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Dave Harker, Fakesong

GUEST,jag 07 Feb 20 - 06:14 PM
Lighter 07 Feb 20 - 06:50 PM
Brian Peters 07 Feb 20 - 06:54 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 07 Feb 20 - 07:02 PM
The Sandman 08 Feb 20 - 02:53 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 08 Feb 20 - 04:06 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 08 Feb 20 - 04:28 AM
GUEST 08 Feb 20 - 05:56 AM
GUEST,jag 08 Feb 20 - 06:20 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 08 Feb 20 - 06:28 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 08 Feb 20 - 06:32 AM
GUEST,Jack Campin 08 Feb 20 - 07:03 AM
Brian Peters 08 Feb 20 - 07:06 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 08 Feb 20 - 07:11 AM
Steve Gardham 08 Feb 20 - 10:34 AM
Jim Carroll 08 Feb 20 - 11:22 AM
GUEST,jag 08 Feb 20 - 11:30 AM
Jack Campin 08 Feb 20 - 11:41 AM
Jack Campin 08 Feb 20 - 12:28 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 08 Feb 20 - 02:20 PM
Steve Gardham 08 Feb 20 - 02:29 PM
Steve Gardham 08 Feb 20 - 02:47 PM
Jim Carroll 08 Feb 20 - 03:12 PM
Steve Gardham 08 Feb 20 - 04:58 PM
Steve Gardham 08 Feb 20 - 05:08 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 08 Feb 20 - 05:26 PM
Steve Gardham 08 Feb 20 - 05:27 PM
Steve Gardham 08 Feb 20 - 05:46 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 08 Feb 20 - 05:47 PM
Jack Campin 08 Feb 20 - 06:02 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 09 Feb 20 - 12:09 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 09 Feb 20 - 12:10 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 09 Feb 20 - 12:38 AM
GUEST,jag 09 Feb 20 - 02:35 AM
GUEST,jag 09 Feb 20 - 02:38 AM
Jim Carroll 09 Feb 20 - 03:42 AM
Brian Peters 09 Feb 20 - 04:46 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 09 Feb 20 - 06:27 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 09 Feb 20 - 06:30 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 09 Feb 20 - 06:34 AM
Jack Campin 09 Feb 20 - 06:41 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 09 Feb 20 - 06:45 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 09 Feb 20 - 06:50 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 09 Feb 20 - 07:06 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 09 Feb 20 - 07:09 AM
Steve Gardham 09 Feb 20 - 08:16 AM
Jack Campin 09 Feb 20 - 08:45 AM
Steve Gardham 09 Feb 20 - 08:55 AM
Richard Mellish 09 Feb 20 - 09:05 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 09 Feb 20 - 09:14 AM
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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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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
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,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,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,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,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: 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,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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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 - 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: 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: 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 - 05:27 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 09 Feb 20 - 12:10 AM

NB Harker gets the high kilted bit in.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 09 Feb 20 - 12:38 AM

I'm sorry to but in: Is it correct or not that Child called Buchan an 'unscrupulous faker'?


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 09 Feb 20 - 02:35 AM

About the biographies. The whole book reads as if Harker made a set of notes for each collector set out in the order that he covers their live and work and then went through writing about each against the background of his conclusions.

The overlong paragraphs are at their worst when he covers a group of collectors. We get the parents and place of birth for each all in one long paragraph. Then another long paragraph with a later part of all their biographies, and so on.

Such individual biographical notes would be really useful (and would be easier for an expert to check for ‘fairness’. If the work was for a science PhD a supervisor might have advised him to put the bios in a table so that the reader could concentrate on his overall ‘thesis’.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 09 Feb 20 - 02:38 AM

Sorry, posting on phone. ... put the bios into tables so that the reader could concentrate on his overall thesis in a shorter main text.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 09 Feb 20 - 03:42 AM

"I have no axe to grind over mediation per se"
Then why use terms like "fake" and "dishonesty", and why imply that they did what they did for money (there's little solid evidence for any of these accusations here)
If these people did what they did for the reasons you and others suggest, why isn't Purslow guilty of the same things ?

