Annotation:How Imperfect is Expression (1)

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X:1 T:How Imperfect is Expression [1] M:C L:1/8 R:Country Dance B:James Aird – Selection of Scotch, English, Irish and Foreign Airs, vol. 3 (Glasgow, 1788, No. 530, p. 202) N:”Humbly dedicated to the Volunteers and Defensive Bands of Great Britain and Ireland” Z:AK/Fiddler’s Companion K:C g3g agfe|e3e fedc|(ce)(eg) g2 ag|ga/g/ feec Td2| g3g (ag)(fe)|e3e fedc|ceeg gf/g/ af|edcB c4:| |:d3d ed d2|d/f/e/g/ Tfe Td2c2|ceeg g2ag|ga/g/ fe Te2d2| g3a agfe|e3e fedc|ceeg gf/g/ af|e2d2c4:|]

HOW IMPERFECT IS EXPRESSION. English, Air (2/4 time). G Major (O'Farrell): C Major (Aird). Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB. The popular air appears in several late 18th and early 19th century publication set as a song and as a country dance tune (sometimes with dance directions), and also appears in numerous period musicians' music manuscript collections. In one American publication it is even set as a bassoon duo! (W.W. Jones, The Bassoon Preceptor, New York, c. 1807-10). A c. 1785 English song sheet gives that the tune was "Introduced by Mrs. [Frances] Abington in the Twelfth Night," indicating is use as an entre-act piece. One of the earliest printings of the air is in Longman, Lukey & Broderip's A Pocket Book for the German Flute (London, 1778).

The words begin:

How imperfect is expression
Such emotions to impart,
When we mean a soft confession,
And yet seek to hide the heart.
When our bosoms all complying,
With enraptur'd tumults swell.
And beat what broken falt'ring, dying
Language would but cannot tell.

The song was written and composed by James Hook (1746-1827), a prolific and famous organist and composer

Additional notes

Printed sources : - Aird (Selection of Scotch, English, Irish and Foreign Airs, vol. 3), 1788; No. 530, p. 202. O'Farrell (Pocket Companion, vol. IV), 1810; p. 122.

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