Mudcat Café Message Lyrics & Knowledge Personal Pages Record Shop Auction Links Radio & Media Kids Membership Help
The Mudcat Cafeawe



User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
GUEST,SteveG Making up a song on the spot. (15) RE: Making up a song on the spot. 03 Oct 11


Improvising and adding verses to existing songs was once a strong part of oral tradition. In fact in some oral traditions prior to widespread literacy ballad singers, we are told, used to remake songs every time they sang them using well used formulae and the basic plot.

Of course shanty singing is a good example of this improvisation.

The ubiquitous tune and chorus of the 18thc was 'Derry Down', that Derry Down that is used for 'The Deadnaught' and 'King John and the Abbot of Canterbury' and many thousands of other texts.

Bawdy singarounds often produce improvised verses particularly with catalogue songs like 'Sing us another one do'(Limericks) and 'The Four and twenty virgins'.

In fact we used to run a bawdy late-night session at Whitby festival. One night Johnny Handle was stood at the bar listening in for a couple of hours without contributing but getting well sozzled. We were just about to end the proceedings when Johnny lurched into the middle and launched into a song which he must have been making up on the spot as each verse was about a different person in the room. Needless to say it was well within keeping with the night's theme.


Post to this Thread -

Back to the Main Forum Page

By clicking on the User Name, you will requery the forum for that user. You will see everything that he or she has posted with that Mudcat name.

By clicking on the Thread Name, you will be sent to the Forum on that thread as if you selected it from the main Mudcat Forum page.

By clicking on the Subject, you will also go to the thread as if you selected it from the original Forum page, but also go directly to that particular message.

By clicking on the Date (Posted), you will dig out every message posted that day.

Try it all, you will see.