AS08: The Boar’s Head Carol

I’ve always loved this song, and I’m particularly pleased with the way this recording’s come out, so off you go and listen to it.

Perhaps it’s because I did Latin O Level – rephrase that, it’s definitely because I did Latin O Level – but I’ve always had a soft spot for macaronics, songs that dip in and out of other languages (usually Latin). Unto Us A Child Is Born is another seasonal example. In case your Latin’s getting a bit rusty, the chorus here translates as “I bring in the boar’s head, giving thanks to the Lord”; the single lines of Latin at the end of the each verse translate as “as many as are at the feast”, “[let us] serve it with a song” and “in the royal hall”. The last line of all means “it is served with mustard”(!).

For the arrangement, I had a copy of the sheet music with four vocal parts, but in the end I only used it for part of one line; the rest of the harmonies I either got from Jon Boden & friends’ AFSAD rendition or made up myself. Writing them out, and playing them against each other with Noteworthy, was essential; some combinations that look fine on the stave sound dreadful when played.

1 Comment

Filed under folk song, Jon Boden, traditional

One response to “AS08: The Boar’s Head Carol

  1. I did Latin too! And Classical Greek as an extra in my lunch hour! I was the only one left in the end, so had to see it through to the exam. Good job I scraped through the ‘O’ Level!

    Macaronics – Not a lot of people know that, and I didn’t (but like them too!) Thankyou, Phil. And for the lilting rendition.

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