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'Hay Nonny' chorus: does it exist?

DigiTrad:
CHASTITY BELT
HE THAT WILL AN ALEHOUSE KEEP (round)
PROMUSICA ANTIQUA


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MGM·Lion 22 Oct 14 - 12:21 PM
GUEST,Rahere 22 Oct 14 - 02:42 PM
Gurney 22 Oct 14 - 02:47 PM
GUEST,# 22 Oct 14 - 03:56 PM
MGM·Lion 22 Oct 14 - 05:06 PM
Steve Gardham 22 Oct 14 - 05:25 PM
GUEST,Ken Brock 22 Oct 14 - 11:01 PM
GUEST 23 Oct 14 - 06:11 PM
GUEST,Rahere 23 Oct 14 - 07:03 PM
Susan of DT 24 Oct 14 - 07:04 AM
Brian Peters 24 Oct 14 - 07:31 AM
GUEST,Peter Laban 24 Oct 14 - 07:45 AM
MGM·Lion 24 Oct 14 - 08:11 AM
GUEST 24 Oct 14 - 11:35 AM
MGM·Lion 24 Oct 14 - 12:22 PM
GUEST 24 Oct 14 - 12:30 PM
GUEST,Stevebury 24 Oct 14 - 12:58 PM
MGM·Lion 24 Oct 14 - 01:44 PM
MGM·Lion 24 Oct 14 - 01:51 PM
GUEST,mg 24 Oct 14 - 02:04 PM
GUEST,Rahere 24 Oct 14 - 02:21 PM
Musket 24 Oct 14 - 02:23 PM
MGM·Lion 24 Oct 14 - 05:09 PM
MGM·Lion 24 Oct 14 - 05:19 PM
Richard Mellish 24 Oct 14 - 05:41 PM
GUEST,mg 24 Oct 14 - 05:58 PM
GUEST 24 Oct 14 - 08:48 PM
MGM·Lion 24 Oct 14 - 11:41 PM
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Subject: 'Hay Nonny' chorus: does it exist?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 22 Oct 14 - 12:21 PM

"In a well-publicised interview, John Lennon dismissed the 1960s folk scene in his own country, dismissing it as 'College students with pints of beer going hay-nonny nonny', but in the same breath, he praised Dominic Behan" -
    --   from Wikipedia entry on Dominic Behan.

Isn't it funny how ignoramuses as to true folk, like, it would appear, Lennon, whatever his other manifold talents, always go on about "Hay Nonny Nonny, Hay Nonny No", as if that was a common folk chorus! In fact, the only standard song that I can think of in which this refrain appears is not a folksong at all, and doesn't claim to be: "It was a Lover & His Lass" from Will's As You Like It. & I remember a rather good Cambridge student revue cod folksong from my student days, about laying off the drink while studying:

Come all you young students who hang around here,
Beware of bad women, beware of good beer

[chorus]
For Greene King and Tolly-o
Will not seem so jolly-o
When three years are gone-y
Hay Nonny, Hay Nonny

But can anyone actually think of an actual folksong, as opposed to one of these sort of avowed fakes & pastiches, which do actually include this chorus or burden or refrain? Blowed if I can!

≈Michael≈


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Subject: RE: 'Hay Nonny' chorus: does it exist?
From: GUEST,Rahere
Date: 22 Oct 14 - 02:42 PM

Don't forget this was the heyday of CUMS (I kid you not, the Cambridge University Madrigal Society: my aunt was one of 'em). Early Music as such didn't exist distinctively, David Munrow and circle were still of their number on the edge of the folk scene. Middle class schoolgirl recorders and all that Greensleeves-cum-John Barleycorn...never discussing the thinking that the wearing of green sleeves in Court was the sign of a Courtesan...


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Subject: RE: 'Hay Nonny' chorus: does it exist?
From: Gurney
Date: 22 Oct 14 - 02:47 PM

Nope, me neither.
The parody of all perceived folksongs, Chastity Belt, does have a couple of nonnys, but for trad song, I don't think I've ever heard one.


