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Hello next story. Some people as I rode out with Jane Ritchie one of the nation's outstanding folk artist is produced by Riverside radio WRVA are in New York City under a grant from the National Association of educational broadcasters. Right now. If you had been living in London when William Shakespeare was alive this is one kind of music you have been listening to and perhaps singing yourself for the city was full of bearable boys and ladies selling lavender
each with a distinctive street crack to bring housewives to the windows and down onto the cobbles to bad day. When I was last in London a few years ago. The street talkers were still there and out now and many of them simply holler oysters. But occasionally there is still a fine tune like the lovely thin solitary voice of an old lady singing. Well. While many of these tunes were lovely and it was quite the vogue for the classical composers to adapt these cries for instruments and voices. You hear a medley of street cries played in song by the concert of music in the Columbia recording. This is music gets heard and stage plays of Shakespeare's and.
Other types of songs sung in Shakespeare's time are still sung in England too. There is one particular one that I kept hearing in different variants throughout the British Isles. Very strange and haunting one called not as young but a growing and it's a very very old song and comes from the time when parents married off their children very very young sometimes as young as 10 and 11 for the purpose of consolidating family money and property here in McCall recreates one of the early Scots versions of the song which she calls a girl in her. He. Thought We Was the
goal. Of. Oslo. DL up the phone he was t he was. Was. A was a was yet will ta Jaco
was a. Man he. Was. Caught that was was.
In the 16th century you would most certainly have done been dandled on some nurses knee to the strains of this rollicking nursery song. But the way I just sang the first three verses Well that's Kentucky Mountain where I was born and raised and worth thousands of over old musical survival's probably the earliest mention of Mr. Frog and Miss Mouse was made in November the twenty first 15 A.D. when there was an entry in the register of the London company of stationers of a composition entitled The most strange of the froggie and the mousie. All with ease on the end you know. Now New York Pro Musica singers hark back to those days as they sing from Jordan songs of Shakespeare's time. It was a frog in the will. You will.
Get. Oh. I was a. Bit. The dust was was right was that it was done which was what was. The. Reason I. Was doing was. And. Was was.
That there was a. Company that was. Mr. Frog he really traveled all around. We met him one day in Ireland in the singing of Seamus Innes who called him Uncle frog and his girlfriend was lady mouse if you please. From the window to train to Kitty Kitty along nuncle front window to write a ticket to a young girl from the window to write the sort of the book goes by he said to me back to NEW DAY. Getting a little older. The first team it was their day mother's kitty alone kitty alone first in it was Lady most kitty alone and you were the first Emad was leadin most don't do this I did in the house of intact mutated to New do beauty alone and.
Mostly a matter of me the most to mouth leave me alone and ask my uncle right so she would protect me from corrupting them out of a lead in mouse models. I'm going to have my house tech alone and the wedding breakfast be getting breakfast be a wedding breakfast open the top 3 would be intact. LOL And that was Seamus Innes of Ireland. Well we can't talk or sing along about the music of Old England without getting around the Madrigal. In fact most people who haven't studied musical history do think of the magical as being of English origin.
Now actually the English madrigals were patterned after the earlier Italian madrigals and French songs. The heyday of this type of singing was during the reigns of Henry the Seventh and Henry the Eighth and was still popular during the early reign of Queen Elizabeth Elizabeth first that is magical singing was never off our for our bad the people that were the privilege of well-to-do families and nobility. The books were sold at very high prices and the poetry was for the most part very transparent frivolous. It was written especially to suit the airy pretentiousness of the music itself. Bits of fluff with nothing to do with real lives of people sort of slick vocal exercises made to amuse the smart set of the day. Now of course a musical education being within the reach of almost everyone what almost anyone could sing madrigals if you wish to. And today too we found them interesting and charming period pieces expressing their lighthearted side of life from Shakespeare's England. Here's a typical one written by Thomas built over and published in 16 19 in songs of divers errors and not 2
yrs. Here sung by the Del or concert guild. This to me. In a way.
Oh. My. What kind of musical instruments were popular in the 15th and 16th centuries no musical accompaniment was needed for medicals of course. Well let's see the wandering minstrel strum the Lute has said and other popular instruments were let's name a few THE RECORDER a chest of vials treble the virginals. That's an early harpsichord. I like to think of my own instrument the Appalachian dulcimer being in use then and the countries of its ancestry Germany Norway Sweden Denmark and also his ancestors were humble folk instruments being made of Maiden played in the homes of the farming people. They were simple to play and no instruction was needed nor is it now. And they do adapt beautifully
to Shakespearean songs. Listen to my very simple dulcimer company to the willow song. Saying.
