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Tune Req: Trad. English tune for Little Musgrave?

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FATTY GROVES
LORD BANNER
MATTIE GROVES


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Dave Rado 19 May 21 - 05:48 PM
Steve Gardham 19 May 21 - 06:35 PM
Jack Campin 19 May 21 - 07:29 PM
Dave Rado 19 May 21 - 08:07 PM
Dave Rado 19 May 21 - 08:10 PM
Jack Campin 20 May 21 - 06:14 AM
Steve Gardham 20 May 21 - 09:57 AM
Dave Rado 20 May 21 - 05:17 PM
Jack Campin 20 May 21 - 08:17 PM
Dave Rado 21 May 21 - 01:33 PM
Jack Campin 21 May 21 - 02:56 PM
Steve Gardham 21 May 21 - 05:55 PM
Dave Rado 21 May 21 - 07:44 PM
Dave Rado 21 May 21 - 07:56 PM
Jack Campin 21 May 21 - 08:07 PM
GUEST,# 22 May 21 - 09:27 AM
Steve Gardham 22 May 21 - 09:48 AM
Jack Campin 22 May 21 - 10:10 AM
Steve Gardham 22 May 21 - 11:02 AM
GUEST 22 May 21 - 11:54 AM
Reinhard 22 May 21 - 12:27 PM
Steve Gardham 22 May 21 - 02:02 PM
Dave Rado 22 May 21 - 04:36 PM
Jack Campin 22 May 21 - 05:34 PM
Dave Rado 22 May 21 - 05:36 PM
Steve Gardham 22 May 21 - 05:37 PM
Dave Rado 22 May 21 - 05:48 PM
Dave Rado 22 May 21 - 05:51 PM
Jack Campin 22 May 21 - 07:45 PM
Dave Rado 23 May 21 - 12:36 AM
Dave Rado 23 May 21 - 12:40 AM
Dave Rado 23 May 21 - 02:35 AM
Jack Campin 23 May 21 - 04:02 AM
Jack Campin 23 May 21 - 05:14 AM
Jack Campin 23 May 21 - 07:28 AM
Steve Gardham 23 May 21 - 10:40 AM
Steve Gardham 23 May 21 - 10:45 AM
Steve Gardham 23 May 21 - 10:48 AM
Steve Gardham 23 May 21 - 11:09 AM
GUEST,# 23 May 21 - 11:15 AM
Jack Campin 23 May 21 - 11:58 AM
Steve Gardham 23 May 21 - 12:35 PM
Brian Peters 23 May 21 - 01:46 PM
Steve Gardham 23 May 21 - 03:52 PM
Brian Peters 24 May 21 - 05:16 AM
Steve Gardham 24 May 21 - 12:20 PM
Brian Peters 24 May 21 - 02:06 PM
Jack Campin 24 May 21 - 02:33 PM
Jack Campin 24 May 21 - 03:11 PM
Steve Gardham 24 May 21 - 03:36 PM
Steve Gardham 24 May 21 - 03:59 PM
Jack Campin 24 May 21 - 04:33 PM
Dave Rado 25 May 21 - 02:43 PM
Dave Rado 25 May 21 - 02:46 PM
Steve Gardham 25 May 21 - 04:00 PM
Dave Rado 26 May 21 - 10:32 AM
Dave Rado 26 May 21 - 10:34 AM
GUEST,Booter 26 May 21 - 11:19 AM
Brian Peters 26 May 21 - 02:05 PM
Brian Peters 26 May 21 - 02:45 PM
Brian Peters 26 May 21 - 02:50 PM
Jack Campin 26 May 21 - 05:38 PM
Steve Gardham 27 May 21 - 05:16 PM
Steve Gardham 01 Jun 21 - 10:20 AM
GUEST 04 Aug 21 - 08:51 PM
Dave Rado 04 Aug 21 - 08:52 PM
Steve Gardham 05 Aug 21 - 06:29 AM
Dave Rado 05 Aug 21 - 09:30 AM
Bill D 05 Aug 21 - 02:41 PM
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Subject: Tune Req: Trad. English tune for Little Musgrave?
From: Dave Rado
Date: 19 May 21 - 05:48 PM

I grew up loving Joan Baez's recording of Matty Groves, but I recently decided to research the song in order to sing it in public - and discovered that Matty Groves is actually an American variant of a much older English song, Little Musgrave (and Lady Barnard) - and that Little Musgrave is a place fairly close to Barnard Castle, and that both names are probably a reference to the towns the protagonists lived in, and therefore that "Little" was part of a town's name rather than a reference to the person's stature.

So as I live in England, I decided to learn and sing the English song instead. But I can't find a traditional tune for it!

Almost all the recordings of Little Musgrave that I could find are sung to a tune written by Nic Jones and first recorded in 1970, but which is based on and closely related to the American tune as sung by Joan Baez.

Nic's sleeve notes said: "Musgrave's tune is more a creation of my own than anything else, although the bulk of it is based on an American variant of the same ballad, entitled, Little Matty Groves."

I would rather sing it to the Joan Baez tune, as at least it's a traditional tune for the song - albeit an American derivation of it - than to a tune derived from that American tune but written in 1970. I might feel differently if I strongly preferred the Nic Jones one to the traditional one - but I don't.

