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Dave Harker, Fakesong

GUEST,Pseudonymous 09 Feb 20 - 12:09 AM
Jack Campin 08 Feb 20 - 06:02 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 08 Feb 20 - 05:47 PM
Steve Gardham 08 Feb 20 - 05:46 PM
Steve Gardham 08 Feb 20 - 05:27 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 08 Feb 20 - 05:26 PM
Steve Gardham 08 Feb 20 - 05:08 PM
Steve Gardham 08 Feb 20 - 04:58 PM
Jim Carroll 08 Feb 20 - 03:12 PM
Steve Gardham 08 Feb 20 - 02:47 PM
Steve Gardham 08 Feb 20 - 02:29 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 08 Feb 20 - 02:20 PM
Jack Campin 08 Feb 20 - 12:28 PM
Jack Campin 08 Feb 20 - 11:41 AM
GUEST,jag 08 Feb 20 - 11:30 AM
Jim Carroll 08 Feb 20 - 11:22 AM
Steve Gardham 08 Feb 20 - 10:34 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 08 Feb 20 - 07:11 AM
Brian Peters 08 Feb 20 - 07:06 AM
GUEST,Jack Campin 08 Feb 20 - 07:03 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 08 Feb 20 - 06:32 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 08 Feb 20 - 06:28 AM
GUEST,jag 08 Feb 20 - 06:20 AM
GUEST 08 Feb 20 - 05:56 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 08 Feb 20 - 04:28 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 08 Feb 20 - 04:06 AM
The Sandman 08 Feb 20 - 02:53 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 07 Feb 20 - 07:02 PM
Brian Peters 07 Feb 20 - 06:54 PM
Lighter 07 Feb 20 - 06:50 PM
GUEST,jag 07 Feb 20 - 06:14 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 07 Feb 20 - 05:58 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 07 Feb 20 - 05:39 PM
GUEST,jag 07 Feb 20 - 05:07 PM
Jack Campin 07 Feb 20 - 05:00 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 07 Feb 20 - 03:49 PM
The Sandman 07 Feb 20 - 03:18 PM
Brian Peters 07 Feb 20 - 02:46 PM
Jim Carroll 07 Feb 20 - 02:35 PM
Jack Campin 07 Feb 20 - 02:25 PM
Steve Gardham 07 Feb 20 - 02:11 PM
Jim Carroll 07 Feb 20 - 11:22 AM
GUEST,jag 07 Feb 20 - 11:15 AM
GUEST,jag 07 Feb 20 - 11:03 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 07 Feb 20 - 10:55 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 07 Feb 20 - 10:51 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 07 Feb 20 - 10:34 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 07 Feb 20 - 10:22 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 07 Feb 20 - 10:19 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 07 Feb 20 - 10:15 AM
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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 09 Feb 20 - 12:09 AM

Jack: As I said, the bio came from Harker, and I'm awaiting people's comments on it. Not sure I can fill out many more details on the basis of Harker. Antiquarians or not, Harker says Laing and Sharpe wanted a cut and an editorial say so about this project. This bit isn't as well referenced as others either as far as I can see, though it is tedious using the pdf version to check.

It is a very potted biography (though he does say more on Laing and Sharpe elsewhere). He has a method of putting potted contextualising biographies in the opening sections on a time slot and then info on the works of those people in a subsequent section. It isn't always easy to piece the info together. Harker says Stephenson got involved in the project (whichever it was??), using Scott's circle as a tester for the market. He then says Buchan gave up the idea of making any real money out of this activity though he kept on until the 1830s with support and sympathy from Bell. No more detail on the project. So this might have been the 1828 publication. Either that or an earlier 1825 'Gleanings' book. Harker's reader is left to guess!

It's about page 45 if you wanted to have a look yourself. Maybe you can explain it all!


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jack Campin
Date: 08 Feb 20 - 06:02 PM

Dunno where Pseud's potted bio of Buchan came from, but the "two men called Laing and Sharpe" were Scotland's most scholarly antiquarians. The manuscript could not have fallen into better hands. Why didn't the project go ahead?


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 08 Feb 20 - 05:47 PM

My account of Buchan I should have made clear is Harker based, and I am interested to see if any of the biography comes in for criticism from those who know more than I do about Buchan's life. Rankin is a man Buchan paid to go out and get songs for him.

