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[HD] Some "New" Old Tunes from the 1600s and 1700s

To: Hammered Dulcimers <hdlist@hammered-dulcimers.org>
Subject: [HD] Some "New" Old Tunes from the 1600s and 1700s
From: roguecello440@mac.com
Date: Mon, 16 Jan 2017 17:18:28 -0500
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I have put up a few new tunes on the Kitchen Musician website, http://www.kitchenmusician.net    with sheet music in either PDF or jpeg format, plus MIDI.
One is and old English carol tune for January, “The Old Yeare Now Away Has Fled”.  It’s a Greensleeves variant, dating from a time when “Greensleeves was a mere century or so old.

The others are from the first musical comedy, so you can say that you are playing tunes from a musical without having any copyright problems.  The musical comedy is The Beggar’s Opera, by John Rich and John Gay, which opened in London in the 1720’s and has been revived every few years since them.  For those unfamiliar with the story, a beggar comes to a theater manager and convinces him to produce an opera written by the beggar - hence “The Beggar’s opera”.

The actual story is that of one Captain Macheath, a successful highwayman (armed robber) who falls in love with Polly Peachem, the daughter of Macheath’s fence.  Eventually, the father learns of the romance and disapproves - violently.  He informs on Macheath to the authorities.  Macheath is arrested, lthrown into prison and sentenced to hang on London’s famous hanging tree at the time - Tyburn Tree.  Polly visits him in prison, as does Macheath's wife.

Just before the hanging, the theater manager (remember him?) complains to the beggar that he can’t end the opera with a downer of an ending like that, so the beggar does a rewrite; Macheath is pardoned and everything ends well in a grand finale.

The music in the Beggar’s Opera was set to traditional tunes well known to most members of the audience, but set with new lyrics.  In at least one instance, the tune to a cynical song of seduction (“Would You Have a Young Virgin of Fifteen Years”) was given gentle innocent love song lyrics.  Audience members who knew the original lyrics, were, of course, snickering in their seats.  The Beggar’s Opera was a smashing financial success, and people joked that it had may John Gay rich and John Rich gay…back when “gay” only meant “happy”.

The tunes/songs I selected are

Captain Macheath’s Soliloquy - a cynical song that he sings in prison while waiting to be hanged on Tyburn Tree.  In A minor -With lyrics.
“Since laws were made for every degree, 
To curb vice in others as well as me.
It’s a wonder I haven’t better company,
Upon Tyburn Tree."
Lumps of Pudding - the finale and curtain call - just as an instrumental.  Three parts, in A m Dorian mode.
Over the Hills and Far Away - one of the love songs in the Beggar’s Opera, set to a melody with the same name. - With lyrics, in G.
Gamblers United (Packington’s Pound) - A cynical song about gamblers, set to the 16th century tune of “Packington’s Pound”.  With lyrics.  Two settings - the original G minor and also in A minor, for those with allergies to flats.


Maynard Johnson
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