Lyrics & Knowledge Personal Pages Record Shop Auction Links Radio & Media Kids Membership Help
The Mudcat Cafemuddy

Post to this Thread - Sort Descending - Printer Friendly - Home


Origins: Coventry Carol (Lullay, thou little...)

DigiTrad:
COVENTRY CAROL


Related threads:
(origins) Origins: Coventry Carol: the power of a song (7)
Lyr Add: Coventry Carol - last verse meaning? (11)
Chord Req: Need chords for Coventry Carol (4)


In Mudcat MIDIs:
Coventry Carol


alison 05 Feb 99 - 01:26 AM
GUEST,John Kidder 10 Dec 03 - 02:44 AM
Gloredhel 10 Dec 03 - 03:00 AM
The_one_and_only_Dai 10 Dec 03 - 03:58 AM
Geoff the Duck 10 Dec 03 - 04:19 AM
GUEST,John Kidder 10 Dec 03 - 05:25 PM
Burke 10 Dec 03 - 06:01 PM
Joe Offer 10 Dec 03 - 07:09 PM
Burke 10 Dec 03 - 07:43 PM
GUEST,MAG at work 10 Dec 03 - 09:15 PM
McGrath of Harlow 10 Dec 03 - 09:35 PM
Joe Offer 10 Dec 03 - 10:26 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 10 Dec 03 - 10:46 PM
LadyJean 11 Dec 03 - 12:00 AM
MAG 11 Dec 03 - 01:14 AM
GUEST,Santa 11 Dec 03 - 08:35 AM
Geoff the Duck 11 Dec 03 - 01:59 PM
McGrath of Harlow 11 Dec 03 - 08:41 PM
Joe Offer 12 Dec 03 - 02:54 AM
Kim C 12 Dec 03 - 03:56 PM
PoppaGator 12 Dec 03 - 05:03 PM
McGrath of Harlow 12 Dec 03 - 06:12 PM
Geoff the Duck 12 Dec 03 - 08:47 PM
Joe Offer 13 Dec 03 - 08:35 AM
MAG 13 Dec 03 - 09:29 AM
Menolly 13 Dec 03 - 02:15 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 13 Dec 03 - 03:08 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 13 Dec 03 - 04:01 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 13 Dec 03 - 04:05 PM
Malcolm Douglas 13 Dec 03 - 04:49 PM
Joe Offer 13 Dec 03 - 05:09 PM
GUEST,new theory student 03 Dec 10 - 12:55 AM
GUEST,new theory student 03 Dec 10 - 12:57 AM
Joe Offer 03 Dec 10 - 01:34 AM
Stower 03 Dec 10 - 07:52 AM
Joe Offer 04 Dec 10 - 12:18 AM
Stower 04 Dec 10 - 06:46 AM
MartinRyan 24 Dec 11 - 10:23 AM
GUEST,BobL 24 Dec 11 - 11:13 AM
Share Thread
more
Lyrics & Knowledge Search [Advanced]
DT  Forum
Sort (Forum) by:relevance date
DT Lyrics:









Subject: Tune Add: COVENTRY CAROL
From: alison
Date: 05 Feb 99 - 01:26 AM


Click to play

To play or display ABC tunes, try concertina.net

ABC format:

X:1
T:Coventry Carol
M:3/4
Q:1/4=100
K:Bb
G2G2_G2|G4B2|AAA2G2|_G6|G2A2B2|c2A4|=B6|-=B6|
G6|-G2G2_G2|G4B2|A4G2|_G6|G2A2B2|c2A4|G4d2|
c4B2|A4B2|A4G2|_G6|G2_G2G2|c2A4|=B6|-=B6|
||


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: Origins: Coventry Carol
From: GUEST,John Kidder
Date: 10 Dec 03 - 02:44 AM

Haven't visited Mudcat for quite a while. I'd forgotten what a treat it is.

Came this time to refresh my aging memory for the words to the "Coventry Carol" - found them, of course (thanks Mudcat). But I also see a lot of references to this as a Christmas Carol. It's not. It's a lament, wailing about the Slaughter of the Innocents by King Herod.

The Slaughter of the Innocents was the nineteenth play in the mediaeval cycle of Corpus Christi Mystery Plays performed in York and Coventry in the 15th century. In a play called The Pageant of the Shearmen and Tailors, the women of Bethlehem sing this song just before Herod's soldiers come to slaughter their children. It tells the story of the murder of the Holy Innocents, and is sung on December 28, the feast of those tiny martyrs. Although the composer is unknown, the text was written in 1534 by Robert Croo.

Matthew 2:16-18
"Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, was in a furious rage, and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in that region who were two years old or under, according to the time which he had ascertained from the wise men. Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled: A voice was heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted because they were no more."

