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Barbara Allen earliest version?

DigiTrad:
BARBARA ALLEN
BARBARA ALLEN (2)
BARBARA ALLEN (5)
BARBARA ELLEN (3)
BAWBEE ALLAN


Related threads:
(origins) ADD: Barb'ry Allen (34)
(origins) Info Barbara Allen (49)
(origins) Origins: Barbara Allan (Sarah Makem) (16)
(origins) Origins of: Barbara Allen, is there a story ? (37)
Origins: Barbara Allen (246)
(origins) Why Did Barbara Allen Refuse? (113)
Lyr Req: Barbary Allen #84 (Sheila Kay Adams) (6)
Lyr Req: Barbara Allen (different versions) (75)
Lyr Add: Bobby Allen (Afro-American) (3)
Chord Req: Barb'ry Allen (Tom Rush) (5)
Lyr Req: Barbara Allen (from Phoebe Smith) (20)
Lyr Req: Barbara Allen (from Bob Dylan) (3)
Lyr Req: Barbry Allen (from Steve Tilston) (5)
Lyr Req: Barbara Allen (from Vic Legg) (2)
Lyr Req: Barbara Allen (from Shirley Collins) (2)
Lyr Req: Barbara Allen (from Susan Reed) (5)
Lyr Req: Barbara Allen (from Hedy West) (3)
Lyr Req: Barb'ry Allen (from Tom Rush) (6)
Barbara Allen anomaly (32)
Lyr Req: Barbara Allen (from Jimmy Stewart) (4)
Lyr Req: Barbara Allen (from Fred Jordan) (5)
Barbara Allen in '30's Film (37)
Lyr Req: Barbara Allen (7)
Lyr Req: Barbara Ellen / Barbara Allen (15)


GUEST,Ian P 07 Dec 05 - 12:30 PM
Judge Mental 07 Dec 05 - 01:07 PM
GUEST,Janine 07 Dec 05 - 02:16 PM
Bill D 07 Dec 05 - 03:56 PM
GUEST,Boab 07 Dec 05 - 08:21 PM
GUEST,Art Thieme 07 Dec 05 - 11:33 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 08 Dec 05 - 02:16 AM
katlaughing 08 Dec 05 - 02:22 AM
Malcolm Douglas 08 Dec 05 - 03:31 AM
Paul Burke 08 Dec 05 - 03:58 AM
Paul Burke 08 Dec 05 - 03:59 AM
GUEST,Ian P 08 Dec 05 - 11:15 AM
GUEST,Janine 08 Dec 05 - 02:47 PM
GUEST,Boab 08 Dec 05 - 05:10 PM
GUEST 08 Dec 05 - 05:25 PM
GUEST,Art Thieme 08 Dec 05 - 07:29 PM
katlaughing 08 Dec 05 - 10:41 PM
Malcolm Douglas 09 Dec 05 - 03:21 AM
GUEST,John Lasher 07 Jan 06 - 11:51 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 08 Jan 06 - 01:02 AM
Barbary Allen 04 Sep 06 - 03:10 PM
Barbary Allen 04 Sep 06 - 03:12 PM
Amos 04 Sep 06 - 04:00 PM
GUEST,David W. 05 Aug 10 - 09:32 PM
GUEST,Paul Slade 06 Aug 10 - 05:30 AM
Liberty Boy 06 Aug 10 - 11:35 AM
Stower 16 Oct 11 - 05:16 AM
GUEST,Mike Yates 16 Oct 11 - 05:43 AM
GUEST,SteveG 16 Oct 11 - 09:49 AM
GUEST,Goose Gander 16 Oct 11 - 10:03 PM
Gene 16 Oct 11 - 10:25 PM
Stower 17 Oct 11 - 03:24 AM
GUEST,Margaret 17 Oct 11 - 01:01 PM
The Sandman 17 Oct 11 - 02:14 PM
The Sandman 17 Oct 11 - 02:15 PM
dick greenhaus 17 Oct 11 - 02:18 PM
Stower 17 Oct 11 - 04:12 PM
Stower 17 Oct 11 - 04:17 PM
Mick Pearce (MCP) 17 Oct 11 - 04:53 PM
Stower 17 Oct 11 - 05:23 PM
Mick Pearce (MCP) 17 Oct 11 - 05:47 PM
Mick Pearce (MCP) 17 Oct 11 - 06:47 PM
Stower 17 Oct 11 - 06:47 PM
Mick Pearce (MCP) 17 Oct 11 - 07:14 PM
Mick Pearce (MCP) 18 Oct 11 - 07:05 AM
Lighter 18 Oct 11 - 08:00 AM
Mick Pearce (MCP) 18 Oct 11 - 09:08 AM
Stower 18 Oct 11 - 09:24 AM
Mick Pearce (MCP) 18 Oct 11 - 01:51 PM
Jack Campin 18 Oct 11 - 03:29 PM
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Subject: Barbara Allen earliest version?
From: GUEST,Ian P
Date: 07 Dec 05 - 12:30 PM

