Folk Songs of the Worldby Charles Haywood;Folk Songs of Europeby Maud Karpeles

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  • Folk Songs of the World by Charles Haywood; Folk Songs of Europe by Maud KarpelesReview by: S. J. SackettThe Journal of American Folklore, Vol. 81, No. 319 (Jan. - Mar., 1968), pp. 79-81Published by: American Folklore SocietyStable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/537447 .Accessed: 10/12/2014 09:09

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  • Cowboy Songs and Other Frontier Ballads. Collected by John A. Lomax and Alan Lomax. (New York: The Macmillan Co., I965. Pp. xxxviii+ 43I, introduction, index. $8.95).

    Everybody who has read Wilgus' book on folksong scholarship knows the defects of the Lomaxes' collection, now in its fifteenth printing of the I938 "Revised and Enlarged" edition. Let us not, therefore, dwell on them now but instead remark the fact that in the years which have intervened between its first publication in 1910 and now, no one has done the job better, and express our gratitude to Macmillan for keeping in print what is still the best collection of cowboy songs ever made.

    Fort Hays Kansas State College S. J. SACKETT Hays, Kansas

    Folk Songs of the World. By Charles Haywood. (New York: The John Day Co., I966. Pp. 320, preface, bibliography, index, illustrations. $I0.95).

    Folk Songs of Europe. Edited by Maud Karpeles. (International Folk Song Antholo- gies; New York: Oak Publications, I964. Pp. xx + 268, bibliography, index. $2.95). Since these two collections are similar in intent and approach, they may profitably

    be considered together. Of the two it is hard not to give the preference to that of Miss Karpeles.

    Both are samplings of songs from many countries; Professor Haywood's book gives i80 songs from 125 countries (1.44 songs per country), Miss Karpeles' 183 songs from 30 countries (6.i songs per country). It would be impossible for Miss Karpeles' col- lection not to give the more representative taste of what a nation's folksongs are really like. Professor Haywood himself apologizes for his defects in this particular (p. 5); and, while it would be unfair to accuse Professor Haywood of not accomplishing what he himself knew to be impossible, perhaps it is not unfair to inquire why he attempted a job that he knew beforehand could not be done well.

    Professor Haywood supplies, as Miss Karpeles does not, a commentary on the musi- cological aspects of the songs he includes. This, however, is not an unmixed blessing. There is no reason why a good musicologist, as Professor Haywood most assuredly is, should also be a good writer; the John Day Company deserves a scathing rebuke for having failed to provide him with an editor to smooth out the infelicities of his style and to help him adjust his scholarship to his audience. With regard to the latter point, it is hard to imagine the degree of musicological sophistication that Professor Haywood requires, for his ideal reader is evidently someone who needs to be told that the word tempo means "speed" (as is explained on p. I23), but who can read the following sentence without any explanatory aids: "The melodies generally show symmetrical con- struction, moving toward the dominant, with a recapitulation, or with slight variation, ending on the tonic" (pp. o08-o09). One of the least defensible aspects of the book is that Professor Haywood frequently makes long quotations-several sentences or even paragraphs-without identifying his sources. Only his quotation marks defend him from the charge of plagiarism; his practice is bad scholarly manners, not only because he denies the reader the opportunity of locating the sources from which his

    Cowboy Songs and Other Frontier Ballads. Collected by John A. Lomax and Alan Lomax. (New York: The Macmillan Co., I965. Pp. xxxviii+ 43I, introduction, index. $8.95).

    Everybody who has read Wilgus' book on folksong scholarship knows the defects of the Lomaxes' collection, now in its fifteenth printing of the I938 "Revised and Enlarged" edition. Let us not, therefore, dwell on them now but instead remark the fact that in the years which have intervened between its first publication in 1910 and now, no one has done the job better, and express our gratitude to Macmillan for keeping in print what is still the best collection of cowboy songs ever made.

    Fort Hays Kansas State College S. J. SACKETT Hays, Kansas

    Folk Songs of the World. By Charles Haywood. (New York: The John Day Co., I966. Pp. 320, preface, bibliography, index, illustrations. $I0.95).

