Popular Music Of The Olden Time Vol 2

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

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ANGLO-SCOTTISH SONGS.                                               613
English ballads, like " Room, room for a Rover; or An innocent Country Life prcfer'd before the noisy clamours of a restless town. To a new tune:"
" Room, room for a rover, London is so hot," &c.
The mixture of English music in Scotch collections is not without incon­venience to the Scot3 themselves, for an essayist who intends to write about Scottish music, must either be content to deal in generalities, or he will be liable to the mistake of praising English music where he intends to praise Scotch. Dr. Beattie, in one of his published letters, says of the celebrated Mrs. Siddons, " She loves music, and is fond of Scotch tunes, many of which I played to her on the violoncello. One of these, She rose and let me in, which you know is a favorite of mine, made the tears start from her eyes, ' Go on,' said she,' and you will soon have your revenge;' meaning that I should draw as many tears from her as she had drawn from me" by her acting. {Life of James Beaftie, LL.D., by Sir W. Forbes, ii. 139.) Dr. Reattie was evidently not aware, that both the music and words of She rose and let me in, are English. Again, in one of his Essays,—" I do not find that any foreigner has ever caught the true spirit of Scottish music;" and he illustrates his remark by the story of Geminiani's having blotted quires of paper in the attempt to write a second part to the tune of The Broom of Cowdenhnows. This air is, to say the least, of very question­able origin. The evidence of its being Scotch rests upon the English ballad of The Broom of Cowdenknows, for in other ballads to the same air it is not so described; and Burton, in his Anatomy of Melancholy, quotes " 0 the broom, the bonny, bonny broom," as a " country tune." The frequent misapplication of the term " Scotch," in English songs and ballads, has been remarked by nearly every writer on Scottish music, and this air is not upon the incomplete scale, which is commonly called Scotch. I am strongly persuaded that it is one of those ballads which, like The gallant Grahams, and many others, became popular in Scotland because the subject was Scotch. The Broom of Cowdenhiows is in the metre of, and evidently suggested by, the older ballad of New Broom on Hill (see p. 458). A copy of the original Broom on Hill* may even yet be discovered, or at least an earlier copy of the tune, and thus set the question at rest.
It is not only by essayists that mistakes are made, for even in historical works like " Ancient Scottish Melodies from a Manuscript of the reign of James VI., with an introductory enquiry illustrative of the History of the Music of Scotland, by William Dauney, F.S.A., Scot.," airs which bear no kind of resemblance to Scottish music, are claimed as Scotch. Mr. Dauney seems to have been a firm believer in the authenticity of the collections of Scottish music, and to have thought the evidence of an air being found in a Scotch manuscript sufficient to prove its Scottish origin. In such cases dates were to him of minor importance. Thus, Franklin is fled away; When the King enjoys his own again; I pray you, love,
* Broom on hill, according to Laneham, was "ancient" perT. C." T. C. was perhaps the writer of that manu-in 1575. The three-part song of Charles the First's reign, script, or one of his intimate friends,—otherwise we might to which I have referred at p. 459, is subscribed " Bassus expect thefull name instead of initials.

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