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Lyr/Tune Add: How Can I Leave Thee (trad German)

Jerry Friedman 29 Jan 98 - 11:12 PM
Jerry Friedman 29 Jan 98 - 11:14 PM
Wolfgang Hell 30 Jan 98 - 08:04 AM
Jerry Friedman 30 Jan 98 - 02:36 PM
dick greenhaus 30 Jan 98 - 02:40 PM
Jon W. 30 Jan 98 - 03:30 PM
Wolfgang 02 Feb 98 - 08:12 AM
GUEST,ANWAK@aol.com 14 Jan 01 - 02:02 PM
GUEST 26 Sep 10 - 12:43 AM
michaelr 26 Sep 10 - 01:52 PM
GUEST,German 26 Sep 10 - 02:15 PM
GUEST,leeneia 27 Sep 10 - 11:09 AM
GUEST,German 27 Sep 10 - 12:51 PM
GUEST,leeneia 27 Sep 10 - 01:31 PM
GUEST,German 27 Sep 10 - 05:04 PM
GUEST,leeneia 28 Sep 10 - 09:56 AM
GUEST,Gerhard 28 Sep 10 - 02:23 PM
GUEST,Douglas Roycraft 02 Jul 14 - 04:14 PM
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Subject: Lyr/Tune Add: HOW CAN I LEAVE THEE (trad German)
From: Jerry Friedman
Date: 29 Jan 98 - 11:12 PM

As practice with ABC, I thought I'd add this folk-songbook chestnut that doesn't seem to be in the DT--partly because the tune is so simple (but charming). It's allegedly from the German region of Thuringia. Someone please let me know if there are any problems with how I enter it.

Is this song really known in Germany? Are the German words any better? (That last verse is a killer.)

The editors of The New Brown Book are kind enough to say, "If this favorite song, which is commonly classed as folk music, actually had its origin as a folk song, it has undoubtedly been considerably improved in structure by expert hands."

X: 1
T: How Can I Leave Thee
A: Thuringia (in Germany)
S: Twice 55 Plus Community Songs: The New Brown Book
M: 4/4
L: 1/4
Q: 1/4 = 60
K: Bb
d2BG|(FB)B2|c2Bc|dGF2|F2=EF|Ged2|c2dc|F3z|c2dc|BGF2|d2ed|Gdc2|F2GF|Fed2|c2GA|B3z||
% I've also seen the second measure as |F2B2|.

(I've read that a program called ABC2MIDI is worth the trouble of learning, but I haven't learned it.)

How Can I Leave Thee

How can I leave thee!
How can I from thee part!
Thou only hast my heart,
Dear one, believe.
Thou hast this soul of mine,
So closely bound to thine,
No other can I love,
Save thee alone!

Blue is a flow'ret
Called the "Forget-me-not,"
Wear it upon thy heart,
And think of me.
Flow'ret and hope may die,
Yet love with us shall stay,
That cannot pass away,
Dear one, believe.

Would I a bird were!
Soon at thy side to be,
Falcon nor hawk would fear,
Speeding to thee.
When by the fowler slain,
I at thy feet should lie,
Thou sadly should'st complain,
Joyful I'd die.


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Subject: RE: Song addition: How Can I Leave Thee
From: Jerry Friedman
Date: 29 Jan 98 - 11:14 PM

Oops. Supposed to be a line break before the meter.


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Subject: RE: Song addition: How Can I Leave Thee
From: Wolfgang Hell
Date: 30 Jan 98 - 08:04 AM

Jerry, I didn't know it, but someone else did. Judge for yourself, here's the German original with midi's . I'd say the English version is still a bit worse. Just in case, you'll also find a Latin translation there for comparison.
And this song has an author and composers.
By the way, that is a detail that has always puzzled me. German folksongs, in most cases, have known authors even if they are a couple of hundred years old. Why is this information more easily lost in the English speaking world? I've no hypothesis to offer.
Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: Song addition: How Can I Leave Thee
From: Jerry Friedman
Date: 30 Jan 98 - 02:36 PM

Well, judging by my almost nonexistent German, the English looks like a fairly faithful translation, but clumsier.

