Marlbrouk

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MARLBROUK. AKA and see "Malbrouck," "Malbrouk," "Marlbrough," "Molly Brooks," "We Won't Go Home Until Morning," "For He's a Jolly Good Fellow." English, French, American; Country Dance Tune (6/8 time). G Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB. The tune probably originated in 18th century France, though Barnes dates it to 1808. It is the vehicle for a country dance of the same name, printed by Morrison.

Sigmund Spaeth, writing in his book A History of Popular Music in America (1948, p. 31), gives a background:

People who like to sing "We won't go home until morning," or, less belligerently, "For he's a jolly good fellow," are not aways aware that the tune is one of the oldest in the world, originally known as "Malbrouck" or "Malbrough," with French words about he Duke of Marlborough's going to war, usually dated 1709. But the music may go all the way back to the Crusades of even earlier. (It has been compared with the old Chanson, "Le Convoi de Duc de Guise," 1563.) Marie Antoinette sang "Malbrouck" as a lullaby and Beethoven put it into his Battle Symphony, as opposed to "God Save the King." Dibdin's Musical Tour (1788) refers to "young ladies hammering "Malbrouck" out of tune," and it is likely they were doing it in America as well as England. The virtue of the melody is in its consistent pattern, making it very easy to learn. It has become one of the great "gang songs" of all time, because of its adaptability to all kinds of words. Nobody knows the authorship of its commonest convivial sentiments, "We wont' go home until morning" (published in 1842, with William Clifton credited as the arranger) and "For he's a jolly good fellow" (to which "So say we all of us" is often added, to the tune of "God Save the King"). The origin of the Rotary-Kiwanis version, "The bear went over the mountain," is also shrouded in mystery.

"Malbrouck" was one of the most popular of tunes in the 18th century, set as an air, march or country dance tune. EASMES [1] lists 32 different versions from 18th/early 19th century publications under the "Malbrouck" (and close) spelling alone, from period printed publications, songsheets, and musicians' mansuscript copybooks on both sides of the Atlantic. A derivative Appalachian play-party song can be found as "Molly Brooks."

Source for notated version: JJ. Buckingham (A Selection of Cotillions and Country Dances), Boston, 1808, p. 8 [Morrison].

Printed sources: Barnes (English Country Dance Tunes), 1986. Chase (American Folk Tales and Songs), 1956; p. 195 (?) (appears as "Molly Brooks"). Longman, Lukey & Broderip (Bride's Favourite Collection of 200 Select Country Dances, Cotillons), c. 1776; part 4, p. 92. Morrison (Twenty-Four Early American Country Dances, Cotillions & Reels, for the Year 1976), 1976; p. 51.

Recorded sources:




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