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Origins: Classical tunes used in trad-type songs?

GUEST,Bob Leslie 12 Mar 19 - 11:36 AM
Jim Carroll 12 Mar 19 - 12:00 PM
GUEST,Bob Leslie 12 Mar 19 - 12:21 PM
Stringsinger 12 Mar 19 - 01:05 PM
Jack Campin 12 Mar 19 - 01:23 PM
GUEST,Bob Leslie 12 Mar 19 - 02:35 PM
GeoffLawes 13 Mar 19 - 03:38 AM
Gozz 13 Mar 19 - 10:50 AM
GUEST,Mark Bluemel 13 Mar 19 - 10:52 AM
GUEST,Some bloke 14 Mar 19 - 05:04 AM
GUEST,Henry Piper (of Ottery) 14 Mar 19 - 06:01 AM
clueless don 14 Mar 19 - 08:01 AM
Jim Carroll 14 Mar 19 - 08:25 AM
Tattie Bogle 14 Mar 19 - 11:29 AM
Mo the caller 14 Mar 19 - 03:29 PM
Jack Campin 14 Mar 19 - 04:07 PM
GUEST,ripov 14 Mar 19 - 07:39 PM
GeoffLawes 14 Mar 19 - 08:44 PM
GeoffLawes 14 Mar 19 - 08:53 PM
GUEST,Gerry 14 Mar 19 - 08:58 PM
Mark Ross 14 Mar 19 - 09:28 PM
Jim Carroll 15 Mar 19 - 04:00 AM
GUEST,Mark Bluemel 15 Mar 19 - 07:41 AM
GUEST 15 Mar 19 - 07:54 AM
Jack Campin 15 Mar 19 - 12:08 PM
Tattie Bogle 15 Mar 19 - 01:14 PM
Joe Offer 15 Mar 19 - 01:28 PM
Jim McLean 15 Mar 19 - 06:12 PM
GUEST,henryp 16 Mar 19 - 06:33 PM
GUEST,Mike Yates 17 Mar 19 - 09:41 AM
Vic Smith 17 Mar 19 - 01:55 PM
GUEST 17 Mar 19 - 04:07 PM
Jack Campin 17 Mar 19 - 04:15 PM
Jack Campin 17 Mar 19 - 05:19 PM
Jack Campin 17 Mar 19 - 05:39 PM
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Subject: Origins: Classical tunes used in trad-type songs?
From: GUEST,Bob Leslie
Date: 12 Mar 19 - 11:36 AM

I was listening to Bill Caddick's "John O' Dreams" - which "borrows" part of Tchaikovsky's Pathétique Symphony for its tune - as does "This Is the Story of a Starry Night".

It set me wondering as to whether there were any more trad-type songs out there that "reverse-borrowed" (because it's usually the other way around) classical tunes. Any ideas?


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Subject: ADD: Sheila Nee Iyer
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 12 Mar 19 - 12:00 PM

Some Irish songs are full of Classical references - 'Diana', Sysaphus, Venus, Aurora.... etc
This dates from The Penal Times when unofficial HEDGE SCHOOLS were set up to sidestep the ban on teaching Catholic children
Many of the unofficial teachers were classical scholars who passed their learning on to children, often from impoverished families

This is fairly typical of the genre

SHEILA NEE IYER

It was on the banks of a clear, flowing stream
That first I accosted that comely young dame
And in great confusion I did ask her name
Are you Flora, Aurora, or the fame queen of Tyre?
She answered, "I'm neither, I'm Sheila Nee Iyer

Go rhyming, rogue, let my flocks roam in peace
You won't find amongst them that famed Golden Fleece
Or the tresses of Helen, that goddess of Greece
Have hanked 'round your heart like a doll of desire
Be off to your speirbhean," said Sheila Nee Iyer

May the sufferings of Sisyphus fall to my share
And may I the torments of Tantalus bear
To the dark land of Hades let my soul fall an heir
Without linnet in song or a note on the lyre
If ever I prove false to you, Sheila Nee Iyer

