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Origins: Is Green Sleeves really Irish?

DigiTrad:
GREENSLEEVES
GREENSTAMPS
LADY GREENSLEEVES


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Q (Frank Staplin) 24 Apr 04 - 02:20 PM
GUEST 24 Apr 04 - 02:45 PM
Lanfranc 24 Apr 04 - 07:45 PM
GUEST,Jon Loomes 25 Apr 04 - 07:41 AM
barrygeo 26 Apr 04 - 06:51 AM
GUEST,Frank 26 Apr 04 - 09:47 AM
Stephen R. 26 Apr 04 - 12:08 PM
Big Mick 26 Apr 04 - 01:37 PM
GUEST,Pom 27 Apr 04 - 01:37 PM
GUEST,IRish Person 10 Aug 04 - 01:42 PM
Bill D 10 Aug 04 - 02:08 PM
Nerd 11 Aug 04 - 02:08 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 11 Aug 04 - 01:40 PM
Nerd 11 Aug 04 - 11:57 PM
GUEST,Celtic 20 Dec 05 - 02:06 AM
Malcolm Douglas 20 Dec 05 - 02:32 AM
Big Al Whittle 20 Dec 05 - 11:10 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 20 Dec 05 - 08:54 PM
Big Mick 20 Dec 05 - 09:18 PM
Gurney 21 Dec 05 - 02:18 AM
GUEST,shedragon 25 Feb 06 - 02:07 AM
GUEST,René de Graaf, tne Netherlands 07 Mar 10 - 06:35 PM
Smokey. 07 Mar 10 - 07:32 PM
Dave Hanson 08 Mar 10 - 02:31 AM
GUEST,mayomick 08 Mar 10 - 07:16 AM
Smokey. 08 Mar 10 - 04:21 PM
GUEST,Rosey 18 Dec 10 - 10:22 PM
GUEST,Desi C 19 Dec 10 - 12:42 PM
GUEST,Patsy 20 Dec 10 - 03:49 AM
Stower 20 Dec 10 - 11:17 AM
Stower 20 Dec 10 - 11:18 AM
GUEST 20 Dec 10 - 11:59 AM
Manitas_at_home 20 Dec 10 - 12:22 PM
Ruth Archer 20 Dec 10 - 01:11 PM
Stower 20 Dec 10 - 02:52 PM
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Subject: RE: Is Green Sleeves really Irish?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 24 Apr 04 - 02:20 PM

One more exhumation?

"Greensleeves" is Masonic, a'course, a'course!. Catholic Irish talking about the hated Freemasons.

A. Green gravel, green gravel,
How green the grass grows,
An' all the free masons
Are dressed in green clothes!

"An old Irish tune." Melody given in Randolph, Ozark Folksongs. vol. 3, no. 532, pp. 322-323.

No, I don't believe that there is a Masonic connection to Greensleeves- but I'm sure someone out there does! Also see "Green Gravel" in the DT for an Irish version.


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Subject: RE: Is Green Sleeves really Irish?
From: GUEST
Date: 24 Apr 04 - 02:45 PM

The Irish can write? ha ha ha ha


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Subject: RE: Is Green Sleeves really Irish?
From: Lanfranc
Date: 24 Apr 04 - 07:45 PM

As was said earlier - no!

I recall being informed that the tune was nicked from a Dutch or Flemish source, and have often wondered if that was why Jacques Brel used a variation for his song "Port of Amsterdam".

Anyway, it's not Irish!

Alan


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Subject: RE: Is Green Sleeves really Irish?
From: GUEST,Jon Loomes
Date: 25 Apr 04 - 07:41 AM

Yes! it is! it's terrible - you're welcome to it! take it away! it's only suitable for playing to American tourists anyway.

The bacca pipes jig on the other hand is as English as Fortnum and Masons.

On a slightly more scholarly note, I'm interested in the gradual shift between modes that exists in the various versions of Greensleeves - I imagine that it started out life as a Dorian melody, but you very often hear it with a flattened 6th - Possibly due 16th century harmonic theory, this could be an example of "musica ficta" - But anyway, Greensleeves seems to be a good example of a tune that has spanned the gap between melodic and harmonically based composition.

It's still corny though.

