What makes it a Folk Song?
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What makes it a Folk Song?

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Diva 18 May 09 - 01:22 PM
Stringsinger 19 May 09 - 12:38 PM
Richard Bridge 19 May 09 - 12:58 PM
Phil Edwards 19 May 09 - 01:18 PM
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Subject: RE: What makes it a Folk Song?
From: Diva
Date: 18 May 09 - 01:22 PM

Ahh.."hard stuff" I have no problem at all with that definition (whoops "d" word again)

Sometmes the original is hard to take. Folk nowadays are used to polished and packaged. One of the best illustrations i ever heard was a friend whose son and daughter in law were in a modern jazz based folk duo.......very good they were too, maybe not to my taste but I could appreciate the musicality/inate skill that went into what they played. She mentioned she was going to see them and they were on the same bill as Sheila Stewart. She also said that she found Sheila's style hard to take. Thats fine, its her choice Just as it is mine to go to singers like Sheila in preference to the packaged. This choice has come from 30 years of listening and singing.

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Subject: RE: What makes it a Folk Song?
From: Stringsinger
Date: 19 May 09 - 12:38 PM

The problem with the "Nicaean" Council on Folk Music from 1954 is that it ignores the fact that some popular music actually can become folk music because it contains "variants". This is true because at one time the folk song was popular with a group of people. When people get over the cult of personality in songwriting and allow their songs to be changed and developed through different performances and interpretations and the copyright industry doesn't have such a strangle-hold on the use of material, then there can be a vital folk culture.

One of the beauties of folk music is that it defies the categorization of well-meaning but misguided academics.

A performance-oriented approach to singing in folk clubs freezes the type and style of singing that this engenders and is antithetical to the evolution of folk music.

What makes it a folk song is that it is allowed to breathe, grow, be changed, and not frozen in time. Sometimes a folk song in print can be revived as in the case of Barbara Allen. When it changes, and becomes variants of the original source, then the case can be made for the folk process. Often the stylistic nuances of a folk song are copied by those who are not part of that tradition. It has the air of insincerity to it because it becomes an imitation and not an outgrowth of the performer's personality. The other side to this is that without some kind of empathy for the tradition of the song, it lacks
an understanding in the performance. Finding that balance is what the great folk singers do.

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Subject: RE: What makes it a Folk Song?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 19 May 09 - 12:58 PM

That (that is to say, what SS describes in his first sentence) is PRECISELY what the 1954 definition does NOT do. Go back and read it again.

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Subject: RE: What makes it a Folk Song?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 19 May 09 - 01:18 PM

Beat me to it, Richard.

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