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Barbara Allen earliest version?

DigiTrad:
BARBARA ALLEN
BARBARA ALLEN (2)
BARBARA ALLEN (5)
BARBARA ELLEN (3)
BAWBEE ALLAN


Related threads:
(origins) Origins: Sarah Makem's 'Barbara Allan'? (16)
(origins) Origins of: Barbara Allen, is there a story ? (37)
Origins: Barbara Allen (246)
(origins) Why Did Barbara Allen Refuse? (113)
Lyr Req: Barbary Allen #84 (Sheila Kay Adams) (6)
(origins) ADD: Barb'ry Allen (32)
Lyr Req: 'Barbara Allen' different versions (75)
Lyr Add: Bobby Allen (Afro-American) (3)
Chord Req: Tom Rush's 'Barb'ry Allen' (5)
Lyr Req: 2nd word of Phoebe Smith's barbara Allen (20)
Lyr Req: Bob Dylan's 'Barbara Allen' (3)
Lyr Req: steve tilston's barbry allen (5)
Lyr Req: Barbara Allen (Vic Legg) (2)
Lyr Req: Barbara Allen (from Shirley Collins) (2)
Lyr Req: susan reed's barbara allen #84 (5)
Lyr Req: Barbara Allen (#84, Hedy West) (3)
Lyr Req: Barb'ry Allen (from Tom Rush) (6)
Barbara Allen anomoly (32)
Lyr Req: Barbara Allen (from Jimmy Stewart) (4)
Lyr Req: Fred Jordan's Barbara Allen (5)
Barbara Allen in '30's Film (37)
Lyr Req: Barbara Allen (7)
(origins) Info Barbara Allen (45)
Barbarra Ellen (15)


GUEST,Ian P 07 Dec 05 - 12:30 PM
Judge Mental 07 Dec 05 - 01:07 PM
GUEST,Janine 07 Dec 05 - 02:16 PM
Bill D 07 Dec 05 - 03:56 PM
GUEST,Boab 07 Dec 05 - 08:21 PM
GUEST,Art Thieme 07 Dec 05 - 11:33 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 08 Dec 05 - 02:16 AM
katlaughing 08 Dec 05 - 02:22 AM
Malcolm Douglas 08 Dec 05 - 03:31 AM
Paul Burke 08 Dec 05 - 03:58 AM
Paul Burke 08 Dec 05 - 03:59 AM
GUEST,Ian P 08 Dec 05 - 11:15 AM
GUEST,Janine 08 Dec 05 - 02:47 PM
GUEST,Boab 08 Dec 05 - 05:10 PM
GUEST 08 Dec 05 - 05:25 PM
GUEST,Art Thieme 08 Dec 05 - 07:29 PM
katlaughing 08 Dec 05 - 10:41 PM
Malcolm Douglas 09 Dec 05 - 03:21 AM
GUEST,John Lasher 07 Jan 06 - 11:51 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 08 Jan 06 - 01:02 AM
Barbary Allen 04 Sep 06 - 03:10 PM
Barbary Allen 04 Sep 06 - 03:12 PM
Amos 04 Sep 06 - 04:00 PM
GUEST,David W. 05 Aug 10 - 09:32 PM
GUEST,Paul Slade 06 Aug 10 - 05:30 AM
Liberty Boy 06 Aug 10 - 11:35 AM
Stower 16 Oct 11 - 05:16 AM
GUEST,Mike Yates 16 Oct 11 - 05:43 AM
GUEST,SteveG 16 Oct 11 - 09:49 AM
GUEST,Goose Gander 16 Oct 11 - 10:03 PM
Gene 16 Oct 11 - 10:25 PM
Stower 17 Oct 11 - 03:24 AM
GUEST,Margaret 17 Oct 11 - 01:01 PM
The Sandman 17 Oct 11 - 02:14 PM
The Sandman 17 Oct 11 - 02:15 PM
dick greenhaus 17 Oct 11 - 02:18 PM
Stower 17 Oct 11 - 04:12 PM
Stower 17 Oct 11 - 04:17 PM
Mick Pearce (MCP) 17 Oct 11 - 04:53 PM
Stower 17 Oct 11 - 05:23 PM
Mick Pearce (MCP) 17 Oct 11 - 05:47 PM
Mick Pearce (MCP) 17 Oct 11 - 06:47 PM
Stower 17 Oct 11 - 06:47 PM
Mick Pearce (MCP) 17 Oct 11 - 07:14 PM
Mick Pearce (MCP) 18 Oct 11 - 07:05 AM
Lighter 18 Oct 11 - 08:00 AM
Mick Pearce (MCP) 18 Oct 11 - 09:08 AM
Stower 18 Oct 11 - 09:24 AM
Mick Pearce (MCP) 18 Oct 11 - 01:51 PM
Jack Campin 18 Oct 11 - 03:29 PM
Mick Pearce (MCP) 18 Oct 11 - 05:59 PM
Mick Pearce (MCP) 18 Oct 11 - 06:49 PM
Jack Campin 18 Oct 11 - 07:55 PM
Stower 20 Oct 11 - 02:16 PM
Lighter 20 Oct 11 - 02:58 PM
Mick Pearce (MCP) 20 Oct 11 - 03:07 PM
dick greenhaus 20 Oct 11 - 04:34 PM
Stower 20 Oct 11 - 04:55 PM
Mick Pearce (MCP) 20 Oct 11 - 06:10 PM
GUEST 20 Oct 11 - 06:14 PM
Mick Pearce (MCP) 20 Oct 11 - 06:37 PM
MGM·Lion 21 Oct 11 - 12:36 AM
MGM·Lion 21 Oct 11 - 12:51 AM
Stower 21 Oct 11 - 08:09 AM
MGM·Lion 21 Oct 11 - 08:49 AM
Mick Pearce (MCP) 21 Oct 11 - 09:45 AM
Lighter 21 Oct 11 - 09:49 AM
Lighter 21 Oct 11 - 10:14 AM
MGM·Lion 21 Oct 11 - 11:16 AM
Lighter 21 Oct 11 - 12:40 PM
The Sandman 21 Oct 11 - 12:42 PM
Mick Pearce (MCP) 21 Oct 11 - 02:05 PM
Lighter 21 Oct 11 - 02:20 PM
bubblyrat 21 Oct 11 - 02:39 PM
Mick Pearce (MCP) 21 Oct 11 - 03:33 PM
Jack Campin 21 Oct 11 - 06:03 PM
The Sandman 21 Oct 11 - 06:21 PM
bubblyrat 22 Oct 11 - 06:13 AM
MGM·Lion 22 Oct 11 - 06:25 AM
Lighter 22 Oct 11 - 09:26 AM
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Subject: Barbara Allen earliest version?
From: GUEST,Ian P
Date: 07 Dec 05 - 12:30 PM

Yes, yes, I know this is likely to be either much disputed or perhaps impossible from the start but ... is there any evidence for an earliest or earliest known/earliest recorded version of Barbara Allen, either words, tune or both?


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Subject: RE: Barbara Allen earliest version?
From: Judge Mental
Date: 07 Dec 05 - 01:07 PM

She never recorded it, but my great-great-great-great-great-great grandmother -- give or take a great or two -- was singing it back around 1799.

The earliest version that I have in my collection is Bradley Kincaid's from the 1920s.


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Subject: RE: Barbara Allen earliest version?
From: GUEST,Janine
Date: 07 Dec 05 - 02:16 PM

A really interesting version is that recorded by Moses 'Clear Rock' Platt in Sugarland (the prison farm), Texas in 1933. This was part of John Lomax's collection for the Library of Congress. He seems to combine it with a Streets of Larado/Unfortunate Rake series of verses. Same tune we sang at school too. But how did it arrive in Sugarland?

