Traditional (Playford): All in a garden green

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Traditional (Playford): All in a garden green

All in a garden green was probably at least a century old when the melody was included in this famous dance manual. It was drawn to my attention by ‘Ukatee’ on the Ukulele Underground forum, who also sent me this link to a performance on lute by the wonderful Luthval.

I couldn’t find a version for lute or guitar online, so I thought I’d have a go at making my own ersatz  Renaissance-style arrangement for low-G ukulele. The first section is simple, and the base line  alternates the root with (where relevant) any convenient 3rd or 5th, so it has a see-saw feel, I think. (Imagine the lovers on a swing.) I especially enjoy the ascending melody motifs (riffs) in bars 13 – 16. You can play much of this section just holding down the chords. I have added the words of the first verse, as it helps me to keep track of the tune. It’s much more demure than Watkins Ale, which I uploaded a few weeks ago.

I have not included the chords in the score as it is getting a bit full up. Here are the harmonies I used:

G    |G      |C Am |D    |C    |G    |Am  D  |G    |,
D    |C D G /|G Em |Am C |G    |Am   |Bm  G  |C    |Am D |G   ||

In other words: I, ii, iii, IV, V, vi, which I hope are consistent with Renaissance usage.

The second section has more divisions (twiddly bits), but I wrote them with the uke on my lap so the notes mostly fall easily under the fingers (well, when I play them slowly). The third section has the melody almost unaltered in the bass (to be played louder), and ornaments on the top (quieter). John Dowland has kindly provided some turns of phrase, and also the whole of the penultimate bar (a motif that occurs in many of his pieces, such as Solus cum Sola).

If you’ve got the time and inclination, have a look and see what you think: available to download as pdf (preview), pdf auto download, TablEdit and MIDI. (The MIDI tempo is a bit on the slow side, but this makes the divisions easier to hear.)

As usual I urge you to feel free to modify the arrangements as you wish and, above all, to have fun.

PS I have just read in Diana Poulton’s biog of John Dowland that his piece 73: A Fancy (1600) strongly resembles this tune, so I have downloaded it from Sarge Gerbode’s site and will try to transcribe it.

Tags: #garden #green #playford #traditional

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