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Author Topic: Never let a musicologist near traditional music!  (Read 3619 times)

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Offline swarbrules

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Never let a musicologist near traditional music!
« on: Oct 23, 2012, 12:03:45 PM »
Two transcriptions of a popular Welsh tune, Lisa Lan (Fair Lisa)

X:1
T:Lisa Lan
M:3/4
L:1/8
%%stretchlast
K:F
E Ac | c>B A2 FF | F3 F Ac | f3 e ed | c3 F Ac |
f3 e fe/d/ | cf ed cd | c>B G2 FF | F3


X:1
T:Lisa Lan II
M:2/4
L:1/8
%%stretchlast
K:Eb
z4 | E2 GB | [M:3/4] B2 A>F EF | E3 z z2 |
[M:2/4] E2 GB | [M:3/4]-d3 e (d/c/)(BA) | [M:2/4] B3 z | E2 GB{B} |
[M:3/4] -d2 ee (d/c/) (B/A/) | (B>c -d/c/) (B/A/) BB | (BA/G/) F2 EF | E4

The second version has all the hallmarks of a musicologist who can't understand the traditional singers don't always worry about music theory.

Which do you prefer?




Offline ChrisP

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Re: Never let a musicologist near traditional music!
« Reply #1 on: Oct 23, 2012, 05:42:35 PM »
Alternatively you could say that version 1 has oversimplified the melody to conform to a preconceived notion of what the time signature and key *should* be. Maybe version 2 is more faithful to the original, which would be preferable. We'd know little about anything without 'ologists' who have studied the subject.
But without knowing the reputation of either of the transcribers it is impossible to make a useful comment without hearing the original.

Offline Ebor_fiddler

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Re: Never let a musicologist near traditional music!
« Reply #2 on: Oct 23, 2012, 07:47:59 PM »
I would suggest that we have two visions of the same tune. The first is the basic skeleton which we can use to produce our own interpretation, depending on how we want to use it. The second seems to be an attempt to produce on paper a particular person's particular performance.
Comments anybody?  :-*

Chris.

Offline Ebor_fiddler

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Re: Never let a musicologist near traditional music!
« Reply #3 on: Oct 23, 2012, 07:48:57 PM »
Sorry - I'm Chris B. (To avoid confusion).

Offline madmat

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Re: Never let a musicologist near traditional music!
« Reply #4 on: Oct 23, 2012, 09:39:05 PM »
Sorry - I'm Chris B. (To avoid confusion).
... he said, cris(b)p-ly.
Not your mama, or Yo-yo Ma!

Offline madmat

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Re: Never let a musicologist near traditional music!
« Reply #5 on: Oct 23, 2012, 09:40:38 PM »
... all the hallmarks of a musicologist who can't understand the traditional singers don't always worry about music theory...
Which is why there is a special variety of them called "ethnomusicologists", Mr. Jeff-Geoff. :)
Not your mama, or Yo-yo Ma!

Offline philsskills

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Re: Never let a musicologist near traditional music!
« Reply #6 on: Oct 23, 2012, 10:33:32 PM »
Oops!  Joined the wrong topic.  I'm out of here.
Regards,

Phil

Offline swarbrules

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Re: Never let a musicologist near traditional music!
« Reply #7 on: Oct 24, 2012, 09:44:49 AM »
We do, indeed, owe a lot to People Like Cecil Sharpe and the Lomaxes but, a lot of them failed to recognise that the music was not an end in itself and not a scholastic exercise but merely an accompaniment to social gatherings or for personal amusement and it didn't matter if the key wavered slightly or the time signature varied.