But I'd far rather sing it to a traditional English tune for the song, if such a tune exists.

Nic Jones' recording is here, and the following recordings all use the tune Nic wrote: Planxty, Christy Moore, Martin Simpson and Tinto Singing School.

Martin Carthy sang it to a very different tune (his recording is here), but he wrote in his sleeve notes: "The tune I pinched from a version of the Holy Well." So that's not a tune traditionally associated with this song either.

Raymond Crooke sang it to a different tune again his recording is here) but he says in the comments: "This tune is based on a shortened American adaptation of the song, known as "Shady Grove"." So that's another American adaptation.

Does anyone know if any traditional English tune for this song has survived?

It seems odd if not, because that would imply that for a long period the English song stopped being sung altogether - and presumably the English song would have been completely forgotten had the American Matty Groves variant of it not survived and continued to be sung.

Any insights into this would be greatly appreciated.

Dave


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Trad. English tune for Little Musgrave?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 19 May 21 - 06:35 PM

There is what is presumably an old English tune for the ballad in Chappell's Popular Music of the olden Times at p170.

It would be impossible to pin down geographically Musgrave and Barnard as they are both very old aristocratic families who held widely spread properties in both England and Scotland. The earliest versions go back at least to the 1620s. Even if the ballad was based on some real event there have probably been numerous liaisons between the 2 families over the centuries. If you want to PM me with your email I can scan you a copy of the tune.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Trad. English tune for Little Musgrave?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 19 May 21 - 07:29 PM

Bronson gives 74 variants all from North America. He mentions Chappell and an 1827 tune from Motherwell but doesn't print them.

British antecedents he claims for some of the North American ones are "Gypsy Laddie", "The Boyne Water" and "Drumdelgie".


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Trad. English tune for Little Musgrave?
From: Dave Rado
Date: 19 May 21 - 08:07 PM

Many thanks to you both. I've PM'd Steve for the sheet music scan.

Interesting that there are so many documented American tunes for what was originally and English song - and yet, it seems, only one traditional English one! I hope I like it.

Also interesting to learn that Musgrave was an aristocratic family and that Lord Barnard and Musgrave were not necessarily based in Barnard Castle or Little Musgrave. So do you thing the "little" in "little Musgrave" in the song was a reference to his dimunuitive stature after all?


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Trad. English tune for Little Musgrave?
From: Dave Rado
Date: 19 May 21 - 08:10 PM

Sorry about the typos in my last message - of course it should have said "an English song", not "and English song"; and it should have said "do you think" not do you thing".


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Trad. English tune for Little Musgrave?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 20 May 21 - 06:14 AM

Motherwell's "Minstrelsy" (1827) is online so you can find the old Scottish tune there.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Trad. English tune for Little Musgrave?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 20 May 21 - 09:57 AM

Hi Dave,
Don't forget you are dealing with a song at least as old as 1620 and 'little' could have several contemporary meanings, not necessarily small in stature. I would suggest perhaps 'young' or even 'lower status' than the Barnards. There may be other possibilities. It could also even be just a term of endearment.

Conversely, it could be a nickname or irony as in 'Little John' of Sherwood fame and of the same period.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Trad. English tune for Little Musgrave?
From: Dave Rado
Date: 20 May 21 - 05:17 PM

Many thanks to both of you. I'd rather go with the English tune than the Scottish one, though, because I think the song almost certainly originated in England.

Many thanks for your scan Steve. I subsequently managed to find and download the entire Chappel book in PDF format from here, and created a 1-page PDF from it of page 170, with the sheet music for the tune, and I've uploaded that to here.

I think it's amazing that this tune was clearly considered to be the traditional one in England, from when it was written in the 17th century up until at least 1855 when Chappel 's book was published - and yet it seems to have been completely forgotten by folk singers of the 20th century - as far as I can tell no one has ever recorded Little Musgrave to that tune!

Steve, can you tell how old the tune is? I assume from the notes in Chappel that it must be 17th century, but can you place its likely date more accurately than that?

Anyway, I'm going to start learning the song to that tune now. Many thanks for all your help! I really appreciate it.

Dave


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Trad. English tune for Little Musgrave?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 20 May 21 - 08:17 PM

Bronson says the text was first quoted in a play from 1611. Motherwell's tune from 1827 is the earliest one known.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Trad. English tune for Little Musgrave?
From: Dave Rado
Date: 21 May 21 - 01:33 PM

Hi Jack

Chappel says the English tune was in the Bagford collection, and Bagford died in 1716, so it must surely be a 17th century tune.

Dave


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Trad. English tune for Little Musgrave?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 21 May 21 - 02:56 PM

Places that index Bagford do it in too complicated and indirect a way for me to follow on this phone. Got a direct link?


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Trad. English tune for Little Musgrave?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 21 May 21 - 05:55 PM

The only Bagford Collection I know of consists of broadsides only, without tunes. However that doesn't mean there aren't any tunes in there. Where is the Bagford Collection held? UCSB might give us some clues. Roxburghe is in the BL, duplicated on UCSB. Chappell is not infallible, by the way.

