Thursday, October 08, 2015

"Kiss My Lady" -- English country dance tune [?] in Black Baronet

Traditional Tune Archive has several notated variants at One, from Northamptonshire in ENgland, has this note: "Source: John Clare,Poet,Helpstone (1793-1864)Notes: A kissing dance with kissing in the first bar would give everyincentive for the tune to linger a little, as here. CGP.No TS in MS."

John Clare was a village fiddler in England, compiled 2 ms. books of fiddle tunes ... John Clare - poet and fiddler, 1793-1864

John Clare left behind him a fascinating insight into what it was like to be a village fiddler, in his poems, his writings and his tune collections. The first book contains 74 different tunes, some in different versions, while the second book is much more extensive.

Following our publication of both books of his fiddle tune collection, I shall gradually add notes on this page on some of the tunes as they emerge from my investigations. One aspect that has particularly grabbed me is the way very similar, or indeed identical, versions of his tunes appear in other manuscript tune books of the time - same key, same slurs, even same note groupings, and I have tried to locate the common ancestor - presumably a printed source. What is remarkable is the range of music represented in his collection: songs his parents sang, popular songs from operas, tunes he learnt from the various Gypsy families that camped near Helpstone, as well as country dances, jigs, reels, folk songs of the time as well as Scottish and Irish tunes.

Camel Music: Tony Urbainczyk was Head of Strings and Assistant Director of Music at Sherborne Girls from 2003 and retired (early!) from this post in August 2013, to branch out into more playing, private teaching and publishing. Rose Urbainczyk studied at Homerton College, Cambridge, and later morphed into a Technology teacher. She gained her MEd with the OU, made Tony a viola and is his No.1 fan.

John Clare bio at

John Clare (13 July 1793 – 20 May 1864) was an English poet, the son of a farm labourer, who came to be known for his celebratory representations of the English countryside and his lamentation of its disruption.[1] His poetry underwent a major re-evaluation in the late 20th century, and he is now often considered to be among the most important 19th-century poets.[2] His biographer Jonathan Bate states that Clare was "the greatest labouring-class poet that England has ever produced. No one has ever written more powerfully of nature, of a rural childhood, and of the alienated and unstable self".[3]

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Worship set, contemporary service, Saturday, Oct. 10, Atonement-Faith-Luther Memorial

Call to Worship: Come, Now is the Time to Worship (band only)
Welcome & Announcements
Opening Songs:
Lord, I Lift Your Name on High
For These Reasons
Prayer of the Day

Communion Instructions/Invitation
Story of the Lord's Supper
The Lord's Prayer (Willow Creek)
Communion Distribution
Communion Blessing

Prayer before the Word
Scripture Reading
Children's Message

Sharing of the Peace
Song: Cry of My Heart

Proclamation of Forgiveness/Absolution
Profession of Faith: Because We Believe
Gift Giving
Prayers of Intercession

Prayer Before We Go
Sending Song: Lord, I Lift Your Name on High

Videos --

Saturday's special music set:

Service music (same every week)

YouTube user "IshallflywhenIdie" at has this background on "Lord, I Lift Your Name on High": Rick Founds wrote this song while in Morning devotion, he thought of GOD's plan of salvation as sort of a cycle and thus the famous chorus was born "You came.... Lord I Lift Your Name on High" Maranatha quickly recorded the song as he had worked with and was was friends with members of the Maranatha! Singers and Praise Band (2 supposedly separate groups but whose members OVERLAPPED lol, Praise Band was more rock/guitar driven while Maranatha! Singers remained "classic style"). Maranatha's singers (This one) and Praise Band's versions were the very first time that this song had been recorded and as they say THE REST IS HISTORY.

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Ancient Greek (or Hellenistic) song, Epitaph of Seikilos, sounds a little bit like Neil Young


You have to be a real geek to get into something like this, but here goes ...

Today I surfed into it while I was following links to a story about a Neanderthal bone flute that I shared on Facebook. As far as we can reconstruct things like this, it's a song written in the first century by a Greek named Seikilos in memory of his wife. It survived to the present because it was inscribed on a marble tombstone. It is now in the Danish Nationalmuseet (national museum) in Copenhagen.

