Greensleeves: again

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Malcolm
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Greensleeves: again

Post by Malcolm » Sun Jul 04, 2010 3:22 am

In the transcriptions of this tune by Monsieur Delcamp and Christopher Parkening in his Guitar Method Vol. 1, the F in bar 2 is natural, however, in my recently acquired London College of Music Exams: Grade 1 it is marked as sharp. Is this a mistake or is it personal choice? It sort of sounds right even though I have become so used to playing and hearing F natural. All three transcriptions differ in other places too, although the main melody line appears to be identical apart from that F (or F sharp) :? .

Cheers,
Malcolm
Last edited by Malcolm on Sun Jul 04, 2010 7:26 am, edited 1 time in total.
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kumgang

Re: Greensleeves: again

Post by kumgang » Sun Jul 04, 2010 6:07 am

I guess that being a popular ancient melody it could be played as you like. F sharp gives the Major flavour,and F natural keeps the minor sense...
I really like it with F natural.

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pogmoor
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Re: Greensleeves: again

Post by pogmoor » Sun Jul 04, 2010 8:24 am

The original source of this guitar piece is the lute tablature version found in the William Ballet lute book. This has F natural.
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kuan

Re: Greensleeves: again

Post by kuan » Tue Jul 06, 2010 11:32 am

pogmoor wrote:The original source of this guitar piece is the lute tablature version found in the William Ballet lute book. This has F natural.
There is really no original source. It's a tune that's been around for ages.

Greensleeves is a great introduction to modality. Look it up and then go back to the piece.

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Hans W
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Re: Greensleeves: again

Post by Hans W » Tue Jul 06, 2010 12:15 pm

I discovered this anomaly a few years back when searching for a higher level of this piece.

My conclusion is that its a F natural based on 3 facts:

1. The majority of the simpler arrangements had F natural.
2. All the higher level arrangements I found had the F natural
3. Francis Cutting's arrangement from the 1500's has the F natural

Here's our very own Valery playing it on the lute.

Youtube

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pogmoor
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Re: Greensleeves: again

Post by pogmoor » Tue Jul 06, 2010 2:39 pm

On grounds of scholarship I'm going to quibble with both of the last two posts :evil:

What I said, kuan, is that the original source for this guitar piece is the lute tablature version found in the William Ballet lute book. That statement is true. You may be right in saying that the tune, in one form or another, predated that, but that is a different issue.

And Hans, you can be forgiven for the fact that Val's beautiful playing distracted you from what he actually states - that the theme is the aforementioned anonymous version from the William Ballet lute book and the two variations (from which you can't tell whether it is F natural or F sharp) are by Francis Cutting.
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Re: Greensleeves: again

Post by Hans W » Tue Jul 06, 2010 6:57 pm

pogmoor wrote:And Hans, you can be forgiven for the fact that Val's beautiful playing distracted you from what he actually states - that the theme is the aforementioned anonymous version from the William Ballet lute book and the two variations (from which you can't tell whether it is F natural or F sharp) are by Francis Cutting.
ImageMe wrong...WRONG Image. Who doth dare to say I am mistaken, that I am have erred, blundered,misconstrued, indeed missed the boat :titanic: of correctiveness ?? correctiousness ?? :arrow: of being right. :D

Actually, its this Cutting version I play and the first, familiar section, is with the F natural whereas the following variation does have F#s thrown in there. Which is to say, I don't really know except for the familiar section which is F natural. (well, in the score I have anyway :chaud: )

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RedneckRondo

Re: Greensleeves: again

Post by RedneckRondo » Sat Jul 10, 2010 4:10 am

Play it in accordance with your mood, or taste.

circle1

Re: Greensleeves: again

Post by circle1 » Sun Jul 11, 2010 12:02 am

I agree that it can go either way and I've seen nice arrangements with either one. I personally like the F natural because it makes the F# in the B section sound all the more fresh when it arrives. Actually, I play it in Em so it's a C or C# for me but that's because I made my own arrangement years ago out of a church hymnal and it happened to be in Em -- probably because it's much easier to sing in Em than in Am.