Yes, yes, I know this is likely to be either much disputed or perhaps impossible from the start but ... is there any evidence for an earliest or earliest known/earliest recorded version of Barbara Allen, either words, tune or both?


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Subject: RE: Barbara Allen earliest version?
From: Judge Mental
Date: 07 Dec 05 - 01:07 PM

She never recorded it, but my great-great-great-great-great-great grandmother -- give or take a great or two -- was singing it back around 1799.

The earliest version that I have in my collection is Bradley Kincaid's from the 1920s.


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Subject: RE: Barbara Allen earliest version?
From: GUEST,Janine
Date: 07 Dec 05 - 02:16 PM

A really interesting version is that recorded by Moses 'Clear Rock' Platt in Sugarland (the prison farm), Texas in 1933. This was part of John Lomax's collection for the Library of Congress. He seems to combine it with a Streets of Larado/Unfortunate Rake series of verses. Same tune we sang at school too. But how did it arrive in Sugarland?

Janine


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Subject: RE: Barbara Allen earliest version?
From: Bill D
Date: 07 Dec 05 - 03:56 PM

at the top of the page, under 'quick links', you can find "Bruce Olson's web site", a scholarly study of old songs by a man who died a couple of years ag...now hosted on Mudcat

from this I found:

"In Scarlet Town where I was bound/ ZN1459| Barbara Allen's
Cruelty/ Tune: Barbara Allen's Cruelty/ Licensed according to
Order/ RB3 434 [two copies] = CR 675: BDBB [HH1 11, HC 652,
653] [CB p. 173. Child ballad ZC84|, Roud ZR54|. Cf. N1756,
N709. Pepys in his diary mentioned Mrs. Knipp's song of
"Barbery Allen" on Jan. 2 1666. This earliest copy is, however,
considerably later] "

I'm sure it was recorded early in the 20th century, as it was always popular....we will see what others have to say.


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Subject: RE: Barbara Allen earliest version?
From: GUEST,Boab
Date: 07 Dec 05 - 08:21 PM

Dunno when it was first recorded, but Pepys did mention having heard the song in Scotland. I first heard it sung in a folk venue by Nic Jones; the version beginning "In scarlet town". The version sung in Scotland opens with either "'Twas round about the Mart'nmas time" or "Round about the Lammas tide".


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Subject: RE: Barbara Allen earliest version?
From: GUEST,Art Thieme
Date: 07 Dec 05 - 11:33 PM

Wow, we missed it by a day!! January 2, 1666 is the day before our anniversary !

And that's the first I've ever heard about Pepys hearing it in Scotland. I've always thought he heard it in London---during the time of the Black Plague.

BUT I do seem to remember Nikita Khrushev, while giving a speech and banging his shoe on the desk at the United Nations, saying that "Barbara Allen" had first been heard by Pepys in Moscow !

