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Does it matter what music is called?

Related threads:
What is a Folk Song? (292)
Who Defines 'Folk'???? (287)
Popfolk? (19)
What isn't folk (88)
Still wondering what's folk these days? (145)
What makes a new song a folk song? (1710)
Does Folk Exist? (709)
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Here comes that bloody horse - again! (23)
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Is the 1954 definition, open to improvement? (105)
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Richard Bridge 09 Jul 08 - 04:10 AM
GUEST,JM 09 Jul 08 - 04:50 AM
Paul Burke 09 Jul 08 - 05:04 AM
theleveller 09 Jul 08 - 05:24 AM
greg stephens 09 Jul 08 - 06:21 AM
GUEST,Rich 09 Jul 08 - 06:27 AM
GUEST,LJW 09 Jul 08 - 06:29 AM
Paul Burke 09 Jul 08 - 06:42 AM
Jack Campin 09 Jul 08 - 06:43 AM
theleveller 09 Jul 08 - 06:43 AM
Crane Driver 09 Jul 08 - 07:06 AM
GUEST,Shimrod 09 Jul 08 - 07:06 AM
Phil Edwards 09 Jul 08 - 07:21 AM
Jack Campin 09 Jul 08 - 07:23 AM
GUEST,Rich 09 Jul 08 - 07:40 AM
Phil Edwards 09 Jul 08 - 07:41 AM
greg stephens 09 Jul 08 - 07:41 AM
Dave the Gnome 09 Jul 08 - 08:05 AM
GUEST,leeneia 09 Jul 08 - 10:57 AM
Banjiman 09 Jul 08 - 11:06 AM
pavane 09 Jul 08 - 11:07 AM
Dave the Gnome 09 Jul 08 - 12:16 PM
Lord Batman's Kitchener 09 Jul 08 - 12:38 PM
GUEST,Shimrod 09 Jul 08 - 12:56 PM
greg stephens 09 Jul 08 - 12:57 PM
GUEST, Sminky 09 Jul 08 - 01:06 PM
Lord Batman's Kitchener 09 Jul 08 - 01:12 PM
dick greenhaus 09 Jul 08 - 02:56 PM
greg stephens 09 Jul 08 - 02:58 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 09 Jul 08 - 03:05 PM
GUEST,Peace 09 Jul 08 - 03:07 PM
Big Al Whittle 09 Jul 08 - 03:16 PM
Lord Batman's Kitchener 09 Jul 08 - 03:29 PM
Phil Edwards 09 Jul 08 - 03:30 PM
McGrath of Harlow 09 Jul 08 - 03:41 PM
Lord Batman's Kitchener 09 Jul 08 - 03:43 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 09 Jul 08 - 03:50 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 09 Jul 08 - 03:52 PM
Lord Batman's Kitchener 09 Jul 08 - 04:01 PM
McGrath of Harlow 09 Jul 08 - 04:13 PM
GUEST,Rich 09 Jul 08 - 04:14 PM
Lord Batman's Kitchener 09 Jul 08 - 04:16 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 09 Jul 08 - 04:19 PM
Leadfingers 09 Jul 08 - 04:24 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 09 Jul 08 - 04:28 PM
Lord Batman's Kitchener 09 Jul 08 - 04:29 PM
Jack Campin 09 Jul 08 - 04:32 PM
Peace 09 Jul 08 - 04:34 PM
Lord Batman's Kitchener 09 Jul 08 - 04:36 PM
Peace 09 Jul 08 - 04:40 PM
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Subject: Does it matter what music is called?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 09 Jul 08 - 04:10 AM

"theres nothing wrong with your definitions Richard - except that they're sod all use to man nor beast"

One joker and one queen from the folk pack of cards have said that on another thread.

If that is so, why do the many different sorts of metal music from death metal to speed metal to straightedge to norse metal to speedmetal to doom and many more argue about their appellations?

Why is reggae not ragga?

Why is not all rap hip-hop?

Why is Schoenberg not romantic?

Why is Stravinsky not medieval?

Why is operetta not opera?

Why are mini-skirts not A-line dresses?