FMJ has lots of good stuff in, but I can't afford it, can only access stuff when in public domain. Not complaining, just stating.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 08 Feb 20 - 05:46 PM

'Knew Scott'

There is no evidence that he ever met Scott. No doubt he was immensely influenced by Scott's success with the Border Minstrelsy, even to the extent he had a noble local patron like Scott. He sent his manuscript for 'Ancient Ballads' to Scott for approval and Scott pronounced the ballads to the best of his knowledge genuine. He could hardly not do that after what he'd done himself.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 08 Feb 20 - 05:27 PM

As we have been discussing the tunes recently here I thought I would give a few quotations from Celia Pendlebury's article: 'Tune families and Tune Histories: Melodic Resemblances in British and Irish Folk Tunes' in the latest edition of Folk Music Journal, which incidentally is peer-reviewed.

'Frank Kidson's scholarship of commercially produced dance collections and other music was significant and yet his work was marginalised by Sharp and his followers.' p92.

'Nowadays, many scholars regard the IFCM's definition as inaccurate and something of a historical curiosity.' p93.

The whole article is well worth reading.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 08 Feb 20 - 05:26 PM

Who was Peter Buchan (1790-1854? For the benefit of the general reader (and myself):

Born Aberdeenshire, Scotland. Father, pilot. Was half-promised sponsorship for university but let down. Did part of an apprenticeship with a millwright, then with a turner and carver, then worked as a 'jobber'. His poetry writing brought him to the attention of the Earl of Buchan and he turned to the printing trade. He learned this at Stirling and by 'inveigling himself into the workshops of leading members of Edinburgh's printing fraternity' posing as an itinerant bookseller (Harker p44). Spent much time cultivating Edinburgh literati, got some more attention from the upper classes but the time he spent with the literati caused his business to falter and he lost the Earl's support. Spent some time working in London; returned to Scotland due to ill health, took up his business again.

Knew Scott, and came up with a proposal to publish his own manuscript ballad collection. This was agreed with two men called Laing and Sharpe in control and getting a share of any profit.

Motherwell tried to buy the original manuscript, such things being, Harker comments, 'commodities'. Buchan ended up selling some collections for cash. He moved and moved, eventually to Glasgow in 1838. Later song-collectors contacted him for materials. His materials were used by The Percy Society and Dixon in the mid-1840s. By the end of that decade he faced law suits and virtual ruin. He was saved by 2 grants from the Royal Literary Fund. He went to Ireland then London again, where he died.

Harker says 'Though the form of patronage had changed from individual and aristocratic to that of the state, Buchan proved that people without independent private means could not hope to survive by making only partly-commercial or song-books, even in mid-century.'

His 'Ancient Ballads' was published in Edinburgh in 1828 and aimed at the 'bourgeois market', and at those who were patriotic. The editor scorns ordinary people 'the vulgar mind' and aims at the 'literary antiquary' and the 'man of letters'. Harker thinks this is basically targeting a Tory market at a particular time in Scottish history.

Harker says it is unlikely that Rankin invented anything, or that he cared whether songs came from chap books etc some of which had Harker points out been published by Buchan himself. Harker complains that Buchan treats Rankin as a source when really Rankin was a collector. He also complains that Buchan doesn't really tell us about the people who were singing these songs.

Harker gives the impression that Buchan claimed to have been able to complete many of the best pieces hitherto only available in fragments and that it was the apparent 'perfection' of some of his pieces that made later readers suspicious of their genuineness. Harker seems to think that Buchan's mediations weren't as bad as 'smug editors like .. Child'. This is plainly provocative.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 08 Feb 20 - 05:08 PM

Jim
Can I just make one thing absolutely clear? I have no axe to grind over mediation per se. From Percy's publishing the Reliques and Ritson's criticism onwards there was no excuse for any editor/publisher/collector not indicating where they had personally added their own material as Percy did. At least Jamieson made some sort of effort by indicating where he had mediated a ballad, even if he wasn't fully consistent with this.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 08 Feb 20 - 04:58 PM

'Personally, I was glad to use them when I was looking for songs to sing'. Me too. You'll find nothing but praise for Frank from me. It took 4 of us, off and on for several years, just to check what he had collated. He never pretended that they were for any other use than singing, unlike the earlier collectors who didn't or couldn't be bothered with tunes. Of course when Frank produced those 4 volumes there was no internet or EFDSS website to check everything. All he had to painstakingly work on were the paper copy Hammond/Gardiner manuscripts.
To the best of my knowledge the Hammonds and Gardiner took everything down faithfully to the best of their ability as did Sharp.

