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Jim Besser

Tunes Of The Month, Dec 2014

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Oh my: I was all set to announce Bourrée d'Aurore Sand as this month's winner, but a last minute vote produced a tie with the Abbot's Bromley Horn Dance.

 

Previously, I announced a procedure for breaking ties, but I just can't get myself to do it since these are both great tunes that garnered relatively strong support. So this month we'll do both. Pick the one you want to do, or display your mettle by learning, recording and posting both.

 

First, we go back to France with the wonderful Bourrée d'Aurore Sand . Close your eyes, and you might imagine this tune comes right out of Eastern Europe, much as previous French dance tune that was a TOTM pick - Zelda - sounded to me very much like a Klezmer tune.

 

I can't say much about Bourrée d'Aurore Sand, in part because most of the descriptions are in French - and Google Translate produced some hilarious and totally unhelpful results.

 

There are lots of ways to play this tune - as these two examples demonstrate:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xh7onr2_EJY for a decidedly non-traditional interpretation.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=52ChEknbz8Uin the French traditional dance context.

 

And here are some sources for notation:

 

I've also attached a PDF, offered with no guarantees that it's an 'authoritative' version.
______________
Abbot's Bromley Horn Dance isn't actual;ly the name of the second TOTM selection - I think it was originally called Robinson's Tune - but for many years now the tune has been associated with the ancient dance performed in Abbot's Bromley using antlers that have been carbon dated back to the 1200s.
It's a wonderful, evocative tune good at any season, but for many of us it conjures up misty, mystical winter evenings because of its association with Christmas Revels programs in the US, and because of the Morris dance groups - including my own - that perform the dance sometime around the winter solstice.
Read about it here and here, and see the dance and hear the tune on this
. And
Here it is on
, without the distraction of dancers.
And here's some notation to get you started.
I've also attached a PDF of the tune in Dm.
As always, find ways to make these tunes your own: don't feel limited to any particular key or any single style of playing. And above all, have fun!

bourree d Aurore Sand.pdf

abbots bromley in dm.pdf

Edited by Jim Besser

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I'm getting to be quite a big fan Clive Williams and his box playing.

Looks like others here double on the Melodeon as well.

Edited by maki

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Both tunes are new to me, and both are so lovely that I couldn't choose. Rather than make two videos I decided to see how they'd go together.

 

Key of Gm...40 button C/G Anglo. Here's how I hear them on very short acquaintance, anyway.

 

http://youtu.be/8eH9f7Y-1q0

 

Bob Michel

Near Philly

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Both tunes are new to me, and both are so lovely that I couldn't choose. Rather than make two videos I decided to see how they'd go together.

Key of Gm...40 button C/G Anglo. Here's how I hear them on very short acquaintance, anyway.

http://youtu.be/8eH9f7Y-1q0

Bob Michel

Near Philly

Great combo! Thank you for that.

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Question about Abbot's Bromley Horn Dance. I have a version in my pile 'o tunes that has a couple of differences from the versions listed above and I wondered what people thought.

 

1. Measure 4 of the B part: the first note in my version (C in the PDFs version Jim posted above) has an accidental sharp. Changes the feel to keep it natural, which most of the YouTube versions also seem to do. Is my version (the sharpened version) an anomolie?

 

2. Measure 1 of the C part: 4th note goes up a 4th from the third note ( instead of a step); measure 2, the 4 th note goes up a fifth ( vs. a fourth).

 

Not sure my terminology is correct so hope this makes sense.

 

As an ancient tune, clearly there isn't just one 'proper, version, but I'd love to hear some thoughts on the matter before the one I have and sort of know becomes embedded in my fingers and brain

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Question about Abbot's Bromley Horn Dance. I have a version in my pile 'o tunes that has a couple of differences from the versions listed above and I wondered what people thought.

1. Measure 4 of the B part: the first note in my version (C in the PDFs version Jim posted above) has an accidental sharp. Changes the feel to keep it natural, which most of the YouTube versions also seem to do. Is my version (the sharpened version) an anomolie?

2. Measure 1 of the C part: 4th note goes up a 4th from the third note ( instead of a step); measure 2, the 4 th note goes up a fifth ( vs. a fourth).

Not sure my terminology is correct so hope this makes sense.