Why is a 1935 Aston Martin not a vintage car?


Me, I'm formly wedded to the idea that wrds have meanings, and teh more accurate they are thenthe clearer communication is. But I think I may well largely sit back and see what others think.


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Subject: RE: Does it matter what music is called?
From: GUEST,JM
Date: 09 Jul 08 - 04:50 AM

*yawn*


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Subject: RE: Does it matter what music is called?
From: Paul Burke
Date: 09 Jul 08 - 05:04 AM

It's not that easy Richard. Some words have very precise meanings: hippocampus, 2,4-dinitrobenzene, cementite, ampere. Most words are a lot less precise: crane, ommelette, tuxedo, barilla, straight- and there may be some argunment as to whether a specific item is covered by the word. Other words still cover a range: beer, yellow, European. And for some others, like truth, beautiful, faith, patriotism, terrorism, it's difficult to say if they have any meaning at all.

Folk is more like beer and yellow than cementite or terrorism.


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Subject: RE: Does it matter what music is called?
From: theleveller
Date: 09 Jul 08 - 05:24 AM

It's not just words, Richard, it's labels. What's the difference between pickle and chutney, between tomato sauce and ketchup, between lavatory paper and toilet tissue, between brown bread and wholemeal bread, soup and broth? It's a matter of perception and, as Husserl said, perception is intentional


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Subject: RE: Does it matter what music is called?
From: greg stephens
Date: 09 Jul 08 - 06:21 AM

Some defitinions are very useful: eg an instruction "don't prod rattlesnakes" is of no conceivable use without some backup information as to what the term "rattlesnake" might mean. And to be of any use, the definition in that case should be as clear and unambibuous as possible.


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Subject: RE: Does it matter what music is called?
From: GUEST,Rich
Date: 09 Jul 08 - 06:27 AM

"Me, I'm formly wedded to the idea that wrds have meanings, and teh more accurate they are thenthe clearer communication is."

That really tickled me.

p.s.

"Why is reggae not ragga?" - its the other way round, ragga is a dancehall form of reggae with intros/ chat etc. from a DJ. So if you like, ragga is a form or reggae, but not all reggae is ragga.

Why is not all rap hip-hop? - rap is hip-hop, but not all hip-hop is rap, instrumental breakbeat type music is still hip-hop but there is no rapping, so it isn't called rap.

But I'm guessing you didn't really want to know any of that?

I believe the difference is, with Reggae/Ragga/Ska/Rocksteady or with Rap/Hip-Hop people are generally using the definitions to describe songs and styles and convey to somebody how something sounds. I think this is a good reason for having definitions and knowing what different musical styles are called.

HOWEVER, it seems to me that on this forum, the only reason people ever want to define 'folk' is to decide which acts can be excluded from the genre, as opposed to helping to describe/define different styles or preferences within the genre. This, in my opinion, is a negative reason for having a definition, and why I am no longer interested in the definition debate.

I think the need to define 'folk' and use it to exclude certain artists is because people want to guard something which they feel is their own, and perceive that defining it very strictly will allow them to do just that. I can understand how this situation has developed, but I do not agree with it.


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Subject: RE: Does it matter what music is called?
From: GUEST,LJW
Date: 09 Jul 08 - 06:29 AM

It matters when it offers something meaningful, coherent, and dare I say practical; if it helps understanding or leads to a wider appreciation of it's context and content. What the 1954 edict offers a very tiny minority is the opportunity to indulge in musical masturbation


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Subject: RE: Does it matter what music is called?
From: Paul Burke
Date: 09 Jul 08 - 06:42 AM

What the Flook is this "1954 edict", why can't people learn that the possessive "its" has no apostrophe, and is musical masturbation something to do with Gentlemen Prefer Themselves?


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Subject: RE: Does it matter what music is called?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 09 Jul 08 - 06:43 AM

The reason I want descriptions that mean something is so I don't waste my time.

