Mudcat Café message #3992175 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #166098   Message #3992175
Posted By: Steve Gardham
13-May-19 - 04:00 PM
Thread Name: If you don't like ballads......
Subject: RE: If you don't like ballads......
Since attention spans have deteriorated much in the technological era it's difficult to conceive of being entertained with stories that lasted over several days, and 50-verse narratives, but yes these must have been common in earlier centuries. Tunes were by no means essential but they obviously had advantages. A survival is probably the monologue most often of a comic nature in recent times. The early Scottish collectors like Scott, Kinloch and Motherwell often referred to ballads being recited. I'm sure there will be references to this practice in Child and in Bronson. A good story teller would want to put across plenty of dramatics and variation in metre and a tune might get in the way of this. Bell Robertson's repertoire is given in the 8 vol set of the Greig-Duncan collection, but also her big ballads are in Keith's 'Last lays' which might well be online somewhere. If you can get access to Greig-Duncan you will see many of those versions without tunes were likely recited. Some of course may just have been sent to Greig by post without the tunes. Best to look at the notes to the songs and indeed the notes to the singers in the last volume.

Thread drift?? We've done nothing but write about ballads. Where's the thread drift?