"Music is the electric soil in which
the spirit lives, thinks and invents."
Ludwig Van Beethoven, composer (about 1800)
"The Magistrates acting for this Hundred
have given orders to the Constables and Other Peace Officers
to apprehend all Common Beggars, Ballad Singers and other Vagrants
so they may be dealt with according to Law"
Notice board in Amersham, Buckinghamshire (1811)
"The Scots have been often accused of claiming the Irish music as their own,
and though we wish to act fairly by them,
we cannot but doubt the exclusive right which, in many instances,
has been asserted in favour of the sister country.."
Robert Archibald Smith,
("Thhe Scotish minstrel: a selection from the vocal melodies of Scotland, ancient and modern", 1821)
"The well-known song of lament which the Highland people cry over their dead,
and which, I believe, is also common to other Celtic nations, especially the Irish."
Robert Chambers, ("The Scottish Songs", 1834)
"I shall not expatiate upon the importance of folk songs.
They are a people's history, vital, vivid, full of colors and truth,
laying bare all the life of a people."
Nikolai Gogol, Russian writer (1834)
"THE melodies of Scotland are unrivalled for originality and variety.
Plaintive tenderness, martial enthusiasm, and bacchanalian hilarity,
in turn find their true and just expression in these national airs."
The vocal melodies of Scotland" (The Spectator, 10 September 1836)
"It is a great thing in a sailor to know how to sing well,
for he gets a great name by it from the officers,
and a good deal of popularity among his shipmates."
Herman Melville, writer of "Moby Dick" (about 1840)
"Of the airs, some are so ancient,
that their origin is lost in remote antiquity;
other were composed in a range of known history
by the bards of itinerant musicians of Ireland;
while many were produced at a comparatively modern period,
mostly Carolan, who is said to have been
the last of the Bards of Ireland."
J.W. Glover (Preface to "Moore's Melodies", February 25, 1859)
"Our modern Political Songs and Ballads
[are] the best popular illustrations of history.....
.....The popular song is easy, simple,
and born on the incidents of the day"
W.W. Wilkins ("Political Ballads of the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries", 1860)
"... true popular ballads are the spontaneous products of nature..."
Francis James Child, ong collector and professor English literature in Harvard (1861)
"Professional musicians have many inducements to compose or perform music
which they do not feel, while the untaught peasant will sing
when his heart's emotions impel him to it."
Carl Engel, writer and Music Division Chief of the Library of Congress (1879)
"The old traditional songs are fast dying out, never to be recalled.
They are now seldom or never sung,
but rather remembered, by old people."
Frank Kidson ("Traditional Tunes", 1891)
"Although folk music may be preserved in different strata of society
the classes from which the most interesting specimens
are most readily to be obtained are gardeners, artizans,
gamekeepers, shepherds, rustic labourers, gipsies, sailors,
fishermen, workers at old fashioned trades,
such as weaving, lace-making, and the like,
as well as domestic servants of the old school, especially nurses"
K. Lee ("Hints to Collectors of Folk Music", 1898)
"True style comes not from the individual but from the products
of the crowds of fellow-workers who sift and try and try again
till they have found the thing that suits their native taste,
and the purest product of such effort is folk song"
Sir Hubert Parry, composer (1899)
"The Society shall have for its primary object
the collection and preservation of folk-songs, ballads and tunes,
and the publication of such of these as may be deemed advisable"
One of the adopted rules of the English Folk Song Society (February 2nd, 1899)