I guess Richard started this thread as a result of the Seth Lakeman one, so I'll use him as an example. I find his stuff as dull as fuck, the same middle-of-the-road soft-pop I've been avoiding for 40 years. No way do I want to get suckered into spending an evening listening to it and I have no interest whatever in learning to play it. So whatever label is applied to it, it better not be the same one as is applied to stuff I *do* want to hear or play. I've wasted whole evenings that way. (Yes, Roslin Folk Club, this is about you).

I have pretty much given up on "folk" as a term which would identify performances or sessions I'd want to attend, and mostly it isn't an issue - Lakeman-music is more often described as "acoustic". But there are venues around which specialize in music rooted in folk tradition rather than Cole Porter, George Martin and Chet Atkins. And there isn't a widely understood description they can use any more.


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Subject: RE: Does it matter what music is called?
From: theleveller
Date: 09 Jul 08 - 06:43 AM

"musical masturbation"

I think aural onanism would be a better description.


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Subject: RE: Does it matter what music is called?
From: Crane Driver
Date: 09 Jul 08 - 07:06 AM

To me, it only matters in the sense of letting me know what's on offer. If something is described as an evening, or a weekend, of 'Folk Music' I like to be reasonably sure what most of the music will be like before I go. I certainly don't demand that certain people shouldn't be 'allowed' at 'folk' events, but if I go to a 'folk' event and get mostly accoustic pop, jazz, blues, C&W or whatever, I may feel that I have been mislead. I may well enjoy the evening, but I'd rather have been told more accurately what I was in for. Especially if I've paid for it.

Our local folk club, on singers nights, is happy to welcome anyone who comes along singing anything they like, although most of the regulars usually sing stuff that at least sounds like traditional folksong. Some of us write our own. We've never said to anyone 'that's not folk, you can't sing that here'. But it's still a 'mostly folk' club, and people know what they're likely to get.

Guest nights, when people have to pay to get in, are a different matter, and some professional performers, good though they may be at what they do, may well be considered 'not folk enough', though the definition seems (I don't do the bookings) fairly elastic.

To me, it looks more as though the rows over definitions which have raged here are down to people who profess to despise and detest the sort of stuff that the term 'Folk Music' was coined to describe, wanting to broaden the definition so that they can get gigs in folk clubs. That's similar to someone like myself, who dislikes opera and wouldn't want to sing it if I could, trying to redefine opera as 'any fat bloke who shouts a lot' so that I can sing my own type of music in opera halls. Don't think that would work.

Just my take on this - your experience may differ.

Andrew


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Subject: RE: Does it matter what music is called?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 09 Jul 08 - 07:06 AM

"I believe the difference is, with Reggae/Ragga/Ska/Rocksteady or with Rap/Hip-Hop people are generally using the definitions to describe songs and styles and convey to somebody how something sounds. I think this is a good reason for having definitions and knowing what different musical styles are called.

HOWEVER, it seems to me that on this forum, the only reason people ever want to define 'folk' is to decide which acts can be excluded from the genre, as opposed to helping to describe/define different styles or preferences within the genre."

The author of the above quote seems to be suggesting that it's OK to use definitions, and different shades of meaning, to differentiate between 'different' types of popular music but it's NOT OK to apply such distinctions to Folk. I have always suspected that this attitude stems from an underlying belief that Folk Music is really 'just' another form of Pop music (in the late Twentieth Century/early Twenty First Century sense) and 'should' be more like those forms of Pop music. People seem to be mysteriously outraged that Folk doesn't conform to their preconceptions and start throwing accusations of compulsion and exclusion around. Folk just isn't the same (which is one of the reasons why I am interested in it) - get over it and get on with making what ever type of music you like - I'm not stopping you! If you're so desperate for the approval of pedants like me, and a handfull of others on this board, you must be lacking in self-belief - that's all I can think ...

And, yet again, seeking to define something has nothing to do with preference - how many more times?


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Subject: RE: Does it matter what music is called?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 09 Jul 08 - 07:21 AM

there isn't a widely understood description they can use any more

'Traditional'?

