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Title: Pedalling in the dark
Author: Bathe, Andrew
ISNI:       0000 0001 3451 2379
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2007
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Alfred Williams Upper Thames Folk Song: an obscure variant on a byway of knowledge which appears self-articulating. From an unexpected dawning in 1914, these elements conjoin as subject and object with, after their fashion, apocalyptic effect, creating a before of rustic toilers (who chanced to sing) and a truculent, questing autodidact who partly shared their decaying world, and an after of meaning and value occluded as much as clarified in the shibboleth 'folk'. The condition of the singers-their occupation, literacy, mobility-is explored from official record, and correlated to 'folk' song through a pondering of transmission. The consciousness of the self-anointed chronicler, variously apprenticed but musically unformed, is examined in private document and printed pronouncement. Knowledge extends through biographical particularity, specifics of the variety of the song (sung) corpus, a drawing together of the Alfredian documentary Nachlass. In that his predilections are parochial, his equipping pre-eminently literary and moral, Williams is at once aligned with 'his' district and its denizens, and egregiously removed from the melodico-verbal artefact which would, in the course of peregrine pedallings, become undesignedly the object of his attentions. The construction is heroically achieved, but results from an amalgam of postulate militating again§\:any cogent reconciling of components, such that the cardinal constituent remains, finally, prosthetic. Unaccustomed as he was to faltering in his prodigious stride,'folk' song rather finds him out (as it must find us all out): in this sense he serves as the baroque emblem of allegories of disaffection. A neglected figure of the early folk song movement steps from the shadows. Far from self-articulating, his negotiations offer the spectacle of heterogeneous musical materials only problematically peculiar to an in specific locale, mediated in the affiliations and alienations of a fractured self.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available