Offline Emma

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Re: Never let a musicologist near traditional music!
« Reply #8 on: Oct 24, 2012, 12:50:59 PM »
I couldn't get the second one to play on tune-a-tron. I did note the time-sig changes though.
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Offline madmat

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Re: Never let a musicologist near traditional music!
« Reply #9 on: Oct 24, 2012, 09:32:02 PM »
We do, indeed, owe a lot to People Like Cecil Sharpe and the Lomaxes but, a lot of them failed to recognise that the music was not an end in itself and not a scholastic exercise but merely an accompaniment to social gatherings or for personal amusement and it didn't matter if the key wavered slightly or the time signature varied.
I'm glad they went out and made so many field recordings and transcribed, and continue to transcribe things for us with a more classical upbringing.

I don't think being scholarly and studying folk music are necessarily mutually exclusive, there are some people who go back to roots and successfully implement them in a more modern context.
Not your mama, or Yo-yo Ma!

Offline suamor

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Re: Never let a musicologist near traditional music!
« Reply #10 on: Nov 16, 2012, 07:46:27 PM »
I couldn't get the second one to play on tune-a-tron. I did note the time-sig changes though.


Had the same problem (empty midi file), but I got it running via http://www.folkinfo.org/songs/abcconvert.php

Regards

Offline Jugband

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Re: Never let a musicologist near traditional music!
« Reply #11 on: Mar 23, 2013, 02:55:18 AM »
We do, indeed, owe a lot to People Like Cecil Sharpe and the Lomaxes but, a lot of them failed to recognise that the music was not an end in itself and not a scholastic exercise but merely an accompaniment to social gatherings or for personal amusement and it didn't matter if the key wavered slightly or the time signature varied.

You should see if you can find a copy of the movie "Songcatcher", with Aidan Quinn and Janet McTeer.

It's loosely based on the efforts of Olive Dame Campbell, in 1907.

Basic premise is that McTeer is a Professor Of Musicology at an East Coast university specializing in teaching old English, Irish, and Scottish ballads.

She gets hacked off and runs up to the mountains of Carolina.  When she gets up to Appalachia, she finds people's lives all intertwined with music, and it all seems to be based on what she's been teaching, but very different.  She finds that it's the other way around... what she's been teaching is based on what they are singing up in the mountains.

It turns out that each generation has a "Songcatcher", who learns all of the ballads from an older Songcatcher, then passes it on to a younger songcatcher as she begins growing old.

So the ballads, having been passed on only by ear, are just about the same as they were in the early 1740's, when they came to Appalachia in the minds of emigrants.

But in Britain, they had later fallen into the hands of Musicologists, who heard them by ear and notated them for posterity. 

However, being more Musically Educated, every time they found something that was musically incorrect, they "fixed" it. 

Later Musicologists, finding things that were musically correct, but could be "better" if changed in some minor way, made tiny changes to the original notation, generation after generation.

After several generations of minor tweakings, the ballads became what she was teaching.  However, in Appalachia, they were very close to their original sound.

It's a 2000 movie, which you can find at Blockbuster.com, probably Netflix, too.

I was really disappointed in the soundtrack CD, though.  They brought in a bunch of artists, like Dolly Parton and Emmylou Harris to record songs from the movie and songs that weren't even in the movie.

In my opinion, they did exactly what the movie plot was about... took original Appalachian songs sung in a simple style and "Sophisticated" them into Emmylou Harris songs.

Offline midiviolin

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Re: Never let a musicologist near traditional music!
« Reply #12 on: Mar 29, 2013, 02:54:43 AM »
You should see if you can find a copy of the movie "Songcatcher", with Aidan Quinn and Janet McTeer.
Jugband, thanks for mentioning this film , I'm very curious to see it, as I studied musicology (and ethnomusicology too) a part of being a fiddler.

...After several generations of minor tweakings, the ballads became what she was teaching. However, in Appalachia, they were very close to their original sound.

Sometimes the otherway around happens though: transcriptions or recordings preserve a tradition which was modified during the years, since folk music is a vivid tradition and has it's own changes and influences from other sources too. This is always to bear in mind when we take a recording and try to study a tune according to a particular performer.

 




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