The ballad was one of the most printed pieces in the 17th century. Just about all of the major printers had it, and in the most common form of 34 stanzas/17 doubles it carried on into the mid 18th century.

In Ebsworth's Roxburghe Ballads Vol 6 he gives several texts from the 17th century. On p633 he gives a version 'To an Excellent New Tune' In brackets after it Ebsworth put 'See Popular Music p170'.

What is very curious is that Simpson gives no mention of the ballad.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Trad. English tune for Little Musgrave?
From: Dave Rado
Date: 21 May 21 - 07:44 PM

Well Chappell states "A copy of the ballad is in the Bagford Collection, entitled "A lamentable ballad of Little Musgrave and the Lady Barnet, to an excellent new tune.""

So Chappel seems to have thought that the tune was in the Bagford collection.

What remains of The Bagford collection is in the British Library, but much of it has been lost, according to the BL website. And it doesn't appear to have been digitised.

In any case Chappel also states "The tune is the usual traditional version." Which implies to me that he thought the tune was already old - one doesn't refer to a recently written tune as traditional. He wrote this in 1855 so that implies he thought it was written much earlier than 1827.

It seems to me at the least to be highly probable that the tune is pre-19th century and likely that it is 17th century.

Dave


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Trad. English tune for Little Musgrave?
From: Dave Rado
Date: 21 May 21 - 07:56 PM

Also the tune Chappell published seems to be the only surviving traditional English tune for this song; and as the song originated in England I'd far rather sing it to an English tune than a Scottish one.

I don't read music, so a friend of mine, James Eisner, has made a recording of the first verse sung to the tune published by Chappel, and has kindly uploaded it to Soundcloud here - so that I could link to it, in case anyone else who doesn't read music would like to hear it as well.

Many thanks again to Steve for unearthing it.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Trad. English tune for Little Musgrave?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 21 May 21 - 08:07 PM

Looks like Chappell was just quoting the long form of the title, which ended like many broadside ballads "... to an Excellent new Tune". Sometimes they printed that tuune and sometimes not.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Trad. English tune for Little Musgrave?
From: GUEST,#
Date: 22 May 21 - 09:27 AM

https://archive.org/details/bagfordballadsi01ebswgoog/page/n7/mode/2up

I don't know if that will be of help. I looked for 'Little Musgrave' in the three indices and came up empty, but possibly one of you who know about this stuff will be able to get something out of it.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Trad. English tune for Little Musgrave?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 22 May 21 - 09:48 AM

I have some volumes of Bagford but it's not in any of the ones I've got. There are plenty of 17thc versions at UCSB EBBA site so it's worth having a look at all the versions there to see if any relate to a known tune.

If you want my opinion, this is highly unlikely. Jack says 'sometimes they printed that tune'. Whilst a small number did, the majority of these had no relation to the ballad whatsoever and were just there for cosmetic appearances.

Regarding Chappell's tune, it's quite probable that the ballad was still being sung in polite circles in Chappell's youth and that might have been a source of his tune. Chappell also lived in Edinburgh for much of his life so again it may well be a Scottish tune. His family business was based in London so a look into his life story might give a better picture. Wikipedia?


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Trad. English tune for Little Musgrave?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 22 May 21 - 10:10 AM

As it looks like both the Chappell and Motherwell tunes are accessible to those with better technology than me - are they the same?


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Trad. English tune for Little Musgrave?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 22 May 21 - 11:02 AM

Good question, Jack. Yes it is exact. So Chappell got it from Motherwell. My Motherwell postdates Chappell so the question is, did the tune appear in Motherwell's first edition. Motherwell's copy is in Bb and Chappell's is in G with bass harmony.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Trad. English tune for Little Musgrave?
From: GUEST
Date: 22 May 21 - 11:54 AM

Tangentially, does anyone know the source of Fairport Convention's tune for 'Matty Groves'?


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Trad. English tune for Little Musgrave?
From: Reinhard
Date: 22 May 21 - 12:27 PM

Subject: RE: Matty Groves
From: Sandy Paton - PM
Date: 23 Feb 99 - 06:11 PM

Yeah, and they did it to the tune of Matty's disreputable brother, "Shady Grove."

Sandy


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Trad. English tune for Little Musgrave?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 22 May 21 - 02:02 PM

There are several American tunes, better known than the British ones. Once a folk band sets a tune to a ballad, be it American or of their own construction or taken from another ballad, it soon gets pounced on by other performers and becomes the 'accepted' tune. They are simply imitating what often happened in oral tradition. It would be better for us if performers told us where they got their versions but it's not written in stone.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Trad. English tune for Little Musgrave?
From: Dave Rado
Date: 22 May 21 - 04:36 PM

Thanks all – fascinating discussion.

Chappell's Wikipedia bio is here. It doesn't mention that he ever lived in Edinburgh and he certainly seems to have spent most of his life in London and clearly thought of himself as a collator of English folk songs. He also clearly thought (based on his writing that "the tune is the usual traditional version") that that tune he published was considered to be traditional in England by 1855.

The fact that the same tune was published in 1827 by William Motherwell in Glasgow doesn't prove that it originated in Scotland or that Chappell got it from Motherwell. If it was traditional as Chappell claimed it was, then he wouldn't have had to get it from any written source.

