Bushes And Briars waltz

There are 4 recordings of this tune.

Bushes And Briars has been added to 3 tunebooks.

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One setting

X: 1
T: Bushes And Briars
R: waltz
M: 3/4
L: 1/8
K: Amin
E2|AA B3 A|G2 A3 B|cd e2 dc|B4 (cd)|e4 (dB)|c4 B2|
A4 (BG)|E4 DD|E (c c4)|B4 (cB)|(A6|A4) (cd)|e4 (dB)|c4 B2|
A4 (BG)|E4 DD|E (c c4)|B4 {cd}(cB)|A4||

Seven comments

Bushes And Briars

A song collected in Essex by Ralph Vaughan Williams in about 1904. In the book "English County Folk Songs"
he expresses gratitude to the singers of this and other songs from East Anglia. Here are the words :-

Through bushes and through briars
I lately took my way;
All for to hear the small birds sing,
And the lambs to skip and play.

I overheard my own true love,
Her voice it was so clear,
"Long time I have been waiting for
The coming of my dear.

Sometimes I am uneasy
And troubled in my mind
Sometimes I think I’ll go to my love
And tell to him my mind.

And if I should go to my love,
My love he will say nay,
If I show to him my boldness
He’ll ne’er love me again."

Re: Bushes And Briars

For singers, last two lines of the verse are repeated.

Re: Bushes And Briars

This song was featured in the film of Far from the Madding Crowd. Julie Christie sings it, and later in the film Alan Bates plays it on the flute. A lovely haunting tune, thanks for the reminder.

Re: Bushes And Briars

Should add to the above, that Thomas Hardy mentions it in the original book

Re: Bushes And Briars

Thank you very much! I saw this film many years ago but didn’t know "Bushes and Briars" then… Nice to learn
that the song appears in Hardy’s book. Music was important to Hardy and "Under the Greenwood Tree"
describes a village choir (singers and fiddlers etc) who made music in church before organs were installed
everywhere. Hardy played the fiddle a bit himself.

V-Williams heard Charles Potiphar sing this song in the village of Ingrave, Essex in December 1903 and it made
a huge impact. Mr Potiphar, a shepherd and labourer, was 74 at the time and knew a lot of other songs.

Re: Bushes And Briars

I think just about every version I’ve heard from folk singers would have been in 4/4 not 3/4, albeit with a degree of rubato/free time according to the singer’s preference. However, it looks like most of the "classsical" choir and ensemble renditions, and also Vaughan Williams’ score, are in 3/4.
Here is the clip from the film. (also loosely in 4/4!)

And here in 3/4:

Re: Bushes And Briars

3/4 version as noted by Vaughan Williams (in English County Folk Songs) is set for a solo singer and works I
think. 4/4 or 3/4, it is a beautiful tune so perhaps it is to be performed as wished by the singer.