Rant (The)

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RANT, THE. AKA and see "Have You Heard of a Frolicsome Ditty," "Give Ear to a Frolicsome Ditty," "City Ramble (The)," "Jolly Gentleman's Frolic," "How Happy Could I Be with Either." English, Air. G Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). One part. The melody appears in London publisher Henry Playford's Apollo’s Banquet (1690, as "City Ramble (The)") and in many ballad operas, including the John Gay's Beggar’s Opera (1729) where it was the vehicle for the song “How Happy Could I Be with Either”. Many ballads were sung to the air, which appears to originally have been sung as “The Jolly Gentleman’s Frolic; or, The City Ramble.” Chappell (1858) records that a ballad in the Roxburghe Collection is entitled "Mark Noble's Frolick, &c. 'to the tune of The New Rant'." The tune is the vehicle for the song "Give Ear to a Frolicsome Ditty" in Mrs. Centlivre's comedy The Platonick Lady (1707).

In addition to stage productions, the melody was used for several folk ballads, including "The Hare-Skin" in Joseph Ritson's Bishoprick Garland, and the northern English "Saddle to Rags" (see Kidson, 1891). Francis O'Neill included an instrumental version as "Open the Door to Three (3)" in Dance Music of Ireland (1907).

Source for notated version:

Printed sources: Chappell ('Popular Music of the Olden Times), 1856; p. 63.

Recorded sources:




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