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Poems set to music

Dave the Gnome 12 Jan 10 - 04:21 AM
Sailor Ron 12 Jan 10 - 05:57 AM
theleveller 12 Jan 10 - 06:00 AM
GUEST,EKanne 12 Jan 10 - 06:04 AM
Sandra in Sydney 12 Jan 10 - 06:48 AM
MGM·Lion 12 Jan 10 - 08:45 AM
Jim Carroll 12 Jan 10 - 08:56 AM
theleveller 12 Jan 10 - 09:22 AM
Willa 12 Jan 10 - 09:40 AM
MMario 12 Jan 10 - 09:42 AM
MGM·Lion 12 Jan 10 - 09:47 AM
WalkaboutsVerse 12 Jan 10 - 09:49 AM
DonMeixner 12 Jan 10 - 10:01 AM
Charley Noble 12 Jan 10 - 10:05 AM
Backwoodsman 12 Jan 10 - 10:12 AM
Leadfingers 12 Jan 10 - 10:16 AM
Mark Ross 12 Jan 10 - 10:25 AM
Bluegrassman 12 Jan 10 - 10:39 AM
Bryn Pugh 12 Jan 10 - 10:52 AM
Dave the Gnome 12 Jan 10 - 11:16 AM
Dave MacKenzie 12 Jan 10 - 11:35 AM
MGM·Lion 12 Jan 10 - 11:51 AM
Bettynh 12 Jan 10 - 11:56 AM
Jim Carroll 12 Jan 10 - 12:00 PM
The Sandman 12 Jan 10 - 12:51 PM
Dave Roberts 12 Jan 10 - 01:21 PM
Edthefolkie 12 Jan 10 - 02:13 PM
An Buachaill Caol Dubh 12 Jan 10 - 02:31 PM
cptsnapper 12 Jan 10 - 02:54 PM
cptsnapper 12 Jan 10 - 02:57 PM
GUEST,suegorgeous in Hanover 12 Jan 10 - 03:17 PM
Cuilionn 12 Jan 10 - 04:41 PM
The Sandman 12 Jan 10 - 04:45 PM
Rumncoke 12 Jan 10 - 05:22 PM
Artful Codger 12 Jan 10 - 07:30 PM
GUEST,Gerry 12 Jan 10 - 07:34 PM
Leadfingers 12 Jan 10 - 07:36 PM
Artful Codger 12 Jan 10 - 08:58 PM
MGM·Lion 12 Jan 10 - 10:48 PM
GUEST,Ralphie 13 Jan 10 - 01:22 AM
Artful Codger 13 Jan 10 - 03:04 AM
sciencegeek 25 Jan 16 - 12:09 PM
Jack Campin 25 Jan 16 - 12:19 PM
GUEST,Lester 25 Jan 16 - 12:32 PM
Joe_F 25 Jan 16 - 03:59 PM
MGM·Lion 25 Jan 16 - 04:13 PM
cnd 25 Jan 16 - 04:37 PM
akenaton 25 Jan 16 - 04:38 PM
Tattie Bogle 25 Jan 16 - 05:39 PM
eftifino 25 Jan 16 - 10:45 PM
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Subject: Poems set to music
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 12 Jan 10 - 04:21 AM

We all know of the stalwart work done by Peter Bellamy in setting Rudyard Kipling's works to music but are there any others? My mate and Swinton Club resident, Ged, has set a fair old few of Sir Arthur Conan-Doyles works to music and a very good job he has done too. Anyone have any other examples, famous or otherwise?

Cheers

DeG


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: Sailor Ron
Date: 12 Jan 10 - 05:57 AM

C.Fox Smith, set to music by various people. John Masfield, Robert Louis Stevenson have also been 'done'. All these are frequently sung at Shanty/Maritime festivals, though not perhaps at mainstream festivals/folk clubs.


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: theleveller
Date: 12 Jan 10 - 06:00 AM

Gordon Tyrell set some of John Clare's poems to music on his excellent CD 'A Distance From the Town'.


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: GUEST,EKanne
Date: 12 Jan 10 - 06:04 AM

In Scotland several people have set poems by Violet Jacob, notably Jim Reid and John Eaglesham, as these read off the page like lyrics anyway eg. "Norlan Winds", and "The Last o' the Tinkler".
And John has also set some Joe Corrie poems - "Guttin' Herrin'" and "Anither'.


