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Apr 9, 2021 - 9:00:57 AM
57187 posts since 12/14/2005

Was listening to a classical music station out of Chicago yesterday, and the guy said the next song up was "Meditation", by Bach.

But the next song up was a full orchestral rendition of something that sounded VERY much like "Parsley Sage Rosemary & Thyme"

Tried find MEDITATION by Bach on Youtube.
Not there,

Anybody else know of ANY song called MEDITATION by any composer, which sounds like Parsely Etc?

Apr 9, 2021 - 11:39:13 AM

rcc56

USA

3480 posts since 2/20/2016

Hi Mike.

Although my background in Bach's music [or the music of his sons] is not strong enough to write a doctoral dissertation, I do know a bit.

I have never heard the title "Meditation" applied to any piece by any of the Bachs.
Stylistically, the melody that Simon used for Scarborough Fair is not in character with the music of what we now call Germany in the 17th or 18th century. It is more characteristic of the ballad music of the British Isles.

It is likely that Simon used an old British melody for Scarborough Fair. The song is ancient, and a number of melodies and sets of lyrics have been documented over the centuries. Simon's version of the song is just another example of the ancient folk process, where a musician took an old piece of music and came up with a personal rendition that he found to be satisfying. And Simon spent quite a lot of time in England early in his career. He was living and working there when the "Sounds of Silence" single hit the charts.

And I am not familiar with a piece of classical music which reminds me of Scarborough Fair. Nor have I heard the title "Meditation" applied to any piece of what we call classical music that was written before perhaps 1800 at the very earliest. But a link between an old folk tune and a work of the baroque period would not be unprecedented. A melody in Arcangelo Corelli's work entitled "Folia" bears a strong resemblance to the old fiddle tune known as "Hull's Victory." They undoubtedly have the same root.

I think it likely that either the D.J. goofed, or that the purveyors of the recording mis-labelled the piece of music that you heard.

Edited by - rcc56 on 04/09/2021 11:50:57

Apr 9, 2021 - 11:54:38 AM

2105 posts since 2/12/2009
Online Now

It is thought by a not inconsiderable number of commentators that Paul Simon pretty much "stole" the whole arrangement of that ancient song from Martin Carthy while he was living in England in the early sixties, you know, like folkies do !

Apr 9, 2021 - 12:04:54 PM

chuckv97

Canada

57034 posts since 10/5/2013

I’ve never heard a Bach piece like it.
Simon from Carthy....The Animals from Johnny Handle, from Bob Dylan, from Dave Van Ronk, from the ancient folk musics

Apr 10, 2021 - 4:09:41 AM
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57187 posts since 12/14/2005

Thanks, all.
Either the radio guy was referring to the PREVIOUS song, which was already over by the time I turned on the radio, or he was joking, or lying, or I heard him wrong.

As to the folk process: I steal from the best, and from all of the rest.
It's an ancient tradition.

Apr 10, 2021 - 8:34:25 AM

1 posts since 4/21/2009

Simon’s “American Tune” is what I’ll call strongly influenced by Bach’s St. Matthew Passion.

Apr 10, 2021 - 1:23:58 PM

2105 posts since 2/12/2009
Online Now

quote:
Originally posted by jmkatcher

Simon’s “American Tune” is what I’ll call strongly influenced by Bach’s St. Matthew Passion.


Paul Simon said that he borrowed the tune for that song, as beautiful as it is, one of his finest !

Apr 11, 2021 - 2:22:40 AM

23 posts since 4/8/2021

I had a professor in college that told us that good composers borrow, great composers steal.

Most of the title's of Bach's music are simply indications of what kind of composition they are. Tons of minuets, fugues, etc.

The larger problem is that to attract an audience many orchestra's will play orchestral versions of popular music during a "pops" concert. Think elevator music live.

Just to be clear I have nothing against elevators.

Apr 11, 2021 - 6:21:04 AM

154 posts since 11/28/2006

Here’s a young Paul Simon talking with Dick Cavett about his writing process. He specifically mentions Bach at the 6:44 mark.

youtu.be/qFt0cP-klQI

Apr 11, 2021 - 9:25:20 AM

Paul R

Canada

14336 posts since 1/28/2010

Simon had an ongoing "feud" (for want of a better term) with Martin Carthy over his lack of attribution/credit, which has since been patched up.

There are other versions of "Scarborough Fair". I'm partial to the one by Robin and Barry Dransfield, circa 1970. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=03oFjMSkPRI&t=15s

Apr 11, 2021 - 10:42:11 AM

chuckv97

Canada

57034 posts since 10/5/2013

Well, I can see now from Paul’s post where Dylan got the melody for “Girl From the North Country”

Apr 12, 2021 - 4:19:47 PM
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57187 posts since 12/14/2005

quote:
Originally posted by chuckv97

Well, I can see now from Paul’s post where Dylan got the melody for “Girl From the North Country”


An issue of National Lampoon had a story about Dylan, in comic book form, and in one panel, he's singing

"These tunes, I am a-changing"!

May 4, 2021 - 9:24:32 AM

Heady

USA

22 posts since 4/25/2021

How big did the orchestra sound?

My favorite Scarborough Fair is John Renbourn on guitar and I forget who on flute anf viola. It winds up sounding like more than 3 parts.

There's an unsettling wolfy note from the viola right at the start, but then it mellows.out.

youtu.be/S46nREvG-1g

May 4, 2021 - 10:37:25 AM

rcc56

USA

3480 posts since 2/20/2016

quote:
Originally posted by spoonfed

It is thought by a not inconsiderable number of commentators that Paul Simon pretty much "stole" the whole arrangement of that ancient song from Martin Carthy while he was living in England in the early sixties, you know, like folkies do !


 

It's an ancient song.  The lyrics are hundreds of years old.  While Simon may have "stolen" the tonic chord voicing from Carthy, their arrangements are not that similar.  Same melody, but different meter, different selection of chord changes, different picking pattern.

There's an old recording of "John Barleycorn" by a British folksinger that may have been Steve Winwood's original source for the song.  Winwood's take on it has more similarities to that recording than the Carthy - Simon recordings of Scarborough Fair.

If you're going to perform a ballad thats a couple of hundred years old, the guy you heard it from might not be happy, but he didn't write it either.

Of course, it wouldn't have hurt a bit if Simon had named Carthy as his source when he performed the song live.  Noblesse oblige, ya know.

May 4, 2021 - 12:56:31 PM

Heady

USA

22 posts since 4/25/2021

Also I just saw the follow up that the meditation preceeded the tune you heard and that no one knows of a Bach meditation.

Could it have been Bloch? He wrote a couple of pieces for viola or cello that contain a "meditation" movement.

From the viola Meditation & Processional: youtube.com/watch?v=vceWdbWbWzQ

From the cello Meditation Hebraique: youtube.com/watch?v=QHfuNC_J09E

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