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Origin: High Germany

DigiTrad:
HIGH GERMANY
THE KING'S REQUEST MUST BE OBEYED
THE WARS OF GERMANY


Related threads:
Lyr Req: High Germany (Pentangle) (12)
Lyr Req: Scots songs about Poland/Germany/Prussia (23)
Lyr Req: 'Oh, Woe Be To The Orders' (5)
Ulster Version High Germany (1)


GUEST,BillK 18 Apr 12 - 05:47 AM
Keith A of Hertford 18 Apr 12 - 05:57 AM
MGM·Lion 18 Apr 12 - 06:22 AM
Steve Gardham 18 Apr 12 - 02:46 PM
Jim Carroll 18 Apr 12 - 03:40 PM
Steve Gardham 18 Apr 12 - 05:07 PM
mayomick 18 Apr 12 - 05:46 PM
MGM·Lion 18 Apr 12 - 11:11 PM
Jim Carroll 19 Apr 12 - 04:04 AM
Phil Edwards 19 Apr 12 - 05:34 AM
GUEST,Lighter 19 Apr 12 - 07:58 AM
Jim Carroll 19 Apr 12 - 10:10 AM
Steve Gardham 19 Apr 12 - 03:29 PM
Jim Carroll 20 Apr 12 - 04:42 AM
Steve Gardham 20 Apr 12 - 03:22 PM
Steve Gardham 20 Apr 12 - 03:37 PM
Jim Carroll 20 Apr 12 - 04:28 PM
Steve Gardham 20 Apr 12 - 06:04 PM
gnu 20 Apr 12 - 06:05 PM
Jim Carroll 21 Apr 12 - 05:28 AM
Steve Gardham 22 Apr 12 - 08:32 AM
Jim Carroll 22 Apr 12 - 09:32 AM
Jim Carroll 22 Apr 12 - 10:55 AM
Steve Gardham 22 Apr 12 - 11:36 AM
Jim Carroll 22 Apr 12 - 04:03 PM
Steve Gardham 22 Apr 12 - 04:48 PM
Jim Carroll 23 Apr 12 - 04:18 AM
Keith A of Hertford 23 Apr 12 - 04:30 AM
GUEST 23 Apr 12 - 02:23 PM
GUEST 23 Apr 12 - 02:32 PM
GUEST 23 Apr 12 - 02:46 PM
GUEST,SteveG 23 Apr 12 - 03:00 PM
Jim Carroll 23 Apr 12 - 07:38 PM
Keith A of Hertford 24 Apr 12 - 02:33 AM
Artful Codger 24 Apr 12 - 04:10 PM
GUEST,Lighter 24 Apr 12 - 05:06 PM
Keith A of Hertford 25 Apr 12 - 02:44 AM
MGM·Lion 25 Apr 12 - 03:42 AM
Jim Carroll 25 Apr 12 - 03:55 AM
GUEST 26 Apr 12 - 06:48 AM
Jim Carroll 26 Apr 12 - 07:10 AM
Steve Gardham 26 Apr 12 - 04:06 PM
Steve Gardham 26 Apr 12 - 04:29 PM
GUEST,Lighter 26 Apr 12 - 04:56 PM
Steve Gardham 26 Apr 12 - 05:18 PM
Keith A of Hertford 27 Apr 12 - 02:41 AM
Jim Carroll 27 Apr 12 - 04:02 AM
MGM·Lion 27 Apr 12 - 05:37 AM
Jim Carroll 27 Apr 12 - 06:32 AM
GUEST,Lighter 27 Apr 12 - 08:33 AM
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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: GUEST,BillK
Date: 18 Apr 12 - 05:47 AM

Any guess which rout they're talking about in the song?


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 18 Apr 12 - 05:57 AM

This meaning of rout is a call up or deployment.


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 18 Apr 12 - 06:22 AM

No mention thus far of High Germany being one of the songs whose tunes were included by Vaughan Williams in his English Folk Song Suite, 1923 ~~
1. March: Seventeen Come Sunday
2. Intermezzo: My Bonny Boy
3. March: Folk Songs from Somerset - opens with a light introduction of four measures before the first melody, the folk song Blow Away the Morning Dew. A second melody, High Germany, then takes over...

~Michael~


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 18 Apr 12 - 02:46 PM

Here's an early version printed at Alnwick in 1792.
The Wars in Germany

Come all you bold heroes that fain would married be;
Come all a warning take, and by me you will see,
I am constrained by Cupid's long bow,
Therefore, my dearest jewel, my mind runs to and fro.

My father he shall weep, and my mother she shall cry,
My sister she shall mourn with my brother standing by.
I said my dearest jewel, come and go along with me,
And I will take you to the wars that is in Germany.

My back it doth ache love, I cannot go with thee,
As I am with child I must here left be.
Consider my belly's high, I am with child by thee;
And I am not fit to go to the wars in Germany.

The place that he dwells in it is so pleasing,
The black bird thrush and nightingale does sing
The birds in every bush is chanting my downfall,
my trueloves gone away, which grieves me worst of all.

Oh wo to the wars that is in Germany,
And also to every sweetheart that Deals inconstantly,
I have lost my dearest jewel I never shall see him more,
And so cold is his corps on high Germany's shore.

I will buy a horse and on it you shall ride,
And all the day long, I'll walk by your side,
We'll call at every alehouse that we come nigh,
So we'll sweetheart on the road, and be married by and by.

It is down in yonder vally, I'll make my love a bed,
I will be as kind to her, as if she were wed,
With primroses and sweet violets, so adorning his feet,
And so charming is the linnet, with music so sweet.

Its poor construction and inconsistency might suggest having come from oral tradition, but it could also be down to the fact that such jobs were given to the lowest apprentices in the printers at the bottom of the market. It's not possible to say whether it precedes or derives from 'High Germany'.

Another version was printed by Evans of London about the same time and this one refers to the wars in North America.

First stanza is all I have at the moment.

O cursed be the wars that ever they began,
For they have press'd my Billy, and many a clever man;
For they have press'd my Billy, and brothers all three,
And sent them to the wars in North America.


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 18 Apr 12 - 03:40 PM

" but it could also be down to the fact that such jobs were given to the lowest apprentices in the printers at the bottom of the market. "
And we'll never know - will we? But taking into consideration all the other songs following the same theme and using a similar form, it's far safer to assume common origins.
Of course, there may have been "the lowest apprentices in the printers at the bottom of the market", who experienced pregnancy, warfare and loss to the extent that they were able to express the effects as graphically as these songs communicate (certainly well enough for them to have survived for centuries), but one tends to think that the events depicted were drawn from real life - don'cha think?
This stuff is deathless verse; not the doggerel that you would expect from the imaginings of "hacks".
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 18 Apr 12 - 05:07 PM

Real events. Absolutely, Jim, but the flowery language is totally incongruous with the actual situation, so somebody with little talent trying to imitate the contemporary stuff that was pouring out of the pleasure gardens perhaps. The hacks came from all walks of life, some would-be poets in desperate need of a shilling, some perhaps to fuel their drink habit. There you go, my mind wandering again.