As for Sharp avoiding anything bawdy, have a look at the 'Gently Johnny' thread.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 08 Feb 20 - 03:12 PM

You're welcome
I think it puts to bed the suggestion that Child was anti-Buchan, don't you
Looking through the articles on the controversy we have here, it's pretty clear that, rather thsn it being "done and dusted" (quote) it still rumbles on
Even Buchan'd arch-elemy, Siggy has to admit that

Interesting footnote to Johnson's Dictionary article by Child
Child Ballad Poetry quote
English. —
Reliques of Ancient English Poetry, by Thomas Percy, 1st ed. 1765, 4th improved ed. London, 1794, and often since then;
Ancient and Modern Scottish Songs, by David Herd, 2d ed. 2 vols., Edinburgh, 1776;
Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border, by Sir Walter Scott, 3 vols., Edinburgh, 1802-03, and often since then;
Popular Ballads and Songs, by Robert Jamieson, 2 vols., Edinburgh, 1806;
Ancient Scottish Ballads, by George R. Kinloch, Edinburgh, 1827;
Minstrelsy, Ancient and Modern, by William Motherwell, Glasgow, 1827;
Ancient Ballads and Songs of the North of Scotland, by Peter Buchan, 2 vols., Edinburgh, 1828;
The English and Scottish Popular Ballads, by F. J. Child, Boston, 1882-92, 8 parts, and one to follow, which will contain a full bibliography.

The ones in red are all high on the neo-researchers no-no list
Just off to see what the editor of the new Purslow's Hammong and Gardiner 'mediations' had to say about Frank's "naivety, dishonesty and pursuit of sales"
Personally, I was glad to use them when I was looking for songs to sing
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 08 Feb 20 - 02:47 PM

As for Jamie Rankin, I'm happy to accept that he was responsible for the basic texts of Secret Songs, though I doubt it was him who touched them up. Some of them have Peter's fingerprints all over them.

Quote from Hustvedt.
'As for the wholesale manufacture with which he and James Rankin have been charged, William Walker makes a good case in showing that Rankin's materials did not enter very largely into that first manuscript from which the collection of 1828 was printed'. (Ancient Ballads of the North of Scotland proof). My brackets.

Indeed he had only met Jamie about a year before.

An interesting aside: A superb early (the earliest) version of The Herring's Head appears in the mss and Secret Songs. So praise where praise is due.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 08 Feb 20 - 02:29 PM

Thanks for that quote, Jim. very helpful. It makes a good start. I have both Murray's and Ian's books and indeed I corresponded for a while with Ian. Oh and a copy of the manuscript as well, and copies of both the BL ms and the Harvard Ms.

Not too sure about Murray's number crunching and corresponding dates. It looks like Svend Grundtvig didn't have much effect on Child as Child only got the first part of Vol 1 published before Grundtvig died and Child went on to slate Buchan's material, quite cruelly in places, long after that first part was published.
What Murray conveniently fails to mention there is that many of Peter's ballads are A versions because they're the only known versions. I wonder why that might be.

Already mentioned William Walker's strange about-face earlier in the thread.

Buchan certainly wasn't redeemed as Murray put it.

The baseline is, even WW who went on to be his biggest apologist admitted that Peter eked out his ballads. Again, just as with all the others, we simply will never know the full extent of this.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 08 Feb 20 - 02:20 PM

Curiouser and curiouser

Going back to 'mediation': Bearman's PhD says that Gammon (whose politics he dislikes just about as much as he dislikes Lloyd's and Harkers) used this concept pre-Harker. He implies that Gammon got it from is MA supervisor, an historian called Peter Burke. Gammon he says used it in his first major publication (1980). This was about song collectors. But I just read Gammon saying it was something we could appreciate in Harker.

So the outcome of this is that we can use the term 'mediation' without necessarily evoking shades of Harker, if we so wish.

Bearman's tone isn't far off bilious in places.

Bearman agrees with Harker about Maud Karpeles' versions of the Sharp biography, by the way.

Haven't got too far with it though.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jack Campin
Date: 08 Feb 20 - 12:28 PM

but at least it didn't occur to him that any music theory originating east of Vienna might be relevant to his project.
Did anyone before him who was looking at folk tunes from the British Isles do any better?


Dunno. Sharp got the idea of using the Renaissance modal system from Lucy Broadwood, and I think he was more critical in the way he went at it than she was. Very thorough descriptions of the Arabic modal system were available in French, and d'Erlanger's massive treatise must have been in libraries Sharp used, sitting there too big to ignore.