Janine


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Subject: RE: Barbara Allen earliest version?
From: Bill D
Date: 07 Dec 05 - 03:56 PM

at the top of the page, under 'quick links', you can find "Bruce Olson's web site", a scholarly study of old songs by a man who died a couple of years ag...now hosted on Mudcat

from this I found:

"In Scarlet Town where I was bound/ ZN1459| Barbara Allen's
Cruelty/ Tune: Barbara Allen's Cruelty/ Licensed according to
Order/ RB3 434 [two copies] = CR 675: BDBB [HH1 11, HC 652,
653] [CB p. 173. Child ballad ZC84|, Roud ZR54|. Cf. N1756,
N709. Pepys in his diary mentioned Mrs. Knipp's song of
"Barbery Allen" on Jan. 2 1666. This earliest copy is, however,
considerably later] "

I'm sure it was recorded early in the 20th century, as it was always popular....we will see what others have to say.


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Subject: RE: Barbara Allen earliest version?
From: GUEST,Boab
Date: 07 Dec 05 - 08:21 PM

Dunno when it was first recorded, but Pepys did mention having heard the song in Scotland. I first heard it sung in a folk venue by Nic Jones; the version beginning "In scarlet town". The version sung in Scotland opens with either "'Twas round about the Mart'nmas time" or "Round about the Lammas tide".


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Subject: RE: Barbara Allen earliest version?
From: GUEST,Art Thieme
Date: 07 Dec 05 - 11:33 PM

Wow, we missed it by a day!! January 2, 1666 is the day before our anniversary !

And that's the first I've ever heard about Pepys hearing it in Scotland. I've always thought he heard it in London---during the time of the Black Plague.

BUT I do seem to remember Nikita Khrushev, while giving a speech and banging his shoe on the desk at the United Nations, saying that "Barbara Allen" had first been heard by Pepys in Moscow !

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Barbara Allen earliest version?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 08 Dec 05 - 02:16 AM

The Traditional Ballad Index shows Vernon Dalhart in 1927, but the experts here probably know of earlier ones.
Ballad Search


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Subject: RE: Barbara Allen earliest version?
From: katlaughing
Date: 08 Dec 05 - 02:22 AM

And we all know that you, Art, found the Cowboy's version in Cheyenne!! In Medicine Bow where I was born......still my fav. version!


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Subject: RE: Barbara Allen earliest version?
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 08 Dec 05 - 03:31 AM

Pepys didn't hear it in Scotland, as I've told Boab before. He heard it in London, at Lord Brouncker's house, January 2 1666, sung by Mrs Knipp, an actress of whom he was rather fond. It was probably a stage song, and quite new at that time.

Pepys described it in his diary as a "little Scotch song" which, as William Chappell pointed out more than a century ago, was descriptive of style, not provenance; similar songs had been called, generically, "Northern" (for which, read "rustic") before the accession of the Stuart dynasty led to a change of fashion and terminology.

No broadside edition survives from Pepys' time; the earliest copies we have were printed in London. The song may have started out in England or Scotland; we don't know, though the former would seem more likely on the whole. I think that all this has been said in earlier discussions here (see list above).

I assume that Ian P meant "recorded" in the usual, broad sense and so was not asking about the earliest sound recording; but perhaps he would clarify that for us.


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Subject: RE: Barbara Allen earliest version?
From: Paul Burke
Date: 08 Dec 05 - 03:58 AM

2nd. Up by candlelight again, and wrote the greatest part of my business fair, and then to the office, and so home to dinner, and after dinner up and made an end of my fair writing it, and that being done, set two entering while to my Lord Bruncker's, and there find Sir J. Minnes and all his company, and Mr. Boreman and Mrs. Turner, but, above all, my dear Mrs. Knipp, with whom I sang, and in perfect pleasure I was to hear her sing, and especially her little Scotch song of "Barbary Allen;"...


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Subject: RE: Barbara Allen earliest version?
From: Paul Burke
Date: 08 Dec 05 - 03:59 AM

And it goes on:
... so I got into the coach where Mrs. Knipp was and got her upon my knee (the coach being full) and played with her breasts and sung, and at last set her at her house and so good night.


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Subject: RE: Barbara Allen earliest version?
From: GUEST,Ian P
Date: 08 Dec 05 - 11:15 AM

Thanks so far, folks. Malcolm's right: when I asked for the earliest *recorded* version, I meant recorded as in notated rather than as in cylinder or tape recordings.


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Subject: RE: Barbara Allen earliest version?
From: GUEST,Janine
Date: 08 Dec 05 - 02:47 PM

Are there any versions which start 'In Reading Town..'. I mean is Scarlet Town perhaps a pun for Reading?

Janine


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Subject: RE: Barbara Allen earliest version?
From: GUEST,Boab
Date: 08 Dec 05 - 05:10 PM

Y'know, Malcolm, as I was penning my post there was a wee needle in the back of my mind saying that somebody had shoved me about this before---suitably smacked----!


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Subject: RE: Barbara Allen earliest version?
From: GUEST
Date: 08 Dec 05 - 05:25 PM

Well, we know those dreadful Scotts didn't harmonize to it since they didn't learn harmony until a hundred years later!


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Subject: RE: Barbara Allen earliest version?
From: GUEST,Art Thieme
Date: 08 Dec 05 - 07:29 PM

from Del Bray in our hotel room across from the train station -- Cheyenne, Wyoming------1962...Mike Sideman and I had met him in the bar at the hotel... (first verse only---rest is in the DT)

Near Medicine Bow where I was born,
There was a fair maid dwellin'
Made all the boys ride saddle sore,
And her name was Barbara Allen...

Love,

Art


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Subject: RE: Barbara Allen earliest version?
From: katlaughing
Date: 08 Dec 05 - 10:41 PM

Thanks, Art...I sing it to Morgan often and he loves it, too.


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Subject: RE: Barbara Allen earliest version?
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 09 Dec 05 - 03:21 AM

In answer to Janine, later broadside editions quite often substituted "Reading" for the older "Scarlet". That doesn't tell us anything about the intentions of whoever wrote the original, of course.

You can see examples of both forms at Bodleian Library Broadside Ballads.


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Subject: RE: Barbara Allen earliest version?
From: GUEST,John Lasher
Date: 07 Jan 06 - 11:51 PM

The tune was also quoted in the score composed by Bernard Herrmann for the RKO film "All That Money Can Buy" (aka "The Devil and Daniel Webster'). Herrmann also quotes "Springfield Mountain" elsewhere.


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Subject: RE: Barbara Allen earliest version?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 08 Jan 06 - 01:02 AM

The western "Barbry Allen" collected by Art Thieme is in thread 3850: Barbara Allen


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Subject: RE: Barbara Allen earliest version?
From: Barbary Allen
Date: 04 Sep 06 - 03:10 PM

My name is Barbara Ellen. I am a scholar and a musician, and can tell you the meaning and the translation.
True True Irie. Times they have been a changing though.
I have not died this time around but am still single, a caveat hangs upon me head. I cannot see myself to the way of love perhaps a bit like Barbary....still. This time around more than a few men will die, who love me during me life. It is not my fault though.

You see it has not much to do with Barbara but with circumstance. A multitude of other circumstance are overlooked as she refuses his love. One, she will not admonish being with a man who comes off so reckless, dancing and tressling with the dames.

Barbary is the victim here, her pretty flowering gets thorned for all of eternity, that other thorn may have come from the women who spent themselves on William, maybe, but not her....

Men always die for varying reasons, history tells us that... and she was lucky not to be with William, what he had may have been contagious.

Perhaps he not served her liquor out of love for her, as liquor would do her not any good...

...and he sent a messenger b/c she would have taken ill from his infectious disease.

I can tell you the circumstance for Peter, Steve, Robert...Andrew, Michael, Victor, Rommie, Brian...but William? Nope. The last William I dated was Billy from 4th grade. So I guess I ought to supect nothing but impending doom in the future...actually, life has been sooo complicated, that I will make special note to be on the lookout for William, so I can be extra nice to him...I am heartbreaker from way back, but I think that I always get my heart broken first.....in defense.


