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Dave Harker, Fakesong

Steve Gardham 17 Jan 20 - 06:23 PM
GUEST,Derek Schofield 17 Jan 20 - 05:57 PM
Steve Gardham 17 Jan 20 - 05:42 PM
Steve Gardham 17 Jan 20 - 04:43 PM
Brian Peters 17 Jan 20 - 04:40 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 17 Jan 20 - 04:39 PM
Steve Gardham 17 Jan 20 - 03:56 PM
Steve Gardham 17 Jan 20 - 03:48 PM
Steve Gardham 17 Jan 20 - 03:46 PM
Steve Gardham 17 Jan 20 - 03:41 PM
Brian Peters 17 Jan 20 - 01:10 PM
Brian Peters 17 Jan 20 - 01:09 PM
GUEST,HiLo 17 Jan 20 - 01:03 PM
Brian Peters 17 Jan 20 - 01:01 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 17 Jan 20 - 12:30 PM
Steve Gardham 17 Jan 20 - 12:06 PM
Brian Peters 17 Jan 20 - 10:17 AM
Vic Smith 17 Jan 20 - 10:01 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 17 Jan 20 - 08:38 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 17 Jan 20 - 08:34 AM
GUEST,jag 17 Jan 20 - 08:28 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 16 Jan 20 - 08:20 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 16 Jan 20 - 07:08 PM
GUEST 16 Jan 20 - 04:08 PM
Lighter 16 Jan 20 - 03:45 PM
Steve Gardham 16 Jan 20 - 03:21 PM
Steve Gardham 16 Jan 20 - 03:03 PM
Steve Gardham 16 Jan 20 - 02:52 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 16 Jan 20 - 02:35 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 16 Jan 20 - 02:22 PM
GUEST,jag 16 Jan 20 - 02:19 PM
GUEST,Modette 16 Jan 20 - 01:53 PM
GUEST,jag 16 Jan 20 - 01:40 PM
GUEST,Modette 16 Jan 20 - 01:01 PM
GUEST,jag 16 Jan 20 - 10:43 AM
GUEST,jag 16 Jan 20 - 10:41 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 16 Jan 20 - 09:27 AM
GUEST,Peter Laban 16 Jan 20 - 09:03 AM
GUEST,John Moulden 16 Jan 20 - 08:51 AM
Lighter 16 Jan 20 - 08:49 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 16 Jan 20 - 04:50 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 16 Jan 20 - 04:24 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 16 Jan 20 - 04:20 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 16 Jan 20 - 04:19 AM
Karen Impola 15 Jan 20 - 11:12 PM
RTim 15 Jan 20 - 10:44 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 15 Jan 20 - 08:12 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 15 Jan 20 - 07:03 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 15 Jan 20 - 07:01 PM
Steve Gardham 15 Jan 20 - 06:40 PM
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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 17 Jan 20 - 06:23 PM

Welcome to the discussion, Derek. Do stay!


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Derek Schofield
Date: 17 Jan 20 - 05:57 PM

Even if Sharp did not have his own copy of Child prior to 1916, I am sure he would have consulted a copy in the BM, as he was a visitor there to consult copies of Playford, for example. Or perhaps he just needed to consult a copy of Child in the USA as his own copy was in UK. Is his own copy still in VWML?
Regarding Wagner, Karpeles writes, in the biography, that he was almost as enthusiastic about mathematics as about Wagner, while at Cambridge (p. 6), and "as with most young musicians of his day, Wagner was his god." (p. 13),this was 1892. He quoted Wagner in love letters to his intended wife, Constance, (p. 16). Daughter Dorothea's third given name was Iseult and son's second name was Tristan, (p. 18). Methinks Sharp was something of a fan of Wagner!
Derek


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 17 Jan 20 - 05:42 PM

Jon will probably fill in any gaps.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 17 Jan 20 - 04:43 PM