Known to scholars today as the Seikilos epitaph, it's a nice little tune. According to Wikipedia, it is the "oldest surviving example of a complete musical composition, including musical notation, from anywhere in the world." It sounds like this:

Michael Levy plays Epitaph of Seikilos on replica of ancient Greek lyre

Since the tombstone was found in what is now Turkey, it isn't ancient Greek -- strictly speaking it is an artifact of the Hellenistic culture that was dominant in the eastern Mediterranean in the years after Alexander the Great. The language is the same Greek lingua franca, or koine, in which most of the New Testament was written. A team of British researchers have deciphered the musical notation, and in 2012 and 2013 they played the Epitaph of Seikilos at academic meetings and for the news media.

When he (or she) heard it, an anonymous writer for the News Corp Australia Network was reminded of Canadian 1970s rock star Neil Young, adding:

Think Kiss' Rock'n'Roll All Nite (Party Every Day). Think Bon Jovi's Sleep When I'm Dead. Think YOLO. This is Seikilos' take on life (and death).

Here, in a screen shot from Wikipedia, is the melody, both in the ancient Greek notation (see below for a rough explanation) and modern standard notation:

And here's the poem, again as it appears in Wikipedia, in Greek and modern English:

It's kind of a nice poem. Like the staff writer for News Corp. said, the lyrics do suggest you only live once, enjoy it while you can. A fitting enough theme for an epitaph.

Says Armand D'Angour, a musician and tutor in classics at Oxford University who worked with the group that translated the song and set it to modern musical notation, writing for a BBC News report in October 2013:

The Greeks had worked out the mathematical ratios of musical intervals - an octave is 2:1, a fifth 3:2, a fourth 4:3, and so on.

The notation gives an accurate indication of relative pitch: letter A at the top of the scale, for instance, represents a musical note a fifth higher than N halfway down the alphabet. Absolute pitch can be worked out from the vocal ranges required to sing the surviving tunes.

While the documents, found on stone in Greece and papyrus in Egypt, have long been known to classicists - some were published as early as 1581 - in recent decades they have been augmented by new finds.

Dating from around 300 BC to 300 AD, these fragments offer us a clearer view than ever before of the music of ancient Greece.

The anonymous staff writer for News Corp. Australia picks up the story:

While fragments of even older music have been found, this short marble column contains the only known complete song with both music notations and lyrics.

Securely housed in the National Museum of Denmark, the marble column has now been "played" once more through the efforts of ancient music researcher Michael Levy and musician and Oxford University classicist Armand D'Angour.

The ancient form of music notation dates back to 450BC and involves alphabetical characters and accents placed above Greek vowels. These define the rhythmical beat and indicate upon which cylables the music's pitch should rise or fall.

Michael Levy picked up his lyre and gave the jingle a zesty edge.

Dr David Creese, a classics professor (and Neil Young soundalike), went retro and reproduced the music as accurately as possible, even going so far as to recreate a musical instrument popular at the time the engraving was made - an eight-stringed zither-like instrument that was played with a little mallet.

Creese, a Classics professor at Newcastle University, presented the song at the Royal Music Association of the Music and Philosophy Study Group, July 20, 2012. His instrument, which he calls a canon, is most like something that is linguistically impossible -- an eight-string monochord. He tunes it to the notes of a diatonic mode by arranging moveable bridges.

If you're interested in modal harmony, by the way, the epitaph is probably in what corresponds to the modern Phrygian mode.

So does it sound like Neil Young?

Well ...

You be the judge.

Here's a recording, with the epitaph declaimed in the style of ancient Greek drama and sung by members of Associazione per la Musica Antica Antonio il Verso early music group of Palermo, conducted by Gabriel Garrido. (The picture, BTW, is a pretty good reproduction of the actual inscription in Copenhagen):

Monday, October 05, 2015

"Wild Mountain Thyme" [posted here for future reference]


Mountain dulcimer. has three sets of tab. We want the one posted by RL Walker -- in DAD and DAA -- because it has lyrics and suggested guitar chords:

Lyrics and chords. This song is usually in G -- I don't know who could possibly sing it that high. Sopranos? Men who had had an unfortunate accident? -- but the website has it in D. When you go to print out a copy, click on "font size" a time or two (I did it three times) to enlarge it. Link here:

Sunday, October 04, 2015

A tune by Turlough O'Carolan for Tuesday's Prairieland-Clayville jam session -- Planxty (Col. John) Irwin

Blast email sent this evening to everyone on the Clayville and Prairieland Strings mailing lists --

Hi everybody –

We had a wonderful time at Saturday’s slow jam and song learning session at Clayville Historic Stagecoach Stop – five of us were there, and after we ran through our songs for Advent, we put away the sheet music and played fiddle tunes and (mostly) Irish airs by ear. It was so much fun, I’m planning to bring Mark Nelson’s Celtic music book and Shellley Stevens’ collection of tunes by Irish harp composer Turlough O’Carolan Tueday (links below). I think we’re ready to start using one or both of them, along with Stephen Seifert’s gospel jam book, as we branch out a little.

