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Tune and singing style puzzle (Nick Dow)

GUEST,Nick Dow 09 Feb 19 - 05:52 AM
The Sandman 09 Feb 19 - 04:50 AM
GUEST,Rigby 09 Feb 19 - 03:55 AM
GUEST,Nick Dow 08 Feb 19 - 06:30 PM
GUEST,Rigby 08 Feb 19 - 01:52 PM
GUEST,Nick Dow 08 Feb 19 - 11:00 AM
Steve Gardham 08 Feb 19 - 09:37 AM
GUEST,Nick Dow 08 Feb 19 - 08:43 AM
Howard Jones 08 Feb 19 - 08:29 AM
Jack Campin 08 Feb 19 - 07:59 AM
GUEST,Nick Dow 08 Feb 19 - 07:41 AM
Jack Campin 08 Feb 19 - 07:17 AM
GUEST,Nick Dow 08 Feb 19 - 06:55 AM
Will Fly 08 Feb 19 - 05:10 AM
GUEST,Nick Dow 08 Feb 19 - 05:05 AM
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Subject: RE: Tune and singing style puzzle (Nick Dow)
From: GUEST,Nick Dow
Date: 09 Feb 19 - 05:52 AM

Interesting! That might account for American variants in my collection such as 'The Butcher Boy' and 'The Social Hop'. However do you have views upon the possible connection to 'Picardy Third' as described above. the major ending to a modal tune seems to be a great deal more widespread than I realised.

Rigby, The Hammonds collected from George House of Beaminster, and I took the same song and loads of others, from his son and Grandson in 1984.
By the way please take and sing any songs that you want from the collection. John K. and Pete and Barbara Snape sing a few, but there are plenty of others for the taking. All yours.


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Subject: RE: Tune and singing style puzzle (Nick Dow)
From: The Sandman
Date: 09 Feb 19 - 04:50 AM

Howard makes a good point about the influence of art and popular music, this statement is borne out by the folk song collector in the Thames valley[ ALFRED WILLIAMS?] who recorded everything and noted that solo singers were singing glee songs that had previously been sung in groups.
another example ...CCE was formed in 1951, in Ireland to keep the music pure fromsuch devilish influences as fox trots and other popular music, another example the wicked barn dance
"barndances are likely to have come into Ireland at the time of their first popularity through commercial sheet music and the activities of professional dance teachers. In time they were danced and played traditionally, mixed in during a night’s dancing with older forms. As a dance form, the barndance is now almost obsolete in the Irish tradition, as are the related schottisches, flings, etc., and the distinction between these forms is now being lost. But their musical forms live on in the instrumental tradition because of the attractiveness of their melodies. While barndance melodies begin to appear in collections of Irish traditional music in the late 1920s, they had earlier and more influentially begun to be issued from the early 1920s on 78rpm commercial discs recorded by Irish emigrant musicians in New York and other American centres of Irish settlement.


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Subject: RE: Tune and singing style puzzle (Nick Dow)
From: GUEST,Rigby
Date: 09 Feb 19 - 03:55 AM

Sounds interesting, I'll check those out next week. I was referring to the tune notated from George House by Hammond in the VWML:

https://media.vwml.org/images/web/HAM/HAM-04-222.jpg


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Subject: RE: Tune and singing style puzzle (Nick Dow)
From: GUEST,Nick Dow
Date: 08 Feb 19 - 06:30 PM

Thanks Rigby. I recorded 'One Night as I lay on my bed', from George House's son Bill and his Grandson Norman. My recordings are on the British Library Website sound archive.
https://sounds.bl.uk/World-and-traditional-music/Nick-and-Mally-Dow-Collection/025M-C1012X0039XX-1900V0

If you find time please have a listen. There are three recordings of the song. Not easy listening but I hope interesting.


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Subject: RE: Tune and singing style puzzle (Nick Dow)
From: GUEST,Rigby
Date: 08 Feb 19 - 01:52 PM

The George House tune looks as though it is in C Mixolydian with a last phrase that would be more naturally thought of as being in F major. I can't listen to it here so I guess the question would be whether both of those modes are established firmly enough to create a real sense of a shift, or whether the entire thing is simply ambiguous. Either way the two modes use the same notes.

I can only think of one British folk song that is properly bi-modal, as in using two different scales containing different notes. It is in Motherwell and is called 'William Guiseman'. Bronson reproduces it as a variant of William Glenn / Captain Glen but I don't think it has much in common with that song.


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Subject: RE: Tune and singing style puzzle (Nick Dow)
From: GUEST,Nick Dow
Date: 08 Feb 19 - 11:00 AM

Good idea.


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Subject: RE: Tune and singing style puzzle (Nick Dow)
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 08 Feb 19 - 09:37 AM

Nick, the knowledgeable people organising and involved in the aforementioned Traditional Music Conference in Sheffield in June might have something to add, particularly Lewis Jones and Julia Bishop. You would easily reach them by posting your initial request on the Tradsong Forum.