    Folk Songs of Europe. Edited by Maud Karpeles. (International Folk Song Antholo- gies; New York: Oak Publications, I964. Pp. xx + 268, bibliography, index. $2.95). Since these two collections are similar in intent and approach, they may profitably

    be considered together. Of the two it is hard not to give the preference to that of Miss Karpeles.

    Both are samplings of songs from many countries; Professor Haywood's book gives i80 songs from 125 countries (1.44 songs per country), Miss Karpeles' 183 songs from 30 countries (6.i songs per country). It would be impossible for Miss Karpeles' col- lection not to give the more representative taste of what a nation's folksongs are really like. Professor Haywood himself apologizes for his defects in this particular (p. 5); and, while it would be unfair to accuse Professor Haywood of not accomplishing what he himself knew to be impossible, perhaps it is not unfair to inquire why he attempted a job that he knew beforehand could not be done well.

    Professor Haywood supplies, as Miss Karpeles does not, a commentary on the musi- cological aspects of the songs he includes. This, however, is not an unmixed blessing. There is no reason why a good musicologist, as Professor Haywood most assuredly is, should also be a good writer; the John Day Company deserves a scathing rebuke for having failed to provide him with an editor to smooth out the infelicities of his style and to help him adjust his scholarship to his audience. With regard to the latter point, it is hard to imagine the degree of musicological sophistication that Professor Haywood requires, for his ideal reader is evidently someone who needs to be told that the word tempo means "speed" (as is explained on p. I23), but who can read the following sentence without any explanatory aids: "The melodies generally show symmetrical con- struction, moving toward the dominant, with a recapitulation, or with slight variation, ending on the tonic" (pp. o08-o09). One of the least defensible aspects of the book is that Professor Haywood frequently makes long quotations-several sentences or even paragraphs-without identifying his sources. Only his quotation marks defend him from the charge of plagiarism; his practice is bad scholarly manners, not only because he denies the reader the opportunity of locating the sources from which his

    BOOK REVIEWS BOOK REVIEWS 79 79

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  • quotations come, but also because he denies his sources the proper credit for their contributions to his work. For a scholar of Professor Haywood's reputation, his con- duct in this regard is wholly reprehensible.

    Two exceptionally interesting features of Professor Haywood's book are that he includes three versions-American, Italian, and Swedish-of "Lord Randal" and that he presents the original folksongs used by Tchaikovski for a theme in the 1812 Overture and by Puccini in Madame Butterfly. It would be most interesting if someone of Pro- fessor Haywood's stature were to make a collection of folksongs which had given inspiration to composers.

    The large number of languages represented in both books is remarkable when one considers that the editors provide English translations, in the same meter as the originals, for all the songs. While the numbers of languages from which Miss Karpeles has translated is impressive, the achievement of Professor Haywood is even more so, for Miss Karpeles had more help than he and did not attempt any non-European languages.

    In both books the translations are very uneven; some are singable, some are accurate, a few are both, a good many are neither. Considering the extreme difficulty of the task of translating the words of songs-especially folksongs, which need to sound artless and idiomatic when you are through with them-the results in both books are on the whole commendable.

    The only song which I was able to find which appeared in both books was an Estonian one called "Kui mina alles noor veel olin." The translations by Miss Karpeles and Professor Haywood are so sharply different that one of them must simply be erroneous; since I know no Estonian, I cannot judge which one. The first stanza follows (I have omitted repetitions):

    Estonian Karpeles Haywood Kui mina alles noor When I was a child When I was but a small

    veel olin, a-playing, young laddie, Lapse polves mangisin In my happy careless Games I would play, and

    youth, always ready. Ei mina teadnud muud Only what my eyes did Everything I saw with

    kui seda, show me pleasure, Mis mina naigin silmaga. Did I take to be the Filled my mind with untold

    truth. treasure.