The whole thing is chock full of stock phrases you would find in 20 other ballads of its ilk.


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: mayomick
Date: 18 Apr 12 - 05:46 PM

"The hacks came from all walks of life, some would-be poets in desperate need of a shilling, some perhaps to fuel their drink habit."

Thankfully things have moved on since then.


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 18 Apr 12 - 11:11 PM

I have always thought that one of the great virtues, something to be admired and revered, about so much folksong, is its knack of so often teetering in the very edge of doggerel without ever quite tumbling over; which has so frequently a perverse poetic effectiveness. The naive art of such as Le Douanier Rousseau or Lowry comes to mind as in some ways comparable.

~M~


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 19 Apr 12 - 04:04 AM

"so somebody with little talent trying to imitate the contemporary stuff...."
Or, on the other hand, somebody with little talent (a "hack" maybe) adapting an existing piece for a fresh market to save themselves the trouble of having to create something themselves. Far more likely, I would have thought given the fact that the theme of this song has appeared over and over again in numerous forms.
In wartime the subject of the song would have touched every single family within arm's reach of a recruiting sergeant, so there is no reason on earth why people so affected should not make their own songs about it.
It happened here in Ireland many times over with the emigrations, various bouts of national resistance to colonisation, famine, evictions, civil war...... countless numbers of anonymous songs on the subjects that affected ordinary people. Do you really believe that the English were incapable of songmaking, or "too busy earning a living", or couldn't be bothered to set down what they saw happening around them down in verse, unlike their counterparts in Ireland and Scotland, so they farmed the job out to "the lowest apprentices in the printers at the bottom of the market"?
Did they really sit back and let somebody do the job for them?
I've met many people who have argued that the "common people" were far too unskilled to have produced the ballads and songs, but I have never come across anybody who has gone to such lengths that you have to show us that English working people were not as creative as their neighbours.
We came away from our work with West Clare land labourers and small farmers, staggered by their creative and re-creative abilities as singers, storytellers, songmakers and yarn-spinners (the making of the big tales had (almost) gone, as had the practice of narrating the old tales).
We were constantly made aware of the still-active practice of songmaking here - particularly in this town, where the singers were as likely to give you a song on events that had happened in their lifetime as they were to give you 'Lord Lovel' or 'The Suffolk Miracle' or 'The Green Wedding' or 'The Keach in the Creel'.... and the many other old songs we recorded here.
The Travellers we worked with were still producing new songs based on old models from their living (or only lately deceased) tradition.
Why should the English rural working classes have been any different when they had the template of a living tradition to draw from?
So far you have produced a list of the earliest printed forms of songs that have appeared in the tradition. Unless you can prove beyond doubt that they are the earliest form of of the songs and they haven't been lifted from the tradition and adapted, that will remain the case.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 19 Apr 12 - 05:34 AM

Unless you can prove beyond doubt that they are the earliest form of the songs

But what evidence could possibly prove that?

I used to have an interest in UFOs and why it was that some people thought they'd had contact with alien beings. This discussion reminds me a bit of a debate about the common features of alien-encounter narratives. One side argued that stories from different times and places were too similar for them all to be fictional, so they must have a real origin. Other people (self included) thought that what we were looking at was a stock of folkloric motifs, which cropped up in different stories through cultural transmission. The point is that the evidence is a perfect fit for *both* interpretations; you just have to go with what you think is most probable.

Steve's argument here is that the flowery language, stock images and standardised turns of phrase that we see in a song like this are characteristic of broadside hackwork. Which is true - but aren't those things also precisely what you'd expect in songs coming out of a predominantly oral songwriting culture? I suppose we only really know that oral transmission has been at work when we can compare a collected song with a written original, but I don't think that entitles us to assume that the direction of transmission is always print to oral, or that nothing with any level of polish can come out of tradition.


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 19 Apr 12 - 07:58 AM

> but aren't those things also precisely what you'd expect in songs coming out of a predominantly oral songwriting culture?

Not necessarily. The "flowery" language of the broadsides proves that their writers were influenced - possibly above all - by the diction of educated poets.

For a predominantly oral and illiterate tradition to have adopted such a style, its early practitioners could only have absorbed it through repeated exposures to the declamation and recitation of works of literate poets. How likely was that to have occurred?

Contrast the unaffected diction of shanties, songs we know arose in an oral tradition, and of of cowboy songs like "The Old Chisholm Trail," whose authors were at least semi-literate in some cases, but whose style is far more direct.

The same, of course, goes for Child ballads. The older they are, the less flowery they seem to be. Correct?


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 19 Apr 12 - 10:10 AM

"But what evidence could possibly prove that?"
My point exactly - but Steve insists that his work has proved that most of our traditional songs originated on the broadside presses - to the extent that he calls into question a creative tradition rather than a repetative one.
He has fudged on every challenge so far - familiarity with trade terms and work practices, vernacular, folklore, limitations of literacy, active traditional composition elsewhere in these islands, attitude of broadside experts such as Hindley to "country songs".
Since I became involved in traditional song in the early sixties it has been largely taken for granted that our "folk songs" not only were sung by the "folk", but that most of them were orally composed by them.
Steve is turning that beliefe on its head by suggesting that they virually all originated on broadsides and were taken up by "the folk" despite the fact that they were either illiterate or semi-literate.
My argument is simply that, to take such an argument at face value would be a massive leap in the dark, for which we would require far more proof than has been produced so far.
"flowery language, stock images and standardised turns of phrase..."
All of which I believe to be the product of re-writing rather than original composition - I suggest that anybody interested in the differences between folk and literary composition read the final two chapter in Evelyn Kendrick Wells' 'The Ballad Tree' - 'The Literary Ballad', and 'Examples of Literary Ballads' and compare them with the real thing.
A comparison between genuine folk sea songs and some of Masefield's sea poetry wouldn't go amiss either.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 19 Apr 12 - 03:29 PM

Jim,
Once again you are at best misquoting me and at worst putting words into my mouth. At no point have I said my research 'has proved' my hypothesis. What I have said is that after 40+ years of study of the ballads and songs in oral tradition and those earliest printed versions my own conclusion is that the vast majority of them originated in these printed forms in towns under commercial conditions. Now if anyone wants to include the hacks who wrote/rewrote them as part of the tradition I'm happy with that.

This has little to do with the separate FACT that some of them found their way into oral tradtion and then back onto broadsides. The above refers to ultimate origins.

