Week #191 ~ What Child is This? (Greensleeves)

  1. Barbara Shultz
    Barbara Shultz
    This week's winner is What Child is This? (Greensleeves)

    When I googled this, I find abc in many keys... here it is in E minor on abcnotation.com

    and the abc from that site:

    T:What Child Is This? (Greensleeves)
    C:William C Dix - Traditional 16th Century
    O:English Melody
    |E|"Em"G2 A B3/2c/2 B|"D"A2 F D3/2E/2 F|"Em"G2 E E3/2D/2 E|"B7"F3 B,2 E
    w:1What Child is this,_ who laid to rest,_ on Ma-ry's lap_ is sleep-ing? When
    w:2Why lies he in_ such mean es-tate_ where ox and ass_ are feed-ing? Good
    w:3So bring Him in-_cense, gold and myrrh,_ come pea-sant, king,_ to own Him. The
    |"Em"G2 A B3/2c/2 B|"D"A2 F D3/2E/2 F|"Em/C#"G3/2F/2 E "B7"D D2|"Em"E3 E3
    w:an-gels greet_ with an-thems sweet,_ While shep-_ herds watch are keep-ing?
    w:Chris-tian fear;_ for sin-ners here_ The si-_lent Word is plead-ing.
    w:King of kings_ sal-va-tion brings,_ let lov-_ing hearts en-throne Him.
    |"G"d3 d3/2^c/2 B|"D"A2 F D3/2E/2 F|"Em"G2 E E3/2D/2 E|"Bm"F2 D B,3
    w:This, this_ is Christ the King,_ Whom shep-herds guard_ and an-gels sing
    |"G"d3 d3/2^c/2 B|"D"A2 F D3/2E/2 F|"Em"G3/2F/2 E "B7"D D2|"Em"E3 E2|
    w:Haste haste_ to bring Him laud,_ the Babe,_ the Son of Ma-ry.

    And here's Roland White's instructional video on YouTube:

  2. Martin Jonas
    Martin Jonas
    A great tune and one of the big hits of the 17th century -- there are lots of different tune variants out there, and exploring them can help revitalise an tune that may be overfamiliar in its now most common form. I recorded three different 17th century versions a while ago:

    1) "Greensleeves and Pudding Pies": This is the Greensleeves version that appears in Playford's Dancing Master (7th Edition, 1687). Also known as "Greensleeves and Yellow Lace". Played on Mid-Mo.

    2) Variations on Greensleeves to a Ground: This is from Playford's Division Violin, a rather different type of publication from the Dancing Master. Playford was a music publisher, not a composer or arranger, and this particular publication was aimed at the instrumentalist rather than the dance instructor, and so contains much longer and more elaborate tunes. The piece I have played in this video is the familiar Greensleeves, plus 13 further variations each of quite different character. Sheet music is at Mutopia here. There are 14 variations in the sheet music, but one was too hard for me. Also on Mid-Mo:

    Michael Reichenbach (of mandoisland.de) plays this rather different from me, adding copious double stops: Link

    3) Greensleeves to a Ground: Same title as the previous video, but different source, and much shorter. This is from Allan Alexander's "Mandolin Music For Renaissance Faires", but I'm not sure of his source -- possibly his adaptation of the Playford variations. Played on a Kala ukulele in mandolin (fifths) tuning, to imitate a lute.

  3. laura809
    Nice job Martin. It seems like you did a thorough analysis of this tune. I figured that I better get an early start with the upcoming holiday. The first time through I played a classical guitar arrangement on steel string guitar and supported it with some chord tremolo on mandolin. I wish I could play it better, but I made my best attempt with a bowed upright bass because I thought it would sound cool on this tune.
  4. David Hansen
    David Hansen
    Nicely done Laura. My version is in Gm which seems to work better for me than the Em version. I start out on the octave then add the mandolin and then the concertina over a baritone guitar accompaniment. The first painting in the video is "My Lady Greensleeves" by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, the rest of video is also paintings by Rossetti.

  5. Kadenza910
    I have only posted to this group once before, but now that I am home for winter break I had a little time to pick up my mandolin. I have just started to learn the instrument. All of your videos are very inspiring! Here is my simple attempt of Greensleeves.


  6. Jim Baker
    Jim Baker
    Well done Katie, David, Laura, Martin.
  7. OldSausage
    Excellent versions this week, I loved David Hansen's truly medieval sound there. Here's my version, a bit of bluegrass greensleeves.

