Mudcat Café message #2719150 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #123472   Message #2719150
Posted By: McGrath of Harlow
08-Sep-09 - 03:32 PM
Thread Name: The Folk Process
Subject: RE: The Folk Process
When singers change the words or the way a song is sung, conciously or unconsciously, to match the way they are feeling, or the situation, or just because they feel like it, that's part of the folk process - even if they made up the song in the first place.

When this topic comes up, I always find myself reaching for something Sydney Carter wrote (in "Green Print for Song"):

"Having made a song, you sing it...if like me, you seldom sing it the same way twice; fresh possibilities will keep appearing. You change a word, you bend a note; did it work, or didn't it? What you put down, in the end, is nothing but a variant. There is no right version, yet; no fixed version, anyway, not even when you've printed it."

Moreover, the process is liable to continue with other people if they sing the song. And that is something in which Sydney Carter rejoiced, and something in which I think many songwriters rejoice - the sense that something you crafted has come to life and moved out of your control, and stayed alive.