Here's the Collect (daily prayer) from the Church of England Book of Common Prayer for the Feast of the Holy Innocents on December 28.

"O God, whose praise the martyred innocents did this day proclaim, not by speaking, but by dying: Destroy in us all the malice of sinfulness, that our lives may also proclaim thy faith, which our tongues profess. Through our Lord. Amen."


So when you and those around you sing this absolutely lovely tune on Christmas, remember that it's really a tragedy, and think about the children all over the world killed through all the centuries of human existence in various acts of brutality by rulers afraid for their power.

Cheers all, and Merry Christmas.

John


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: Coventry Carol
From: Gloredhel
Date: 10 Dec 03 - 03:00 AM

I always think about this song on my birthday--28 December. Thanks for reminding us of the event.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: Coventry Carol
From: The_one_and_only_Dai
Date: 10 Dec 03 - 03:58 AM

A beautiful song indeed - is there any actual evidence for the tragic event?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: Coventry Carol
From: Geoff the Duck
Date: 10 Dec 03 - 04:19 AM

December 28th is within the 12 days of Christmas. It is a Carol. For my money that makes it a Christmas Carol.
Quack!
Geoff the Duck.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: Coventry Carol
From: GUEST,John Kidder
Date: 10 Dec 03 - 05:25 PM

Dai:

There is some dispute about whether or not it actually happened, some commentators saying that is must be apocryphal, no physical evidence, etc., and that it is really just a re-telling of the Moses myth (remember that the Pharaoh also was said to have commanded the slaughter of children, hence Moses was placed in a basket of rushes to save him and "Pharaoh's little daughter /went down to the water / and found the sweet child that was there".

On the other hand, people have commented that Herod was historically a nasty piece of works, that he did have killed hundreds if not thousand of real or potential threats, and that furthermore there could not have been more that 10 or so infants in a town the size of Bethlehem. so perhaps it's all quite plausible.

Seems likely that we'll never know.

John

Geoff: you bet it's called a Carol, and it is sung at Christmas, but it ain't a celebration of the birth of Christ. Rather, a lament about one of the consequences of the Birth of Christ. So is it really a Christmas Carol? Quack back, John.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: Coventry Carol
From: Burke
Date: 10 Dec 03 - 06:01 PM

There seem to be a fair number of songs that get called Christmas Carols that seem questionable. Good King Wenceslaus(sp?) is one. One I recently learned about Christ was born in Bethlehem.

It seems if it mentioned the birth of Jesus & events around it, it gets called a Christmas Carol.

There are carols for other seasons as well, but it hard to see how Coventry Carol would qualify there either.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: Coventry Carol
From: Joe Offer
Date: 10 Dec 03 - 07:09 PM

    It seems if it mentioned the birth of Jesus & events around it, it gets called a Christmas Carol.
Does this mean we need to have a thread on "What Is a Christmas Carol?" Seems to me that's what a Christmas carol is - a song that mentions the birth of Jesus and the events around it. I suppose you could expand that to the "infancy of Christ" and still make sense. I would think that would cover anything from the first two chapters of Matthew and the first two chapters of Luke, the "infancy narratives" of the Gospels.
No?
When I was a kid in Catholic school, we were told that since St. Stephen was the first martyr, he was honored by having his feast day on the day after the feast of the birth of Christ - so it seems there's a connection between Wenceslaus and Steven and the birth of Christ. It sure seems that Wenceslaus and Stephen and the Holy Innocents are far more closely connected to Christmas than is St. Nicholas. And what the heck? - why not have Christmas carols about St. Nicholas, too?
Generally, Roman Catholic church musicians don't use Christmas carols in liturgy until Christmas Eve. We sing Advent songs, like "Lo How a Rose," and "O Come Emmanuel" - but we sing Christmas songs from December 24 to January 6, the Epiphany (feast of 3 kings). But if I'm not in church, I sing 'em all, from Thanksgiving until I get sick of 'em.

-Joe Offer-


Here's the entry on this song from the Traditional Ballad Index:

Coventry Carol, The

DESCRIPTION: A lullaby and a lament: the singer asks how to preserve her baby, for "Herod the king, in his raging, charged he hath this day His men of might in his own sight All children young to slay."
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1591 (colophon of original lost manuscript)
KEYWORDS: death children Bible carol royalty religious
FOUND IN: Britain(England)
REFERENCES (5 citations):
Rickert, pp. 76-77, "Lulay, Lullay, Thou Little Tiny Child" (1 tet)
OBC 22, "Coventry Carol" (1 text, 2 tunes)
DT, COVCAROL
ADDITIONAL: Ian Bradley, _The Penguin Book of Carols_ (1999), #49, "Lully, Lulla, Thou Little Tiny Child" (1 text)
Digital Index of Middle English Verse #4049

