The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #44136 Message #648305
Posted By: Matthew Edwards
12-Feb-02 - 02:01 PM
Thread Name: English Folk: Harmony Singing
Subject: RE: English Folk: Harmony Singing
Vic Gammon's article in the notes to the Copper Family CD (Come Write Me Down: Early Recordings of the Copper Family of Rottingdean. Topic TSCD534) speculates that "the Coppers' harmony singing is an aural version of two musical phenomena; glee singing and hymn singing..." He also suggests that the rarity of recorded examples of English harmony singing may be a reflection of the thinness of collecting activities.
There is a good analysis of the harmonic structure of the Copper family song Dame Durden.
A.L.Lloyd in Folk Song in England, in considering the relationship between "art music" and folk song, suggests that groups of semi-professional musicians and singers, such as the town waits of the 16th century, may have been responsible for disseminating the practice of singing in parts. The tune from c.1600 known as Gregory Walker or the Quadrant Pavan used a harmonic structure that formed the basis of a number of folk songs.
Bruce Olson's Ballad Index could be worth consulting Ballad Index, but Grove's Encyclopedia could also be helpful - there is quite a lot about folk music in it.