As an ancient tune, clearly there isn't just one 'proper, version, but I'd love to hear some thoughts on the matter before the one I have and sort of know becomes embedded in my fingers and brain

As you say, folk tunes are subject to variation. Go with whatever sounds best to you

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Question about Abbot's Bromley Horn Dance. I have a version in my pile 'o tunes that has a couple of differences from the versions listed above and I wondered what people thought.

 

1. Measure 4 of the B part: the first note in my version (C in the PDFs version Jim posted above) has an accidental sharp. Changes the feel to keep it natural, which most of the YouTube versions also seem to do. Is my version (the sharpened version) an anomolie?

 

2. Measure 1 of the C part: 4th note goes up a 4th from the third note ( instead of a step); measure 2, the 4 th note goes up a fifth ( vs. a fourth).

 

Not sure my terminology is correct so hope this makes sense.

 

As an ancient tune, clearly there isn't just one 'proper, version, but I'd love to hear some thoughts on the matter before the one I have and sort of know becomes embedded in my fingers and brain

 

I've heard this tune played so many different ways. But on 1., I don't sharp the C. Or wouldn't if I played it in this key.

 

Do what sounds good to you!

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Just to stick my pennorth in, lovely though it sounds, the Abbots Bromley Horn Dance tune (Wheelwright Robinson?) feels too slow to my ears.It's usually played at a more sprightly pace, as both of the videos of the dance in action (with fiddle playing) show. The slow pace makes it into a rather more sombre tune than usual. (One of these days I hope to see the horn dancers in the normal habitat - I've only seen them once, and that was out of context at a dance special at Sidmouth International Folk festival over 10 years ago).

Having said which,as was said, you play what feels right for you !

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Just to stick my pennorth in, lovely though it sounds, the Abbots Bromley Horn Dance tune (Wheelwright Robinson?) feels too slow to my ears.It's usually played at a more sprightly pace, as both of the videos of the dance in action (with fiddle playing) show. The slow pace makes it into a rather more sombre tune than usual. (One of these days I hope to see the horn dancers in the normal habitat - I've only seen them once, and that was out of context at a dance special at Sidmouth International Folk festival over 10 years ago).

 

Having said which,as was said, you should play what feels right for you ! :)

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Just to stick my pennorth in, lovely though it sounds, the Abbots Bromley Horn Dance tune (Wheelwright Robinson?) feels too slow to my ears.It's usually played at a more sprightly pace, as both of the videos of the dance in action (with fiddle playing) show. The slow pace makes it into a rather more sombre tune than usual. (One of these days I hope to see the horn dancers in the normal habitat - I've only seen them once, and that was out of context at a dance special at Sidmouth International Folk festival over 10 years ago).

 

Having said which,as was said, you play what feels right for you !

 

In my world, the speed of ABHD is determined by the dancers. Our group dances it at a moderate rate. In some winter celebrations, the emphasis is on the ethereal sound this tune can have, and they tend to play it very slowly - sometimes too slowly for the dance to look good.

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Abbot's Bromley in Am on a 30 button C/G Morse Anglo.

 

Sorry, I just don't care for the tune in a non-dance context, but maybe that's because the dorky jiggedy jig version I play for the dancers is so imprinted on my brain that I can't think of other ways to play it. Counting on some of you to help me out!

Edited by Jim Besser

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Bob and Jim, thank for your lovely interpretations which both work fine in their diversity to my ears thus demonstrating the capacity of this classic very well. Throw in the melodeon version, and we have quite something to start I reckon...

 

Hadn't been aware of the horn dance and the solstice context (albeit Jim's already mentioning it) as yet, intriguing! Will keep that in my mind when coming to terms with my contribution too...

 

Best wishes - Wolf

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Both tunes are new to me, and both are so lovely that I couldn't choose. Rather than make two videos I decided to see how they'd go together.

Excellent, well done Bob! :)

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I don't mean my version to verge

On dulling a dance to a dirge,

If real Bromley Abbots

Are sprightly as rabbits.

So...Christmas is coming...let's splurge:

 

http://youtu.be/0-9bSCEtcBk

 

Bob Michel

Near Philly

 

Well done, glad to have a very different version!

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I don't mean my version to verge

On dulling a dance to a dirge,

If real Bromley Abbots

Are sprightly as rabbits.

So...Christmas is coming...let's splurge:

A very jaunty version, I like it! :)

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The Horn Dance has nothing to do with the winter solstice or Christmas, it takes place in September (the exact date varies according a slightly convoluted formula). They don't now use Robinson's tune for the Horn Dance, and there's some doubt whether they ever did. Sorry.

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