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Barbara Allen earliest version?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 08 Dec 05 - 02:16 AM

The Traditional Ballad Index shows Vernon Dalhart in 1927, but the experts here probably know of earlier ones.
Ballad Search


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Subject: RE: Barbara Allen earliest version?
From: katlaughing
Date: 08 Dec 05 - 02:22 AM

And we all know that you, Art, found the Cowboy's version in Cheyenne!! In Medicine Bow where I was born......still my fav. version!


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Subject: RE: Barbara Allen earliest version?
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 08 Dec 05 - 03:31 AM

Pepys didn't hear it in Scotland, as I've told Boab before. He heard it in London, at Lord Brouncker's house, January 2 1666, sung by Mrs Knipp, an actress of whom he was rather fond. It was probably a stage song, and quite new at that time.

Pepys described it in his diary as a "little Scotch song" which, as William Chappell pointed out more than a century ago, was descriptive of style, not provenance; similar songs had been called, generically, "Northern" (for which, read "rustic") before the accession of the Stuart dynasty led to a change of fashion and terminology.

No broadside edition survives from Pepys' time; the earliest copies we have were printed in London. The song may have started out in England or Scotland; we don't know, though the former would seem more likely on the whole. I think that all this has been said in earlier discussions here (see list above).

I assume that Ian P meant "recorded" in the usual, broad sense and so was not asking about the earliest sound recording; but perhaps he would clarify that for us.


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Subject: RE: Barbara Allen earliest version?
From: Paul Burke
Date: 08 Dec 05 - 03:58 AM

2nd. Up by candlelight again, and wrote the greatest part of my business fair, and then to the office, and so home to dinner, and after dinner up and made an end of my fair writing it, and that being done, set two entering while to my Lord Bruncker's, and there find Sir J. Minnes and all his company, and Mr. Boreman and Mrs. Turner, but, above all, my dear Mrs. Knipp, with whom I sang, and in perfect pleasure I was to hear her sing, and especially her little Scotch song of "Barbary Allen;"...


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Subject: RE: Barbara Allen earliest version?
From: Paul Burke
Date: 08 Dec 05 - 03:59 AM

And it goes on:
... so I got into the coach where Mrs. Knipp was and got her upon my knee (the coach being full) and played with her breasts and sung, and at last set her at her house and so good night.


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Subject: RE: Barbara Allen earliest version?
From: GUEST,Ian P
Date: 08 Dec 05 - 11:15 AM

Thanks so far, folks. Malcolm's right: when I asked for the earliest *recorded* version, I meant recorded as in notated rather than as in cylinder or tape recordings.


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Subject: RE: Barbara Allen earliest version?
From: GUEST,Janine
Date: 08 Dec 05 - 02:47 PM

Are there any versions which start 'In Reading Town..'. I mean is Scarlet Town perhaps a pun for Reading?

Janine


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Subject: RE: Barbara Allen earliest version?
From: GUEST,Boab
Date: 08 Dec 05 - 05:10 PM

Y'know, Malcolm, as I was penning my post there was a wee needle in the back of my mind saying that somebody had shoved me about this before---suitably smacked----!


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Subject: RE: Barbara Allen earliest version?
From: GUEST
Date: 08 Dec 05 - 05:25 PM

Well, we know those dreadful Scotts didn't harmonize to it since they didn't learn harmony until a hundred years later!


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Subject: RE: Barbara Allen earliest version?
From: GUEST,Art Thieme
Date: 08 Dec 05 - 07:29 PM

from Del Bray in our hotel room across from the train station -- Cheyenne, Wyoming------1962...Mike Sideman and I had met him in the bar at the hotel... (first verse only---rest is in the DT)

Near Medicine Bow where I was born,
There was a fair maid dwellin'
Made all the boys ride saddle sore,
And her name was Barbara Allen...

