9781138553477These audio recordings support my first monograph, Singing the News: Ballads in Mid-Tudor England, due for publication by Routledge in February 2018 as part of the Material Readings in Early Modern Culture series.  Their purpose is to bring to life the musical examples given in the book – to make it easier for readers to hear what I’m talking about.  Although we have done our best to give voice to the words and music of the sixteenth century balladeers, these recordings are not intended as a faithful recreation of how these songs were performed in the past – not least because they are mainly accompanied by the guitar but also because we have little record of the performance style of these pieces.  Furthermore, these are not professionally recorded – my budget as an ECR ran only to buying professional portable recording equipment, not to the many hours of time in a recording studio that would have been required.

Really, in a nutshell, I wanted to show that the songs were just that – that they could be sung, and that they weren’t so alien as you might think.  Where we stumble over words, please be patient with us – some of these ballads are 15 minutes long, and it’s hard to work out the phrasing that’s coming as you are singing.  I might almost suggest that this makes the recordings more authentic: the fact is that in some places in some of these ballads, the words don’t fit very well, and that anyone who hadn’t been singing them repeatedly for days on end might struggle to fit the words in – especially so if you were singing them at sight.  The priority here was to create recordings which allowed the reader to hear the tune (and in some cases, the relevant accompaniment) from early modern sources.  Without the capability to ‘drop in’ corrections to the recordings (which would of course be possible in a studio situation), some minor imperfections remain.  We think, though, that they might add to the reader’s understanding of performance practice rather than detract from the experience.

Jenni & Chris


Example 1.1: A Sorrowful Sonnet, made by Mr George Mannington, at Cambridge Castle from Clement Robinson, A Handful of Pleasant Delights to the tune of ‘Labandala Shot’.


Example 2.2: William Elderton’s A New Well a Day to the tune of ‘Welladay’.



Example 3.1: Venus (That Fair Lovely Queen).

First verse only.



Example 3.2: Fain Would I have Some Pretty Thing to Give Unto My Lady to ‘The Lusty Gallant’.



Example 3.3: A New Sonnet of Pyramus and Thisbe from Clement Robinson, A Handful of Pleasant Delights to ‘The Downright Squire’.



Example 3.4: The Ballad of Constant Susanna (London, 1624) to ‘King Solomon’.



Example 3.5: A Proper Sonnet, Wherein the Lover Dolefully Showeth his Grief to his Lady and Requireth Pity from Clement Robinson, A Handful of Pleasant Delights to ‘Row Well Ye Mariners’.



Example 3.6: William Elderton’s A Proper New Ballad Showing That Philosophers Learnings Are Full of Good Warnings (London, 1569) to ‘Chi Passa’.

First verse only.  The words are set, according to Elderton’s instructions, to the ‘first traces of Chi Passa’.  The remainder of the Chi Passa tune is here provided as an instrumental in order to illustrate the rest of the tune, although there is no suggestion that the ballad was actually performed in this way.



Example 3.7: Leonard Gibson’s Leave Lightie Love Ladies to ‘Light o’ Love’.



Example 3.8: John Barker’s Of the Horrible and Woeful Destruction of Jerusalem (London, 1569) to ‘The Queen’s Almain’.



Example 3.9: Maid Will You Marry from Clement Robinson, A Handful of Pleasant Delights to ‘The Black Almain’.



Example 3.10: The History of Diana and Acteon from Clement Robinson, A Handful of Pleasant Delights to ‘The Quatre Branles’.

First verse only



Example 3.12: M. Osborne’s A New Ballade of a Lover Extolling his Lady to ‘Damon and Pythias’ adapted from the broadside.

First verse only



Example 3.13: John Awdelay’s A Godly Ditty or Prayer to be Sung Unto God for the Preservation of his Church, our Queen and Realm to the tune of ‘Psalm 137’ from The Whole Book of Psalms.



Example 4.1: Lenten Stuff to ‘The Cramp’.



Example 4.2: A Ballad from the Country Sent from The Shirburn Ballads, 1585-1616, ed. Andrew Clark, (Oxford, 1907) to ‘The Cramp’.



Example 4.3: William Elderton’s The Pangs of Love and Lovers Fits (London, 1559) to ‘King Solomon’.



Example 4.4: Wisdom Would I Wish to Have to ‘King Solomon’.



Example 4.5: Thomas Rider’s The Pinning of the Basket (London, 1590) to ‘The Downright Squire’.



Example 4.6: Steven Peele’s A Letter to Rome to Declare to the Pope John Felton his friend is Hanged in a Rope (London, 1570) to ‘Row Well Ye Mariners’.



Example 4.7: Second verse of A Merry New Ballad of a Country Wench and a Clown to ‘All in a Garden Green’ (first verse is incomplete).

This is the musical example from the book:

Through the process of recording the whole (extant) song, I came to think that the following setting of the words is more appropriate:



Example 4.8: An Excellent Song of an Outcast Lover from Clement Robinson, A Handful of Pleasant Delights to ‘All in a Garden Green’.



Example 5.1: Thomas Bette’s Against Rebellious and False Rumours to ‘The Black Almain upon Sicilia’.



Example 5.2: John Thorne’s version of The Hunt is Up.



Example 6.1: Conjectural setting of A New Ballad made of Thomas Cromwell (Troll on Away) to ‘Half Hannikin’.



Example 6.2: Conjectural setting of A Ballad Against Malicious Slanderers (Troll In) to ‘Half Hannikin’.



Example 6.3: Conjectural setting of Thomas Smyth’s A Little Treatise Against Seditious Persons to ‘Half Hannikin’.



Example 7.1: Conjectural setting of The Ballad of Joy to ‘Nancie’.



Example 7.2: Richard Beeard’s A Godly Psalm of Mary Queen.

First verse only



Example 8.1: A Ditty Most Excellent for Every Man to Read (Who Loveth to Live in Peace) to ‘John Come Kiss Me Now’.



Example 8.2: A Ditty Most Excellent for Every Man to Read (Who Loveth to Live in Peace) to ‘The Rich Merchant Man’.

First verse only.




Recordings were made using a Tascam DR-40 digital four-track recorder between 15 January 2018 and 6 February 2018.

Vocals: Jenni Hyde, Chris Hyde; Guitar & Electric Piano: Chris Hyde; Piccolo: Jenni Hyde