3 more tunes done tonight

December 18, 2014

I only picked up the guitar to have a little fiddle but I ended up writing three tunes. Finished off the Phrygian set with the final piece beginning on C, which (the structure dictates) was to be on the theme of Sailors/Soldiers. A new set of lyrics that I printed out today, 'The Banks of the NIle', fell into place around some chords and that was that. The story is of a young lad (called William as they always are) who goes off to fight with the British Army despite his girl (Nancy of course) who doesn't want him to go. The lyrics caught my eye because they play with the old cliche of the girl who dresses up as a man to go to sea with her lover - Nancy has a whole verse where she threatens to do just that, but she doesn't follow through. (Or rather William tells her rather curltly that the Colonel won't allow it. I suspect William may have had more than fighting in mind for Egypt.) It also ends happily, William survives and spends the last verse looking forward to returning to Nancy, and so the harmony resolves to the A flat major rather than C minor for the final note of the melody. Also managed a drinking song in the Lydian, starting from G. The chorus is nice, 'It's not yet day, it's not yet day/Why should we lose good liquor/Until the sunbeams round us play/Let's joke and push about the pitcher'. Anyway, this has turned out sounding very Appalachian and I wonder now how many genuine Appalachian tunes are in this mode. Finally, a Mixolydian in D, which actually falls quite easily under the fingers and is similar to a bunch of riffs I have used in songs in the past, with the D major, C major, and G major. When I first started playing around I ended up with 'Sweet Home Alabama', but have now got something for a lovely set of words called 'Wiltshire Labourers', 'How can a man maintain a wife and poor young children too/In Barwick or in Bishopstone? It's more than he can do/On six or seven shillings a week; it's starving by degrees/But the time shall come when every son of Wiltshire shall be freed'. Not Dorset though. No way.

 

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