ST OBC022 (Full)
RECORDINGS:
John Jacob Niles, "Lulle Lullay (The Coventry Carol)" (Victor Red Seal 2017, 1940)
NOTES: Not, properly speaking, a folk song, unless its modern popularity makes it so.
The Coventry Carol was originally found in the Coventry Pageant of the Shearmen and Tailors, a mystery (miracle) play of the fourteenth or fifteenth century (Happe, p. 343, suggests first quarter of the fifteenth century; the Oxford Book of Carols says fifteenth century).
At the time the miracle plays were written, translation of the Bible into English was discouraged by the Catholic Church (the English version of Wycliffe was available for much of this period, but was officially heretical; Christie-Murray, p. 115. In any case, it was a very literal translation of the Latin, making it difficult to understand even when it accurately represented the Hebrew and Greek). The miracle plays, crude and biblically inaccurate (many of the cycles included the fall of Satan, the Harrowing of Hell, and other non-Biblical details) were therefore one of the chief sources of Biblical knowledge for many common people.
Many towns had cycles of miracle plays (as many as 48, in the case of York; Happe, p. 10), although not all would be performed in a particular year). The individual plays generally of a few hundred lines, usually performed on or around the festival of Corpus Christi. The craft guilds of each city would each take and perform a play.
On the evidence, most major towns had a unique cycle of miracle plays. The majority of these, however, are lost; we have only a handful (e.g. from York, Chester, and "N Town"; Happe, pp. 10-14) remaining. The Coventry cycle did not survive; we have only two plays (that of the Shearmen and Tailors and that of the Weavers), from a manuscript dated 1591 -- and even this was burned in 1879, leaving us dependent on bad transcriptions from 1817 and 1825 (Happe, p. 343).
In a further irony, even though the Coventry Carol is the only part of the Mysteries to be known to the general public (unless they encountered the Second Shepherd's Play of the Wakefield cycle in a literature class), the Coventry Pageant itself is rarely published. Happe, e.g., prints the 900 lines of the Shearmen and Tailors play on pp. 344-380, but does not print the Coventry Weavers Play. The two plays, interestingly, are much longer than the usual Mystery Play; one suspects the Coventry Cycle had fewer plays than most others.
Characters in the play of the Shearmen and Tailors are Isaye (Isaiah), who soeaks the prologue (Matthew's whole infancy tale of Jesus is built around Old Testament quotations, mostly from Isaiah); Gaberell (Gabriel, an import from Luke's infancy narrative, who announces the coming of Jesus); Mare (Mary); Josoff (Joseph); an Angell (Angel, to tell Joseph that Mary did not commit adultery); three Pastors (Shepherds, to whom the birth of Jesus is announced; they make anachronistic references to the Trinity);two Profeta (Prophets; non-Biblical; Gassner does not list them in the cast of characters); the Nonceose (the messenger, speaking at times in pseudo-French), Erode (Herod). three Rex (kings -- the three Magi=Astrologers, sometimes called the "three kings" -- although the Bible neither says they were kings nor says there were three of them); (another?) Angellus (yes, it's spelled differently); 2 Myles (soldiers under Herod's orders, who are told to kill the children of Bethlehem; Gassner, 128 interprets the term "myles" as "knights"); three Women (of Bethlehem, mothers of children to be killed).
There are two other short songs in the play, with the others being sung by the shepherds.
How much of this is historical is a matter of conjecture. It probably isn't much. Beare, p. 74, tells us that the Emperor Nero was visited by a group of eastern "magians" in 66 C.E., and suggests that this might have put the idea in the mind of the author of Matthew (which gospel was probably written about 80 C.E.).
The Massacre of the Innocents, in which Herod the Great slaughtered all the children of Bethlehem in hopes of killing the Christ child, is described in Matthew 2:16. The other gospels do not hint at it. Beare, p. 75, goes so far as to suggest that it is based in the legend of Osiris, Set, and Horus. (But would a monotheistic Jew like Matthew go near such a tale? I doubt it. It is more likely that it is based on Pharaoh's murder of the children of Israel in Exodus 1-2)
We have no record of Herod committing this particular atrocity -- and Josephus probably would have told us if he had. It may be based on other instances of Herod's behavior, however; Josephus tells us that Herod ordered the killing of vast numbers of people at his death, so that the entire nation would have to mourn him (Josephus, Antiquities XVII.174-179; Josephus/Marcus/Wikgren, pp. 450-453), though his relatives prevented his wishes from being carried out (Josephus, Antiquities XVII.193-194; Josephus/Marcus/Wikgren, pp. 460-461). Whether true or not, it is a matter of historical fact that he killed his three oldest sons -- the eldest of them just days before his own death (Josephus, Antiquities XVII.186-187; Josephus/Marcus/Wikgren, pp. 456-459). Macrobius later told a grim jest attributed to none other than the Emperor Augustus -- that, since Herod was Jewish, it was safer to be Herod's pig (Greek "hyn") than his son ("hyion").