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Subject: RE: 'Hay Nonny' chorus: does it exist?
From: GUEST,#
Date: 22 Oct 14 - 03:56 PM

Hey Nonny Nonny


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Subject: RE: 'Hay Nonny' chorus: does it exist?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 22 Oct 14 - 05:06 PM

Ah, yes: thanks for the reminder, Mr Sharp; it does indeed come into another interpolated Shax song -- Sigh No More Ladies, from Much Ado About Nothing: the basis of that Violent Femmes #.

Still seems an odd sort of popular misconception that the formula is typical of folksong, when it has, as thread so far demonstrates, no real connection whatsoever thereto!

≈M≈


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Subject: RE: 'Hay Nonny' chorus: does it exist?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 22 Oct 14 - 05:25 PM

I think Lennon was simply picking on the first phrase to come into his head. He obviously knew very little about the subject and was probably using it (erroneously as it happens) to represent all the whack fol the diddles and derry downs we have been utilising for centuries.


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Subject: RE: 'Hay Nonny' chorus: does it exist?
From: GUEST,Ken Brock
Date: 22 Oct 14 - 11:01 PM

For whatever reason the phrase Hey, Nonny Nonny, Piminy, Miminy Mo was used by The Gershwin Brothers in the verse to "Meadow Serenade" in the 1927 version of Strike Up the Band. The verse was not recorded in the premiere recording of the song by Kiri Te Kenawa (the music had been lost) but by 1991 new music for the verse portion was supplied by Burton Lane for the restoration of SUTB.


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Subject: RE: 'Hay Nonny' chorus: does it exist?
From: GUEST
Date: 23 Oct 14 - 06:11 PM

As Steve points out, "Derry Down" does crop up a lot. But why do those two Ulster counties get mentioned so often?


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Subject: RE: 'Hay Nonny' chorus: does it exist?
From: GUEST,Rahere
Date: 23 Oct 14 - 07:03 PM

Well, you'd have troubles keeping a straight face going "Munster Limerick", wouldn't you?


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Subject: RE: 'Hay Nonny' chorus: does it exist?
From: Susan of DT
Date: 24 Oct 14 - 07:04 AM

I've got a girl who's ten feet tall
Hey nonny, nonny no
Sleeps in the kitchen with her feet in the hall
Hey nonny, nonny no

etc.


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Subject: RE: 'Hay Nonny' chorus: does it exist?
From: Brian Peters
Date: 24 Oct 14 - 07:31 AM

When Francis Collinson was presenting his regular folk song spot in the BBC Radio 'Country Magazine' programme in the 1940s, he would get ribbed regularly by the show's presenter Ralph Wightman, using the usual stereotypes about 97-verse ballads etc. On one occasion Wightman claimed that Collinson was "knee deep in romance and Hey nonny nonny", to which Collinson replied indignantly: "You've heard these songs often enough; do you find them 'Hey nonny nonny'? Which I take to mean affected folksy?"

So it wasn't Lennon who first used the phrase to mock folk song.


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Subject: RE: 'Hay Nonny' chorus: does it exist?
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 24 Oct 14 - 07:45 AM

I think Lennon was simply picking on the first phrase to come into his head. He obviously knew very little about the subject and was probably using it (erroneously as it happens) to represent all the whack fol the diddles and derry downs we have been utilising for centuries.

That's probably right although I am not too sure about the 'he knew obviously very little about the subject'. Lennon was very interested in Irish music and wanted to learn the Uilleann pipes, to do so he organised Francie McPeake to give him lessons. The only reason this fell through was Francie's reluctance to leave Belfast and move to London to live in an apartment already set up for him by. This suggests Lennon had at least some interest in and knowledge of some of the things happening 'on the folkscene'.


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Subject: RE: 'Hay Nonny' chorus: does it exist?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 24 Oct 14 - 08:11 AM

By no means was he the first, Brian. The verse I give above in OP was from Downing College's 1953 May Ball, showing that 'hey nonny' was a well-established cliché to [mis]represent the genre: pretty well from time immemorial I should say. But, my point is, it is odd it should be so, as the refrain is pretty well unknown to actual folksong; tho I suppose it had early usage [tho probably not the first] in a sort of mock folksong, which is what I take "A Lover & His Lass" in AYLI to be: sung by "two pages" commissioned by the Clown Touchstone to serenade his country wench Audrey. The misconception, like so many, presumably down to the influence of that incomparable old Will Shax?