Oh had I the wealth of the Orient store
Or the gems of Peru or the Mexican ore
Or the hand of the Midas to mold o'er and o'er
Bright bracelets of gold or of flaming sapphire
I'd robe you in splendor, my Sheila Nee Iyer


The Greek scholar wife of an Irish singer friend used to amuse me by asking him to sing 'The Dung-beetle Song' - she was referring to the "Sisyphus" reference in this song, the Sisyphus beetle being a name for the dung-beetle
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: Classical tunes used in trad-type songs?
From: GUEST,Bob Leslie
Date: 12 Mar 19 - 12:21 PM

Thanks for that, Jim. But I was thinking more of classical melodies rather than poetic references. I had a notion that, if there were sufficient examples, of maybe featuring them on my radio show, or, if there were only a few, of mingling them with some of the plentiful pop examples in my songwriting blog on the old Tom Lehrer principle: "Plagiarise! Let no-one else's work evade your eyes!"


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Subject: RE: Origins: Classical tunes used in trad-type songs?
From: Stringsinger
Date: 12 Mar 19 - 01:05 PM

Schubert. Many of his songs became German folk songs.

Don't forget Mozart's "Twinkle Little Star".


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Subject: RE: Origins: Classical tunes used in trad-type songs?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 12 Mar 19 - 01:23 PM

"Flower of Scotland" uses the core melodic idea from the Chorus of Hebrew Slaves from Verdi's "Nabucco". It isn't the same tune though.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Classical tunes used in trad-type songs?
From: GUEST,Bob Leslie
Date: 12 Mar 19 - 02:35 PM

Thanks, guys! All useful stuff!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Classical tunes used in trad-type songs?
From: GeoffLawes
Date: 13 Mar 19 - 03:38 AM

Michael Turner's Waltz
(Mozart, K. 536)


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Subject: RE: Origins: Classical tunes used in trad-type songs?
From: Gozz
Date: 13 Mar 19 - 10:50 AM

Keith Marsden borrowed part of Vivaldi's The Four Seasons for "The Dovers" .


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Subject: RE: Origins: Classical tunes used in trad-type songs?
From: GUEST,Mark Bluemel
Date: 13 Mar 19 - 10:52 AM

Stringsinger's mention of "Twinkle Twinkle" reminded me of
this , which I hadn't thought of in a long time :-)


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Subject: RE: Origins: Classical tunes used in trad-type songs?
From: GUEST,Some bloke
Date: 14 Mar 19 - 05:04 AM

You could turn the thread name round the other way..

The obvious Vaughan Williams use of traditional tunes he collected which were weaved into themes (and when he was commissioned to write A Pilgrims Progress Music, hymns...)

Tchaikovsky’s theme from the 5th used by Bill Caddick is mentioned above but Tchaikovsky got that from a street player in Italy when he was on his “grand tour.”

We can never know how composers in the past developed particular melody but there are enough examples around to show that many were borrowed from tunes being played in towns and villages through the ages, or traditional tunes as we say now.

I live near Epworth, the home of the Wesleys. I’m doing a bit of research as I’m sure that some of the tunes Charles Wesley set hymns to must be ones he heard locally with other words. It’s tempting to dig out Child and say that tune fits that ballad but I’m trying to find local words that may be more than a coincidence.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Classical tunes used in trad-type songs?
From: GUEST,Henry Piper (of Ottery)
Date: 14 Mar 19 - 06:01 AM

Beethovens "Ode to Joy" was used as a Morris dance tune in the Longborough ( Gloucestershire ) tradition, Known as "Beethovens morris" apparently several informants gave variations of the melody to collectors.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Classical tunes used in trad-type songs?
From: clueless don
Date: 14 Mar 19 - 08:01 AM

It isn't trad, but I believe the melody of Perry Como's "Hot Diggety, Dog Diggety" comes from a classical piece.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Classical tunes used in trad-type songs?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 14 Mar 19 - 08:25 AM

Depends on how far you want to take this of course - there are a number of parodies, which, in my opinion, count as traditional, which use classical airs - I'm thinking of the somewhat bawdy parody of Strauss's 'Funiculee, Funicular
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: Classical tunes used in trad-type songs?
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 14 Mar 19 - 11:29 AM