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Subject: RE: Barbara Allen earliest version?
From: Barbary Allen
Date: 04 Sep 06 - 03:12 PM

I am Barbara Ellen. This song parallels my life in a few ways. I am a scholar and sonstress. I want to understand the curse of my accidental namesake.


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Subject: RE: Barbara Allen earliest version?
From: Amos
Date: 04 Sep 06 - 04:00 PM

How completely bizarre, Barbary. Are you practicing the Barbary Coast? Or, perhaps, High Barbary?

A


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Subject: RE: Barbara Allen earliest version?
From: GUEST,David W.
Date: 05 Aug 10 - 09:32 PM

The Art Garfunkel rendition has an instrumental interlude near its end that I recognize having been used in a movie scene. Can anyone recall the film it was used in?


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Subject: RE: Barbara Allen earliest version?
From: GUEST,Paul Slade
Date: 06 Aug 10 - 05:30 AM

I've got a printed copy of Barbara Allen's verses from the British Library collection, which would have been sold on the streets of York in the 19th Century. It's not dated, but comes from a collection spanning the years 1780-1867 and was issued by a York printer called J Kendrew. Pepys is known to have collected printed ballads sheets like these.

The full title given here is The Life Death and Love of Barbara Allen, the verses name her dead admirer as Johnny, and the penultimate verse breaks the ballad's third-person narration to let Barbara speak for herself: "Hard-hearted creature sure was I / To one that loved me dearly / I wish I had more kinder been been / In time of life when he was near me."

For more on the ballad-seller's trade, click here .


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Subject: RE: Barbara Allen earliest version?
From: Liberty Boy
Date: 06 Aug 10 - 11:35 AM

An interesting theory as to the identity of Barb'ry Ellen comes from Phillips Barry and Fanny Eckstorm the scholarly folksong collectors of Maine in the US who suggested that it was a libel on Barbara Villiers one of King Charles II's mistresses.
There is neither corroboration nor contradiction of this theory, but, certain pieces of evidence are interesting in suggesting that Scarlet Town the setting of some of the versions was colloquial slang for Reading in Berkshire, where Mrs Villiers received a large house from Charles.


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Subject: RE: Barbara Allen earliest version?
From: Stower
Date: 16 Oct 11 - 05:16 AM

I have revived this thread as I am looking for the earliest possible tune of Barbara Allen, as I would be so delighted to find an early tune to sing to this broadside called Barbara Allen's Cruelty. It's dated 1675-1696 (Roxburghe collection 2.25) and is certainly the earliest I have come across. It fits the best known tune for this (thanks to the Everley Brothers), but that doesn't mean it was sung to it, of course. I'd be very grateful indeed if anyone could illuminate. Sometimes songs of this vintage have their tunes in lute manuscripts of the period, but not this one.

Stower


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Subject: RE: Barbara Allen earliest version?
From: GUEST,Mike Yates
Date: 16 Oct 11 - 05:43 AM

My grandfather used to sing this, with the opening line "In Radmore Town, where I was born". I have always assumed that this was originally "Reading Town".


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Subject: RE: Barbara Allen earliest version?
From: GUEST,SteveG
Date: 16 Oct 11 - 09:49 AM

I like the idea of Barbara Villiers being our girl. 2 folk songs still on the go today are about George (her brother?) Dido Bendigo and Swarthfell Rocks, both evolved from The Duke's Hunt, the duke being George Villiers and the hunt being The Bilsdale, England's oldest hunt.

However my own theory is that Mrs Knipp's pretty Scotch song was the version that starts 'It was in and about the Martinmas time' and I agree with Malcolm probably the original. The Scarlet/Reading town version I think was a later burlesque on this, and as Malcolm said, all part of the London luvvies scene.


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Subject: RE: Barbara Allen earliest version?
From: GUEST,Goose Gander
Date: 16 Oct 11 - 10:03 PM

The broadside linked by Stower reads, "To the tune of Barbara Allen," which suggests an earlier version was reasonably well-known.


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Subject: RE: Barbara Allen earliest version?
From: Gene
Date: 16 Oct 11 - 10:25 PM

I have heard many versions, but the one I like BEST is by:

Tommy Faile, who wrote Phantom 309 that Red Sovine Recorded.

What a beautiful voice Tommy has..

Gene


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Subject: RE: Barbara Allen earliest version?
From: Stower
Date: 17 Oct 11 - 03:24 AM

All very interesting, but does anyone know the answer to the actual question, which is:

Does anyone know the earliest recorded (i.e. written down in notation) tune to Barbara Allen, preferably 17th century? If not 17th century, do any 18th century tunes to it survive that you can point me towards?


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Subject: RE: Barbara Allen earliest version?
From: GUEST,Margaret
Date: 17 Oct 11 - 01:01 PM

"Does anyone know the earliest recorded (i.e. written down in notation) tune to Barbara Allen, preferably 17th century? If not 17th century, do any 18th century tunes to it survive that you can point me towards?"

Have you checked Bronson?


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Subject: RE: Barbara Allen earliest version?
From: The Sandman
Date: 17 Oct 11 - 02:14 PM

Samuel Pepys in his "Diary" under the date of January 2nd 1665,
speaks of the singing of "Barbara Allen.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V_PoPY-mDpA


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Subject: RE: Barbara Allen earliest version?
From: The Sandman
Date: 17 Oct 11 - 02:15 PM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V_PoPY-mDpA


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Subject: RE: Barbara Allen earliest version?
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 17 Oct 11 - 02:18 PM

It's only guesswork that Pepys' "pretty Scotch song" is the same as the
commonly known ballad. Names are funny things.


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Subject: RE: Barbara Allen earliest version?
From: Stower
Date: 17 Oct 11 - 04:12 PM

Good Soldier Schweik, I am aware of the reference in Pepys, but I am asking for the earliest tune, preferably as named on the broadside 1675-1696, which may well have been the tune Pepys heard, but since he didn't write it down, we don't know (which I think is Dick Greenhaus' point). It may be that no one can trace the tune back that far, but I am seeking to find the earliest known tune.

Margaret, I don't have Bronson to check, but thank you. Chappell's Music of the Olden Time is often good, but not in this case.


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Subject: RE: Barbara Allen earliest version?
From: Stower
Date: 17 Oct 11 - 04:17 PM

Here's a question which I hope is more quantifiable. The most well-known tune (as used by Art Garfunkel and the Everley Brothers), what is the earliest known date for that tune? Is that a 19th or 20th century tune (as far we know), or can it be traced back further?


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Subject: RE: Barbara Allen earliest version?
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 17 Oct 11 - 04:53 PM

Simpson in his introduction to The British Broadside Ballad and its Music says (xi) "And the onset of the eighteenth century saw the gradual disappearance of the tune direction from ballads old and new, depriving us of the links between printed ballad and singing traditions".. He then adds in a footnote to this: "Among other casualties, we must regret the absence of tune directions from versions of such familiar traditional ballads as "Barbara Allen" and "Lord Thomas and Fair Eleanor" which appeared in print during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Lacking such information we cannot determine the continuity, if any, between tunes used then and now".

Chappell in PMOT gives the tune "from tradition".

Kidson in Traditional Tunes has the following to say in his notes to the song: There are two different tunes to Barbara Allen commonly printed, the best known first appearing in Chappell's National English Airs, 1838, and the other being found in Scottish song collections. The earliest copy of this I have seen is in Oswald's Caledonian Pocket Companion, Book II, circa 1750, and after this period in a samll collection of Macgibbon's. It is also in Johnson's Musical Museum, and in later works"..

There is a copy at archive.org of Caledonian Pocket Companion, containing fifty of the most favourite Scotch tunes several of them with variations, all set for the German flute, dated 1747. (This is vol2 containing Barbara Allan on p27 (page 37 of djvu/pdf)).

If Kidson is correct, this may be as early a tune as you can get.


