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Tune Req: Lady Elspat

Pamela R 04 Aug 15 - 12:38 AM
Steve Gardham 04 Aug 15 - 02:46 AM
GUEST,leeneia 04 Aug 15 - 11:35 PM
GUEST 05 Aug 15 - 12:28 AM
Reinhard 05 Aug 15 - 12:32 AM
Steve Gardham 05 Aug 15 - 04:39 AM
GUEST,leeneia 05 Aug 15 - 11:09 AM
GUEST 05 Aug 15 - 12:18 PM
GUEST,Rigby 05 Aug 15 - 05:45 PM
GUEST,leeneia 06 Aug 15 - 12:07 PM
Brian Peters 06 Aug 15 - 03:08 PM
GUEST,Rigby 07 Aug 15 - 06:45 AM
GUEST,leeneia 07 Aug 15 - 09:52 AM
Brian Peters 07 Aug 15 - 10:48 AM
GUEST,Fred McCormick 07 Aug 15 - 10:59 AM
Steve Gardham 07 Aug 15 - 02:54 PM
GUEST,leeneia 08 Aug 15 - 12:59 AM
Pamela R 09 Aug 15 - 11:36 PM
GUEST,leeneia 10 Aug 15 - 10:35 AM
Pamela R 22 Jul 18 - 02:36 AM
keberoxu 24 Jul 18 - 04:28 PM
Pamela R 25 Jul 18 - 01:09 AM
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Subject: Tune Req: Lady Elspat
From: Pamela R
Date: 04 Aug 15 - 12:38 AM

Greetings all.

I am working on the ballad 'Lady Elspat' (Child 247). It was sung to me by a young girl in Michigan some years ago (I've tried to get in touch, but so far I have failed, so I don't have permission to share her name). I believe, however, that she learned it from a book source and not through any oral tradition in America.

From what I can find out, it appears that this song was only ever collected from one source (by Child), and there is no field recording. If I am missing something, please let me know.

Otherwise I am wondering if anyone else has performed or recorded this ballad. I have found no other source besides the girl who sang it to me once, and I learn songs only from hearing them. I am aware that Bronson notated a tune or perhaps more, but I have not been able to get hold of a copy, and anyway I do not read notation.

If there are other recorded performances I'd like to hear them. Otherwise I'll just forge ahead with the tune as best I can recall from the girl who sang it to me.

Best regards,
Pamela


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Lady Elspat
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 04 Aug 15 - 02:46 AM

According to Bronson the only reliable tune for LE is the one noted down from Mrs Brown c1800. Chistie in Traditional Ballad Airs published a tune in 1876, but he is regarded as an unreliable source for various reasons. Bronson states that the tune published in Child is not the one intended. In other words Child got this wrong.

As for recordings there is another current thread on tunes for the more obscure Child ballads. MacColl recorded many of these and it might be worth looking this up although those recordings are long out of publication.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Lady Elspat
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 04 Aug 15 - 11:35 PM

All the old ballad melodies were made up by somebody, so why not by your or by your source? Go ahead and sing what you remember, and if you don't like it, feel free to change it.

Better to do that than to let the song die because we don't have an old melody for it.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Lady Elspat
From: GUEST
Date: 05 Aug 15 - 12:28 AM

All the old ballad melodies were made up by somebody

Wow! The level of your profundity is truly breathtaking, leeneia...


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Lady Elspat
From: Reinhard
Date: 05 Aug 15 - 12:32 AM

It's thin pickings.   Halewijn's Child Ballad Database lists not a single recording for Lady Elspat, not even MacColl.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Lady Elspat
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 05 Aug 15 - 04:39 AM

Good advice from Leeneia.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Lady Elspat
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 05 Aug 15 - 11:09 AM

Thank you, Steve.

I see that I made a typo. My post should have said

"... so why not by YOU or by your source..."

I was at a concert by a band from Scotland once, and the leader said, "You go to the pub, hear a new tune, and walk home singing it in your head. What you remember in the morning is how it now goes."

So there is always room for change and variation with old tunes.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Lady Elspat
From: GUEST
Date: 05 Aug 15 - 12:18 PM

I like that ballad. Justice prevails and love conquers. How often does that happen in an old ballad?


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Lady Elspat
From: GUEST,Rigby
Date: 05 Aug 15 - 05:45 PM

The tune Bronson gives is good and very singable. I've played it a few times at folk clubs and hope to finish a recording at some point.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Lady Elspat
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 06 Aug 15 - 12:07 PM

I did some searching and did not find a tune for Lady Elspat online. It looks as if the only way to find an original tune is to borrow Bronson's book from your library and look for Lady Elspat there.

In case you want to, the full name of the book is:

The traditional tunes of the Child ballads; with their texts, according to the extant records of Great Britain and America.