Wonder what tune Kemp [I suppose it would have been] would have used. Nowadays hard to escape the familiar Morley tune. Tho when I played Amiens and was musical-director for a modern-dress 'hippy' open-air production for Combined Acors Of Cambridge about 40 years ago, I set all the tunes to traditional airs : Under Greenwood Tree to Gentleman Soldier, Blow Winter Wind to Sweet Lovely Nancy, What Shall He Have to Hal-an-Tow, the Wedding Hymn to Kelvingrove; and this one to The Little Beggarman

≈M≈


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Subject: RE: 'Hay Nonny' chorus: does it exist?
From: GUEST
Date: 24 Oct 14 - 11:35 AM

I think there are some Shakespearean songs include it in the plays and used by Thomas Kemp, the Tudor troubadour.


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Subject: RE: 'Hay Nonny' chorus: does it exist?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 24 Oct 14 - 12:22 PM

Eh?


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Subject: RE: 'Hay Nonny' chorus: does it exist?
From: GUEST
Date: 24 Oct 14 - 12:30 PM

In much ado about nothing, the Shakespeare play..


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Subject: RE: 'Hay Nonny' chorus: does it exist?
From: GUEST,Stevebury
Date: 24 Oct 14 - 12:58 PM

The "hey nonny"s I've encountered are in a round, which I learned in oral tradition, and which was published in 'Melismata' (1611).

He that will an Alehouse Keep must have three things in store:
a chamber and a featherbed, a chimney and a
hey nonny nonny, hey nonny nonny, hey nonny no, hey nonny no, hey nonny no.

The hocket or 'catch' is more subtle than some:
'H / ey' coincides with 'st / ORE' .


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Subject: RE: 'Hay Nonny' chorus: does it exist?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 24 Oct 14 - 01:44 PM

That's what I said, Guest - Sigh No More. What your point? & who "Thomas Kemp, the Tudor troubadour"? Will Kemp was the clown in Shax's company - an actor rather than a troubadour and probably the first singer of the songs. He is famous BTW from having, for a bet, danced a jig all the way from London to Norwich -- there is a famous print of his doing so, accompd by as man playing pipe-&-tabor -- see

http://www.amaranthpublishing.com/Kemp.htm

The tune known as Kemp's Jig still much recorded

http://hubpages.com/hub/Kemps-Jig-classical-fingerstyle-guitar

It is said to have taken Kemp nine days, and is sometimes claimed as origin of the phrase "a nine-days' wonder".

Stevebury: Yes, thanks indeed. In some rounds -- and very probably in some madrigals, a genre I don't know that much about. But rare, indeed pretty well nonexistent, as I aver, in narrative or lyrical folksong, despite such common use in notional pastiche of such.

≈M≈


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Subject: RE: 'Hay Nonny' chorus: does it exist?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 24 Oct 14 - 01:51 PM

http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/nine-days-wonder.html

mentions this belief. In fact, Kemp wrote of his own exploit calling in "Kemp's nine day wonder", but the phrase, as above article points out, much older, & he was just quoting it; somewhat ironically, as it doesn't actually mean something wonderful that goes on for 9 days, like his dance, but something that only lasts in fashion for a few days & then gets forgotten.

≈M≈


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Subject: RE: 'Hay Nonny' chorus: does it exist?
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 24 Oct 14 - 02:04 PM

there is a very interesting free book on kindle..forget the name but it is probably at home on my kindle..a scholar says these refrains such as hey nonny, hi lili etc. were remnants of druid chants..he has some very convincing illustrations..hail to the sun or moon or whatever.