Brian
Regarding who started or continued the process of prioritising the Child Ballads and indeed the triple section layout, it looks from what I can see is Sharp and Campbell started it off. The next I have is the great Louise Pound (American Songs and Ballads) who probably started off the tripling. (Child ballads first in number order, then other British ballads, then native American ballads). Then comes Cox (Folk Songs of the South) in 1924 emulating Pound, Mackenzie in 1928, and Davis in 1929.
I haven't got any of the Barry/Eckstorm Maine books, 1927 & 29, but I bet they have the same system.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Brian Peters
Date: 17 Jan 20 - 04:40 PM

Good work, Steve.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 17 Jan 20 - 04:39 PM

The bit Sharp wrote about Wagner that I was thinking about is indeed when he comments that German Art music was based on German folk music, and as Brian said, he was discussing national musics and stating that English music was dominated by foreign influences. The point about the Nazis was just me risking thread drift be reporting personal associations. I wasn't thinking that was in Sharp's mind.

Obviously I agree with what HiLo just said.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 17 Jan 20 - 03:56 PM

When The Folk Song society started up in 1899 there was no mention of Child right up to the 4th volume (1902) and 6 Child ballads had been published in the first 3 volumes. However in the fourth there are 3 Child ballads and Lucy Broadwood in her notes quotes Child in all of them. Kidson also contributes to the notes without a mention of Child. However, to be fair, he was largely a musical historian, not a ballad scholar. Baring Gould was not an active member at that point but his work is referred to. Of course his 'Songs of the West' 1891 has numerous mentions of Child as from just prior to that he was corresponding with Child.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 17 Jan 20 - 03:48 PM

Broadwood's English County Songs of 1893 does very briefly mention Child in the notes to 4 of the 11 Child ballads she includes. 'see Child's headnotes to....'


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 17 Jan 20 - 03:46 PM

However in later parts Child did include Kidson's versions. later in TT Kidson gave a version of Child 283 the Crafty Farmer which Child included but this is an exemplar broadside piece from the late 18th century anyway. Kidson does refer to most of Child's well-known sources in his notes, Percy, Herd, Scott, Motherwell, Kinloch, Buchan, Hogg, Chappell, Chambers, Dixon, etc.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 17 Jan 20 - 03:41 PM

Just lost a pile of responses because the Cat went down again so I'll post stuff in small bites in case it disappears again.

Thought I'd start with Kidson and Broadwood as they predate the FSS.

Kidson's Traditional Tunes 1891 was published just after Child had published part 7 in 1890. Kidson started of TT with 11 Child ballads but no Child Ballad order and no references to Child whatsoever in the book. child started publishing in 10 parts in 1882.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Brian Peters
Date: 17 Jan 20 - 01:10 PM

And, while we're all patting each other on the back, can I just say that John Moulden's "You might as well have asked Galileo if he could forgive the Babylonians" is one of the pithiest contributions to this thread.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Brian Peters
Date: 17 Jan 20 - 01:09 PM

Going back to Wagner, the whole point of Sharp's plan that folk song might be the basis for a new English muse (see also RVW etc), was to counter German hegemony over art music. By the time of WW1 Sharp had developed quite an antipathy towards Germany, that wasn't improved when his son got wounded in battle. I think the thought progression Sharp - Wagner - Nazis can be safely discounted.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,HiLo
Date: 17 Jan 20 - 01:03 PM

I have really been enjoying this thread, especially since the bickering stopped. I have learned a great deal about Harker, I knew little of him until now. It is so refreshing to have these conversations without rancor.
I too agree with what Vic said, however it is not "guests who are the problem..it is often the ones whose names we know all too well that are the problem. I have refused to join Mudcat because of them.
    Yeah, but the idea is that we're going to keep this thread on topic, and not discuss the recent rancor. I had to delete a number of messages about the "unpleasantness" from this thread. Please, let's forget about that. This is an interesting topic.
    -Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Brian Peters
Date: 17 Jan 20 - 01:01 PM

Ah, stop press...

