Mudcat Café message #4032052 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #157878   Message #4032052
Posted By: GUEST,Pseudonymous
03-Feb-20 - 07:43 PM
Thread Name: Dave Harker, Fakesong
Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
@ Steve, thanks as usual! I finally caught up with you.

Here's a corrected opening to my post of 03 Feb 20 - 04:54 AM which summarises part of Harker's account of Sharp's theoretical work English Folk Song: Some Conclusions.

"Harker states that Sharp's theory was influenced by three main people: Sir Hubert Parry, Carl Engel, and Francis Barton Gummere."

Having gone back to Sharp's piece, it is my view that Harker is right here. Generally, his account of this work seems accurate, though he steers away from the music theory bits, which is where Sharp draws on Parry. I think it might be worth mentioning that this Sharp's work is a book about tunes: Sharp refers to words/lyrics from time to time, but his main focus is the tunes.

I think that Harker's account of Sharp's (confusing) distinction between the un-educated and the non-educated is accurate; indeed he quotes from it at length, possibly because it is such an odd theory that otherwise people might not credit it. Weirdly, Sharp asserts that his usage is 'scientific', a claim that the early US folklorists were fond of making but which strikes modern ears as odd.

Sharp uses 'the common people' to mean 'those whose mental development has been due not to any formal system of training or education, but solely to environment, communal association and direct contact with the ups and downs of life'. These he describes as 'non-educated' and he adds that they have never been in close enough contact with educated people to be influenced by them. He goes on to link this with the countryside, setting up a town/country dichotomy which explains his choices of smaller towns/villages for his collecting, rather than places like Bristol, Bath, Yeovil etc while stating that strictly speaking the actual distinction is between 'the spontaneous and intuitive exercise of untrained faculties' and the 'conscious and intentional use of faculties' that have been specially trained for the purpose.