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Subject: RE: 'Hay Nonny' chorus: does it exist?
From: GUEST,Rahere
Date: 24 Oct 14 - 02:21 PM

Except that Touchstone was Armin's, not Kemp's, character, and you mean Will Kempe. You have to look at the pieces in the period 1592-1599 to find anything which might contain his work: Comedy of Errors, Love's Labours Lost (and Won, which is lost), Romeo and Juliet, and Much Ado (where Dogberry's lines are overtly marked as his in the Folio edition). Which pretty much brings us down to Much Ado, which was only staged after Kempe had been forced out: Kempe was a dancer, and possibly a tunesmith, if the Jig was his, not a songsmith.
'Twas A Lover, which has this Nonnying about, comes from As You Like It, work on which began no earlier than late 1598, by which time Kempe had overplayed his hand in becoming a shareholder in the Company and was on his way out, and was finished probably before Armin joined in 1600. It was written by Thomas Morley, who published it in his First Book of Ayres of that year.
I'll spare you my work proving that Shakespeare left gaps in his text for these specialist pieces, much in the same way pantomime does for it's stars' hits of the day these days. The point is that this is legally documented as Morley's work, not Shakespeare's, not Kempe's, and therefore belongs in the heritage of Italianate madrigalia, and not English folk, even of those days. I attribute Touchstone to Armin as it has distinctive touches of his new English Humour: the role was probably worked up by him in the years which followed. The first sign of Armin in the Company is 1602, and he's only seen as being properly installed in 1605. However, there is a strong case that the finished works were the output of much fine-tuning, and may not have been what was first performed, let alone written. We all know the finished product gets adapted in rehearsal...


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Subject: RE: 'Hay Nonny' chorus: does it exist?
From: Musket
Date: 24 Oct 14 - 02:23 PM

I think the most interesting aspect of this thread is taking a withering soundbite and analysing it beyond its intention.

Had the Beatles never been formed, The Quarrymen as a skiffle band played traditional songs at a time some people get a stiffy about and berate others for not revering those singing at that time.

Nonny is whatever and wherever you wish to use it. It is vocal middle eight, together with fol de rol, rumple diddle I do and, more recently, yeah, yeah yeah.

Use it where you wish in any song it fits in. The tit trousered gnarled old men in pubs used to, so go for it if you wish to live the dream.


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Subject: RE: 'Hay Nonny' chorus: does it exist?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 24 Oct 14 - 05:09 PM

Armin's playing of Touchstone is speculative -- he had possibly just joined the company, but it is equally possible that it was Kemp [or Kempe -- the spellings coexisted: spellings were not fixed: there are, notoriously, many different ways that Shaxper Shaksper, Shakspear... was contemperaneously spelt]. There are no definite records as to the first presentation of AYLI, not even its date; and Kemp was well established in the company, as actor as well as any other role.

Wikipedia: "Morley lived for a time in the same parish as Shakespeare, and a connection between the two has been long speculated, but never proven. His famous setting of "It was a lover and his lass" from As You Like It has never been established as having been used in a performance of Shakespeare's play, though the possibility that it was is obvious"

Your confident assertion of matters which are most evidently entirely speculative is gravely misplaced IMO, Rahere.

≈M≈


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Subject: RE: 'Hay Nonny' chorus: does it exist?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 24 Oct 14 - 05:19 PM

William Kemp may refer to:
    William Kempe (also spelled William Kemp), 17th-century English actor and dancer, one of the original actors in William Shakespeare's plays


                         Wikipedia


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Subject: RE: 'Hay Nonny' chorus: does it exist?
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 24 Oct 14 - 05:41 PM

"Nonny is whatever and wherever you wish to use it."

Except that we don't. Michael seems to be correct in suggesting its almost total absence from folk song, which does make one wonder why it became the phrase of choice for disparaging references to folk song rather than other nonsense words such as "fol-the-riddle", which occur much more commonly.


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Subject: RE: 'Hay Nonny' chorus: does it exist?
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 24 Oct 14 - 05:58 PM

now the scholar I mentioned, from some time back, did not think these were nonsense words but remnants of Druid incantations or something. It really does make sense..


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Subject: RE: 'Hay Nonny' chorus: does it exist?
From: GUEST
Date: 24 Oct 14 - 08:48 PM

MGM - I don't disagree, but I think we can go further, though. We need more detail. Sorry about the divesion, folks, what follows is off thread, but MGM's worth debating this with. The bit about The Tempest establishing that Armin was allowed space for his own contributions has already been formally debated in a 2011 Guildhall School of Drama seminar, before some of the UK's leading Shakespeare specialists, and held up.

