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Jim Besser

Tune Of The Month For July 2014: Packington's Pound

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This month's winner - the 16th Century English dance tune Packington's Pound, sometimes attributed to the Elizabethan composer Michael Praetorius - is a pretty simple tune accessible to beginners, but fun for more advanced players as well.


There are many different versions of this tune; the challenge this month is to find one you like, or mix and match and come up with your own.


I learned this tune from the playing of Andy Turner on the great Anglo International CD set; very similar is this version by c.netter Gary Coover, played as a lively jig. I suspect this is a variant of the original piece that's been working its way through the folk world.


But I haven't found any online notation that matches this version.


Much of the notation is closer to this very classical interpretation by guitarist and lutenist Julian Bream


And this one, with vocals; Packington's Pound provided the melody for countless English ballads..


There's even a pretty cool version played by an electrified renaissance band.


I couldn't resist adding this one, played on a mechanical guitar.


Getting back to a folkier approach, here's one by an Anglo concertinist I can't identify.


For notation: here are a few versions to get you started:







There you have it: a classical sounding piece open to all kinds of interesting interpretations. Should be fun, eh?


Want more information about the tune? Here's what the Fiddler's Companion Website has to say.

Edited by Jim Besser

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I'll go first with a quick and dirty recording. First time melody only, then in a harmonic style.

 

Being primarily a dance musician, I hear this tune and see dancers in my head.

I'm wondering how it would work - slowed down and chunked up - as a Morris tune. Gotta suggest that to our long suffering foreman.

 

https://soundcloud.com/concertinist/packingtonspound1mp3

 

Played in Am on a Morse G/D Anglo

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Nice.

 

A good challenge this one. I found this ABC - it puts the tune into 3 sections and into 3/4 and misses/changes a few bars to above (bar 5 section 2 sounds a bit odd) - but it does seem to make the tune more approachable. Well to a beginner it does :-) How accurate this version is I will let others comment on.

 

I use http://mandolintab.net/abcconverter.php to transpose it up 2 semitones for G/D friendliness.

 

X:1
T:Packington’s Pound
M:3/4
L:1/8
K:G Dorian
G3 ^FG2 | A2^F2D2 | G3^FG2 | A4A2 | B3cd2 | c2A2F2 | G2B2A2 | G6 :|
|: d2f2e2 | d6 | d2f2e2 | d6 | defd aa | d2f2e2 | defd e2 | d6 :|
d3cd2 | c2A2F2 | G3^FG2 | A2^F2D2 | d3cd2 | c2A2F2 | G2B2A2 | G6 ||

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Anyone have suggestions on the EC fingering for the B-G#-E part of the melody?

 

I've tried using 2-1-2 but find hard to keep my hand oriented on the buttons after this.

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Anyone have suggestions on the EC fingering for the B-G#-E part of the melody?

 

I've tried using 2-1-2 but find hard to keep my hand oriented on the buttons after this.

Though I would normally "prefer" the 2-1-2 fingering for that bit, I'm actually as likely to use 2-1-3, because I usually use 2 and 3 for B and E when they occur together, as they do in so many other tunes.

 

But I would also suggest that you consider other potential factors, for example:

  • Is your orientation suffering not because of the fingering itself, but because you're focusing your attention elsewhere, e.g., on the next note, which is in your other hand?
  • Could there be a "problem" with the orientation of your hand in the first place, which only becomes evident when you play G# followed by E? I.e., should you start (and finish?) with a different orientation?
  • Do you change the orientation of you hand during that 3-note passage, or do you keep your hand steady and only move your fingers? If the former, then are you "forgetting" to return your hand to its initial (or "resting") position?

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There are so many variations on this tune! I chose to use the music from:

 

http://abcnotation.com/tunePage?a=www.fresnostate.edu/folklore/Olson/BM3.ABC/0065

 

And recorded:

 

https://soundcloud.com/7wheels-1/packingtons-pound

 

I was initially a little intimidated by all those flats... but one of the reasons I got an EC was to be able to play in whatever key took my fancy.

 

There's plenty of month left, so perhaps I'll see what else I can do with it.

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Very nice basic recording Robert! Looking forward to hearing you doing you more here...!

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Anyone have suggestions on the EC fingering for the B-G#-E part of the melody?

 

I've tried using 2-1-2 but find hard to keep my hand oriented on the buttons after this.

Though I would normally "prefer" the 2-1-2 fingering for that bit, I'm actually as likely to use 2-1-3, because I usually use 2 and 3 for B and E when they occur together, as they do in so many other tunes.