Our “first Tuesday” session of the Clayville-Prairieland Academy of Music is from 7 to 9 p.m. at Atonement Lutheran Church, 2800 West Jefferson in Springfield.

Hope to see you there!

Planxty Irwin, The Dubliners © Film Shona McMillan ©

PLANXTY IRWIN by Turlough O'Carolan. Recorded on 19.02.11 at The Dubliners gig in Aberdeen, this set featuring Michael Howard (guitar), John Sheahan (fiddle) and Barney McKenna (banjo)

Attached is a Carolan tune that I don’t find in either book, but I think it’s a good introduction to his music. I copied the notation from the Pub Session Tunes website at

... and there’s mountain dulcimer tab at

Both, of course, are in D. (It’s also commonly played in G, and Carolan wrote it in C.) You’ll notice the suggested guitar chords are a little different, and one version is in 6/8 while the other is in 3/4. Carolan wrote it in 6/8, but it’s commonly printed today in 3/4.

There’s a discussion of this point on the website at

Says English fiddle player fidicen, “I shan’t delve deeply into the rights and wrongs of the time signature of this tune except to remark that, to me, it cannot be other than compound duple time (6/8) and certainly not a 3-in-a-bar waltz. We play it either in G, if there are flutes or whistles playing, or in D if fiddles only.”

[*Please see note below, especially for Appalachian dulcimer players, on learning to play the tune in both keys.]

One of the nice things about Irish traditional music, at least the older trad music, is that it came down by oral tradition. There are no automatically “right” answers.

So let’s play “Planxty Irwin” a few times till we’re comfortable with the melody – it’s simple, but catchy – vary the tempo a little, listen to each other and see how it all fits together.

Turlough O’Carolan was a fascinating guy, and his music was lovely. If you want to know more about him, there’s a perceptive bio by Lesley Nelson-Burns, aka “the Contemplator,” at

… and the Old Music Project has Carolan’s complete works transcribed from a “flea market find” copy of Donal O’Sullivan’s “Carolan: The Life, Times and Music of an Irish Harper” at

Planxty Irwin, which O’Sullivan called “Col. John Irwin,” is No. 59.

Here are links to the music books I want to start using:

-- -- Stephen Seifert, “Join the Jam: GOSPEL EDITION”

-- -- Mark Nelson, “Celtic Dulcimer”

-- -- Shelley Stevens, “O’Carolan Harp Tunes for Dulcimer”


* NOTE FOR MOUNTAIN DULCIMER PLAYERS: If you feel like you're ready to break out of the DAD lockstep, learn to play "Planxty Irwin" from the notation in DAA. (That way your low C# is on the 2nd fret of the melody string, and D -- your key note -- is on the 3rd fret.) Once you learn those left-hand positions, you'll be able to transpose the song to G by retuning to DGD and playing the same frets. Since the tune is so commonly played in G, this is a skill you'll want to develop for other jam sessions.

Holden Evening Prayer


At an ad hoc meeting of interested members of Springfield's new Lutheran congregation Wednesday night after choir practice, Pastor Larry mentioned the Holden Evening Prayer service as an example of innovative worship settings. So I went home and looked it up on YouTube. It's lovely.

Marty Haugen wrote it during the winter of 1985 and 1986 at Holden Village, an ELCA retreat in Washington state.


First Lutheran Church, ___________?, Dec. 24, 2012 (28:02)

Shepherd of the Hills, Sylva, N.C.

In 2012, Marty Haugen 1985-86 told how he came to write the vespers service in the winter of 1985 and 1986, when he had a residency at Holden.

all over the map -- weren't satisfied with vespers in LBW -- With nine feet of snow, you had nothing to do after vespers but to sit around and critique the vespers

key -- E-flat minor (six flats!)

What you take into your parishes is pieces of paper with notes on them. It's the singers who make it come alive in your communities for you." Genesis of Vespers '86 (Holden Evening Prayer) Added to the online collection July 11, 2012


Haugen, Marty Recorded in 2012

on a CD with Now is the Feast and Celebration, a communion service. According to the blurb on the website: Holden Evening Prayer was written in 1985-1986 while Marty was the musician-in-residence at Holden Village, a Lutheran retreat center in Washington State, this lovely setting of vespers follows the traditional form while using contemporary and inclusive language. Contents include "Service of Light," Evening Hymn-"Joyous Light of Heav'nly Glory," "Evening Thanksgiving," "The Annunciation," "The Magnificat," "Litany and Prayers," and "Final Blessing."

