Popular Music Of The Olden Time Vol 2

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

Home Main Menu Singing & Playing Order & Order Info Support Search Easter Hymns

Share page  Visit Us On FB

Previous Contents Next
Biifore closing this division of the book, it may be desirable to devote a short space to the subject of the English and Anglo-Scottish songs and tunes which are incorporated in collections of Scottish music. They who have not enquired into the sabject may not be aware that many of the songs of Allan Ramsay, Burns, and other Scotch poets, were written to English tunes, and that those tunes, being now known by the names of their songs, pass with the world for Scotch.
Ritson tells us, in his Historical Essay on Scotch Song, that "the vulgar language of the lowland Scots was always called English by their own writers till a late period," and that "the vulgar toung in Scottis" meant Gaelic or Erse The quotations he adduces carry the proof down to the first half of the sixteenth century; but, in the early part of the eighteenth, this use of the word " English " was altogether dropped, and " Scots Sangs " included not only songs written by Scotchmen, whether in the lowland dialect or in English, but also the meaning was extended to any purely English songs that were popular in Scotland. As the works of Scotch poets are now sometimes included under the head of English literature, where the preponderance is English, so Allan Ramsay entitled his Tea Table Miscellany " a collection of Scots Sangs," the preponderance in the two first volumes (of which the work originally consisted) being Scotch. Although it was soon extended to three volumes, and the third was entirely English, still the exclusive title of " Scots Sangs" was retained. In 1740 a fourth was added, partly consisting of Scotch and partly of English. In this are twenty-one songs by Gay, from The Beggars'- Opera, ranged consecutively.
It would have been a great assistance to after-enquiry if Ramsay had confined his st lection to songs by Scotch authors, instead of thus mixing up those of the two countries; and it would have been more easy to separate the respective tunes if he had in all cases given the names by which they were previously known. How far this was required to divide the English from the Scotch will be best exemplified by supplying the names of the tunes to half a dozen of Ramsay's own songs.
" My mither's ay glowran o'er me," to the country dance of A Health to Betty; " The maltman comes on Monday," to the tune of Roger de Ooverley; "Peggy, I must love thee," to the tune of The Beel assist the plotting Whigs*
* "T le Deel assist the plotting Whigs" is the first line of " Th<' Whigs' lamentable condition ; or, The Royalists' resolution; To a pleasant new tune." The words and music ;ire contained in 180 Loyal Songs, 1685 and 1694,
andthemusic alone in MnAck'o Handmaid, Fart II.. 1689, as " a Scotch tune," composed by Purcell. In Pills to purge Melancholy,Vo\. I., 1699 to 1714, the song of "Tom and Will were Shepherd Swains" is adapted to the air.

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