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Folksong Arrangements

Project type

Folk Song Arrangements



Arrangements of three folksongs for high voice and piano:

1. I love my love - the singer relates the story he overhears of a 'Maid in Bedlam' - for whom the loss of her love has led to her being incarcerated in Bedlam (see picture). The tune and lyrics of the Cornish folksong were collected by George Barnet Gardiner (1853-1910), probably in 1904-5 in the area near Launceston. He had embarked on a systematic study of European Folksong in 1903 in his retirement. His work was cut short when he died of kidney failure.

2. I’ll bid by heart be still - is a poem by Thomas Pringle set to an old Border Melody. The singer mourns the death of her lover. It was very popular, being reproduced in several national songbooks - especially those used by emigres in the colonies (see figures). Born in 1789, Pringle was a poet and man of letters who struggles financially leading to his emigration to South Africa in 1820 where he edited and contributed to various newspapers and magazines, eventually succumbing to consumption.

3. Oh No John! A song to this familiar tune, - The doubtful Virgin - variously called ‘The Dumb Lady’, or, ‘No no not I’, or ‘I'le answer’, was printed on a broadside around 1672-84 (see image). Also known as The Spanish Merchant's Daughter, the lyrics I have set here are the bowdlerised version prepared by Cecil Sharp for Novello in 1904. My first memory of this song was of my father accompanying my mother singing on the guitar - hence the allusions to this instrument in the piano accompaniment.

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