That's an interesting point you raise, Wolfgang--but maybe the problem isn't loss of information in English-speaking countries, but ready acceptance of information in German-speaking countries. For instance, the tune of "Die Loreley" is sometimes credited to Silcher (who's also one of the two choices that database offers for the composer of "How Can I Leave Thee"). But I've also seen the tune of "Die Loreley" listed as only "attributed to Silcher". So maybe there's some doubt.

On the other hand, the book I got "How Can I Leave Thee" from tends to believe in composers. For instance, it too says "Die Loreley" is by Silcher. It also says the tune of "Annie Laurie" is by Lady John Scott, and suspects she wrote the third verse. The DT, on the other hand, doesn't give a composer for "Annie Laurie". So maybe the difference is not between English-speaking and German-speaking, but between those who believe attributions and those who say, "If we can't be sure, call it a folk song."


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Subject: RE: Song addition: How Can I Leave Thee
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 30 Jan 98 - 02:40 PM

Can I be the only person who's old enough to remember that this was the theme song for the soap opera Stella Dallas?


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Subject: RE: Song addition: How Can I Leave Thee
From: Jon W.
Date: 30 Jan 98 - 03:30 PM

Jerry, I retrieved your tune and played it through PLAYQABC. It worked and sounded fine (remembering that I'd never heard the tune before). Looks like you're well on your way to being an ABC expert.

Wolfgang, I wonder if relatively larger English-speaking population of the world, along with a lot of emmigration to North America, Australia, etc. didn't contribute to the loss of composers' names. Plus, we're probably just not as organized as you Germans. Just a theory. My next door neighbor, who has a German last name, has the neatest garage in the neighborhood--possibly in the whole world ;)


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Subject: RE: Song addition: How Can I Leave Thee
From: Wolfgang
Date: 02 Feb 98 - 08:12 AM

Both explanations sound fine and have, I think, some truth.
Silcher, the composer(or so), is a phenomenon by himself. He has written the tunes to about 50 to 100 German folksongs. Ask any German to sing just one German folksong and the probability is high that she'll choose a Silcher melody. Either he was really such an excellent composer or he was but an excellent editor, collecting and refining folk melodies (and not to forget: copyrighting them).
Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: Song addition: How Can I Leave Thee
From: GUEST,ANWAK@aol.com
Date: 14 Jan 01 - 02:02 PM

Is this the same song that is connected to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point? Is it sung at their graduations? Where can I find the music? Alan Walker Royal Oak, Michigan


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Subject: RE: Lyr/Tune Add: How Can I Leave Thee (trad German)
From: GUEST
Date: 26 Sep 10 - 12:43 AM

The German Folk song is known as Lorelei and the story is about how the ships passed by the rock upon which Lorelei sat, combing her golden hair and sang. Small ships went by and instead of watching the rocks, the sailors looked at her and ran into the rock and died.
The words are by German poet Heinrich Heine and the music is by Friedrich Silcher.

Monika


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Subject: RE: Lyr/Tune Add: How Can I Leave Thee (trad German)
From: michaelr
Date: 26 Sep 10 - 01:52 PM

Correct but irrelevant to this thread.


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Subject: RE: Lyr/Tune Add: How Can I Leave Thee (trad German)
From: GUEST,German
Date: 26 Sep 10 - 02:15 PM

Silcher was one of the most important protagonists of choir singing, as Wiki puts it. He made and published an immense number of arrangements, chiefly for male voices a cappella; bestsellers of their time. Most tunes were known folksongs or songs of other composers (often not named by Silcher!). For the rest no older printed version is known, so Silcher might have invented them. These are often considered very sentimental nowadays. Present day's choirs and younger singers try to escape them.

Ach wie ist's möglich dann was known and sung by my mother, but is certainly not among the best-known songs. Die Lorelei, however, is. In many ships passing that rock on the Rhine river, one can hear senior Japanese businessmen bawling it from the bottoms of their hearts, making a considerable effort to approximate German phonetics. Heine's fans are usually not happy about this.


