9780874711042 / 0874711045

English folk-song and dance,


Publisher:Rowman and Littlefield


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About the book:

Two centuries ago, Joseph Addison tells us in the character of Mr Spectator - L When I travelled I took a particular delight in hearing the songs and fables that are come down from father to son, and are most in vogue among the common people of the countries through which I passed for it is impossible that anything should be universally tasted and approved of by a multitude, though they are only the rabble of the nation, which hath not in it some peculiar aptness to please and gratify the mind of man Spectator . He further says - An ordinary song or ballad, that is the delight of the common people, cannot fail to please all such readers as are not unqualified for the enter- tainment by their affectation or ignorance. It was not only the cultured Mr Addison who recognised the claims of the peoples songs as expressive of sentiments that were worthy the consideration of the more learned, for quotation upon quotation could be given of examples where the refined and learned have found in the primitive song that which appealed in the highest degree. The moderns need no excuse for the study of folk-song, and few will regard the consideration of peoples-lore as an idle amusement. The present essay is put forth with all diffidence as a very slight dissertation upon a complex subject, and it does not pretend to do more than enter into the fringe of it. The younger of the present generation have seen the gradual speeding up of technique in composition and performance, but with this increased standard there has been a tendency to let fall certain very sacred and essential things that belong to musical art. In too many cases the composer has not quite justified the complexity of his composition while glorying in the skill of his craftsmanship he has too frequently forgotten the primitive demand for art and beauty, apart from technical elaboration. That type of simple melody that formerly pleased what we might regard as a less cultured age, holds no place in present-day composition or in the esteem of a certain class...

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