One of the best-known and best-loved of all ancient tunes, but I’m not sure whether there is a specific celtic origin, let alone Irish. One theory is that the tune was composed by King Henry VIII of England, who, amongst his other accomplishments, was apparently considered to be not a bad musician.
Yeah, and was anyone going to tell him he wasn’t?
I’ve yet to come across this one in a session, but I have heard it said that it is of Irish origin. As Trevor says, it is sometimes attributed to Henry VIII (not an Irishman), but it is more likely that he was only responsible for the words to ‘Greensleeves’ (one of many poems that have been set to this air). I believe this or similar melodies appear in manuscripts, either as song airs or dance tunes, dating from before the reign of Henry VIII, some of them claiming it to be Irish.
There’s an interesting version in O’Neil’s that’s written as a double jig.
I put the alternative title it is the same but sung in Gaelic.
Greensleeves in A Dorian
Here is an old West Country setting in A Dorian (given to me by my teacher), which shows the tune in a rather different light. This version also differs in significant respects from the more common version currently posted.
c2e c2e|d2B G2B|c2A A2A|B2G E3|
c2e c2e|d2B G2B|c2A B2G|1 A3 A2B:|2 A3 A3||
|:g3 gfe|d2B G3|g3 gfe|a2g e3|
g3 gfe|d2B G2B|c2A B2G|A3 A3:|
I would suggest this version is best played fairly slowly (3/8=80 to 90?), and with little ornamentation.
Greensleeves in A dorian
My teacher got this version from Jim Small in Cheddar, Somerset.
This song is one of a few keltic songs known in Brazil. I really love this song, but here we know it very calm. Very slow and soft, especially with transversall flute.
Alternative version of Green sleeves
T:33. Green sleeves
A | c2d e>fe | d2B G>AB | c2A A>GA | B2GE2 |
A | c2d e>fe | d2B G>AB |c>BA ^G>FG | A3-A2 :|
z | g2g gfe | d2B G>AB | c2A A>GA | B6 |
g2g gfe | d2B G>AB | c>BA ^G>FG | A3-A2 :|
A/B/ | c2c cde | dBG GAB | cBA ABc | BGE E2 A/B/ |
c2c cde | dBG GAB | cBA GE^G | A3A2:|
e/f/ | gag gfe | dBG GBd | aba aba | gee e2e/f/ |
gag gfe | dBG GAB | cBA GE^G | A3A2 :|
Green sleeves to a ground - with variations
T:5. Greensleeves to a ground
"C"c2de2e | "G"d2BG3 |"am"A>Bc dec | "E"B2^GE3 |
"C"c2de>dc | "G"d2BG>AB | "am"c>BA"E"~B>A^G | "am"A3-A3 |]
"var. 1"c>dee>fe | d>edB>cd | c>BcA>Bc | B>AB^G>AB |
c>dee>fg | d>edB>cd | cBA~^G>^FG | A3-A3 |]
"var. 2"g2ggfe | d2dBcd | c2cABc | B2B^GAB |
g2ggfe | d2dBcd | edcd~B2 |A3-A3 |]
"var. 3"e.c.A e.c.A | d.B.G d.B.G | e.c.A e.c.A | B.^G.E B.G.E |
g.e.cg.e.c | d.B.G d.B.G | e.c.A B.^G.E | A3-A3 |]
"var. 4"gca~g>fe | dBGdDF/G/ | AABcBA | ^GEB~ee>f |
gca~g>fe | dBGdDe/d/ | cBAB^GE | A3-A3 |]
"var. 5"A/B/cAc/d/eA| G/A/BGB/c/dG | A/B/cAc/d/eA | E/^F/^GEG/A/BE |
c/d/ece/f/gc | G/A/BGB/c/dG | A/B/cA^G/A/BG | A3-A3 |]
"var. 6"c.c.cc.c.c | g.g.gG>AB | a.a.aA>B c/d/ | e.e.e~^G.E.E |
C.C.CC>D E/F/ | GGA~B>AG |cBA^G>^FG | A3-A3 |]
"var. 7"cABcde | BGABcd | cABcde | B2^GE3 |
ecdefg | BGABcd | ~cAc~B^GE | A3-A3 |]
More “Greensleeves” ~ O’Neill’s “Little Bogtrotter”
Key signature: a minor
Submitted on November 12th 2007 by OsvaldoLaviosa.
“Greensleeves” ~ the family thing continues
this is really confusing me, why submit it as in G major? it’s clearly E minor
Knock, knock, knock ~ hey tufbo, are you awake and decent? 😉
The way I hear it on Conal’s album Cnoc Bui is:
|:g3 gfe|dBG GAB|c2A dcB|cBc A2d|g3 gfe|dBG GAB|cBA def|
1 gba g3:| 2 gba g2z|
|:b3 g2b|a3 f2a|gfg efg|faf d3|b3 gab|aaf d2f|efg agf|1 g3 g2z:|
|2 g3 g2d|
The Oxford Book of Carols has a text for New Year which is a slightly adapted version to their source ("New Christmas Carols, 1642 … in the unique black-letter collection of Anthony à Wood"). Apparently, there should be three more verses…
1. The old year now away is fled,
The new year it is entered,
Then led us now our sins down-tread,
And joyfully all appear:
Let’s merry be this day,
And let us now both sport and play:
Hang grief, cast care away!
God send you a happy new year!
2. The name-day now of Christ we keep,
Who for our sins did often weep;
His hands and feet were wounded deep,
And his blessed side with a spear;
His head they crowned with thorn,
And at him they did laugh and scorn,
Who for our good was born:
God send us a happy New Year!
3.And now with New Year’s gifts each friend
Unto each other they do send:
God grant we may all our lives amend,
And that the truth may appear.
Now, like the snake, your skin cast off,
of evil thoughts and sin,
And so the year begin:
God send us a happy New Year!
AB | c2c c>de | dBG G>AB | c2A A>Bc | B2^G E2B
c2c c>de | dBG G>AB | c>BA B^G2 | A3 z :|
|: ef | g2g g>fe | d>BG G2g | a2b c’ba | g>ee e2f
g2g g>fe | d>BG GAB | c>BA B^G2 | A3 z :|