Love,

Art


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Subject: RE: Barbara Allen earliest version?
From: katlaughing
Date: 08 Dec 05 - 10:41 PM

Thanks, Art...I sing it to Morgan often and he loves it, too.


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Subject: RE: Barbara Allen earliest version?
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 09 Dec 05 - 03:21 AM

In answer to Janine, later broadside editions quite often substituted "Reading" for the older "Scarlet". That doesn't tell us anything about the intentions of whoever wrote the original, of course.

You can see examples of both forms at Bodleian Library Broadside Ballads.


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Subject: RE: Barbara Allen earliest version?
From: GUEST,John Lasher
Date: 07 Jan 06 - 11:51 PM

The tune was also quoted in the score composed by Bernard Herrmann for the RKO film "All That Money Can Buy" (aka "The Devil and Daniel Webster'). Herrmann also quotes "Springfield Mountain" elsewhere.


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Subject: RE: Barbara Allen earliest version?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 08 Jan 06 - 01:02 AM

The western "Barbry Allen" collected by Art Thieme is in thread 3850: Barbara Allen


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Subject: RE: Barbara Allen earliest version?
From: Barbary Allen
Date: 04 Sep 06 - 03:10 PM

My name is Barbara Ellen. I am a scholar and a musician, and can tell you the meaning and the translation.
True True Irie. Times they have been a changing though.
I have not died this time around but am still single, a caveat hangs upon me head. I cannot see myself to the way of love perhaps a bit like Barbary....still. This time around more than a few men will die, who love me during me life. It is not my fault though.

You see it has not much to do with Barbara but with circumstance. A multitude of other circumstance are overlooked as she refuses his love. One, she will not admonish being with a man who comes off so reckless, dancing and tressling with the dames.

Barbary is the victim here, her pretty flowering gets thorned for all of eternity, that other thorn may have come from the women who spent themselves on William, maybe, but not her....

Men always die for varying reasons, history tells us that... and she was lucky not to be with William, what he had may have been contagious.

Perhaps he not served her liquor out of love for her, as liquor would do her not any good...

...and he sent a messenger b/c she would have taken ill from his infectious disease.

I can tell you the circumstance for Peter, Steve, Robert...Andrew, Michael, Victor, Rommie, Brian...but William? Nope. The last William I dated was Billy from 4th grade. So I guess I ought to supect nothing but impending doom in the future...actually, life has been sooo complicated, that I will make special note to be on the lookout for William, so I can be extra nice to him...I am heartbreaker from way back, but I think that I always get my heart broken first.....in defense.


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Subject: RE: Barbara Allen earliest version?
From: Barbary Allen
Date: 04 Sep 06 - 03:12 PM

I am Barbara Ellen. This song parallels my life in a few ways. I am a scholar and sonstress. I want to understand the curse of my accidental namesake.


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Subject: RE: Barbara Allen earliest version?
From: Amos
Date: 04 Sep 06 - 04:00 PM

How completely bizarre, Barbary. Are you practicing the Barbary Coast? Or, perhaps, High Barbary?

A


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Subject: RE: Barbara Allen earliest version?
From: GUEST,David W.
Date: 05 Aug 10 - 09:32 PM

The Art Garfunkel rendition has an instrumental interlude near its end that I recognize having been used in a movie scene. Can anyone recall the film it was used in?


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Subject: RE: Barbara Allen earliest version?
From: GUEST,Paul Slade
Date: 06 Aug 10 - 05:30 AM

I've got a printed copy of Barbara Allen's verses from the British Library collection, which would have been sold on the streets of York in the 19th Century. It's not dated, but comes from a collection spanning the years 1780-1867 and was issued by a York printer called J Kendrew. Pepys is known to have collected printed ballads sheets like these.

The full title given here is The Life Death and Love of Barbara Allen, the verses name her dead admirer as Johnny, and the penultimate verse breaks the ballad's third-person narration to let Barbara speak for herself: "Hard-hearted creature sure was I / To one that loved me dearly / I wish I had more kinder been been / In time of life when he was near me."