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Subject: RE: Tune and singing style puzzle (Nick Dow)
From: GUEST,Nick Dow
Date: 08 Feb 19 - 08:43 AM

Thanks Howard and Jack. Howard I never thought of that! Look for the simplest solution I suppose. It makes sense that one singer might use that technique to close his tune, and others copy him or her.
Do you have any evidence that this may be an Irish musical characteristic? My reason for asking is that most of the Southern Country singers tended to have Irish songs in their repertoires. That said there is a strong Scots connection to Dorset song as well. (See my article in Living Tradition)


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Subject: RE: Tune and singing style puzzle (Nick Dow)
From: Howard Jones
Date: 08 Feb 19 - 08:29 AM

To describe it as a "decay of style" presupposes that there was a 'pure' folk style which has somehow become corrupted by the outside world. Without wishing to reopen a can of worms which has been thoroughly gone over on another recent thread, the reality is surely that folk music has always borrowed from and been influenced by art and popular music (and vice versa).

Minor and modal tunes can often sound unresolved, and the idea of doing something to show that the end has been reached is an obvious one, especially for unaccompanied singers who can't use instrumental tricks to achieve this. All of the possibilities you suggest are plausible, and any of them may apply to different singers, assuming they didn't arrive at the idea independently. Without knowing the history of the song before it reached an individual singer, or how it might have changed in their hands, it is probably impossible to tell.


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Subject: RE: Tune and singing style puzzle (Nick Dow)
From: Jack Campin
Date: 08 Feb 19 - 07:59 AM

Picardy third (a major chord ending a piece that you'd expect to finish on a minor one) is an idea that was used in a lot of music in the Renaissance - look it up under that name or "tierce de Picardie". I'm not sure quite why it was so popular - maybe it just made for a more definite ending? But Renaissance composers never did what Costello did - the ending was always on the (modal) tonal centre, not a third up from it.

I'll have a look at some of my books on Renaissance music to see what they have to say. But I doubt this folk practice comes from that era.


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Subject: RE: Tune and singing style puzzle (Nick Dow)
From: GUEST,Nick Dow
Date: 08 Feb 19 - 07:41 AM

You are the second kind person to point out the ' Cecilia Costello' example. You are in good company with John Bowden and Vic Shepherd who said the same. You are ahead of me with the terminology of the 'Picardy Third'. If you have a reference for me, this might save you some typing and some time. Fascinating to know of the Art Music parallel. Sorry I catch on a bit slowly. Could you help me a bit more by explaining why ending a D minor tune in F major, is not art music related, where as the 'Picardy third' is? Many thanks.


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Subject: RE: Tune and singing style puzzle (Nick Dow)
From: Jack Campin
Date: 08 Feb 19 - 07:17 AM

Are these endings in the parallel or relative major? Parallel major endings have been common in art music since the Renaissance - the "Picardy third" where you finish a D minor or D Dorian tune with a D major chord. Moving to the relative major (ending a D minor tune in F major) isn't an art music idea - RVW (in the Penguin book) describes Cecilia Costello doing it at the end of "The Grey Cock" and suggests not following suit. (I don't go for it either, however trad it might be).


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Subject: RE: Tune and singing style puzzle (Nick Dow)
From: GUEST,Nick Dow
Date: 08 Feb 19 - 06:55 AM

Yes, once again an Irish connection. Do you have any history of the tune or others like it, before I add two and two and make three. (one swallow does not make a summer!)


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Subject: RE: Tune and singing style puzzle (Nick Dow)
From: Will Fly
Date: 08 Feb 19 - 05:10 AM

I can't comment on the MSS, Nick, as I haven't seen them, but I know that ending on a major - or even on an odd chord - is a familiar musical trope. Perhaps less common in traditional music than others. We play "Foxhunter's" in D, but the finishing chord is a very firm C - not unpleasant!


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Subject: Tune and singing style puzzle (Nick Dow)
From: GUEST,Nick Dow
Date: 08 Feb 19 - 05:05 AM

A genuine if a little unusual question. During extensive researches on the Hammond and Gardiner Manuscripts a rather interesting question of tune and modality has occured. I have reached a spurious conclusion, and feel it may be worth opening up the discussion to see where it takes me/us.
I have noted that several singers within the manuscripts have a tendancy to stray from the modality of the chosen tune, and end their songs in the major. This gives the tune a rather unusual though not unpleasant ending, which confused Vaughn Williams, upset the Hammond Brothers (who admitted to destroying several tunes that were 'spoiled’) and confused those formally trained musicians who noted tunes. They were not sure which key they should utilise for their notation.
Mr Frank Purslow noted the same problem, and attributed it to the possibility that the singers were not used to the concept of harmony, which I find unlikely. Further more I have found tunes in the Irish tradition which use the same surprising and in my opinion very pleasant musical twist. ‘The Bonny Labouring Boy’ as noted in ‘Irish Street Ballads’ is one good example, and from Hammond ‘One night as I lay on my bed’ noted from George House (not Marina Russell) is quite a startleing example.
So my questions are
1. Is this a decay of style due to Art and popular musical influence.
2. Is this a lack of harmonic understanding (Mr Purslow)
3. Is this an established singing style drawn from an Irish tradition.
4. Is this a much earlier influence from an Art Music source.
All replies will be treated with respect and interest.


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