Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 16, 1905.djvu/148

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page needs to be proofread.

126 Reviews.

practical assistance he might afford to the historical student of the modern exact school ; and the historian cannot fairly be blamed if he does not make use of materials which the folklorist fails to place within his reach,

F. M. Stenton.

Journal of the Folk-Song Society, Vol. I., Pt. 5. Spottis- woode & Co., 1904.

The recent finds of Mr. Cecil Sharp in Somersetshire have oppor- tunely called public attention to the subject of Folk Song, and to the wealth of material to be discovered in our country places by the wise seeker.

Leaving aside the question of pleasure received from the fresh- ness and charm of the individual tunes, the value of the study of folk music is not sufficiently appreciated. It should be of the greatest interest both to the ethnologist and to the literary historian. Specially should it help us in considering the fascinating question of ballad diffusion. For, when a theme has been bor- rowed, one would look for the tune to be borrowed also, seeing that such things pass from lip to lip rather than from book to book. Therefore the oldest examples of ballads, and ballad themes require careful consideration in this connection, for the original air will probably have at any rate influenced the reflected forms. So far the literary historian. For the ethnologist the collecting of local tunes should be at least as useful and exhila- rating a sport as the gathering of skull measurements, for in few things do racial characteristics come out so clearly as in popular music, and the mine has been little worked as yet, either in civilized or in savage society.

Mr. Sharp's brilliant successes should not cause us to forget that he is not the only Richmond in the field. The Folk-Song Society, which we are glad to see will now have his valuable help on its Committee, has done, and is doing, excellent work in collecting and publishing traditional music, especially that of our own