Phil


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Subject: RE: Does it matter what music is called?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 09 Jul 08 - 07:23 AM

I was referring to the genre - Neil Young, Simon & Garfunkel, Dylan, John Prine, etc. You could equally well call it Sheryl-Crow-music or John-Denver-music. I haven't knowingly heard anybody here perform an actual Lakeman song. I suppose the same people who do "Annie's Song" in sessions labelled as "folk" will get round to it eventually.

You seriously think listening to somebody like Lakeman is going to get people interested in Lizzie Higgins or Catherine-Anne MacPhee? The point of his marketing strategy seems to be that he can't actually hack it as a pop musician. So he does pop anyway but calls it something else, aiming at an audience that thinks maybe they ought to be listening to something other than pop as well. And behold, they listen to something labelled as "folk" and like it. Hardly bloody surprising when it's the same pop they've always listened to, only coming out of a different bin.

Eddi Reader (a *lot* better-known than Lakeman in Scotland) has slightly different strategy. She's another failed popster, but instead of relabelling pop as folk, she's tried doing genuine folk, but in the performance style she's used to. It isn't working all that well.


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Subject: RE: Does it matter what music is called?
From: GUEST,Rich
Date: 09 Jul 08 - 07:40 AM

Nimrod - In response to your "but it's NOT OK to apply such distinctions to Folk" allegation.

Thats not what I'm saying AT ALL, if you read it, I'm saying that 'in my experience' people are using it, on this forum, mainly for negative purposes, and that makes me uncomfortable. Using definitions to help communications is one thing, but when thread after thread, its just to exclude certain groups/ artists, that is what has bothered me. I even said "as opposed to helping to describe/define different styles or preferences within the genre." i.e. constructive use of definitions etc. within folk.

Not even sure how you have managed to get the impression that I'm "desperate for your approval". I'm quite baffled by that to be honest. My comments were merely on the use of 'definitions' for (in my opinion) negative as opposed to positive purposes.

For the record. No, I don't believe 'folk' is another form of pop music. No I don't believe it should be made to be more like it. No, my music collection does not start 50 years ago (just in case that's what your thinking).

"People seem to be mysteriously outraged that Folk doesn't conform to their preconceptions" - that's just classic. Think about what you've written.


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Subject: RE: Does it matter what music is called?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 09 Jul 08 - 07:41 AM

I suppose I'm saying that the word 'folk' is more or less lost to us now, and suggesting that we keep the 1954 definition for what we do but relabel it 'traditional'.


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Subject: RE: Does it matter what music is called?
From: greg stephens
Date: 09 Jul 08 - 07:41 AM

Words like reggae, hip hop, ska etc give us an idea what we expect music to sound like. Folk,as the termused to be employed, provides no such information. The term "folk" was used to describe the way in which the music was made, and how it related to society. So it contained no prescription at all as to how the music should sound: English, Usbek and Fiji folk music naturally sounded pretty different to each other, as they were created by similar processes but in widely differing cultures. That is how I tend to use "folk" in most discussions. Obviously the word is also used as a catch-all description for "music you mighht hear at a folk festival in the UK/USA/ wherever you live), in which case it covers mostly guitar based acts and a lot of singer-song writers.
So on one occasion I might say "I am studying polyrhythms in Melanesian folk music", and on another I might say "at the moment, folk performers like Seth Lakeman seem to be getting a lot of mainstream airplay". It is perfectly usual fro the same word to mean different things in different contexts. But it can lead to strange anomalies: as in a previous post when someone put "folk" and "blues" as different categories of music.In my book, blues is a sub-category of folk. Oh dear,life is so complicated, and some people get so very angry if their favouties aren't labelled as folk by everyone.


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Subject: RE: Does it matter what music is called?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 09 Jul 08 - 08:05 AM

"failed popster", The phrase is both incorrect and sensationalist, Jack, but if you prefer to move your normaly sensible posts into the realms of gutter press reportage then please feel free.

For what it is worth the Fairground Attraction single, "Perfect", with Ms reader fronting the band, reached number 1 in the UK charts in May 1988 and won best single award at the 'Brits' in 1989. The Album 'First of a million kisses' reached number 2 in the album charts. Eddie Readers solo career saw her 1992 self-named album reach number 4 in the charts and won her best female singer at the Brits in the same year. The charts and the Brit awards may well not be an indication of the quality of pop music - But they are how sucess in that world is measured.