In my own defence I will add that I have presented the results of my own researches in front of some of the most distinguished scholars of traditional music and none of them have taken me to task.


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 20 Apr 12 - 04:42 AM

Sorry Steve - it was my intention neither to misquote, nor to put words in your mouth, any more than I am sure it was not yours to patronise me as you have in the past. I have put as much time as you to studying our songs and ballads - forty years ago I would have been involved in traditional song for around ten years.
I do find it more than a little disturbing that you would consign the making of our folksongs to "the lowest apprentices in the printers at the bottom of the market" rather than to consider that they might have been the poetic interpretations of the life and experiences of the people who sang them.
I have to say that even here I find your general attitude to folk song more than a little dismissive:
"Its poor construction and inconsistency might suggest having come from oral tradition,"
I've always thought that our folk songs are well-constructed and consistent, and it is exactly this that has assisted with their universal currency and survival.
You're arguments in the past have been put fairly definitively - without digging I can recall sweeping statements about "ballad hacks and 'The Cruel Mother" and rather disparaging "do you believe that stuff?" and other such dismissive and sometimes disparaging statements.
I really am not interested in "distinguished scholars'" who haven't "taken you to task" - I am interested in how you deal with the contradictions of your own conclusions, none of which you have come anywhere near to answering - "The English were far too involved in earning a living to make songs" will do as an example for now; there are numerous others.   
I would be interested to know how deeply you have examined the arguments of others in reaching your conclusions - I was somewhat staggered that someone who was examining ballad origins had never read, nor even heard of David C Fowler's work on the subject.
Your hypotheses flies in the face of everything I have read and have come to believe about folk song - without evidence it simply doesn't add up logically, neither in what I have read, nor in what we found out about song-making in the various communities in the British Isles.
A school of anonymous song-makers (doggerel-producing hacks, by common description, including your own) making songs that took root wherever they landed, were adapted and managed to establish themselves all over the English speaking world (and beyond) and lasted for centuries - and showed a familiarity with the vernacular, trade terms and practices, geographical knowledge (including local references)..... and managed to persuade the recipients that they were Yorkshire, Somerset, East Anglian, Traveller....... come on!!!
On its own, the familiarity with folklore contained in many of the songs and ballads would be envied by any established folklorist, particularly as many of them were made pre William Thoms, long before the subject was an established discipline and when such information was confined to the handful of scribblings of a few antiquarians.
Your theories are far to important, and I believe, misleading, to be let pass unchallenged - sorry again.
"my own conclusion is that the vast majority of them originated in these printed forms in towns under commercial conditions"
This is the statement you need to explain fuly - so far I have only seen you state it - without qualification.
How can you be so sure these songs were not taken from an existing oral tradition and adapted for an urban market? This is what we were categorically told by somebody who was selling ballads in rural Ireland in the 19303-40s; we even had him describe the ballad printing/selling process. Why should rural Britain have been any different?

Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 20 Apr 12 - 03:22 PM

Jim,
You can access my paper on this at the Tradsong website of which you are a member if my memory serves me rightly.

Again you have misread me. My love and respect is for the folk songs themselves, what the folk did with the originals, in my opinion vastly improved them, be they ballads, songs, plays, dances, whatever.

And yes I do still state that the conditions in rural Ireland amongst travellers in the period you're talking about and the conditions in England from the early 19th century upto when the songs were collected are vastly different.

And seeing as you're still challenging me I'll return the compliment and repeat my challenge, give me half a dozen songs chosen at random from the English general stock collected by the likes of Sharp say and let's look at the likely origins.


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 20 Apr 12 - 03:37 PM

Jim,
As for the version I posted, I presented the possibility of it having come from oral tradtion, but I think the second suyggestion much more likely. The poor doggerel it is, and the inconsistencies would soon be ironed out in oral tradition. The versions collected from oral tradition are a vast improvement on this.


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 20 Apr 12 - 04:28 PM

"And yes I do still state that the conditions in rural Ireland amongst travellers in the period "
I have never confined my comments to Travellers in relation to folk composition - we worked with Irish Travellers in London, but we also interviewed settled singers in Ireland for thirty years with the same result; large numbers of anonymously composed songs from the famine era right through to the middle of the 20th century .
There is no conceivable difference between the two countries that could possibly account for song-making in one and none in the other. The social conditions, the access to a song tradition to use as a template, the desire to poetically express ideas and emotions - all present in Britain and Ireland.
We have found something like 150 locally composed songs from this area alone, virtually all of them anonymous.
It was the hardship and poverty that acted as a spur to songmaking - I have no doubt whatever that this was true in both cases.
You really are going to have to walk me through the differences if you claim there were any.
"The poor doggerel it is, and the inconsistencies would soon be ironed out in oral tradition"
"Its poor construction and inconsistency might suggest having come from oral tradition,"
These appear to be contradictory statements - one respecting the oral tradition, the other disparaging it; they can't both be true.
"I'll return the compliment and repeat my challenge"
Only if you can prove categorically that none have been taken from the oral tradition - otherwise we would both be wasting our time.
I agree totally with Phil Edwards when he said "But what evidence could possibly prove that?"
If you remember, we already tried this with Bonny Bunch of Roses and you bottled out on this very point - you were unable to produce evidence that it hadn't been lifted from the tradition - adapted meybe.
Wouldn't it be far easier to tell us why you prefer to believe them to be products of the broadside presses rather than having been taken by hacks and adapted.
You still haven't attempted to explain the anomolies in your argument - the insider knowledge necessary to create such deathless masterpieces would be a good starting place.
I have always had reservations about Sharp, but the more I argue with you, the more I am drawn to his statement:
"The folk-song is, therefore, communal in two senses; communal in authorship and communal in that it reflects the mind of the community. That, no doubt, is what Motherwell meant when he said that the people's ballad was "the actual embodiment of their Universal Mind, and of its intellectual and moral tendencies."
I don't believe for one minute the now discredited theory of spontaneous communal creation (though we have had described to us on several occasions, a group of men (settled and Traveller) making a song between them by throwing in suggestions), but rather, an original idea or theme being added to over a length of time, until it becomes accepted within a community (Sharp's/Motherwell's "Universal Mind").
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 20 Apr 12 - 06:04 PM

Jim,
I can show you examples of communal composition but they're relatively few and certainly not ballads.

How many songs of the general corpus contain 'insider knowledge' that couldn't be obtained from a great variety of easily accessible sources? Newspaper reports spring to mind, keeping your ear to the ground in the pub when Jack Tar's onshore etc, battle reports. Perhaps you can suggest some well-known examples of songs with insider knowledge from the general corpus of English traditional song.

Hacks certainly adapted existing material, but more often than not the material they were adapting takes us back to another broadside.