The subject was fairly popular in sermons and stories, for obvious reasons; we see such sob stories to this day. It seems to have been used for political messages, as well -- e.g. Bradbury, p. 189, shows a king looking on as children are slaughtered, which is clearly a reminiscence of the Massacre. The drawing was made around 1140 C.E., according to Bradbury, during the reign of England's King Stephen -- and Bradbury thinks it a comment on the civil war of Stephen's reign, not just a scriptural allusion.
The "lully lullay" lullaby (note the similarity betweey "lullay" and "lullabye," though ironically the dictionaries do not see a connection) is quite common starting in the fourteenth century. I know of at least four poems beginning with this phrase:
British Museum Harleian MS. 913, from the early fourteenth century, has a piece beginning
Lollai, lollai, litil child, whi whepistou [weepest thou] so sore?
(Davies, #35, pp. 106-107, mostly a warning of the sorrows to come in the world, concluding with a mention of Adam and Eve's sin)
Chambers, pp. 79-80, implies that this is the earliest surviving lullaby in the English language -- although, since it is sung by Mary to the baby Jesus, it isn't exactly an ordinary lullaby.
In the 1372 Commonplace Book of John (or Johan de) Grimestone (National Library of Scotland MS. Advocates 18.7.21) we find three pieces, one beginning
Lullay, lullay, litel child, why wepest thu so sore?
(Luria/Hoffman #201, pp. 194-195, not the same as the above despite the similar first line, which ends with a mention of Jesus and salvation)
and the other
Lullay, lullay, litel cjild, child reste thee a throwe.
(Luria/Hoffman #202, pp. 195-196; Burrow/Turville-Petre, pp. 246-247)
Lullay, lullay, la lullay, My dere moder, lullay
(Davies, #38, pp. 112-114)
In each case, the "lully, lullay, little child" phrase serves as a partial refrain.
Grimestone was himself a Franciscan monk from Norfolk (Bennett/Gray, p. 367), and recorded these poems for religious not secular reasons (Bennett/Gray, p. 367, report that he had a collecton of almost 250 assorted lyrics which he apparently used when preaching; Burrow/Turville-Petre, p. 245, observe that they are arranged topically, under headings such as abstinence. They report that 239 of the items are in English, with others in Latin). But it is hard to imagine anyone composing lullabyes to the baby Jesus if there were no secular lullabyes.
The exceptionally feeble state of the tradition of this piece, incidentally, results in some variants, as does the problem of early spelling. There is no doubt, for instance, that the first line is to be pronounced "Oh sisters too," but we cannot be sure if this is to be interpreted as "Oh sisters, too," or as "Oh sisters two." We do note that there are three women of Bethlehem present when the song is sung.
The third verse gives an even greater problem. Is the third word of the second line "mourn" or "morn"? If the former, then the line should be read "and ever mourn and say" (perhaps to be emended to "mourn and pray"); if the latter, then "and ever morn and day." Gassner, p. 143, goes so far as to emend to "And ever mourn I may." The former question certainly cannot be resolved; the latter can only be resolved if,by extremely unlikely chance, another manuscript turns up.
Kerr, p.132, claims that this song was heard by the English kings Richard III and Henry VII. They do not cite any authority for this claim. - RBW
Bibliography
  • Beare: Francis Wright Beare, The Gospel According to Matthew (British title The Gospel According to St. Matthew), Harper & Row, 1981
  • Bennett/Gray: J. A. W. Bennett, Middle Englich Literature, edited and completed by Douglas Gray and being a volume of the Oxford History of English Literature, 1986 (I use the 1990 Clarendon paperback)
  • Bradbury: Jim Bradbury, Stephen and Matilda: The Civil War of 1139-1153, 1996 (I use the 1998 Sutton paperback)
  • Burrow/Turville-Petre: J. A. Burrow and Thorlac Turville-Petre, A Book of Middle English, second edition, 1996 (I use the 1999 Blackwell paperback edition)
  • Chambers: E. K. Chambers, English Literature at the Close of the Middle Ages, Oxford, 1945, 1947
  • Christie-Murray: David Christie-Murray, A History of Heresy, Oxford, 1976
  • Davies: R. T. Davies, editor, Medieval English Lyrics: A Critical Anthology, 1963
  • Gassner: John Gassner, editor, Medieval and Tudor Drama, 1963 (I use the 1987 Applause Books paperback edition)
  • Happe: Peter Happe, editor, English Mystery Plays, 1975 (I use the 1985 Penguin Classics edition)
  • Josephus/Marcus/Wikgren: Ralph Marcus and Allen Wikgren, translators, Josephus: Jewish Antiquities: Books XV-XVII, the eighth volume in the 10 volume Loeb translation of Josephus (and #410 in the Loeb Classical Library), Harvard University Press, 1963
  • Kerr: Nigel and Mary Kerr, A Guide to Medieval Sites in Britain, Diamond Books, 1988
  • Luria/Hoffman: Maxwell S. Luria & Richard Hoffman, Middle English Lyrics, a Norton Critical Edition, Norton, 1974
Last updated in version 3.0
File: OBC022