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 12 Jan 10 - 06:48 AM

Many of Henry Lawson's poems have been set to music - The Songs of Henry Lawson Songbook by Chris Kempster

sandra


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 12 Jan 10 - 08:45 AM

I have some recollection of George Deacon & Marion Ross also setting some of John Clare's work years ago. Just looked on my vinyl shelves, but couldn't find the album I was seeking — if I come across it, will come back: or does anyone else remember it?


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 12 Jan 10 - 08:56 AM

Byron's Dark Loch Na Gar is fairly commonly found in Ireland; piper Willie Clancy played a slow air by that name which is now usually associated with the song.
Irish Traveller 'Pop's' Johnny Connors, a member of the piping Doran family, got hold of a book of R L Stevenson's poems while a 'guest of her majesty' in Winson Green Prison and put a magnificent tune to 'Heather Ale'.
Two local poems now solidly lodged in the tradition are 'Miltown Malbay Fair' aka 'Nora Daly', and 'Farewell To Miltown Malbay', both by local poet Thomas Hayes.   
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: theleveller
Date: 12 Jan 10 - 09:22 AM

Dave Swarbrick wrote a lovely tune for Lovlelace's To Althea From Prison which appears on Fairport Nine.


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: Willa
Date: 12 Jan 10 - 09:40 AM

I love W B Yeats' 'Lake Isle of Innisfree' and fully agree with the comments below,from a review of 'Threads of Time'


'Cherish the Ladies, Threads of Time
Joanie Madden, Mary Coogan, Mary Rafferty, Donna Long, Siobhan Egan, Aoife Clancy
This album is a classic, a must-have. Aoife's silken voice makes each song an intimate experience. Each tune, ballad or jig, is strong. Best, however, is Yeats poem, "The Lake Isle of Innisfree", to which Aoife's music is hauntingly beautiful. Aoife is related to the Clancy Brothers.'


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: MMario
Date: 12 Jan 10 - 09:42 AM

Sung, they are lyrics, spoken , they are poems.

Lots of poems set to music.


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 12 Jan 10 - 09:47 AM

The Mellstock Quire's record on Forest Tracks label FT3016 has an attractive setting of Thomas Hardy's 'The Ruined Maid', sung by Caroline Jackson-Houlston (also author of a good book on the ballads, "Ballads, Songs and Snatches"), to the Dorset tune collected by Hammond of 'The Bold Grenadier'.


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: WalkaboutsVerse
Date: 12 Jan 10 - 09:49 AM

Some of my Chants from Walkabouts were written as poems, before finding a way to sing/chant them, then working/writing out the tunes by mimicking my voice with recorder and keyboards - here, e.g.


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: DonMeixner
Date: 12 Jan 10 - 10:01 AM

Phil Ochs set The Men Behind The Guns to music along with The Highwayman. Both exceptionally fine meoldies.

Don


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: Charley Noble
Date: 12 Jan 10 - 10:05 AM

As Sailor Ron mnetioned above, a number of us have been setting the poems of Cicely Fox Smith to tune, some 70 of her poems to date. In addition to myself there are Alan Fitzsimmons, Bob Zentz, Peter Massy & Gordon Morris, William Pint, Michael Kennedy, and others.

I have also been adapting for swinging the nautical poems of Burt Franklin Jenness, William McFee, Harry Kemp, Bill Adams, Edwin C. Brady, Robert Louis Stevenson, and John Masefield.

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 12 Jan 10 - 10:12 AM

And of course Garnet Rogers set Charles Kingsley's 'The Three Fishers' to music. Great version by his nephew Nathan on the CD 'True Stories'.


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: Leadfingers
Date: 12 Jan 10 - 10:16 AM

Its the easy way out if you cant fake words , but CAN fake a tune - I have dabbled at several poems from 'Comic and Curous Verse'


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: Mark Ross
Date: 12 Jan 10 - 10:25 AM

Phil Ochs' setting of Poe's THE BELLS is wonderful. Charles Badger Clark, "The Poet Lariat", many of his poems have been set to tunes;SPANISH IS A LOVING TONGUE, HIGH CHIN BOB, and I set his poem SONG OF THE LEATHERS to music. Some poets writing just call for them to be sung.