As you say, Kempe was in very good odour until something happened which suddenly popped the bubble. In 1598, he was even able to buy into the foundation of the Company, alongside Shakespeare and Burbage, one of just 5 shareholders, IIRC. But almost immediately, his rise turns into a spectacular fall, suggesting he overstretched himself either financially or politically in doing so. It's like what might happen to someone like Fabregas if they unexpectedly grabbed a slice of Chelsea from Abramovitch' hands - he might get away with it for a second, but he'd not long survive the coup. Kempe's wealth lasts a year, a second year he's gambling to rebuild what he has left (the 9 Days' Wonder in 1600, morris dancing to Norwich), in another year he's borrowing from Henslowe (who, let's face it, made a modern loan shark look like a goldfish). Henslowe put him to work alongside the rest of his debt slaves in Worcester's Men, on the edge of the profession, and in another couple of years he's dead from destitution. The higher you fly, the harder you fall. What caused his fall fromn grace we'll never know, but fall he did and by the time AYLI was cleaared for the stage, he was dead.

The date of Armin's arrival is from the Goldsmiths' Company records, when he stops as a working goldsmith - 1600. For that move to be attractive, he must have beem offered a sizeable income, even if not the level Kempe had. Armin was a cautious man, we know he kept his Guild subs up, because the Goldsmiths buried him when he died - he kept his trade to fall back on, not for him the fate of Kempe. Sure, he's not recorded as being properly installed until 1602, but there can be little doubt that he was being lined up as Kempe's heir on the strength of the works he'd just published, an entire new approach to comedy. Have you read his 1600 Foole upon Foole, and Quips upon Questions? A groundbreaking exposition of an entire new form of humour, intellectual humour. The French have only started waking up to it these last thirty years, "le Humour Anglais". It wasn't accessible to them, works coming out of Protestant England were embargoed by the Inquisition for the better part for the next 150 years. The first translations of Shakespeare himself were only made in the second half of the 18th century - and Voltaire spent some time ripping it to shreds, they only really became accessible from 1815 onwards. I digress.
It's a bit the problem the BBC had trying to decide what to do with the birth of Alternative Comedy in 1980, something new's happening, you're not quite certain what, it's not anything you've seen before, you go carefully for fear of frightening off the audience, paying for bums on seats or staggering around in the pit. A couple of years, then you start coining it and you start pushing those cutting the new ground. Where we had Mayall, they had Armin.

This was a profession where if your face fitted, you were in: Heslowe died in 1615, his wealth (the entire Southwark entertainments complex, 4 brothels and all) passed to his son-in-law Alleyn, who immediately started his tax-planning for his own death. Who was his chief advisor in that? The Attorney General, Francis Bacon. Before the project's complete, Bacon's Lord Chancellor (the job now of Prime Minister). Nothing like the best, is there? The reason for it was because he owned virtually everything south of the river from Crystal Palace to the Thames: from Sydenham to Camberwell in his own right (a purchase of 1615-1619) and from Camberwell to the river by inheritance from Henslowe. The Foundation they created still owns about a third of that lot today in 2014, with properties running from Greenwich to Wandsworth! If Alleyn got pissed off, he could legally have cut London off from Dover, near enough...he was strong enough to force his way on the bequest in the teeth of Bacon's attempts to cream a bit off for himself. The point is he made a modern footballer look like a penny-ante man.

So we can be pretty certain that Armin was there almost immediately from 1600. One good hint is the change in clowning: the clowns until Kempe were old-school slapstick merchants, whereas Armin refines the thing. We see Armin's first work in As You Like it in the character of Jacques: his soliloquy is pure Armin, but he's not the lead comic. It's not impossible Kempe could have been lined up to play Touchstone, but by the time it had cleared for performance in 1603, he was gone. I suspect the Chancellor's censors also had their worries about the groundbreaking style, the 1600 entry in the Stationers Company Register was reserved "to be staied", ie "on hold". It was too soon for the new boy Armin to step up, he had enough to cope with with Jacques, so Morley stepped in. If you go back to Shakespeare's source, Lodge's Rosalynde, the rest is little more than a rewrite, but Touchstone and Jacques are new. It's typical Shakespeare, why pay your clowns the earth and not give them their heads? We see exactly the same thing at the end of Armin's time with Shakespeare in 1610 in The Tempest: Armin follows the advice of his mates in the Goldsmiths Guild and deserts Shakespeare to do Ben Jonson's anti-alchemical The Alchemist, The Tempest being rather in favour of the subject. Of course he'd do that, the Goldsmiths hated the thought their stock in trade could lose its worth - but there was no coming back after the betrayal. Anyway, the result was that The Tempest is riddled with gaps, it's generally considered to be the most incoherent of Shakespeare's plays, and the reason why is because Armin was no longer there to fill them - and just as Morley registered It Was A Lover with the Lord Chancellor in 1600, covering the gap left by Kempe's departure, so Robert Johnson was brought in to cover the gap left by Armin's desertion as best he could, with his Where The Bee Sucks and Full Fathom Five, already published before ever the job came up. They were his repertoire, and the play was eased to allow him to perform them. They only add confusion to the tale, but the audience required some music, so music they had to have. The rest of the gaps left for Armin to fill were just cobbled together.

