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John Barleycorn: The Evolution of a Folk-Song Family

Peter Wood
Folk Music Journal
Vol. 8, No. 4 (2004), pp. 438-455
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4522718
Page Count: 18
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
John Barleycorn: The Evolution of a Folk-Song Family
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Abstract

Analysis of the early ancestors of the popular folk song 'John Barleycorn' reveals a family of songs, each appearing to be a separate positive act of re-composition based on a common theme. Between the mid sixteenth and early eighteenth centuries, at least six separate songs enjoyed circulation in either Scotland or England, until the 'final flowering' in the song we know today. This was of such a quality that it has continued to spread, thrive and diversify by re-creation without another act of major re-composition for a further two hundred and fifty years.

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