Jump to content
soloduet

Name of this tune from the Hebrides?

Recommended Posts

Thank you all for your help, thank you David for your good idea and thank you Simon for your precious and very knowledgeable opinion on the subject. A part of mistery still remains but maybe it's just imaginary hebridean music...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
On 2/25/2019 at 4:53 PM, SimonThoumire said:

I agree that it is possibly a wrong version of "Ye Jacobites by Name"! Sounds like they've not listened to it properly or it has been wrongly transcribed.

This may well be the case - or vice versa!

There's an effect that the Americans call "The Folk Process," whereby existing popular tunes are slightly altered, by mistake or design, for new songs, and then these modified tunes are re-modified (again by mistake or design) for even newer songs. In this way, we get what I call "families of tunes". They're all different, if you listen closely, but they have common features, as do members of human families. Think of the Habsburg chin that was so common among European royalty in the Renaissance and Baroque.

Some of the changes can be quite far-reaching. There's a tune family called "Tooraliay", which includes the English "Vilikens and his Dinah," the American "Sweet Betsy from Pike," the Australian "Bold Tommy Paine" and the Irish "The Oul' Orange Flute." The first three have a tune that carries four-line stanzas, but the last one has the tune extended to carry an eight-line stanza.

There are families (of tunes) in which the children seem to have the same mother but different fathers, because the underlying similarity is half-hidden. For instance, the 17th-century Irish song "Lillibulero" has given birth to several English nursery rhymes: "Ride a cock horse to Banbury Cross," " Humpty-Dumpty," "Little Bo-Peep" and "Hush-a-bye baby on the treetop."

When my children were small, I had to sing them German children's songs with strong family resemblances, e.g. "Alle meine Entchen" and "Fuchs, du hast die Gans gestohlen". (@Wolf and Rüdiger: am I over-interpreting here?)

 

As a song-writer myself, I know how hard it is to avoid using melodic phrases from some existing song that has the same metre as the lyric you're just trying to set to music. I have, on occasion, actually taken a trad. tune and deliberatey mutated it. Possibly the same has happened with this beautiful Hebridean air - perhaps it is a child of "Jacobites", or "Jacobites" is a child of it, or they are sisters, and both children of something older. Who knows?

BTW, I suspect that they have a New-World sister, too: "500 Miles."

Cheers,

John

Edited by Anglo-Irishman

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, Anglo-Irishman said:

There are families (of tunes) in which the children seem to have the same mother but different fathers, because the underlying similarity is half-hidden. For instance, the 17th-century Irish song "Lillibulero" has given birth to several English nursery rhymes: "Ride a cock horse to Banbury Cross," " Humpty-Dumpty," "Little Bo-Peep" and "Hush-a-bye baby on the treetop."

When my children were small, I had to sing them German children's songs with strong family resemblances, e.g. "Alle meine Entchen" and "Fuchs, du hast die Gans gestohlen". (@Wolf and Rüdiger: am I over-interpreting here?)

...

John

 

Who am I to argue? You are so much more knowledgeable about music than I am... the only objection I would have about this observation is that both the German tunes you mention are muscially very basic and simple (more or less varations on the ionic scale), more like playful introductions to "Western listening habits" with random fitting lyrics. They may well have evolved independent of one another (music historians may well may prove me wrong though). I envision something like children practicing diatonic scales on, say, the recorder and making up lyrics on the fly as they do so.

 

I see more family relations between "Man in the moon" and "the wild rover," believing it unlikely that those two evolved independently.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm rather with Rüdiger here I guess - maybe historians will have knowledge supporting your idea John, but judging by the melodies they are in fact all-too basic IMO,  sharing the initial scale upwards, and then the "Fox" tune has the broken chord of the subdominant, whereas the the "Ducks" tune simply rises to the following note of scale, fitting with the subdominant harmony. The alteration to the subdominant is very much to be expected and common in this kind of folk music.

 

But of course I would love to stand corrected by historical information...

 

All the best - 🐺

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you John, Rüdiger and Wolf for the very interesting analysis. When I first listened to this tune I felt that it was the kind of perfect melodic line that popular tradition can create after decades and maybe centuries of folk process. It's the reason why I was surprised and a little disappointed to discover that it was maybe just a wrong transcription.

Didie

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×