Go to the Ballad Search form
Go to the Ballad Index Song List

Go to the Ballad Index Instructions
Go to the Ballad Index Bibliography or Discography

The Ballad Index Copyright 2015 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: Coventry Carol
From: Burke
Date: 10 Dec 03 - 07:43 PM

I don't know that anyone said a Carol has to be religious. Secular songs like "Deck the Halls" & "Santa Claus is coming to Town" seem like Christmas Carols to me.

Liturgically there are finer definitions separating Advent, Chrismas, & Epiphany, that can all be combined in the general seasonal celebration. I notice the Episcopal Hymnal has "Lo How a Rose" in the Christmas section but "O Come, Emmanuel" and "Hark the Glad Sound" are in Advent, "Brightest & best" and "What star us this" are Epiphany. OTOH, some of the hymns we've been doing don't seem very carolish to me, but I'm not sure what my internal compass is on this.

I was complaining about "Christ is Born" because the song has one birth verse & the rest are his life, with several verses on focusing on the crucifixion.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: Coventry Carol
From: GUEST,MAG at work
Date: 10 Dec 03 - 09:15 PM

Check out the Oxford Book of Carols, which will explain that carols are sung all year around.

The slaughter of the Innocents story to me seems like an instance of folk process collapsing of different events into one story. Herod probably did something like this, sometime. It was retoractively grafted on to the story of Jesus so that he would appear to fulfill an OT prophecy. All genuine Biblical scholarship will tell you that this is how Jesus came to be believed to have been born in Bethlehem, for example. If he was born anywhere other than Galilee, where he was raised and he began his work, it was Jerusalem.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: Coventry Carol
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 10 Dec 03 - 09:35 PM

"If he was born anywhere other than Galilee, where he was raised and he began his work, it was Jerusalem. That's sheer speculation, even if it comes from "genuine Biblical scholarship".

The fact that a song isn't happy doesn't mean it's not a Carol.

And without the Massacre of the Innocents and the Flight to Egypt, the Christmas story is truncated and cheapened. (That's quite aside from the question of how far it's solid fact. The point is, those are the kinds of things which happen time and time again, all over the world, and they are happening right now, and it's a good thing to keep that in mind around our celebrations.)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: Coventry Carol
From: Joe Offer
Date: 10 Dec 03 - 10:26 PM

Actually, I guess you could describe a carol as any song used in connection with a celebration of a commemorative event. Still, I think a practical description of a carol is that it is a song you sing at Christmas. While there may be other carols, 99.687 percent of them are Christmas songs.
From another perspective, I'd say, "If you like it, sing it - but don't bother stopping to define it for me."
-Joe Offer-


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: Coventry Carol
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 10 Dec 03 - 10:46 PM

Few people know the definitions of a carol. There are several, and you must define what kind you are talking about. Following from OED, the standard of the English language. I have skipped over some sub-headings.

I ring dance
1. A ring dance and derived senses.
   c. A company of dancers or singers, a choir.
2. To sing, originally that to which they danced, but now to sing a lively and joyous strain. (Rudolph, Here Comes Santa, Jingle Bell Rock, etc.)
3. a. A song or hymn of religious joy.
   b. Especially: a song or hymn of joy sung at Christmas in celebration of the nativity. Rarely, applied to hymns sung on other festive occasions.

Shhh! Unhappy carols are not mentioned.

II. A ring and related senses.
4. A ring or circle, e. g., of standing stones.
5. A small enclosure, or 'study' in a cloister.
6. a chain (Middle Ages, not sure I understand the examples).
7. Combined; carolsynge, carol-chanting, carol-wise, etc.

Carol- the verb. ------


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: Coventry Carol
From: LadyJean
Date: 11 Dec 03 - 12:00 AM

The song comes from the Pageant of Shearmen and Taylors, a medieval play that tells the story of the birth of Christ, ending with the slaughter of the innocents. It would have been one of a series of plays, illustrating scripture, produced by the town guilds and performed on the feast of Corpus Christi, which I think comes in the spring.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: Coventry Carol
From: MAG
Date: 11 Dec 03 - 01:14 AM

Sorry, McGrath; the power of the legend is what it is for people. It still remains a legend. We must agree to disagree -- politely, please.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: Coventry Carol
From: GUEST,Santa
Date: 11 Dec 03 - 08:35 AM

"And without the Massacre of the Innocents and the Flight to Egypt, the Christmas story is truncated and cheapened"

And a story which has been artificially extended and padded with irrelevant events is what?