Mick


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Subject: RE: Barbara Allen earliest version?
From: Stower
Date: 17 Oct 11 - 05:23 PM

That is *wonderful*, Mick - thank you! And there are 5 pieces there in common with 17th century Scottish lute manuscripts, some of which I have never seen anywhere else - excellent! I'll have such pleasure playing through and comparing. And that Barbara Allen tune of 1747 is unlike any others I have heard. If I cannot find a definitely earlier tune (and I think it unlikely I will) I'll use that one. Interestingly, the repeats in that Barbara Allen tune mean singing verse 1 to the first half of the tune, verse 2 to the second half, then repeating that pattern - I like that.   

Mick, you've come up trumps often in my thread enquiries - it's much appreciated.

Stower


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Subject: RE: Barbara Allen earliest version?
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 17 Oct 11 - 05:47 PM

Stower - Thanks - we aim to please!

I don't know if you noticed, but there's another volume there (v1 I think, but I didn't check the tunes against the index; of course I got the wrong one first when I was looking earlier): Caledonian Pocket Companion V1?, 1745.

I should have added that the tune is not with words there, so (as Simpson would probably point out) it's not certain that the tune was used for the song. (But in this case I think it's quite likely).

It would be possible to use the Roud Index (Roud No=54, Type=Book, Contents=Music) :Roud Index Search - Barbara Allen Music in Books, and check the 269 entries for any earlier dates (I don't think the search is set up for a date range). If anyone's feeling in the mood...


Mick


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Subject: RE: Barbara Allen earliest version?
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 17 Oct 11 - 06:47 PM

Well, as it happens...

The earliest yielded by that search is Johnson: Scots Musical Museum 1787, then Ritson: Scottish Songs 1794.

You can find the Johnson version at archive.org: Scots Musical Museum v3, the song on p230 (p34 in djvu/pdf file). It is pretty much the same tune (but not exactly the same) as in the Caledonian Pocket Companion, but has the words. (The division into A and B parts is the same but without the repeats in Johnson, so you get one verse to the tune; I presume the musical version has repeats to make it an AABB tune).

(The 2 vols of the Ritson are also available at archive.org)


Mick


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Subject: RE: Barbara Allen earliest version?
From: Stower
Date: 17 Oct 11 - 06:47 PM

Mick, the link above os to all 6 books of Caledonian Companion combined - perfect! I can see many hours being passed sorting through that lot. Wonderful!

And since I am unworthy to argue with Mr. Kidson - and it's unlikely I'll turn up anything earlier going through Roud's 269 entries! - then between this post and my last one I have made a 4 course guitar arrangement to sing it to, as it's ideally meant for my early music duo.   

Mick, you're a gem.

Stower


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Subject: RE: Barbara Allen earliest version?
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 17 Oct 11 - 07:14 PM

Looks like we cross-posted there, but as my last post shows you were probably not amiss using the Caledonian Companion tune!

Mick


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Subject: RE: Barbara Allen earliest version?
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 18 Oct 11 - 07:05 AM

When I was out walking the dog this morning I realised that I should have checked with Bronson last night (I keep forgetting I've got it now - thanks Dick!).

He divides the tunes into 4 groups - A) mainly English, B) mainly Scottish C) a pentatonic group (-4-7) D) a class of American tunes. As far as I can see his earliest is the Musical Museum version (in group B) agreeing with the above.

I presume he knew about the Caledonian Companion tune (he prints Kidson's tune, so I imagine he read his notes) but omitted it because of the lack of words with the tune.

I'll try and post the tunes from Caledonian Companion and the Musical Museum later today so they can be compared.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Barbara Allen earliest version?
From: Lighter
Date: 18 Oct 11 - 08:00 AM

My guess is that the omission of the "Caledonian" tune was simply an oversight. Bronson frequently prints tunes without words if he's sure that the title refers to the same song.

Because of the Musical Museum publication, and the title in "Caledonian," he could obviously have been sure in this case.


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Subject: RE: Barbara Allen earliest version?
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 18 Oct 11 - 09:08 AM

You could be right Lighter. Simpson certainly uses tunes in that context.

Anyway here are the two tunes. The 3rd is the Caledonian Pocket Companion tune transposed for comparison with the Musical Museum tune (The 1st two I've given the mode to show the key signature as printed. I've changed the mode in the transposed version for a more exact comparison. The tune is hexatonic aeo/dor so there is no change to any of the actual notes).

(I also had to incldude an invisible bar line - [|] - at the end of the 1st line. My version of abcm2ps - abcm2ps-5.9.22 (February 8, 2011)
running under Ubuntu 10.10 - refused to line-break properly there without a bar line; even ! didn't work!).

Mick




X:1
T:Barbara Allan
B:Oswald - The Caledonian Pocket Companion, 1747
L:1/4
M:C
K:Eaeo %tune is hexatonic aeo/dor
"^Slow"B|e (e/f/) {ef}g (f/e/)|(d/e/)(f/g/) {fg}a (g/f/)|
e> f (g/f/)(e/d/)|B e2 :]]:d|B d A (B/A/)|
G> A B (e/d/)|B> A G> A|B e2:]]

X:2
T:Bonny Barbara Allan
B:Johnson - The Scots Musical Museum III, 1791
L:1/8
M:C
K:Ddor
"^Slow"A>A|d2 d>e f2 (ed)|c>d(e>f) g2
w:It was in and a-bout the_ Mar-tin-mass_ time
fe|(d3 e) (fe)dc|A2 d4]]
w:When the green_ leaves_ were a fal-ling
c2|A2 c2 G2 AG|F3 G A2
w:That Sir John Graham in the west count-rie
dc|A3 G|F3 G|A2 d4 :]]
w:Fell in love with Bar-bara Al-lan.

X:3
T:Barbara Allan (Caledonian Pocket Companion transposed)
B:Oswald - The Caledonian Pocket Companion, 1747
N:Transposed down 2 semitones and respaced for comparison with Scots Musical Museum
N:Key changed from Daeo to Ddor (tune is hexatonic aeo/dor so no change
N: in the notes sounding)
L:1/4
M:4/4
K:Ddor
"^Slow"A|d (d/e/) {de}f (e/d/)| (c/d/)(e/f/) {ef}g [|]
(f/e/)|d> e (f/e/)(d/c/)|A d2 ]]
c|A c G (A/G/)|F> G A
(d/c/)|A> G F> G|A d2]]


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Subject: RE: Barbara Allen earliest version?
From: Stower
Date: 18 Oct 11 - 09:24 AM

Wonderful. Mick, you're a true star.

Since Caledonian Pocket Companion by James Oswald, 1747, appears to be the earliest written tune for the ballad, and all of these early sources are Scottish with Pepys making reference to the "little Scotch song" (notwithstanding what has been said above that this may refer to style - it may not), and that essentially the same tune was used in the 47 years from 1747 to 1794, from Oswald to Ritson, then it is at least possible that this tune or one very much like it was the same used for the 81 years from Pepys to Oswald's publication, especially when one considers the longevity of many of the tunes in John Playford's Dancing Master (Sellenger's Round, for example, was popular from its first known appearance in c.1595 until at least its inclusion in the last Dancing Master in 1728 – 133 years). All conjecture, of course, but entirely possible, I think.

Huge thanks.


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Subject: RE: Barbara Allen earliest version?
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 18 Oct 11 - 01:51 PM

Just had a closer look at Bronson. In his notes to var 40 (the Johnson tune) he adds: "The tune may make an earlier appearance in Oswald's A Curious Collection of Scots Tunes [1740], p3, and in his Caledonian Pocket Companion II (ca1745), p27, which I have been unable to compare" (my bold).

So it appears he was just unable to verify these tunes.

I couldn't find a copy of A Curious Collection of Scots Tunes online (at a quick look), but assuming Bronson is correct, this pushes the date back to 1740.

Jack Campin certainly has some tunes from A Curious Collection, so maybe he can verify the Barbara Allan tune. (I'll try and look through his site, but I'll contact him - it may be quicker!).

