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At the heart of English folk

Folk Music Journal: Volume 11 Number 1

Volume 11 Number 1 (2016) contains the following pieces 



Arthur Knevett The Merging of the Folk-Song Society and the English Folk Dance Society: Amalgamation or Takeover?

In 1932 the Folk-Song Society (FSS) and the English Folk Dance Society (EFDS) amalgamated to become the English Folk Dance and Song Society (EFDSS). The idea for an all-embracing folk society was an ambition harboured by Cecil Sharp and was first publicly mooted in 1919. Following the death of Sharp in 1924, the establishment of a Memorial Fund to commemorate his work provided the ideal opportunity for his disciples and supporters in the EFDS to pursue the founding of such a society. This article will show how, eventually , the leaders of the EFDS were able to realize Sharp’s ambition and bring about the amalgamation of the two societies, and will show how eventually this led to what can be described as a ‘takeover’ of the FSS and the sidelining of the major folk song collectors who helped found that society.


Alice Little Percy Manning, Henry Balfour, Thomas Carter, and the Collecting of Traditional English Musical Instruments

In 1890 the Pitt Rivers Museum opened in Oxford and its new curator, Henry Balfour, began sorting through the collection as well as acquiring new objects for research and display. At the same time, Percy Manning, a local antiquarian, was undertaking his own programme of acquisitions, with help from Thomas Carter, and displaying some of his items to the public. While Balfour was interested in the science of human culture, Manning’s aim was to salvage historical objects before knowledge of them was lost. The aims of the two men were united by E. B. Tylor’s concept of ‘survivals’ and the idea of salvage, whether for scientific or historical reasons. This paper looks at some of the prevalent attitudes and methods that affected the collecting of traditional objects in the late 1890s.


Arthur Knevett and Vic Gammon English Folk Song Collectors and the Idea of the Peasant

In this essay we explore the ways folk song collectors active in England in the late Victorian and Edwardian periods used and engaged with contemporary discourses relating to the terms peasant and peasantry. We look into the understandings and connotations that the words had for the collectors and their wider society, the historical ideas that became associated with notions of the peasant, its use as an insult and the consequent reluctance of some collectors to use the word, as well as idealizations that became associated with it. We also look critically at the ways collectors’ usages of the terms have been understood (and misunderstood) by recent writers. In place of rather one-dimensional interpretations we propose a nuanced and complex understanding of highly significant but difficult and conflicted terms. Our broader aim is to make a contribution to a better historical understanding of the English folk song movement.


Gordon Ridgewell

A Cluster of Nineteenth-Century Sword Dance Competitions



Singing Simpkin and Other Bawdy Jigs


Reviews — Books

Brian Peters  

The Wanton Seed: English Folk Songs from the Hammond and Gardiner Manuscripts (Purslow, ed., rev. Douglas and Gardham)

Steve Gardham

The Mansfield Manuscript: An Old Edinburgh Collection of Songs and Ballads (Clark, ed.)

Steve Roud 

Legacies of Ewan MacColl: The Last Interview (Moore and Vacca, eds)

Andrew Killick   Taking Part in Music: Case Studies in Ethnomusicology (Russell and Ingram, eds)
Amanda MacLean 

Bludie Harlaw: Realities, Myths, Ballads (Olson)

Michael Heaney 

Under the Rose: A Miscellany of Yorkshire’s Seasonal Dance Traditions (Davenport)

Keiko Wells 

Japanese Singers of Tales: Ten Centuries of Performed Narrative (Tokita)

Christopher Heppa 

Vaughan Williams in Norfolk: The 1905–6 Collections from King’s Lynn (CD-ROM) (Helsdon)

Fintan Vallely 

Traditional Music and Irish Society: Historical Perspectives (Dowling)

David Atkinson 

Simple Forms: Essays on Medieval English Popular Literature (Gray)

Ruairidh Greig  Grainger the Modernist (Robinson and Dreyfus, eds)
Fay Hield  Roots of the Revival: American and British Folk Music in the 1950s (Cohen and Donaldson)
David Atkinson  The Flax Flower (MacLean)
Steve Roud  Why We Left: Untold Stories and Songs of America’s First Immigrants (Brooks)
David Atkinson  Damnable Practises: Witches, Dangerous Women, and Music in Seventeenth-Century English Broadside Ballads (Williams)

Reviews — CDs

Christopher Heppa 

Sam Larner, Cruising Round Yarmouth



Derek Schofield 

Roy Palmer, with a bibliography

David Atkinson 

Edward Fletcher Cass

Penny Vera-Sanso 

Joan Rimmer

Stephen Winick  Jean Ritchie
Margaret Bennett  Sheila Stewart
David Atkinson Larry Edward Syndergaard




Cover illustration Oxfordshire pipes and tabors collected by Percy Manning

Editor: David Atkinson