As to her return to folk not 'working all that well'. She was awarded an MBE for her work on the Robert Burns project in the New years honours of 2006 and has subsequently received at least two, may be three now, honarary doctorships from emminent Scottish universities for her work in music and education of young people in music.

You must set your standards very high, Mr Campin, to label her as a failed popster who isn't doing too well!

As to the original question. Yes it does matter. Even if it is a very broad label that covers all sorts of things outside my definitions. Labels do at least give an indication what you may find in the tin and I do prefer to have an idea what I am letting myself in for:-) The definitions may sometime be inaccurate but, hey, you can't please everyone.

One label I would put on them all though....

"Warning: This music may contain nuts!"

Cheers

Dave


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Subject: RE: Does it matter what music is called?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 09 Jul 08 - 10:57 AM

Yes, it matters what music is called. If somebody's advertising a concert, certain types will appeal to me and others will not.

However, given the capacities of our computer age, I wonder why musicians don't cut through all the labeling problems and simply post some samples of their playing to their web sites. That way, customers can HEAR what they're supposed to buy.


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Subject: RE: Does it matter what music is called?
From: Banjiman
Date: 09 Jul 08 - 11:06 AM

Here's a thought:

The 1954 definition tells us nothing about how a song/ tune sounds, only rules about how it came to its current state.

Reggea, Ragga, Hip-Hop speedmetal etc attempt to describe how something does sound, not the process of how it got to sound like it does.

Therefore, I suggest that the 2nd group of labels is more useful than "Folk" if you care what music SOUNDS like rather than its provenance.

Can I go back to sleep now?

Cheers

Paul


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Subject: RE: Does it matter what music is called?
From: pavane
Date: 09 Jul 08 - 11:07 AM

I would guess that the 1935 Aston is classed as a PVT, or "Post vintage thoroughbred"


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Subject: RE: Does it matter what music is called?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 09 Jul 08 - 12:16 PM

I quite fancy the 1964 DB5 complete with machine guns and ejector seat...

:D


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Subject: RE: Does it matter what music is called?
From: Lord Batman's Kitchener
Date: 09 Jul 08 - 12:38 PM

Well, you know, some people simply cannot exist unless everything is carefully packaged and labelled (somewhat like the major record labels do), unless there are definitions attached (another form of labelling) I think it was Frank Zappa who said that there are only two types of music, good and bad. Sounds about right to me.


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Subject: RE: Does it matter what music is called?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 09 Jul 08 - 12:56 PM

"To me, it looks more as though the rows over definitions which have raged here are down to people who profess to despise and detest the sort of stuff that the term 'Folk Music' was coined to describe, wanting to broaden the definition so that they can get gigs in folk clubs. That's similar to someone like myself, who dislikes opera and wouldn't want to sing it if I could, trying to redefine opera as 'any fat bloke who shouts a lot' so that I can sing my own type of music in opera halls. Don't think that would work."

'Crane Driver',

I think you've hit the nail on the head!


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Subject: RE: Does it matter what music is called?
From: greg stephens
Date: 09 Jul 08 - 12:57 PM

Amwen to the last post by Lord Batman's Kitchener. There are irate people prowling around Mudcat demanding that we applaud Seth Lakeman because he is sclassified as a folk performer. Now, if they only demanded that we applaud him because he is good, that would be a fine thing Classification is good for academic research, ludicrous as a shorthand for "what I like".


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Subject: RE: Does it matter what music is called?
From: GUEST, Sminky
Date: 09 Jul 08 - 01:06 PM

I think Banjiman has put his finger on the problem.

I KNOW a folksong/tune when I hear it because it possesses certain characteristics.

Those characteristics differentiate it from other forms of music (just as a rattlesnake has certain characteristics which differentiates it from other snakes. You can't 'define' a rattlesnake).

The problem I have with the 1954 definition is that it requires more - I have to research the song/tune's origins just to make sure it has undergone the 'the process of oral transmission' or 'subsequently been absorbed into the unwritten living tradition of a community' (whatever that is) before it qualifies as 'folk'.

