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Are There 'traditional' Morris Tunes To Learn?


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#1 Teriodin

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Posted 07 February 2017 - 11:57 AM

I'd love to get more involved with the Morris troupes I see at SteamPunk events in the UK.

 

I'm getting a Concertina to learn on shortly and wondered if there's a sort of set-list that is used commonly by Morris troupes that can be learnt for travelling around and maybe joining in.

 

Does anyone have any experience with English Morris Dance tunes?



#2 lachenal74693

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Posted 07 February 2017 - 02:24 PM

I'd love to get more involved with the Morris troupes I see at SteamPunk events in the UK.

 

I'm getting a Concertina to learn on shortly and wondered if there's a sort of set-list that is used commonly by Morris troupes that can be learnt for travelling around and maybe joining in.

 

Does anyone have any experience with English Morris Dance tunes?

 

I just joined a local Morris side as 'Apprentice Anglo-er'. Great fun, but a steep learning curve (I'm still languishing

in the foot-hills, and expect to be there for some time!). We're blessed with a fair selection of musicians - so far I

have seen melodeon, accordion (2), fiddle, whistle, English 'tina and drum. Last week we had six musicians...

 

The main reference collection of tunes seems to be 'The Black Book', see:

 

http://www.themorris...k-morris-dances

 

for details including ABC, dots and MIDIs.

 

The Morris Ring site will also allow you to track down your local Morris side(s). There are several in Lancashire

(some of them are sword dancers and may have a different musical tradition than the Cotswold sides?).

 

My experience (limited, so far!) makes me think that you are probably best to acquire a G/D concertina - most

sides seem to have melodeon players in the ensemble, and they seem to mostly play D/G melodeons. Others,

more qualified than I, may care to comment on that opinion?

 

There are heaps of Morris musicians on this forum, they will probably pitch in with far better, more comprehensive

advice than this...

 

Good luck!

 

Roger


Edited by lachenal74693, 07 February 2017 - 02:34 PM.


#3 Steve Mansfield

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Posted 07 February 2017 - 04:20 PM

The Black Book by Bacon is indeed the sort of collection you're after if it's Cotswold Morris (hankies and sticks, 6 or 8 people in a set). There are other English Morris traditions which don't have an equivalent central source, so it would do no harm to have a better idea what you're looking at (I'm not familiar with the Morris / steampunk crossover repertoire).

One thing though - don't forget that Morris is a performance, not necessarily something that it is expected that people will just join in with. You might very well find that you're made most welcome, but I would suggest that you just ask first :)

#4 Steve Mansfield

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Posted 07 February 2017 - 04:20 PM

Duplicate post deleted, iPad is having a moment ...

Edited by Steve Mansfield, 07 February 2017 - 04:22 PM.


#5 Teriodin

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Posted 07 February 2017 - 04:55 PM

It's not so much a crossover as the fact that Morris troupes perform at many SteamPunk events up here.

 

I've seen coconutters perform, as well as clog-morris/cloggers and the stick beaters.

 

The whole SteamPunk thing is quite fluid and encompassing. Any tradition that can be traced back to the reign of Queen Victoria seems to be very well received. Steam engines, steam carriages, time machines, barges, dray horses, etc., everything that links to that bygone age, whether real or imagined or nostalgic, tends to be on display.

 

I'm guessing that they just invite more Morris along to perform than other groups do.

 

I agree - it is a performance and I would not dream of just 'dropping in'. I just enjoyed the combination of the concertina/melodeon tunes with the dance and would be happy to offer my services if I ever got good enough. *chuckles*

 

Thank you all for the links and information - I shall check the internet post-haste. 


Edited by Teriodin, 07 February 2017 - 04:56 PM.


#6 hjcjones

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Posted 08 February 2017 - 11:32 AM

Cotswold morris in particular requires a degree of interplay between the musician(s) and dancers, especially in the slows. This requires practice and experience, and morris musicians practice alongside the dancers. Also, there are lots of different versions of the same tune, so you'd need to know not only that they were dancing, say, 'Cuckoo's Nest' but also which village tradition and which version of the tune. So joining in a performance probably isn't an option.

 

However they are great tunes and well worth learning to play, and I'm sure you would probably be made very welcome in any session which followed.   

 

Also, they're morris 'sides', not 'troupes'.



#7 Jake Middleton-Metcalfe

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Posted 08 February 2017 - 12:53 PM

Have a great time with your playing and dancing, whatever type of concertina you have.



#8 Lester Bailey

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Posted 08 February 2017 - 03:16 PM

Take care using Bacon as the tunes are in the collected keys which, due to the dominance of D/G melodeons in morris, are not necessarily the keys that they are normally played in.

