Traditional Tunes - A Collection of Ballad Airs
PREFACE. WHATEVER may be esteemed the value of the present work, it is the outcome of much pleasant labour. The compilers wish has been to at least temporarily rescue from oblivion some few of the old airs, which, passing from mouth to mouth for generations, are fast disappearing before the modern effusions of the music hall and concert room. He believes that inany of the airs here noted down are excellent specimens of mebdy, and as such, are worthy of preservation that they have a peculiar quaintness, a sweetness, and a tenderness of expression, absent in the music of the present day, which it is impossible to successfully imitate. He has endeavoured to set down the airs as far as musical notes will permit with the utmost fidelity, scrupulously avoiding any attempt at arrangement or emendation, for, however desirable it might be in some instances to amend the airs from corruptions which have crept in, the Editor has considered that he would be scarcely justified in tampering with them, as such an attempt at revisal would greatly detract from the antiquarian value of the whole. It is possible that some musical reader may find much to criticise in the technical arrangement of the melodies. The Editor certainly does not claim that they are absolutely perfect, but he would merely remind such reader of the fact so well-known to persons who have attempted the feat, that very great difficulty attends the notation of irregular old melodies from untutored singers. An endeavour to be scrupulously exact in attempting to put the airs before the reader as the Editor has heard them sung, may have led hiin into some technical errors, but he trusts that these are not serious and will be pardoned. With regard to the printing of the airs pure and simple and without harmony, an extract from the preface of John Hullahs Song Book applies so exactly to the present case that it may be quoted The presentation of these songs without accompaniment has been dictated, not merely by want of space but by the desire to present them in their original forms for, in almost every case, the tune is the on original part of the music of a national song, the addition even of a bass having been generally made by a later hand-not always guided by a sympathetic spirit. To the above may be added that the traditional airs forming the present volume have perhaps never been harmonized. They have either been sung by a single singer or by parties of singers in unison, or performed on such a simple instrument as the flute or fiddle. Is it, then, desirable to put such old wine into new bottles Where it is, however, deemed desirable to add harmony for the purpose of playing them on the piano, it will be in general found that a thin bass will be more in the character of the old harmonies, put to songs which were printed and issued when these traditional airs were most popular. The Editor has here to thank the many kind friends who have interested themselves in the work, and to the contributors of airs and songs his warmest acknowledgments are offered. Chief among the contributors to be thanked are Mr. Benjamin Holgate, of Headingley, and Mr. Charles Lolley, of Leeds, to both of whose retentive memories of songs heard in earlier years much of the contents of this book is due. Mr. Holgates remembrances are of the songs once popular in and around Leeds, and Mr. Lolleys are of those in the district of Howden, in the East Riding of Yorkshire. Mr. Lolley has, besides, while this work has been in progress, taken a great deal of trouble in collecting airs for it from other parts of the East Riding...
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