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Tune Req: recordings of airs for Child Ballads

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GUEST,eoin o'budhaigh 01 Dec 16 - 06:34 PM
Joe Offer 01 Dec 16 - 06:56 PM
GUEST,eoín 01 Dec 16 - 07:05 PM
Joe Offer 02 Dec 16 - 02:23 AM
Jim Carroll 02 Dec 16 - 03:41 AM
Bill D 02 Dec 16 - 11:08 AM
Jim Carroll 02 Dec 16 - 11:29 AM
leeneia 02 Dec 16 - 11:45 AM
Joe Offer 03 Dec 16 - 04:12 AM
Jim Carroll 03 Dec 16 - 04:39 AM
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Subject: Tune Req: recordings of airs for Child Ballads
From: GUEST,eoin o'budhaigh
Date: 01 Dec 16 - 06:34 PM

I was wondering, are there any CD's of tunes for the complete collection of Child Ballads?
Thanks
Eoín


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: recordings of airs for Child Ballads
From: Joe Offer
Date: 01 Dec 16 - 06:56 PM

Are you talking just the melodies, or do you mean sung recordings of every version? Somebody sent me a link yesterday to the Child Ballad Database (CBDB) which is a very comprehensive index of recordings that may help you.

Then there's Lesley Nelson's http://www.childballads.com/, an extensive but not comprehensive collection of MIDI arrangements of Child Ballads.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: recordings of airs for Child Ballads
From: GUEST,eoín
Date: 01 Dec 16 - 07:05 PM

Joe just the melodies.

Eoin


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: recordings of airs for Child Ballads
From: Joe Offer
Date: 02 Dec 16 - 02:23 AM

Hi, Eoin -
In my opinion, most of the 305 Child Ballads were meant to be sung, not played on instruments. As I said above, Lesley Nelson's http://www.childballads.com/ has a generous selection of melodies on MIDI. Our threads crosslinked above tell the story of Professor Bronson and his 4-volume work titled The Traditional Tunes of the Child Ballads. Bronson has 146 versions just of Child #243 - but there are some ballads that have no melodies at all.

Loomis House Press has the four volumes of Bronson for sale at $40 apiece, or a one-volume condensation for $40.

So, my brief answer to your question is that I do not believe there is a collection of recordings of airs of the Child Ballads. There are extensive collections of sung versions, notably one by Peggy Seeger and Ewan MacColl; but not of instrumental versions.

That being said, our Digital Tradition Folk Song Database attempts to have at least one set of lyrics for each of the 305 ballads, and many have midi transcriptions of melodies. So, between us and Lesley Nelson, you have a reasonable selection.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: recordings of airs for Child Ballads
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 02 Dec 16 - 03:41 AM

Personally, I have always believed that The Child Ballads cover such a wide area of the English-speaking (and beyond) world that it would be virtually impossible tp create a representative musical file of the collection, but it might be possible to create national files (in the cse of the U.S., even that might be too large an area because of the varying styles across the country).
When Child put together his collection, Ireland featured very small, but when collector, the late Tom Munnelly, was working in the field he listed 50 Child Ballads still extant in Ireland, some having totally disappeared elsewhere - that was from oral sources only - Tom never touched those in print.
Recently, I have been gathering together recorded Irish versions of the ballads with a view to providing as many examples as I can of them.
Maybe that's the way ahead to compile a comprehensive set of examples - break down the job in areas - and maybe Mudcat is as good a place as any to centralise it.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: recordings of airs for Child Ballads
From: Bill D
Date: 02 Dec 16 - 11:08 AM

There was a 'project' a few years ago by several people to gather as many recordings of the Child Ballads as possible.... obviously a close to impossible task. I think the project ran close to 9,000 items and over 50 gigabytes. Since these were 'commercial' recordings, there were many liberties taken with standard, traditional tunes..(which is, of course, how traditions develop.) There are explanations on the site (click on 'services') explaining sources and giving lists, but no tunes are posted.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: recordings of airs for Child Ballads
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 02 Dec 16 - 11:29 AM

Ballads are basically stories
Personal preferences aside, it shouldn't be beyond the realms of possibility to compile a file of ballad versions that tell the story most efficiently.
If anybody wishes to expand it to suit various locations - fine.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: recordings of airs for Child Ballads
From: leeneia
Date: 02 Dec 16 - 11:45 AM

What did you have in mind, Eoin? If you were thinking of playing the tunes, I may be able to save you some time.

Up-thread, Joe Offer mentioned a one-volume condensation of Bronson's book with tunes for the Child Ballads. Some years ago, I obtained that book through interlibrary loan and played every tune in it.

The format is not what you'd expect. There are paragraphs of text, then a little bitty piece of music, only 3 or 4 inches wide.

I found only one tune worth keeping a record of. The others were peculiar, unmusical phrases with clunky timing. (Perhaps a song in 3/4 time with a 5/4 measure in the middle.) You might think that means the tunes were creative and archaic, but I have been working with music notation a long time, and I think they were the result of inexperienced collectors trying to notate music they did not understand. I know because I have made all the same mistakes myself.

The one usable tune was a version of Lord Randall, which resembled an Irish slow air. I can hum it, but I can't find the notation anymore.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: recordings of airs for Child Ballads
From: Joe Offer
Date: 03 Dec 16 - 04:12 AM

Interesting observations, leeneia. I don't know that you'll find many ballad singers who would agree with your assessment of Dr. Bronson's work.

For the most part, traditional ballads don't lend themselves easily to instrumentation. Instrumentalists have a hard time resisting the temptation to regularize the meter, and worse.

As others have said above, there are many good collections of sung versions of the Child Ballads. Ballads are meant to be sung, not instrumentalized into elevator music.

-Joe, not a ballad singer myself-


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: recordings of airs for Child Ballads
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 03 Dec 16 - 04:39 AM

"For the most part, traditional ballads don't lend themselves easily to instrumentation."
They seem to have done a good job in America, not so much in Britain
There are outstanding exceptions of course, but I think that's down to the sensitivity of the accompanist - too many accompanists dominate the songs rather than accompany them.
I agree with Joe about Bronson - every bit as indispensable as Child, for both singer and researcher.
I've always thought that another volume is needed for those that were missed first time around and the ones that have been discovered over the last 44 years, since 1972   
Jim Carroll


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