So yes, I agree, Armin almost certainly did NOT take Touchstone at first. But as he played his way in, and the play was kept on hold, he almost certainly moved up to develop the prime role, leaving Jacques for a lesser man to play what he had worked up. There was plenty of time for this reworking to embed, there was no quarto edition and by the time the full folio editions were published 20 years later in 1623, Armin was 8 years in his grave and what was published was the performance edition if not of his understudies, then of his understudies understudies. We cannot be absolutely certain, but we can be fairly sure. You can look at the history of any other longrunning stage show, you'll see the same, pieces tried out, then removed, and others added during the run. If you find something better than what you've got, which only works sometimes, you change it. You do the same in your own repertoire, don't like that anymore, we'll do it this way instead. Suddenly Kempe's Touchstone has disappeared and Armin's is there. Like in any office, the last person to leave has one heck of a lot of failures heaped on his head, it's a wonderful way for the survivors to clear a few skeletons out...


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Subject: RE: 'Hay Nonny' chorus: does it exist?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 24 Oct 14 - 11:41 PM

Thank you. Most germane and informative. Absolute principle of mine to concede to anyone better informed than myself; which of course I now do. Thanks again.

And now -- back to

Hey nonny nonny? NO!

≈M≈


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Subject: RE: 'Hay Nonny' chorus: does it exist?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 25 Oct 14 - 01:25 AM

For interest

Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. 1919. The Oxford Book of English Verse: 1250–1900.
Anonymous. 16th Cent.
59. Hey nonny no!
Christ Church MS.

HEY nonny no!        
Men are fools that wish to die!        
Is 't not fine to dance and sing        
When the bells of death do ring?        
Is 't not fine to swim in wine,                 
And turn upon the toe,        
And sing hey nonny no!        
When the winds blow and the seas flow?        
Hey nonny no!


So Morley clearly using a commonplace of his time, which no surprise. Used by Morley, Will, et al. A thoroughly LITERARY effusion, & scarcely 'folk' in any sense. Which really my point all along. I remember someone [I think it was a student of my late wife Valerie back in her Cambridge supervision days] saying how he hated the Romantics: "All nonny nonny and bloody daffodils!" was his denunciation.

≈M≈


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Subject: RE: 'Hay Nonny' chorus: does it exist?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 25 Oct 14 - 02:32 AM

You're still wrong about Kemp/Kempe, BTW.


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Subject: RE: 'Hay Nonny' chorus: does it exist?
From: GUEST,Rahere
Date: 25 Oct 14 - 04:06 AM

Perhaps. Let's keep looking for detail. My main ground's continental alchemy of the day, I know exactly how that student felt about blasted John Dee, any time the subject comes up in this country they go haring off after that nutter. Oh hey nonny nonny...

Actually, there's a trail back here, to ninny (quoted above) and Italian, so nonny may be descended from Nonna. Cougar-land? Euphemism?


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Subject: RE: 'Hay Nonny' chorus: does it exist?
From: Musket
Date: 25 Oct 14 - 05:49 AM

Except Richard, we do.

Took me five mins on the ubiquitous Google to find that nonny and fol de rol etc have, historically speaking, a geographical aspect to them. (Seemed logical before I searched but hey ho (nonny nonny.).

Lots of speculation, including by Allan Taylor, that early collectors published and regional variations of the same root songs standardised to a degree, and some voice music (fol de rol etc) became more prevalent.

