Popular Music Of The Olden Time Vol 2

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

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The alteration was, in all probability, made by Stephen Clarke, without the inter­vention of any amateur, for to Clarke only can we attribute the changes in other well-known airs, to fit them for the Scots' Musical Museum. Little scruple was shewn in making such changes, for even the well-known country dance and nursery song, Polly, put the kettle on, was transformed into a Scotch tune for the Museum in 1797. This was about three years after Polly had become very popular with young ladies by means of Dale's variations for the pianoforte. The words of Jenny's bawbee were adapted to it; although, as they begin—
" A' that e'er my Jenny had, my Jenny had, my Jenny had," they were evidently intended for the tune of—
" Sike a wife as Willy had, as Willy had, as Willy had," whicb will be found in N. Thompson's 180 Loyal Songs, 1694. Johnson took the words of Jenny's bawbee, with many others, from Herd's Scottish Songs, 1776, and, not knowing where to find the right tune, appropriated the first that came to hand. He professed to include only Scotch poetry, but even this profession was often very slenderly cloaked. There was a popular song, which had been sung in a London pantomime :—           " If a body meet a body going to the Fair,
If a body kiss a body, need a body care ?" This was altered for the Museum, into—
" Gin a body meet a body comin' thro' the rye,
Gin a body kiss a body, need a body cry 1"
The pantomime came out at Christmas, 1795-6, and the alteration seems to have
been made within about nine months of the publication; for Broderip and Wilkinson's
entry of the original song at Stationers' Hall was on the 29th of June, 1796.*
I have no intention of analyzing the collections of Scottish music; yet, having, in a few cases, reclaimed tunes that many have supposed to be Scotch, owing to their having been included in these publications, it becomes incumbent upon me to shew that popularity only was considered by the collectors, without any care for accuracy. Indeed, no stronger proof could be produced than that Johnson should have included new songs by Hook, Berg, Battishill, and other living composers, and palmed them
• The entry at Stationers1 Hall is as follows:—" If a body meet a body, sung by Mrs. Henley, at the Royal Circus, in the favorite new Pantomime called Harlequin Mariner, the music adapted by J. Sanderson, the words
by Mr, Cross." A copy of the song will be found in th« British Museum (G, 367). Mrs. Henley acted the part of Market Goody in the pantomime. Cross was the author of a book called Circusiana, and of many pantomimes.

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