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Subject: RE: Lyr/Tune Add: How Can I Leave Thee (trad German)
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 27 Sep 10 - 11:09 AM

Hello, German. Last year I passed that rock, and die Lorelei was played over the PA, sung by a male-voice choir, in German.

I would much rather have learned about the geological history of the narrow place, to learn what mountain-building caused it, and what rare rocks might be there, than to here a silly tale of how a woman (naturally, a woman!) is at fault for somebody's bad luck.

But to get back to the original song, Wolfgang Hell put a link upthread to two MIDI's at the ingeb site. The first MIDI doesn't sound like much to me, but I liked the second. It has three parts, something we don't often find. I think it would make a good piece for a little band of people who can read music.

I agree that the words are almost unbearably sentimental.


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Subject: RE: Lyr/Tune Add: How Can I Leave Thee (trad German)
From: GUEST,German
Date: 27 Sep 10 - 12:51 PM

My opinion on this is that the melody is slightly sentimental and doesn't do justice to the pre-existant poem. Lorelei is not a woman, but a male projection into the evening sun. Heine evokes romantic clichés quasi in quotation marks, but with flawless poetry.

Ach wie ist's möglich dann is in fact unbearably sentimental in its text and its melody.


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Subject: RE: Lyr/Tune Add: How Can I Leave Thee (trad German)
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 27 Sep 10 - 01:31 PM

That's what I was talking about, Ach wie ist's möglich dann. It's the one that's overly sentimental.

By a woman, I referred to the mythical Lorelei, who is said to lure sailors to crash on the rocks where the Rhine cuts through the Vosges (?) mountains and the river narrows dramatically. That's what I learned in German class and heard again on the tour.


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Subject: RE: Lyr/Tune Add: How Can I Leave Thee (trad German)
From: GUEST,German
Date: 27 Sep 10 - 05:04 PM

I have just decided to change my nick to Gerhard, which starts with the same three letters and professes me as a German male person.

Sentimental: I see, agreed.

Woman: A mythical female being (witch, elfin, ...) like Lorelei is something else than a woman. Here she is a personification of a man's self-destructive erotic dreaming (can happen to women too). Note that the narrator is not the sailor, but someone who is haunted by that myth. He is about to become conscious of its sad meaning to him: he has to dismiss his illusions to avoid being consumed by them.

The "witch", if you attribute any reality to her at all, does nothing but comb her hair, the luring is done by the imprudent sailors themselves.

Helmine/a von Chézy, the poetess of Ach wie..., was a woman.


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Subject: RE: Lyr/Tune Add: How Can I Leave Thee (trad German)
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 28 Sep 10 - 09:56 AM

Greetings, Gerhard. Thanks for the explanation.

What sort of name is von Chezy. 'Chezy' doesn't seem German. Is it Hungarian in origin?


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Subject: RE: Lyr/Tune Add: How Can I Leave Thee (trad German)
From: GUEST,Gerhard
Date: 28 Sep 10 - 02:23 PM

Hi, leenia.

Yes, it's her second husband's name, who was French of Hungarian background (like the current M. le Président). The German Wiki has the whole story; the lady left quite a footprint in the history of German/Austrian music (as opposed to literature ...).


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Subject: RE: Lyr/Tune Add: How Can I Leave Thee (trad German)
From: GUEST,Douglas Roycraft
Date: 02 Jul 14 - 04:14 PM

The song "How can. I leave thee" was dramatically played on the organ for almost 18 years on NBC radio from 1937 through 1955.for the daytime serial Stella Dallas, adapted from the novel of the same name by Olive Higgins Prouty,, The poignant story dramatized the sad realization that once her daughter Laurel married into wealth and society that Stella felt socially out of place in her daughter's life so she only occasionally associated with her even though she adored her. The playing of "How Can I Leave Thee" underlined the sad feeling a mother felt due to the differences of their social class.


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