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While Shepherds Watched tunes

DigiTrad:
ON ILKLA MOOR BAHT HAT


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Black belt caterpillar wrestler 21 Dec 10 - 08:21 AM
Will Fly 21 Dec 10 - 08:26 AM
Marje 21 Dec 10 - 09:38 AM
Les from Hull 21 Dec 10 - 09:41 AM
Manitas_at_home 21 Dec 10 - 10:06 AM
Acorn4 21 Dec 10 - 10:32 AM
Cats 21 Dec 10 - 11:36 AM
Cats 21 Dec 10 - 11:37 AM
Les from Hull 21 Dec 10 - 01:17 PM
GUEST 21 Dec 10 - 03:13 PM
Penny S. 21 Dec 10 - 03:19 PM
greg stephens 21 Dec 10 - 04:12 PM
AllisonA(Animaterra) 21 Dec 10 - 04:55 PM
Liz the Squeak 21 Dec 10 - 06:09 PM
Artful Codger 21 Dec 10 - 06:59 PM
Paul Reade 22 Dec 10 - 01:22 PM
Richard from Liverpool 20 Dec 11 - 03:08 PM
Paul Reade 20 Dec 11 - 03:28 PM
Owen Woodson 20 Dec 11 - 03:32 PM
Richard from Liverpool 20 Dec 11 - 05:22 PM
Tradsinger 21 Dec 11 - 03:06 AM
Sooz 21 Dec 11 - 04:04 AM
GUEST,Mike Yates 21 Dec 11 - 08:37 AM
Tradsinger 21 Dec 11 - 09:44 AM
Artful Codger 21 Dec 11 - 11:44 AM
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Subject: While Shepherds Watched tunes
From: Black belt caterpillar wrestler
Date: 21 Dec 10 - 08:21 AM

Just a bit of a rambling thought here.
As we all know there are lots of tunes used for this carol (did someone say 83?)and I was pondering upon the siginicance of a remark that my late father-in-law made about the reason for the tune Winchester Old becoming the "standard" one for it.
He claimed that the brass bands could get through that tune the fastest and so reduce the time spent playing on a cold winter night when out carolling door to door.

I tried a bit of an experiment to compare the time taken to get through a verse and came up with the following figures for different tunes.

Winchester Old - 20 seconds.
Shaw Lane - 23 seconds.
Cranbrook - 32 seconds.
Old Foster - 35 seconds.
Chime on - 43 seconds.
Sweet Bells - 44 seconds.

Not very scientific as I just timed them at the speed that I would do them, not from recordings.

Anyone agree that the theory might hold water?


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Subject: RE: While Shepherds Watched tunes
From: Will Fly
Date: 21 Dec 10 - 08:26 AM

An interesting theory, I must say. "Sweet Bells" seemed to have a real vogue in pubs this time last year. It's a good tune but I have to admit I got a bit fed up with the repetition of it now and then. 44 secs - no wonder...


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Subject: RE: While Shepherds Watched tunes
From: Marje
Date: 21 Dec 10 - 09:38 AM

On the other hand, the standard (Winchester Old) tune is so boring that it seems to go on for ever, whereas some of the livelier versions don't seem to drag so much. "Sweet Bells", I agree, does sometimes seem to take an age because the chorus is actually longer than the verse, so it's no wonder that it takes twice as long.

The trouble is that it's a difficult song to cut short without spoiling the sense. Last night in a pub Christmas session I was at, someone sang this to Cranbrook and simply went straight from the verse ending "and this shall be the sign.." to "All glory be.." It worked well enough, and I think we can take it that everyone knows the story anyway.

Marje


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Subject: RE: While Shepherds Watched tunes
From: Les from Hull
Date: 21 Dec 10 - 09:41 AM

You could get through Crimond at a fair rate, but with no words folks wouldn't think you were playing a Christmas Carol! Lyngham and Pentonville take a fair time for each verse as well.


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Subject: RE: While Shepherds Watched tunes
From: Manitas_at_home
Date: 21 Dec 10 - 10:06 AM

Damn! Now I've got the 23rd Psalm to various tunes running through my head.

The Lord's my Shepherd, I'll not want (I'll not want)...He ma-aketh me do-own to-o li-ie..


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Subject: RE: While Shepherds Watched tunes
From: Acorn4
Date: 21 Dec 10 - 10:32 AM

At Barrow last night it was sung to "House of the Rising Sun" tune.


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Subject: RE: While Shepherds Watched tunes
From: Cats
Date: 21 Dec 10 - 11:36 AM

Think it depends where you live for it to be the standard tune. A few years ago we had a new music teacher in school who said they were going to sing it to the usual tune and the kids all launched into Lyngham. They didn't know it to Winchester Old. Might it be something to do with Cornwall having a history of a high incidence of Methodism? And it wasn't the kids being awkward I can assure you!


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Subject: RE: While Shepherds Watched tunes
From: Cats
Date: 21 Dec 10 - 11:37 AM

PS try doing it to Ghost Riders in the Sky


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Subject: RE: While Shepherds Watched tunes
From: Les from Hull
Date: 21 Dec 10 - 01:17 PM

Another fsvourite is superfragilisticexpialidocious complete with the lumdiddley bits.


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Subject: RE: While Shepherds Watched tunes
From: GUEST
Date: 21 Dec 10 - 03:13 PM

Try it to Ilkley Moor Bar T'Hat. Great chorus song for a folk club.