Mark Ross


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: Bluegrassman
Date: 12 Jan 10 - 10:39 AM

There is always the poem that has been discussed and dissected more than any other by mudcatters and others, RAGLAN ROAD to THE DAWNING OF THE DAY.


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: Bryn Pugh
Date: 12 Jan 10 - 10:52 AM

I have posted previously that John Renbourn set John Donne's

"Song : Goe, and catch a Falling Star" ; and IMO a bloody good job he made of it.

An old mate from the Manchester scene, Pete Astles, made a setting of another of Donne's songs "Swetest love, I doo not goe . . . ".

I once set Burn's poem "Bonnie Lesley". Least said, soonest mended.


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 12 Jan 10 - 11:16 AM

Thanks for all the input - I am particularly interested in collections - Such as the Bellemy one. Cicely Fox-Smith would be interesting as she is not only local to me but a very colourful character! Gary and Vera do 'From the North' - anyone do any more?

Cheers

DeG


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: Dave MacKenzie
Date: 12 Jan 10 - 11:35 AM

I've been singing MacDiarmid's "O Wha's the Bride" for over 40 years.


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 12 Jan 10 - 11:51 AM

Leadfingers - interested you set poems from Comic & Curious Verse (I take it you mean the Penguin collections?). I am no composer - the only successful tune I think I have ever made up for myself is for 'Unhappy Bella' in the first book - have you done a setting for that one? The Cohens [editors] are, I think, remiss in not giving its source — Orwell quotes it in Down & Out In Paris & London, claiming to have heard it heartbrekingly harmonised by a couple of old boys in a doss-house; but he doesn't give a tune!


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: Bettynh
Date: 12 Jan 10 - 11:56 AM

At Girl Scout camp in the 1960's we sang a beautiful version of Kipling's "Seal's Lullaby."

Did Peter Bellamy write it, perhaps? His music is very hard to find.


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 12 Jan 10 - 12:00 PM

Walter Pardon was a Hardy nut and he made a tune for 'The Trampwoman's Tragedy
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: The Sandman
Date: 12 Jan 10 - 12:51 PM

Sailortown, Poem by Fox Smith, music by Dick Miles.
in fact since the music was written in 1987.,I reckon I played a major part in drawing the folk revivals attention to her poetry.http://www.dickmiles.com


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: Dave Roberts
Date: 12 Jan 10 - 01:21 PM

Then there are the superb Sir John Betjeman/Jim Parker collections, such as 'Late Flowering Love' and 'Varsity Rag'.


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: Edthefolkie
Date: 12 Jan 10 - 02:13 PM

Steve Ashley also wrote a tune to Donne's "Goe and catch a Falling Starre", and a lovely tune it is. It appears on "Stroll On" as "John Donne Song".

Actually the more recent version of the record called "Stroll On Revisited" is an extremely good buy. It contains all the superlative songs from the original record plus some extra tracks, including the fantastic "Old Rock'n'Roll". And arrangements by the late Robert Kirby.

No I'm not related and I'm not his manager....


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: An Buachaill Caol Dubh
Date: 12 Jan 10 - 02:31 PM

Re Hugh MacDiarmid, his "Ae gowden lyric..." has been set to a very demanding, soaring melody, either by Ronald Stevenson or Francis George Scott (I think the former): it's in John Purser's "Scotland's Music", published about 1990.


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: cptsnapper
Date: 12 Jan 10 - 02:54 PM

Linden Lea, music by Vaughn Williams


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: cptsnapper
Date: 12 Jan 10 - 02:57 PM

Sorry, Linden Lea written by William Barnes.


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: GUEST,suegorgeous in Hanover
Date: 12 Jan 10 - 03:17 PM

Wasn't there a recent thread on this very same topic?

Anyway, Bristol duo The Wraiths - http://www.myspace.com/thewraithsbristoluk - set Emily Dickenson's poetry to music very beautifully.


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: Cuilionn
Date: 12 Jan 10 - 04:41 PM

Aye, Emily Dickenson's fun to sing. One theory I've heard is that her poems fell naturally into the "Common Metre" (meter?)of then-popular hymn tunes. This means you can fit them to a host of tunes, rather like the lyrics to "Amazing Grace" or the theme from "Gilligan's Island."