Mick


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Subject: RE: Barbara Allen earliest version?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 18 Oct 11 - 03:29 PM

I don't have the Curious Collection of Scots Tunes (Edinburgh 1740) or even the Collection of Curious Scots Tunes (London 1743), but I do have Charlie Gore's Scottish Fiddle Music Index, which tells me "Barbara Allan" is in both, with the same theme code as the CPC version.

Gore's theme code also matches "The Old Woman in the Glen", in Charles Maclean's Collection of Favourite Scots Tunes posted posthumously in 1774. Maclean was a major contributor to the Macfarlan Manuscript of 1740, left for London shortly afterwards and seems to have had nothing to do with Scottish music once he got there, so his version may be contemporaneous with Oswald's earliest and he may have been Oswald's source. (David Johnson wrote an entry on Maclean for the Grove - he didn't have much to go on and I can't remember where I put his preprint, I don't have access to Grove here). Maclean's title sounds to me like it might have been of Gaelic origin, in which case Oswald might have been making up the link with the older Barbara Allan song. Oswald made a lot of stuff up.


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Subject: RE: Barbara Allen earliest version?
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 18 Oct 11 - 05:59 PM

Thanks for the info Jack. At least the presence is confirmed in the 1840 collection.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Barbara Allen earliest version?
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 18 Oct 11 - 06:49 PM

While on the subject, there's a 48 page booklet by Charles Seeger: Versions and Variants of Barbara Allen, written to accomapny a Library of Congress record: Versions and Variants of Barbara Allen. He analyses the tunes for the song and the performances. There's a lot of information there on the tunes. You can download the pdf - link about half-way down the page. You can also download the songs (about 36Mb, link just after the pdf link). There are 30 versions; they vary in length from about 20 secs to 6 mins

He cites the Oswald tune as the first association of that tune variant with Barbara Allen.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Barbara Allen earliest version?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 18 Oct 11 - 07:55 PM

On reflection, I don't think the sequence of events I just suggested is plausible. The Caledonian Pocket Companion was fairly influential, but not so influential that it could have driven the adoption of a new tune for "Barbara Allen" across the entire English-speaking world.

This may be what Maclean had in mind:

The Old Woman of Glen Lyon

Anybody know a Gaelic song about it? Does it still go to a tune like "Barbara Allen"?


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Subject: RE: Barbara Allen earliest version?
From: Stower
Date: 20 Oct 11 - 02:16 PM

Thanks, Mick and Jack, for the extra information.

Now that I've this extra information and it seems the song may well have been fairly or completely new in 1665/6, I have been ruminating on the story. Since, in the earliest known broadside version, there is no indication of a relationship already underway between the unnamed would-be lover of Barbara Allen, this would make her already reluctant to go to his death bed. This may also be accounted for what he was dying of, something folk song commentators seem strangely to miss. This ballad was referred to by Pepys in 1666, and has the ill man's implied inability to get out of bed. Add to that the later versions references to the man's sweating and bleeding and we have three symptoms of the bubonic plague: lethargy, high fever and, 12 hours after infection, bleeding out of the cochlea in the inner ear. The Great Plague of London started in 1665, the year before Pepys heard the song, and continued through the year he heard it, killing an estimated 100,000 people, 20% of London's population. And the idea of laughing at seeing the corpse is a well-documented nervous reaction in an uncomfortable situation. I once heard a documentary about grief on BBC Radio 4, and recall that a man who dearly loved his wife burst out laughing when the police came to tell him she'd been killed in a road accident, something he was embarrassed by, just as Barbara Allen clearly was after the event. And isn't it common enough for people to wish they had done and said things to someone after their death, as Barbara Allen does? The ballad is called Barbara Allens Cruelty, but I suspect that title criticises the main player in the song for weaknesses and fears common to many of us.

Any thoughts?


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Subject: RE: Barbara Allen earliest version?
From: Lighter
Date: 20 Oct 11 - 02:58 PM

Nice theory - but it assumes the balladist must have been thinking of an actual event. Otherwise the title "Barbara Allen's Cruelty" seems to make no sense at all.

I don't think the ballads are much interested in medical diagnoses. Jemmy could have been dying of many things - including consumption or (at least in popular imagination) a broken heart. He says the basin is full of his "heart's blood," which at least allows that interpretation.

Also, if there was no prior relationship between the presumed lovers, why would she go to him at all - especially if she thought he might have the plague? And why would she want to be buried by him?

The conjunction of the possible appearance of the song at the same time as that of the plague might have given it added poignancy at the time, however.


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Subject: RE: Barbara Allen earliest version?
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 20 Oct 11 - 03:07 PM

Bronson does have a lot to say about how the ballad altered Barabara Allen's attitude as time went on:

"It is pertinent to observe, as it seems not to have been observed, that tradition has gradually but surely transformed the character of the heroine. In the earliest of our texts (on broadsides), unexplained obduracy was her characterizing trait, as reflected in the song-title "Barbara Allen's Cruelty". It has been a main effect of transmission to rationalize and minimize this quality. The popular sensibility has been unable to stomach her stony-heartedness, and has gone to work on motivation. In the blackletter broadside of Pepys's day, she had stopped the funeral procession to look at her victim:

  With scornful eye she looked downe,
  Her cheeks with laughter swellin.

Only later is she suddenly struck with remorse. But the popular mind has recoiled from such coldness. Fifty years later, in the earliest Scottish text, that of Ramsay's Tea Table Miscellany, she is not cold but filled with vindictive sentiment. She leaves the death-bed with a sigh of reluctance, and goes home to forecast her imminent death. Thereafter, in many American copies, occur verses like the following:

  The more she looked, the more she grieved,
  She busted out to crying.
  "I might have saved this young man's life
  And kept him from his dying".

Sometimes self-reproach changes to self-exculpation:

  "O mother dear, yuo caused all this;
  You would not let me have him"

Little by little, and partly through simple abridgement and condensation - as by omission of her anticipative refusal to soften, before she leaves the dwelling - a kindlier, more sympathetic image has replaced the cruel one that gave the original point to the object lesson. If, as Phillips Barry, believed Barbara was once a "real person", a historic character, she has unquestionably mellowed with age."



He also initially describes the song thus:

"This little song of a spineless lover who gives up the ghost without a struggle, and of his spirited beloved who repents too late..."


It may be any attempt to explain her attitude now is just a symptom of the mellowing which historical progression seems to want apply to her original attitude.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Barbara Allen earliest version?
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 20 Oct 11 - 04:34 PM

THe ballad is still known informally to many as "The wimp and the bitch"


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Subject: RE: Barbara Allen earliest version?
From: Stower
Date: 20 Oct 11 - 04:55 PM

Thanks for your thoughts.

Lighter, I wasn't suggesting the balladist was thinking of an actual single event, but of a recognisable scenario, such as the death of someone from the plague and all the fear and anxiety that goes with it. In that way, the ballad writer would be no different to pop song writers today writing generally of falling in love or breaking up, or writers of films or plays putting made-up characters in dramatic and familiar or real situations. It seems almost too much of a coincidence to me that the 3 symptoms suffered by the would-be lover are those of plague when the date of the ballad is borne in mind.

"Also, if there was no prior relationship between the presumed lovers, why would she go to him at all - especially if she thought he might have the plague?" Precisely. "And why would she want to be buried by him?" Remorse that she denied him his wish for her to be with him (though at the time she'd have feared contamination, if my hunch is correct). Regrets and self-reprisals about the recently deceased in a situation of personal conflict are a common reaction.

I do think Bronson's characterisation of "This little song of a spineless lover who gives up the ghost without a struggle, and of his spirited beloved who repents too late..." is a bit harsh. Why is he spineless? In the earliest version he's just a man making a dying request. Well, in some later versions he collects his tears in a bowl, and what sort of man does that?! And BA is "his spirited beloved"? I can't see what's spirited about either her fear (from one angle) or her heartlessness (from another). Have I missed something?


