Occam All Ye Faithful

Imagine you chanced upon the last vestige of a rousing, local, pub-based community carol singing tradition and then found yourself wondering why it has all but died out. Which culprits would first spring to mind? Materialism? Television? The assertion that “there is no such thing as society?” Contemporary “broken Britain?” The real answer (contained in the link below) may surprise you.

Also surprising is the asymmetric scansion of some of the tunes e.g. 00:55 – 1:05 on this link (scroll down to the article at 0820). It would be easy, invoking Occam’s Razor, to imagine that melodies would be sculpted into their most graspable form by generations of oral tradition.

One thought on “Occam All Ye Faithful”

  1. Interesting coincidence, Alan. I have to admit to not knowing anything of this tradition until I heard Kate Rusby last week tell us all about exactly what was going on in that South Yorkshire pub in the Radio 4 clip. All of the carols in her new CD – Sweet Bells – come from that South Yorskhire/North Derbyshire pub-singing tradition – and lovely they are too. Perhaps we should start a ‘Real Carols’ movement to sweep away the High Anglican blandness that we all know so well. I’d be happy to be the first atheist member of the movement!

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