If a song/tune sounds/looks/tastes/smells like folk music. If every fibre of your being tells you that it's folk music. Then what the hell else is it (even if it was written yesterday)?

There is something bizarre in the fact that some 'modern' songs are mistaken for 'traditional' - yet fail the 1954 'folk' test.

Some delightful 'ancient ballads' which fooled the experts (because of their characteristics) were subsequently derided once their true provenance was uncovered.

Surely to God we could come to some kind of agreement as to what the characteristics of folk music are. And leave the microscopic analysis to those with an interest in such things.


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Subject: RE: Does it matter what music is called?
From: Lord Batman's Kitchener
Date: 09 Jul 08 - 01:12 PM

Seth Lakeman isn't bad, he's simply not my personal cup of tea, but, yes, you're right, greg, I noticed the irate posts about SL, and was simply amazed by the veracity of the 'yes Seth Lakeman is a folkie' (no he's not). Another musician who comes to mind right at this moment is Gram Parsons, who when approached with label 'country rock' replied, "no, I prefer to call it Cosmic American Music. " Another label, I know, but this time from the horses mouth. Parsons, by the way, is reported to have loathed the term country rock. My source for these two Parsons quotes is, Hickory Wind: The Life and Times of Gram Parsons by Ben Fong Torres.


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Subject: RE: Does it matter what music is called?
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 09 Jul 08 - 02:56 PM

The obvious answer to the question is Yes--to those who care. Those that don't care should probably stay out of the discussion.


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Subject: RE: Does it matter what music is called?
From: greg stephens
Date: 09 Jul 08 - 02:58 PM

A group that comes strongly to mind in this discussion, more so than S Lakeman, is the Penguin Cafe Orchestra. They had very poweful folk elements, much more so than Lakeman I would have thought, but they were not generally classified as folk, for reasons best known to festival organisers and the press. Loads of folkie musicians play the PCO's "Music for a found harmonium", for example, and the tune is quite clearly a very traditional style reel, somewhat modernised and quirked up a bit. Yet that is generally kept out of the "folk" camp, even by the "inclusive" brigade, whereas Lakeman isn't.
All of which, of course, has b*gger all to do with whether they are good or not, competent or not, popular or not, or whether you like them or not. But nobody spits fire if someone says the PCO aren't folk, do they? Whereas the reaction to someone saying the same about Lakeman is an instant splutter of "exclusive", "folk police", "Aran Sweater", "self-appointed gatekeeper", "letting our music down", "beard", "semantic based smug-arsedness" etc. Are we all being stirred up by some clever trolls? The logic has always defeated me.


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Subject: RE: Does it matter what music is called?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 09 Jul 08 - 03:05 PM

"Those that don't care should probably stay out of the discussion. "

Except for the fact that those that disagree are the ones that make up a discussion. If you only have one opinion, it is not a discussion by definition of the word.

The answer is not obvious, it is complicated. I do care and I count myself among those who see numerous distinctions and diversions.


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Subject: RE: Does it matter what music is called?
From: GUEST,Peace
Date: 09 Jul 08 - 03:07 PM

"However, given the capacities of our computer age, I wonder why musicians don't cut through all the labeling problems and simply post some samples of their playing to their web sites. That way, customers can HEAR what they're supposed to buy."

Damned good idea. Thank you, Leeneia.


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Subject: RE: Does it matter what music is called?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 09 Jul 08 - 03:16 PM

Its not nice to exclude people from the total vision of what is folkmusic in their own country. Particularly people who have dedicated their lives to the propostion of being a folk musician.

You may fail to see the attractions of Annie's Song; you may fail to see that someone may play that song as a starting place on the way to expressing themselves.

There are a myriad points at which to choose to start failing with the rest of humanity. Its a pain inthe balls though when you keep insisting that your failure to empathise with the largest part of the population, is some measure of your artistic vision.

You are excluding people to feel important and different from the plebs - that simple. a lot of the music and musicians you pretend is enjoyable is monstrously and confrontationally bad. And you get a kick out of the situation.