Do Henry Larcombe's multiple variations (pages 21 and 22 of "Some Conclusions") have any of the character of 'eastern' improvisations within the mode?

I don't have a copy of it handy (I seem not to have put it on my tablet) but I doubt you'd get much of that from an English singer. Construction of fixed melodies using modal principles is another story, and even when there is no conscious awareness of how it's done, people making up tunes follow modal rules.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jack Campin
Date: 08 Feb 20 - 11:41 AM

Peter Buchan's "Secret Songs of Silence" was published in another edition by Ian Spring at almost the same time as Shoolbraid's - I don't think either of them knew what the other was doing. I have Spring's but not Shoolbraid's. Spring rates Buchan rather higher than most earlier writers did.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 08 Feb 20 - 11:30 AM

"but at least it didn't occur to him that any music theory originating east of Vienna might be relevant to his project."

Did anyone before him who was looking at folk tunes from the British Isles do any better?

Do Henry Larcombe's multiple variations (pages 21 and 22 of "Some Conclusions") have any of the character of 'eastern' improvisations within the mode?


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 08 Feb 20 - 11:22 AM

"When I get a little more time I will start a new thread on Child's thoughts on the ballads to include his comments on Buchan and others.

Just in case you miss a bit – From ‘the preface of ‘The High-Kilted Muse
Just trying to be helpful
Jim Carroll

It took the combined efforts of two of Childs most important correspondents, the great Danish ballad scholar Sven Grundtvig and the modest Aberdeen pawnbroker William Walker to persuade Child he was wrong in his estimate of the printer from Peterhead. As early as 1855, Grundtvig had heralded Buchan as a ‘man who has rescued, and for the first time published, more traditionary ballad versions than any other antiquary in Great Britain that we know of.14
Child would eventually yield in part. ? shall treat B.’s ballads as substan¬tially genuine, but I think I shall put them into smaller type than those of honest collectors’.’’ In the end. he did not do this, and, as William Walker has noted. Buchan was accorded a place of honour in the ESPB.
Consider Buchan’s contribution - after all was said, and 1;. J. Child was done. 'Ihere are 305 of the so-called USPB ballad types. Subtract the purely English recoveries and one is left with about 267 ballads. 91 of whose Child ? texts arc from the remote prccincts of Aberdeenshire. Of that 91.37 of Childs texts Walker credits to P. Buchan. Put another way, Buchan eventually furnished better than 12 percent of the ‘A texts of Childs canonised ballads. Buchan was redeemed, and no wonder that Child concluded the best Scottish ballads are from the north, there can be no doubt! Peter Buchan had furnished the bulk of them.
All of which brings us to the bawdy songs that spring from the Scots' high-kilted muse. These songs were amassed by Peter Buchan, apparently with a large assist from his hired wight of Homer’s craft. Jamie Rankin, the blind beggar who travelled Aberdeenshire for Buchan, gathering songs and talcs. As Rankin was blind at birth, 'his memory was very remarkable’, Wil¬liam Walker concluded on the basis ol research by Gavin Grcig. Rankin 'had a large stock of ballads and songs, but was distinctly of low intelligence. [...] He had a considerable stock ol coarse, high-kilted songs, which the young fellows would often induce him to sing'.'? For all their ‘real rough humour’, William Walker assured F. J. Child, there was no doubt these were traditional songs. ‘Even still, some ol these may be heard Sung [sic] in country bothies in the north•.1*
These ballads - which Buchan, Laing or Sharpe deemed unsuitable lor polite ears when weighing the make-up of the two volumes of Ancient Ballads were eventually copied into a separate collection by Buchan. The vicissitudes ol the manuscript, ot a hard-pressed Buchan’s feckless efforts to sell it, need not concern us. 'Ihe manuscript survived, to arrive safely in the Harvard Uni¬versity’s Houghton Library. It is this collection - probably the earliest known of traditional bawdy songs - which Murray Shoolbraid has here edited. In doing so, he brings to light a long-suppressed volume, and fills a great gap in published bawdy songs and ballads.
We are indebted to him.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 08 Feb 20 - 10:34 AM

Pseu,
Which index are you lacking?

When I get a little more time I will start a new thread on Child's thoughts on the ballads to include his comments on Buchan and others.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 08 Feb 20 - 07:11 AM

Well, I'm going on the porch for a moment to ponder Mr Moulden's advice about being politer than polite. Have a nice day everybody.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Brian Peters
Date: 08 Feb 20 - 07:06 AM

"fiddler Reuben Hensley told Sharp that, 'they always tune their fiddles in this faked way when they played Kentucky tunes'."