Sharp does make several references to Child in 'Some Conclusions', such as:

'The extent and character of these variations may be studied with profit in the late Professor Child's English and Scottish Popular Ballads, where many of the ballads, which have in recent years
been collected in Great Britain, may be seen and compared with their European analogues. Indeed, as Mr. Andrew Lang has remarked: "It is unnecessary to indicate more than one authority on the subject of ballads. Professor Child of Harvard, has collected all known ballads, with all accessible variants, and has illustrated them with an extraordinary wealth of knowledge of many literatures.'

I'm afraid I don't have many early American folk song books on my shelves, so I can't say who was the first to adopt the 'Child and Other' ordering. I have Belden's 1912 review of the literature, but most of the collectors were publishing in JAF at the time, as far as I can see, and I'm not sure when the first books appeared. Wilgus would tell us, but I don't have that, and I know that Wyman and Brockway's Kentucky collection didn't place Child at the front. Is it even possible that Sharp and Campbell were the first to adopt the practice?


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 17 Jan 20 - 12:30 PM

This is an interesting thread;glad I revived it. Still ploughing through the text! The think with Wagner in my head goes Wagner, Nietzsche, The Superman, Nazis, unfortunately. Wagner went back to old Germanic myths to create his ring cycle so got linked to the worst sort of nationalism. So thanks Brian for your take on this.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 17 Jan 20 - 12:06 PM

Brian,
If no-one else is offering I can easily check the Journals for the first mentions of Child. In fact I'd enjoy that. I can not possibly conceive of anyone in this country connected with folksong from 1888 onwards not being familiar with the Child Ballads. Baring Gould certainly was as he was sending material to Child and asking for copies as they appeared, in return for his contributions. What I do find strange is they seem not to have been given any extra status over the broadside ballads until Sharp went to America.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Brian Peters
Date: 17 Jan 20 - 10:17 AM

Well said, Vic.

Mea nwhile, I’ve become interested by the question raised above, regarding of the influence of Child on Cecil Sharp...

Sharp was on the hunt for a set of Child Ballads during his first Appalachian collecting trip in 1916, and acquired a set in October with the assistance of John C. Campbell. I have a copy of a letter held in the University of North Carolina in which JC writes to a colleague asking him to source a full set of ten volumes of ESPB, for which Sharp would be willing to pay $100 – for interest, Campbell mentions that the set was had a print run of 1000 and sold originally for $50. However, even before this set arrived, Sharp was expressing great excitement in his letters and diaries about finding Child Ballads in the mountains; when he first heard Child 3 in September 1916 he mentioned in a letter to his wife that Child had only a single version - from Motherwell – but that he had now found one with a tune: “A great prize”. So clearly he was familiar with ESPB before receiving his own copy. During his first trip in 1916 he took the trouble to compile a list of 26 Child Ballads noted up to that point, and by 1917 he recorded that he’d found 42.

As Steve said, ‘English Folk Songs from the Southern Appalachians’ was the first of Sharp’s books to place the Child Ballads in numerical order at the front, but ‘One Hundred English Folksongs’ did have a first section of 29 ‘Ballads’, in which all but four (‘Bruton Town’, ‘Duke of Bedford’, ‘Death and the Lady’, and ‘The Trees They Do Grow High’, plus arguably ‘Lowlands of Holland’) were in Child, although there was no attempt to order them as per ESPB. So, either Sharp was familiar with ESPB but decided that these others merited promotion to ballad status, or he drew up his own list that corresponded largely to Child’s judgements. 100EFS was published in 1916, but presumably Sharp edited it before then. He met and corresponded with Olive Dame Campbell in 1915, and she may well have discussed with him the Child Ballads in her own collection, but I’d have thought he’d have known about ESPB before then – it would be interesting to search FSJ articles in this period to find out whether English collectors were discussing Child. At any rate there’s no doubt that Sharp was considerably influenced by him in his later collecting.

