mudcat.org: Dave Harker, Fakesong
Lyrics & Knowledge Personal Pages Record Shop Auction Links Radio & Media Kids Membership Help
The Mudcat Cafeawe

Post to this Thread - Printer Friendly - Home
Page: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11] [12] [13] [14] [15] [16] [17] [18] [19] [20]


Dave Harker, Fakesong

Steve Gardham 11 Aug 15 - 01:32 PM
GUEST,matt milton 11 Aug 15 - 04:54 AM
GUEST,Chris Wright 11 Aug 15 - 12:57 AM
MGM·Lion 11 Aug 15 - 12:42 AM
GUEST,Chris Wright 11 Aug 15 - 12:18 AM
GUEST 10 Aug 15 - 06:48 PM
Phil Edwards 10 Aug 15 - 06:06 PM
Steve Gardham 10 Aug 15 - 05:28 PM
oggie 10 Aug 15 - 05:12 PM
Steve Gardham 10 Aug 15 - 04:55 PM
Will Fly 10 Aug 15 - 03:01 PM
The Sandman 10 Aug 15 - 02:33 PM
GUEST,surreysinger sans cookie 10 Aug 15 - 01:27 PM
Jack Campin 10 Aug 15 - 01:25 PM
The Sandman 10 Aug 15 - 01:11 PM
MGM·Lion 10 Aug 15 - 11:35 AM
Jack Campin 10 Aug 15 - 11:23 AM
Les in Chorlton 10 Aug 15 - 11:15 AM
Will Fly 10 Aug 15 - 09:12 AM
Phil Edwards 10 Aug 15 - 09:01 AM
Will Fly 10 Aug 15 - 08:48 AM
Will Fly 10 Aug 15 - 08:44 AM
GUEST,Lighter 10 Aug 15 - 07:39 AM
Phil Edwards 10 Aug 15 - 07:27 AM
GUEST,matt milton 10 Aug 15 - 07:03 AM
MGM·Lion 10 Aug 15 - 06:50 AM
Phil Edwards 10 Aug 15 - 06:35 AM
Jack Blandiver 10 Aug 15 - 06:28 AM
Dave Hanson 10 Aug 15 - 06:19 AM
Will Fly 10 Aug 15 - 06:16 AM
Phil Edwards 10 Aug 15 - 05:57 AM
Share Thread
more
Lyrics & Knowledge Search [Advanced]
DT  Forum
Sort (Forum) by:relevance date
DT Lyrics:






Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 11 Aug 15 - 01:32 PM

AS I wrote earlier mediating the material for publication over the centuries has been done for different reasons and in different ways so we have to be careful when condemning that we treat the perpetrators in the spirit of their own times and take into consideration their reasons.

One of the big factors was they were preparing the material to be accepted by a discerning literary/musical audience and for various reasons the material couldn't be presented as found. However there is a big difference between this and claiming the mediated material was printed exactly as it came from the memories of the sources when patently this is a deception.

In Sharp's case we have no problems with his bowdlerisation. He had little choice and his manuscripts appear to contain the genuine article. The problem here is his romanticising of the material leading people to believe the material originated amongst the peasantry of Merrie Englande when this is patently not the case.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 11 Aug 15 - 04:54 AM

"did the early collectors transmit the pure and authentic voice of the people?", the answer obviously being No.
Because nobody can do the impossible.
Taken together, however, and with special emphasis on 20th century collecting and recording as a control, they seem overall to have done a pretty good job - partly because the worst fakery is usually obvious (because so sophisticated) and, in a few cases like that of Baring-Gould, the fakers were proud of their work."

That's a good summing-up, GUEST. One of my frustrations with The Imagined Village (not having read Fakesong) is how little engagement there is WITH THE SONGS THEMSELVES. I can't actually remember there being any at all. It seems truly bizarre that anybody would write at length on this subject, yet not engage with the CONTENT. The words.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Chris Wright
Date: 11 Aug 15 - 12:57 AM

Thanks, Michael.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 11 Aug 15 - 12:42 AM

Thank you, Chris. As first to respond, you shall have precedence.

≈M≈


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Chris Wright
Date: 11 Aug 15 - 12:18 AM

Michael - I've put a letter in the post to you today.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Aug 15 - 06:48 PM

> "did the early collectors transmit the pure and authentic voice of the people?", the answer obviously being No.

Because nobody can do the impossible.

Taken together, however, and with special emphasis on 20th century collecting and recording as a control, they seem overall to have done a pretty good job - partly because the worst fakery is usually obvious (because so sophisticated) and, in a few cases like that of Baring-Gould, the fakers were proud of their work.

And if, for example, Burns was the principal genius behind the canonical "Tam Lin," so much the better for "Tam Lin."

It is good, however, to know who likely contributed what and when.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 10 Aug 15 - 06:06 PM

Steve - thanks, I'll revise the review!

