Same old tune

December 31, 2009

With all due respect to Jeremy Dibble ("Alternative sheep music", 17/24 December), it is hardly news that While Shepherds Watched their Flocks has been - and sometimes still is - sung to the tune of Ilkley Moor. The tune is one of a number given in the New Oxford Book of Carols (1992), and was recorded by Peter Holman in Psalmody and the Parley of Instruments (1996). The CD booklet notes that, unusually, a tune written for a sacred song has been used in a secular context, whereas the traffic was usually the other way.

Mark Harris, Enfield, Middlesex.

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