For more on the ballad-seller's trade, click here .


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Subject: RE: Barbara Allen earliest version?
From: Liberty Boy
Date: 06 Aug 10 - 11:35 AM

An interesting theory as to the identity of Barb'ry Ellen comes from Phillips Barry and Fanny Eckstorm the scholarly folksong collectors of Maine in the US who suggested that it was a libel on Barbara Villiers one of King Charles II's mistresses.
There is neither corroboration nor contradiction of this theory, but, certain pieces of evidence are interesting in suggesting that Scarlet Town the setting of some of the versions was colloquial slang for Reading in Berkshire, where Mrs Villiers received a large house from Charles.


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Subject: RE: Barbara Allen earliest version?
From: Stower
Date: 16 Oct 11 - 05:16 AM

I have revived this thread as I am looking for the earliest possible tune of Barbara Allen, as I would be so delighted to find an early tune to sing to this broadside called Barbara Allen's Cruelty. It's dated 1675-1696 (Roxburghe collection 2.25) and is certainly the earliest I have come across. It fits the best known tune for this (thanks to the Everley Brothers), but that doesn't mean it was sung to it, of course. I'd be very grateful indeed if anyone could illuminate. Sometimes songs of this vintage have their tunes in lute manuscripts of the period, but not this one.

Stower


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Subject: RE: Barbara Allen earliest version?
From: GUEST,Mike Yates
Date: 16 Oct 11 - 05:43 AM

My grandfather used to sing this, with the opening line "In Radmore Town, where I was born". I have always assumed that this was originally "Reading Town".


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Subject: RE: Barbara Allen earliest version?
From: GUEST,SteveG
Date: 16 Oct 11 - 09:49 AM

I like the idea of Barbara Villiers being our girl. 2 folk songs still on the go today are about George (her brother?) Dido Bendigo and Swarthfell Rocks, both evolved from The Duke's Hunt, the duke being George Villiers and the hunt being The Bilsdale, England's oldest hunt.

However my own theory is that Mrs Knipp's pretty Scotch song was the version that starts 'It was in and about the Martinmas time' and I agree with Malcolm probably the original. The Scarlet/Reading town version I think was a later burlesque on this, and as Malcolm said, all part of the London luvvies scene.


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Subject: RE: Barbara Allen earliest version?
From: GUEST,Goose Gander
Date: 16 Oct 11 - 10:03 PM

The broadside linked by Stower reads, "To the tune of Barbara Allen," which suggests an earlier version was reasonably well-known.


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Subject: RE: Barbara Allen earliest version?
From: Gene
Date: 16 Oct 11 - 10:25 PM

I have heard many versions, but the one I like BEST is by:

Tommy Faile, who wrote Phantom 309 that Red Sovine Recorded.

What a beautiful voice Tommy has..

Gene


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Subject: RE: Barbara Allen earliest version?
From: Stower
Date: 17 Oct 11 - 03:24 AM

All very interesting, but does anyone know the answer to the actual question, which is:

Does anyone know the earliest recorded (i.e. written down in notation) tune to Barbara Allen, preferably 17th century? If not 17th century, do any 18th century tunes to it survive that you can point me towards?


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Subject: RE: Barbara Allen earliest version?
From: GUEST,Margaret
Date: 17 Oct 11 - 01:01 PM

"Does anyone know the earliest recorded (i.e. written down in notation) tune to Barbara Allen, preferably 17th century? If not 17th century, do any 18th century tunes to it survive that you can point me towards?"

Have you checked Bronson?


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Subject: RE: Barbara Allen earliest version?
From: The Sandman
Date: 17 Oct 11 - 02:14 PM

Samuel Pepys in his "Diary" under the date of January 2nd 1665,
speaks of the singing of "Barbara Allen.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V_PoPY-mDpA


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Subject: RE: Barbara Allen earliest version?
From: The Sandman
Date: 17 Oct 11 - 02:15 PM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V_PoPY-mDpA


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Subject: RE: Barbara Allen earliest version?
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 17 Oct 11 - 02:18 PM

It's only guesswork that Pepys' "pretty Scotch song" is the same as the
commonly known ballad. Names are funny things.