I don't see why it couldn't have been considered to have been the traditional tune for the song in both England and Scotland by 1827. And if it was considered to be traditional in England by 1855 when Chappell published it, as he claimed it was, then it would almost certainly have been around since much earlier than 1827.

The fact that no one here has been able to find it in Bagford doesn't prove it's not there. Chappell said that it was, and not all of Bagford has survived and not all of what has survived appears to have been digitised. The only way to prove that the tune isn't in Bagford would be to find the words of the ballad in Bagford, and if there is no tune with the words then that would prove the tune isn't there. Until then, surely the jury is out?

Anyway it seems to me that:
  • By 1855 the Chappell/Motherwell tune was considered to be traditional, probably in both England and Scotland, and it definitely dates back before 1827, as Motherwell did not claim to have written it when he published it then; and it may possibly date back to the 17th century, as Chappell implied that it did. For the sake of anyone new to this thread, the Chappell/Motherwell tune is here in PDF format; and there is a recording here of the first verse sung to that tune by my friend James Eisner.

  • As far as I can tell, every British recording of Little Musgrave that has ever been made has either been sung to the traditional American tune that Joan Baez sang the song's American cousin Matty Groves to; or to a tune written in 1970 by Nic Jones, which was based on and is closely related to the tune that Joan Baez sung it to; or to a traditional American tune for another American cousin of the song called "Shady Grove" (which is the tune Fairport Convention sang Matty Groves to); or (as in the case of Martin Carthy) to a traditional folk tune taken from a completely unrelated song.

  • The Chappell/Motherwell tune is the only traditional British tune that has survived to the present day, yet seems to have been completely forgotten by the folk singing fraternity.

  • I therefore think it's time to revive it! I'm certainly going to start singing Little Musgrave to that tune and I hope others will too.

Dave


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Trad. English tune for Little Musgrave?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 22 May 21 - 05:34 PM

Chappell seems to be deliberately evasive about where he got the tune. What was "usual" about it?

Karen Macaulay might know the real scoop.

https://claimedfromstationershall.wordpress.com/tag/william-chappell/


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Trad. English tune for Little Musgrave?
From: Dave Rado
Date: 22 May 21 - 05:36 PM

PS - I think it's almost certain that Chappell didn't get the tune from Motherwell, because Chappell wrote:
"A copy of the ballad is in the Bagford Collection, entitled "A lamentable ballad of Little Musgrove and the Lady Barnet, to an excellent new tune." It is also in Wit restored, 1658; in Dryden's Miscellany Poems, iii. 312 (1716); and in Pcrcy's Reliques, series 3, book i.
I can't imagine why he would cite all those sources and yet omit mentioning Motherwell if he had really got the tune from Motherwell.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Trad. English tune for Little Musgrave?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 22 May 21 - 05:37 PM

Look forward to hearing it, but I have to say Chappell's tune very much looks to have been copied from Motherwell note for note. I'm pretty certain what Chappell was referring to in Bagford was a version of the broadside sans music. That tune may well date back to earlier times, or it may be that Motherwell's informant simply put the ballad to another ballad tune. I'll be able to give a more informed opinion when I've heard your rendition. I don't sight read but I have a pretty good ear.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Trad. English tune for Little Musgrave?
From: Dave Rado
Date: 22 May 21 - 05:48 PM

Hi Steve

So why not mention Motherwell, when he mentions so many other sources, if he got it from Motherwell? And why call it "the usual traditional tune" if he didn't think it was traditionally sung to that tune?

I don't see why he and Motherwell couldn't both have got it from the tradition. I presume Motherwell doesnn't quote his source either, so I don't see why one is necessarily being evasive and the other isn't.

Dave


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Trad. English tune for Little Musgrave?
From: Dave Rado
Date: 22 May 21 - 05:51 PM

Also I thought you said Motherwell's version was in a different key and that Chappell's had a base harmony? If so it's not a straight copy.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Trad. English tune for Little Musgrave?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 22 May 21 - 07:45 PM

Chappell had an agenda. He thought the Scots had been given far too much credit for originating tunes that were actually English. And he went way too far in the other direction. Not crediting Motherwell would fit in with that. What he says in that page makes it clear he did NOT get it from any written English source he could reference.

Collectors transpose tunes all the time, for many reasons. It's common now for collectors to state the key they found the tune in - Bartok and Grainger did that - but it wasn't in Chappell's time.

I'll ask Karen Macaulay.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Trad. English tune for Little Musgrave?
From: Dave Rado
Date: 23 May 21 - 12:36 AM

He did reference an English source - he said he got it from Bagford. You don't believe him but you can't prove that he didn't.

Motherwell can't reference a Scottish source, so where does that leave him?

Who is Karen Macaulay?

Dave


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Trad. English tune for Little Musgrave?
From: Dave Rado
Date: 23 May 21 - 12:40 AM

Also what reason could a collector have for transposing a tune and adding a base harmony if they all they were doing was making a copy of some sheet music, as opposed to collecting it from someone's singing or playing?