Sharp was discredited with this stuff a long time ago.

Jim, you'd better get out there and start reconverting all the people who are happy to accept my hypothesis.


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: gnu
Date: 20 Apr 12 - 06:05 PM

Well said, Jim. Not that others haven't "said well" also.


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 21 Apr 12 - 05:28 AM

"...suggest some well-known examples of songs with insider knowledge from the general corpus of English traditional song"
Any ballad containing folklore that predates the subject becoming an established discipline will do for starters - thumb your way through Wimberly and show us where a - say 18th century - ballad hack would go to for such information - the local lending library maybe.
Take any of the sea songs that refer to working practices on board ship - the whaling songs are a prime genre.
Simple example - the "dead-man's face" which is found in Banks of Newfoundland - would a hack be aware of it's significance, and even in the remote chance that he would, why should he write it into a song that is to be sold to landlubbers who wouldn't have a clue what it meant?
Listen to Sam Larner describing the meaning of the term "just as the tide was flowing", or any similar one used by fishermen.
The same with agricultural songs - The Mowing Match, for instance or any of the weaving songs.
Are you seriously suggesting that the broadside hacks referred to a library every time they dashed off one of their ditties.
The information contained in many of our traditional songs, far from being "easily accessible", had not even made its way into print - detailed social history necessary to provide such information of this sort just didn't existy at the time.
The use of local vernacular in any of the country songs was genuine enough to fool the singers that the songs were locally created.
These show a familiarity with the subjects which outsiders would have to make lifetime studies of before they could reproduce them with such conviction - look at Masefield's cack-handed efforts (and he spent some time at sea) - or any of the literary attempts, sometimes of our greatest writers, to imitate 'peasant speech'.
Folk songs do all this with ease, which makes their creators (according to you) far from "hacks", but rather, geniuses who outshone some of our greatest literary creators - how come these geniuses manged to remain anonymous and unrecognised?
I'm sure you are aware of this quote - one wonders why the poor lady (James Hogg's mother) got it so wrong.
"His mother, Margaret Laidlaw, was an unlettered folksinger, and it was she who spoke the famous words to Scott which make a fitting comment on his work: "There was never ane o' my songs prentit till ye prentit them yourself and ye hae spoilt them a'togither. They were made for singin' and no for readin', but ye hae broken the charm now, and they'll never be sung mair.""
You are contradidicting evidence from contemporary writers who would be aware of the mechanics, or at very least, some of the practices of the broadside trade - Hindley talking of the songs moving from "the country, to the presses, to the streets", Issac Walton's "country songs hanging on the walls of inns" - even Child's "veritable dunghills" - all suggesting that these writers were making a clear distinction between orally ccreated songs and broadsides.
"Sharp was discredited with this stuff a long time ago."
As far as I know, neither Sharp nor Motherwell have been challenged on this specific point - perhaps you might enlighten me with a quote?
"all the people who are happy to accept my hypothesis."
You are substituting argument and proof with 'royal patronage' - you are not even dealing with the fundamentals of your argument - try start with explaining how a mainly illiterate population could create such an extensive traditional song tradition from the printed word, which they had virtually no access to.
So far you have been unable to present one sigle example of a traditional song that definitely originated on a broadside - smoke and mirrors Steve.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 22 Apr 12 - 08:32 AM

Jim,
I'm well aware of all the songs and song types that you quote but there really aren't that many of them when you compare them with the vast bulk of love songs comic songs etc.

Let's look at Banks of Newfoundland. Only 2 versions from oral tradition contain the reference to 'the dead-man's face'. The song itself is very much based on the broadside ballad 'Van Diemen's Land'. However it's sufficiently different to classify it as a song in its own right and was very likely rewritten by a merchant seaman out of Liverpool, but these songs are relatively scarce. I'm not including sea shanties as you know as they are a mid-Atlantic thing largely and deserve classification all of their own, though undoubtedly folksong. Even some of these are based on Tin Pan Alley songs.

Okay the main source for challenging Sharp's 'Merrie Englande' has got to be Georgina's 'Imagined Village' but there are others.

Virtually illiterate. For the period we are talking about, early 19thc not all were illiterate. The printed songs as you well know were hawked about by pedlars and were sold at country markets.

Again to repeat I have never said or implied that the rural poor were incapable of this sort of composition. I have plenty of examples of my own. They just didn't get into print, hence weren't widespread, hence didn't get collected, in the vast majority of cases.

As for my alleged ambivalence to origins and oral tradition, this simply stems from our difference in beliefs. You think they are the same thing. I think they are 2 quite separate things.

Once again we take on somebody else's thread.

Can I please suggest we stop going over the same old ground from one thread to another and either set up a separate thread for our discussions or we conduct this by email.

Luv, Steve


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 22 Apr 12 - 09:32 AM

"Once again we take on somebody else's thread. "
This time we don't Steve - you made specific claims about the song in question which you failed to substantiate and which is a fundmental part of this discussion and any other similar - please don't use "thread drift" to bottle out - I got a bellyfull of that on another thread fairly recently.
Georgina Boyes - not an oracle I would choose to worship I'm afraid and hardly descriptive of "Sharp was discredited with this stuff a long time ago."
What specific reference to "The folk-song is, therefore, communal in two senses; communal in authorship and communal in that it reflects the mind of the community. That, no doubt, is what Motherwell meant when he said that the people's ballad was "the actual embodiment of their Universal Mind, and of its intellectual and moral tendencies" did she or anybody make that has cleared it away from our consideration of traditional song
"Merrie Englande"
It's loaded cliches like this that convince me that you have no argument for your case. Who mentioned 'Merrie Englande' - not me, nor are my beliefs based on a romantic image of the tradition - I was recording traditional singers for far to long to hold such notions.
You still don't come anywhere near to explaining the famliarity that the song-makers had with their chosen subjects - hacks - hardly!
You are attempting to reduce our song tradition to a youngster going out and buying an album that has just topped the charts - at least have the decency to qualify your crusade with some straight answers.
Nor have you attempted to justify your apparent distain for the oral tradition   
"Its poor construction and inconsistency might suggest having come from oral tradition,"
Would appreciate if you would take the trouble to do so.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 22 Apr 12 - 10:55 AM

A little more time now:
"The song itself is very much based on the broadside ballad 'Van Diemen's Land'."
There you go again - how do you know this and how do you know that Van Diemen's Land originated on a broadside - don't you think it concievable that transportees expressed themselves and their conditions in verse - their situation bore a great resemblence to bothy workers who you concceded made their own songs - isolated, worked to the point of slavery....
It seems you are basing a great deal on tracong the earliest printed versions of songs - where is your evidence beyond this?
What exactly are you saying about Banks of Newfoundland - that the realistic sounding ones were orally composed and the others were made by the hacks.
What are your grounds for claiming that it was not taken from oral tradition?
"For the period we are talking about, early 19thc not all were illiterate."
We've discussed the complications of literacy - at least I've explained my take on it and you have ignored it. Our oral traditions go back much further than the 19th century - our knowledge of it to any (extremely limited) extent dates from the beginingof the 20th, when it was in very great decline.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 22 Apr 12 - 11:36 AM

Our oral traditions do indeed go back much further and indeed a smallish number of the ballads can be traced back to 17thc broadsides, a few more to 18thc broadsides but the great bulk to late 18thc and early 19thc broadsides when the people being recorded by Baring Gould, Sharp, Kidson, Broadwood etc were in their youth.