Once again we are as far away from discussions the songs themselves as we ever were
It's like someone who dedicates his or her like proving that Shakespere's plays were written by Marlow, or DeVere, or the Earl of Oxford.... without having the slightest interest in Hamlet or King Lear
I have noticed several people who have approached this argument like hungry dog fighting over a bone, but who obviously neither understand nor like the songs themselves or the singers
In the end, the only real evidence we have are the song texts that have been passed on to us across the centuries - everything else is like trying to put fog in a milk-bottle - utterly pointless
I believe there is more to be learned of the ballads and songs from an hour of listening to what Walter Pardon or 'Pop's' Johnny Connors, or Duncan Williamson. or Mikeen McCarthy, or Mary Delaney.... had to say about the songs they sang, than there is spending a lifetime trying to plough through a library full of books written largely in "a language that the stranger does not know"
The greatest gap we have in our knowledge of folksongs has always been the shortage of information from the singers themselves - reading through threads like this that treats the subject matter academically and in a vacuum is an example of why that is the case
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Brian Peters
Date: 09 Feb 20 - 04:46 AM

Re the concept of 'mediation', Dave Harker wrote in 1972 (Cecil Sharp in Somerset, FMJ vol. 2)

"There you have it, "folk song" as mediated by Cecil Sharp, to be used as "raw material" or "instrument", being extracted from a tiny fraction of the rural proletariat and to be imposed upon town and country alike for the people's own good..."


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 09 Feb 20 - 06:27 AM

Jag: I agree with you on all the points in your latest post. I even wondered whether he cut out paragraphs to keep the page count down! Otherwise, Harker is a good writer, even if somewhat bilious in tone at times.

@ Steve:

1 I knew people would challenge Harker on some detail! Harker definitely says Buchan was 'acquainted with' Scott. I think Harker might agree with you that Buchan knew of the 'fashion' for antiquarianism and wouldn't quibble at all with your suppositions regarding Buchan's reading matter.

2 Of course you are right not to have anything against 'mediation' per se, since in a general sense it seems inevitable.

As I mentioned above, the earliest use of the term 'mediation' within folkloric studies that I know if Vic Gammon's. He was at the time being supervised by a historian, so it appears to be a term used by historians. If they don't use the term, they certainly use the general concept and it is taught in school history at age 16 if not before. Students are taught to look at primary sources and discuss whether/what their bias was. So two eye-witness or contemporary accounts of the Peterloo Riots/Massacres would be very different, for example, depending on the point of view of the personage involved.

3 The term 'mediation' is not synonymous with 'fakery' or 'dishonesty'. There is no contradiction between opposing 'fakes' and accepting mediation.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 09 Feb 20 - 06:30 AM

It also seems to me that when some of the songs were first composed they were themselves examples of mediation. Songs based on historical events might count, whether written soon after the events in question or later on.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 09 Feb 20 - 06:34 AM

@ Steve: you asked which index I was lacking. It is only part of the index to Roud and Bishop's History of English Folk Song. The one in my copy ends on page 740 half way through 'k'. It is irritating, but, as I said, it was 2nd hand and not too expensive.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jack Campin
Date: 09 Feb 20 - 06:41 AM

I just looked up mediation and related words in the OED. Seems the original mediator was Jesus Christ mediating between God and Man; later applied to the Pope's role; and it is first used in something like Harker's sense by Chaucer, describing his role as a scientific popularizer in his treatise on the astrolabe.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 09 Feb 20 - 06:45 AM

@ Brian: yes, this quotation sums up Harker thinks of Sharp's educational project - as outlined and justified in 'Some Thoughts' - quite neatly. It was re-reading Julia Bishop in Roud that reminded me that this was the overall thrust of that work.

The potential issues Sharp's project raises in my mind are somewhat at a tangent but not wholly irrelevant.

I was once impressed with the idea of a 'spiral curriculum', the idea that whatever level you were teaching your subject at you could teach it with intellectual honesty. Giving kids songs with lyrics largely by Marson and letting them think or teaching them that these were folk songs passed down through the ages strikes me as intellectually dishonest.

Marson seems to have been an interesting character in his own right.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 09 Feb 20 - 06:50 AM

Jack: That last post is a gem.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 09 Feb 20 - 07:06 AM

What do the songs tell us about the people? Well, let's start with what Gerould said. Harker, as it happens, uses a passage that I had noted down when reading Gerould for myself. This is Gerould's view of 'the folk' based on his reading of the songs:

there is frequently displayed an insensitiveness to suffering that appals nerves more finely drawn, an impassivity in the face of life's worst outrages that reveals the equilibrium of a childlike and healthy race. Vices and virtues, in so far as they motivate ballad stories, are the vices and virtues of rather primitive folk; the strong sensations that animate them are what would be needed to move their simple hearts.