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Trad. English tune for Little Musgrave?
From: Dave Rado
Date: 23 May 21 - 02:35 AM

Also, I don't see why it's impossible to take Chappeell's statement that "the tune is the usual traditional version" at face value. If the song was widely sung in this country at that time to that tune, then he wouldn't have had to collect it from some named singer or have had any reason to do so - which would also explain why Motherwell didn't name a source.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Trad. English tune for Little Musgrave?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 23 May 21 - 04:02 AM

He references a source for the text. He doesn't imply he got the tune from there - the title mentions a tune but as Steve says that doesn't mean it provided one. His wording is deliberately vague about where he did get it.

Chappell's position that Scottish tradition was overrated runs right through PMOT. He was pretty unpleasant about it.

Karen is researching 19th century Scottish music publishing now (that's the main focus of the blog I cited) but her thesis was on Chappell - she probably knows more about him than anyone.   That blog cites comments from him about the Advocates Library in Edinburgh that imply he had to have visited it in person. How much time he spent in Scotland beyond occasional visits I don't know. In any case, Motherwell's book was internationally distributed and so high profile in the field that Chappell must have had a copy.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Trad. English tune for Little Musgrave?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 23 May 21 - 05:14 AM

This is the kind of ballad sheet Chappell was refwrencing. "To an Excellent New Tune"... which isn't there.

https://deriv.nls.uk/dcn3/7440/74407506.3.jpg

There is a reason why this made sense. Ballad sheets were sold by hawkers who sang the ballad in the street to advertise it. There was no need for either them or their buyers to pay much attention to any notation printed on the sheet - Simpson's book lists hundreds of instances when it was gibberish.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Trad. English tune for Little Musgrave?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 23 May 21 - 07:28 AM

what reason could a collector have for transposing a tune and adding a base harmony if they all they were doing was making a copy of some sheet music, as opposed to collecting it from someone's singing or playing?

Chappell wasn't a collector, he was a musicologically inclined anthologist. PMOT was intended for people to sing to at the piano - the accompaniments added to the commercial viability of the project (and Chappell would have been a good judge of that given his role in the family firm). Putting the tune in G was the best choice for voices in the soprano/tenor range (always the first one any collection was published for.

B flat wouldn't have suited as many singers. This suggests Motherwell may not have changed it from whatever the source was - some alto or bass, perhaps.

We know where Motherwell got a lot of his material. One source was Andrew Blaikie, whose manuscript I have transcribed into ABC in my website. Blaikie doesn't give his own sources. I think C.K. Sharpe was another one - if so he will have stated his source, he was far ahead of his time in scholarly standards.

Bruce Olson told me he'd been analyzing Motherwell's tunes and finally got fed up with it as everything seemed to come from some unattributed and garbled earlier source that he already knew about. He didn't mention Little Musgrave though. But if anyone's found an earlier copy of what Motherwell printed, Bruce will have done. The archive of his site here would be worth a look.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Trad. English tune for Little Musgrave?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 23 May 21 - 10:40 AM

Another curiosity is that Child published all the tunes he had access to for the ballads in his final volume, finished off by Kittredge after Child's death, and there is no tune for Child 81!! Curiouser and curiouser!! Surely he had a copy of Motherwell.

As you can both see, I was a bit slack when saying the Chappell tune had a bass line. Obviously it is in 4 part harmony or piano notation as Jack says.

Chappell must have spent the latter part of his life in Edinburgh as his records are in the Uni there and his family lived on there after his death. I have some personal correspondence of WC to Ebsworth and I had his own personal copy of PMOT which I gave to Steve R. Inside the volume were copies of his death notices and these letters. It looks like his daughter owned the copy after him.

WC edited the first 3 volumes of Roxburghe, with Ebsworth seeing to the rest. Jack is absolutely right. Both of them were very skeptical about Scottish ballad provenance, but it has to be said, not without reason in most cases. Peter Buchan comes in for about as much slating as Child gave him.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Trad. English tune for Little Musgrave?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 23 May 21 - 10:45 AM

We haven't yet mentioned the Scottish Panmure Ms text which predates any of the English broadsides (c1620) Online somewhere. My own personal opinion, backed up by the number of 17th century versions is that the ballad was then well-known in both England and Scotland and trying to pinpoint its origin is a futile exercise.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Trad. English tune for Little Musgrave?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 23 May 21 - 10:48 AM

Bronson quote 'None of these early texts, so far as I have learned, either preserves or names a tune.' Bronson didn't get everything right but 99.5% is good enough for me! And as far as tunes go probably 100%.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Trad. English tune for Little Musgrave?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 23 May 21 - 11:09 AM

Bronson gives 74 tunes and all but 2 are from America.
Motherwell's tune was repeated in Rimbault 'Musical Illustrations of Bishop Percy's Reliques' 1850. I'd hazard a guess that this is where Chappell got it from.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Trad. English tune for Little Musgrave?
From: GUEST,#
Date: 23 May 21 - 11:15 AM

The following https://singout.org/matty-groves-little-musgrave-and-lady-barnard/

https://singout.org/matty-groves-little-musgrave-and-lady-barnard/

The three-part article from Sing Out! may be of use. It is interesting and related, but maybe a bit too tangential.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Trad. English tune for Little Musgrave?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 23 May 21 - 11:58 AM

Karen sent me this link to Motherwell:

Little Mushiegrove

It looks from that as if the song had fallen out of tradition on the English side of the border (or Ritson would have noticed it). There are slight differences between Motherwell and Chappell - if anything, Chappell makes it sound more Scottish than Motherwell did. Karen says Chappell's publication of this song predates his feud with the Scottish musical establishment, so there may not be any ulterior motive behind him cutting Motherwell out of the narrative - but his version is so closely related he has to have got it either from the same tradition as Motherwell or from some oral retransmission of what Motherwell printed. Since this was 200 years after the song was written, not far from the border, tunes it was sung to can't have been very definitely from one side or the other.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Trad. English tune for Little Musgrave?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 23 May 21 - 12:35 PM

I see no reason why the same tune wouldn't have been used both sides of the border. The ballad was obviously very popular in London, and by 1600 England and Scotland, though it was another century to the Union, were inextricably linked by intermarriage of the nobility if nothing else. Not long after 1700 Ramsay was publishing books chock full of London theatre and pleasure garden songs. 'Scotch' songs were very popular in London in the 17th century, albeit mostly imitations.

By Ritson's time just about all traditional ballads had fallen out of usage in England, or were certainly off the radar. Even Percy's Reliques which set Europe afire and had its effect on Scotland, moved very little in England, except as reading matter for the well-off.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Trad. English tune for Little Musgrave?
From: Brian Peters
Date: 23 May 21 - 01:46 PM

Interesting discussion. Having compared the Motherwell tune with Chappell's, I thought at first that the latter was copied, and then tidied up slightly by making the quaver couplets consistently dotted and removing the unexpected flat 7th. However, the changes in bars 6 and 7 look less like editorial changes, so I'm more inclined to give the benefit of the doubt, although I still think it's quite unusual to find two variants so alike in what might have been very distant locations.

The same tune crops up for #81 in the recently-published 1909 collection of the Kentucky ballad collector Katherine Jackson French. However, it's pretty obvious that she copied it from Chappell and grafted on the text of a Kentucky version collected by Olive Dame Campbell - something the editor doesn't seem to have spotted.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Trad. English tune for Little Musgrave?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 23 May 21 - 03:52 PM

I think Bronson said that Rimbault was responsible for the editorial changes and tidying up. I haven't got a copy of Rimbault so I can't be definite, but that seems the likely scenario. If Rimbault was fairly slack about his source, then Chappell would just assume the tune was traditional in general.

Chappell published an earlier version of PMOT in 1840, titled 'A Collection of National English Airs consisting of Ancient Song, Ballad & Dance tunes'. It contains pretty much the same material as the later PMOT but there is no 'Little Musgrave' which again suggests he got it from Rimbault already altered as opposed to Motherwell.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Trad. English tune for Little Musgrave?
From: Brian Peters
Date: 24 May 21 - 05:16 AM

Steve: Rimbault is online at the Internet Archive, and the tune he prints (fully harmonized) is identical to that in Chappell. Bronson says that Rimbault 'follows Motherwell with editorial alteration', so I think that settles it, as you suggest.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Trad. English tune for Little Musgrave?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 24 May 21 - 12:20 PM

So the next question is, where did Motherwell get it from. Was he capable of noting down tunes himself or did someone do it for him? Is this tune a variant of one of the tunes in earlier collections like Thomson, R A Smith, Johnson?


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Trad. English tune for Little Musgrave?
From: Brian Peters
Date: 24 May 21 - 02:06 PM

Is this tune a variant of one of the tunes in earlier collections like Thomson, R A Smith, Johnson?

I'm assuming you're suggesting that it was borrowed from another song, Steve? I believe all of those collections are online so I might try to track it down one of these days, though it would be a bit of a task!


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Trad. English tune for Little Musgrave?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 24 May 21 - 02:33 PM

The handwritten notes he left in Blaikie's ms (which I included in my ABC file) suggest that he did have his own notated copies of the tunes.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Trad. English tune for Little Musgrave?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 24 May 21 - 03:11 PM

I checked the theme code of the tune with Gore's fiddle tune index and nothing matches. So it looks like no form of it got transmogrified into an instrumental. Which doesn't necessarily mean it didn't exist in the song repertoire, but at least, nobody thought any earlier form of it was groovy enough to dance to.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Trad. English tune for Little Musgrave?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 24 May 21 - 03:36 PM

I do believe several universities are working on a tune concordance for folksongs and ballads, so it might be worth waiting to see what they come up with. We could offer this one up to test their systems.

>>suggest that he did have his own notated copies of the tunes.<< Does this mean that there is some evidence to suggest that he was capable of pricking down the tunes himself?


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Trad. English tune for Little Musgrave?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 24 May 21 - 03:59 PM

Having now had a listen to the tune it doesn't sound much like most traditional tunes I know. It does to me have a similarity to Tudor pieces I have heard and those of The Robin Hood type. The nearest I could get to some of the phrases in trad tunes were 'Young Banker',
'Just as the tide was flowing' and Joseph Taylor's tune for 'Sprig of Thyme'.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Trad. English tune for Little Musgrave?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 24 May 21 - 04:33 PM

I don't have any definite example of Motherwell notating a song in the field, but the tone of those notes in Blaikie (written for his own use) suggest confidence with notation.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Trad. English tune for Little Musgrave?
From: Dave Rado
Date: 25 May 21 - 02:43 PM

Very interesting discussion, many thanks.

