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What is 'folk' fiortura?

Planetluvver 12 Jun 21 - 02:10 AM
Helen 12 Jun 21 - 03:07 AM
Planetluvver 12 Jun 21 - 04:26 AM
Helen 12 Jun 21 - 05:12 AM
Lighter 12 Jun 21 - 08:06 AM
Jack Campin 12 Jun 21 - 08:08 AM
Charmion 12 Jun 21 - 08:34 AM
Helen 12 Jun 21 - 01:41 PM
Planetluvver 12 Jun 21 - 02:10 PM
WalkaboutsVerse 12 Jun 21 - 02:24 PM
Lighter 12 Jun 21 - 02:56 PM
Helen 12 Jun 21 - 05:18 PM
Helen 12 Jun 21 - 05:25 PM
Jack Campin 12 Jun 21 - 08:51 PM
Planetluvver 13 Jun 21 - 07:54 PM
Jack Campin 13 Jun 21 - 08:08 PM
meself 13 Jun 21 - 08:18 PM
Monique 14 Jun 21 - 02:07 AM
The Sandman 14 Jun 21 - 02:33 AM
Planetluvver 14 Jun 21 - 06:08 AM
GUEST,RA 14 Jun 21 - 06:45 AM
Charmion 14 Jun 21 - 11:05 AM
meself 14 Jun 21 - 11:33 AM
meself 14 Jun 21 - 11:47 AM
GUEST 14 Jun 21 - 02:10 PM
meself 14 Jun 21 - 07:44 PM
GUEST 15 Jun 21 - 03:11 AM
meself 15 Jun 21 - 10:18 AM
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Subject: What is 'folk' fiortura?
From: Planetluvver
Date: 12 Jun 21 - 02:10 AM

I am reading Maritime Folk Songs by Helen Creighton. There is an introductory section written by Kenneth Peacock.

Does anyone know what fioritura means in this context:

"The fioritura style is most difficult to put into notation, and the utmost care was taken to render the ornamentation as faithfully as possible."


One definition I found is ""Fioritura" is the name given to the flowery, embellished vocal line found in many arias from nineteenth-century opera. It is derived from the Italian fiore, meaning "flower"."

I find it unlikely that there is much in common between an operatic style and some fisherman singing a folksong recorded in the 1950'ss, But what do I know? I think that he is just saying that there was something that could not be captured by the musical notation of the melody.


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Subject: RE: What is 'folk' fiortura?
From: Helen
Date: 12 Jun 21 - 03:07 AM

Hi Planetluvver. I have not heard that term, but I'm wondering if there was a reference to a particular song or songs and singer/s. What I'm thinking is that if you can find the songs sung by that person you might be able to listen to the way the song is performed and the fiortura reference might become clearer.

Also, I just did a Google search on Helen Creighton and there is a Helen Creighton Folklore Society

I think it is likely that someone at that society may know of some examples of songs and singers demonstrating the fiortura style.

There are also some pages on the website which may be useful, e.g.:

Commercial Recordings

Arrangements of Music


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Subject: RE: What is 'folk' fiortura?
From: Planetluvver
Date: 12 Jun 21 - 04:26 AM

Thanks Helen,

I think it is most likely that the author (Peacock, not Creighton) felt the need to use some high-falutin' EYE-talian word to gussy up his description, to make it proper, ya know. It wouldn't do to talk about music in plain language.


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Subject: RE: What is 'folk' fiortura?
From: Helen
Date: 12 Jun 21 - 05:12 AM

Let me tell you a sad little story, Planetluvver.

Over 40 years ago I bought a book called Elizabethan Song Book edited by Noah Greenberg, W.H.Auden, and Chester Kallman. There are some beautiful lyrics and melodies in it. I was trying to learn to play the flute at the time.

The melodies are fairly simple, more in the way of ballads or folk tunes than anything fancy. My favourite song in the book was All lookes be pale, by Thomas Campion, and there are some John Dowland songs as well.

A decade or two later I happened to hear that some of the songs would be performed on our classical radio station so I made sure that I would be at home listening to it because I really wanted to hear these songs. I had never heard any of them performed, ever.

I sat down to listen to the radio show and I was just aghast. I found out later that the style of singing is called Bel Canto.

It was overdone, overblown, totally over the top. Fair enough if the songs were opera songs, but not those beautiful, simple little songs.

It was one of the major musical disappointments of my life. Such anticipation followed by such a huge crash and burn.

Here is an example of how I *imagined* the songs would sound but alas, 'twas not to be:

King's Singers - Of all the birds


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Subject: RE: What is 'folk' fiortura?
From: Lighter
Date: 12 Jun 21 - 08:06 AM

Peacock used the best word available, though I gather he might have explained to non-musicologists what he meant.