Jim, apart from the earliest versions being either from the theatres or broadsides, there is also the matter of something you broached for your argument, content of the songs, stylistic qualities.

I have no disdain for oral tradition, in fact quite the opposite as I tried to explain above. BUT I'm sure you will accept, as has every other writer on the subject, oral tradition can work both ways, it can be improving the song or quite the opposite. Luckily it's usually the improved ones that survive and blossom. I doubt very much that the example I gave in this thread was actually as the result of oral tradition but it's possible so I included that possibility.

Your message above has actually inspired me to do a study on Banks of Newfoundland and its relationship with 'Van Dieman's Land' so I'll report back once that's complete.

You mentioned whaling songs as a prime genre. Let's take one of these. How about 'Bonny Ship the Diamond' How and when do you think that came about?


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 22 Apr 12 - 04:03 PM

"How and when do you think that came about?"
I have no idea, nor do I claim to have - which basically underlines the difference between us.
"Our oral traditions do indeed go back much further and indeed a smallish number of the ballads can be traced back to 17thc broadsides"
What you appear to be trying to say is that they can be shown to have appeared on broadsides in the 17th century - we have no way of knowing if they existed prior to print, though you claim to have that knowledge.
Stylistic qualities - having plodded my way through broadside collections looking for singable songs at one time or another, I am quite aware of the stylistic differences between broadsides and orally transmitted songs - again - the very chunkiness and unsingabe artificiality (which you havepointed out yourself) of the majority of teh broadsides clash starkly with the oral repertoire. I have no way whatever of knowing which came first and whether your "hacks" have re-drafted them in their own inimitable style - apart from your possessing a time machine, I can't see for the life of me how you have.
Content indeed.
Our folks songs invariably are from the point of view of their characters (soldiers/sailors - generally regarded as the scum of the earth except in wartime) read Tom Jones, or Hugill.
Poachers, murderers, common criminals - presented to a great extent sympathetically - why should a common criminal be represented as a hero - were these hacks revolutionaries?
Some of the ballads are downright seditious - can you not imagine the author of 'Queen Eleanor's Confession' (Queen having it off with the courtiers, poisoning the Kings favourite mistress then humiliating him on her death bed) receiving a visit from the local bobby and ending his days in The Tower - not to mention the printer, who probably put his address on the sheet?
Both the style and the knowledge suggest absolutely an intimate knowledge of the subjects of the songs.
Can I just clear up the implications of what I believe to be your spurious claims.
Not only are you writing out the - for the want of a better word - 'common people' from the creation of their songs (that's how "folk songs" come to be so called I believe), and relegating them to no more that someone who goes out and buys the latest Kylie album, but if your theories gained any credence it would remove one of the most important
aspects of folk song study - that of carriers of social history.
Rather than a view of , say a nineteenth century sailor viewed his life on board, or a pressed man his feelings at being ripped from his home and stuck on board of a warship, you will have us have them no more historically significant that a Patrick O'Brian novel - less important even; O'Brian would have researched his subjects, whereby your "hacks" would not have had the information "readily available", even if they had had the inclination to go to such lengths.
You still haven't explained your damning statement regarding the oral tradition, so I will take it as read.
Neither have you produced a quote to show that "Sharp was discredited with this stuff a long time ago" - so I'll presume there isn't one.
A whole host of questions I have raised have been ignored - I would have thought it would have served your own purpose to tell us how so many of us got it wrong for so long; Sharp, Child, Hindley, Walton... and all of us who have blindly believed that country people made up songs in England as they did in Ireland, Scotland, the US, Canada, Australia......
Your own arguments lack continuity you originally claimed that the English country-people were too busy earning a living to make songs about their lives; now, it seems " I have plenty of examples of my own. They just didn't get into print, hence weren't widespread, hence didn't get collected, in the vast majority of cases" - making up your mind would be helpful.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 22 Apr 12 - 04:48 PM

On that last point there is no contradiction. I stand by what I said originally. Just as today, the vast majority of people neither have the time nor the inclination to write songs. My ancestors were ploughmen who got up at 4 in the morning and were working with very few and short breaks through to 7 or 8 at night on a daily basis. All that guff about whistling happily behind the plough while the birds are sweetly singing is straight out of the pleasure gardens in the late 18thc. The examples I have are from a few latterday writers/singers written in their retirement. In the early 19th century not many made it to retirement, and if they did the workhouse was waiting for them, or parish relief if they were lucky.

I have already suggested plenty of sources for the hacks to get their information. Many of the subjects were being reworked from older material. Military and Maritime reports were in the newspapers. They sat in the pubs with people who had first hand experience of your inside information.

As for printers they printed plenty of seditious stuff right from the off. They just left off the imprint.

'Folk songs' are so-called because of the 'folk process'. This has nothing to do with origins.