As for Wagner, Sharp mentions in EFSC that he’s read Wagner, and cites him to support the idea that German art music drew on folk material. Sharp had, after all, conducted in and lectured on classical music in his early career, so it’s not surprising he’d have come across Wagner’s writings. Atkinson’s linkage of Sharp and Wagner concerns an early lecture by Sharp (1905) in which he propounds ideas about communal composition in a pre-literate, pre-medieval populace (he later revised these ideas), which Atkinson believes were probably borrowed from Wagner rather than Child’s – very similar – ideas.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Vic Smith
Date: 17 Jan 20 - 10:01 AM

John Moulden wrote:-
I see no point in discussion which is not conducted politely, and more than politely; that is, without an assumption that everybody has a political or monetary gain in mind. The only point is that we should, between us, arrive at an understanding of what traditional song is about, its worth to people, and how people used it. This is knowledge and empowers us to sing better and to be a better support for those who do. I reject arid scholarship or conversation that speaks in terms that would not be understood by those who sang these songs. It is an insult to speak so. However, this is not a criticism but an observation and a description of what I try to do.

<><><><><><><><><><><><><>

I wish it could be understood that the point of discussion is not to win an argument but to reach understanding and to be grateful to all those who contribute.


I cannot stress strongly enough how important I find these words from John Moulden.
In another of my activities, I am one member of nine in a monthly book group. Each of us choose a book for all to read and we discuss that book at a subsequent meeting. A very wide range of fiction, non-fiction, biography, classics, books on a variety of specialised subjects are chosen. Everyone is given a chance to give their opinion of the set book followed by a group discussion then in the second hour each of us introduces a book that we have enjoyed in the last month; a lot of borrowing and lending goes on.
Sometimes there is broad agreement but some heated but healthy discussion takes place where there is disagreement, but no-one has ever suggested that another member's views are not valid or worthwhile. No-one would ever consider leaving the group because they cannot get the rest of us to agree with them. Members often express the view that the range of opinons is stimulating and has helped to broaden their understanding of the book we have all read.
This civility may be because we are all in the living rooms of members - we take it in turn - and not making points with others who we will likely never meet. None of us is able to hide behind a nickname and there are no anonymous GUEST posters.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 17 Jan 20 - 08:38 AM

@ Jag. Will do. Cheers.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 17 Jan 20 - 08:34 AM

I'm sharing an overview of the contents of Harker's book, in case Mudcat readers who have not read it look at this thread and wonder. Also because I think we are in danger of discussing some of the people Harker discusses, not the book itself. Some have their own threads.

So what is the book about?


A Title.   People have objected to the title, especially the word ‘manufacture’. It might help us get a handle on what the book is about (e.g. for Mudcat readers who haven’t read it and come here hoping for information) to consider less charged alternative titles. Is it fair to say it is ‘A Critical Historical Review of What Has Been Written About and Offered As Examples of British ‘Folksong’ from 1700 to the Present Day?’ The present day being 1985.

B Contents and their arrangement. I’ll attempt a simple outline. Apologies for any oversimplification. As said before, largely chronological.

Introduction: includes discussion of the concept of ‘mediation’. This concept highlights the fact that this is a largely book about people who are not ‘working class’ making assertions about working class culture (eg ‘folklore’). Put simply, Harker doesn’t think they get it right. And he thinks some of their mistakes reflect the class interests of the bourgeoisie (e.g. a desire for national unity/national identity instead of a workers’ revolution).

PART ONE: Two Centuries Before Child (roughly 1780 to 1860) Focus on UK.
1 Early mediators
2 Thomas Percy to Joseph Ritson
3 Walter Scott to Robert Chambers
4 Thomas Wright to John Harland

PART TWO: FJ Child and the Ballad ‘consensus’ (Focus mainly on US-based work)

5 FJ Child. Biography and discussion of his ‘editions’ of selections of ballads with commentaries etc
Discusses problems Child faced sorting out and categorising the mass of what I’ll call ‘raw data’ he had assembled and selecting what to publish and what to leave out.
6 The ‘Ballad Consensus’

PART THREE: CJ Sharp and the Folksong ‘consensus’. (Focus mainly on UK-based work)