  8. luurtie
    Wow David! That was awesome, this is seriously the nicest version i've ever heard! Well done for all the the other versions and merry Christmas to everybody on mandolincafe!
    Here is my version, I tried to make it a little bluegrassy

  9. OldSausage
    Thanks Luurtie, I really enjoyed your version too - great rhythmic idea and you have a really nice way with the melody.
  10. Manfred Hacker
    Manfred Hacker
    Awesome stuff, David M., David H. and luurtie. Though I don't know, David, whether the paintings are suitable for all ages ;-))))
    Great effort Katie. Keep up the good work in the New Year.
    Good stuff, Martin. You are definitely the Greensleeves expert in the group.
    Laura, sweet version, like you guitar playing too.
  11. Tosh Marshall
    Tosh Marshall
    Fantastic offerings as usual, and well done Katie, keep the playing up, you'll be fine.
    I've erred slightly as it's sometimes played as a jig in sessions over here so that's what I've done based on a version by the good sessioneers of the Greenwich Traditional Musician's Co-Operative ! Couldn't say that after a few ciders!
    Wishing you all a very happy Xmas and all the very best for 2013.

  12. Gelsenbury
    Better late than never ... under the Christmas tree and in one take.
  13. Martin Jonas
    Martin Jonas
    This was our Christmas Song Of The Week this time last year, and I thought I should revisit it as I have come across a wonderful (and rather difficult) new arrangement.

    This is a famous set of variations on Greensleeves published by Playford in his (near identical) collections "The Division Violin" (1685) and "The Division Flute" (1706). Unlike Playford's Dancing Master, these were more sophisticated collections for the serious player, consisting mostly of variations on well-known themes set for a solo player, to a repeating ground bass. "Greensleeves To A Ground" has the theme plus 14 variations of eight bars each. The original works just fine on mandolin -- I've previously recorded it as a solo instrumental (linked in my message to this thread last year) and Michael Reichenbach (Mandoisland) has a fine performance online here.

    However, this new recording I have made today is based on a duo arrangement intended for two flutes by "hatao", a prolific Japanese arranger of flute music (also the source for the Carolan arrangements I recorded last month). His duet score is here. He has taken Playford's 14 variations, added another five, and has expanded them all into duets, in a variety of styles. They are consistently interesting, and technically progressively more challenging, especially the last few variations where the strict 6/8 metre gets sub-divided, and subverted, in increasingly inventive ways that took me some practice time to get my head around.

    I've played this as a duet of two equal instruments by double-tracking my 1925 Zimmermann waldzither, in GDAEB tuning. The waldzither is a direct descendent of the renaissance cittern and English guittar, and therefore (sort-of) a period-appropriate instrument. The tone has an ancient feel that a modern mandolin wouldn't have, and the lower register suits the piece. As the flute score ranges over three octaves, I was very glad for the high B course on the waldzither which makes several of the variations a good deal easier to play. I've omitted hatao's penultimate variation, which seems to have been written idiomatically for flute and is all-but-unplayable on plucked instruments (for me, anyway). For the same reason, I've also omitted the cadence in bar 104.

    The ground bass is realised on tenor guitar, using hatao's chord progression. The last three variations have different pulse from the rest, and I've adapted the ground to match.

    I have really enjoyed playing this piece, and felt that it stretched my technical proficiency. It's quite a bit more difficult than the original Playford variations, which aren't easy either, but it's very effective as a duet (or a trio if you add the guitar).

  14. Martin Jonas
    Martin Jonas
    I've just done another quite different recording of Greensleeves, based on the setting and variation by Allan Alexander from "Renaissance Music for Mandolin". I'm using his variation as a accompaniment for the melody.

    Played as a trio of two mandolins (unison for the first verse, then alternating melody and variation) and tenor guitar arpeggios.

    1915 Luigi Embergher mandolin
    Mid-Missouri M-0W mandolin
    Ozark tenor guitar

  15. woodenfingers
    Very nice Martin. It sounds at times like you are playing a harpsichord. You also came up with a nice collection or red heads with green sleeves for the video.
  16. crisscross
    Martin's version has such a nice renaissance feeling to it.
    I went for a more Neapolitan "Signora maniche verde"
  17. Martin Jonas
    Martin Jonas
    There are a great many different settings of Greensleeves, and I have already uploaded several of them in this thread. This new mandolin tremolo version in G minor is based on a lovely quartet arrangement by Evelyn Tiffany-Castiglioni from "Evelyn's Big Book for Mandolins for the Year 2015" (available from Amazon, NFI). Evelyn has posted the same arrangement here on the Cafe in her Winter Tune book (Link)

    Played on two mandolins and two tenor guitars.

    1890s Umberto Ceccherini mandolin
    Mid-Missouri M-0W mandolin
    Vintage Viaten tenor guitar
    Ozark tenor guitar

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