17 Matching Annotations
  1. Oct 2023
    1. It is said these two songs spring from the same tune - but with different lyrics applied in the American west... Separated by hundreds of years and the Atlantic Ocean, I alternate the verses of the two songs here, showing the similarity..
  2. Mar 2023
  3. Jan 2023
    1. This seems to have an interesting relation to the tradition of wassailers and "luck visitors" traditions or The Christmas Mummers (1858). The song We Wish You a Merry Christmas (Roud Folk Song Index #230 and #9681) from the English West Country (Cornwall) was popularized by Arthur Warrell (1883-1939) in 1935. It contains lyrics "We won't go until we get some" in relation to figgy pudding and seems very similar in form to Mari Lwyd songs used to gain access to people's homes and hospitality. An 1830's version of the song had a "cellar full of beer" within the lyrics.

      I'm curious if the Roud Folk Song Index includes any Welsh songs or translations that have similar links? Perhaps other folk song indices (Child Ballads?) may provide clues as well?

  4. Sep 2022
  5. Oct 2020
    1. Child considered that folk ballads came from a more democratic time in the past when society was not so rigidly segregated into classes, and the "true voice" of the people could therefore be heard. He conceived "the people" as comprising all the classes of society, rich, middle, and poor, and not only those engaged in manual labor as Marxists sometimes use the word.
      1. This article is about the ballad known as the Twa Sisters and enumerates the differences and similarities between the English, Scottish, and American variants. At the bottom of the article I will include some Scottish variants of the ballad and some American or English variants if anyone was interested in giving them a listen.

      Traits of the song that are present in the Scottish tradition and not in the English tradition:

      sisters living in a bower among the gifts to the elder sister being a ring and knife the eldest sister standing on a stone before throwing the younger in drowned sister’s hair being referred to as yellow a miller’s son or daughter finding the drowned daughter the rhyme of swan with dam (herein the woman is compared to a swan and is said to be found in the miller’s dam) musician taking three locks of the drowned sister’s hair to string their instrument English variants of the ballad are so few that it is perhaps easier to identify them through the lack of elements of the Scottish variant than by any presence of any particular element. Other characteristics of the English tradition:

      the introduction of the ballad, specifically saying that the king had “daughters one, two three” the gift of a beaver hat the rhyme of swan and woman reference to the miller being hanged for the drowning of the younger sister The American tradition never contains the details in the Scottish tradition though many similarities between it and the English tradition can be found. Among (but not limited to) them are:

      introductory stanza beaver hat as a gift failure to specify the hair as yellow also neglects the story of the body of the girl being turned into an instrument

      1. I think that this article is a good look at what kinds of tropes and elements are commonly occurring in different versions of the folk ballad, though I would have liked to see more about how to differentiate the American from the English variants of the ballad.

      2. "In finding traits characteristic of English tradition we are confronted with serious difficulties. The English ballads are few in number, so few indeed that the absence of the Scottish traits is perhaps a more reliable mark than any other."

    1. This article discusses the main kinds of refrains in British ballads.This is directly related to the topic of murder ballads as murder ballads all typically have different kinds of refrains.

      The first kind pertains to an occupation, the second sounds or vocables, the third is a seasonal refrain, and the fourth is a refrain which is directly connected to the ballad that it’s attached to.

      “In the riddle ballad, the elfin or demon suitor attempts to conquer the lady by posing her with questions, failing to answer which she will fall into his' clutches. And as Miss Broadwood has suggested, the herbs named in the refrain are evidently considered of magical virtue in protecting their wearer or invoker against evil.”

    1. Murder in murder ballads cannot be concealed for long and through the course of the ballad, there is always something that reveals the murder. In many folk ballads this is something that happens naturally but in a few this is revealed through supernatural means. This motif is called “murder will out”.

      The specific folk ballads outlined in this paper that have an element of supernatural that is instrumental in revealing the murder are the Twa Sisters (Child 10), Sir Hugh (Child 155), Young Hunting (Child 68), and Young Benjie (Child 86).

      “In the Scottish "Binorie" versions, for instance, the body is recovered from the water and buried without any further allusion to the murder. In North American versions, the younger sister's body is eventually found, but frequently not before she has already been fished out, still alive, by a miller who has seen her floating in his milldam, robbed her of her money or jewelry, and then thrown her back in to drown.”

  6. Sep 2020
    1. He feels the song began in Norway before 1600, spread through Scandinavia, and then to Britain and the West. However, he thinks the tale is of Slavic origin. This thesis (see also his article The Geographical Distribution of "The Twa Sisters" in Annuario de la Sociedad Folklorica de Mexico, 1944, 49-54), along with Harbison Parker's "The Twa Sisters"—Going Which Way? in JAF, 1951, 347-360), re-evaluates Knut Leist0l's belief that the ballad was first composed in Britain, split into two versions, both of which came to Scandinavia, one to Norway and one to Denmark. Parker believes the ballad to have originated in Western Scandinavia, and the British versions to stem from Faroe or Norwegian texts. See also Lutz MacKenson's study in FFC, #49 (1923) and Child, I, 124-125. Archer Taylor (JAF, 1929, 238f.) discusses the American, English, and Scottish versions of the ballad. He concludes that the American texts follow the English tradition (see p. 243 ) exclusively. The beaver hat, the failure to call the hair yellow, and the introductory stanza are all English traits. For the Scottish traits (not common to America) see pp. 238—40.

      possible geographic origin of twa sisters ballad from Tristam P Coffin's "The British Traditional Ballad in North America."

    1. Number 10 of the #ChildBallads is "The Twa Sisters", a Northumbrian murder ballad first known to have appeared on a broadside in 1656 as "The Miller and the King's Daughter." At least 21 English variants exist under several names.

      twa sisters twitter thread

  7. Aug 2020
    1. Joan Baez sang ten Child ballads distributed among her first five albums, the liner notes of which identified them as such.
    2. Illustration by Arthur Rackham of Child Ballad 26, "The Twa Corbies"
    3. In 1956 four albums (consisting of eight LPs) of 72 Child Ballads sung by Ewan MacColl and A.L. Lloyd were released: The English and Scottish Popular Ballads, Vols. 1–4.
  8. Dec 2019
    1. I shall kill no albatross,

      This expression is a reference to Samuel Taylor Coleridge's poem "Rime of the Ancient Mariner," in which the Mariner inexplicably slays an albatross. The allusion may imply that Walton will play the role of Coleridge's Wedding Guest instead: he will listen to Victor's long, obsessive story that will ultimately be a confession of guilt, like the Ancient Mariner' tale. Since the poem was not published until September 1798, this reference also places the "17--" date of these letters as the summer of 1799. On the poem's role in the novel, see Beth Lau, "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner and Frankenstein," in Samuel Taylor Coleridge and the Sciences of Life, ed. Nicholas Roe (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001): 207-23.