The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #122706   Message #2694249
Posted By: Mick Pearce (MCP)
05-Aug-09 - 01:38 PM
Thread Name: folksongs in the lydian and phrygian mode
Subject: RE: folksongs in the lydian and phrygian mode
Here's an article (by Mike Yates and Steve Roud) that suggest that the song Sharp collected in the Lydian was The Murder of James Macdonald: Alice E. Gillington: dweller on the roughs (refuse the ActiveX). The relevant passage is:

...The singer was called Betsy Holland and the 'fiendishly difficult' tune was one used for the song 'The Murder of James MacDonald'. The encounter is remarkable for two separate reasons. Firstly, according to A. H. Fox Strangways, the tune used for the song was in the Lydian mode and this was the only time that Sharp was to discover any melody in this rare mode in England..."

And indeed this explains the problem I referred to in my post about Karpeles' introduction to the collected songs. James Macdonald (as it is titled there) is No.64 in the book, not 66 as given in the intro footnote. (As I was out walking the dog this afternoon I thought I might check for possible misreadings of 66 - that would have found it!).

The tune is Lydian on C with a note saying that the F# in question was sometimes rendered as E instead. I'll put up the tune in a short while.