To Thread - Forum Home

The Mudcat Café TM
3 messages

Folklore: Child Ballad variant letters

24 Dec 11 - 04:08 PM (#3279452)
Subject: Folklore: Child Ballad variant letters
From: GUEST,IC Keith

I checked an old thread about the logic of Child ballad organization but found no answer to my question. I understand that the ballads are numbered and the variants are lettered, "78C," for example. what does it mean if the upper case variant letter is followed by a lower case letter? For example, #78 (The Unquiet Grave)has 8 variants, 78A-78H. However, H is subdivided into 78Ha, 78Hb, and 78Hc. What is the distinction between upper and lower case identifications?

24 Dec 11 - 06:52 PM (#3279519)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Child Ballad variant letters
From: Reinhard

Child wrote in a footnote to #78: "The Rev. S. Baring-Gould has recovered several copies of 'The Unquiet Grave' (H) in the West Country. It will be observed that the variations in this ballad do not take a wide range." Therefore he grouped the three variants together as 78Ha, 78Hb, and 78Hc instead of cataloguing them as three independent versions 78H-78K.

25 Dec 11 - 04:24 PM (#3279879)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Child Ballad variant letters
From: GUEST,SteveG

Reinhard gives a clear example, but to answer the query more simply, if Child had variants that were obviously derived from the same source he placed them all under one capital letter and used the lower case letters to distinguish these variants from each other. This usually means that some variants from one printed source have been more or less accurately copied into other printed sources. The minor variations were then annotated in the appendix to each ballad. Another reason was where some of the antiquarian collectors had sent their version to other antiquarian collectors and these therefore appeared in several collections with minor variations.