Mudcat Café message #3340387 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #22617   Message #3340387
Posted By: Jim Carroll
19-Apr-12 - 10:10 AM
Thread Name: Origin: High Germany
Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
"But what evidence could possibly prove that?"
My point exactly - but Steve insists that his work has proved that most of our traditional songs originated on the broadside presses - to the extent that he calls into question a creative tradition rather than a repetative one.
He has fudged on every challenge so far - familiarity with trade terms and work practices, vernacular, folklore, limitations of literacy, active traditional composition elsewhere in these islands, attitude of broadside experts such as Hindley to "country songs".
Since I became involved in traditional song in the early sixties it has been largely taken for granted that our "folk songs" not only were sung by the "folk", but that most of them were orally composed by them.
Steve is turning that beliefe on its head by suggesting that they virually all originated on broadsides and were taken up by "the folk" despite the fact that they were either illiterate or semi-literate.
My argument is simply that, to take such an argument at face value would be a massive leap in the dark, for which we would require far more proof than has been produced so far.
"flowery language, stock images and standardised turns of phrase..."
All of which I believe to be the product of re-writing rather than original composition - I suggest that anybody interested in the differences between folk and literary composition read the final two chapter in Evelyn Kendrick Wells' 'The Ballad Tree' - 'The Literary Ballad', and 'Examples of Literary Ballads' and compare them with the real thing.
A comparison between genuine folk sea songs and some of Masefield's sea poetry wouldn't go amiss either.
Jim Carroll