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Subject: RE: Barbara Allen earliest version?
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 20 Oct 11 - 06:10 PM

I think he could be characterised as spineless in Child 84A (Tea-Table Miscellany, 1740, from ed of 1763). If I read this version correctly:


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Subject: RE: Barbara Allen earliest version?
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Oct 11 - 06:14 PM

Hi Stower,
I would not agree that the 3 symptoms you mention are consistent with bubonic plague, which hit mainly London in 65/66. Also, victims of the plague were given a hasty burial in a common pit for fear of contagion, without a funeral service as described in the song. It is interesting that at the time it was thought that cats were spreading the disease, and so an attempt was made to exterminate cats. This gave the real carriers, rats, a free hand to spread the disease further. The jury is still out on whether the Great Fire finally cleared the air, or if the epidemic had finally run it's course.


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Subject: RE: Barbara Allen earliest version?
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 20 Oct 11 - 06:37 PM

(Sorry accidentally posted)

I think he could be characterised as spineless.

Even in the broadside version (linked above) he seems to have taken to his bed and pined to death for her (on his Death bed lay For love of Barbara Allen). In Child 84A (Tea-Table Miscellany, 1740, from ed of 1763), he (named as Sir John Graeme, here) fell in love with BA and got his men to go and fetch her but before they return with her he seems to have taken to his bed pining for her (even though his men haven't even returned). Similar story in Child 84B (Roxburghe, 1765) and similar, but with more interaction between them before the pining in Child 84C (Motherwell, 1825).

I think the spineless comes from him taking to his bed and pining to death (no recourse to any external influence) for want of a woman who may not even know he exits (though in 84A, she does say that he had previously slighted her).


She could probably be described as spirited for refusing to take him as lover/husband just to save him from pining to death. Is that heartless?


To me, it's only her going to her death afterwards that strikes a false note. In the broadside it's others saying unworthy Barbara Allen that seems to propel her in that direction, similarly in 84A and 84B; in 84C she doesn't die at all.

I haven't looked through the nearly 200 versions in Bronson (not all with a complete story!), but maybe when I've a bit of free time I'll check some more.

I think this puts me in the he's a wimp gang, but not necessarily in the she's a bitch group.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Barbara Allen earliest version?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 21 Oct 11 - 12:36 AM

All getting bogged down here, are you not?, by trying to establish, and extrapolate from, some common thread or theme running thru the almost infinite number of versions and variants ~~ an activity that seems to me as pointless as trying to stop a bandersnatch. Sometimes she's cruel; sometimes vengeful ['drank a toast to the ladies all but slighted Barbara Allen']; sometimes matter-of-fact ['Young man I think you're dying']; sometimes regretful; sometimes blames her mother... You could deduce anything you liked about her, & his, character by eclectic reference; but just try and find an explanation which will cover all versions...!

~M~


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Subject: RE: Barbara Allen earliest version?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 21 Oct 11 - 12:51 AM

"the 17th-century diarist Samuel Pepys recounts hearing the "Scotch song of Barbara Allen" sung by his favorite actress, Mrs. Knipp, and by Pepys' time it had probably already been a popular favorite for many years." ~~ programme note by The King's Noyse singing consort.
,..,
Probably so indeed; and why 'Scotch' if Pepys had not previously heard it in Scotch versions? And the diary entry suggests it was clearly a song familiar to him. Theories about its being a new song inspired by the Plague (and so, of course, likely to be cheerfully sung at social gatherings just afterwards!) do not seem entirely convincing to me.

~M~


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Subject: RE: Barbara Allen earliest version?
From: Stower
Date: 21 Oct 11 - 08:09 AM

MtheGM,

"by Pepys' time it had *probably* already been a popular favorite for many years." ~~ programme note by The King's Noyse.

*Probably* based on no evidence whatever to back it up. Pepys is the earliest reference. This falls into the category of those sloppy scholars who say something is vaguely "mediaeval" without any evidence whatever to back up the claim or date something further back than they wish it went.


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Subject: RE: Barbara Allen earliest version?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 21 Oct 11 - 08:49 AM

Then why, Stower, did Pepys think of it as a Scotch song? ~ Mrs Knipp was not Scottish. He and she were accustomed to sing together; so he would have known her repertoire and he liked to hear her sing this one solo.

"to my Lord Bruncker's, and there find Sir J. Minnes and all his company, and Mr. Boreman and Mrs. Turner, but, above all, my dear Mrs. Knipp, with whom I sang, and in perfect pleasure I was to hear her sing, and especially her little Scotch song of "Barbary Allen;" 2 Jan 1666

It was, by his tone, obviously a song he was familiar with ("her little song)", rather than this being his first hearing:


As to the suggestion that Mrs Knipp would have been singing for the company's delectation a song whose details derived from the recent Plague...!

~M~


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Subject: RE: Barbara Allen earliest version?
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 21 Oct 11 - 09:45 AM

MtheGM

Not all of it is speculation, at least in regards to the man in the song. I've looked through the 3 versions in Child, 198 in Bronson and a dozen of so at the Bodleian. In almost all of them (and when there is only one verse rememberd it is usually this) there are lines at the start of the song to the effect:

  A young man on his death-bed lay for love of Barbara Allen

In those that don't say that (relatively few and mostly 20C) he is on his death-bed and when BA arrives he says he could be cured by a kiss/her love.

It seems clear that from the earliest times he was simply dying of his love for BA, whether they had previously met or not. I don't think there is any reason to look for any other reason for his dying.

As Bronson points out BA's part in the plot varies at different times as the song evolves and motives are attributed to her behaviour.


As regards Scotch, Malcolm Douglas pointed out above - MD post - as he did in other threads, that Scotch in this context is descriptive of style not a country of origin.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Barbara Allen earliest version?
From: Lighter
Date: 21 Oct 11 - 09:49 AM

"Her little Scotch song."

All that might mean is that he'd heard her sing it several times before (which seems likely since he writes that he'd sung along). But perhaps she sang it mainly on the stage in Scots character. We don't know. We can't just assume that he'd heard other versions.

Perhaps Mrs. Knipp simply told Pepys that it was Scots. Who knows why she thought so? Did she learn it from a Scot? Was it a groundless assumption? Or perhaps the song seemed to be "Scotch" because it was set in Scotland. Without Mrs. Knipp's text, we can't know. Can we even be sure that she didn't write it herself? After all, it's "her song."

I don't believe we can draw any conclusions at all about the song from Pepys's passing note except that Mrs. Knipp sang it more than once and that Pepys liked it.

Though it is certainly quite improbable, Mrs. Knipp's song may not even have been Child's ballad: just consider the recent thread on two quite different songs titled "The Rose of Tralee," both of which appeared within a few years of each other.

Ballad characters are so briefly sketched that their "real" motivation and psychology are mostly rooted in the imagination of the singer. (Example: Could Barbara have been a lesbian? Sure, why not! Or maybe the hapless pair came from feuding families! That would really be cool!)

The psychological analysis of fictional characters is very much a 20th C. development. It is not one that appeals much to the traditional singer, who doesn't usually have a degree and is more interested in action than in analysis. ("He loved her and she coldly rejected him as he was dying, but she regretted it and after death we got a supernatural indication that their souls were linked." That summary, sometimes including its implication that true soulmates may do fine after death no matter what happened in this life, seems to me to cover 99% of what the lyricist, Mrs. Knipp, Pepys, Child, and most singers since then thought about it all.

Another possibility for the basin of blood: sick from unrequited love, "Jemmy" was simply being leeched to balance his humors. I believe that would not have been unusual for the time. In that case, as most people have assumed, he really was dying of love rather than of some infection.


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Subject: RE: Barbara Allen earliest version?
From: Lighter
Date: 21 Oct 11 - 10:14 AM

By sheer coincidence, I just picked up a book commenting on Dante's Inferno, and this sentence immediately ccaught my eye:

"All sin arises from a disorder in the affections and proceeds to a disorder in the will."