And like redneckrondo says, go with your mood or taste... I still occasionally opt for the sharped version on a whim.

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Re: Greensleeves: again

Post by KevinCollins » Sun Jul 11, 2010 1:35 am

---

Greensleeves is what you might call a "living" song, Malcolm. It is what you think it is, and it changes according to who you talk to. I would bow to the English, though, as owners of the traditional Greensleeves. It is open to debate, as we have seen.

We had a recording when I was a kid, of the Ralph Vaughan Williams, who is considered a "modern" composer. He uses that raised VI, the dorian sound, I grew up on that, as did many others.

VAUGHAN WILLIAMS, Ralph (1872-1958) English
Fantasia on Greensleeves
On the original instrument, the Banjonium
_________________________________
Ralph_Vaughan_Williams.jpg
Remember that the lute of that time had movable frets, that tuning was not tempered, but based on ratios or whatever they came up with in that part of the world. When you changed keys, you adjusted the fret positions. Instruments did not sound as we are used to hearing them today, which includes the emotional content, I'm afraid. You know, the "mood" (or... "mode"?). If you were to be truthfully authentic, you would start with movable frets and then conjecture as to the actual sound. Did that F note sound sharp-"er" in the intonation of the lute of the time? Was Vaughan Williams channeling William Ballet? Or thumbing his nose at the F natural guys? Good question.

London College of Music? That would go to the Vaughan Williams crowd, my guess.

As far as Chris goes, I think his uncle, Jack Marshall was responsible for the F natural. As a jazz guitarist, who knows where he got it. For the purposes of a beginner's book, I don't think F# is even introduced yet. Maybe he changed it for the book?

And Monsieur Delcamp is French, 'what does he know of English folk tunes', to paraphrase a teacher of mine, who is from England? [No disrespect intended, Sir...]

And even William Ballet was probably quoting someone else, when you think about it. Just because it is in a book with his name is on it, doesn't mean he owned it. Those were the good old days.

Personally, I would split the difference: superglue a piece of matchstick in the middle of the second fret and play the microtonal version, just to see the look on their faces.

Cheers,

Kevin
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Non Tabius
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Re: Greensleeves: again

Post by Non Tabius » Sun Jul 11, 2010 2:27 am

For me with all respect if Frederick Noad Bk 1 has it as a F# then thats good enough for me.

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Re: Greensleeves: again

Post by pogmoor » Sun Jul 11, 2010 9:06 am

circle1 wrote:I personally like the F natural because it makes the F# in the B section sound all the more fresh when it arrives.
This is in accord with English renaissance lute style in which contrasting "major" and "minor" intervals in the same key were often utilised for their effect (quotes used there because the concepts of "major" and "minor" had not by that time been developed).
KevinCollins wrote: VAUGHAN WILLIAMS, Ralph (1872-1958)
Fantasia on Greensleeves
On the original instrument, the Banjonium......
I didn't know RVW played the banjo - as for the banjonium, what is that :?:
KevinCollins wrote:......Remember that the lute of that time had movable frets, that tuning was not tempered, but based on ratios or whatever they came up with in that part of the world. When you changed keys, you adjusted the fret positions. Instruments did not sound as we are used to hearing them today, which includes the emotional content, I'm afraid. You know, the "mood" (or... "mode"?). If you were to be truthfully authentic, you would start with movable frets and then conjecture as to the actual sound. Did that F note sound sharp-"er" in the intonation of the lute of the time? ----
I don't think this is true in the way you have stated it (see my comment above).
Non Tabius wrote:For me with all respect if Frederick Noad Bk 1 has it as a F# then thats good enough for me.
Does he? I haven't seen this book , so I don't know. Noad usually followed original lute versions fairly faithfully - as in the case of his version of Greensleeves in the Renaissance Guitar Book which is a transcription of the two Cutting variations.
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Yamaha SLG 130NW silent classical guitar (2014), Ramirez Guitarra del Tiempo (2017)

