Article MT134 - Parts 5 and 6


1.  Early in the present century Miss Dorothy Blunt took down "The Cutty Wren" from the singing of Mr. Hawkins, an old shepherd of Adderbury West, Oxfordshire.  When he sang the final line he stamped violently, declaring that it was a defiant song, that to stamp was "the right way, and it reminds you of the old times."

2.  Polly is, of course, the direct descendant of the Swan Maiden and the enchanted doe of the magical legends.

3.  Shakespeare has a scene in which Queen Margaret laments over the head of Suffolk, after his body has been flung upon the shore at Dover.  (Henry VI, Part 2, Act iv, Sc. 4.)

4.  When I say shouting I mean it too in the sense in which it is applied to the cornfield negro.  The street singers commonly pitched their songs; about a fifth higher than their voice would really take.  They used voice breaks, slides and high rasping wails, and in that way lines which on paper look merely sad and tearful become as thrilling as an Indian warwhoop.

A Short Bibliography

I am afraid readers who are specially interested in the social aspects of folksong will find little in this list which directly meets their needs.  English folksong has been much collected but little commented on.  The works whose titles are below give a good idea of what has been collected, at any rate.  By far the most valuable are the eight volumes of The Journal of the English Folksong Society. The only authentic English folksongs commercially recorded and still available, as far as I know, are the two Columbia discs made by Columbia of the elderly Gower folksinger, Philip Tanner; they are:

Young Henry Martin.  The Gower Wassail Song.  FB 1569
The Sweet Primroses.  The Gower Reel.  FB 1570
All these songs are sung unaccompanied.
There are several discs of folksongs and near folksongs recorded, with piano accompaniment, by concert singers.  These are so far from the real thing that we need not list them here.

Published by Workers' Music Association Ltd., 9, Gt. Newport St., London, W.C.2.  Printed by The Reliance Press, 45, Gt. Guildford Street, Southwark, S.E.1.

Article MT134

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