Some (or many) traditional singers in Ireland and the Canadian Maritimes embellished their songs with surprising trills and other ornaments like those in bel canto. (Presumably a coincidence.) It was part of the style, perhaps derived from "sean-nos" style in Irish-language singing. For plenty of details:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sean-n%C3%B3s_song


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Subject: RE: What is 'folk' fiortura?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 12 Jun 21 - 08:08 AM

The difficulty may be that it isn't something fixed that you could notate by starting at the beginning and copying each note as it was sung. In both the classical/operatic and folk contexts, singers have a repertoire of ornaments they use, and it it takes a lot of writing to get it all down: it also involves asking about the singer's intentions. In classical music you can find handbooks on how to ornament, which at least partially explain what an individual singer does - in the folk scene it isn't usually done that systematically, and the result is an edition of the song which supplements the core melody with pages of footnotes describing variant phrases.

In the extreme, a singer may have a particular ornament in their repertoire but choose not to use it in a particular performance. It's still in a sense present, and a complete transcription would describe it, but you can see why Creighton might have been puzzled about what to write down.


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Subject: RE: What is 'folk' fiortura?
From: Charmion
Date: 12 Jun 21 - 08:34 AM

As a classically trained singer now thankfully in recovery, I have stacks of traditional bel canto repertoire gathering dust in my study. A typical feature of bel canto singing is the cadenza, two to quite a few bars of showing off toward the end of the song. It’s marked in the music as a big black bar through the stave, and it means that it’s time for the accompanist(s) to down tools and let the singer go nuts.

When you learn to sing this stuff, a substantial part of the training is memorizing the traditional licks and riffs that make up a good cadenza. Then you start playing with them to build apparently improvised (but not really) passages of fireworks to fancy up each song so the audience will yell for more.

That form and method of ornament had to come from somewhere, and my money’s on a vernacular “fioretura” that survives today in the trills and melismas of seán nos.


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Subject: RE: What is 'folk' fiortura?
From: Helen
Date: 12 Jun 21 - 01:41 PM

Thanks for your explanation, Charmion.

I think the disconnect for me, when I heard the performance of the Elizabethan songs, was that I expected a relatively simple arrangement with a lute accompaniment perhaps, but the performance was operatic and ornate with a style of voice for each singer which seemed unnatural and overblown. It didn't equate in my mind to the relatively simple yet beautiful songs I had seen in the book.

Lighter, I'd be interested to hear an example of the Sean-Nós or the Canadian maritime singing that you mentioned.


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Subject: RE: What is 'folk' fiortura?
From: Planetluvver
Date: 12 Jun 21 - 02:10 PM

Thanks for the replies!

I think it is high time I familiarize myself with Irish Traditional Music. Hope I wasn't too offensive with my joking about "fioretura." Peacock might use formal terms, but he conveyed appreciation for the music.

I was likely also "acting out" about some music snobs in my personal life.


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Subject: RE: What is 'folk' fiortura?
From: WalkaboutsVerse
Date: 12 Jun 21 - 02:24 PM

Just as French has become the first language of cuisine, Italian has become the first language of music.


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Subject: RE: What is 'folk' fiortura?
From: Lighter
Date: 12 Jun 21 - 02:56 PM

Helen, try Joe Heaney:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oGelrimeD7c

Heaney first recites the words in English, then starts singing in Irish at about 1:20.

I'd call it "fioritura" all right.

Seamus Ennis sings, in English, in a similar style:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C0Ce7BaOBhA


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Subject: RE: What is 'folk' fiortura?
From: Helen
Date: 12 Jun 21 - 05:18 PM

No Planetluvver, we can take a joke - well, most of us can anyway.

Thanks Lighter, I'll check out those two links.


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Subject: RE: What is 'folk' fiortura?
From: Helen
Date: 12 Jun 21 - 05:25 PM

Thanks. I get it.

In our session group we often comment that what's written in music notation is just a reminder of the notes in the music but you really need to know how it is traditionally played to get a feel for the music, the rhythm, the style. If anyone tries to play a piece of music "as written" we stop her/him and say, "no, it goes like this".


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Subject: RE: What is 'folk' fiortura?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 12 Jun 21 - 08:51 PM

You would get exactly the same response playing a Baroque sonata. Nobody played that music when it was written without having a library of ornamentation patterns in their head. There is a lot less difference between folk and art music in this respect than folkies like to think.


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Subject: RE: What is 'folk' fiortura?
From: Planetluvver
Date: 13 Jun 21 - 07:54 PM

Replying to Jack Campin,

I think that we cannot assume that the library of ornamentation is the same in all styles of music. Which is what prompted my original post. Does Peacock refer to a specific type of ornamentation that opera and Nova Scotian folk music have in common? Or does Peacock only mean to say that notation is insufficient to capture some essential quality of the music?