Quite so, and Sharp made notes on open fiddle tunings used by Hensley and others. I'm not aware that he recorded any banjo tunings, though he did give a nice description of a fiddle/banjo duet which he also noted down.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Jack Campin
Date: 08 Feb 20 - 07:03 AM

I am happy to agree that modes are off-topic: Harker, as you say, mentions them only rarely.

My take on that is that Sharp's treatment of them was an example of cultural blindness - I wouldn't go as far as to call it racist, but at least it didn't occur to him that any music theory originating east of Vienna might be relevant to his project.

Harker looked only at much cruder examples of Sharp being narrowminded. But occasionally using racist language didn't have an adverse effect on what Sharp could discover, while not using the knowledge accumulated over millennia by "lesser breeds without the law" certainly did limit him.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 08 Feb 20 - 06:32 AM

Sorry I typed Jag in the wrong place. I was going to say I am happy to agree that modes are off-topic: Harker, as you say, mentions them only rarely.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 08 Feb 20 - 06:28 AM

Referring to the person who told me Carthy would come after me with a noose. Mad as a bag of frogs? Maybe, maybe not. But it seems to have made a lasting impression.

Assuming Guest above is Sandman, interesting points. Thanks. However, I know lamentably little about Appalachian songs, except I do a version of 'Old Joe Clarke' which might be an Appalachian tune. In normal tuning and the key of G. I saw some Appalachian clogging once at a time I was involved with clog=type Morris and loved it.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 08 Feb 20 - 06:20 AM

@Lighter. Thanks for the " Culture" was taken to be the natural expression of inherited characteristics" observation.

@Pseudonymous. I think the modes are off-topic because Harker doesn't say much. However, I find it interesting that whilst Sharp devotes a large part of his discussion of folk tunes to the modes those other than Ionian only make up about one third of his collection. That may mean he did not suffer from the 'collection bias' that others who can 'recognise a folk tune when they hear it' might be guilty of. I think modus lascivious is always worth throwing into the discussion when people seem to be forgetting that not all folk tunes are 'modal'.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST
Date: 08 Feb 20 - 05:56 AM

Pseudo - I don't know if Sharp knew about Appalachian banjo tunings - though I suspect that he did - but on 10th August, 1916, fiddler Reuben Hensley told Sharp that, 'they always tune their fiddles in this faked way when they played Kentucky tunes'.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 08 Feb 20 - 04:28 AM

Couple of thoughts from yesterday

@ Steve. I really would be interested to discuss the example of Buchan. I got as far as trying to discover what Child did say about him. This is where you said we might start. Child said something critical. I did not intend to try to shut down discussion. I was just a little pessimistic about how far we could keep it 'more than polite'. The only question might be whether there was already a thread on the matter and if so whether we would be forgiven for discussing it here. They find it clogs up the system if a thread gets too long.

@ Brian. Part of the reason for trying to repeat here what Harker said was the idea that some people reading and even participating in this thread have not read him, or have not read him recently enough to recall what he said. The idea was to help them to follow.

@ I want back to Roud and Bishop's 'Folk Song in England' and accidentally found myself reading ideas that could have come straight from Harker, minus the 'attitude'. Now Roud more or less starts with a go at Harker, so that is interesting. For example a similar point was made about Sharp and modes (which is what I took it out to read up on). Annoyingly the index in my copy seems never to have got beyond a certain letter in the alphabet, making it hard to look stuff up. Were all the texts like this? Had I not got it 2nd hand (hopefully not via Amazon :) ) I would have complained.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 08 Feb 20 - 04:06 AM

1 Did the Appalachians not do this themselves?

2 Interesting crossover since the banjo is said to derive from African instruments via enslaved people

3 What evidence is there that Sharp noticed Banjo tunings? I am fascinated.

4 I suppose that Sharp's view would be that you had to use chords built on the notes of whichever scale your melody was based on? Should I think this through in terms of normal tunings mode by mode? Haven't got very far yet. Starting with triads and D Mixolydian; same notes as D Major except a c natural.

I chord D major; II chord E minor; III chord F# dim…?;   lV G Maj; V Am; VI B minor; VII C major. Doable in normal tuning?