    In Miss Karpeles' translation the song is about a youthful skeptic; in Professor Hay- wood's, about a young pleasure-seeker. Professor Haywood's version fits the remainder of the song better (though he provides only one and a half stanzas in all, whereas Miss

    Karpeles gives three); Miss Karpeles' suits the tune better and is more idiomatic and singable.

    My own interest in Flemish led me to compare the treatments of Flemish folksong as a representative case. Miss Karpeles gives three Flemish songs-a Christmas carol, a love song connected with May Day, and a fun song for children. Professor Hay- wood includes only one, a children's song related to a Christmas celebration. Evi- dently thinking that hutsepot is a kind of pot, Professor Haywood leaves it untrans- lated; it is nothing more nor less than English "hodge-podge," so that 'Tis zoo goed om hutsepot, which he reads as "All that's good for the hutsepot," really means, "It's good enough for a hodgepodge." In general, Professor Haywood's translation sug- gests that the difficulties of the task got the better of him at several points. Miss

    80 BOOK REVIEWS

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  • Karpeles' translations are much freer; she makes less effort to follow the original. In the "Kerstlied" she misses the touch that Mary, in the manger trying to quiet the weeping Jesus, tells him, "Uwen wille die was zoo"-"After all, it was Thy will!" And it must be a sophisticated desire to avoid tautology that led her to translate Barrevoets en zonder schoen as "Barefoot in the frost and snow" when she could have had half a rhyme and kept the meter and meaning with "Barefoot and without a shoe." No reason why Miss Karpeles translated haar kind ("her child") as "the child," robbing the milkmaid of her parenthood in "Het Singelshuis," is apparent. The four songs- three in Miss Karpeles' collection and one in Professor Haywood's-are all representa- tive of aspects of Flemish folk culture, and all are good songs with good tunes.

    I find that I cannot leave these two collections without drawing attention to the purpose behind them. Both underscore the essential unity of mankind, for they reveal that the concerns of any people can be found repeated over and over again in the folksongs of others.

    Fort Hays Kansas State College S. J. SACKETT Hays, Kansas

    The American Folk Scene: Dimensions of the Folksong Revival. Edited by David A. DeTurk and A. Poulin, Jr. (New York: Dell Publishing Co., I967. Pp. 334. $.95 paper.)

    Anthologies are akin to jigsaw puzzles with a plethora of missing pieces. The Amer- ican Folk Scene is not a deviation from this pattern. The volume contains sophisticated commentaries from academicians and others coupled with charismatic statements ema- nating from the pens of the vanguard of folk revivalism. These varied treatments focus upon topics such as fakelore, folklore, protest, commercialism, "the cult of personality," and the "where it's at" syndrome. The replies to these questions spark with the insights and opinions of Legman, Steiner, and Hentoff and with the pontifications of the so-called Folk Music Establishment. The question of what is a folksong, or is X folk entre- preneur an apostle of tradition, is both confused and value-laden. Yet this discussion does point to a basic element in the "revival," the identification function of folk ma- terial in the urban milieu. The editors illustratively equate folk music with "human freedom" and a rejection of industrial social structure (p. 23). The etiological variable leading to the ideation of the Gemeinschaft social structure is unfortunately absent.

    The politico-ideological factors (Weltanschauung) manifest in the "revival" fol- lowing in the footsteps of other attempts can be categorized under the precepts of selected avoidance and segmented analysis. As I have suggested, the role of social move- ments in the urban folk progression is significant and not to be swept under a political rug. In this work discussions of the genesis of the urban "folk scene" attach labels and characterizations which are not isomorphic to history. For example: ... members of the folk movement have aligned themselves with the suffering and hopeful via a political philosophy which has been consistently liberal. (p. 21) In the Depression years, textile workers in the South and garment workers in the North put their protest into song. The line of continuity embraced Woody Guthrie, the Almanac Singers and the C.I.O. organizing drives of the late 1930's... (p. I69) ... Brechtian composers ... (p. 52)

    Karpeles' translations are much freer; she makes less effort to follow the original. In the "Kerstlied" she misses the touch that Mary, in the manger tryin...