I was wondering how other string players would react to this old melody called SAMANTHRA. I was fortunate to sight sing it with a group over a week ago, and it has haunted me unremittingly ever since. Just doesn't stop running through my head. You can read music with shaped note heads as in this example if you just pretend all the note heads are the usual oval, and read like normal. Only trick is, F-sharps are likely, to make the melody Dorian, but F-natural for Aeolian is common enough these days. Your choice. Also, the melody I'm talking about is the one in the middle, a.k.a. "lead" or "tenor" or "main air" (although the higher "treble" and lower "bass" voices-- yes, that's an old-fashioned bass clef-- enjoy arguing which is really the main melody!). At the thicker bar line in the middle of the first system, repeat to the beginning (the stacks of four spots are old-fashioned repeat signs). The second section repeat is optional-- usually on the last verse only. With only the first section repeat, you should find a crystallized little miniature of sonata-allegro form! We sang the quarter note at about 75 or 80 bpm (which is "slow" for this tradition). If this sticks in your brain and drives other music out, don't say I didn't warn you! Here it is--
I've found several published examples from the 1800's spread across five decades and as many states, but they all lack credits for composer or source of the music. Any clues or impressions people may have are welcome. I have some vague contextual hints about the music origins, but I'd rather wait a bit on sharing those in order not to bias impressions or guesses others might have. Enjoy!
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