7 Some pre-Sharp characters including Engel and his ‘national music’; the late 19th C early 20th C collectors e.g. Broadwood, Baring-Gould, Kidson. Formation of Folk Song Society 1898
8 Sharp himself: biography, career, ideas about folk song and its origins etc
9 The folksong consensus
10 Alfred Owen Williams and the Upper Thames
11 AL Lloyd: the one that got away


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 17 Jan 20 - 08:28 AM

@Pseudonymous. Try "forgery"


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 16 Jan 20 - 08:20 PM

Just out of interest I searched Harker for the word 'fraud'. He uses it once in connection with a reform (fair enough). In connection with folklore, he uses it when he discusses an 18th century scholar and antiquarian Ritson. He praises Ritson for seeking to sort out authentic material as opposed to the less authentic material offered by Percy and a number of people who seem to have published material Ritson regarded as less scholarly and authentic. So concerns about authenticity fo back to the 18th century. Of course somebody may know more about Ritson than I do and may say Harker was wrong about him and about Percy.

Similarly I searched for the word 'greed' and did not find it anywhere.

Polemic Harker may be but not quite that crude? Asking here, not asserting.

No bathing babies were harmed in the making of this posting.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 16 Jan 20 - 07:08 PM

More thread drift, but taking up the topic with Lighter once more: the very term 'literature' has shifted in meaning. My understanding is that in Elizabethan times the word would indicate anything written, more or less. This broader sense survives in some usages today: we might read of 'marketing literature' for example. It took a while to acquire the modern, perhaps rather elitist sense of 'literature' - as opposed to, say, 'pulp fiction'. But for me, much of this is in the eye of the beholder anyway.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST
Date: 16 Jan 20 - 04:08 PM

Hey what's going on? Numerous recent posts are all more or less agreeing with each other, and I find myself agreeing with them too.

If we didn't love the ballads and the other songs (or some of them anyway) we wouldn't be here discussing them, although our interests may very well focus on different aspects: listening to them, singing them ourselves, discussing the stories or researching and discussing the origins.

Happy birthday, John, from me too, what's left of the day.

Is your paper about the Hugh McWilliams book available anywhere?

[Richard Mellish] (added by mudelf)


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Lighter
Date: 16 Jan 20 - 03:45 PM

Happy birthday, John.

It's not "arid research" that's my bane, it's "arid writing."


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 16 Jan 20 - 03:21 PM

I know Child got a lot of the info on the continental analogies from Grundtvig but I find it difficult to conceive the amount of work that went into compiling all of that information, and how many of us actually use it? I dip into it for the odd ballad occasionally as I have an interest in the Danish ballads, but some of it is so involved and detailed.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 16 Jan 20 - 03:03 PM

Child was obliged, as someone without a private income, to take on all sorts of teaching jobs, both at Harvard and in other universities. He had well-heeled friends like Lowell, but in order to support his family and his expensive hobby he needed to work very hard. If I remember correctly he had a budget in the library and a lot of the manuscripts and books he needed were acquired in this way, but even this was restricted so that he had to be careful how much he paid for manuscripts from Scotland. He never saw the second Peter Buchan manuscript as it was bought for the library after he died. I think he did see the Buchan manuscript in the BL but it is actually just a proof for the 2 volumes and adds very little to those in the way of ballads.

Karen, I thought they were actually released in 10 parts at first and then bound up in the 5 volumes later, but I could be wrong.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 16 Jan 20 - 02:52 PM

Hi John
Happy birthday.
I also wake up in a morning thankful I'm still here and I'm only 72.
Couldn't agree more with your second paragraph and your response to Dave. I also believe all of the people in discussion here would say amen to that.

I also agree with Pseu's point that one person's arid is another's delight, and further we shouldn't be too ready to criticise others' preferences.

I sing almost all traditional songs and many of them have come direct from the source singers, some in my own family.

Pseu, you mention online articles by Fowler. Could you flag them up for me, please?


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 16 Jan 20 - 02:35 PM

Sorry, forgot to say I had a few weeks ago found John Moulden's PhD work on ballad and pamphlet sellers online and read (or at least skim-read) it and very much enjoyed it. I think I have mentioned it on Mudcat. So now's the time to say I did not find it 'arid' but enjoyable.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 16 Jan 20 - 02:22 PM

So first of all, thank you to John Moulden for his contribution.