That observation too might have "explained" "Barbara Allen" - to a 17th C. theologian. Jemmy's obsessive, self-destructive love for Barbara has sinfully replaced the proper focus of his devotion, which is toward God. He should have focused his conscious intentions (his "will") heavenward, particularly if he was dying. That sufficiently explains his situation. Barbara's affections are likewise disordered: she refuesd to show Christian charity to the dying. Her repentance is thus the key that allows the souls to be united after death, with the rose and briar as miraculous evidence of God's benevolence and forgiveness.

It all seems plausible to me as a contemporaneous interpretation. That does *not* mean, though, that it's the "real meaning" of the ballad, or that anybody but a theologian would have thought of it in those terms even in 1666. Nor that the balladist was thinking precisely that way (though the more I consider it, the better I like it....It could all have been unconscious....).

The ballad's "real meaning" unfortunately disappeared with the balladist. The words and the melody and the emotion the singer puts into them and how we feel about it all are the only meanings left.


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Subject: RE: Barbara Allen earliest version?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 21 Oct 11 - 11:16 AM

"The psychological analysis of fictional characters is very much a 20th C. development." ~~ I think not Lighter --

Alexander Pope, 1725: "His Characters are so much Nature her self that 'tis a sort of injury to call them by so distant a name as Copies of her. Those of other Poets have a constant resemblance, which shews that they receiv'd them from one another and were but multiplyers of the same image: each picture like a mock-rainbow is but the reflexion of a reflexion. But every single character in

"Shakespeare is as much an Individual as those in Life itself; it is as impossible to find any two alike; and such as from their relation or affinity in any respect appear most to be Twins will upon comparison be found remarkably distinct. To this life and variety of Character we must add the wonderful Preservation of it; which is such throughout his plays that had all the Speeches been printed without the very names of the persons I believe one might have apply'd them with certainty to every speaker." Preface to Pope's edition of Shakespeare's works

Samuel Johnson, 1765 The Plays of William Shakespeare: "[Shakespeare's] adherence to general nature has exposed him to the censure of criticks, who form their judgments upon narrower principles. Dennis and Rymer think his Romans not sufficiently Roman; and Voltaire censures his kings as not completely royal. ... These are the petty cavils of petty minds."


Could find many more examples, not just re Shax; but particularly 18C novels -- Richardson's Pamela & Clarissa, Fielding's Tom Jones. Also Milton's PL....

~Michael~


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Subject: RE: Barbara Allen earliest version?
From: Lighter
Date: 21 Oct 11 - 12:40 PM

All the quotations say to me is that certain writers could create wonderfully lifelike and individualized characters. The critics are describing what they see, rather analyzing any less-than-obvious psychological motivations of the characters themselves.

The characters the critics refer to, who appear in substantial and extended works, are miles beyond the hastily sketched, one- or two-dimensional ballad characters, as exist in "Barbara Allen."

But if the point is that pre-modern critics indeed conjectured the unconscious psychology of fictional characters in the manner of 20th C. academics like Henry Bradley (to take a pre-Freudian example), I must disagree. Certainly none of the critics you quote attempts to *analyze* the characters they praise. They simply say that their actions and personalities are believable.

Keen observers of human behavior like Shakespeare and Richardson were quite unfamiliar with modern psychological theories. Their interest was in the fascinating things their characters did and said rather than a deep analysis of what made them do it.

Had Hamlet been motivated by a dramatist subscribing to any modern psychological theory, I believe his motives would be so transparent that much of Hamlet criticism would never have been written. His vacillation is based on little more than Shakespeare's idea of how a terribly indecisive and tormented person might be expected to act in a crucial situation.

If Shakepeare held to any secular psychological theory, it could only have been that of the "humors." One might analyze each of his characters according to that theory, and then gauge Shakepeare's accuracy and orthodoxy as a sixteenth- or seventeenth-century psychologist; yet (correct me if I'm wrong) no early critic ever did so, because they were simply not interested in that kind of analysis. As the most sophisticated readers of their day, they were interested chiefly in whether the characters said and did interesting and believable things.

The characters in ballads like "Barbara Allen," like those in Shakespeare, Richardson, Fielding, Homer, etc., say and do such things, regardless of any subtly conjectured psychological back-story that one might attribute to them or to their creator.


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Subject: RE: Barbara Allen earliest version?
From: The Sandman
Date: 21 Oct 11 - 12:42 PM

As regards Scotch, Malcolm Douglas pointed out above - MD post - as he did in other threads, that Scotch in this context is descriptive of style not a country of origin.
what gives malcolm douglas a god like authority, on what did he base his remark, as far as i am concerned scotch is a a reference to country of origin.


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Subject: RE: Barbara Allen earliest version?
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 21 Oct 11 - 02:05 PM

Malcolm Douglas based his god-like authority (something I'm sure he would never have claimed) on Chappell's writing in Popular Music Of The Olden Times, as he clearly states in the post. He did bother to read things before he spoke:

Chappell, PMOT, v1, p307 footnote:

"Ritson, in his Historical Essay on Scotish Song, 1794,
says, "An inundation of Scotch songs, so called, appears
to have been poured upon the town by Tom D'Urfey and
his Grub-street brethren, toward the end of the seven-
teenth and in the beginning of the eighteenth century; of
which it is hard to say whether wretchedness of poetry,
ignorance of the Scotish dialect, or nastiness of ideas, is
most evident, or most despicable. In the number of
these miserable caricatures, the reader may be a little sur-
prised to find the favorite songs of De'ill take the Wars"




Chappell, PMOT, v2, pp451-452, "I Live Not Where I Love"

"In the same Collection, i. 320, is " A Paire of Turtle Doves, Or a dainty new Scotch Dialogue between a yong man and his mistresse, both correspondent in affection," &c. " To a pretty pleasant tune called The absence of my Mistresse, or, I live not where I love" It is subscribed " Martin Parker," Printed at London for Thomas Lambert at the Horse-shoe in West Smithfield, and commences thus :"


Chappell, PMOT, v2, p459, "The Broom, The Bonny Broom"

"In The Dancing Master, from 1650 to 1698, and in Music's Delight on the Cithren, 1666, is a tune entitled Broom, the bonny, bonny broom. I believe this to be the tune of The new broome on hill, as well as of another ballad in the same metre, and issued by the same printer, entitled " The lovely Northern Lasse Who in the ditty here complaining shewes What harme she got milking her daddies ewes." To a pleasant Scotch tune, called The broom of Oowdon Knowes" London,
printed for Fr. Coles, in the Old Bayly (Mr. HalliwelPs Collection). This is the English ballad of The broom of Cowdenowes, and the tune is here said to be Scotch. I believe it not to be Scotch, for the following reasons : Firstly, the tune is not in the Scottish scale, and is to be found as a three-part song in Addit. MSS., No. 11,608 British Museum (the same that contains Vive le Roy, before quoted, and written at the end of Charles the First's reign). Secondly,
because English tunes or songs were frequently entitled " Scotch," if they related to Scottish subjects, or the words were written in imitation of the Scottish dialect ; (so with Lilliburlero, Purcell's tune is called "a new Irish tune" in Music's Handmaid, not because it is an imitation of Irish music, nor even a new tune, but because a new song on Irish affairs) ; and I rely the more upon this evidence
from having found many other ballads to the tune of The broom, the bonny, bonny broom, but it is nowhere else entitled Scotch, even in ballads issued by the same printer. Thirdly, Burton, in his Anatomy of Melancholy, quotes it as a common English country tune. Under the head of " Love Melancholy Symptoms of Love" (edit, of 1652), he says, " The very rusticks and hog-rubbers . . . have thi'ir Wakes, Whitson-ales, Shepheard's feasts, meetings on holidays, Country
Dances, Roundelays, writing their names on trees, true lovers' knots, pretty gifts. . . . Instead of Odes, Epigrams and Elegies, &c., they have their Ballads, Country tui ies, the broom, the bonny, bonny broom ; Ditties and Songs, Bess a Bell she doth excel : they must write likewise, and indite all in rhime." Fourthly, because 1650 is too early a date for Scotch tunes to have been popular among the lower
classes in England: I do not think one can be traced before the reign of Charles II. It is a common modern error to suppose that England was inundated with Scotch tunes at the union of the two crowns. The first effect was directly the reverse, and the popularity of Scotch tunes in England should rather be dated from the reign of James II. I shall hereafter have occasion to revert to this subject, and therefore will not further enlarge at present."