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Subject: RE: Barbara Allen earliest version?
From: Stower
Date: 17 Oct 11 - 04:12 PM

Good Soldier Schweik, I am aware of the reference in Pepys, but I am asking for the earliest tune, preferably as named on the broadside 1675-1696, which may well have been the tune Pepys heard, but since he didn't write it down, we don't know (which I think is Dick Greenhaus' point). It may be that no one can trace the tune back that far, but I am seeking to find the earliest known tune.

Margaret, I don't have Bronson to check, but thank you. Chappell's Music of the Olden Time is often good, but not in this case.


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Subject: RE: Barbara Allen earliest version?
From: Stower
Date: 17 Oct 11 - 04:17 PM

Here's a question which I hope is more quantifiable. The most well-known tune (as used by Art Garfunkel and the Everley Brothers), what is the earliest known date for that tune? Is that a 19th or 20th century tune (as far we know), or can it be traced back further?


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Subject: RE: Barbara Allen earliest version?
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 17 Oct 11 - 04:53 PM

Simpson in his introduction to The British Broadside Ballad and its Music says (xi) "And the onset of the eighteenth century saw the gradual disappearance of the tune direction from ballads old and new, depriving us of the links between printed ballad and singing traditions".. He then adds in a footnote to this: "Among other casualties, we must regret the absence of tune directions from versions of such familiar traditional ballads as "Barbara Allen" and "Lord Thomas and Fair Eleanor" which appeared in print during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Lacking such information we cannot determine the continuity, if any, between tunes used then and now".

Chappell in PMOT gives the tune "from tradition".

Kidson in Traditional Tunes has the following to say in his notes to the song: There are two different tunes to Barbara Allen commonly printed, the best known first appearing in Chappell's National English Airs, 1838, and the other being found in Scottish song collections. The earliest copy of this I have seen is in Oswald's Caledonian Pocket Companion, Book II, circa 1750, and after this period in a samll collection of Macgibbon's. It is also in Johnson's Musical Museum, and in later works"..

There is a copy at archive.org of Caledonian Pocket Companion, containing fifty of the most favourite Scotch tunes several of them with variations, all set for the German flute, dated 1747. (This is vol2 containing Barbara Allan on p27 (page 37 of djvu/pdf)).

If Kidson is correct, this may be as early a tune as you can get.


Mick


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Subject: RE: Barbara Allen earliest version?
From: Stower
Date: 17 Oct 11 - 05:23 PM

That is *wonderful*, Mick - thank you! And there are 5 pieces there in common with 17th century Scottish lute manuscripts, some of which I have never seen anywhere else - excellent! I'll have such pleasure playing through and comparing. And that Barbara Allen tune of 1747 is unlike any others I have heard. If I cannot find a definitely earlier tune (and I think it unlikely I will) I'll use that one. Interestingly, the repeats in that Barbara Allen tune mean singing verse 1 to the first half of the tune, verse 2 to the second half, then repeating that pattern - I like that.   

Mick, you've come up trumps often in my thread enquiries - it's much appreciated.

Stower


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Subject: RE: Barbara Allen earliest version?
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 17 Oct 11 - 05:47 PM

Stower - Thanks - we aim to please!

I don't know if you noticed, but there's another volume there (v1 I think, but I didn't check the tunes against the index; of course I got the wrong one first when I was looking earlier): Caledonian Pocket Companion V1?, 1745.

I should have added that the tune is not with words there, so (as Simpson would probably point out) it's not certain that the tune was used for the song. (But in this case I think it's quite likely).

It would be possible to use the Roud Index (Roud No=54, Type=Book, Contents=Music) :Roud Index Search - Barbara Allen Music in Books, and check the 269 entries for any earlier dates (I don't think the search is set up for a date range). If anyone's feeling in the mood...


