Tuesday, April 11, 2017

'The Gude and Godlie Ballates', Scotland, 1542-6

I have posted here before about the Lutheran-inspired Wedderburn Brothers of Dundee and their collection of ‘Gospel-ised’ folk ballads of the 1540s (see here for previous article). They used the familiar tunes of the day and changed the words to contain Reformation and Gospel themes. A stroke of genius.

This 1897 edition by the Scottish Text Society is brilliant – A Compendious Book of Godly and Spiritual Songs – containing bucketloads of wonderful contextual history and examples of similar things happening around the same time across Europe. The chapter entitled The Spiritualising of Secular Songs and Appropriation of their Tunes in particular is worth a read - click here.

Songs carry stories – around the world, and across the ages. Stop singing the songs which have meaning, and you dam the river of tradition. You cut off your own source.



Etta said...

You know this is being republished this year?