Elsewhere it was said that Italian is the first language of music. But we cannot assume Italian is adequate to describe all possible music styles. I haven't had the time to watch this all the way through, but I find the following video about the limitations of Music Theory interesting. It is Adam Neely "Music Theory and White Supremacy."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kr3quGh7pJA


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Subject: RE: What is 'folk' fiortura?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 13 Jun 21 - 08:08 PM

Of course the repertoire of ornaments varies - that was my point. If it was always the same you wouldn't need all those footnote-heavy transcriptions saying how the singer varied their twiddles.

The difference between folk and art music is that on the whole art music created codified lists of ornaments in use (see any number of Baroque instruction manuals) and folk music cultures kept their system more individualized and informal. But there isn't necessarily any difference in how predictable or otherwise they are at any moment.


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Subject: RE: What is 'folk' fiortura?
From: meself
Date: 13 Jun 21 - 08:18 PM

You can hear what Peacock is talking about, presumably, in the singing of Angelo Dornan, as an example: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rI5mQYHSD88

This song is probably in the book in question.


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Subject: RE: What is 'folk' fiortura?
From: Monique
Date: 14 Jun 21 - 02:07 AM

Meself, your link goes back to this very Mudcat page. Here it is When I Wake in the Morning· Angelo Dornan


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Subject: RE: What is 'folk' fiortura?
From: The Sandman
Date: 14 Jun 21 - 02:33 AM

The difference between folk and art music is that on the whole art music created codified lists of ornaments in use (see any number of Baroque instruction manuals) and folk music cultures kept their system more individualized and informal quote
yes, apart from CCE, who give marks for what they think are the most suitable ornaments,and styles CCE DISCOURAGES REGIONAL STYLES and encouragea a homogenous CCE style
but thank god they do not encourage people to sing in classical styles, or like Peter Pears.


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Subject: RE: What is 'folk' fiortura?
From: Planetluvver
Date: 14 Jun 21 - 06:08 AM

Replying to meself, In fact, Peacock does reference Angelo Dornan.

Replying to Jack Campin, Why should it be obvious the Peacock is not describing an Italian technique when he has chosen an Italian word? "The fiortura style" led me to think there is one particular style. Not the Peacock used an Italian word to describe a Canadian style that does not exist in Italian music.


To The Sandman, What is CCE?


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Subject: RE: What is 'folk' fiortura?
From: GUEST,RA
Date: 14 Jun 21 - 06:45 AM

comhaltas ceoltóirí éireann


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Subject: RE: What is 'folk' fiortura?
From: Charmion
Date: 14 Jun 21 - 11:05 AM

Listening to the recording of Angelo Dornan, it's clear to me that his ornaments are as close to those typical of sean nos singing as damn is to swearing.

No surprise there.


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Subject: RE: What is 'folk' fiortura?
From: meself
Date: 14 Jun 21 - 11:33 AM

Monique: thanks for fixing that up. I usually check my links, and they are invariably right - except for this one time I didn't check it!

****

Angelo Dornan's parents were from Ireland - he learned his songs and singing from them, and once he left home, his singing seems to have been a more or less private affair, IIRC. The only singing-style that I would think of as, perhaps, distinctly 'Canadian' - or at least, northern North American - is that of the lumber-camps, with its typically harsh, piercing tonality, and projection. The 'fiortura' is limited. For example: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mjcsK-5ROW4


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Subject: RE: What is 'folk' fiortura?
From: meself
Date: 14 Jun 21 - 11:47 AM

(Getting sidetracked a bit, I suppose, but ... ) it might be instructive to compare the Wilmot MacDonald recording of Lumberman's Alphabet (linked previously) with a more recent rendition. This singer has a full-throated, rich tone - from the chest (?) - a la Stan Rogers - which is far removed from the lumber-camp style (and no doubt more accessible to a general audience). No criticism intended, btw - for educational purposes only: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0c119vXpTjI


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Subject: RE: What is 'folk' fiortura?
From: GUEST
Date: 14 Jun 21 - 02:10 PM

There is a Soundcloud account with many recordings of Angelo Dornan, if anyone wants to hear more. In fact, it might include all known recordings of this fine singer.


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Subject: RE: What is 'folk' fiortura?
From: meself
Date: 14 Jun 21 - 07:44 PM

Any chance of a link for that, GUEST?


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Subject: RE: What is 'folk' fiortura?
From: GUEST
Date: 15 Jun 21 - 03:11 AM

Angelo Dornan on Soundcloud


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Subject: RE: What is 'folk' fiortura?
From: meself
Date: 15 Jun 21 - 10:18 AM

Thanks!


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