Mick


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Subject: RE: Barbara Allen earliest version?
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 17 Oct 11 - 06:47 PM

Well, as it happens...

The earliest yielded by that search is Johnson: Scots Musical Museum 1787, then Ritson: Scottish Songs 1794.

You can find the Johnson version at archive.org: Scots Musical Museum v3, the song on p230 (p34 in djvu/pdf file). It is pretty much the same tune (but not exactly the same) as in the Caledonian Pocket Companion, but has the words. (The division into A and B parts is the same but without the repeats in Johnson, so you get one verse to the tune; I presume the musical version has repeats to make it an AABB tune).

(The 2 vols of the Ritson are also available at archive.org)


Mick


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Subject: RE: Barbara Allen earliest version?
From: Stower
Date: 17 Oct 11 - 06:47 PM

Mick, the link above os to all 6 books of Caledonian Companion combined - perfect! I can see many hours being passed sorting through that lot. Wonderful!

And since I am unworthy to argue with Mr. Kidson - and it's unlikely I'll turn up anything earlier going through Roud's 269 entries! - then between this post and my last one I have made a 4 course guitar arrangement to sing it to, as it's ideally meant for my early music duo.   

Mick, you're a gem.

Stower


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Subject: RE: Barbara Allen earliest version?
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 17 Oct 11 - 07:14 PM

Looks like we cross-posted there, but as my last post shows you were probably not amiss using the Caledonian Companion tune!

Mick


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Subject: RE: Barbara Allen earliest version?
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 18 Oct 11 - 07:05 AM

When I was out walking the dog this morning I realised that I should have checked with Bronson last night (I keep forgetting I've got it now - thanks Dick!).

He divides the tunes into 4 groups - A) mainly English, B) mainly Scottish C) a pentatonic group (-4-7) D) a class of American tunes. As far as I can see his earliest is the Musical Museum version (in group B) agreeing with the above.

I presume he knew about the Caledonian Companion tune (he prints Kidson's tune, so I imagine he read his notes) but omitted it because of the lack of words with the tune.

I'll try and post the tunes from Caledonian Companion and the Musical Museum later today so they can be compared.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Barbara Allen earliest version?
From: Lighter
Date: 18 Oct 11 - 08:00 AM

My guess is that the omission of the "Caledonian" tune was simply an oversight. Bronson frequently prints tunes without words if he's sure that the title refers to the same song.

Because of the Musical Museum publication, and the title in "Caledonian," he could obviously have been sure in this case.


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Subject: RE: Barbara Allen earliest version?
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 18 Oct 11 - 09:08 AM

You could be right Lighter. Simpson certainly uses tunes in that context.

Anyway here are the two tunes. The 3rd is the Caledonian Pocket Companion tune transposed for comparison with the Musical Museum tune (The 1st two I've given the mode to show the key signature as printed. I've changed the mode in the transposed version for a more exact comparison. The tune is hexatonic aeo/dor so there is no change to any of the actual notes).

(I also had to incldude an invisible bar line - [|] - at the end of the 1st line. My version of abcm2ps - abcm2ps-5.9.22 (February 8, 2011)
running under Ubuntu 10.10 - refused to line-break properly there without a bar line; even ! didn't work!).

Mick




X:1
T:Barbara Allan
B:Oswald - The Caledonian Pocket Companion, 1747
L:1/4
M:C
K:Eaeo %tune is hexatonic aeo/dor
"^Slow"B|e (e/f/) {ef}g (f/e/)|(d/e/)(f/g/) {fg}a (g/f/)|
e> f (g/f/)(e/d/)|B e2 :]]:d|B d A (B/A/)|
G> A B (e/d/)|B> A G> A|B e2:]]

X:2
T:Bonny Barbara Allan
B:Johnson - The Scots Musical Museum III, 1791
L:1/8
M:C
K:Ddor
"^Slow"A>A|d2 d>e f2 (ed)|c>d(e>f) g2
w:It was in and a-bout the_ Mar-tin-mass_ time
fe|(d3 e) (fe)dc|A2 d4]]
w:When the green_ leaves_ were a fal-ling
c2|A2 c2 G2 AG|F3 G A2
w:That Sir John Graham in the west count-rie
dc|A3 G|F3 G|A2 d4 :]]
w:Fell in love with Bar-bara Al-lan.