So yes, nonny nonny isn't known now compared to a couple of hundred years ago, but conversely, it appears those who sang nonny nonny would probably say "I have never heard a song with fol de rol in it!

Although Michael was around when both were prevalent so rather confused by his question 😎


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Subject: RE: 'Hay Nonny' chorus: does it exist?
From: GUEST,Mr Red
Date: 25 Oct 14 - 07:32 AM

Any ceilidh dancers will tell you - mention Ceilidh and people will immedietly morph that into Morris. Correct them and they morph it into Line Dancing. Correct that and they shout "Yeha".
It is a process that goes on inside peoples heads and has done since time immemorial. (The general impression in the public's mind of that differs wildly too). This makes the mention of such mis-representations much in the genre "Folk" IMNSHO. Nay a custom!

FWIW - I was told that Kempe had one further advantage in dancing for nine days. It proved he was fit and not suffering from a plague (rampant then, presumeably in London) and as such could prove he was disease free, so was let in to the city. Thus saving 9 days waiting outside Norwich for the fever to present itself. This was from a NZ (ex pat UK) Folkie who was part of an early english recorder society there. Is this roughly true?


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Subject: RE: 'Hay Nonny' chorus: does it exist?
From: GUEST,Rahere
Date: 25 Oct 14 - 04:50 PM

Probably not - it might even be that the closest plague in 1603 was what finished him. We don't really know.

But in a climate when it didn't actually matter whether a plague was actually happening or not, it may simply have been the fear of plague. On the other hand, we know he was not alone: the famous woodcut also shows a pipe and tabor man accompanied him. And you also underestimate the endurance of the common man when you mostly had to do things yourself, including travel. The distance was about 100 miles, 3 days travel on foot or less if that's how you only ever travel. He actually took several days break en route, and reaing between the lines, I don't think people were actually massively impressed as a result: what you get is his spin.

In a way, I think I have more sympathy for the piper: can you play an overblown 3-hole pipe for hours on end? It's quite an art, five different pressure levels of overblow to master. And carrying a ruddy heavy drum with it.


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Subject: RE: 'Hay Nonny' chorus: does it exist?
From: Rank
Date: 25 Oct 14 - 05:08 PM

Quite a few broadside ballads have fol de rol &c (or similar) as a chorus. Are there fairly standard choruses for these songs?


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Subject: RE: 'Hay Nonny' chorus: does it exist?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 25 Oct 14 - 05:40 PM

In some cases yes, 'derry down' usually meant the higthly popular 'King John and the Abbot' tune and chorus. 'Bow wow wow', would have indicated the tune and chorus, both of these immensely popular in the 18thc. However they seem to have been just a rough indication of a chorus in some cases, or even a decoration.

Your example of 'fol de rol &c.' could have been several choruses/tunes without further information. It is possible that some ballads were simply being reprinted and were already well-known, and therefore to both street seller and buyer the chorus would have been obvious.

Fol de rol de dido, fol de riddle day.
'Fol de rol de rol de dol', in various combinations
Fol de rol de rol de ray

A 'fol-de-rol' was in the 18thc a toy sold at a fair, probably named after the chorus.


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Subject: RE: 'Hay Nonny' chorus: does it exist?
From: Mo the caller
Date: 26 Oct 14 - 05:00 PM

"
I remember someone [I think it was a student of my late wife Valerie back in her Cambridge supervision days] saying how he hated the Romantics: "All nonny nonny and bloody daffodils!" was his denunciation."

Well, that was quoted to us, back in the 60s by a lecturer in the Education Department at Keele, as having been said by a pupil about poetry.


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Subject: RE: 'Hay Nonny' chorus: does it exist?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 26 Oct 14 - 05:19 PM

Ah! Well then I must have misremembered, Mo; and Valerie must have been quoting the same source. Wonder what it was. Unhappily Valerie is dead so I can't ask her. Anyone recognise the source?

≈M≈


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Subject: RE: 'Hay Nonny' chorus: does it exist?
From: Mo the caller
Date: 26 Oct 14 - 05:45 PM

Google qives several quotes.
The book Teaching Poetry by Fred Sedgewick in 2003 says his late grandmother-in-law heard it from one of her pupils.
One of the other Google quotes says "I once heard a 13 yr old boy...."
Sounds like an urban myth to me, it happened to a friend of a friend.