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Subject: RE: Does it matter what music is called?
From: Lord Batman's Kitchener
Date: 09 Jul 08 - 03:29 PM

So anyone who disagrees with Mr. Greenhaus doesn't care about music

Self-righteousness has a name and I think we all know what it is.


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Subject: RE: Does it matter what music is called?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 09 Jul 08 - 03:30 PM

Thanks for that, Greg - I think the PCO comparison is an interesting one.

Seth Lakeman and his ilk remind me of the Goth Morris sides that we were talking about a bit back - their rationale is to be traditional but new. The implication is that being just plain old traditional is boring, and that bits of the tradition can be discarded at will if they don't fit (I think it was Richard B. who said that the trouble with Seth Lakeman's arrangements of traditional tunes is that you can't hear the tune any more).

To those of us who don't buy into "traditional-but-new", it looks like adulterating the tradition in the name of keeping it alive. To people who do buy into it, it's more or less synonymous with "traditional-but-alive", and opposition to it must come from people who want to keep music dead.

And that's why attacks on Seth Lakeman get such a strong reaction - in another forum praise for him would probably have the same effect. He's working in a field ('contemporary folk') which is defined as like-that-other-stuff-only-better; both its opponents and its partisans feel strongly about it by default. The Penguin Cafe Orchestra escaped all this precisely because they were never defined as folk in the first place. (Lucky them, some might say!)

Phil
sticking with this sobriquet for the time being


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Subject: RE: Does it matter what music is called?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 09 Jul 08 - 03:41 PM

There are people who use the term "animal" to refer to "mammals".

If they were argumentative about such things, in the Mudcat tradition, I suppose they wouldl tear into each other about what to call duck-billed platypuses, frogs and caterpillars so as to distinguish them from oak trees and mushrooms.

The varieties of folk music around the world are far far wider than the particular types of music that tend to be given that label around here - and musically they do not have that much in common. What they have in common is stuff like the kind of social situations in which they have developed, and the kind of people who make the music and make use of it for social interaction of various sorts.


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Subject: RE: Does it matter what music is called?
From: Lord Batman's Kitchener
Date: 09 Jul 08 - 03:43 PM

I don't believe Seth Lakeman has ever defined himself as a folk musician ( I might be wrong), that's the fault of the listeners and the marketers.


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Subject: RE: Does it matter what music is called?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 09 Jul 08 - 03:50 PM

"So anyone who disagrees with Mr. Greenhaus doesn't care about music
Self-righteousness has a name and I think we all know what it is."


That's not fair and that certainly is not right.   I know Dick Greenhaus and it is because of people like him that the music we love is perpetuated and shared.   We may disagree about definitions, but I completely understand where is coming from and admire his concern.   It is one thing to disagree with someone, but to attack someone like Master Batman (you aren't worthy of being a Lord) did is uncalled for.

I won't put words in his or anyones mouth, but I realize that there is a concern that because some of us have a more liberal definition of terms that the original source and tradition will be lost. I disagree, I belive it evolves and that is why we have such discussions.    What I think people fail to realize is that because of the marvelous work of people like Dick Greenhaus, we have the original sources saved and ready for reference and revival.


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Subject: RE: Does it matter what music is called?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 09 Jul 08 - 03:52 PM

Besides, you Brits screw up the word "beer" all the time! I wish I had a nickel for ever twit that has referred only to "lager" as beer and "ale" as some catagory until itself and not part of the "beer" family. Shame on you for messing with definition!! Your loose morals and abuse of the English language is destroying our culuture and heritage!!!!!!!!!


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Subject: RE: Does it matter what music is called?
From: Lord Batman's Kitchener
Date: 09 Jul 08 - 04:01 PM

Funny how those stereotypes of the British and beer, folk music/musicians and beer travel so far and wide.

I'll stand by my original postbecause I obviously don't care about music!


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Subject: RE: Does it matter what music is called?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 09 Jul 08 - 04:13 PM

It seems pretty sensible, and not in the least oppressive, to suggest that, if someone doesn't think it matters what music is called, it's a bit pointless to waste time in a discussion which is all about what it should be called.