That was the song played on the dulcimer the Appalachian dulcimer which is a modern instrument still in use in the Kentucky mountains but which was also in use in Shakespeare's time. Now let's hear three short pieces of the period played upon the instruments for which the music was written. First you hear a lute solo by John Dowland played by Desmond who pray. The players play the instruments on this record. The recorder and the city recorders from the Dorothy World published in 15. We begin with a lute solo.
I wonder if you heard in that middle piece the Maillard of oxen Fords mask a sort of a an instrument that sounded like a drum. Very small. That's what it was I forgot to mention it and that's a very important instrument from Shakespeare's day and that's called a tabor. Many of the Morris dances were done to the tune of pipe and Tabor and they're still done that way today. This period in history was a time of lusty growth of all kinds of music it fairly tumbled forth into the streets while the rich were transporting themselves with medical parties the poor listening to the minstrels and broadsheet sailors up and down the lanes listened and bought the painted sheets to take home and sing for themselves the minstrels usually made up their own songs and had the broadsides printed up. They were newspapers in a way telling of some tragic happening in the community are some comic story or curious thing always something from life. Some of the old ballads and legends were modernized and sold in this fashion. One of the tragic happenings came to be known as the Gosport tragedy or the Oxford murder is sometimes called Michael Jackson has a version of the same song and he
called it the Oxford char less. Sometimes it's simply called the Butcher Boy. And here is a lovely version of it sung by Tommy Macomb of county in Ireland. From his solo record songs of Tommy Macon. We're going to switch over in the middle though to an American version song back in Turkey and you'll see more of a street singer style. This was recorded in 1958 for Brunswick as part of the folkways anthology of American folk music.
Them. Eh I. Have. One important kind of song we haven't mentioned is being popular in Shakespeare's time was the body
song. Well we can't play any examples here for obvious reasons but such songs abounded not only among the rural population but often among the medical singers and even a cohort. Well Queen Elizabeth herself is no prude you know and well even Shakespeare's plays have to be cleaned up for modern broadcasting. I will mention one of these songs it's known as the cuckoo and has been rearranged for the parlor. Also in many instances it's very lovely so well the devil shouldn't have all the good tunes some preacher said. We sing it in their family and Kentucky is a beautiful love lament. Oh. It. Is she brings us glad to know. She. Has. Her vote and she never sings.
But now and tinker a lady in Scotland whose name is Elizabeth by saying this cookoo song for me and she is apologizing for its being so meaning off color. I've had to change the words slightly so I can sing it here but it has a family outing tune and this is why she sang it. The good stand it's the cuckoo high the cuckoo ho the Cuckoo's Nest frog stuff a rattle of the feathers is just. A waste. I think you could just stand it high the whole the cuckoo cuckoo just.
I hope you'll join us again next week when we take another trip through the folklore and music of America and. Many of the portions of this program were compiled from recordings made by Gene Ritchie and her husband while she was on a full ride scholarship in the British Isles. In our next program this ritual sing and talk about folk songs which have about drums vocals for freedom. The program was produced by Stuart silver and directed by Isidore hable. As I rode out with Dean Ritchie is a recorded production of Riverside radio WRVA are in New York City produced under a grant from the National Association of educational broadcaster.
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As I roved out
Folk music of Shakespeare's time
Producing Organization
WRVR (Radio station: New York, N.Y.)
National Association of Educational Broadcasters
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
The eleventh program in this series explores folk music that was popular during the time of William Shakespeare.
Series Description
Hosted by folksinger Jean Ritchie, As I Roved Out explores folk music of America and the British Isles and the people who make it.
Asset type
Sixteenth century
Media type
: Shadel, Bill
Host: Ritchie, Jean
Performer: MacColl, Ewan
Producer: Gouds, Moyra
Producing Organization: WRVR (Radio station: New York, N.Y.)
Producing Organization: National Association of Educational Broadcasters
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: cpb-aacip-0cf52079888 (Filename)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:29:30
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Chicago: “As I roved out; Folk music of Shakespeare's time,” University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed August 12, 2022,
MLA: “As I roved out; Folk music of Shakespeare's time.” University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. August 12, 2022. <>.
APA: As I roved out; Folk music of Shakespeare's time. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from