X:3
T:Barbara Allan (Caledonian Pocket Companion transposed)
B:Oswald - The Caledonian Pocket Companion, 1747
N:Transposed down 2 semitones and respaced for comparison with Scots Musical Museum
N:Key changed from Daeo to Ddor (tune is hexatonic aeo/dor so no change
N: in the notes sounding)
L:1/4
M:4/4
K:Ddor
"^Slow"A|d (d/e/) {de}f (e/d/)| (c/d/)(e/f/) {ef}g [|]
(f/e/)|d> e (f/e/)(d/c/)|A d2 ]]
c|A c G (A/G/)|F> G A
(d/c/)|A> G F> G|A d2]]


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Subject: RE: Barbara Allen earliest version?
From: Stower
Date: 18 Oct 11 - 09:24 AM

Wonderful. Mick, you're a true star.

Since Caledonian Pocket Companion by James Oswald, 1747, appears to be the earliest written tune for the ballad, and all of these early sources are Scottish with Pepys making reference to the "little Scotch song" (notwithstanding what has been said above that this may refer to style - it may not), and that essentially the same tune was used in the 47 years from 1747 to 1794, from Oswald to Ritson, then it is at least possible that this tune or one very much like it was the same used for the 81 years from Pepys to Oswald's publication, especially when one considers the longevity of many of the tunes in John Playford's Dancing Master (Sellenger's Round, for example, was popular from its first known appearance in c.1595 until at least its inclusion in the last Dancing Master in 1728 – 133 years). All conjecture, of course, but entirely possible, I think.

Huge thanks.


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Subject: RE: Barbara Allen earliest version?
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 18 Oct 11 - 01:51 PM

Just had a closer look at Bronson. In his notes to var 40 (the Johnson tune) he adds: "The tune may make an earlier appearance in Oswald's A Curious Collection of Scots Tunes [1740], p3, and in his Caledonian Pocket Companion II (ca1745), p27, which I have been unable to compare" (my bold).

So it appears he was just unable to verify these tunes.

I couldn't find a copy of A Curious Collection of Scots Tunes online (at a quick look), but assuming Bronson is correct, this pushes the date back to 1740.

Jack Campin certainly has some tunes from A Curious Collection, so maybe he can verify the Barbara Allan tune. (I'll try and look through his site, but I'll contact him - it may be quicker!).

Mick


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Subject: RE: Barbara Allen earliest version?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 18 Oct 11 - 03:29 PM

I don't have the Curious Collection of Scots Tunes (Edinburgh 1740) or even the Collection of Curious Scots Tunes (London 1743), but I do have Charlie Gore's Scottish Fiddle Music Index, which tells me "Barbara Allan" is in both, with the same theme code as the CPC version.

Gore's theme code also matches "The Old Woman in the Glen", in Charles Maclean's Collection of Favourite Scots Tunes posted posthumously in 1774. Maclean was a major contributor to the Macfarlan Manuscript of 1740, left for London shortly afterwards and seems to have had nothing to do with Scottish music once he got there, so his version may be contemporaneous with Oswald's earliest and he may have been Oswald's source. (David Johnson wrote an entry on Maclean for the Grove - he didn't have much to go on and I can't remember where I put his preprint, I don't have access to Grove here). Maclean's title sounds to me like it might have been of Gaelic origin, in which case Oswald might have been making up the link with the older Barbara Allan song. Oswald made a lot of stuff up.


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