My favourite: take her maudlin little poem that goes "because I could not stop for death, he kindly stopped for me..."

Now sing it to the tune of "Yellow Rose of Texas." Puts a whole new feeling to it!


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: The Sandman
Date: 12 Jan 10 - 04:45 PM

oh the yellow rose of texas and the man from laramie, went down to davy crocketts to have a cup of tea, the tea was so delicious they had another cup , poor old davy crockett had to do the washing up.


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: Rumncoke
Date: 12 Jan 10 - 05:22 PM

I suspect that it was a common pass-time in many households before the radio was commonplace.

In my mother's mothers house they had dozens of books of poetry - all were burnt when she moved into a flat along with the huge old furniture - and when my uncles and aunts were young they would spend afternoons at the piano with hymn books for the tunes, finding ways to put them together.

Anne Croucher


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: Artful Codger
Date: 12 Jan 10 - 07:30 PM

Bellamy's music is not at all hard to find; just check Camsco or Amazon. Many of his Kipling settings are available on the CD double reissues "Fair Annie" (paired with "Peter Bellamy") and "Mr Bellamy, Mr Kipling & the Tradition" ("Keep on Kipling" and "Songs an' Rummy Conjurin' Tricks"); also on the excellent 3-CD compilation "Wake the Vaulted Echoes".

In addition to Badger Clark, other cowboy poets whose poems have been set to music include N. Howard "Jack" Thorp, Curley Fletcher, Gail Gardner, Omar Barker, Bruce Kiskaddon, Herbert Henry Knibbs, Arthur Chapman, Frank Maynard, Larry Chittenden, E.A. Brininstool, D.J. O'Malley, Captain Jack Crawford and Rhoda Sivell (I guess she'd be a cowgirl poet)--you can find many threads dealing with these poem adaptations here; also check CowboyPoetry.com. Someone recently recorded an entire album of Sivell adaptations she'd worked up. One-off cowboy poems that have been set include Brewster Higley's "The Western Home" ("Home on the Range"), Alan McCandless's "The Cowboy's Soliloquy", Frank Desprez's "Lasca" and Harold Hersey's "The Lavender Cowboy". "O Bury Me Not" came from the poem "The Ocean Burial", by Edwin H. Chapin. Don Edwards has set numerous cowboy poems, by these authors and others. Lots of cowboy songs originally came from poems which were published in regional papers or in popular national papers like "Youth's Companion".

Robert Service is another poet favored by songifiers.

I'd hazard a guess that a large number of broadside "songs" were actually just poems without any specific tune held in mind by the author. Settings of broadside poems by revivalist performers are legion.

Shameless plug: I've put tunes to quite a few poems, including Bret Harte's "Coyote" (with coyodel) and Badger Clark "Batchin'", "The Old Cow Man" and "Ridin'". I also did my own setting of "Unhappy Bella", which someone mentioned above.


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: GUEST,Gerry
Date: 12 Jan 10 - 07:34 PM

I'm sure we've had a thread on this - finding it is another question....

I've heard several musical settings of The Highwayman. The one by Phil Ochs has been mentioned in this thread, and another very good one is by Loreena McKennitt, also recorded by Andy Irvine.

Sandra linked to Chris Kempster's collection of musical settings of Henry Lawson poems. There was a tribute album to Chris Kempster a few years back which has recordings of several of these songs. Also Priscilla Herdman's album, Water Lily, has several settings of Lawson poems.


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: Leadfingers
Date: 12 Jan 10 - 07:36 PM

Artful - I had a go at Bret Harte's 'Heathen Chinee' but never did much with it as my musical partner at the time had brothers who were married to delightful chinese ladies !


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: Artful Codger
Date: 12 Jan 10 - 08:58 PM

Gerry: The topic does sound familiar and recent (or at least recurrent). But I think el Gnomo was here specifically trying to elicit sets of poems by the same author that had been put to music, not so much individual poems. We've been widening the focus a bit.


