Joy & Jealousy

from by James Bell

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I found this in ‘The Manual’ (Popular Music of the Olden Time), simply entitled ‘Dance Tune’. And I kept calling it that for a while, until I realised that it would just cause confusion. (You can dance to it - I have tried - but only in a lilting way.) Here’s what The Manual had to say:

"The above dance tune is taken from the Musica Antiqua by John Stafford Smith. He transcribed it from a manuscript then in the possession of Francis Douce, Esq. (who bequeathed the whole of his manuscripts to the Bodleian Library), and calls it, 'a dance tune of the reign of Edward II., or earlier.'"

And it’s dated at around the year 1300. Which surprised me, as to my untutored ear it sounded much more modern. But then The Manual also went on to say that music during this period was generally restricted to a church style that was deliberately complicated and difficult on the ear, and although the major scale we’re familiar with was played by the “vulgar musicians of the streets and villages” it was referred to as “il modo lascivo”: the lascivious key.

Anyway, the tune needed a name, and I called it ‘Joy & Jealousy’.


from Joy & Jealousy, released November 5, 2013
Traditional arranged by James Bell.



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James Bell Oxford, UK

Recording artist. Singer. Guitarist. Songwriter. Producer. Performer of traditional English music. Not interested in being famous. Very interested in making good music. Prone to stubbornly ignore the advice of friends in the pursuit of a singular and unique artistic vision, only to admit in a couple of years that, yeah, okay, that particular thing didn’t really work. ... more

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