Mudcat Café message #3340345 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #22617   Message #3340345
Posted By: GUEST,Lighter
19-Apr-12 - 07:58 AM
Thread Name: Origin: High Germany
Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
> but aren't those things also precisely what you'd expect in songs coming out of a predominantly oral songwriting culture?

Not necessarily. The "flowery" language of the broadsides proves that their writers were influenced - possibly above all - by the diction of educated poets.

For a predominantly oral and illiterate tradition to have adopted such a style, its early practitioners could only have absorbed it through repeated exposures to the declamation and recitation of works of literate poets. How likely was that to have occurred?

Contrast the unaffected diction of shanties, songs we know arose in an oral tradition, and of of cowboy songs like "The Old Chisholm Trail," whose authors were at least semi-literate in some cases, but whose style is far more direct.

The same, of course, goes for Child ballads. The older they are, the less flowery they seem to be. Correct?