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 23 Apr 12 - 04:18 AM

"On that last point there is no contradiction"
Yes there is - on the one hand you say the rural English working class were too busy earning a living to make songs, on the other you say they did and you've encountered them - make up your mind.
You've had a description of the conditions in which the Irish rural population created their songs, wars of independence, civil war, mass evictions, famine, emigrations, poor land, abject poverty.... all of which acted as a spur rather than a hindrance to the creation of a fantastically rich repertoire of songs we have here.
"The examples I have are from a few latterday writers/singers written in their retirement."
And the examples we have are of a huge repertoire of mainly anonymous songs in "folk" form that didn't move out of the area because the subject matter or local references anchored them here. This is not to say that this area did not add to the national traditional repertoire - in fact we know it did, as did many other areas of Ireland, and as, I have no doubt whatever, did many parts of England and Scotland when Britain had a living tradition . It is, I believe, these that went to make up the national folk repertoire.
"All that guff about whistling happily behind the plough"
Sorry Steve, this really is beneath you. I find this level of distortion the most unpleasantly dishonest part of your argument. Nobody here has mentioned "whistling ploughboys" other than yourself. The claim is simply that the English rural working class, just as the Irish and Scots, were capable of making songs, and almost certainly did so, in great numbers and with great skill - far more skill than your somewhat clunky broadside writers - and far more skill than you seem prepared to give them credit for.
This has seldom been disputed elsewhere, despite your still unqualified claims to the contrary.
"I have already suggested plenty of source"
You have suggested no more than a couple of off-the-top-of-the-head possibilities - without proof - and you have yet to show us why contemporary writers, including some who were aware of the broadside trade, made a distinction between orally produced songs and broadsides, and believed that the former fed the latter and not the other way round, as you claim.
As as for poor Ms Laidlaw's objection to killing the songs by writing them down.....
"'Folk songs' are so-called because of the 'folk process"
No they are not - the "folk" sang everything - music hall, Victorian tear-jerkers, popular songs of the day, light opera.... It is the belief that they actually made the songs that we refer to as 'folk' that has been the most important aspect of their study over the last century.
The same goes for 'folk' tales, customs, beliefs, dances, music, lore, painting.... it is their common origin which identifies them all as "folk art"
As far as I can see, you are still basing your entire argument on the unqualified assumption that the earliest printed sources you have traced must be the earliest forms of the songs - you need to show on what basis you believe this in order to make your case - and address all the reasons why it is probably not
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 23 Apr 12 - 04:30 AM

ploughmen who got up at 4 in the morning and were working with very few and short breaks through to 7 or 8

Life was indeed hard, brutal and often short, but there were long periods of dead time.
Winter evenings.
All they had to fill them was companionship, craic, and a fire if they were lucky.
If I was there I would sing songs and make up songs even if illiterate.


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: GUEST
Date: 23 Apr 12 - 02:23 PM

Keith,
Indeed but the likelihood of those songs getting into the national repertoire would be rather slim without the aid of print.


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: GUEST
Date: 23 Apr 12 - 02:32 PM

Jim,
You mentioned back up the thread something about me not being able to provide info on 'Bonny Bunch of Roses'. I have that info at hand at the moment if you still want it.

Meanwhile let's take the most prolific of all ballads 'Barbara Allen'. Most of the Child Ballads are not relevant here because less than half have been found in oral tradition in England, but this one is useful enough as an example. Its earliest manifestation is on a 17th century broadside and it existed in multiple forms in print ever since. Okay so you say it could have come from oral tradition. About the same time, it was being sung in a high-class theatre in a concert in London. Now I don't know about you but I can't see these highly sophisticated people going out into the countryside or anywhere where peasant songs might exist to learn songs to sing on the stage.


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: GUEST
Date: 23 Apr 12 - 02:46 PM

'As far as I can see, you are still basing your entire argument on the unqualified assumption that the earliest printed sources you have traced must be the earliest forms of the songs - you need to show on what basis you believe this in order to make your case - and address all the reasons why it is probably not'

No Jim,
Not the entire argument. Whilst that still stands, and this is about the 20th time I've said it, it is based on taking every known version of 100s of ballads, stall copies and oral tradition, and comparing them closely with each other to make informed guesses about their evolution and geographical distribution, looking at their historical content where it exists, stylistic qualities, use of stock phrases, commonplaces, printers' dates, known authors where they exist, and of course numerous books on the printing trade, pedlars and their influence and a host of other factors


'The same goes for 'folk' tales, customs, beliefs, dances, music, lore, painting.... it is their common origin which identifies them all as "folk art" '

Sorry, Jim, this is just not true, except one would presume with folk painting, much of the rest originated in high art! Or certainly higher than the common folk, sophisticated sources in other words. Dances in particular.


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: GUEST,SteveG
Date: 23 Apr 12 - 03:00 PM

Obviously GUEST is me. B****y cookie's disappeared again.


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 23 Apr 12 - 07:38 PM

"Whilst that still stands, and this is about the 20th time "
Not to me it isnt.
"every known version of 100s of ballads, stall copies and oral tradition"
As the collecting of traditional song only began in an organised way at the turn of the 20th century how do you manage to trace through 100's of versions and decide which (if any) originated on the broadside presses?
Today I pulled around a dozen books from the shelves containing songs made by miners, weavers and agricultural workers (some previously published, but most selected to illustrate the songmaking of working people)... 'Sharpen The Sickle' by Reg Groves (History of the farmworkers Union), 'Songs of the People' Brian Hollingsworth, 'The Industrial Muse' Martha Vicinus, 'Music and Tradition in Early Industrial Lancashire' Roger Elbourne, 'The Colliers' Rant' Robert Colls, songs and poetry by Scots miner Joe Corrie, weaving songs by Laycock and Bamford.....
In the sixties I worked through some of the radical newspaper press cuttings in Manchester Central Library, listing songs from their regular column. Eddie and Ruth Frow, the Salford historians gave me access to their library (then private) where I found many more
Picton library in Liverpool has a small collection of unpublished miners songs.
Walter Pardon sang a few songs which were made to support the re-setting up of the Agricultural Workers Union in East Anglia, notably 'The Old Man's Advice' A little more than your "examples .....from a few latterday writers/singers written in their retirement", don't you think
Working people have always made songs about their lives, in England as well as Ireland, yet you would have us accept that "they were too busy earning a living".
You mentioned back up the thread something about me not being able to provide info on 'Bonny Bunch of Roses'
Er no - I did no such thing; you provided 'evidence proving' it originated on a broadside, I asked you how you knew it hadn't appeared earlier in the oral tradition, you beat a hasty reatreat giving a somewhat patronising answer - yet no proof.
Which brings us back full circle; we have no idea of the traditiional repertoire other than the comparatively small number of songs collected from oral tradition in the 20th century and a few earlier.
We know for certain that working people made songs - ample evidence of thet both in Britain and Ireland.
Given all the questions that you have avoided or made a half-hearted attempt to answer (and failed IMO), you have no basis whatever for claiming that "the vast majority of them originated in these printed forms in towns under commercial conditions", and you certainly have no basis for claiming that you know which ones did.
"much of the rest originated in high art!"
Utter nonsense - folk beliefs and lore, tradititional storytelling, traditional dancing - all originating from high art. Where on earth do the Jack Tales appear in high art, or the jigs and reels played for dancing for centuries, or the traditional cures....
You really are on a mission to prove that working people had no creative culture whatever of their own aren't you.
Now where did I put that Kylie album?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 24 Apr 12 - 02:33 AM

Keith,
Indeed but the likelihood of those songs getting into the national repertoire would be rather slim without the aid of print.


I agree.
Perhaps one in a thousand made it to form our "national repertoire."


