Samuel Alexander building

Samuel Alexander building (Photo credit: nogbad the bad)

I was a bag of nerves on Tuesday evening, ahead of my panel meeting on Wednesday morning, as those who saw me that evening could testify.  I go giggly when I’m nervous, and it makes people who don’t know me think I’m not taking things seriously, which is not the case.  Terror doesn’t quite have the same effect, but nerves….

It all turned out alright though.  I’m happy to say that my panelists all seem to think that the revised chapter plan is an improvement, so since Wednesday morning I’ve been busily concentrating on the ballads.  Actually, I started looking at the ballad tunes on Monday afternoon, after a lovely weekend with friends, family and a lot of laughter.  So I’d done quite a bit of work on them before heading to Manchester for the meeting.

Most of my time has been spent analysing the structure and modes of the ballad tunes, putting the tunes with the known words and tinkering with them to make them fit.  The next job is to look at the background (printers/publication dates/variants) of the ballad lyrics and see how the words of the ballads relate to the tunes.  My collated working document of lyrics and tunes is nearly 100 pages long!

I’ve also been looking into hexachordal theory, although at the moment I’m unclear on why sixteenth century musical theorists felt the need to leave out the seventh of the scale.  I will need to draw this into my ballad analysis at some stage.

So last week’s floundering is over, I have a plan and I’m enjoying work again.

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