The author is Bertrand Harris Bronson.

My library has it in its downtown reference section, where it's inconvenient to go and expensive to park. Me, I would make up my own tune or go with what I've remembered, at least till Rigby makes a recording.

Several years ago, I borrowed Bronson's book through Interlibrary Loan and found it disappointing. I forget the details. Your mileage may vary.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Lady Elspat
From: Brian Peters
Date: 06 Aug 15 - 03:08 PM

I'm astonished that anyone could find the Bronson books disappointing, Leeneia. I paid a pile of money for mine a few years ago, and never regretted a penny of it (and don't forget Camsco has since republished them at a reasonable price). The best resource going for anyone interested in singing traditional ballads, surely. Nothing to say we can't make up our own tunes where none is available, but why bother when there are so many fabulous ones in those books?

I'll get the Lady Elspat tune recorded tomorrow, Pamela!


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Lady Elspat
From: GUEST,Rigby
Date: 07 Aug 15 - 06:45 AM

The Traditional Tunes of the Child Ballads disappointing? It was a lifetime's work!

The most expensive book I've ever bought, and I don't regret a penny of it.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Lady Elspat
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 07 Aug 15 - 09:52 AM

I look forward to your recording, Brian.

In the meantime, I wonder where Pamela (OP) went.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Lady Elspat
From: Brian Peters
Date: 07 Aug 15 - 10:48 AM

I've just emailed the tune to Pamela - she attended my ballad classes at the Swannanoa gathering last month, and so is in direct contact with me, but it took me a while to reply, so she thought she'd see what Mudcat could provide in the meantime. I did recommend Mudcat to my class, by the way!

I'm not sure how to share this more widely - it's only a rough recording of three verses, so not the kind of thing I'd put on my website.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Lady Elspat
From: GUEST,Fred McCormick
Date: 07 Aug 15 - 10:59 AM

I agree. There is no need to knock Bronson whatsoever. What went into TTOTCB was a lifetime's work. It is a remarkable piece of scholarship, and the best thing Dick Greenhaus ever did was to republish the entire set at such an affordable price. Anyone who hasn't availed themselves already should do at once.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Lady Elspat
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 07 Aug 15 - 02:54 PM

If Leeneia borrowed 'the book' as she says, it must have been the abridged version as TTOTCB is always in 4 volumes. I haven't got the abridged version so I can't comment.

Of course the 4 vol set complements ESPB down to the ground but I wouldn't presume to compare the 2 monumental studies. They are so very different. I can't read the dots to any competent level but I would be lost without my Bronson volumes.

ESPB with all its faults that FJC was well aware of has still never been bettered in over a century.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Lady Elspat
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 08 Aug 15 - 12:59 AM

No doubt that was the problem - an abridged version.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Lady Elspat
From: Pamela R
Date: 09 Aug 15 - 11:36 PM

Sorry to be so long responding.

I've had this song for a few years and I knew it was relatively uncommon. But after consulting Brian and others this Summer I realized that it was more than a little scarce, and so I became determined to record it myself. That's why I've been asking everyone I can about it.

Thanks all for your thoughts on this song, and to Brian for looking into the history for me and singing me the tune from Bronson. Perhaps I should've said in the first place that Brian had offered to do that for me, and also that Niamh Parsons has been looking at with me. Still I wanted to find out if anyone here knew of any recordings or had come across any other information.

I appreciate the comments supportive of carrying it forward as I heard it or as I remember it, though. Sometimes I find it's a fine line to walk between good scholarship and honoring the tradition, on the one hand, and allowing for the fluid nature of the ongoing folk process, on the other. I try to strike a balance, but it's kind of a paradox. But that's another topic.

I'll let you all know when I've got a Lady Elspat recording out.

Regards,
Pamela


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Lady Elspat
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 10 Aug 15 - 10:35 AM

Thanks for coming back to us Pamela.

"Lady Elspat" is in good hands.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Lady Elspat
From: Pamela R
Date: 22 Jul 18 - 02:36 AM

At long delay (I sense a theme here.....)

Finally accepting I'll have not chance to record another studio CD until my next sabbatical, a few years off, I have imposed on a very generous neighbor and friend to make informal home recordings of the songs that I have been preparing for that project, a kind of virtual house concert if you will. Among them, a version of "Lady Elsbet" (Child #247), is now posted on YouTube here:

http://youtu.be/2cTVb9AS6dk

All the best,
Pamela.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Lady Elspat
From: keberoxu
Date: 24 Jul 18 - 04:28 PM

Pamela R, what you need is a
Lady Elsbet blue clicky.

(hope it works)


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Lady Elspat
From: Pamela R
Date: 25 Jul 18 - 01:09 AM

Thanks, and sorry I didn't give you a proper blue clicky in the first place.
Pamela


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