Francis Lee Utley Memorial Lecture: What Ever Happened to Folk Songs?

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Main contributors
Szwed, John; Spitzer, Nick
Folk songs have been at the heart of the study of folklore since its beginnings, and the scholarship on song is one of the finest achievements of the field. But in recent years interest in songs, especially songs in English, has waned among scholars in both folklore and ethnomusicology. Despite some continuing important and innovative work, and public fascination with the subject, song no longer seems central to folklore studies. I will argue that song is a cultural universal, indeed a cultural imperative, and exists as a system similar to kinship systems, language, and economic relations. This will be a plea to resume interest in songs, and will suggest some means by which folklore studies might again assume responsibility for understanding the role of song in human history. (Sponsored by the AFS Fellows.)

American Folklore Society Annual Meeting Presentations
IUScholarWorks Repository

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