 

ps Morris Side or Morris Team never Morris troupe  :ph34r:



#9 David Barnert

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Posted 09 February 2017 - 08:12 PM

I’ve been musician for Pokingbrook Morris (Albany NY) for 30+ years. And, yes, it’s fun to get together with other morris musicians at ales (folks I don’t see often) and play through tunes together, even when nobody’s dancing.
 
Some tunes to start with that a lot of other morris musicians will know (from the above-mentioned black book) are Bampton: Highland Mary (but play it in G), Bledington: Young Collins, Bucknell: Queen's Delight, Fieldtown: Dearest Dickie. Pretty much everyone plays morris tunes in G or D (or e minor), so if you find one written in a different key, transpose it.

 

And always remember Barnert’s first law of playing music for morris dancing: If the dancers are comfortable, the musician is cold.



#10 TedK

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Posted 31 March 2017 - 05:37 AM

This series of books are a good intro as they combine having the tunes in the authentic structure, while having them transposed to G and D and laid out in a more user friendly manner. Much better IMO for someone just dipping their toe in the water than the "black book":

 

https://www.amazon.c...1/dp/1899512020

 

I don't play for Morris, but I do like playing the tunes which in many ways are the heart and soul of English traditional music. 



#11 Mikefule

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Posted 12 April 2017 - 07:38 AM

The orris Ring website has lists of common tunes with ABC, PDF and MP3 versions:

 

http://themorrisring...tions-and-tunes

 

You can also search YouTube.  There is a channel called "Angloconc" and I have posted a few as "Mikefule".

 

Never say "troupe" of Morris dancers.  "Side" is the traditional term, although "team" or "club" will do, but never "troupe".



#12 gcoover

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Posted 14 April 2017 - 11:47 PM

Morris tunes are my favorites to play on Anglo concertina, and there are literally hundreds to choose from since they usually vary from village to village. I love the unusual timings and fast and slow parts, but don't expect your average guitar player to ever be able to follow along!

I'd suggest searching out the many fine recordings of Morris dancers and musicians on YouTube, also recordings like "Morris On", "Son of Morris On" and all the subsequent followups. There's a good CD set called "The Magic of Morris" too.

You're in Lancashire, so there's a completely different type of clog and processional Morris up in your part of the world, so definitely try to see and hear some of them "in the wild" usually near a good pub or two.

It's a fantastic tradition full of graceful movement as well as bounce and swagger, and it's been said the musician's job is to help lift the dancer's feet off the ground. The dancers don't just dance to the music, they dance with the music, and the musician is an integral part of making the magic happen.

You're about to discover a world of great fun - especially now that steampunk has embraced this crazy-fun dance and music tradition.

 

Gary

(angloconc)



#13 lachenal74693

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Posted 15 April 2017 - 11:00 AM

...You're in Lancashire, so there's a completely different type of clog and processional Morris up in your part of the world, so

definitely try to see and hear some of them "in the wild" usually near a good pub or two...

 

OP hasn't indicated exactly where he's based, but if he's local(ish) to the Manchester area, then...

 

...Manchester Morris Men are slated to be at Stockport Old Town Market (SK1 1EY) on Thursday 20 April (1930) with

Stockport Morris Men, and on Sunday 23 April (1130) as part of Stockport Folk Festival. They will (probably) be doing

some clog/processional as well as Cotswold.

 

I hear their new concertina player is a good drummer :) ...

 

Roger


Edited by lachenal74693, 18 April 2017 - 01:04 AM.


#14 malcolmbebb

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Posted 22 April 2017 - 01:51 PM

I'd love to get more involved with the Morris troupes I see at SteamPunk events in the UK.

 

I'm getting a Concertina to learn on shortly and wondered if there's a sort of set-list that is used commonly by Morris troupes that can be learnt for travelling around and maybe joining in.

 

Does anyone have any experience with English Morris Dance tunes?

 

My first suggestion would be to talk to the dancers, or more usefully their musicians, who will be delighted to tell you about the type of Morris they dance, and talk about the tunes. They are almost always very approachable. 

 

If you find a tune you like in a key you don't, try searching (or asking here, of course) including places such as https://thesession.org/ where you may very often find versions in other keys, most notably G, D and E min. 

 

Also, the very same Lester Bailey who posted above, a man almost as well known for his modesty as for the high quality of his all too frequent puns, has produced an extensive blog of tunes with both a rendition of the music and the abc score in a box friendly key, which many have found useful. The blog is not exclusively Morris but Morris tunes are well represented. 



#15 samper

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Posted 22 April 2017 - 03:30 PM

Hi if you're in lancs then you need Dave Mallinsons North West Morris Tunes Book

https://www.amazon.c...k/dp/1899512047

Not that Southern Softy Cotswold Morris stuff :-)





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