Popular Music Of The Olden Time Vol 2

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

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394                                   ENGLISH SONG AND BALLAD MUSIC.
virginal music of the time of Queen Elizabeth, now in the possession of Dr. Rimbault.
The two lute copies seem, like many others in the same manuscripts, to have no tune in them. They are probably pieces constructed upon the ground or base of the air, to shew off the execution of florid passages on the lute. I have con­stantly found melody sacrificed in that way, both in lute and virginal music. In virginal music, the skeleton of the tune can generally be found running through the piece, sometimes in the base, and sometimes in an inner part; although the arranger occasionally constructs a wholly different treble. The tune, in this instance, is to be found in the base, and in the inner parts; and I am indebted to Dr. Rimbault for extracting it. Such versions are never very satisfactory, but must be accepted when no better are to be had.
Drayton, in his Polyolbion, Song 28, speaking of Robin Hood, says:— " But of his merry man, the Pindar of«the town Of Wakefield, George-a-Green, -whose fames so far are blown For their so valiant fight, that every Freeman's Song Can tell you of the same—so be ye talk'd on long, For ye were merry lads, and those were merry days."
If this be one of the Freemen's Songs, to which Drayton alludes, I suppose some of the voices sang the burden.
The ballad is contained in Ritson's Robin Hood, ii, 16; Evans' Old Ballads, ii. 100; &c.

E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III