Blackleg Miner: Arranged In Two Parts

Scroll down or click here for the latest version, version 3.1, for the Coal Song Collective.

Blackleg Miner is a 19th-century English folk song, originally from Northumberland (as can be deduced from the dialect in the song and the references in it to the villages of Seghill and Seaton Delaval).

Louis Killen writes, “At the height of the miners’ union struggles of the 1880’s and ’90’s, labourers were brought in from other areas to act as strikebreakers. Ballads of the time describe how the colliers hunted the strikebreakers “like hares upon the moor O.””

The provenance of the arrangement I have tweaked and present here is unclear.  Version 3, (scroll down), is based in part on a practice track sung by Zlatko Basic.

Performance Notes:
The first two verses could be sung slowly, 3, 4 and 5 more quickly, and the last verse slowly again, with a sense of menace!
Download the sheet music in .pdf format here.

Practice Tracks

A suggested practice strategy is to practice your part on it’s own, and then against an “all parts” track. Right click on the titles to download the tracks.

Upper Voice: (Soprano, Tenor)

 Lower Voice (Alto, Bass)

 Both Parts


Version 3: For The Coal Song Collective

Again, this is arranged in 2 parts, the melody to be sung by altos and basses, and the upper harmony to be sung by sopranos and tenors.  The arrangement is written out in full, verse by verse. The last note of the upper harmony, and its underlying chord, differ from version 2.

Sheet Music (.pdf)

Both Parts


Upper Harmony

Practice Tracks

Both Parts: Flute Harmony, Piano Melody


Melody: Piano


Harmony: Flute

Finally, here are some performances to listen to:

Steeleye Span with a rendition that contains the essence of some of the harmonies in this arrangement.

Same band, very different arrangement:

Richard Thompson

And the earliest recording of the song I have found, Louis Killen…

By admin

An educator, musician, music composer and arranger, and broadcaster.

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