One of the Clementi sonatinas for piano includes a Rondo, from which "A Grovvy Kind of Love" (the Mindbenders) was surely spawned.
And as afore-mentioned there are a lot of folk tunes used also as hymn tunes or vice versa. Heard a Northern Irish one last night - pretty much same tune as "Lord of all hopefulness, lord of all Joy". Then there's "False Night Upon the Road" and "To be a Pilgrim".
And diverging slightly from the OP, but there are songs set to various orchestral symphonic works, e.g. "Going Home" (Dvorak's New World Symphony - Dvorak having used a number of folk tunes in his compositions) and "I Vow to thee, my country" from Gustav Holst's Planets Suite.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Classical tunes used in trad-type songs?
From: Mo the caller
Date: 14 Mar 19 - 03:29 PM

As some bloke said above, tune drift between folk and classical. Isn't Michael Turner from Mozart's German dances - where did he get it from?
And some of the dance tunes in Playford went 'from clogs to clogs in 3 generation' - I seem to remember Jeremy Barlow said that about The Woods so Wild.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Classical tunes used in trad-type songs?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 14 Mar 19 - 04:07 PM

"Funiculi, funicula" has nothing to do with Strauss, nor would anyone have claimed it as classical. We have a few threads about it here.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Classical tunes used in trad-type songs?
From: GUEST,ripov
Date: 14 Mar 19 - 07:39 PM

'Hole in the wall' hasn't strayed far, if at all, from Purcell's dots. But at the other extreme I've heard some very strange, presumably HIGHLY "folk processed" versions of Pachabel's canon played at sessions!

And while I know nothing directly related to this , the beginning fiddle part on its own, played in a session, might well be mistaken for a slow air, with all those amazing ornaments. And whatever, it's a bloody lovely bit of fiddling.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Classical tunes used in trad-type songs?
From: GeoffLawes
Date: 14 Mar 19 - 08:44 PM

A Mudcat thread on Michael Turner's Waltz


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Subject: RE: Origins: Classical tunes used in trad-type songs?
From: GeoffLawes
Date: 14 Mar 19 - 08:53 PM

The above link doesn't work but the Mudcat thread is called "Origins: Michael Turner's Waltz" if you want to find it


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Subject: RE: Origins: Classical tunes used in trad-type songs?
From: GUEST,Gerry
Date: 14 Mar 19 - 08:58 PM

Jim Carroll mentioned parodies of classical airs counting as traditional. Example: March of the Toreadors from Bizet's Carmen becomes Toreador/Don't spit on the floor/Use the cuspidor/That's what it's for. Sousa march (does that count as classical?) becomes Be kind to our web-footed friends/For a duck may be somebody's mother/(and so on). A Strauss waltz becomes George Washington Bridge/George Washington Washinton Bridge/(and so on). Schubert's Unfinished Symphony becomes This is the symphony/That Schubert wrote but never finished/.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Classical tunes used in trad-type songs?
From: Mark Ross
Date: 14 Mar 19 - 09:28 PM

REDWING uses the motif from Schumanns THE HAPPY FARMER.

Mark Ross


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Subject: RE: Origins: Classical tunes used in trad-type songs?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 15 Mar 19 - 04:00 AM

""Funiculi, funicula" has nothing to do with Strauss, nor would anyone have claimed it as classical."
Jim Carroll

Wiki - (known to be wrong before, of course)
"German composer Richard Strauss heard the song while on a tour of Italy six years after it was written. He thought that it was a traditional Neapolitan folk song and incorporated it into his Aus Italien tone poem. Denza filed a lawsuit against him and won, and Strauss was forced to pay him a royalty fee.
Russian composer Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov also mistook "Funiculì, Funiculà" for a traditional folk song and used it in his 1907 "Neapolitanskaya pesenka" (Neapolitan Song).
Cornettist Herman Bellstedt used it as the basis for a theme and variations titled Napoli; a transcription for euphonium is also popular among many performers. Modernist composer Arnold Schoenberg arranged a version for ensemble in 1921."