 

But I would also suggest that you consider other potential factors, for example:

  • Is your orientation suffering not because of the fingering itself, but because you're focusing your attention elsewhere, e.g., on the next note, which is in your other hand?
  • Could there be a "problem" with the orientation of your hand in the first place, which only becomes evident when you play G# followed by E? I.e., should you start (and finish?) with a different orientation?
  • Do you change the orientation of you hand during that 3-note passage, or do you keep your hand steady and only move your fingers? If the former, then are you "forgetting" to return your hand to its initial (or "resting") position?

 

Thanks for the pointer Jim -- it's just a new fingering for me, so I was messing up on hitting the e with finger #2. I figured I'd ask to avoid getting into bad habits.

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I'm slowly working on this one... we'll see what happens! I was doing well for a while but then my hands started giving me the usual trouble. But if I practice a tiny bit each day, that'll probably work. :)

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OK, time for my first ever submission here: https://soundcloud.com/sqzbxr/packingtons-pound

 

Having switched to the English system less than 2 months ago, it's pretty rough. Played on my Lachenal New Model extended treble, recorded on my iPhone 5s using TwistedWave. Like many others, I turned to jelly when the 'Record' light came on, and there are a number of errors - especially at 00:26 when the display on my iPad (with the sheet music!) cut out and I had to finish from memory.

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Well that's pretty listenable Marc, sounds relaxed and swinging against all odds I'd say, well done!

 

(and with a very nice Lachenal sound too)

 

As to the lights going out, with my first recordings even a shutting off of the display with just the recording decive on it used to quite unsettle me... <_<

 

Best wishes for your English playing and all - Wolf

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OK, time for my first ever submission here: https://soundcloud.com/sqzbxr/packingtons-pound

 

Having switched to the English system less than 2 months ago, it's pretty rough. Played on my Lachenal New Model extended treble, recorded on my iPhone 5s using TwistedWave. Like many others, I turned to jelly when the 'Record' light came on, and there are a number of errors - especially at 00:26 when the display on my iPad (with the sheet music!) cut out and I had to finish from memory.

 

Nice. That's a real achievement, playing that well after coming from an Anglo background. Very few people seem able to switch between the two instruments.

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Here is my version in Am working from the Beggar's Opera Air "Thus Gamesters United".

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wHg97Z72TUw

I used my new Morse Anglo G/D and love it!

My recording is muddled and sloppy, but I was recording it in a closet at my 87 year old parents house so I wouldn't awaken them and it was getting too hot and I had to get out!

Edited by Jim Besser

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Here is my version in Am working from the Beggar's Opera Air "Thus Gamesters United".

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wHg97Z72TUw

 

I used my new Morse Anglo G/D and love it!

 

My recording is muddled and sloppy, but I was recording it in a closet at my 87 year old parents house so I wouldn't awaken them and it was getting too hot and I had to get out!

 

Very nicely done, and your new concertina sounds great! Congratulations.

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Jim says this tune is attributed to Michael Praetorious and I had it in the back of my mind that it was composed by Francis Cutting, an Elizabethan lutenist and composer, so, rather belatedly, I did some research and this is what I found. I hope it is of interest.

Francis Cutting (c.1550--1595/6) was an English lutenist and composer. during the Renaissance period. He is best known for "Packington's Pound" and a variation of Greensleeves called "Divisions on Greensleeves", both pieces originally intended for the lute. Cutting was employed as a musician for the Howard family, which included Philip Howard, earl of Arundel. Little is known of the composer's early life, but he had ten children with his wife, Elizabeth, eight of whom appear in the parish registers of St. Clement Danes, Westminster, the parish in which Arundel House, the London residence of the Howards, was located. Their son, Thomas Cutting, became a distinguished lutenist himself. Cutting is among the earliest English lute composers whose names are known. Several of his forty surviving works appear in William Barley's A New Booke of Tabliture (1596); his compositions include "Sir Walter Raleigh's Galliard," "Sir Fulke Greville's Pavan," and "Mrs Anne Markham's Pavan and Galliard." His surviving music is of high quality, comprising about 51 lute pieces, two bandora solos and one consort part for bandora: an output exceeded only by Dowland, Bacheler and Holborne."

Chris

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Yes that's certainly interesting Chris, thank you for going for this piece of information and posting it here!

 

And as to Praetorius, I believe he was very much a collector and editor, and thus may well have published this tune too...

 

Best wishes - Wolf

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