Popular Music Of The Olden Time Vol 2

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

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424                                        CAVALIERS AND ROUNDHEADS.
grand solemnities with admiration to all spectators." Some allusion has already been made to their masques and dances, (ante p. 328, and note), to which I may add, that the author of " Round about our Coal Fire, or Christmas Entertain­ments," says, " the dancing and singing of the Benchers, in the great Inns of Court, in Christmas, is in some sort founded upon interest; for they hold, as I am informed, some privilege, by dancing about the fire, in the middle of their Hall, and singing the song of Round about our coal fire, &c. Leaving to the gentlemen of the bar to determine what this privilege was, I will only add, that the eulogy of their sweet and airy activity, is contained in every edition of The Dancing Master to 1701 inclusive, but omitted in and after that of 1703.
A large proportion of the tunes in the first edition of The Dancing Master, are contained in the present collection, because they are ballad times. Sir Thomas Elyot, in his Grovernour, 1531, after describing many ancient modes of dancing, says: " And as for the special names [of those dances], they were taken, as they be note, either of the names of the first inventors, or of the measure and number they do contain; or, of the first words of the ditty which the song comprehendeth, whereof the dance was made." If this custom of naming them after the ditty had not been retained in Playford's time, it would have been almost impossible now to identify the tunes of our old ballads, for the words and music are very rarely to be found together.
In 1655, Playford published "Court Ayres; or, Pavins, Almaines, Corants, and Sarabands, Treble and Basse, for Viols or Violins;" and reprinted them in 1662, with additions, under the title of " Courtly Masquing Ayres, containing Almanes, Ayres, Corants, Sarabands, Moriscos, Jiggs," &c. In the preface to the latter, he says, " About seven years since, I published a collection of ayres of this nature, entitled Court Ayres, containing 245 lessons; it being the first of that hind extant, I printed, therefore, but a very small impression, yet when it was once abroad, it found so good acceptance both in this kingdom and beyond seas, that there it was reprinted to my great damage, and was the chief reason that I publish'd it no more till now." The composers of this collection are William Lawes, Dr. Charles Colman, John Jenkins, Benjamin Rogers, Davis Mell, John Banister, William Gregory, Matthew Lock, and Thomas Gibbes. The republica­tion abroad of the music of the English Court Masques, confirms, in some degree, Lord Orford's view, that the Court of Charles I. was looked upon as " the most polite Court in Europe."
In searching for the songs and tunes of this particular period, the reader will find it necessary to refer to the first volume, as many of the oldest tunes were still in use, such as John Dory, Old Sir Simon the King, Tom a Bedlam, &c. A very small proportion of the songs now possess sufficient interest for republication; and some are necessarily excluded, by their coarseness.

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