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Tune Of The Month, February 2014: Sheriff's Ride

Jim Besser

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I'm supporting the deployment of a new space debris laser tracking system this month (there wouldn't be many others with that excuse) so my time is limited. I've had a quick burl at playing the Sheriff - no tricksty interpretations this time, just trying to stay on my horse:



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Second attempt on recording this month's TOTM, might give a better idea of how I take it.


Again: A-part "Raggle Taggle Gipsies" (which had been lacking a B-part as far as I know it), B-part adapted from B-part of "Sheriff's Ride" to the style of part A.


Raggle Taggle Gipsies' Ride (interpreting Sheriff's Ride)


...and yes I know, I'll have to go for some new bushings... -_-

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A silly experiment. While avoiding tons of snow shoveling, I started wondering what Sheriff's Ride would sound like as a jig.


So I turned on the Zoom recorder and this is what came out.




It's what we call in these parts a "dorky jig." Not very useful, but fun to try. I abandoned the crooked A/B format my Morris group uses because I didn't want them to be associated with such frivolity.


Played on a 30 button Jeffries G/D Anglo.

Edited by Jim Besser
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In the same spirit I had recorded a three steps waltz version of xotis romanes (totm october 2013)


Let's do more insane with a 5 steps waltz version of Sheriff's ride. (I am sorry for the real Morris men of the forum but a "serious" version of me would do nothing more (and probably less!) than the already existing versions of others so let's have fun...)



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Hi Jim - can you offer an insight into how you choose chords for the arrangement? I had very little trouble learning the melody but struggle a great deal picking ways to accompany it.


Well, I'd like to give you a sophisticated music theory type answer, but the fact is, I chose chords mostly by trial and error. In the case of Sheriff's Ride, I started playing the chords our melodeon player used, and then just tried alternatives until I found an arrangement that sounded good to me.

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A quick question, Jim, does the (AB)4A2B mean play the A part through four times followed by the B twice?

I believe P:(AB)4A2B means play both the A and B parts 4 times, then A twice, then B once. i.e. it's a shorter way of writing ABABABABAAB.


For my group the pattern is AA-BB the first time thru, A- BB from then on - a pretty typical pattern for Morris dances.

That would be something like P:AABB(ABB)4 (substitute 4 for however many repetitions of ABB the dance requires).



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  • 2 weeks later...

Whilst I've been trying to learn this tune well enough to offer up a recording by the end of the month, I got a bit side-tracked by studying the various different versions you can hear recordings of on the Internet. Here is my attempt at a transcription of the melody Lester Bailey plays in his YouTube video mentioned at the start of the thread. The biggest differences are in the second line.

X: 2
T:Sheriff's Ride - Lichfield

S:Lester Bailey's English Tunes Selection No. 32 (YouTube video)
BA|G2E2 E2FG|AGF2 E4|e2e2 e2fe|d2B2 B4|
d2d2 e4|dc B2 A4 |GABc dcBA|B2 E2 E4 ||
e2e2 e2fe|d2B2 B3d |e2e2 e2fe|d2B2 B3d|
d2d2 e4|dc B2 A4 |GABc dcBA|B2 E2 E4 ||

Edited by alex_holden
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Here is my entry, in just under the wire. This is the first time I've dared to post a recording of myself. I know it's far from perfect - I'm just chuffed that I managed to get once through AABB without hitting a wrong note! :) The melody is the one from Lester Bailey's YouTube video that I posted the ABCs for above.




Instrument is a steel-reeded Lachenal English treble, partially restored by myself (it currently has un-bushed aluminium ends and metal keys, hence the loud key clicks).

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