Mudcat Café message #4017444 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #166876   Message #4017444
Posted By: GUEST,Pseudonymous
06-Nov-19 - 07:05 AM
Thread Name: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research

Thank you for your long and considered posts.

I can see why you don't feel certain stuff is relevant to an evaluation of Walter and his work. However, one of the things I am trying to do is to get an overview of what has been written and I suppose said about Walter.

As I make clear, this material often turns out to present not fact or not just fact but also opinion and, if you like, evaluation. As I begin, I think, to show, differences between the various accounts appear.

It interests me that, as I see it, those people who have considered and written about Pardon's life and singing appear to do so through the lenses of their own 'ideological' views, whether consciously or not. Sometimes, as in the case of Mike Yates, who seems to me to have been one of the best writers on the topic, the writer is explicit about his own approach, at other times this is not the case.

Having read a number of instances on Mudcat in which Pardon has been discussed, I can see that there has been some lively discussion about the uses to which references to Pardon, claims about his thoughts, actions and attitudes, and extracts from interviews have allegedly been used to back up broader generalisations about 'the tradition'/'traditional singers'. I know that some posters on Mudcat have engaged in such discussion, and though the tone might at times have been heated, the discussions do address some difficult questions.

In a broad sense, I am looking towards what you might call a discussion of 'research methods'. This is something like a 'case study'. So if you define 'research' broadly as the generation of new knowledge, then using Pardon's life and work to justify a broader generalisation would be 'research' and questions about the validity etc of this would be questions about research. I am not the first, as I have explained, to ask this sort of question.

Questions about research methods relating to the material produced within the folk scene on Pardon have also already been raised in relation to the collection of recorded material and the use of interviews as basic data for further research. This is clear from comments made by Jim Carroll to which I have already referred.

If in 50 years time, somebody sets out to look back at the material on Pardon, I suppose that they may well have to address these questions about the bias/underlying ideology of those whose work they are using?

They will be facing questions as I have about what is fact, what opinion, what evaluation, what selectively reported etc.

So, to sort of repeat, I am not only interested in Pardon and his singing and life, I am also interested in the uses to which this has been put and the different ways in which he is thought of by those who draw upon his work in support of their own writing/lecturing etc.

I think we can agree that the folk world is one in which there are varying points of view. Most terms used within it are contended, though differences in views on Pardon do not always clearly reflect a particular position.

I have tried to use words carefully here, but know from experience that online discussion is tricky to get right, with the best of intentions.

Thanks all for the contributions.

Regarding who I am. I am me. I have been involved in what you could loosely call folk music on and off all my life, including the dreaded Morris and other branches. There was lots of music in my childhood, and a variety of music was played by my family in past generations. and I have taught my own children songs I learned from my parents, not many but some. I do not sing, but I try to play instruments. I used to have a melodeon but the sound of it drove me bonkers, the family, and the neighbours, up the wall so I sold it (for more than I had paid for it, it being a German made Hohner model). I have had a version song 'collected' though this was co-written and is acknowledged as such in its new home. It reflected the way We saw the world at that time. Whether this would count as 'folk' I do not know, as we first learned it via recorded material albeit of folk performances of various sorts.

I have academic qualifications including a degree in English Literature and, a certificate in Law (post grad level). I have been trained in research methods (different context). I have been an educator with credentials in various sectors. I have taken course on music theory, and so, for example, when references on modes appear in the work on Pardon, I have a good understanding of what this is all about.

I have read quite a few books on folk music of different sorts, and have followed with interest some of the discussions of these on Mudcat.

That is quite enough about me.