The Beggar's Opera: 21. Before the Barn-door Crowing

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page one of The Beggar's Opera: 21. Before the Barn-door Crowing

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Peachum, having realised that Polly will not betray MacHeath to him, has instead turned to Jenny Diver, a known favouurite of MacHeath's, and bribed her to turn him over. In the play script, she and Suky Tawdry simply divest him of his pistols as a prelude to love-play, so that he has no defence when Peachum enters on a cue with the constables.

However, this song works extremely well as a game of blind-man's buff, with the girls circling around the blindfolded MacHeath who eventually "catches" Peachum. The tune is still sung today to its original words, "All on a misty morning".

If you can get a hurdy-gurdy tuned to the key of F, it's extremely effective and you can then dispense with the drones on double bass and viola.

Score ID
John Gay
Moderate (Grades 4-6)
1 minute
Large mixed ensemble
Classical music

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