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Subject: RE: Origins: Classical tunes used in trad-type songs?
From: GUEST,Mark Bluemel
Date: 15 Mar 19 - 07:41 AM

Not exactly classical (I'm not sure how I'd classify Simon Jeffes), but "Music for a Found Harmonium" probably falls into this category as a repurposed composition.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Classical tunes used in trad-type songs?
From: GUEST
Date: 15 Mar 19 - 07:54 AM

I notice the Classic FM radio is playing Ashokan Farewell regularly.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Classical tunes used in trad-type songs?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 15 Mar 19 - 12:08 PM

If "Funiculi, funicula" is Richard Strauss's by virtue of him hearing it six years after it was composed, I guess we have to agree that Debussy wrote God Save the Queen and Jimi Hendrix wrote The Star Spangled Banner.

The Mudcat threads about it get the story right.

I was in Naples last week and took a picture of what I thought was the funicular in the song. It wasn't. The relevant funicular is mothballed right now.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Classical tunes used in trad-type songs?
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 15 Mar 19 - 01:14 PM

I first heard "Ashokan Farewell" on Classic FM many moons ago and long before I heard it played in a trad session - probably by virtue of the fact that it was then being used as the theme tune for the TV series on the American Civil War. (Although I know Jay Ungar wrote it for the end of one of his fiddle camps).


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Subject: RE: Origins: Classical tunes used in trad-type songs?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 15 Mar 19 - 01:28 PM

"Finlandia" by Sibelius is nicely ser to words as "A Song of Peace." Some of the themes in "1812 Overture" have been set to words, but they may have been folk songs first - we used one of those tunes for the "Firm Bound in Brotherhood" song for the Order of the Arrow in Boy Scouts.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Classical tunes used in trad-type songs?
From: Jim McLean
Date: 15 Mar 19 - 06:12 PM

Last Christmas I was listening to R Vaughan Williams arrangement of Christmas Fantasia, The Truth Sent From Above, and was struck with how close the melody was to the Breton song Al Alarc'h which Morris Bluthman set to The Twa Corbies.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Classical tunes used in trad-type songs?
From: GUEST,henryp
Date: 16 Mar 19 - 06:33 PM

The Huntsman's Chorus, once popular at barn dances, comes from the opera "Der Freischütz" by Carl Maria von Weber.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Classical tunes used in trad-type songs?
From: GUEST,Mike Yates
Date: 17 Mar 19 - 09:41 AM

I seem to recall that Peter Kennedy once told me that one of the songs sung by the Copper Family of Sussex was sung to a tune that came from a classical composer. For some reason or other the song 'When Adam was first Created' comes to mind, but I could well be wrong.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Classical tunes used in trad-type songs?
From: Vic Smith
Date: 17 Mar 19 - 01:55 PM

Too long ago for most of you to remember but bsck in the mid-1950s the very popular Sauter-Finegan Orchestra was an American swing jazz band. Their greatest hit was "Midnight Sleigh Ride" and this was a straight reworking of Prokoviev's "Trioka" from his Lieutenant Kijé suite.

Midnight Sleighride -- Sauter - Finegan Orchestra


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Subject: RE: Origins: Classical tunes used in trad-type songs?
From: GUEST
Date: 17 Mar 19 - 04:07 PM

Hi Mark Bluemel, how 'bout the first part of Cripple Creek also? Same chords as Twinkle would work also.

I think the song "The Linden Tree" is a German folksong from Schubert. Correct me if I'm wrong. Der Lindenbaum.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Classical tunes used in trad-type songs?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 17 Mar 19 - 04:15 PM

Schubert's "Lindenbaum" was different.

"How should I your true love know" from Shakespeare's time begins identically to "Old Joe Clark".


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Subject: RE: Origins: Classical tunes used in trad-type songs?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 17 Mar 19 - 05:19 PM

Here comes the bride
Fair, fat and wide
See how she wobbles
From side to side...


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Subject: RE: Origins: Classical tunes used in trad-type songs?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 17 Mar 19 - 05:39 PM

Surely someone's put words to the Tarrega waltz that became the Nokia ringtone?


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