Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 22, 1911.djvu/142

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1 1 6 Reviews.

Folk-song also plays an important part in the Society's publica- tions, and Herr Meier's exhaustive " Geschichte eines modernen Volksliedes" in which he traces a traditional ballad to its earliest known sources in various countries, compares texts, and analyses them, is a model which all workers in the field of folk-song would do well to study. In addition to the foregoing essay we find a variety of folk-rhymes, children's games, charms, and so forth, scattered throughout the quarterly publications, and, under a separate cover, a collection of over a hundred folk-songs from Canton Soleure issued by the Society. Herr Grosimund, the collector and editor of these songs, has done his task carefully and well. He, however, includes amongst his material a con- siderable number of very familiar songs by known composers, Swiss and German ; but, as he also appends copious notes on all the texts and tunes, giving their sources, authors, and composers when known to him, we can hardly find fault with his method, which is one followed by editors in the case of previous collections issued by the same Society. Several of the narrative texts are obviously very old, the subject-matter being primitive and the language simple and direct as in the case of all genuine folk- ballads. One, which tells of the greedy inn-keeping couple who murder a young soldier for his money, and find that they have killed their only son, calls to our mind certain versions of the same horrible story which are sung in the north of France and the Channel Islands. We find a good many parallels to our English ballad commonplaces, some so close as to suggest translation, did one not know that such stock phrases seem common to the folk- poetry of many European nations. The Christmas and May Day carols, the Nightwatchmen's songs, and the Chililieder (sung by suitors at the windows of girls, when they court them at night in the authorised fashion), are amongst the older texts in the collection.

The airs noted by Herr Grosimund are of slender interest when compared with the beautiful and varied folk-tunes of Scandinavia, Russia, the British Isles, and France, or with the wild, passionate airs of Southern Europe. There is a lack of character and dis>- tinction in these Soleure melodies, owing to the fact that every one of them is in the major key and that, for the most part, they are