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There’s nothing like a little controversy when it comes to the history of beloved Christmas carols. Was “Greensleeves” written by Henry VII for his future queen Anne Boleyn? Not likely. Was it written about a promiscuous young woman as implied by the use of the color green and its link to promiscuity in the 1500’s? Inconclusive, as other original lyrics suggest the opposite. Well, we can say that it was originally written by Londoner Richard Jones in late 1580! No, not even that, as 6 other songs of the same name were also registered in London by the end of 1581. Sigh. So what do we know?

We know that structure wise, Greensleeves is an English folk song based on an Italian format referred to as romanesca or passamezzo antico. We know that Shakespeare references the song in his 1602 play “The Merry Wives of Windsor”. We know that by the end of the 1600’s “Greensleeves” was being associated with Christmas and New Years. We know that in 1865 William Chatterton Dix penned new lyrics, changing the song to the more well known “What Child is This?”. And finally we know that in the UK, Australia, and New Zealand that the tune from “Greensleeves” is popular for use in ice cream vans. Whew! At least we know something about it!

I can also tell you that I’ve gone with a dramatic interpretation of “Greensleeves”. It opens with a soprano solo over a brooding abstract organ, strings, and choir chord motif. This eventually gives way to a gentle melodic telling of the tune backed by a slowly filling out backdrop of the same choir, strings, and organ.

Musically, all instrumentation is provided by my trusty impOSCar 2, and the choir and soprano are provided via NI’s Kontakt sample engine.

credits

from We Three Robot Kings - A Holiday EP, released December 3, 2013
For more of Solarno:
www.soundsofsolarno.com
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All songs arranged, produced, and mastered by Jim Furey.
Mixed and mastered at Robot Junkyard.
Artwork by Jim Furey. Stock photos provided by www.photoeverywhere.co.uk.
Copyright 2013, Jim Furey (ASCAP) and MixiM Music (ASCAP)

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Solarno Los Angeles, California

Every song by Solarno has a story behind it, and a goal to create an experience and atmosphere of exploration, not just of the music itself, but also the inspiration behind it.

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