Whatever happened to "The truth shall make you free?" "Print the lie?"

Thread drift, thread drift.....danger, danger!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: Coventry Carol
From: Geoff the Duck
Date: 11 Dec 03 - 01:59 PM

A CAROL is a circle dance.
The tune used for the dance is also known as a carol. Words sung with the tune and the dance also became referred to as Carols.
Some of the early carols were associated with particular times of year. There are Easter Carols. There are May Carols. There are considerably more (songs) known as Christmas Carols. Although the majority of these are based on the religious event, there are also many secular carols, not mentioning anything to do with religion.
Quack!
GtD.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: Coventry Carol
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 11 Dec 03 - 08:41 PM

"a story which has been artificially extended and padded with irrelevant events" - and when do you think that happened?

The whole story is set in a time of oppression and persecution, right from the word go. That's at the heart of it - and the paradox is that, in spite of all that, it's a joyful story.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: Coventry Carol
From: Joe Offer
Date: 12 Dec 03 - 02:54 AM

Ah, 'tis the season again. It happens every year. MAG gets out her cute little red hat with the white puffball on the end, goes out in the freezing cold and stands on the corner ringing a handbell, shouting,
    "CHRISTMAS IS BULLSHIT!!!"
One of these years, the Ghost of Christmas Past should pay old MAGScooge a visit.
Merry Xmas, MAGScrooge!! Peace on Earth, and Good Will to All!!
-Tiny Joe-
    Actually, MAGScrooge thinks all of us Christians are right-wing, racist, anti-feminist, pro-war biblical fundamentalists. We aren't, but MAG can't accept that. She wants to dictate to us what it is we must believe, and then she wants to tell us that what we believe is bullshit. Go figure.

      26 October 2012: And looking at this in my old age, almost nine years later, I find myself agreeing mostly with MAG. I actually should have paid more attention to her logic back then. I learned back in my seminary days in the 1960s that the Nativity stories of Matthew and Luke were mostly legend - wonderful, colorful, inspiring legends, but still legend. And since my high school days, I have never considered these stories to be what we would think of as factual accounts. I did apologize the day after I posted this message, but I apologize again to MAG for being so abrupt. I should have paid more attention to what she was saying. I think this is probably the most unjustifiably nasty message I have ever posted at Mudcat.


    I have always found Matthew's Infancy Narrative to be particularly annoying, since it is so tied to structure and seems contrived. It's broken into five parts, each focusing on a verse from the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament). Joseph is the main character in the narrative, and Mary and Jesus are minor characters [perhaps because women and children had little value at the time]. All through the Gospel of Matthew, you'll see how the story is tailored to "prove" verses in the Hebrew Scriptures - and it seems to me that Matthew often fudges the facts to make things fit together. Still, the story Matthew tells is a good one, and it has inspired people for ages. Besides, it's supposed to be a very formal birth announcement, following a traditional format that begins with the annoying (and very traditional) "begats."

    Luke, on the other hand, bases his Infancy Narrative on three songs or canticles: the Canticle of Mary (Magnificat, based on the song of Hannah from the First Book of Samuel), the Canticle of Zechariah (Benedictus), and the Canticle of Simeon (Nunc Dimittis); and there's also the the Canticle of the Angels (Gloria in excelsis Deo). Mary is the main character in Luke, and Joseph is hardly mentioned. While still a legend, Luke's story seems to me to be less contrived and more poetic than Matthew's.

    Both Infancy Narratives are ritual stories, meant to herald the birth of a king. Such narratives were meant more to convey the importance of the event, rather than to give factual information. After all, until Jesus became an adult, the event had no significance to anyone but his parents.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: Coventry Carol
From: Kim C
Date: 12 Dec 03 - 03:56 PM

We likes Christmas, preciousssss, it's all the shopping we can't stand. :-)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: Coventry Carol
From: PoppaGator
Date: 12 Dec 03 - 05:03 PM

Celebration of Yuletide among the peoples of northern Europe dates back to before the arrival of Chistianity, if not before the birth of Christ.

This celebration of the immediate post-equinox period -- people were relieved that the days were finally starting to get longer -- featured indoor displays of evergreen foliage, plenty of roast poultry and alcohol, and lots of singing and dancing. This is undoubtedly the origin of our "Christmas Carols."

The Church, in its near-infinite wisdom, appropriated this mid-winter festival to celebrate the birth of Christ. His actual birthdate, of course, is unknown. (I hope most of us can agree on that much.)