One of the things I found most frustrating about the book was that I really wanted to know more about the fakery - I'm fascinated by things like Child dismissing Tam Lin as a "grossly modern invention" or Chambers attributing Sir Patrick Spens to Elizabeth Wardlaw. On several occasions Harker indicates that some of such-and-such a collection was clearly faked-up and then leaves it there. The implicit question he's answering is "did the early collectors transmit the pure and authentic voice of the people?", the answer obviously being No. But that's not very informative. What I wanted to know is how much of those collections does represent products of oral culture (even if ultimately traceable to print sources); saying "Not all of them by any means" is a start, but it's only a start.

oggie - I've got the book here (balanced rather precariously on my knee as I type). It's got an odd structure: Introduction, 11 chapters, then a two-page Conclusion and a two-page Appendix devoted to Harker himself. As far as I can see the only reference to the SWP is in the Appendix - and he doesn't suggest at this point that other factions of the Left are wrong. Writing about himself in the third person, he says that in 1982 a series of work & political pressures "drove him to reading and writing so as to keep his head together." Then: "How far he succeeded in doing so, and whether the effort was worth it, will be best judged by his comrades in the Gorton Branch of the SWP and those in other socialist parties." That's the last sentence of the book.

You may have been remembering Chapter 11, which is rather unnecessarily rude about the Communist Party while talking about Bert Lloyd; I was going to say something about this in my review but thought I'd done enough complaining.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 10 Aug 15 - 05:28 PM

Nicely put, oggie.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: oggie
Date: 10 Aug 15 - 05:12 PM

From memory, it's a long time since I read it, in the intro he says something to the effect that this is written for my colleagues in the SWP to be the final arbiters of and I don't care for the judgement of any others.

At that point it couldn't go any further down hill, it was written as a point scoring exercise for one faction of the left over another faction. That central bias weakens it as a work that could have been a fascinating treatise and looms as the elephant in the room over it's many pages.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 10 Aug 15 - 04:55 PM

Jon Lighter gives a very fair summary. Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater. It's unfortunate that such a highly criticised book is the only one so far that gives an overview of all the fakery over the centuries. The fakery exists in many different forms and was done for many different reasons.

By the way, Phil, I agree with much of what you say in the review but nowhere have I said that all English folk songs derive from broadsides. I strongly believe that about 95% derive from some form of commercial activity in towns (including broadsides) and I can demonstrate easily that 89% have their earliest extant forms in this medium.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Will Fly
Date: 10 Aug 15 - 03:01 PM

Cheers, Irene - thanks for the info.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: The Sandman
Date: 10 Aug 15 - 02:33 PM

"He was no more unreasonably opinionated than you are and wrote far better."
hilarious and Grammatically incorrect, it should be
He was no more unreasonably opinionated than you but his writing style was better.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,surreysinger sans cookie
Date: 10 Aug 15 - 01:27 PM

Will. Athabasca University is a sort of Canadian equivalent of our Open University. Dave Gregory is, or was, an Associate Professor there, and the programmer for the B.A. (Humanities) course. His research area is the history of popular music, particularly the folksong revival in Canada and the United Kingdom.He has written a fair few papers on the subject, and published quite a few books, including "Victorian Songhunters: The Recovery and Editing of English Vernacular Ballads and Folk Lyrics, 1820-1883 (2006) and "The Late Victorian Folksong Revival: The Persistence of English Melody, 1878-1903 (2010)". When I was last in contact with him he was in the process of writing a work on Lucy Broadwood - I have not yet heard how that is/was faring. Hope that answers a couple of queries?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jack Campin
Date: 10 Aug 15 - 01:25 PM

He was wrong about a lot of things, but it's better that book had been written than not; there is useful and enlightening content in it. He was no more unreasonably opinionated than you are and wrote far better.

I'm not about to pay 60 quid (or even 15) for my own copy, though.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: The Sandman
Date: 10 Aug 15 - 01:11 PM

The best thing to do with songs is sing them.
Lets not beat about the bush Harker is an intellectual wanker.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 10 Aug 15 - 11:35 AM

Blimey; will you look at those prices!

I've still got my original copy in prime condition. Will sell it to first to write to me with their address to send it to, for £15, inc postage, & will enclose invoice and trust to receive payment in return.

MICHAEL GROSVENOR MYER  
34 West End   
Haddenham  
Cambridge CB6 3TE


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jack Campin
Date: 10 Aug 15 - 11:23 AM

BTW if you want a copy of "Fakesong" it's going to cost you:

second-hand copies available


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 10 Aug 15 - 11:15 AM

I think we have reached a consensus on "Folk" tunes:

.........the role of tune books has a very long and central history in the survival and evolution of English dance tunes.

One of the earliest publications was "The English Dancing Master" published in London in 1651 by John Playford. This volume contained the figures and the tunes for 105 English country dances and a number of the tunes first published there appear in our collection.

Across the intervening 350 or so years thousands and thousands of tunes have survived and evolved because people enjoy dancing together on social occasions and because they are great little tunes. Some were printed, published and sold in collections and some were written down with pen and ink by musicians for their own personal use. Sometimes musicians played for grand balls, dressed well and lived a good life. Others played elsewhere on the social scale. The tunes have passed back and forth between those who could 'read' and those who learned and played 'by ear'.