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 12 Jan 10 - 10:48 PM

Researching broadsides to set to new tunes used to be the speciality of The Halliard [Nick {as he spelled it those early days} Jones & Dave Moran were the composers mainly, + Nigel Patterson the third instrumentalist] — see thread on 'The Workhouse Boy', &c. I remember I particularly loved Nic's tune for 'Going for a soldier, Jenny', & Dave's 'Calico Printer's Clerk'.

Codger, it was me who has done setting of 'Unhappy Bella'. Wonder how they compare.

Michael


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: GUEST,Ralphie
Date: 13 Jan 10 - 01:22 AM

MtheGM
Nigel Patterson drops in here from time to time, and I agree Nic used to excel at adding tunes to Broadsides. Billy, don't you weep for me, probably being one of his best known. Knowing Nics sense of humour, I'm sure it was the story that inspired him. If you read the lyrics, it's not easy to see how you could possibly hang a tune on it!
Oh, and if you didn't already know, the Halliard briefly reformed a couple of years ago, and recorded more songs, and c/w their first(?) album it is now available via Mollie Music, along with a great book.
Worth it just to hear Nic singing again after all these years. Plug over!


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: Artful Codger
Date: 13 Jan 10 - 03:04 AM

To Michael: I'm sure my "Unhappy Bella" is quite different from yours: mine is kind of "music hall meets Darius Milhaud". Oscar Brand did a setting, too, and ruggers sing it to some general-purpose tune, from what I've heard.

To Ralphie: The Halliard reformed? Had they been keying cars and giving dweebs swirlies? ;-}


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: sciencegeek
Date: 25 Jan 16 - 12:09 PM

Dave Parry did a number of Robert Service poems to music... quite a shock when he passed after the Mystic Sea Music Festival.... anyone know how to obtain his old cassette? or CD if available... google has not been my friend lately... thanks to lousy broadband in rural USA


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: Jack Campin
Date: 25 Jan 16 - 12:19 PM

Gordon Tyrell set some of John Clare's poems to music

I have some recollection of George Deacon & Marion Ross also setting some of John Clare's work years ago.

The difference being that Deacon knew the tunes Clare himself intended and Tyrrell didn't. The difference shows.

The setting of e.e. cummings's "all in green went my love riding" by Peter Schickele, sung by Joan Baez on her "Baptism" LP, is spectacularly original, albeit rather untraditional sounding.


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: GUEST,Lester
Date: 25 Jan 16 - 12:32 PM

A Shropshire Lad
Words Sir John Betjeman, music Jim Parker

John Kirkpatrick


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: Joe_F
Date: 25 Jan 16 - 03:59 PM

Very many of Kipling's songs were set to music -- quite a few made it into the music halls during his lifetime. That was no doubt his intent, in view of the number of his titles containing the words "song", "ballad", "hymn", etc. Among more recent carriers on of the tradition, in addition to Bellamy, one might mention Leslie Fish and some other filkers.


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 25 Jan 16 - 04:13 PM

I don't recall anyone above [apologies if I missed it] mentioning Stanford's stirring setting of Newbolt's rousing "Drake's Drum". That sort of patriotic triumphalism is, one realises, not·quite·the·thing with the present generation; but sung regularly over the airwaves by bass-baritones of the Peter Dawson type, it was, whatever may be thought from a post-60s perspective, the sort of thing which kept up our national morale in the dark days of early WW2.

≈M≈


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: cnd
Date: 25 Jan 16 - 04:37 PM

Wouldn't all songs technically be poems set to music unless they're instrumental songs or improvs?


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: akenaton
Date: 25 Jan 16 - 04:38 PM

Someone above mentioned Garnet Rogers, he also set Henry Lawson's "After all" to music, it's one of my all time favourites, uplifting and inspirational
After All


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 25 Jan 16 - 05:39 PM

Well as it's Burns' Night, can I just mention that Robert Burns is not known to have written many tunes, but he had an ear for good ones to snaffle up to set his poems to, or some were set to music later by others: some of those we sing now, of course, and NOT to the earlier tunes he used. He did play the fiddle which is why some of them have that challenging octave-and-a-half range!


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: eftifino
Date: 25 Jan 16 - 10:45 PM

More recently, the late Jim Croce recorded 'Gunga Din"https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=34Vxqydpmus

Banjo Patterson's "Clancy of the Overflow": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZB6K85PuQ_M


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