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Origins: God Save The Queen

DigiTrad:
AMERICA ('Tis of Thee)
GOD SAVE THE KING


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God save the Queen (80)


GUEST,Julia 04 Jun 12 - 09:47 PM
Rapparee 04 Jun 12 - 09:58 PM
GUEST,Julia 04 Jun 12 - 10:03 PM
GUEST 04 Jun 12 - 10:18 PM
Rapparee 04 Jun 12 - 10:27 PM
Dave MacKenzie 05 Jun 12 - 04:06 AM
Jack Campin 05 Jun 12 - 04:42 AM
Marje 05 Jun 12 - 06:18 AM
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Subject: Origins: God Save The Queen
From: GUEST,Julia
Date: 04 Jun 12 - 09:47 PM

I was talking to a group of folkie friends who were insistent that the tune of God Save The Queen is of Irish or French origin and was borrowed by the English. I can't hear that in the tune, it has no lilt or lift that I would normally associate with Irish melodies. And it is hardly a march - it's too slow.

It does seem to make some sense that stealing of a traditional tune and dedicating it to a tyrannical monarch would be a powerful tool in aiding the subjugation of new colony.

Has anyone more information about the song's origin.

Julia


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Subject: RE: Origins: God Save The Queen
From: Rapparee
Date: 04 Jun 12 - 09:58 PM

Wikipedia sayeth, in part:

In The Oxford Companion to Music, Percy Scholes devotes about four pages to this subject, pointing out the similarities to an early plainsong melody, although the rhythm is very distinctly that of a galliard, and he gives examples of several such dance tunes that bear a striking resemblance to "God Save the King/Queen". Scholes quotes a keyboard piece by John Bull (1619) which has some similarities to the modern tune, depending on the placing of accidentals which at that time were unwritten in certain cases and left to the discretion of the player. He also points to several pieces by Henry Purcell, one of which includes the opening notes of the modern tune, set to the words "God Save The King". George Frideric Handel used the tune as the theme in the variation piece 'Sarabande' of his Suite No.4 in E minor, HWV 429, composed prior to 1720. Nineteenth century scholars and commentators mention the widespread belief that an old Scots carol, "Remember O Thou Man" was the source of the tune.


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Subject: RE: Origins: God Save The Queen
From: GUEST,Julia
Date: 04 Jun 12 - 10:03 PM

Thank you Rapparee, but Wikipedia only refers to the song after it has been adapted/adopted into religious or art forms of music.


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Subject: RE: Origins: God Save The Queen
From: GUEST
Date: 04 Jun 12 - 10:18 PM

Well...the entire world knows it as "My Country Tiss of Thee ".....all of Thialand knows "O whaa A gooo Siam "

Why the queer nation would usurp the other 's "first rights " is an issue that should be bridged by a rigid richard.


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Subject: RE: Origins: God Save The Queen
From: Rapparee
Date: 04 Jun 12 - 10:27 PM

Yes, but if scholars can't determine the ancestry it becomes very difficult to track it down at all.

I've just spent some time researching this on the Web. Henry Carey is credited, as is John Bull. There seem to have been several possible progenitors, none of which can claim to be the actual ancestor.

If it IS descended from a galliard (and it could have been, the dates are right for it) the 3/4 time would have been in "double tempo" and quite livelier than the present, rather staid, version. Somehow I can't see gentlemen taking four hops and a leap into the air to the music. But I don't have access to a large music library or even a large research library so I can't report more than what I can find on the Web.


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Subject: RE: Origins: God Save The Queen
From: Dave MacKenzie
Date: 05 Jun 12 - 04:06 AM

I'm just back from a long weekend in Norway, and caught a rehearsal of something to the same tune for King Harald's birthday at the Oslo Opera Theatre. According to the 'Companion to Rejoice and Sing',

"The extended words found in numerous versions.....have probably evolved ..... in much the way that football anthems have evolved on the terraces........

The origins of the tune are as obscure as those of the words. Its first official appearance was probably in Thomas Arne's arrangement made for use at Drury Lane Theatre and printed in 'The Gentleman's Magazine' for Oct. 1745, p552. ...... It was by then probably well known; Arne mentioned 'a received opinion that it was written for the Catholic Chapel of James II'.......

About twenty nations adopted the tune for patriotic songs (although in many cases they were later ousted by other settings); it is still known in the USA for Samuel F Smith's 'My country, 'tis of Thee'."


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Subject: RE: Origins: God Save The Queen
From: Jack Campin
Date: 05 Jun 12 - 04:42 AM

Percy Scholes' book on the song gives more detail. If you're really curious that's the place to look. The attribution to John Bull looks pretty convincing to me.

it has no lilt or lift that I would normally associate with Irish melodies.

Phooey. The Irish simply didn't have any galliards.

And it is hardly a march - it's too slow.

At galliard tempo it's a bit too fast to be a march. Compare it with a 3/4 Highland pipe march like "Lochanside".


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Subject: RE: Origins: God Save The Queen
From: Marje
Date: 05 Jun 12 - 06:18 AM

Wikipedia has this to add about galliards:
"One special step used during a galliard is lavolta, a step which involves an intimate, close hold between a couple, with the woman being lifted into the air and the couple turning 270 degrees, within one six-beat measure. Lavolta was considered by some dancing masters as an inappropriate dance."

I'd like to see someone try that the next time they hear "God Save the Queen", preferably at a large and solemn gathering.

You can also compare the tune with a 3/2 hornpipe such as "Old Lancashire".

The dirge-like tempo at which it's usually sung as God Save the Queen disguises these similarities to earlier dance tunes.

Marje


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