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Natural selection and the Internet

Glenn

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It has occurred to me on a number of occasions that perhaps the advent of the Internet, iTunes and mass media in general has changed the face of folk music for ever. By this I mean that in centuries gone by, music such as folk would somehow be seeded by a great idea and move from village to village, region to region by listening and copying. This lead, as has been mentioned frequently elsewhere in this forum, to folk tunes evolving and changing and somehow growing stronger with a sort of natural selection taking place. My fear is that with mass media all around us, this mechanism is now blocked. A new folk tune, once created, becomes fixed by YouTube so to speak. Any thoughts on this?
 

Soulsaver

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If having the music written didn't 'fix' these why should th'uTube rendition?
 

Anyanka

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As long as people take the tune away from the computer and into the pub (for example) there will still be an evolution. What may well happen, though, is a homogenisation of styles, where (say) Irish style is played in Korea and Roumania, instead of their native flavour of folk.
 
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Pippa

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I rather think the opposite - the evolution is now quicker. Youtube is full of covers of tunes all played differently, just because one version hangs around, doesn't prevent new versions being made. Rather it gets the tune out to a wider audience who can do their interpretation of it, when before youtube they might never have found it.
 
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Guernseyman

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And then there is Sibelius. Everyone is 'writing down' what they think they hear which will also cause evolution.
 

george garside

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The only thing that will obstruct evolution of tunes is the growing insistence, particularly by those more used to playing precisely as writ, on learnig to play the ''correct'' version of a tune. This is particularly noticeable in requests for the ''correct chords'' when a tune was thought up originally for a melody only instrument.

It must be quite a severe learning curve for those coming to folk from a strict 'classical' upbringing to be told that the guiding principle is simple 'if it sound right it is right'' and that fred and joe might play it differently etc etc

george
 
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Pippa

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george garside said:
It must be quite a severe learning curve for those coming to folk from a strict 'classical' upbringing to be told that the guiding principle is simple 'if it sound right it is right'' and that fred and joe might play it differently etc etc

As part of my "strict classical upbringing" my music class were handed sheets of Bach Chorales, with only the melody lines written in. It was our task to add chords and harmonize the melodies. At the end, everyone in the class had something different, and yes, they were (mostly!) all "right". Give us some credit! Yes, many original pieces do have a "correct" version, the original by the composer and not someone's arrangement, and yes I'm used to that, I imagine you can forgive us for not always knowing that that doesn't necessarily apply to folk tunes.
 

Glenn

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I think the emphasis is on the word "tunes".
Most folk music was simply that, a tune with (or without) words.
There never was an arrangement or accompaniment to go with it that wasn't more or less obvious once you knew the tune.
Thus there rarely is a complex, non-obvious, set of harmonies with folk music.
On the other hand, a lot of classical music is build around the unexpected play of harmony with melody that only existed in the head of the composer.
This has to be noted down at least once.
Thus moving from classical to folk is normally not an issue for a classically trained musician in my opinion.
It just takes practice forming the more obvious harmonies accurately, tunefully and with a sense of rhythm and style (easy really ;) ).
 

george garside

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I consider myself duly and rightfully admonished by Pippa- so lets not follow my friendly 'dig' by getting serious about one genre being better than 't'other. Each and every genre is great to its adherents and possibly a bit 'iffy' to its detractors.

george :oops:
 
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Pippa

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Quite right George. Personally I have great interest and respect for both genres, just more experience in classical! Ahem, back on topic... :D
 

jarvo

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When you say "Classically trained musician", does this involve in any way a chair, a whip and a red coat ? Curious of Jarvo.
 

BobM

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jarvo said:
When you say Classically trained musician, does this involve in any way a chair, a whip and a red coat ? Curious of Jarvo.

Shurly you mean “Circusly” trained?
 

jarvo

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Oh toots ...tha's what I was mis-thinking of ....wrong again..
 

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