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: Artful Codger
Date: 24 Apr 12 - 04:10 PM

I have to side with Steve Gardham in thinking that a far greater percentage of "folk songs" were original creations for the broadside industry than were slight adaptations of pre-existing folk songs. Consider: the industry was primarily based in London, but there were printers all over the British Isles. If the typical source of broadside songs were folk songs, it stands to reason that these songs would likely have existed and spread for some time prior to the broadside industry latching onto them; thus, we would expect printers in various parts of the country to publish versions of these songs which varied significantly in their wording, as with folk songs collected from oral tradition. But most broadsides of a song that I have seen are surprisingly uniform in their language.

I also notice what Gardham has described regarding the "polishing": that the broadside versions contain not just flowery but downright awkward language that soon gets "ironed out" in oral versions, as we see from later collection, or even later broadside versions--and if the songs derived from oral tradition, rather than merely recycling common formulae in new works, they would be less likely to have such language added to them, considering the intended market. In contrast, there are also broadside texts of probable oral origin, where such artifices are noticeably lacking. One could investigate whether such texts were published at roughly the same time in significantly different versions; that should weigh more heavily one side of the debate or the other.

The intended market also explains the sympathies that the broadside ballads express wrt criminals and such--it's like modern films pandering to the (crude) tastes of teenage boys and girls. The writers may be capable of much better stuff, and hopefully have a higher moral grounding (aside from selling out to Hollywood), but the products reflect the demands and sympathies of the market, not the (radically different) personal tastes, political bent or educational level of the writers and executives pushing this tripe. Jim Carroll's objection based on sympathies simply ignores market realities. As for the sympathies being "seditious", how could they have been distributed from either source in printed form had the official censors viewed them so? The censors would not have applied a double standard based on the source of the lyrics.

So, to my mind, we do have evidence of oral vs. manufactured origins in broadsides. It's not the sort of irrefutable evidence that Jim Carroll seems to require, but it's corroborative, and constitutes, to my mind, a preponderance that comes as close to conclusive as one can ever expect. Despite the cachet that folkies desire that most folk songs we're familiar with were written by heynonnymous masses in the country, rather than by hacks in the cities, that doesn't seem to be the case for the majority of the songs which have been collected. This in no way detracts from the genuine products of oral tradition, or imputes the capabilities of folk poets or even discounts the propensity of the folk to versify; it merely argues that fewer examples of truly orally-originated works have survived than we'd like to believe, on balance.


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 24 Apr 12 - 05:06 PM

Well argued, Rob.

As I suggested before, there's an unmistakable stylistic difference between songs we know were created by people who, if not necessarily illiterate, were not creating a commercial product meant to appeal to the masses (even if they belonged to the masses themselves).

One doesn't have to be an expert to detect a completely different artistic sensibility between oral-traditional songs like "The Old Chisholm Trail" or "Goodbye, Old Paint" or "John Henry" or any sea shanty, and mannered compositions like "High Germany," "The Dark-Eyed Sailor," and "The Flying Cloud." No cheap printing of "The Flying Cloud" is known, but its style places it squarely in that tradition. Even if it never circulated in print or writing, its author (and I use the word advisedly) was influenced unquestionably by elite conventions (just consider the phrase, "in sorrow to repine") - and "The Flying Cloud" is one of the less sentimentally expressed 19th C. ballads. And that would be true no matter how much oral folklore he knew.

Overwhelmingly oral-traditional genres like superstitions, traditional tales, melodies, jokes, proverbs, and the like are far easier to remember, repeat, and elaborate with no help from print. The tales obviously come closest to the ballads, but how many unsatisfyingly brief versions of a Jack tale must have been told for every outstanding one? More to the point, except for a few requisite mannerisms and a unifying structure, how many folktales rely as heavily on flowery language as do so many 18th C. broadsides? Flowery language itself ("euphuism") seems to have been a fashionable development of the 16th-17th C. An unusually dedicated non-literate person might have mastered the style - with the proper set of unusual opportunities - but how far would his or her composition have been likely to travel?

Since we have so little solid information on how specific songs were created, and by whom, all general arguments about origin are based on probability. And the probabilities themselves are also uncertain. Ordinarily one can't show beyond doubt that a particular traditional song was created by a literate or a non-literate or a semi-literate person.

Even so, there's no evidence that I'm aware of that mannered or flowery language in English is a spontaneous "folk" creation employed by the average person. ("The Iliad" and "Beowulf" were created by specialists, and in a very different sort of tradition.) It's hard for me to imagine that mannered or flowery songs weren't based on literate convention, even if in some cases a truly non-literate person of unusual accomplishment actually created the song.


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 25 Apr 12 - 02:44 AM

We should not generalise a whole demographic.
Here is a witness of Trafalgar.
Not an officer but a common seaman.
Such a man could easily be imagined to compose such a line as "in sorrow to repine" as part of a song for the amusement of his shipmates or to impress the landsmen and girls.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/culture/2010/oct/19/battle-trafalgar-account-below-deck


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 25 Apr 12 - 03:42 AM

As I have remarked before, it is the ability of folksong so often to teeter on the very verge of doggerel without ever quite tumbling in which I find so admirable. One feature of this is the use of such highly conventionalised 'poetic' phraseology as "in sorrow to repine", which has filtered down as 'appropriate' for the expression of feeling. Think of The Holmfirth Anthem {aka "Pretty pretty flowers"!}, with its "beautiful damsel lamenting for her shepherd swain"; its "wilt thou leave me thus, my dear?"; its "fairest evening that ever I beheld thee": mish-mash of half-digested poeticisms, but somehow just works all of a piece ~~ IMO anyhow. As so often, the beautiful tune helps ~~ surely not for nothing did RVW think Searching For Lambs [another example of the genre ~~ "I am thine and thou art mine"] the most beautiful tune he had ever heard.

~M~


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 25 Apr 12 - 03:55 AM

Not going to have much time on this today
"Overwhelmingly oral-traditional genres like superstitions, traditional tales, melodies, jokes, proverbs, and the like are far easier to remember, repeat, and elaborate with no help from print."
All of which Steve had rejected outright with his statement:
".....this is just not true, except one would presume with folk painting, much of the rest originated in high art!"
Which leaves what we know to be a creative people with no created culture whatever, only that made for them by the professionals - this suggests country people to be less creative than some of the most primitive peoples of the world - read Ruth Finnegan, Carl Engle, Wilbur Trask, C M Bowra..... all writing about oral literature created and performed by primitive, illiterate peoples.
There has never been any question that some of our folk songs started life on the broadside presses - Prof. Bob Thomson was working on this back in the late 60s, but to suggest that it virtually all was, flies in the face of reality - never mind the virtually non-existent evidence of our oral traditions prior to 1900.
I have always been left with an suspicion of selective manipulation of the few facts we do have when I read these arguments.
For instance, if non-literate Travellers like John Reilly had large and rare ballad repertoires, we are advised that they must have had access to the printed word - even though we damn well know they didn't.
If we are told that a songs was sung by a singer's great-grandparents, their words are treated with suspicion "unless there's a contemporaneous record".
There is far too much evidence of the desire - need even - of working people - humanity in general - to express themselves, their experiences, beliefs, opinions and emotions artistically, to write a whole folk culture off as being produced on their behalf by professionals - ham fisted "hacks" even.
There is no question that 'the folk' actually produced their own 'folk songs' here in Ireland - in this small town in the west of Ireland even - we have recorded and documented accounts of it having taken place.
It has been conceded that bothy songs were made by bothy workers.
There are many printed examples of songs and poems made by miners, textile workers and agricultural laboureres - why should not songmaking have been the general practice of all similar communities, as it has always been assumed it was by those working on the subject, and in some cases, much nearer to the facts of the matter than we are?
There is enough evidence to strongly suggest that it was, there is virtually no reliable evidence to suggest it wasn't, and such asuggestion flies in the face of logic.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: GUEST
Date: 26 Apr 12 - 06:48 AM

