Mudcat Café message #3341808 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #22617   Message #3341808
Posted By: Jim Carroll
22-Apr-12 - 04:03 PM
Thread Name: Origin: High Germany
Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
"How and when do you think that came about?"
I have no idea, nor do I claim to have - which basically underlines the difference between us.
"Our oral traditions do indeed go back much further and indeed a smallish number of the ballads can be traced back to 17thc broadsides"
What you appear to be trying to say is that they can be shown to have appeared on broadsides in the 17th century - we have no way of knowing if they existed prior to print, though you claim to have that knowledge.
Stylistic qualities - having plodded my way through broadside collections looking for singable songs at one time or another, I am quite aware of the stylistic differences between broadsides and orally transmitted songs - again - the very chunkiness and unsingabe artificiality (which you havepointed out yourself) of the majority of teh broadsides clash starkly with the oral repertoire. I have no way whatever of knowing which came first and whether your "hacks" have re-drafted them in their own inimitable style - apart from your possessing a time machine, I can't see for the life of me how you have.
Content indeed.
Our folks songs invariably are from the point of view of their characters (soldiers/sailors - generally regarded as the scum of the earth except in wartime) read Tom Jones, or Hugill.
Poachers, murderers, common criminals - presented to a great extent sympathetically - why should a common criminal be represented as a hero - were these hacks revolutionaries?
Some of the ballads are downright seditious - can you not imagine the author of 'Queen Eleanor's Confession' (Queen having it off with the courtiers, poisoning the Kings favourite mistress then humiliating him on her death bed) receiving a visit from the local bobby and ending his days in The Tower - not to mention the printer, who probably put his address on the sheet?
Both the style and the knowledge suggest absolutely an intimate knowledge of the subjects of the songs.
Can I just clear up the implications of what I believe to be your spurious claims.
Not only are you writing out the - for the want of a better word - 'common people' from the creation of their songs (that's how "folk songs" come to be so called I believe), and relegating them to no more that someone who goes out and buys the latest Kylie album, but if your theories gained any credence it would remove one of the most important
aspects of folk song study - that of carriers of social history.
Rather than a view of , say a nineteenth century sailor viewed his life on board, or a pressed man his feelings at being ripped from his home and stuck on board of a warship, you will have us have them no more historically significant that a Patrick O'Brian novel - less important even; O'Brian would have researched his subjects, whereby your "hacks" would not have had the information "readily available", even if they had had the inclination to go to such lengths.
You still haven't explained your damning statement regarding the oral tradition, so I will take it as read.
Neither have you produced a quote to show that "Sharp was discredited with this stuff a long time ago" - so I'll presume there isn't one.
A whole host of questions I have raised have been ignored - I would have thought it would have served your own purpose to tell us how so many of us got it wrong for so long; Sharp, Child, Hindley, Walton... and all of us who have blindly believed that country people made up songs in England as they did in Ireland, Scotland, the US, Canada, Australia......
Your own arguments lack continuity you originally claimed that the English country-people were too busy earning a living to make songs about their lives; now, it seems " I have plenty of examples of my own. They just didn't get into print, hence weren't widespread, hence didn't get collected, in the vast majority of cases" - making up your mind would be helpful.
Jim Carroll