Anon : Black Joke, The : Printable cover page
Composer: Anon (c.1729)
The first appearance in print (c.1729) of what became one of the most frequently encountered tunes of the eighteenth century. The tune appears to have been circulated orally before this first printing (although had it been known in 1728, it is inconceivable that Gay would not have used it in the "Beggar's Opera"). In early sources, the words of the first and last three verses are sometimes attributed to one "R---d Mr S---th, Chaplain to a man-of-war"; it does indeed seem that a scabrous ditty in the manner of Dean Swift formed an unholy alliance with a song guying racial and sexual stereotypes.
The spelling in this edition has been modernized, although the syntax and sentiments have not.
notAmos editions of the tune include appearances by Arne (Medley Overture), Clementi and Beethoven.
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