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Music for praise team, Saturday, Oct. 3, Atonement-Faith-Luther Memorial contemporary service

Call to Worship: What Kind of Love Is This? (Adam, Jamie on verses, team will join on chorus) - find a version by Phillips, Craig, and Dean to listen to).

Worship Set: You Are My King (Amazing Love)/Word of God Speak medley: Amazing Love: V, Ch, V, Ch, right into Word of God Speak Ch, Ch, then back to Amazing Love: Ch -- if you can find Guy Penrod's Worship album online to listen to this, that might help you get the flow ...

Opening Prayer --
Welcome/Announcements/Greeting - Sharing of the Peace (band will play underscore)
Psalm 150 intro to lead into: Let Everything That Has Breath

Creed: Because We Believe (like last week/normal)
Lord's Prayer (like last week/normal)

Sending Song: Forever (... normal)


What Kind of Love Is This?

Amazing Love/Word of God Speak -- medley on Guy Penrod, Worship CD (*see below* --

Let Everything That Has Breath -- Matt Redman --

[Service music:]

  • Because We Believe (creed)

    <.i>---------- (Lord's Prayer)

Forever -- Chris Tomlin --


Guy Penrod promo interview on Amazing Love/Word of God Speak medley:

Monday, September 28, 2015

Looking ahead to Advent soup suppers -- "Cherry Tree Carol" and a moment of realization how the Holy Family was just like any other family when it came to food preparation

Blast email message for Clayville-Prairieland Academy of Music jam session list ...

So it's WHAT-tober? Already?!? Which means we have two sessions coming up in the next week:

-- Saturday, from 10 a.m. to noon, Oct. 3, in the barn at Clayville Historic Stage Coach Stop, Ill. 125 in Pleasant Plains; and

-- Tuesday, from 7 to 9 p.m., Oct. 6, in the "narthex" (lobby) at Atonement Lutheran Church, 2800 W. Jefferson Ave., Springfield.

Let's just go around the circle and call tunes we want to play. No stress, no mess -- well, less mess -- that way. But let's make sure we call a couple of Christmas tunes. Atonement is going in with two other Springfield congregations in the building on West Jefferson, Faith and Luther Memorial, but I understand they've decided to continue the Wednesday night soup suppers in Advent, the season of the church year between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Part of our deal with Atonement has been that we play at one of the suppers. It's been our way of saying thank-you for letting us have the space rent-free. While everything is up in the air because of the transition, I think we'll be invited to play again. So we've identified two songs we'd like to play:

1. "The Cherry Tree Carol"

Lead sheets w/ notation, chords and dulcimer tab at

2. "I Saw Three Ships on Christmas Day"

Lead sheets at

I will post links to YouTube clips -- some of them, vocals and instrumentals alike, are stunning -- along with some notes on how Joseph and Mary, the "queen of Galilee," were just like any other couple when it came to getting the food on the table! Links here:

FOUND IN THE BLACKSMITH'S SHOP AT CLAYVILLE after the Fall Festival, a white ring binder with guitar tab. We think we've found the owner, but I learned a long time ago never to go with what I "think." If it's yours, pls let me know by replying to this email message.

* * *

Our dulcimer tab for the "Cherry Tree Carol" is by Ralph Lee Smith and Maddie McNeill, of a southern Appalachian version of the old English ballad that's very similar to the one sung by the late Jean Ritchie in the linked video clip. I never hear it without thinking of the time I was in a workshop of Ralph's at Western Carolina University. All was well until we got to the verse that says:

And Mary gathered cherries
While Joseph stood around.

There were at least a dozen women in the class, and three or four men. When we got to that line, every one of the women burst out laughing. Ralph looked up, confused, and the men looked around wondering what was so funny. Then I heard a voice on the other side of the classroom say, "Well, isn't that just like a man, standing around while the women do all the work?"

* * *

Background [and tab] on "Cherry Tree Carol" at

We started singing it last year in the Betterton Cabin at Clayville's annual Christmas party, and we liked it so much we decided right then to work it up for this year's Advent program. In addition to the linked interpretations by Sting, Jean Ritchie and the Mark O'Connor bluegrass band, I found a very fine vocal by Seattle grunge and alt rock artist Mark Lanegan:

Background and YouTube clips on "I Saw Three Ships" at