Chappell, PMOT, v2, p490, Pepys and Scotch and Italian Music


"He first speaks of Scotch music in the year 1666, and it would seem to have been then a novelty. In January he hears Mrs. Knipp, the actress, sing. " her little Scotch song of Barbary Allen" at Lord Brouncker's, and he was "in perfect pleasure to hear her sing" it. In the following July, he says, " To my Lord Lauderdale's house to speak with him, and find him and his lady, and some Scotch people, at supper. But at supper there played one of their servants upon the viallin some Scotch tunes only ; several, and the best of their country, as they seem to esteem them, by their praising and admiring them : but, Lord ! the strangest ayre that ever I heard in my life, and all of one cast." His third and last notice of Scottish music is in June, 1667. " Here in the streets I did hear the Scotch march beat by the drums before the soldiers, which is very odd."
The first Scotch tunes that I have found printed in England are among the " Select new Tunes and Jiggs for the Treble Violin," which were added to The Dancing Master of 1665. These are " The Highlanders' March," " A Scotch Firke," and " A Scots Rant.'* They are not included among the country-dances in that publication ; neither do they appear in any other edition. The " Select new tunes" were afterwards transferred to Apolk's Banquet for the Treble Violin."
In The Dancing Master of 1686 we find the first Scotch tune arranged as a country-dance." This is " Johnny, cock thy beaver," which had been rendered popular by Tom D'Urfey's song, " To horse, brave boys, to Newmarket, to horse," being written to it. On the other hand, the first collection of secular music printed in Scotland, Forbes' Cantns, consists entirely of English compositions, and songs to English ballad-tunes. The first edition was published in 1662,
the second in 1666, and the third in 1682. " Severall of the choisest Italian songs and new English Ayres in three parts " were added to the Jast, and, with that exception, all are for one voice. Forbes was a printer at Aberdeen, and this was the only secular music published in Scotland during the seventeenth century."



Chappell, PMOT, v2, p538, "Barbara Allen"

"BARBARA ALLEN.
Under this name, the English and Scotch have each a ballad, with their
respective tunes. Both ballads are printed in Percy's Reliques of Ancient Poetry, and a comparison will shew that there is no similarity in the music."



Chappell, PMOT, v2, P610 Anglo-Scottish Songs

"Although the popularity of Scottish music in England cannot be dated further back than the reign of Charles II. it may be proved, from various sources, that English music was in favour in Scotland from the fifteenth century, and that many English airs became so popular as at length to be thoroughly domiciled"


Chappell, PMOT, v2, P611

"Before the publication of Ramsay's Tea Talk Miscellany, the " Scotch tunes" that were popular in England were mostly spurious, and the words adapted to them seem to have been invariably so."





The last quote is the reason for asserting that songs described as Scotch did not necessarily originate in Scotland.

I've included the relevant bit about Pepys. Chappell doesn't comment on the origin here, but I think it interesting that only in listening to Mrs Knipp sing does Pepys seem to take pleasure in Scotch music.


Mick


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Subject: RE: Barbara Allen earliest version?
From: Lighter
Date: 21 Oct 11 - 02:20 PM

Thanks, Mick. You've saved me (and perhaps MtheGM) quite some effort.

I doubt that Malcolm ever would have claimed 100% accuracy, but every time I've had occasion to check one of his notes I've found him to be roughly 100% accurate.

Ritson/Chappell make it even less permissible to assume that "Barbara Allen" was either originally Scottish or known at all before Mrs. Knipp performed it.

Except for "Barbara Allen's" existence in London on Jan. 2, 1666, we know nothing at all about its early history.


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Subject: RE: Barbara Allen earliest version?
From: bubblyrat
Date: 21 Oct 11 - 02:39 PM

Fascinating stuff !! The version we are currently learning , which appears in "Songs of Scotland " Vol 1 , ed. by J Pittman & Colin Brown ,
uses the word "Slichtit" when referring to Sir John Graham's apparently
somewhat selfish behaviour in the pub , ie not taking much notice of Barbara ; I take it that this word means "Slighted" ? ( the appropriate page of Scottish words / meanings is , sadly , missing !).
             Nice tune, by the way ; sounds great in E minor , and much better than Joan Baez's effort !


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Subject: RE: Barbara Allen earliest version?
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 21 Oct 11 - 03:33 PM

bubblyrat - yes it does mean slighted; see Slicht for some examples.

Lighter - thanks to digitisation it didn't take long to search through djvu files of PMOT for Scotch and copy and paste the appropriate passages. (I do have an proper edition of PMOT, but going through by hand and copying would have been a major task! Though for reading end to end I prefer hard copy over the digital version; maybe that'll change when I get an ebook reader rather than using the computer!). As an aside, I prefer djvu files over pdf for large documents; they load so much faster and provide searchable text along with the page images (though the text may have some errors in from the OCR they do).

Mick


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Subject: RE: Barbara Allen earliest version?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 21 Oct 11 - 06:03 PM

You don't need to read PMOT to work that out. It's quite obvious reading through D'Urfey's "Pills" and the many publications that jumped on his bandwagon. Or as many of them as you can stand without feeling slightly sick.

There seems to be a cycle here. The first Irish tunes to be fashionable in Britain date from the 1580s. "Scotch" tunes with D'Urfey, Purcell etc in the 1680s. Highland music takes off with the Gows and Patrick Macdonald in the 1780s. Highland music hits a peak again in the 1880s coinciding with Queen Victoria's infatuation with men in kilts. "Celtic" music post-Alan-Stivell in the 1980s. Maybe we should get the astronmers looking for an undiscovered tartan planet with shamrock-shaped moons.


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Subject: RE: Barbara Allen earliest version?
From: The Sandman
Date: 21 Oct 11 - 06:21 PM

fine Malcolm was right , I was wrong


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Subject: RE: Barbara Allen earliest version?
From: bubblyrat
Date: 22 Oct 11 - 06:13 AM

Ah, the " Tease of the D'Urfey Pills " !!


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Subject: RE: Barbara Allen earliest version?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 22 Oct 11 - 06:25 AM

But, then, where did Mrs Knipp get the song from? There is no suggestion that she was herself a composer or poet. If it was one interpolated into a play in which she was performing, then what play, by whom?; and how come it should have been entirely lost?: most Restoration dramatic productions are entered and documented. Mrs K must have learned the song from somewhere, whatever its provenance or nationality.

~M~


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Subject: RE: Barbara Allen earliest version?
From: Lighter
Date: 22 Oct 11 - 09:26 AM

Of course there's no evidence that Mrs. Knipp wrote "Barbara Allen," but somebody must have, and as an actress she at least had an interest in words and (as Pepys tells us) she could sing as well.

You're correct that had the song been part of a stage play, there should have been some record of it, but I'm thinking in terms of a minor entr'acte of some sort.

But I'm not trying to make a case for Mrs. Knipp's authorship. I'm only observing that we really know nothing about the song's origin and that we can deduce nothing about it from Pepys's diary.

And here's a curiosity: Why (as Goose Gander notes) should a ballad called "Barbara Allen's Cruelty" be set "To the tune of Barbara Allen" if the latter is the same song? Is the "Cruelty" merely an elaboration? Was "Barbara Allen" originally the name of a wordless melody? Or are we dealing with another "Rose of Tralee" - two different songs with the same title?


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