Believe it or not, I heartily agree with the final sentence, though I may not always practise what I preach.

I'm sure John Moulden will agree that the term 'arid' has negative connotations. I cannot disagree with what he has said about 'arid' research since almost by definition nobody would enjoy it. But one person's arid research is another person's oasis of delight. Not only that, but my own experience suggests that interests come, and go, and return over time.

Regarding the idea that one should not speak about traditional singers except in terms which they would understand, I respect that point of view, and that choice, but disagree that to do otherwise is 'insulting'. This is the second time I have come across this idea recently. I cannot quite see how one can describe a practice as 'insulting' without intending the word as a criticism, but perhaps that is my problem.

I'm not sure whether John's first paragraph is intended to relate to Harker's book, and again, perhaps the fault here is on my part. However, on the basis of my reading so far, one of the criticisms that Harker makes time and time again is precisely that the 'mediators' he discusses to presume to have knowledge of what ballads (Child) and folk (most of the rest) meant to their originators, when, that is, they accept the idea that folk songs had individual creators, which not all of them did. To that extent, perhaps there is some common ground between John and Harker. Moreover, on the basis of a view that the only thing to do with folk songs is to learn how to support traditional singers and to learn from them how to sing, a characterisation of Child and so on as the giants upon whose shoulders the rest stand would seem to me, with respect, to be misplaced, as their aims do not seem to me to have been in line with the recommended 'point'.

I hope you have a lovely day. Thank you again for sharing your view and your story about Harker.

@ Modette: Harker uses the term 'masculinist' several times.   

I have noticed that Harker criticises Lloyd's romantic image comparing folk songs to pebbles worn smooth by the action of the sea as 'Sharpean'. I haven't checked back with Lloyd yet, but as the image seems reasonably clearly to be taken from Sharp's 'some conclusions' folk song book, I hope Lloyd acknowledged its source. Harker doesn't pick up on the extent to which this is a more or less an unacknowledged quotation (albeit maybe unconscious) though he does pick Lloyd up on this elsewhere, I think. I am realising that one advantage of PDF versions of books is that you can search for words like 'pebble' within them very quickly.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 16 Jan 20 - 02:19 PM

"They might" is commonly used to introduce an example.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Modette
Date: 16 Jan 20 - 01:53 PM

No, it doesn't, jag. They'd still all be Freds!


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 16 Jan 20 - 01:40 PM

Sorry, should have put "They might" not "He would". The rest still works.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Modette
Date: 16 Jan 20 - 01:01 PM

You know, jag, that women may have written a fair few of those songs (and none of them would have been called 'Fred').


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 16 Jan 20 - 10:43 AM

If he did really well he might, for Harker, be 'Fred the bourgois'

200


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 16 Jan 20 - 10:41 AM

The 'ordinary person' in the village who wrote ballads would not be remembered as an 'ordinary person'. He would be "Fred the poet" or "Fred the minstrel". If times were hard he may have been 'Fred the market busker' or sunk to being 'Fred the ballad seller'. Or maybe he helped out with rural literacy as 'Fred the teacher'. In many people's categorisation he would no longer be one of 'the folk'.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 16 Jan 20 - 09:27 AM

Yes Lighter:

I have referred to the Encyclopedia article before. I was told in no uncertain terms that it misrepresents Child's point of view. Allusion was made to other pieces by him stating a quite different view that it was the lower classes or 'ordinary people' who produced ballads, but no references were provided. I would be happy to read these if they were available.

Yes, Lighter. I agree on Eng Lit as a uni subject. My understanding is that there was work on 'aesthetics' of sorts in classical times. The bits I know a little about are from Aristotle: catharsis etc.

But a lot of modern 'aesthetics' seems to come from the Romantic period?

Sorry we are drifting off topic.

