Two Original Chinese Songs (Transcription)
Karl Kambra London 1796? Eda Kuhn Loeb Music Library, Harvard University, Mus 549.5
This English publication includes two renderings of the Chinese folk song “Moo-Lee-Chwa,” or “Jasmine Flower,” one in its (supposed) original form, the other rendered "more agreeable to the English ear," harmonized and supplied with English lyrics. The arrangement, dating from circa 1796, is an unassuming publication of sheet music, one among many from its time. Neither the book nor the harmonized tune it contains were meant to be everlasting: they are musical commodities, made specifically for consumption, and very much products of their time. As such, it is the kind of thing that rarely captures our attention and that consequently survives relatively rarely.
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Olivia Lucas, soprano