Mudcat Café message #4017748 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #166876   Message #4017748
Posted By: Howard Jones
07-Nov-19 - 06:23 PM
Thread Name: Review: Walter Pardon - Research
Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
Pseudonymous, I find your claim that there are no recordings of traditional singers to be "extraordinary" because there are very clearly plenty of recordings (albeit not enough). The difference between us seems to be that you do not regard these singers as "traditional". So what do you mean by that term? When you say there are no recordings of traditional singers, what sort of singers do you have in mind? Or are you saying the entire concept of a tradition is a myth, fuelled by ideology?

1 What makes people label those whose singing was recorded at the turn of the 20th century 'traditional' instead of just people whose singing was recorded?

Because they were part of a culture where singing was part of the life of a community, and where songs were passed around between singers, usually orally. We know this because that is what the singers themselves told the collectors. That is what I, and I believe most people with an interest in the subject, understand by "tradition". What do you understand by it?

2 How when we listen to a recording made of an elderly person at the turn of the 20th century might we somehow be back in the early 19th

I think you have misread me. I was saying that although Joseph Taylor was recorded in 1908 he was then in his mid-70s, so his singing can be regarded as an example of a singer from the second half of the 19th century.

Regarding 2, it seems to me that the backward jump in time is an inference. It would be an inference to say that a singing style recorded at the later time enabled us to peer back into earlier singing styles.

I agree. As a young man Joseph Taylor would have learned his singing from earlier generations so we can surmise that his style was influenced by early 19th century singers, but that can only be speculation. We can't know what those previous generations sounded like.

You appear to be challenging what we mean by "tradition" and "traditional singer". Nothing wrong with that, but please explain what you understand them to mean, or at least what is wrong with the current understanding of them.