Has the journey for "Folk" songs been much different?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Will Fly
Date: 10 Aug 15 - 09:12 AM

I thought his analysis of TIV (which I have read) was quite good. I discovered that Athabasca University is in Canada - I wonder whether they have a faculty or department which covers traditional music.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 10 Aug 15 - 09:01 AM

Yes, that's the David Gregory review I mention in my post. He's not crazy about TIV either.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Will Fly
Date: 10 Aug 15 - 08:48 AM

Checking the book on Amazon, I saw that there were two reviews, one of them containing this link:

18 Fakesong in an Imagined Village? A Critique of the Harker - Boyes Thesis

More reading for me...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Will Fly
Date: 10 Aug 15 - 08:44 AM

Harker's book is out of print - but you can get a used paperback copy from Amazon for £60 minimum...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 10 Aug 15 - 07:39 AM

A very fair review, Phil.

I read Fakesong not long after it appeared. Harker's passion initially impressed me. But his polemics undermine the valuable biographical and textual information he's gathered.

What Harker shows should (but didn't always) go without saying: that folksong texts and collections, like almost everything else, are complicated artifacts not to be taken simply at face value. Fair enough. But what he thinks he shows - that a pure proletarian art was vitiated by self-seekers and frauds - is rather different. So is the idea, as Phil says, that "traditional song" doesn't exist. Harker seems to confuse conceptual categorization (lumping similar things together) with difficulty of definition (saying just why they should be lumped together). By that standard, poetry clearly does not exist; in fact, few things do.

Harker's relentless attacks on long-dead enthusiasts, his dismissal of all their efforts as bad faith and (even in the case of great talents like Walter Scott) bad art, and his tendentious sorting of the world into simple class-based camps of good and evil, make Fakesong - even aside from its alleged fudging and factual errors - a rather unpleasant and less than satisfying read. However, it is worth looking at - with appropriate caution - for the light it sheds on collectors and interpreters.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 10 Aug 15 - 07:27 AM

Matt - you're too kind! TIV is next on my list; I'm hoping for the best.

I doubt Fakesong is still in print, Michael - I borrowed the copy I read from a university library. I could have read it in 1985 - I'm old enough - but I only got into traditional music about ten years ago. People discover these things in their own time - rather late in my case, maybe.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 10 Aug 15 - 07:03 AM

Wow, thanks Phil. A lot of nails hit on the head there.If only all academics wrote as clearly and perceptively as you!

There's a big difference between disagreeing with the argument of a work; and demonstrating exactly how and why that argument is flawed. Your review does the latter.

I've wanted to read Fakesong for a while, and would have bought it if I could have found an affordable copy on Amazon. I don't think I'll bother now.

I had millions of similar problems with the Imagined Village - I eventually gave up in frustration over all the inconsistencies and muddled writing in it. The lack of conscientiousness angered me: it says it's going to do X (sort of), then does Y, then points to an instance of Z saying it's evidence of X. Woeful chicanery of bad faith.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 10 Aug 15 - 06:50 AM

Can't help thinking this all a bit behind the fair. My brief review of Fakesong appeared in The Times of November 8 1986. Near as dammit 30 years ago. Still in print then? And still got readers? Crikey!

≈M≈


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 10 Aug 15 - 06:35 AM

Jack Blandiver set out to... aah, never mind.

Dave - not sure I get your point. Not being a "true believer" ought to make me more sympathetic to Harker's debunking approach.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 10 Aug 15 - 06:28 AM

Dave Harker set out to show that folk song did not exist. In the end, all he demonstrated was that he didn't want to study it.

Phil Edwards set out to write a review of Fakesong. In the end all he demonstrated that he didn't really agree with it.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 10 Aug 15 - 06:19 AM

You summed your attitude up with your first sentence, ' I'm not a true believer in folk '

I therefore fail to understand your purpose, and you really ought to know that the boredom factor of the average Mudcat user is 1 page length, so, all in all not a lot of point in posting it here.

Dave H


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Will Fly
Date: 10 Aug 15 - 06:16 AM

Thanks for the blog review, Phil, which I found very interesting.

I've never read "Fakesong", as it happens, but was curious to see what you made of it after having read several threads/posts about that book on this forum over the years.

I've always thought it necessary to have a positive and firm agenda if you write a scholarly book, but it seems that the agenda of this work is so closed as to be pretty pointless - this from your review.

So, I can't see myself opening up "Fakesong" in the near future - but I'm tempted!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 10 Aug 15 - 05:57 AM

Review here: Fakesong.

Some time ago, in a discussion on the Cat, I was taken to task by Georgina Boyes for bloviating on the subject of her & Dave Harker's contributions to the study of folksong without actually having read them. Fair point.

I have now read Fakesong - it took a while - and written a review. I'm not sure my opinion's changed very much, but it's definitely better informed.

Review of The Imagined Village to follow - probably in about 2017.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate
  Share Thread:
More...


This Thread Is Closed.


Mudcat time: 29 May 11:46 PM EDT

[ Home ]

All original material is copyright © 1998 by the Mudcat Café Music Foundation, Inc. All photos, music, images, etc. are copyright © by their rightful owners. Every effort is taken to attribute appropriate copyright to images, content, music, etc. We are not a copyright resource.