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: The Sandman
Date: 08 Feb 20 - 02:53 AM

So maybe this is where he wanted to take national music, to include a 'logical' accompaniment for non major or minor scale modes? quote pseud
this was later done through the uses of certain guitar tunings such as dadgad, and dgdgcd, which according to martin carthy are based on appalachian 5 string banjo tunings.Sharp had collected in appalachia and so he knew what he was talking about


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 07 Feb 20 - 07:02 PM

Modus lascivious perhaps? (been looking at Sharp again). Going to attempt chapters IV V and Vl. Wish me luck.

Sharp has a go at Brahms, saying he did not harmonise 'logically' for modes. Not lacking in confidence was he, our Cecil? So maybe this is where he wanted to take national music, to include a 'logical' accompaniment for non major or minor scale modes? I feel like having a go at some of his arrangements to see what he made of some modal songs. Can anybody suggest a suitable text from those on archive.org or elsewhere, and not in a key with lots of flats or more than four sharps, please? See my faith in Mudcat?

Pity Sharp was hard on German music: Bach is a favourite of mine, not that I know a lot of course. (NB Flip comment, not to be taken too seriously)


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Brian Peters
Date: 07 Feb 20 - 06:54 PM

Posted before, but, re dissemination, let me remind you of Sharp's words in Some Conclusions:

"These broadsheets were hawked about the country by packmen, who frequented fairs, village festivals, and public gatherings of all sorts, and who advertised their wares by singing them in market-places, on village greens, in the streets of the towns, and wherever they could attract an audience. In this way ballads and songs were disseminated all over the land."

You wouldn't get that impression from 'Fakesong', of course.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Lighter
Date: 07 Feb 20 - 06:50 PM

> his view that the 'national' characteristics of the common folk are inherent or 'racial'

This was the Romantic view going all the way back to Herder in the 18th Century, and widely taken for granted in the 19th. "Common sense" back then.

"Culture" was taken to be the natural expression of inherited characteristics.

I assume these views were easier to hold in the days when populations were not nearly so mobile as they've been in the past century or so.

Pseud, "jackanory"?


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 07 Feb 20 - 06:14 PM

He says two thirds Ionian in his collection, the remaining third fairly evenly divided between mixolydian, dorian, and aeolian with perhaps a preponderance of mixolydian.

That surprised you, eh?


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 07 Feb 20 - 05:58 PM

One point if we are sticking to Sharp is that his piece is mainly a piece about music: it has been said before, and the piece makes it clear, he is discussing music, and, since the 'peasants' he listened to sang unaccompanied, we are talking about melody, and in some parts, metre, and in some places how the words and the melody fit together when his informants sing songs (which I remember having to do exercises in at a relatively low level of music theory, so I have some idea about how Sharp would have viewed this).

A few half hours with Middleton has problematized my simplistic 'complaints' that people ignore or don't talk about the music of 'folk' but since it is Sharp's main focus, it would be good to try to address what he says. Some of it is I think accessible and would be to people here who sing (please excuse me not naming names, too many to mention) and who state themselves to be at sea if it gets technical musically.

I know this is something Harker doesn't really address (except to be suspicious of Sharp's belief that folk music was 'modal').

Does anybody know whether Sharp found much in the major scale/ionian mode by the way?

There is something niggling away at me Sharp and it is this, I think: how does he account for the dissemination of 'folk songs' across the country? Is this a problem for his view of the non-educated folk with no intellectual learning except for life's ups and downs? How did farming ever spread from wherever it arose if that is the only way people learned?


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 07 Feb 20 - 05:39 PM

Not necessarily left, just sort of on the porch a bit.

Jag's interesting post tempted me back in for a moment. Culture, of course! I was looking at an oldish academic book on 'popular music' I'm pretty sure you would all hate by Richard Middleton, and it made the point that even when we were evolving into homo sapiens culture was *part of the process*. We did not evolve first and get culture afterwards. Perhaps those creatures who came before may have had music? They seem to have had 'art' of some sort and language of some sort (?) so music seems a pretty safe bet. Drifting again, I know.

I hope I didn't give the impression I wanted to throw everything Sharp did away on the basis of his 'racism'. I did feel it was worth flagging up where I thought his views were suspect.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 07 Feb 20 - 05:07 PM

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)


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jack Campin
Date: 07 Feb 20 - 05:00 PM

I don't think Grainger ever used the word "cosmopolitan" but his pet hate was Italian influences in music. Germans were sort of okay in his book but the Norfic cultures were the foreign influence he most welcomed.