For me, it's the 'equilibrium of a childlike and healthy race' that cries out to be unpicked here.

Further, the whole thing seems to be an example of Jack a Nory. This terms comes from a nursery song I learned as a child (not doubt as a result of some mediator packaging it up in a book for sale to conscientious parents):

I'll tell you the story
Of Jack a Nory,
And now my story's begun;
I'll tell you another
Of Jack and his brother,
And now my story is done

It was later used as the title of a BBC TV children's story programme.

I'm also a bit confused: are we supposed to regard the mediators with reverence as giants upon whose shoulders we tread, or as fools trying to catch fog in a bottle?


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 09 Feb 20 - 07:09 AM

Somebody asked what I meant by Jackanory. So I answered that eventually.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 09 Feb 20 - 08:16 AM

'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?' Jack.

The project did go ahead. It was Sharpe and Laing who saw Buchan's 1828 ms/proof through the press. They professed to have edited it but all this amounted to was anglicising some of Buchan's inconsistent Scoticisms.

Presumably Harker got his potted bio of PB from Walker's detailed biography, of which both Jim and I have copies.

I don't think Child outright uses the words 'unscrupulous faker' in ESPB, but I could check. More probably in his correspondence somewhere, but it might take me a while to find it.

Pseu, if you let me have your email address I can easily scan the rest of the index and send you it. My email address is in lots of places all over the internet but it starts with gardhams and ends with hotmaildotcom.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jack Campin
Date: 09 Feb 20 - 08:45 AM

Sharpe was totally intolerant of mythologizing bollocks (privately he thought Scott was a pompous twat). It would have taken some pretty good fakery to get past him.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 09 Feb 20 - 08:55 AM

The sheer volume of material Buchan produced would have daunted even him. How sure are you he wasn't part of the plot? You need to look at at least a number of ballads in detail and do some serious number-crunching to be aware of the extent of Buchan's creative capabilities, but the easy one is that most of Buchan's ballads are at least half as long again as anyone else's and they are 'eked out' with Child's 'nauseous repetition' overdoing the incremental repetition that is naturally found in the ballads, and overdoing the commonplaces, and adding in completely fresh material found in no other versions. Scott did this of course, but nowhere near to the extent Buchan did it.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 09 Feb 20 - 09:05 AM

Jim said
> Then why use terms like "fake" and "dishonesty", and why imply that they did what they did for money (there's little solid evidence for any of these accusations here)
If these people did what they did for the reasons you and others suggest, why isn't Purslow guilty of the same things ?<

Pseud has already pointed out the difference between mediation (which can take many forms for many reasons, good or bad, money being one of them) and 'fakery' or 'dishonesty'.
> The term 'mediation' is not synonymous with 'fakery' or 'dishonesty'. There is no contradiction between opposing 'fakes' and accepting mediation.<

As for Purslow: here is the beginning of his Foreword to The Constant Lovers (the only one of the series of which I have the original edition rather than the revised edition):

> Like its predecessors - "Marrowbones" and "The Wanton Seed" - this is essentially a book of songs to sing; accordingly I have presented them in as complete a form as possible. A great many of the texts could not be given exactly as the singers sang them as they were incomplete to some degree and, in one or two cases, almost incomprehensible; neverthless, I have endeavoured to retain everything I could of what was noted down from the singers.<

That is clear as crystal. Purslow mediated. He explained his mediation (though not the details of which bits of text came from where, thus giving the editors of the new editions a lot of work). He did not fake. Whereas some earlier editors did fake, though we may never know how much of any given ballad was fake and how much was genuine.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 09 Feb 20 - 09:14 AM

Thanks, Steve, on several counts. You are very kind!

You have clarified something that Harker didn't make clear, or at least I didn't find it clear and I did read it through a couple of times. So a thumbsdown for Harker for me on that.

Here's where I found the quotation about Child and Buchan:

https://muse.jhu.edu/chapter/288234/pdf

Fourth line down? Not sure about the authors' p of v; they refer to Child as a 'Godhead'.

But it's in the cannot afford to get at just now category of online resource. :(


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