Mudcat Café message #4032836 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #157878   Message #4032836
Posted By: GUEST,jag
07-Feb-20 - 05:07 PM
Thread Name: Dave Harker, Fakesong
Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
Sorry if you've left the room Pseudonymous, but I'm back and still on Sharp.

Minor point about the broadsheets. Sharp says "singers will sometimes learn new sets of words from a ballad-sheet" in a matter-of-fact way when discussing variation of tunes. No fuss. It reads as if it's just something he knew they did. Is there much 'theorising' to do about it? It's one of the easy bits.

Harker tends to quote from the concluding sentences of Sharp's arguments. I think Sharp is pretty good with the 'compare and contrast' on other people's ideas and whilst some of his conclusions may not be right he is very clear about how he gets to them.

What strikes me about Sharp is that he doesn't seem to consider 'culture'. In his discussion of the supposed Celts and Anglo-Saxons in Somerset, and a similar comparison of the French and English, he seems to stick to his view that the 'national' characteristics of the common folk are inherent or 'racial' (we would say 'in the genes'). He doesn't seem to consider the possibility that cultural differences could exist amongst the people uninfluenced by education etc.

I think that is a flaw in his argument in relation to folk music. It may also, technically, make him a racist but I dont think that in itself affects that value of his discussion or cast doubt on his work. He doesn't come over as a xenophobe which I think would casts doubt on his work.

(the part where he discusses the music of a black Australian boy is more telling of his view of the evolutionary relationship between races than the quote used by Harker about the negroes. But, as has been said, of its time)