>>This meaning of rout is a call up or deployment.

I've never heard that meaning of rout before, and can't find the etymology for it online. Is it slang?

Many thanks.


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 26 Apr 12 - 07:10 AM

Dictionary definition.
Route march - A long hard march by soldiers in training - a router one that routes.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 26 Apr 12 - 04:06 PM

Rout/Route=old term for marching orders. Whether this has etymological connections with Jim's suggestion you would be able to check in one of the larger dictionaries like the Shorter Oxford.


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 26 Apr 12 - 04:29 PM

Sorry about the silence for 2-3 days. I've been crewing on boats up and down the Humber. Messing about on the river!

'Today I pulled around a dozen books from the shelves containing songs made by miners, weavers and agricultural workers (some previously published, but most selected to illustrate the songmaking of working people)... 'Sharpen The Sickle' by Reg Groves (History of the farmworkers Union), 'Songs of the People' Brian Hollingsworth, 'The Industrial Muse' Martha Vicinus, 'Music and Tradition in Early Industrial Lancashire' Roger Elbourne, 'The Colliers' Rant' Robert Colls, songs and poetry by Scots miner Joe Corrie, weaving songs by Laycock and Bamford.....
In the sixties I worked through some of the radical newspaper press cuttings in Manchester Central Library, listing songs from their regular column. Eddie and Ruth Frow, the Salford historians gave me access to their library (then private) where I found many more
Picton library in Liverpool has a small collection of unpublished miners songs.'
In response to your 23rd 7.38 post, you know very well when I presented my findings to you we were discussing the general corpus of English traditional song as collected by the likes of Sharp, Baring Gould, Hammond, Kidson, etc. You won't find very many of the songs in the books you've mentioned in this corpus, and not a great deal of them have evidence of having been in oral tradition, and those that do only in their own limited area.

Some of your points I feel I've already answered and therefore I'm not repeating myself further.

You continue to misquote me 'much' = 'all'


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 26 Apr 12 - 04:56 PM

Do we all agree that the bulk of the 18th and early 19th C. broadsides are more flowery in language than, say, those of the 1840s and after?

Keith, the point isn't whether a literate seaman could write a song - or even a book - in a conventional literate style. It's whether a scarcely educated person could do so, and how likely it would be for his or her song to spread throughout the country without the aid of print.


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 26 Apr 12 - 05:18 PM

I agree with your point, Jonathan, but would also add that IMO this is because many of the printed songs were coming down from the theatres and pleasure garden compositions or at least in imitation of them. This includes the Phoebes and Corydons and description of bright Phoebus, and all of those flowery hunting songs, idealised pastoral songs like The Sweet Nightingale.


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 27 Apr 12 - 02:41 AM

Lighter, an illiterate could hardly write a book, but could and did make up songs.

Songs need not arise from education, except that all life experience is education.
They may not have read poetry, but they all had a repertoire of well written hymns.


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 27 Apr 12 - 04:02 AM

'English traditional song as collected by the likes of Sharp...."
You are either not reading what I have written or are deliberately misrepresenting my point - which was in response to your "English working people people were too busy earning a living to make songs themselves"
My point was that there are many examples of working people doing exactly that - the hardship of their lives being one of the reasons why they made songs (among others).
"Some of your points I feel I've already answered"
You have answered none of them; you have attempted to explain away some of the flaws of your hypothesis with top-of-the-head excuses. Most you have totally ignored - poor grasp of and attitude to literacy (where it existed), the contrast with knowledge we have of Irish and Scots oral tradition of song making and that of rural England, on-the-spot opinions of Hindley, Walton, Maidment, et-al, that these were songs made by country people and communities, Ms Laidlaw's statement that writing the songs down killed them off rather than perpetuated them, the credibility gap in your claim of being able to trace back so many traditional songs to broadside origins when you have virtually no examples to do so prior to the beginning of the 20th century.............
The description you have been given of illiterate song sellers reciting traditional songs to the printer in order to sell them.... and many more points you appear to have no answer for really need dealing with before your theory can be taken seriously.
I'm not sure where the 'flowery language' comes into all of this, surely the contrast of the overblown language of the broadsides and the rounded singability of the oral examples suggest that it is extremely unlikely of the latter developing from the former.
Take the song in question - High Germany - and contrast the chunky version you produced with those found in the oral tradition - suggestion enough for me of a "hack" taking an existing piece which reflects the stark realities of army life and its camp-followers, and re-making it into something else.
"You continue to misquote me"
I have not at any time misrepresented your argument, on the contrary, it is you and your "Merrie England" and "whistling ploughboys" cliches who has distorted mine - apparently to cover up the fact that your arguments are based on (as you first described way back) "a gut reaction" rather than the hard evidence you would need to prove that English people were recipients rather than makers of the song that reflected their lives and conditions so realistically ad passionately.
Your extending this to include tales, music, customs, lore, etc. (and your failure to qualify such a suggestion) blows the idea totally out of the water for me.
You stick with your "gut reaction" - I'll settle for my hard evidence, gained partially by having spent a long time with traditional singers (some from a still-living tradition) and questioning them on the relationship and function of their songs to their everyday lives.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 27 Apr 12 - 05:37 AM

"many examples of working people doing exactly that - the hardship of their lives being one of the reasons why they made songs"
.,,.,.
Germane, I think, to quote the formulation [Bert Lloyd's, was it?] that "people have always sung best when they had least to sing about".

~M~


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 27 Apr 12 - 06:32 AM

Thanks Mike, I'd forgotten that one
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 27 Apr 12 - 08:33 AM

Anyone can make up a song.

Not everyone can or wishes to make up a song in the diction of fashionable literature or according to the structural conventions of printed balladry.

"When they had the least to sing about": touching but uninformative.


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