None of the above, is, of course, designed to do any damage to bathing babies or to constitute blasphemy.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 16 Jan 20 - 09:03 AM

Thumbs up for that post John. And Happy Birthday.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,John Moulden
Date: 16 Jan 20 - 08:51 AM

I haven't died, and it is my 79th birthday, but I haven't posted at all of late and the reason is obvious. I see no point in discussion which is not conducted politely, and more than politely; that is, without an assumption that everybody has a political or monetary gain in mind. The only point is that we should, between us, arrive at an understanding of what traditional song is about, its worth to people, and how people used it. This is knowledge and empowers us to sing better and to be a better support for those who do. I reject arid scholarship or conversation that speaks in terms that would not be understood by those who sang these songs. It is an insult to speak so. However, this is not a criticism but an observation and a description of what I try to do.

I met Dave Harker once, at a one day conference in Sheffield organised by Ian Russell and others. I gave a brief paper on my discovery that a little book, "Songs and Poems on Various Subjects by Hugh McWilliams, Schoolmaster" published in 1831, contained texts of a range of songs known in tradition - including "When a man's in love" and "The trip over the mountain" and how I justified my conclusion, by analysing textual variations, that Hugh McWilliams was their originator. Obviously I pointed out that this disturbed the notion that 'folk' songs were necessarily anonymous and old which my generation had derived from the opinions and writings of our predecessors. Dave asked me was I not angry that earlier commentators had so misled me. My response was that I was glad that they had done the work, that no matter how distorted their thinking or their snapshot of the singing tradition, it still provided starting points, that we would be poorer without it, indeed without it little would have survived, in pure or distorted form.
You might as well have asked Galileo if he could forgive the Babylonians. They could only understand from the standpoint of their own world view, from the stage that their science had reached. However, their stooped, even distorted shoulders were there to be stood upon.

I wish it could be understood that the point of discussion is not to win an argument but to reach understanding and to be grateful to all those who contribute.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Lighter
Date: 16 Jan 20 - 08:49 AM

Not until the 20th century was "English literature" (still less "American"!) thought to be a subject worthy of university study.

Classical and Medieval literature (in the source languages, of course) the chief topics of philological interest. The Pepys and Roxburgh broadsides , for example, were scrutinized and published (and referred to) by only a small number of people with antiquarian interests. They were generally thought to be worthless as literature.

"Literary theory" as an academic discipline with contending aesthetic and sociological positions did not exist. Intellectual belief was that whatever was of value in literature written in Modern English was readily accessible to any intelligent reader.

Aesthetics was a matter of established taste that had been formed by the rigorous study of Homer, Vergil, Cicero, and other Classical figures. In the academic world, the free verse of Whitman, for example, was widely regarded as doggerel.

Seen in that intellectual context, Child's decision to devote much of his career to the cross-cultural literary study of ESPB was arguably unique and obviously trail-blazing. (It is certainly possible that he was drawn to the subject partly because of his own working-class origins.)

As a reminder to Mudcat: Child wrote a substantial article expressing much of his mid-career thinking about the ballads, which appeared (as "Ballad Poetry") in Johnson's New Universal Cyclopaedia in 1874.

It's too bad he didn't update it for his five-volume collection.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 16 Jan 20 - 04:50 AM

@ Karen Impola

I was once told on MUDCAT I was talking nonsense for saying this, but among the other subjects Child taught at Harvard (possibly before it became a University) was history. If you look, for example, at his lengthy commentary in volume 5 about Sir Andrew Barton you will see evidence of this.

I did not realise till I read Harker that he was also involved with the library at Harvard. How far this helps to explain his motives for and success getting his hands on British manuscripts I do not know. I did think that today such artefacts might not be allowed to be sold out of the country so easily. But times change!

None of this of course is designed to do any damage to bathing babies or to constitute blasphemy.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 16 Jan 20 - 04:24 AM

The county library service just rang to say they have in the copy of Harker that they obtained for me via the inter=library loan service (cost 50 pence). So no more squinting at Harker on-screen for a while.

