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Edyth of the Swan Neck

I hesitate to post songs here, since not having recorded performances I have to use software-generated choral ahs for the vocals in the audio file.  But some of the songs I have posted here have gotten helpful comments, so apparently some people can sufficiently imagine a performance from the audio files.

I have found this song attested only in David Balfour's Ancient Orkney Melodies (1885), a collection which the author describes as consisting of Orkney melodies reconstructed mostly from his childhood memories, furnished with lyrics created by him on traditional themes. The present version adapts the melody given by Balfour and substantially revises and abridges his lyrics. Though the last Saxon King Harold II, who was defeated by William the Conqueror's Normans at the Battle of Hastings in 1066, had a legal wife whom he married for political reasons, his life long partner, Edyth, known as Swan-Neck for her pale beauty, was joined to him in the informal but socially accepted relationship of handfast marriage.

Audio file attached. The instrumentation is solo Bass Voice (even though the audio file simulates choral voices), B flat coronet, French Horn, Contra-bass, Bass Drum, Contra-bass, Tambourine, and Crash Cymbal, and the lyrics are below.

Audio file also available at SoundCloud Edyth of the Swan Neck and YouTube Edyth of the Swan Neck.

Comments welcome.


I usually don't include scores to accompany the audio files I post on this site, since I offer some of my scores for sale on the internet, and it wouldn't be appropriate also to have free copies elsewhere on the internet. I'll be glad to email a score pdf for private study to any member of this forum without charge.

Score pdf available for sale at SMP Press Edyth of the Swan Neck.

If you are interested in recording or publicly performing my music, please send me a message on this site, or see my permissions page.

Image: Edyth discovering the body of Harold from History of France by F. Guizot, 1870

Lyrics by David Balfour, adapted by Jon Corelis. Copyright 2021 by Jon Corelis.

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