Mudcat Café message #3341007 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #22617   Message #3341007
Posted By: Jim Carroll
20-Apr-12 - 04:28 PM
Thread Name: Origin: High Germany
Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
"And yes I do still state that the conditions in rural Ireland amongst travellers in the period "
I have never confined my comments to Travellers in relation to folk composition - we worked with Irish Travellers in London, but we also interviewed settled singers in Ireland for thirty years with the same result; large numbers of anonymously composed songs from the famine era right through to the middle of the 20th century .
There is no conceivable difference between the two countries that could possibly account for song-making in one and none in the other. The social conditions, the access to a song tradition to use as a template, the desire to poetically express ideas and emotions - all present in Britain and Ireland.
We have found something like 150 locally composed songs from this area alone, virtually all of them anonymous.
It was the hardship and poverty that acted as a spur to songmaking - I have no doubt whatever that this was true in both cases.
You really are going to have to walk me through the differences if you claim there were any.
"The poor doggerel it is, and the inconsistencies would soon be ironed out in oral tradition"
"Its poor construction and inconsistency might suggest having come from oral tradition,"
These appear to be contradictory statements - one respecting the oral tradition, the other disparaging it; they can't both be true.
"I'll return the compliment and repeat my challenge"
Only if you can prove categorically that none have been taken from the oral tradition - otherwise we would both be wasting our time.
I agree totally with Phil Edwards when he said "But what evidence could possibly prove that?"
If you remember, we already tried this with Bonny Bunch of Roses and you bottled out on this very point - you were unable to produce evidence that it hadn't been lifted from the tradition - adapted meybe.
Wouldn't it be far easier to tell us why you prefer to believe them to be products of the broadside presses rather than having been taken by hacks and adapted.
You still haven't attempted to explain the anomolies in your argument - the insider knowledge necessary to create such deathless masterpieces would be a good starting place.
I have always had reservations about Sharp, but the more I argue with you, the more I am drawn to his statement:
"The folk-song is, therefore, communal in two senses; communal in authorship and communal in that it reflects the mind of the community. That, no doubt, is what Motherwell meant when he said that the people's ballad was "the actual embodiment of their Universal Mind, and of its intellectual and moral tendencies."
I don't believe for one minute the now discredited theory of spontaneous communal creation (though we have had described to us on several occasions, a group of men (settled and Traveller) making a song between them by throwing in suggestions), but rather, an original idea or theme being added to over a length of time, until it becomes accepted within a community (Sharp's/Motherwell's "Universal Mind").
Jim Carroll