Obviously a memorable quote though, that chimes with what the high-brow think that the low-brow think about poetry.


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Subject: RE: 'Hay Nonny' chorus: does it exist?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 27 Oct 14 - 12:50 AM

Thanks, Mo. The fact that you learnt it first in an education lecture suggests that Valerie, who did a Cert Ed after her mature degree in mid-60s, about same time as yours at Keele, might have got it from some standard educational textbook, as might your lecturer? - tho originally indeed maybe an urban myth. Agree your final comment, with its class implications &c.

BTW -- the term FOAF, from Friend Of A Friend, with derivations like Foaftale &c, was coined in one of his books on urban myth, of the study of which, along with Jan Brunvand who cites him as an influence, he was a pioneer in books like 'The Tumour In The Whale' & 'It's True - It Happened To A Friend', was coined by my friend Rodney Dale, a neighbour in my village. You will find him in Wiki &c.

≈M≈


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Subject: RE: 'Hay Nonny' chorus: does it exist?
From: GUEST,Rahere
Date: 27 Oct 14 - 06:15 AM

True to the core, a friend of a friend...


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Subject: RE: 'Hay Nonny' chorus: does it exist?
From: T in Oklahoma (Okiemockbird)
Date: 06 Nov 14 - 11:33 PM

In the preface to Myles Coverdale's Goostly Psalmes and Spirituall Songes, circa 1535, Coverdale writes

Wolde God that oure mynstrels had none other thynge to playe upon, nether oure carters & plow men other thynge to whistle upon, save Psalmes, hymnes, and soch godly songes as David is occupied withall. And yf women syttinge at theyr rockes, or spynnynge at the wheles, had none other songes to passe theyr tyme withall, than soch as Moses sister, Elchanas wife, Debora, and Mary the mother of Christ have song before them, they shulde be better occupied, then with hey nony nony, hay troly loly, & soch lyke fantasies.

So "hey, nonny nonny" was being used as a cliché for unserious music as early as Henry VIII's time.


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Subject: RE: 'Hay Nonny' chorus: does it exist?
From: GUEST,Fyldeplayer
Date: 07 Nov 14 - 03:01 AM

Corn Wine from A Mighty Wind:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vK5GNNZfsfE

- although they don't seem so sure!


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Subject: RE: 'Hay Nonny' chorus: does it exist?
From: GUEST,Rahere
Date: 07 Nov 14 - 04:36 AM

Erm, whatever rocks your boat, next...


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Subject: RE: 'Hay Nonny' chorus: does it exist?
From: GUEST
Date: 07 Nov 14 - 11:02 AM

The chorus occurs in that well known traditional song called The Chastity Belt.


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Subject: RE: 'Hay Nonny' chorus: does it exist?
From: GUEST
Date: 07 Nov 14 - 12:53 PM

The chastity belt song has this chorus.


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Subject: RE: 'Hay Nonny' chorus: does it exist?
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 07 Nov 14 - 08:43 PM

I have heard the "vocables" present in Gaelic songs, e.g. "Hi-ri hi-ro" compared to the "Hey Nonny-Nos" as neither of them actually mean anything but are just musical fill-ins. (Ducking to avoid flying corncrake!)


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Subject: RE: 'Hay Nonny' chorus: does it exist?
From: mayomick
Date: 08 Nov 14 - 09:54 AM

Before the mid-sixties John Lennon would have been largely in tune with what most English people under the age of thirty thought about English folk music. Fair maidens,lute-playing minstrels, Robin Hood on the telly wearing tights. Peter Sellers has a lot to answer for!

Would one fine morning I spied a lass there
With a muferty-dollicking-lumberdum-di,
She asked I the right road for Muckfordham Fair,
So I ups and shows her the way
Oh yarn, o yarn, oh yarn oh yi.
I ups an' I shows her the way.

Now all ye young maidens beware o' the Fair
With a muferty-dollicking-lumber-dum-di
If ye don't know the right way you'll find me right there
For the happiest times of my life I dare say
I've had showing young maidens the way.
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