Musical authenticity (was "Hunting the Wren")

White Tree Productions ioseph at locksley.com
Sun Sep 10 15:48:46 PDT 1995


On Sun, 10 Sep 1995, Dave & Laura McKinstry wrote:

> Brett Williams wrote:

> >It's my feeling that if we exclude the unprovable then it would lead 
> >one to a natural conclusion that not only should we exclude the 
> >unproven, but also our own efforts as well. I, for one, fail to see the 
> >difference, from the viewpoint of absolute authenticity standards, 
> >between reinterpretation of fragments of period balladry/songs and 
> >original effort. Both are, at heart, according to the cry of the 
> >authenticity maven, "not period".

And thereby limiting us to that small group of provably period songs..feh!

> for the period songs I would sing.  THe melodies, at best, stayed relatively
> the same, but not even that.  Some harpers would overhear a song in a
> tavern, or somesuch, then later recreate it as best they remembered on their
> own instrument, sometimes trying to recall the words, or change the
> rendition to reflect their own values.

This is called the "folk process" and is quite common indeed in traditional
folksong.

> as I stated in an earlier post, I believe the INTENT of being a bard is to
> tell us of OUR history, so you will more likely hear me sing of Richard of
> Huntington's (Trimaris) three stags on his coat of arms than, say, Queen
> Elizabeth.  

Hear! Hear!

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