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The Anglo Concertina Music Of William Kimber


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#55 David Barnert

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Posted 01 September 2007 - 08:11 AM

The following question appeared this week on the Morris Dancing Disscussion List (MDDL):

Date:	Thu, 30 Aug 2007 20:59:21 -0700
From:	Norman Stanfield <nstanfield@SHAW.CA>
Subject: Merry William Kimber and Country Dance

Now I'm interested in Merry Kimber's music for the Country Dance. I understand that the Country Dances in his repertoire are found in the new book entitled The Anglo-Concertina Music of William Kimber.

Did he actually play at country dances?

Or did he only play for Sharp's demonstrations?

And if he did play the music from Sharp's collection of Country Dances, does that mean he knew how to read music?.

Norman Stanfield
School of Music
University of British Columbia
www.music.ubc.ca
Dan, or anyone else, want to take a stab at it?

Eddited to add: I will post a link to this thread on the MDDL.

Edited by David Barnert, 01 September 2007 - 08:14 AM.


#56 Dan Worrall

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Posted 01 September 2007 - 09:14 AM

The following question appeared this week on the Morris Dancing Disscussion List (MDDL):

Date:	Thu, 30 Aug 2007 20:59:21 -0700
From:	Norman Stanfield <nstanfield@SHAW.CA>
Subject: Merry William Kimber and Country Dance

Now I'm interested in Merry Kimber's music for the Country Dance. I understand that the Country Dances in his repertoire are found in the new book entitled The Anglo-Concertina Music of William Kimber.

Did he actually play at country dances?

Or did he only play for Sharp's demonstrations?

And if he did play the music from Sharp's collection of Country Dances, does that mean he knew how to read music?.

Norman Stanfield
School of Music
University of British Columbia
www.music.ubc.ca
Dan, or anyone else, want to take a stab at it?

Eddited to add: I will post a link to this thread on the MDDL.

I'll give it a try. Kimber played for a LOT of Country Dances in his day...perhaps even more than the Morris, at least early on. He was from a gregarious musical family and was engaged in a lot of musical activities....among them the Morris and Country Dances as well as being in a group of mummers, being a member of a handbell choir as well as a concertina club. His father, who taught him concertina, also played fiddle and penny whistle, and was a member of a drum and fife band. This family had a lot of activities!

The reason we think of Kimber with the Morris is that he was brought to the general public's attention by Sharp....not that that was his one shining musical accomplishment. Once that relationship with Sharp took hold, of course, one assumes the Morris became more prominent still within his life in terms of musical time spent relative to his country dance playing...but we don't really know (his Morris appearances with Sharp seem to be somewhat infrequent and sporadic, and country dances may have been much more frequent). What is recorded on him revolves mainly around the Morris, because that is what those doing the recording wanted to hear. There are only a handful of his country dance tunes that he recorded, principally on the Folktrax recordings (where he also speaks of his participation in country dances)...Folktrax 382 and 383 are the principal references for anyone wanting more detail from the source himself. I took care to transcribe most of his recorded country dances in my book. There are enough there to learn his style, which can then be adapted to other such tunes if that is your wish. One person who tried something similar to that....but several decades ago...was Tom Kruskal (Jody's brother). He picked up the general Kimber style from records and went with it, and made some nice recordings of contradance tunes in New England.

Cheers,
Dan

Edited by Dan Worrall, 01 September 2007 - 09:20 AM.


#57 David Barnert

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Posted 02 September 2007 - 06:43 AM

I'll give it a try...

Thanks for that, Dan. But before I report back to Norman and the MDDL, I have the sense that an important part of Norman's question remains unanswered.

And if he did play the music from Sharp's collection of Country Dances, does that mean he knew how to read music?.

What do we know of Kimber's ability (or not) to read music?

#58 Dan Worrall

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Posted 02 September 2007 - 08:51 AM

I'll give it a try...

Thanks for that, Dan. But before I report back to Norman and the MDDL, I have the sense that an important part of Norman's question remains unanswered.

And if he did play the music from Sharp's collection of Country Dances, does that mean he knew how to read music?.

What do we know of Kimber's ability (or not) to read music?

I don't know if he could read music or not; if someone has said I just don't remember seeing it. Given that he played in a church handbell choir, perhaps he read for that. But his style on the anglo was developed strictly by ear.
As far as reading and learning country dances from Sharp's book goes, I would highly doubt that, but again have no documentation. Kimber was a true country musician in the best sense of the term; he got his music from his surroundings. He would have learned dances from musicians in his area, and very likely started that long before he met Sharp. Moreover, if you look at Sharp's (pianoforte) arrangements for his country dances as well as his Morris tunes, you see a very flowery, parlour-room style that is utterly unlike Kimber's playing. Thus we can say with some certainty that Kimber did NOT learn any of his harmonies from Sharp. I gave an example in my book of that, comparing musical notation of their separate accompaniments for the same tune. I think most of the knowledge between these two for traditional music flowed from Kimber to Sharp, not the other way.
Again hard to say, but it is of course possible that Sharp asked Kimber to demonstrate dances and tunes from other Morris traditions while they worked together. Kimber, like any traditional musician, would have been able to pick up the melody by ear from Sharp's playing, if it were needed. More likely though, he knew most of those other tunes already, by hanging out with those other teams at regional festivals. I don't remember ever reading that Sharp asked Kimber to demonstrate country dance tunes, however...just Morris.
Cheers,
Dan

#59 Dan Worrall

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Posted 03 April 2008 - 12:31 PM

All,

I'm unearthing this old thread to make everyone aware that much of the book discussed at the beginning of this thread (The Anglo Concertina Music of William Kimber, 2005) is now available for free download at my new website, www.angloconcertina.org (this by prior agreement of the publisher, EFDSS). Other information about this new website is discussed at the thread entitled "Concertinas at Sea", posted today in the General Discussion Forum.

The download contains all the text of the book, and a sample 2 of the 28 transcriptions of Kimberís tunes. There is also a link there for ordering the book from EFDSS (as before, all profits for that go to the EFDSS).

Enjoy!

Dan




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