Jon


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Subject: RE:Uileann vs Union
From: barrygeo
Date: 26 Apr 04 - 06:51 AM

Uileann vs Union is an invalid argument as the words originate in two different languages. Uileann is gaelic, union is english. Its like the the argument over the correct name for the country Ireland vs Eire, it depends which language you are speaking. Also at the time of the development of the Irish pipes Gaelic had been largely wiped out as a language so it is not suprising that the common name would the english version.
Also it is not usual for the Gaelic name to have a different derivation from the english name eg Dublin is Baile Atha Cliath in GAelic. It also happens that the Irish word can be incorporated into the english laguage and become commonly used eg if you were looking for a town called Dicert in Roscommon you would have a problem since the signposts say Thomastown in English but the locals refer to Dicert.


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Subject: RE: Is Green Sleeves really Irish?
From: GUEST,Frank
Date: 26 Apr 04 - 09:47 AM

I believe that a very important aspect of folk music is that it can't be verified
as to it's beginnings by print. The tune of Greensleeves doesn't have to be in 3/4 or 6/8 time. It serves as well as a kind of hornpipe. I believe that this tune was probably in evidence much earlier than 1850 and it could have traveled all over the British Isles. Of course there is no proof. Otherwise it
can't be called folk music.

Frank Hamilton


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Subject: RE: Is Green Sleeves really Irish?
From: Stephen R.
Date: 26 Apr 04 - 12:08 PM

Oh, come now, Malcolm (AKA Genghis Khan); of course it's Irish. It's Greensleeves to the Catholics and Orangesleeves to the Protestants.

Stephen R.


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Subject: RE: Uilleann vs. Union
From: Big Mick
Date: 26 Apr 04 - 01:37 PM

WARNING: Pedant alert! Barrygeo, let's get a bit more precise. Gaelic is not a language. It is a family of languages. I believe what you are referring to is Gaeilge, or Irish. I am in agreement with the contention that it depends on the language being spoken.

I don't know why we continue to argue over what to call the Uilleann Pipes. It seems to me that the history of them answers it satisfactorily. First off, their are a number of forerunners to the present day UP's. Certainly the Musette figures in, and the Pastoral Pipes are one of the immediate forerunners with the regulators, etc. The early name of the bellows blown, two octave chanter, and regulator pipe we now call the Uilleann Pipes was most certainly the Union Pipe. Later, Irish speakers changed it to the elbow pipe, or Uilleann (from the Irish word uillin for elbow or angle), and it has been known as such since. It is not solely Irish in origin, but the style it is played in has certainly been developed for the most part by the Irish. The Travelling Folk had much to do with this. It has been the Irish, both in Ireland and around the world, that have taken it to the level it is now at.

So, it is fine to call them Union Pipes as that was there original name. But we, Irish born and Irish descended, prefer to use the name that our own people have given these pipes, and by which they have been primarily known for the last hundred years or so.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Is Green Sleeves really Irish?
From: GUEST,Pom
Date: 27 Apr 04 - 01:37 PM

I have always called the Uilleann Pipes the Uilleann Pipes but I have only ever spoken English because that is the only language I know.

Now it may be that somebody sometime called tha instrument another name but I have never heard or read such a thing so I don't know except what some smartass here tells me.

In the history of the Bagpipe which used be on the internet it said the Uilleann Pipes evolved from the Cuislean Pipes which in turn evolved from the Pib Mhor.

They use the term evolve in its normal sense. Thus the Pib Mhor had drones but was blown, the Cuislean has drones but was bellows blown while the Uilleann had added 'regulators' in the fashion of other similar continental instruments. I suppose that would be as Mr Mick explains above.

Whether the locals called it a Honda or a Ford is irrelevant what matters is that it was and is called Uilleann by most of the people who talk about it today.


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Subject: RE: Is Green Sleeves really Irish?
From: GUEST,IRish Person
Date: 10 Aug 04 - 01:42 PM

ALL I WANNA NO IF ITS IRISH OR NOT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
DDoues any1 no frankie muniz? I do!
sorry just wanted to tell    heheheheh.....


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Subject: RE: Is Green Sleeves really Irish?
From: Bill D
Date: 10 Aug 04 - 02:08 PM

no evidence that it is originally Irish...ok? It doesn't even SOUND Irish ....but if you are Irish and wanna sing it...go ahead, I think the copyright has expired..*grin*


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Subject: RE: Is Green Sleeves really Irish?
From: Nerd
Date: 11 Aug 04 - 02:08 AM

Of course Green Sleeves must be Irish. Sure an' it's all about the wearin' of the Green, is it not?

