THE PLAY-PARTY IN INDIANA - online book

Folk-Songs and Games with Descriptive Introduction, Notes, Sheeet music & Lyrics

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108                       The Play-Party in Indiana.
of small changes been transformed from the dorian, phrygian and aeolian modes and made to conform to the minor scale. The total absence of minor from play-party music gives rise to the suggestion that perhaps the majority of English folk-tunes which were brought to America were introduced at the time of the early settlements and that these served as models for the later develop­ment of the more recent tunes.
Whether this be true or not, this one song in the aeolian mode is evidence of the transfer of modal music to America. The tune was taken down from the singing of a man who learned it over thirty years ago when it was popular at the play-parties.
The first tune to "Weevily Wheat" given above, is the one that is known today. It is quite possible that a more extended search for these songs among the older people would bring to light many such instances as this, for with four or five exceptions the songs in this collection were taken down from the young people, between fifteen and twenty-four years of age.87 This contrasts strikingly with Mr. Sharp's statement that, in England, he found no songs worth the taking, among persons who were under seventy years of age and that the music to the dances came from persons of mature age.
Although we have not been able to trace this song back to any definite English tune, this study leads us to a choice between two possibilities: first, the tune had a source in a British folk-song (or dance) which is lost or whose original cannot now be recognized, or second, the modes were not unusual (at any rate not unknown), at the time the song was composed or adapted in America. The latter is perhaps the more probable.
We may well notice other features which evince a connection between English and American folk-music. Mr. Sharp in sum-' marizing his results says,88 "Folk-tunes do not modulate." In no tune of this or any published collection of play-party songs, is there any modulation. He says further, "Folk-melodies are non-harmonic; that is to say, they have been fashioned by those in whom the harmonic sense is undeveloped." This is strikingly shown in the play-party song by the absence of part-singing. The absence of instrumental music emphasizes this lack of harmoniza­tion.
There is another resemblance between English folk-songs and
87  The exceptions are, "Billy Boy," "No Sir," "Nora, Darling," "Marching to Quebec" and "Here Comes a Queen from Dover."
88  English Folk-Song, p. 88*
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