Regarding Brian Peters' comment that:
The same tune crops up for #81 in the recently-published 1909 collection of the Kentucky ballad collector Katherine Jackson French. However, it's pretty obvious that she copied it from Chappell and grafted on the text of a Kentucky version collected by Olive Dame Campbell - something the editor doesn't seem to have spotted.
There is a version of Little Musgrave (not Matty Groves although it's American), sung by Jean Ritchie, who came from Kentucky - and the tune she sang it to sounds to me as if it was based loosely on the Motherwell/Chappell/Rimbault tune, although it's very different from it - there's a youtube recording here. Do others hear a simiilarity between her tune and the British one?

Dave


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Trad. English tune for Little Musgrave?
From: Dave Rado
Date: 25 May 21 - 02:46 PM

the Jean Ritchie recording is the only American recording I've heard whose tune seems to me to be related to the British one - and it's also the only American recording that refers to Little Musgrave rather than Matty Groves (although it's Lord Arnold rather than Barnard in her rendition).


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Trad. English tune for Little Musgrave?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 25 May 21 - 04:00 PM

Jean's lovely tune reminds me of the tunes I've hear to 'Lord Thomas and Fair Eleanor'. I can't hear a resemblance to Motherwell's. Her tune is in Bronson's Ab group of 15 versions mostly from the Appalachians. If you're interested in the tune families to the 74 versions of the tune he gives, reading his headnotes would be a must. They don't mean much to me as I don't understand the technical language used. He does tentatively make a connection of one branch of the American tunes to the Motherwell tune.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Trad. English tune for Little Musgrave?
From: Dave Rado
Date: 26 May 21 - 10:32 AM

Thanks Steve - I guess I must have imagined a resemblance between those tunes.

I'm confused about something Jack wrote though. In one post he wrote:
Karen says Chappell's publication of this song predates his feud with the Scottish musical establishment, so there may not be any ulterior motive behind him cutting Motherwell out of the narrative
But in an earlier post Jack wrote:
Chappell's position that Scottish tradition was overrated runs right through PMOT. He was pretty unpleasant about it.
I don't understand how those two statements can both be right, given that Chappell only ever published the song in PMOT? The statement from Karen seems to me to imply that PMOT predated Chappell's feud with the Scottish musical establishment, but Jack's earlier statement seems to be to imply that his feud runs through PMOT. Presumably I must be misunderstanding something?

Dave


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Trad. English tune for Little Musgrave?
From: Dave Rado
Date: 26 May 21 - 10:34 AM

Interesting that Bronson thought there was a connection between one branch of the American tunes and the Motherwell one - but it would seem that branch has never been recorded.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Trad. English tune for Little Musgrave?
From: GUEST,Booter
Date: 26 May 21 - 11:19 AM

James Madison Carpenter collected 4 versions in NE Scotland in the 1930s. These can be accessed via the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library. He transcribed the tunes for some and recorded one I think from Bell Duncan though the recording is not the best. Was wondering how these compare with the Chappell and Motherwell tunes,


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Trad. English tune for Little Musgrave?
From: Brian Peters
Date: 26 May 21 - 02:05 PM

I've just listened to the Jean Ritchie version, learned (according to Bronson) from her Uncle Jason. Her tune is the fairly commonplace one collected several times by Sharp and others in the mountains, but prettier than most on account of that little lift from the 5th at the beginning of the third phrase.

The really interesting thing, though, is the text, which is clearly an Americanized rendition of Child 81A, the 'Wit Restor'd' version - curiously 'Lord Bernard' is changed to 'Arnol', but 'Little Musgrave' remains unaltered. I wonder whether it was Jean or her Uncle who reconstructed the ballad.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Trad. English tune for Little Musgrave?
From: Brian Peters
Date: 26 May 21 - 02:45 PM

Thanks, Booter, for directing us to those examples from Carpenter. Astonishing that the ballad was still going strong in 1930, even though Greig doesn't seem to have found it.

There are three Carpenter versions with tunes. Mr Campbell's is rather like the tune for 'Young Allan', while Mrs, Campbell's is a lot simpler and more repetitive. Both are modal with a gapped scale. Bell Duncan's is pentatonic (no 4 or 7) and major, again fairly simple. None of them looks to me much like the one in Chappell, though it's just occurred to me that Chappell's is similar to that of 'Lucy Wan' as published in Lloyd and Vaughan Williams' Penguin Book (from Mrs Dann of Cambridge). Good news for Dave Rado in his search for an English tune since, even if Chappell did copy it out of Motherwell via Rimbault, it does appear that it saw service as a generic ballad tune in England!


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Trad. English tune for Little Musgrave?
From: Brian Peters
Date: 26 May 21 - 02:50 PM

Actually, Bell Duncan's reminds me a bit of the Marrowbones version of 'John Blunt', which Nick Dow believes was brought to Dorset by Scottish troops, if I remember rightly.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Trad. English tune for Little Musgrave?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 26 May 21 - 05:38 PM

Some of Macaulay's work is here. I think she's written more on Chappell specifically. This should help with some of Dave's questions anyway.