Or maybe it's a macaronic Irish song: Green Sliabhs. It's about the Green Mountains in the west of Ireland.

If you try hard enough you can find "evidence" for anything!


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Subject: RE: Is Green Sleeves really Irish?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 11 Aug 04 - 01:40 PM

As he watered the green stuff in his glass and the drops fell one by one-
sloppy drunk and got the stuff all over his sleeves.
Apologies to Robert Service.

No one reads previous posts, and the thread ends up chasing its tail. Bruce O. answered very briefly in posts 2, 4 and 5 at the beginning of this thread. See thread 3324 for more detail. Green sleeves


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Subject: RE: Is Green Sleeves really Irish?
From: Nerd
Date: 11 Aug 04 - 11:57 PM

I think everyone since "Irish Person" has just been joking, Q. Certainly I was!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Is Green Sleeves really Irish?
From: GUEST,Celtic
Date: 20 Dec 05 - 02:06 AM

If you know your History better then the church would have you belive you would know that King arthur was actualy a Celtic king who organized the other Kings of the country against the Romans and Christianity After king arthurs death his Daughter who was nicknamed Lady greensleaves whom was also a archer became a General for The united kingdoms army. They fought so feircly against the romans that they built adrians wall to keep them out
it was sang in the origional song of her bravery in the war and the song was played with a more irish type jig just play it on the piano as fast as you can and you pretty much have it oh and put it in adolian mode.

But sadly when the christians took out the druids all memory of the origional lyrics were erased but they managed to keep the origional toon of the song alive by converting it to the Christian method of music thats all i was told. though very few will belive what i wrote based on the grounds that the church adopted the story of king arthur as thier bedtime story and altered horribly ha ha


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Subject: RE: Origins: Is Green Sleeves really Irish?
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 20 Dec 05 - 02:32 AM

Isn't it a bit early to be celebrating Christmas? You'll regret it in the morning, you know.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Is Green Sleeves really Irish?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 20 Dec 05 - 11:10 AM

My good friend Martin Gibson tells me that everything starts with Hank Williams. I think you'd better check the Acuff-Rose book, before wasting time on this Henry VIII bloke.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Is Green Sleeves really Irish?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 20 Dec 05 - 08:54 PM

I thought the greensleeves came as a result of helping at a breech birth of a calf in a hay field.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Is Green Sleeves really Irish?
From: Big Mick
Date: 20 Dec 05 - 09:18 PM

Instead of just spewing off pseudo history, do you suppose you could come up with some citations for the "facts" you have espoused, Celtic? And which "Celtic" is it you claim? That is a very broad and generally misused term. Most of that you posted is supposition.

In other words, if you want to contribute, do so with substance. If you want to lecture, get a job as a teacher. But most of all, ........ Lose the friggin' attitude.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Origins: Is Green Sleeves really Irish?
From: Gurney
Date: 21 Dec 05 - 02:18 AM

The easy way to find out who wrote it is...... sell a million copies.
If the guys in night-disruptive and black balacalavas come to collect the royalties, you KNOW H.R.H. Henry wrote it.

Last line of Michael Flanders' monologue on the song:
...And the royalties go to Royalty!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Is Green Sleeves really Irish?
From: GUEST,shedragon
Date: 25 Feb 06 - 02:07 AM

Thank you all for giving me so much info on a subject I thought no one else on the planet would be interested in. the song, the pipes, it was all very interesting. Really. Im being serious. In my opinion the lyrics are Irish and the music English. He He He.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Is Green Sleeves really Irish?
From: GUEST,René de Graaf, tne Netherlands
Date: 07 Mar 10 - 06:35 PM

I don't know if Greensleeves is an Irish tune. What I do know is that there is a copy (facsimile) in the Music-library of the "Gemeentemuseum" in The Haque written in French Tablature. As I was told this handwritten tablature (without Lyrics) by an anonymous composer was dated to the ninth century!
Sorry for my bad knowledge of the english language.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Is Green Sleeves really Irish?
From: Smokey.
Date: 07 Mar 10 - 07:32 PM

I was always under the impression that Blondel wrote Greensleeves around 1192. It doesn't bear any resemblance to any Irish music I've heard.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Is Green Sleeves really Irish?
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 08 Mar 10 - 02:31 AM

Of course it's Irish, along with John Connolly's Fiddlers Green and Ewan MacColl's Shores Of Erin [ Shoals Of Herring ]

Dave H


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Subject: RE: Origins: Is Green Sleeves really Irish?
From: GUEST,mayomick
Date: 08 Mar 10 - 07:16 AM

Around 1192, there's no way you could have come up with the month though is there Smokey ?
What I find interesting about the uillean /union question is the closeness of the sounds of the two words . Even though they have different meanings, they describe the same phenomenom . But isn't an elbow a sort of a union , a joint between the upper and lower parts of the arm ? Is that a coincidence or is there any etymological (ahem) connection.
I don't think there is anything wrong with speculation about origins of songs or words - or anything else for that matter .So long as people don't try to pass their speculations off as facts .