I can think of only one ancient Yuletide carol that has no Christian references at all -- the venerable "Deck the Halls." Can anyone name any more? Secular humanists and neo-Pagans everywhere want to know.

Don't forget to don that gay apparel, now!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: Coventry Carol
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 12 Dec 03 - 06:12 PM

What better time to have a celebration than in the middle of the winter? And what difference in the world does it make whether the date you celebrate someone's birth is the anniversary of their birth or not?

What celebration do people in the Southern Hemisphere use as a way of cheering themseleves up in the middle of winter?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: Coventry Carol
From: Geoff the Duck
Date: 12 Dec 03 - 08:47 PM

Hail Smiling Morn is one of my favourite carols. It celebrates the breaking of the day and doesn't mention ANYTHING to do with religion or Christmas (unless you go to the South Yorkshire Carols where someone has altered the words to mention things like God and Heaven (don'tknow why...).
It's a belter of a tune.
Quack!
GtD.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: Coventry Carol
From: Joe Offer
Date: 13 Dec 03 - 08:35 AM

    The Church, in its near-infinite wisdom, appropriated this mid-winter festival to celebrate the birth of Christ. His actual birthdate, of course, is unknown. (I hope most of us can agree on that much.)
Well, Poppagator, I'd agree that nobody knows Christ's birthdate and I'd agree that Christmas has pagan origins, but I'm not so sure I'd agree that the Church "appropriated" the feast. Christmas is not the only Christian feast that coincides with older pagan festivals. It's hard to find proof for anything that goes back so far, but I think I'd say that pagans who converted to Christianity continued to celebrate the festivals they had celebrated before, adding a Christian aspect to what had once been a pagan celebration. The Church, in a rare display of wisdom, recognized these festivals instead of attempting to abolish them - but yes, I'm sure the Church added Christian elements to these formerly pagan festivals. The question is whether this happened by church edict, or by the "folk process." The other question is whether it's wrong for Christians to have religious celebrations on days once held holy by pagans. Jehovah's Witnesses and some fundamentalist Christians think it is wrong, and they refuse to celebrate Christmas and some other feasts.
-Joe Offer-


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: Coventry Carol
From: MAG
Date: 13 Dec 03 - 09:29 AM

I agree with your last post, McGrath.

Joe, I don't know how you got your rant out of what I said, but greetings of the season to you anyway.

MA, active ein her spiritual quest, and and leary   of those who have found it -- for others.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: Coventry Carol
From: Menolly
Date: 13 Dec 03 - 02:15 PM

I am sure The Church worked onhte principal of "if you can't beat them - join them". I believe there is some evidence to surgest Jesus was born in April, the church did not know and had failed to stamp out old pagan customs - so !
Pagan Carols - I love the Boar's Head carol.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: Coventry Carol
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 13 Dec 03 - 03:08 PM

"The Boar's Head Carol" in its separate forms has no line of descent from pagan times- that is just more fakelore.

The various forms and the university legends (16th c.) and the earlier carol by Smert(?) are discussed by Masato Sakurai and Liz the Squeak in thread 27543: Boar's Head"

Abstracting from that thread-
The earliest record is titled "The Borys Hede That We Bryng Here," attributed to Richard Smert, rector at Plymtree, 1435-1477, from Die Nativitatis, a MS collection from the 15th-16th c. and printed in Ritson's Ancient Songs; the carol later published by Wm. Sandys, 1833.

See article by William Studwell, The Christmas Carol Reader, reproduced in: Boar's Head Carol
(A link at the end of discussion of this carol will lead to "The Borys Hede--."

The website, "The Hymns and Carols of Christmas," is the largest online, and has discussions of many carols and hymns, as well as history.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: Coventry Carol
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 13 Dec 03 - 04:01 PM

Coventry Carols: Coventry 1, See Coventry 1
Compare witl "Lulle Lullay, "Collected" (composed?) John Jacob Niles: Lulle Lullay
Coventry 2, see Coventry 2
Discussions of all three, with the gospel quotation appended to the material with Coventry 1.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: Coventry Carol
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 13 Dec 03 - 04:05 PM

Nile's Lulle Lullay: Lulle Lullay


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: Coventry Carol
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 13 Dec 03 - 04:49 PM

After a series of posts from some of the "usual suspects" having nothing whatever to do with The Coventry Carol, it's nice to see Q's constructive contributions. If folk were able to restrain themselves occasionally instead of immediately launching into repetitive and predictable diversions every time the word "carol" is mentioned in the same breath as "Christmas", we might all learn a little more.

