Newfoundland songs are diverse in origin. Vast numbers of them come from the British Isles, especially from England and Ireland; many are composed in Newfoundland, usually on English or Irish models; a lesser number of American, Canadian, and French songs are current. The ballads to be found in the Child collection are probably the oldest now sung. Then there are many seventeenth- and eighteenth-century broadside ballads, particularly English, and many nineteenth-century compositions.
Such are the backgrounds from which the compilers of this volume have drawn their unusually interesting and delightful collection of ballad texts and ballad music. Expeditions to the island in 1920 and 1929 furnished the tunes; and a genuine interest in folk-literature assured the care and accuracy of the work.