Popular Music Of The Olden Time Vol 1

Ancient Songs, Ballads, & Dance Tunes, Sheet Music & Lyrics - online book

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ACTS OF PAKLIAMENT AND PKOCLAMATIONS AGAINST BALLADS.           55
all books printed before the year 1540, entituled Statutes, Chronicles, Canterbury Tales, Chaucer's books, Gower's books, and stories of men's lives, shall not be comprehended in the prohibition of this act." It was' not, however, the first time that ballads had been employed for controversy on religious subjects. The ballads against the Lollards, and those against the old clergy, have been mentioned at page 40 ; and there is a large number extant against monks and friars, many of which were, and some still are, popular.
The first collection of songs in parts that was printed in England, was in 1530; but of that only a base part now remains.* There are, however, many such collec­tions in manuscript in public and private libraries. Stafford Smith's printed collection of songs in score, composed about the year 1500, is almost entirely taken from one manuscript.
Henry VHI. left a large number of musical instruments at his death, the in­ventory of which may be seen in Harl. MSS. No. 1419, fol. 200; and, as might be expected, all his children were well taught in music.
"Ballads," says Mr. Collier, "seem to have multiplied after Edward VI. came to the throne; no new proclamation was issued, nor statute passed on the subject, while Edward continued to reign; but in less than a month after Mary became queen, she published an edict against c books, ballads, rhymes, and treatises,' which she complained had been c set out by printers and stationers, of an evil zeal for lucre, and covetous of vile gain.' There is little doubt, from the few pieces remaining, that it was, in a considerable degree, effectual for the end in view."
The following tunes are occasionally classed rather under the dates to which I consider them to belong, than by those of the copies from which they are derived; but as the authorities are given in every case, the reader has the means before him of forming his own opinion. Some, however, are classed rather for convenience of subject, as songs of Kobin Hood, songs or tunes mentioned by Shakespeare, &c.
After a few from manuscripts of the time of Henry VHL, there are specimens of " King Henry's Mirth, or Freemen's Songs," from a collection printed in 1609, which contains many " fine vocal compositions of very great antiquity."b But of those, I have only selected such as were also used as song or ballad tunes, sung by a single voice.
■ It contained compositions by Cornish, Pygot, Ash-      It met with so much success, that in the same year he
well, Taverner, Gwynneth, Jones, Dr. Cowper, and Dr.      published a second, called "Deuteromelia: or the second
Fairfax. See the Index in Ritson's Ancient Songs,      part of Musick's Melodie, or melodious musicke of plea-
p. xxlii., last edition. Stafford Smith's are principally by      saut Roundelayes, K. II, [King Henry's] Mirlh, or Free-
Fairfax, Newark, Heath, Turges, Sheringham, and Sir      men's Songs," &c,; and in 1611, a third collection, called
Thomas Philipps; but this list of composers might be      " Melismata: Musical Fhausics, fitting the court, city,
increased greatly by including those In other manuscripts.      and couutrey humours." Some of the Songs and Catches
b In 1609, Thomas Ravenscroft, Mus. Bac, collected      in these collections are undoubtedlyof the reign of Henry
and printed 100 old Catches, Rounds, and Canons, under      VII., and it is to be presumed that the authors of all
the title of " Pammelia: Musick's Miseellanie, or mixed       were unknown to Ravenscroft, as, contrary to custom,
varietie of pleasant Roundelayes and delightful Catches." #    he does not mention them in any instance.