U of Glasgow thesis


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Trad. English tune for Little Musgrave?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 27 May 21 - 05:16 PM

Thanks for that, Jack! Looks to be straight up my street. But that's a lot of reading.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Trad. English tune for Little Musgrave?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 01 Jun 21 - 10:20 AM

Refresh!


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Trad. English tune for Little Musgrave?
From: GUEST
Date: 04 Aug 21 - 08:51 PM

Apologies for the delay but I've finally read the section on Chappell in Karen McAulay's thesis - many thanks to Jack for the link.

IMO she doesn't paint Chappell in a negative light at all, and doesn't consider him to have been anti-Scots. He did have a mission to dispel the myth that England had no national music, and he did make some mistakes, but she doesn't seem to think he had an "agenda" in the sense of the word that would imply he would be willing to intentionally twist the truth or mislead people in order to promote his aims. I think she considers him to have made serious efforts to be fair. Many of his Scottish contemporaries did consider him to have been anti-Scottish but Karen seems to think that this says more about their Scottish nationalism and their dislike of the idea that some tunes that were then considered to have been Scottish might actually have originated in England than it does about Chappell.

She points out that he had planned to write a collection of Scots tunes, and although he never got round to it he did do some work on this. She ends her section on Chappell by writing:
William Chappell clearly enjoyed a continued interest in Scottish music, and was meticulous in his efforts to set the record straight as he perceived it. Admittedly, some would argue that his theories might have been misguided. Yet arguably it was not this, so much as the sensitivity of nationalist epistemologies that caused such upset.
If we accept that he was basically honest and meticulous and that he tried to be fair, which Karen clearly believes to be the case, then I don't see why we can't accept that when he wrote: "The tune is the usual traditional version", he honestly believed that to be true. Maybe he did get the transcription he used from Rimbault but I don't think that proves that he didn't also hear it sung orally as a traditional tune.

The fact that he didn't quote his source for the tune seems to me to have been unfairly held against him in this thread, given that it applies equally to both Rimbault and to Motherwell.

Steve says the tune has a similarity to Tudor pieces in style, and if true, that would back up the idea that it is possible that it goes back to the origins of the song, which were indeed in the Tudor period. (It was first quoted from in a 1611 play so it was clearly already very well known by then, which means it was probably dates back at least to the Elizabethan era).

So I think it is fair to say that it is a traditional tune that the song was probably sung to in both England and Scotland in much of the 19th century and quite likely much earlier; and that it is possible that it is as old as the song itslef.

I also think it's highly likely that it originated in the Durham area, given the protagonists' names; and so I'm going to sing it in a Northumberland accent.

Many thanks for everyone's help with this, it's been fascinating.

Dave


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Trad. English tune for Little Musgrave?
From: Dave Rado
Date: 04 Aug 21 - 08:52 PM

Sorry I forgot to reset the cookie - that last post was by me!


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Trad. English tune for Little Musgrave?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 05 Aug 21 - 06:29 AM

The Musgraves and the Barnards held land all over the north and in Scotland, and very likely the south as well. All of the rich and powerful had this going back many centuries, mainly through intermarriage, probably before any of the ballads were made.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Trad. English tune for Little Musgrave?
From: Dave Rado
Date: 05 Aug 21 - 09:30 AM

Hi Steve

I know but they were still both associated primarily with Northumberland. And there is only one Lord Barnard at any given time and he was associated primarily with Northumberland. It just seems highly likely to me that the song would have originated in that region. I realise there's no proof.

Dave


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Trad. English tune for Little Musgrave?
From: Bill D
Date: 05 Aug 21 - 02:41 PM

In over 70 versions I have, the only one... so far.. that seems to 'feel' like a different tune is Jeannie Robertsons. She sings more slowly than most others and put her own stamp on it.

I will gradually explore a few others, but the Nic Jones tune seems to dominate.


Now... I just listened to the Martin Carthy version from above, and it is a bit like Robertson's. I am not a scholar of these things..only a collector.. but I wouldn't be surprised if Carthy hadn't heard and played with Robertson's.

   In any case, I enjoy those more than the faster versions with over-done, twangy, guitar.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Trad. English tune for Little Musgrave?
From: Bill D
Date: 05 Aug 21 - 03:01 PM

Now, upon looking on YouTube, I see a quite different, more 'spirited' version by Jeanne Robertson than the MP3 I have.

   (I have problems singing "Lord Randall" because I have 3-4 very different versions in my head.)

In folkdom, it's never been required to do a song exactly the same way every time.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Trad. English tune for Little Musgrave?
From: Dave Rado
Date: 05 Aug 21 - 05:50 PM

Martin Carthy wrote in his sleeve notes that he set his version to the tune of a completely unrelated folk song called "The Holy Well."


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Trad. English tune for Little Musgrave?
From: Bill D
Date: 05 Aug 21 - 06:20 PM

Ok.. I don't have the Prince Heathen LP. I just thought his tune 'felt' a lot like hers in style.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Trad. English tune for Little Musgrave?
From: GUEST,Booter
Date: 06 Aug 21 - 07:27 AM

It’s well documented that Jeannie learned her version from a visiting American folklorist- Sandy Paton.


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