By definition anyone who spends time in this thread has to think that it does matter what music is called.


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Subject: RE: Does it matter what music is called?
From: GUEST,Rich
Date: 09 Jul 08 - 04:14 PM

Ron,

We may screw up the word beer, but at least we don't screw up that category of beer we know and love - Ale - by making it cold and bubbly ;-)


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Subject: RE: Does it matter what music is called?
From: Lord Batman's Kitchener
Date: 09 Jul 08 - 04:16 PM

has to think that it does matter what music is called.

Let me repeat my earlier posting, simply because I don't say one thing and mean something completely different.

'Well, you know, some people simply cannot exist unless everything is carefully packaged and labelled (somewhat like the major record labels do), unless there are definitions attached (another form of labelling) I think it was Frank Zappa who said that there are only two types of music, good and bad. Sounds about right to me.'


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Subject: RE: Does it matter what music is called?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 09 Jul 08 - 04:19 PM

"We may screw up the word beer, but at least we don't screw up that category of beer we know and love - Ale - by making it cold and bubbly ;-) "

You mean like Bass Ale?


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Subject: RE: Does it matter what music is called?
From: Leadfingers
Date: 09 Jul 08 - 04:24 PM

As far as I can see , 'FOLK' in USA seems to mean 'Singer-Songwriter'
while traditional means Pre 1940 !

In UK 'Folk' cover a VERY wide field of very different musical styles , Including a LOT of Singer-Songwriter material , with a fair smattering of Music Hall , as well as the songs and tunes resurrected by Childe , Sabine Gould et al !!


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Subject: RE: Does it matter what music is called?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 09 Jul 08 - 04:28 PM

"As far as I can see , 'FOLK' in USA seems to mean 'Singer-Songwriter'
while traditional means Pre 1940 !"

Spirituals, chanteys, fiddle tunes, Cajun, Native American, and the numerous ethnic groups whose native music evolved in this country all have "traditional" songs and tunes, yet each is distinct. Therefore, how can a label such a "folk" really be a descriptive?


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Subject: RE: Does it matter what music is called?
From: Lord Batman's Kitchener
Date: 09 Jul 08 - 04:29 PM

The music I play, English and Welsh Trad. and where I'm from, North Wales, say exactly where my loyalties lie.


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Subject: RE: Does it matter what music is called?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 09 Jul 08 - 04:32 PM

I've heard "Music for a Found Harmonium" in folk sessions many times. Bit of a bummer if all you've got is a D whistle, and it isn't one of my favourite tunes, but I have yet to hear anyone suggest it shouldn't be played. I've heard nothing by Seth Lakeman covered in a session as yet.

The things that ticks me off about this particular misascription is that there is already a perfectly good category that Lakeman's music fits into. It's middle-of-the-road pop. There are hundreds of other performers working in the same genre who feel no need to say that what they're doing is folk and that people whose primary interest is in Shetland fiddle music or source recordings of Child ballads have some sort of obligation to buy their stuff. Apparently we're supposed to rush out and buy Lakeman's CDs and go to his concerts because his parents knew Bert Lloyd or something. Fuck that.


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Subject: RE: Does it matter what music is called?
From: Peace
Date: 09 Jul 08 - 04:34 PM

"Apparently we're supposed to rush out and buy Lakeman's CDs and go to his concerts because his parents knew Bert Lloyd or something. Fuck that."

So don't rush. Saunter instead.


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Subject: RE: Does it matter what music is called?
From: Lord Batman's Kitchener
Date: 09 Jul 08 - 04:36 PM

At the same time as being neither here nor there about Seth Lakeman, I find most of the so-called source recordings completely unlistenable and the folk that trumpet those same source recordings as being equally unlistenable.


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Subject: RE: Does it matter what music is called?
From: Peace
Date: 09 Jul 08 - 04:40 PM

Anyway, I was in the supermarket looking for kiwis. Never mind why. I checked the dairy section. Looked in toiletries. I searched in the meat section, pharmacy--then it struck me. I asked for directions. Lady said to try where the fruits are. Guess what?


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