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Jim Besser

Tune Of The Month For October, 2014: Crested Hens

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Wow - this poll wasn't even close, and I can't say I'm sorry: Crested Hens - originally Les Poules Huppées - is a wonderful French tune that lends itself to a variety of styles. I can't wait to see what you folks will do with it.
As I said in the poll, I first heard this played by the great Irish band Solas, and that lovely version apparently was the model for many other recordings: hauntingly slow and lyrical. It's amazing how many Irish groups do this French tune thanks to Solas.
But this tune was originally a bouree and often played as a mazurka; On the Anglo International CD, Nigel Chippendale paired the tune - here simply called Mazurka - with Petit Valse, both played as lively dance tunes. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to find any dance versions of the tune on YouTube.
Here's a fuller description from the Traditional Tune Archive page, with the original 3/8 notation and the 3/4 version played by Solas:
CRESTED HENS, THE (Les Poules Huppées). French, Bourrée à 3 temps (3/8 time). E Dorian. Standard tuning (fiddle). Composed in 1983 by French national and hurdy-gurdy (vielle a roue) player, Gilles Chabenat, who remarks that some bars of a Debussy composition served as inspiration for the germ of the tune. It is of a type from central France, where it is also a folk dance, and is usually played at a medium tempo though this tune is often heard played slower, a la the Irish group Solas (who popularised the tune and translated the title). Gilles remarks that the title was a kind of nonsense play, from his teenage years. The tune is often mistakenly ascribed Breton origins, of varying degrees of antiquity, however, it is a modern composition by Chabenat.
It can sound great played in a melody-only style, but it also has great potential for a harmonic piece. There are lots of ways to make this tune your own.
As promised, here's a recording of the basic melody, in Em. Please remember: I learn this stuff by ear, and my versions are not at all authoritative.
Here's some notation on the ABC home page:

 

http://abcnotation.com/tunePage?a=www.ellwood.org/slow/mas/0210

 

And an image file:

http://www.fiddlestudio.com/2009/10/crested-hens.html

 

And, thanks to Sqzbxr, the raw ABCs:

 

X:1

T:Crested Hens
T:Les Poules Huppees
M:3/4
L:1/8
R:waltz
Q:110
O:Gilles Chabenat 1983, France
C:bourrée/waltz
K:Edor
|:"Em"E3 GFE|B4 Bc|"G"dc Be dc|"D"dc BA GF|"Em"E3 GFE|B4 Bc|"D"dc BA GA|"Em"B3 G FD|
E3 GFE|B4 Bc|"G"dc Be dc|"D"dc BA GF|"Em"E3 GFE|B4 Bc|"D"dc BA GA|"Em"B4 ef|
gB Bg gB|"C"=c4 ef|"D"gf ag fe|"B7"^d2 e2 f2|"Em"gB Bg gB|"C"=c4 ef|"D"gf ag fd|"Em"e3 e ef|
gB Bg gB|"C"=c4 ef|"D"gf ag fe|"B7"^d2 e2 f2| "Em"gB Bg gB|"C"=c4 ef|"D"gf ag fd|"Em"e3 G FA:|

Edited by Jim Besser

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Hey folks, remember that October doesn't just have a THEME of the month, it also has this TUNE of the month. ;)

 

This thread -- so far with no replies, much less submitted recordings -- is already halfway down the second page of my New Content, nearly swept away by the wave of so many other topics. So I think it's time for a

 

BUMP! :)

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"But this tune was originally a bouree and often played as a mazurka; On the Anglo International CD, Nigel Chippendale paired the tune - here simply called Mazurka - with Petit Valse, both played as lively dance tunes. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to find any dance versions of the tune on YouTube."

 

It should probably be pointed out that Nigel's surname was correctly spelled "Chippindale". The spelling on the sleeve notes for Anglo International was unfortunately incorrect. But also, although Nigel IS on the track, he is not actually playing the tune. I had wondered why this month's tune sounded familiar to me, and couldn't think why. The concertina player on the track is actually Ralph Jordan, who was playing a 58 key Maccann duet. (Long story, but due to a misunderstanding the wrong track got supplied when Al Day was hunting for stuff from Nigel. It was only after Anglo International came out that Ralph realised the error - and didn't want to upset anyone by mentioning it. Now he is no longer with us, I reckon it is safe to bring it up.)

 





 

Edited by Irene S.

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"But this tune was originally a bouree and often played as a mazurka; On the Anglo International CD, Nigel Chippendale paired the tune - here simply called Mazurka - with Petit Valse, both played as lively dance tunes. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to find any dance versions of the tune on YouTube."

 

It should probably be pointed out that Nigel's surname was correctly spelled "Chippindale". The spelling on the sleeve notes for Anglo International was unfortunately incorrect. But also, although Nigel IS on the track, he is not actually playing the tune. I had wondered why this month's tune sounded familiar to me, and couldn't think why. The concertina player on the track is actually Ralph Jordan, who was playing a 58 key Maccann duet. (Long story, but due to a misunderstanding the wrong track got supplied when Al Day was hunting for stuff from Nigel. It was only after Anglo International came out that Ralph realised the error - and didn't want to upset anyone by mentioning it. Now he is no longer with us, I reckon it is safe to bring it up.)

 

Thanks for the clarification. It's a great track.

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This tune was taken from the cassette issued after Nigel died called Nigel "Chippindale out takes" and from memory came from the Sidmouth Concert at the Beach Store .

I was not aware that it was not Nigel playing.

Al

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I'm afraid so Al.He was playing on the track, but not the concertina in question. :-(

Edited by Irene S.

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No wonder I had problems working out the Petit Waltz on my anglo.

Al

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Here is my version. I worked on trying to play it slowly, simply and steadily and tried to give the piece some space and silence .Easier said than done. A little snippet of an old french Christmas carol popped in my head at the end of the piece.

 

 

 

 

https://soundcloud.com/stream

Edited by Daria

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Here is my version. I worked on trying to play it slowly, simply and steadily and tried to give the piece some space and silence .Easier said than done. A little snippet of an old french Christmas carol popped in my head at the end of the piece.

 

 

https://soundcloud.com/user643105994/crested-hens

 

I like the space. That's something I have trouble with.

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I have now found this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zZPIulK33GE being played on the instrument, on which it was composed?

 

A proper speed for the bourée à trois temps... I say 'a' because there will always be those who want to dance slower or faster than this. On the Hurdy Gurdy the tune sounds ok at this speed... in fact a period recording of Gilles Chabenat playing the piece is a wee bit quicker than this video.

 

I feel it might sound 'rushed' at this speed on a concertina for some reason. :unsure:

Edited by Geoff Wooff

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