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Subject: RE: Origins: Is Green Sleeves really Irish?
From: Smokey.
Date: 08 Mar 10 - 04:21 PM

"Around 1192 ,there's no way you could have come up with the month though is there Smokey ?"

I'll ask my grandad, he's got a better memory than me. It was a Thursday, I'm almost sure of that.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Is Green Sleeves really Irish?
From: GUEST,Rosey
Date: 18 Dec 10 - 10:22 PM

I'm not sure. I thought it was, but who knows.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Is Green Sleeves really Irish?
From: GUEST,Desi C
Date: 19 Dec 10 - 12:42 PM

I've never heard it referred to back home in Ireland as an Irish tune, and it doesn't sound Irish to me, and though it get's attributed at Old Enery, I suspect nicked it as he did most of Ireland the big fat old whore


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Subject: RE: Origins: Is Green Sleeves really Irish?
From: GUEST,Patsy
Date: 20 Dec 10 - 03:49 AM

It was claimed that Henry the Eigth wrote it and I think I read somewhere that it might have been for one of his wives? Then again the King was such a force to reckon with would anyone have disputed it?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Is Green Sleeves really Irish?
From: Stower
Date: 20 Dec 10 - 11:17 AM

Greensleeves is not Irish, nor was it written by Henry VII, and it certainly was not by Blondel around 1192.

To put the record straight, it is an example of a passamezzo antico, an Italian minor key ground bass or chord progression, upon which a composer would fashion a tune. The passamezzo antico began in Italy in the 1500s before spreading in popularity through Europe. (The major key version is a passamezzo moderno.) Passamezzo is Italian for 'pace and a half', a term for an old two beats in a bar dance. In the renaissance, the English considered anything Italian to be worth copying. One English lutenist, John Cooper, even styled himself as Giovanni Coprario!   

The earliest reference to Greensleeves specifically is a broadside ballad registered at the London Stationer's Company in 1580 (we can therefore be completely certain that it was not composed by King Henry VIII, who died in 1547), 'A New Northern Dittye of the Lady Greene Sleeves, which reappeared in A Handful of Pleasant Delights, 1584, as A New Courtly Sonnet of the Lady Green Sleeves. To the new tune of Green sleeves.' The tune passed very quickly into English traditional music, being constantly reworked. Our first three records of the written tune are close in date: 'Greenesleeues' in the William Ballet Lute Book, an English hand-written anthology in several hands, c.1595 and c.1610, now in Trinity College, Dublin; 'Green sleeves' in Matthew Holmes' hand-written cittern book, Dd.4.23, c.1595, now in Cambridge University Library; and 'Greene sleves Is al mij Joije' in Het Luitboek van Thysius, c.1595-1620, now in Bibliot heca Thysiana, Leiden, western Netherlands.

By the early 17th century, the tune was well-known enough to be cited three times by William Shakespeare in his 'The Merry Wives of Windsor', c.1602, in which Mistress Ford refers twice to the tune without explanation, and Falstaff later exclaims, "Let the sky rain potatoes! Let it thunder to the tune of Greensleeves!"

As was often the case with ballad tunes, lutenists used Greensleeves as the basis for virtuoso divisions. In the case of Francis Cutting's 'Greenesleeues by maister Cuttinge' in the ms. Add.31392, c.1605, we have a lot more than divisions, with beautiful and unexpected twists and turns.

In 1907, 327 years after its first publication, Cecil Sharp was still collecting morris dance versions of the tune from fiddlers in Gloucestershire. The morris tune 'Bacca Pipes' is a version of Greensleeves and in some morris traditions goes by the latter name. (Two versions, one by each name, can be heard on Volume 9 of Topic's 20 CD set, 'The Voice of the People: Rig-A-Jig-Jig – Dance Music of the South of England').