Anybody in the 1900s British folk scene have it in for the Spanish or the Russians?


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 07 Feb 20 - 03:49 PM

I had no idea that cosmopolitan had that meaning at any time to be honest. Just trying to take it in. I took it to mean 'including people' from many countries. Do I misremember or is it right to say that Sharp felt Italian music also had been heard a lot in England as well as German? Checked, and he mentions French as well, saying since Purcell we had produced nothing of note though, he claims once we were known for music (He cites a comment by Erasmus,p128)

My nationality, I try always to say British, not least, ironically, out of respect for the others, being English myself. Used to be a European. Miss that a bit to be honest. Harker of course wants socialists to be internationalists, a point made by somebody else on this thread. Think globally act locally an environmentalist once said to me.

I read somewhere that Harker does not consider himself a 'Trotskyist' so I have to take back stuff based on his SWP membership if that is correct.

Still wishing I could read Harker's later paper responding to critics but not able to access it. Just to sort of round off this rather hectic trip through a lot of literature. My paper copy of Harker is now back with the library, who'll be sending it to wherever they borrowed it from. I've sent for Georgina Boyes' work, but as I said before, I don't think Mudcat may necessarily be the best place to discuss it. But it gets mentioned in such terms that I am intrigued to read it for myself and see what I think.

I've ordered a book on ABE, not the Wilgus in the end, but the Fowler one. It starts with the evolution of balladry: wondering if I am going to find that all a bit jackanory, but we'll see. It was at least cheap so if a mistake not an expensive one.

People posting on this thread have taught me a lot and I am grateful to everybody for an interesting discussion.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: The Sandman
Date: 07 Feb 20 - 03:18 PM

The Irish rural and urban working people made local songs in their many thousands.
And stil do to some extent


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Brian Peters
Date: 07 Feb 20 - 02:46 PM

Thumbs up to Jack Campin's post. I was just reading some of Sharp's lecture notes that dealt with German musical hegemony.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 07 Feb 20 - 02:35 PM

"All answered numerous times on numerous threads."
Not one has Steve
You offered a number aof feeble on-the-spot excuses like hacks who migt have worked at sea or lived on the land
You even claimed that the hacks were noted revolutionaries
You left the impression that your researches had gone no further than paper-chasing fisrt appearances on broadsides and were finally forced to admit that you could not guarantee a single song had originated on broadsides, for all your "starry-eyed" dismissal
You don't know - I don't know - as Stephen Fry is fond of saying, "nobody knows"
You accused me of having a "political agenda" for suggesting that rural workers made their own folk songs - I can think of no greater political agenda than insisting they didn't
Until you come up with something more solid and believable you really need to stop doing this
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jack Campin
Date: 07 Feb 20 - 02:25 PM

Sharp's complaints that English culture is too 'cosmopolitan' and that we need something more purely national do have a ring of the hard right"

In Sharp's time the word "cosmopolitan" wasn't code for "International Jewish Conspiracy" as it is now. Look at composition and didactic works about art music back then, and Britain was a German colony - Elgar was a German composer who happened to come from Somerset. Debussy had a very similar reaction to German cultural dominance, except he was much more unpleasant about it.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 07 Feb 20 - 02:11 PM

All answered numerous times on numerous threads.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 07 Feb 20 - 11:22 AM

" I understand one of Jim's arguments to be that, because the broadsides are mostly a dunghill, therefore the excellent songs that were collected can't have started life there "
Much more complicated than that Richard
I've been labouring over an article for nearly a year now, which I have yet to get properly started
We don't know who made folk songs and probably never shall, so in the end it's down to sorting our what we do know and using common sense
The Irish rural and urban working people made local songs in their many thousands, as did the Scots with their output of Bothy Songs, on the spot waulking songs, their political pieces.... and many other examples
The non-literate Travellers, both Irish and Scots, were still making songs right into the 1970s
How likely is it that the English rural working people were alone in these Islands in being almost fully reliant on hack writers for songs about every aspect of daily life - which basically what our folk repertoire is
When I challenged Steve Gardham with this his reply was that the English agricultural workers were 'far to busy earning a living to make songs'
The greatest output of songs in Ireland came from hardship such as forced emigration, mass evictions, land wars,, wars of national independence -
Hardship inspired songwriting, not discouraged it
Our songs are based on working people's vernacular, they contain insider knowledge on work practices and leisure activities, the sympathies of the songs lie invariably with the persecuted and the poor....
A desk-bound hack would have to have possessed the skills and the politico-social leanings of a Steinbeck or a Robert Tressell to have made such socially volatile stuff
Hacks were human conveyor belts churning out their doggerel to stay alive and their largely shoddy compositions show exactly that