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Subject: RE: While Shepherds Watched tunes
From: Penny S.
Date: 21 Dec 10 - 03:19 PM

I think you'll find that is Cranbrook, as mentioned above.

Penny


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Subject: RE: While Shepherds Watched tunes
From: greg stephens
Date: 21 Dec 10 - 04:12 PM

Here is Cranbrook/Ilkley Moor in the White Lion in Penkhull(a couple of minutes in, after the practice in village hall bit)


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Subject: RE: While Shepherds Watched tunes
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 21 Dec 10 - 04:55 PM

And of course you know that the words to "Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer" can be sung to nearly all of these tunes! The other night at our local village concert we sang the entire song to Cranbrook, with full audience participation!


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Subject: RE: While Shepherds Watched tunes
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 21 Dec 10 - 06:09 PM

We also had audience participation when my choir sang 'While Shephers watched' to Cranbrook this evening - the venue was the Ritz hotel in London, and the audience member was Alan Titchmarsh the gardener/presenter!

('Rudolph the Red nosed reindeer' goes very nicely to the 'White cockade', or to 'The British Grenadiers')

LTS


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Subject: RE: While Shepherds Watched tunes
From: Artful Codger
Date: 21 Dec 10 - 06:59 PM

I don't know how anyone could arrive at an exact figure for the number of tunes used--most common meter tunes will work. Old hymnals (such as the one in which this first appeared as a song) often just indicated the meter of a hymn, and provide possible tunes matching those meters in a separate section. Texts might have appeared with a setting, but this was more of a suggestion. There wasn't the modern rigidity of "this song is sung to this tune." Some researchers claim that "While Shepherds" has been (seriously) sung to hundreds of tunes.

FWIW, I posted a listing here of about 40 tunes to which this text has been sung.


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Subject: RE: While Shepherds Watched tunes
From: Paul Reade
Date: 22 Dec 10 - 01:22 PM

"My Grandfather's Clock" moves along at a good pace, but "Amazing Grace" can drag a bit.


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Subject: RE: While Shepherds Watched tunes
From: Richard from Liverpool
Date: 20 Dec 11 - 03:08 PM

As part of my Liverpool Folk Song a Week project, I've just recorded a version of While Shepherds Watched that was collected by Lucy Broadwood with the note "Liverpool Version" - in her manuscripts in the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library its alongside another carol collected with the note "as sung in Liverpool".

While Shepherds Watched - 'Liverpool version' collected by Lucy Broadwood

I'm just wondering if anybody recognises the tune, or has heard it used somewhere else? (I'm pretty sure it's not the same as the tune known as 'Liverpool', in case someone's wondering!) I hadn't heard it before, but I reckon that other people must have a wider knowledge of the different tunes used for While Shepherds Watched.


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Subject: RE: While Shepherds Watched tunes
From: Paul Reade
Date: 20 Dec 11 - 03:28 PM

How about "Pinball Wizard"??


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Subject: RE: While Shepherds Watched tunes
From: Owen Woodson
Date: 20 Dec 11 - 03:32 PM

Hi Richard. Actually, I suspect the two are related although, if so, they have clearly travelled a long way apart. Are any other versions of either tune known? Also, does anyone know whereabouts in Liverpool it was sung?


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Subject: RE: While Shepherds Watched tunes
From: Richard from Liverpool
Date: 20 Dec 11 - 05:22 PM

Alas, I'm in a state of enormous ignorance here, which is why I thought I'd cast a line for further clues. If there are any other collected copies of this carol in Liverpool, they're not in the Roud index and I haven't tracked them down elsewhere. The manuscript sadly doesn't give any helpful information about where in Liverpool it was from, source, etc.

It appears alongside a version of 'Christ was born in Bethlehem' which also lacks information about the source, and just bears the note "as sung in Liverpool".


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Subject: RE: While Shepherds Watched tunes
From: Tradsinger
Date: 21 Dec 11 - 03:06 AM

You'll find a nice Gloucestershire version (or two) here. The first version, collected at Bisley, Glos, is very similar to one found as a West Gallery carol at Roadwater, Somerset. There are shedloads of West Gallery versions of this carol.

Enjoy

Tradsinger


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Subject: RE: While Shepherds Watched tunes
From: Sooz
Date: 21 Dec 11 - 04:04 AM

We sing it to The Lincolnshire Poacher and the whole song takes next to no time!


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Subject: RE: While Shepherds Watched tunes
From: GUEST,Mike Yates
Date: 21 Dec 11 - 08:37 AM

You can listen to a version of this carol on the "Wiltshire Pop Up Museum" website. It was recorded from a singer called William Harding who lived in the village of Urchfont.


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Subject: RE: While Shepherds Watched tunes
From: Tradsinger
Date: 21 Dec 11 - 09:44 AM

Thanks for posting this, Mike. Here is the url. It just goes to prove the point that there are more versions than you can shake a stick at.

Cheers

Tradsinger (GD)


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Subject: RE: While Shepherds Watched tunes
From: Artful Codger
Date: 21 Dec 11 - 11:44 AM

Yes, after posting my listings of known established tunes in the other thread, I finally gave up trying to be complete--and I'd scarcely scratched the village carols. Most settings I found were ho-hum, though if a tune is part of your tradition, imbued by fond associations with Christmases past, you're bound to disagree.

Since the text is so long, it provides an opportunity to sing several of your favorite tunes in sequence.


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