Black Is The Colour polka

Also known as Black Is The Color Of, Black Is The Color Of My True Loves Hair, Black Is The Colour Of, Black Is The Colour Of My Loved One’s Hair, Black Is The Colour Of My True Loves Hair, Dark Is The Color Of My True Love’s Hair.

There are 28 recordings of a tune by this name.

Black Is The Colour has been added to 6 tune sets.

Black Is The Colour has been added to 94 tunebooks.

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Three settings

X: 1
T: Black Is The Colour
R: polka
M: 2/4
L: 1/8
K: Amin
"Am"E E A, |"F"C C3-|C2 C C|"G"D2 B,2|"Am"A,4 | z3 E|"C"E G2 E|"F"A4-|
A2 G2|"G"B4-|B2 G2|"E"E4-|E2 E/E/ E|"C"E2 G2|"F"A4-|A2 G G|
"G" B4-|B2 G2|"E" E4-|E2 E E|"Am"E3 A,|"F"C4-|C2 B, D-|"G"D2 B,2|"Am"A,4|A,2 z ||
# Added by MBAC .
X: 2
T: Black Is The Colour
R: polka
M: 2/4
L: 1/8
K: Amin
"Am"E E2 A,2 |"F"C2 C6-|C4 C2 C2|"G"D4 B,4|"Am"A,8 | z6 E2|"C"E2-G4 E2|"F"A8-|A4 G4|"G"B8-|B4 G4|"E"E8-|E4 EE E2|"C"E4 G4|"F"A8-|A4 G2 G2|"G" B8-|B4 G4|"E" E8-|E4 E2 E2|"Am"E6 A,2|"F"C8-|C4 B,2 D2-|"G"D4 B,4|"Am"A,8-|A4 z ||
X: 3
T: Black Is The Colour
R: polka
M: 2/4
L: 1/8
K: Emin
BB/E/ | "C" G<(G (G2) | "D" G)F/G/ AF | "Em" E4 | z B Be |
w: Black is the co-lour__ of my true love's hair. His lips are
"C" (e4 | "D" e)(d/e/) (f/e/)d | "Em" B4 | z/B/B/B/ Be |
w: like_ some_rose_ so fair. He has the sweet-est
"C" (e4 | "D" e)d/e/ (f/e/)d | "Em" B4 | zB cB/E/ |
w: smile_ and the gentl--est hands. And I love the
"Am" (G4 | "Bm" G)(F/G/) A>F | "Em" (E4 | E2) ||
w: ground_ where_ on he stands._
W:Verse 2
W:I love my love and well he knows
W:I love the ground whereon he goes
W:How I wish that day will soon come
W:When he and I will be as one
W:Verse 3
W:I go to the Clyde and I mourn and weep
W:For satisfied I ne’er sleep
W:I write him a letter just a few short lines
W:And I suffer death a thousand times
W:Verse 4
W:Black is the colour of my true love’s hair.
W:His lips are like some roses fair
W:He had the sweetest smile and the gentlest hands
W:And I love the ground whereon he stands.
# Added by BenH .

Nine comments

This tune deserved to be here; it’s one of my favourite ones :)

Of course IT’S NOT A REEL.

Posted by .

ABC problems?

A great tune, I recently came across it on the ‘Blue Celts’ CD, a local (Perth WA) Blues/Celtic fusion group. Fantastic.

But when I tried to process the ABC, my tools complained about the comma’s.

I checked various ABC tutorials, and it seems the commas should come AFTER the note, not before, so I think this notation may be correct (also it sounds more correct when converted to midi and played)…

X: 1
T: Black Is The Colour
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
R: reel
K: Amin
"Am"E E2 A,2 |"F"C2 C6-|C4 C2 C2|"G"D4 B,4|"Am"A,8 | z6 E2|"C"E2-G4 E2|"F"A8-|A4 G4|"G"B8-|B4 G4|"E"E8-|E4 EE E2|"C"E4 G4|"F"A8-|A4 G2 G2|"G" B8-|B4 G4|"E" E8-|E4 E2 E2|"Am"E6 A,2|"F"C8-|C4 B,2 D2-|"G"D4 B,4|"Am"A,8-|A4 z ||

Black is the colour of my true love’s hair
Her lips are like some roses fair
She’s the sweetest face and the gentlest hands
I love the ground wheron she stands

I love my love and well she knows
I love the ground whereon she goes
But some times I whish the day will come
That she and I will be as one

Black is the colour of my true love’s hair
Her lips are like some roses fair
She’s the sweetest face and the gentlest hands
I love the ground wheron she stands

I walk to the Clyde for to mourn and weep
But satisfied I never can sleep
I’ll write her a letter, just a few short lines
And suffer death ten thousand times

Black is the colour of my true love’s hair
Her lips are like some roses fair
She’s the sweetest face and the gentlest hands
I love the ground wheron she stands

John Jacob Niles

This tune is often thought to be traditional Appalchian folk music, but isn’t. It was written by John Jacob Niles. Here’s his own words on it.

"’Black is The Color of My True Love’s Hair’ as sung here was composed between 1916 and 1921. I had come home from eastern Kentucky, singing this song to an entirely different tune—a tune not unlike the public-domain material employed even today. My father liked the lyrics, but thought the tune was downright terrible. So I wrote myself a new tune, ending it in a nice modal manner. My composition has since been "discovered" by many an aspiring folk-singer".

Black is The Colour

On my monitor (32 Bit, 1152x864 17" flat screen) all the low A’s are shown as low B’s, and it doesn’t depend on the view magnification. This would make it inadvisable to play from the screen! The ABC version is of course correct.
I’ve come across this odd phenomenon before. Any explanations, anyone?

BTW, of course it’s not a reel; it’s not a polka, either!

It’s not a polka, nor a reel, I know! :D
but I submitted it as a reel, in 4/4, and the length of every note is now the half of what I originally wrote; I don’t know why did it happen.

Posted by .

Black is the Colour

I was in an heated argument once about the origins of this song. The other guy was adamant that it was a Scottish song, but although I wasn’t sure, I said I thought it was American. Nice to be right for a change.

I read somewhere that the tune goes back to the 18th century, but that the lyrics were first recorded in 1916. Sorry i can’t cite my sources, but I don’t think it mentioned the country of origin of the tune - both elements could still be American of course. And maybe Niles had picked up the tune unconsciously from somewhere and thought he had written it.

Posted by .

Local colour

> I was in an heated argument once about the origins of this
> song. The other guy was adamant that it was a Scottish
> song, but although I wasn’t sure, I said I thought it was
> American.
> Nice to be right for a change.

& John Jacob Niles is quoted -

> I had come home from eastern Kentucky, singing this song > to an entirely different tune …

The tune may indeed be Niles’ (& therefore American) but there’s still debate about the origin of the lyrics - the mention of the Clyde certainly would suggest Glasgow Scotland.