And that's just the start
You have the problems of poor and non-existent literacy as a disincentive to learn songs from print, the tendency to treat printed texts as sacrosanct (a regular comment from our singers), which acts against such songs passing into versions.....
Non literate Travellers have been the main carriers of our songs in Ireland and Scotland
There is much, much more on this question that remains unresolved and unanswered

Up to the last decade, Maccoll's statement at the end of the Song Carriers summarised the belief of most folk enthusiasts, from researcher in folk song to broadside experts like Bob Thomson and Leslie Shepherd

"Well, there they are, the songs of our people. Some of them have been centuries in the making, some of them undoubtedly were born on the broadside presses. Some have the marvellous perfection of stones shaped by the sea's movement. Others are as brash as a cup-final crowd. They were made by professional bards and by unknown poets at the plough-stilts and the handloom. They are tender, harsh,, passionate, ironical, simple, profound.... as varied, indeed, as the landscape of this island."

What has changed to make that statement no longer valid ? - nothing, as far as I can see
Jim


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 07 Feb 20 - 11:15 AM

"... view as having merit ..."


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 07 Feb 20 - 11:03 AM

@Pseudonymous.

I don't know enough about Sharp but regarding one's nation as 'English', and not seeking to find a 'British' national music, could be regarded as being respectful of the Welsh, the Scottish and the Irish. And not at all inconsistant with understanding the Boers' perspective on things.

It's not clear from your post what approach to nationality you would view with merit.

I once had to explain to some Argentinians that Edward Heath was not the Prime Minister of England. Confidence in my answer was undermined by me then being unable to explain why the the countries of the UK have their own international football teams.

For purpose of disclosure I am northern English and resent The Scouring of the North by those who became our fuedal overlords.

Shouldn't you get back on topic?


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 07 Feb 20 - 10:55 AM

@ Jag, I left out quotation marks, sorry.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 07 Feb 20 - 10:51 AM

@ Jag: Sorry to keep harping back to the first page of "Some Conclusions". In the second paragraph of the book Sharp says "we must look to the musical utterances of those who were least affected by extraneous educational influences" (my emphasis).

I cannot see why you are apologising. I cannot speak for everybody but I can say that I have enjoyed your contributions to the discussion.

My contribution here might be that Sharp is hoping to get the remains of his romantically viewed 'pure' peasantry who would have been wholly untouched: I think discussions of the usage of the term peasant (while valid and in the case of Gammon and Knevett if not that of Bearman relatively convincing) turns us away from Sharp's (romantic) belief in this racial/national illiterate, untrained person whose intellect is formed solely by the ups and downs of life and who he imagines in what seems to me to be a romantic evidence-free way influenced by Child and Gummere to have originated the songs he was collecting, or the ones he chose not to reject for his own reasons. For plainly, whatever his motives, and, even if we reject Harkers' class-based analysis of why he did this, Child was, in my view 'mediating'.

Please don't be apologising


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 07 Feb 20 - 10:34 AM

Gammon and Knevett seem at one point to be making the same point about Bearman that I did, but in more detail.

I note the idea that Sharp was part of a widespread 'romantic' view of the peasantry. My view again! And they then go on to discuss this in more detail later in the piece.

G and K acknowledge Harker as the pioneer of the idea of mediation. A balanced and interesting discussion, which is just what you would expect from Vic Gammon, whose work I admire.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 07 Feb 20 - 10:22 AM

@ Brian: I have downloaded the Gammon and Knevett piece. Thanks for the reference. NB I had seen the Gammon 'One for the Money' piece, which is interesting, mentioned earlier in the thread.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 07 Feb 20 - 10:19 AM

Pro Boer I should have put sorry.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 07 Feb 20 - 10:15 AM

@ Jag

The thought I had about Sharp took me back to the recent Scottish Independence debate. The question was raised earlier about Sharp's intentions re England and the other parts of the UK. He seems to me to be an example of an English person who regards his 'nation' as English rather than British. This happens. And the English aren't the only ones: I knew a foreign language student who wrote a thesis including examples of the French press calling Gordon Brown the 'English Prime Minister'.

Apparently Sharp upset some people by being Pro-war, so not as 'jingoistic' as all that. At the end of the day you can only read 'Some Thoughts' and make your own mind up.


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