They have obtained a number of expensive things for me, including works by Sharp/Karpeles. Worth a try rather than paying for expensive books, though they cannot get everything as some Universities won't lend books to public libraries.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 16 Jan 20 - 04:20 AM

Apologies for thread drift.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 16 Jan 20 - 04:19 AM

If I may return to take up a point made about Child by Steve and also previously by other posters: "the only slight prejudice I can detect is that, as a Professor of Eng Lit". I think this may be slightly, and from my perspective, perhaps importantly wrong.

As usual I would be happy to be corrected if wrong, but I have done a quick check. From 1851 Child was Boynton professor of rhetoric, oratory and elocution, and from 1876 he was professor of English (not English Literature). He worked within a 'philological' tradition. This approach is a bit out of date, but is more like being interested in English Language than in English Literature. Nowadays the sort of work he did might be described as historical linguistics (See Britannica on philology).

He wrote about Chaucer, focussing on deducing from Chaucer facts about the grammar of Chaucer's time, and his results have been much improved upon since then; it is now realised that Chaucer's dialect was just one among many at that time. He did not discuss themes, characters, use and effect of rhyming structures etc.

He edited or arranged for editions to be produced of various works of English Literature, partly because the Americans wanted to study them but did not have editions. So when these works survived in partial or multiple and differing versions (as indeed does a lot of Shakespeare) the editor would decide which version to treat as the main one. The edition might include notes indicating why certain wordings had been chosen, and perhaps some historical notes to aid the reader.

He was not the sort of Eng Lit critic who made aesthetic judgments about works of literature based for example on a study of structure, form, language, imagery, character and theme.

I have read a number of suggestions that some of his criteria for selecting and rejecting ballads were 'aesthetic' but for me to argue that he had expertise in 'aesthetics' or 'Literary appreciation' on the basis of his academic career doesn't square with the facts.

There have been all sorts of literary critics, and a recent fashion for using literary theory and differing perspectives (eg Marx, Freud, Post Colonialism, various post-modern approaches) in the study of literature. I imagine that some folkies would tear their hair out if people attempted any such thing with folk music. In fact, I think I've been on the receiving end of it at times.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Karen Impola
Date: 15 Jan 20 - 11:12 PM

Wikipedia says, "The Child Ballads were published in five volumes between 1882 and 1898."

I don't know exactly when all these other people were collecting, but I just thought I'd throw that in there.

(Wikipedia also cleared up my misconception that Child must have been British, so what do I know? I do know that I'm learning a lot from this thread, and this site in general.)


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: RTim
Date: 15 Jan 20 - 10:44 PM

I believe I am right in saying that the first printing of Child Vol. 1 was not until 1904.. so unless the early collectors were really aware of Child - why would they reference him.......

Tim Radford


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 15 Jan 20 - 08:12 PM

The other piece I have read is one by David Gregory, mentioned already on Mudcat. I have enjoyed several pieces by this writer and found he had a lot of sensible remarks on Harker, including weighing the pros and cons. No more from me here until I've read the whole of Harker. NB I can hear the sighs of relief!


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 15 Jan 20 - 07:03 PM

"obvious Godlike qualities" :)


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 15 Jan 20 - 07:01 PM

Obviously I'll be reading Boyce soon, but whether I'll be discussing it online I don't know. I have read some Bearman, which is why it makes sense to look at Harker! 'Base over apex' I know.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 15 Jan 20 - 06:40 PM

I still don't know why, perhaps someone can hazard a guess, that the only person out of the early English collectors to take an interest in Child Ballads specifically was Baring Gould who corresponded with Child
(I have copies of the letters). Any Child Ballads collected by any of them were simply accorded the same status as all other ballads collected and given no prominence. Sharp, Gilchrist and Kidson were well aware of the Child Ballads but made little use of Child's expertise. It wasn't until Sharp published the Appalachian songs that he started to prioritise Child ballads and the system of placing the Child ballads first in order of number as in EFSFSA was then followed by all of the American university collections for the next 60 years. The Child Ballads are rarely given any sort of prominence in the early journals of the Society.


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