circle1

Re: Greensleeves: again

Post by circle1 » Mon Jul 12, 2010 3:06 am

pogmoor wrote:This is in accord with English renaissance lute style in which contrasting "major" and "minor" intervals in the same key were often utilised for their effect (quotes used there because the concepts of "major" and "minor" had not by that time been developed).
I agree, pogmoor. I don't think it had so much to do with movable frets. The tuning systems of that time were very well developed and quite fixed. What was in flux during the Renaissance period was the modal system as it slowly began to morph into what we today call the tonal system of major and minor, which finally gained precedence by the High Baroque. In the earlier medieval modal system accidentals were rarely, if ever, written into the music. It was part of a musician's training to learn when it was appropriate to raise a note during performance. It was up to the discretion of the player -- or, in a choral setting, the director -- to make that decision, frequently on the fly. Even today we still carry on certain vestiges of that system in things like the melodic minor scale where the 6th and 7th degrees are raised when ascending and lowered when descending.

During the epoch of Francis Cutting et al it wasn't so far in the past that accidentals were improvised in a modal environment. By that time accidentals were normally written into the score but it isn't that much of a stretch to imagine that they still had certain assumptions of what a player would do. A tune like Greensleeves, which dates back to the very early Renaissance (or maybe before... we don't know for sure), would carry with it such traditions into the later Renaissance when Mr. Cutting made his arrangements.

It makes me think of playing rock, blues or jazz and bending the 4th of the scale up to either the 5th or the flat 5th. When you're playing with skilled players you never say anything regarding what to do in that respect. Everyone just knows what to do and when to do it because it's part of a living breathing style. It must have been a little like that back then too.

I say that if you like F#, by all means play it! Or someone like KevinCollins who grew up always hearing it that way and prefers it, then great -- you'll play it with more conviction if that's the way you hear it. I grew up hearing it with F natural so I'm partial to that but it doesn't mean I'm right and the F# camp is wrong. Play around with both and decide which you like.

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Non Tabius
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Re: Greensleeves: again

Post by Non Tabius » Mon Jul 12, 2010 6:11 am

Pog wrote
Does he? I haven't seen this book , so I don't know. Noad usually followed original lute versions fairly faithfully - as in the case of his version of Greensleeves in the Renaissance Guitar Book which is a transcription of the two Cutting variations.
One must bear in mind that Noad introduces this peace in its most basic form for the beginner .At that stage I would assume that the respected author would not wish to bogg the student down with ambiquaties between F and F#.
The same author however dose however have this to say with regard to a general approach to The Late Renaissance
on pg 115 of his Bk 2 "Thus ,all scores available today in conventional notation are in fact transcriptions ,and all are influenced to a greater or lesser extent by the point of view of the person who made the transcription."unquote
There might be other authoriies who hold a different view ,be that as it may.Bearing the above in mind it would appear that no person can really claim which is the correct or official way to play "A new Norther Ditty of the
Lady Green Seeves" registered by Richard Jones 1580 , or Shakespear in Merry Wives of Windsor" or Francis Cutting in the Brish Museum registered Add 31392 as on original manuscript.Dowlands Lute Book by Brian Jefferies(Oxford Press 1966.So it seems to me that any reasonably correct version at One's would be acceptable depending on taste
as has already been stated in this thread.
Last edited by Non Tabius on Mon Jul 12, 2010 10:00 am, edited 1 time in total.

Malcolm
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Re: Greensleeves: again

Post by Malcolm » Mon Jul 12, 2010 6:41 am

circle1 wrote:I agree that it can go either way and I've seen nice arrangements with either one. I personally like the F natural because it makes the F# in the B section sound all the more fresh when it arrives.
I have found several arrangements of this now and I have seen only one other so far that uses F# in the verse. Just to confound this even further though, I did find an arrangement that uses F natural in both the verse and the chorus (the B section, presumably). That really does sound rather awful.

Cheers,
Malcolm
When I was ten, I thought my parents knew everything. When I became twenty, I was convinced they knew nothing. Then, at thirty, I realized I was right when I was ten.

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