Mudcat Café message #4034210 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #157878   Message #4034210
Posted By: Jack Campin
14-Feb-20 - 11:51 AM
Thread Name: Dave Harker, Fakesong
Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
He would say that leaving out everything else that 'the folk' were doing musically misrepresents the culture of 'the folk'. To give an example, I read a discussion about which songs by a singer to release commercially. It was argued that songs not judged to be folk songs should not have been issued, though the singer knew and plainly liked singing lots of them. Would Harker argue that this would misrepresent the musical culture of that singer? And leaving Harker aside, would it?

One of my favourite tune collections is Kerr's "Merry Melodies", a set of four volumes of fiddle tunes published in Glasgow in the 1880s (and probably never out of print since). It was intended as a practical resource for working musicians, and as such it had every damn thing they might ever be asked for: Scottish and Irish tines grouped as usable dance sets, operatic hits, tunes from the minstrel shows, Continental waltzes and polkas, military marches for brass or bagpipes - the only major popular genre it leaves out is church music. (Vic Gammon's "Early Scottish Ragtime" mines some of its odder corners, and the Carolina Chocolate Drops found some gems that had been forgotten back where they came from).

This was letting the market decide what was worth presenting, not filtering by the choices of a single performer or collector. And it remains as a historical document of popular taste - what you might have heard at a knees-up in the northern half of Britain any time before WW1. Song collectors like Sharp (or Bartok, for that matter) mostly leave you guessing about what their subjects' everyday sound world really was.