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The Carol Books of Thomas Hardy (1778-1837) and Thomas Hardy (1811-1892)


In 1799, Thomas Hardy, grandfather of the novelist of the same name, wrote down texts and instrumental bass parts for several Christmas carols. This he continued until the number of carols reached 36, possibly in 1802 or 1803. His son, also named Thomas, penned a second carol book, and both men used the texts and music in their carol books when ‘going the rounds’ with their instrumentalists and singers on Christmas Eves. As music leader at Stinsford Church in Dorset, the elder Hardy played the bass viol, or violoncello, hence the bass parts in his carol book. Possibly his book is the earliest surviving manuscript collection of carols in modern English, except for privately owned collections. This study includes transcriptions of carol texts from the two Hardy manuscript books and considers their sources. The study also traces the influence of the carols and the traditions they represent in the writings of Thomas Hardy the novelist and in West Gallery music.

The full article can be read here

© Dr. Clark Kimberling 2021. For more information see his Wikipedia entry and his Home page


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