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Subject: RE: Origins: Is Green Sleeves really Irish?
From: Stower
Date: 20 Dec 10 - 11:18 AM

Sorry, above should be "nor was it written by Henry VIII". I don't think anyone ever claimed Henry VII composed it.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Is Green Sleeves really Irish?
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Dec 10 - 11:59 AM

"it is an example of a passamezzo antico, an Italian minor key ground bass or chord progression, upon which a composer would fashion a tune."

I could say that of any tune whatever that started with a minor chord, any tune from a Gregorian chant to a TV commercial. There is no reason to associate Greensleeves with anybody Italian.

If Henry VIII or any other noble person had composed Greensleeves, his secretaries, courtiers and hangers-on would have left us reams of fulsome, doting praise. The tune was probably written by a commoner and musician, a person of little importance at that time.

I believe Greensleeves was written by somebody Celtic because it probably wasn't about sleeves but about 'sliabh' a mountain. There are lots of songs about mountains, but whoever heard of anybody sighing over his lover's sleeves?   Other musicians quickly learned this fine tune and spread it the length of Britain. In time, many sets of words were written for it, but the idea that it's really 'Greensleeves' has persisted to so long and so strongly that I believe it is the original title.   

Don't ask me to define Celtic. Asking somebody to define Celtic is like asking somebody to define purple or chocolatety. We all know what it means - enough for this discussion, anyway.

By the way, O'Neill's Music of Ireland has a 'Green Sleeves and Yellow Lace' which is a the same tune in jig format. It sounds Irish. But who knows whether it went from Ireland to England or the other way, after all this time?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Is Green Sleeves really Irish?
From: Manitas_at_home
Date: 20 Dec 10 - 12:22 PM

The jig version turns up in other regions with names such as 'Bacca Pipes' in 'Oxfordshire and Jockey lay up in the Hayloft' in Northumberland. Both areas were teeming with Irish navvies in the 19C where they could have taught it to the locals or equally have learned it from them. In the 1721 edition of Playford's Dancing master there is a 'Green Sleeves and Yellow lace'.

There's some more info here http://www.ibiblio.org/fiddlers/GREEN.htm . You'll need to scroll down a bit.


If sleeve is from 'sliabh' then why 'green' and not 'glas' or whatever. You may not have heard of anybody sighing over his lover's sleeves but I bet you've heard people sing about the 'Lady in Red', 'Alice Blue Gown', 'The Girl with the Blue Dress On', 'Itsy-bitsy-teeny-weeny-yellow-polka-dot bikini','Red feathers and a huly-huly skirt', 'Venus in Blue Jeans'... Greensleeves doesn't sound so far fetched now, eh?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Is Green Sleeves really Irish?
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 20 Dec 10 - 01:11 PM

"In the renaissance, the English considered anything Italian to be worth copying."

The court musicians of Henry VIII were the Italian Bassano family. They continued to be court musicians in the reign of Elizabeth I. Italian music was very fashionable with the Tudors.

Maybe a Bassano wrote it.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Is Green Sleeves really Irish?
From: Stower
Date: 20 Dec 10 - 02:52 PM

GUEST of 20 Dec 10 - 11:59 AM, you have misunderstood.

I wrote, "it is an example of a passamezzo antico, an Italian minor key ground bass or chord progression, upon which a composer would fashion a tune."

You replied, "I could say that of any tune whatever that started with a minor chord, any tune from a Gregorian chant to a TV commercial. There is no reason to associate Greensleeves with anybody Italian."

No you could not say this of any tune starting with a minor chord. A passamezzo antico is a *particular* chord progression. If it doesn't have that chord progression, it's not a passamezzo antico. And I did not say Greensleeves was Italian nor associated with anyone Italian. I said it is based on a chord progression which originated in Italy - not at all the same thing.   

"I believe Greensleeves was written by somebody Celtic because it probably wasn't about sleeves but about 'sliabh' a mountain" ... for which there is absolutely and completely no evidence. The only Irish thing about the tune is that the manuscript we first have the tune in is kept in an Irish library. That no more makes it an Irish tune than standing in a garage makes me a car.   

"There are lots of songs about mountains, but whoever heard of anybody sighing over his lover's sleeves?" The song doesn't say this.

"Don't ask me to define Celtic. Asking somebody to define Celtic is like asking somebody to define purple or chocolatety. We all know what it means - enough for this discussion, anyway." I don't know what you mean by the word if you don't or can't say. If something cannot be defined then it cannot usefully be spoken of.


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