Q is also to be thanked for making unnecessary (for now) a lengthy piece from me on why the terms "Pagan" and "Pre-Christian" are almost always misleading or irrelevant in discussions of traditional song in the English language.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: Coventry Carol
From: Joe Offer
Date: 13 Dec 03 - 05:09 PM

Hi, MAG - maybe I overreacted, or maybe I'm reacting to the atmosphere in some circles here in Northern California, where I'm corrected if I use the word "Christmas."
I apologize.

Whatever the case, I think that the story of the "Holy Innocents" is a good, colorful story that is held sacred by many, and "Coventry Carol" is a wonderful song. Whether it is fact or legend, I think it has lessons to teach. My personal opinion is that it's legend, but it is a legend that should be respected because it is held sacred by at least some people.
-Joe Offer-
maybe at times I'm a "usual suspect"


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: Coventry Carol
From: GUEST,new theory student
Date: 03 Dec 10 - 12:55 AM

I need help! I have to do an analysis of this song for class and it's due in 8 hours.

I don't know much theory, so it should be simple for you folks.

I've got 51b. Coventry Carol
Key of G minor
3/2 time

I have to analyze the chords, I think.

i iv v etc.

Can anyone help???


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: Coventry Carol
From: GUEST,new theory student
Date: 03 Dec 10 - 12:57 AM

Ha... i just realized the latest comments were from 2003... hope is lost

Thanks anyway


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: Coventry Carol
From: Joe Offer
Date: 03 Dec 10 - 01:34 AM

Well, theory student, all is not lost if you're still around. Click here for the chords and melody, in G minor.

-Joe-


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: Coventry Carol
From: Stower
Date: 03 Dec 10 - 07:52 AM

What you have on the link above is not the original timing of the tune. The Victorians regularised it into 3/2. The original has irregular bars of 4/2, 3/2, and 2/2, which you can see in The Oxford Book Of Carols, ed. Pearcy Dearmer, Ralph Vaughan Williams & Martin Shaw, p.44. You'll also easily be able to work out the chord structure there. Any good library should have this book. Hope this helps.

Stower


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: Coventry Carol (Lullay, thou little...)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 04 Dec 10 - 12:18 AM

I see what you mean, Stower. Thanks for pointing that out. I went to the New Oxford Book of Carols and was disappointed to find only a version from John Jacob Niles, #171, Lullay, thou little tiny child. BUT then I found #40, Lully, lulla, thow little tyne child (The Coventry Carol), and the tune with all its intricacies.

The 1964 Oxford Book of Carols has two versions, one from the 15th-century Pageant of Shearmen and Tailors and the second a modern version of the tune. This (click) looks like it's the same as the "modern arrangement." It's from The English Carol Book, Second Series (1913)

Neither edition of Oxford Book of Carols has chords - but then, would one expect chords in Oxford Book of Carols? Still, it's a fascinating melody with an intriguing chord structure, a truly challenging assignment for our music student. I hope he got a good grade, because I learned a lot from his assignment.

hymnsandcarolsofchristmas.com has excellent information on the various versions of this song.

-Joe-

It's getting late here, so I'm going to resist the temptation to transcribe MIDIs from the Oxford Book of Carols. If someone else would like to do it, I'd be grateful. Just e-mail the MIDI to me and I'll post it as soon as I can - but be aware that I'm very busy until Tuesday. Thanks.
-Joe Offer-
joe@mudcat.org


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: Coventry Carol (Lullay, thou little...)
From: Stower
Date: 04 Dec 10 - 06:46 AM

Joe, "Neither edition of Oxford Book of Carols has chords". Mine has soprano, tenor and bass parts, so it is easy to work out the chords from there. It is odd that they're publishing editions without.

Stower


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: Coventry Carol (Lullay, thou little...)
From: MartinRyan
Date: 24 Dec 11 - 10:23 AM

To hear The Voice Squad's beautiful version -

Click here

Happy Christmas


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: Coventry Carol (Lullay, thou little...)
From: GUEST,BobL
Date: 24 Dec 11 - 11:13 AM

OBC gives an original version with some rather strange harmonies, and a modern (1922) alternative. However, according to the New Oxford Book of Carols (which I don't have to hand at the moment so this is AFAIR), the real original source was lost in a fire, and all the compilers of OBC - or anyone else - had to go on was a "horrendously inaccurate" print made in about 1840.

Which sounds like a good excuse to make any revisions you like, they'll have just as good a claim of fidelity to the true original.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate
  Share Thread:
More...

Reply to Thread
Subject:  Help
From:
Preview   Automatic Linebreaks   Make a link ("blue clicky")


Mudcat time: 25 May 12:55 PM EDT

[ Home ]

All original material is copyright © 1998 by the Mudcat Café Music Foundation, Inc. All photos, music, images, etc. are copyright © by their rightful owners. Every effort is taken to attribute appropriate copyright to images, content, music, etc. We are not a copyright resource.