S, true "academics" rarely use the word; it's very old fashioned-- consider that the Society for Ethnomusicology, ushering in a newer approach, was formed in 1955. Now, I may use the term, for convenience's sake, in those "designated contexts" where imprecision is desired or where mutual understanding is implicit (like Mudcat, for example).

In the first type of scenario, it is meaningless and excess verbiage. In the second case, not using "folk" could mean having to use excess. Isn't this the case with most words?

Use it or lose it. Words are functional.