A Century Of Ballads 1810-1910, Their Composers & Singers

With Some Introductory Chapters On Old Ballads And Ballad Makers - online book.

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Half-way through the lady stopped—she could not reach the lower notes. There was a G flat in the key, and she took it for granted that must be the keynote. She wanted it in D flat !"
The lot of an accompanist is not always a happy one, as the following instances will show. On one occasion a song was put into Bird's hands for an encore, and he was asked to transpose it down a tone. There were two flats in the signature, and at the commencement was written "play in A flat." Fortunately, it dawned upon him while walking to the piano that the song was in G minor, so that, of course, the true transposition was into F minor. On another occasion, when Bird was accompanying Santley in "The Erl King," the latter was encored, and decided to repeat the song. "Luckily," says Bird, in re­calling the incident, "he did not take it as fast as Plunket Greene, but it was very hard to play it through twice running."
Two more little stories Bird has to tell are worth repeating. The first is as follows :—
"I was accompanying at a large town in the provinces, when the singer got his words mixed up, and began, ' Oh that we two were maying, Under the churchyard sod.' There was a shout of amusement from the audience, which necessi­tated a stop and a fresh start."
Here is the other :—
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