Mudcat Café message #3340291 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #22617   Message #3340291
Posted By: Jim Carroll
19-Apr-12 - 04:04 AM
Thread Name: Origin: High Germany
Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
"so somebody with little talent trying to imitate the contemporary stuff...."
Or, on the other hand, somebody with little talent (a "hack" maybe) adapting an existing piece for a fresh market to save themselves the trouble of having to create something themselves. Far more likely, I would have thought given the fact that the theme of this song has appeared over and over again in numerous forms.
In wartime the subject of the song would have touched every single family within arm's reach of a recruiting sergeant, so there is no reason on earth why people so affected should not make their own songs about it.
It happened here in Ireland many times over with the emigrations, various bouts of national resistance to colonisation, famine, evictions, civil war...... countless numbers of anonymous songs on the subjects that affected ordinary people. Do you really believe that the English were incapable of songmaking, or "too busy earning a living", or couldn't be bothered to set down what they saw happening around them down in verse, unlike their counterparts in Ireland and Scotland, so they farmed the job out to "the lowest apprentices in the printers at the bottom of the market"?
Did they really sit back and let somebody do the job for them?
I've met many people who have argued that the "common people" were far too unskilled to have produced the ballads and songs, but I have never come across anybody who has gone to such lengths that you have to show us that English working people were not as creative as their neighbours.
We came away from our work with West Clare land labourers and small farmers, staggered by their creative and re-creative abilities as singers, storytellers, songmakers and yarn-spinners (the making of the big tales had (almost) gone, as had the practice of narrating the old tales).
We were constantly made aware of the still-active practice of songmaking here - particularly in this town, where the singers were as likely to give you a song on events that had happened in their lifetime as they were to give you 'Lord Lovel' or 'The Suffolk Miracle' or 'The Green Wedding' or 'The Keach in the Creel'.... and the many other old songs we recorded here.
The Travellers we worked with were still producing new songs based on old models from their living (or only lately deceased) tradition.
Why should the English rural working classes have been any different when they had the template of a living tradition to draw from?
So far you have produced a list of the earliest printed forms of songs that have appeared in the tradition. Unless you can prove beyond doubt that they are the earliest form of of the songs and they haven't been lifted from the tradition and adapted, that will remain the case.
Jim Carroll