I have heard several folk musicians say that when they want to play or sing a traditional tune, they seek to pull their own self backwards. I have heard it described as moving the face back to another mask, an underlying mask, that lies a level behind the everyday, prominent face of the self. The experience of these folk musicians is that in this way they find a voice, an attitude, that can take part in a totality of all the old voices, all those who came before them. The voice takes place in something greater than oneself.

The underlying mask has windows where the personal breaks through, where the individual's own facial features are visible. The particular, which represents only this person today, is twined together with the inherited. The old and the new, the universal and the subjective, the known and the unknown, speak together, at the same time

«Imagine a dialogue of two persons in which the statements of the second speaker are omitted, but in such a way that the general sense is not at all violated. The second speaker is present invisibly, his words are not there, but deep traces left by these words have a determining influence on all the present and visible words of the first speaker. We sense that this is a conversation, although only one person is speaking, and it is a conversation of the most intense kind, for each present, uttered word responds and reacts with its every fibre to the invisible speaker, points to something outside itself, beyond its own limits, to the unspoken words of another person
Mikhail Bakhtin1

«The word in language is half someone else's. It becomes 'one's own' only when the speaker populates it with his own intention, his own accent, when he appropriates the word, adapting it to his own semantic and expressive intention. Prior to this moment of appropriation, the word does not exist in a neutral and impersonal language (it is not, after all, out of a dictionary that the speaker gets his words!), but rather it exists in other people's mouths, in other people's contexts, serving other people's intentions: it is from there that one must take the word, and make it one's own

Mikhail Bakhtin2