Vol. 1 (2014)

Oral variation, interpretation and crowdsourcing. “I Ride an Ol’ Paint”

Published February 18, 2015


One role of the Internet seems to be acting as a corpus which expands interpretations which may or may be not based on real data. Oral variation, together with folk etymology and false interpretation are not limited to the Middle Ages. Crowdsourcing constitutes a rich source of information, more or less reliable. It is easier to dig than to filter, though. In the rich Western folklore, what seems handier is to discover how tradition is well and alive, and people may drive along versions of the same song. The exchange of information carried on, and the use of different media to convey different interpretations, seems to be useful for the analysis of textual variation and interpretation in a particular sub-field of heritage lore. The analysis of a traditional song of the West seems to be adequate for a tentative diving into that folkloric pool.