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Jim Besser

Theme Of The Month, Sept 2015: English Trad And Beyond

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A fine example of how effective mandolin is as an accompaniment for these types of concertina tunes.

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Two jigs on an Anglo:

 

http://youtu.be/MBF22AQvAT0

 

I just learned "The Recruiting Officer," which is the TOTM for September at www.melodeon.net. Versions appear in the Playford collection and other early sources. "Random Notes," a James Hill composition, I learned from Alistair Anderson's LP "Traditional Tunes," which I bought when it came out in (gulp) 1976. So I can say that I first encountered it as a concertina tune, though of course it was played on an English box. But that was many years before I made my own fateful choice of system.

 

Bob Michel

Near Philly

 

NIce. I put Recruiting Officer on my list, thanks to the mel.net TOTM, but haven't gotten around to it yet.

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Since offerings are a little sparse this month - I've also been something of a slacker - here's a small slice of an older clip: my ceilidh band doing a jazzed up version of Scotch Cap, from Playford's Dancing Master.

 

Here's what we sound like.

 

Here's what it usually sounds like.

 

I like it both ways, but your mileage may vary.

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Since offerings are a little sparse this month - I've also been something of a slacker - here's a small slice of an older clip: my ceilidh band doing a jazzed up version of Scotch Cap, from Playford's Dancing Master.

 

Here's what we sound like.

 

Here's what it usually sounds like.

 

I like it both ways, but your mileage may vary.

 

Johnny Playford must be grooving in his grave to that. A nice contrast.

Tootler mentioned the village music project website. One of the gems in there is the Joshua Gibbons manuscript. He was a paper-maker and musician from Lincolnshire who noted down a lot of tunes he was playing in the 1820s, quite a few of them arranged in two or three parts, amazingly, so he must have been playing with others. I posted Lady Cholmondley's Waltz for the waltz theme a while back. Here's Quick Step, from the same source (my arrangement, not Joshua's, I'm afraid). Played on 48 button Crabb Crane duet.

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Since offerings are a little sparse this month - I've also been something of a slacker - here's a small slice of an older clip: my ceilidh band doing a jazzed up version of Scotch Cap, from Playford's Dancing Master.

 

Here's what we sound like.

 

Here's what it usually sounds like.

 

I like it both ways, but your mileage may vary.

 

Johnny Playford must be grooving in his grave to that. A nice contrast.

Tootler mentioned the village music project website. One of the gems in there is the Joshua Gibbons manuscript. He was a paper-maker and musician from Lincolnshire who noted down a lot of tunes he was playing in the 1820s, quite a few of them arranged in two or three parts, amazingly, so he must have been playing with others. I posted Lady Cholmondley's Waltz for the waltz theme a while back. Here's Quick Step, from the same source (my arrangement, not Joshua's, I'm afraid). Played on 48 button Crabb Crane duet.

 

 

That is a really interesting tune. Thanks! Well done.

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Here's one from my list of Essential Concertina Tunes of English Origin, "The High Level Hornpipe":

 

http://youtu.be/z3-uN-c7Z8k

 

Of course it's more complicated than that: while James Hill wrote the first two parts, the different accounts I've heard of the third part's origin mainly involve Ireland. And in fact I play it here much as I would at an Irish session: in the key of G, for one thing. I really have to learn it in its original Bb one of these days. I don't find Bb to be at all a bad key on a C/G Anglo, especially for hornpipes. It's no worse than D, at any rate, where Irish-style players spend so much of their time.

 

Anyway, it struck me as a perfect selection for this month's Theme: definitely English Trad, and definitely Beyond.

 

Bob Michel

Near Philly

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Here's one from my list of Essential Concertina Tunes of English Origin, "The High Level Hornpipe":

 

http://youtu.be/z3-uN-c7Z8k

 

Of course it's more complicated than that: while James Hill wrote the first two parts, the different accounts I've heard of the third part's origin mainly involve Ireland. And in fact I play it here much as I would at an Irish session: in the key of G, for one thing. I really have to learn it in its original Bb one of these days. I don't find Bb to be at all a bad key on a C/G Anglo, especially for hornpipes. It's no worse than D, at any rate, where Irish-style players spend so much of their time.

 

Anyway, it struck me as a perfect selection for this month's Theme: definitely English Trad, and definitely Beyond.

 

Bob Michel

Near Philly

 

Nice.

 

To me, hornpipes are the quintessential English sound. Can't get enough of them.

 

I"d be interested in seeing something you do in Bb. Not my strongest key on the C/G or anything else.

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I"d be interested in seeing something you do in Bb. Not my strongest key on the C/G or anything else.

Thanks, Jim. I love hornpipes whatever their country of origin (especially on concertina), though the Tyneside/Northumberland ones are especially fine. James Hill has to be one of my three or four favorite (known) composers of dance tunes.

 

Here's a little flat-key excursus from last fall. I was new to making YouTube videos and still a bit distracted by the mechanics, so the timing is a little ragged. But at least it gives an idea of how they sound on a C/G. "Ryan's Mammoth Collection" is a gold mine for this sort of tune.

 

http://youtu.be/oQsDjA9eZHw

 

Bob Michel

Near Philly

Edited by Bob Michel

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I"d be interested in seeing something you do in Bb. Not my strongest key on the C/G or anything else.

Thanks, Jim. I love hornpipes whatever their country of origin (especially on concertina), though the Tyneside/Northumberland ones are especially fine. James Hill has to be one of my three or four favorite (known) composers of dance tunes.

 

Here's a little flat-key excursus from last fall. I was new to making YouTube videos and still a bit distracted by the mechanics, so the timing is a little ragged. But at least it gives an idea of how they sound on a C/G. "Ryan's Mammoth Collection" is a gold mine for this sort of tune.

 

http://youtu.be/oQsDjA9eZHw

 

Bob Michel

Near Philly

 

 

Ah, a 40 button Wheatstone. I'll have to try the Bb tune and see how it lays on a 30 button.

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Ah, a 40 button Wheatstone. I'll have to try the Bb tune and see how it lays on a 30 button.

I just played through the Nymrod Hornpipe (it's been a while) and, as I suspected, I don't use any of my extra buttons.

 

The whole trick to getting comfortable in Bb (as I eventually figured out) is a position switch on the left side. If you think of the default finger assignment for the C row (on the push) as

 

ring/C, middle/E, index/G,

 

substitute

 

ring/E, middle/G,

 

freeing the index finger to play the essential pull-Bb on the accidental row.

 

This looks like it would make for a lot of pinkie work to cover the low notes of the scale (Bb, C, D). But given the actual range of these tunes, that's rarely a problem. And you can always shift back to the normal finger assignment briefly, as needed, for a particular run.

 

I also notice that in this key I rely pretty heavily on the pull-c on the left-hand G row, as opposed to the C row push-c on the right. It helps with phrasing.

 

Bob Michel

Near Philly

Edited by Bob Michel

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A slow month here in TOTM land, eh?

 

Here's a set of English dance tunes I learned from my big stack of John Kirkpatrick recordings.

 

- Todley Tom, also known as the Staffordshire Hornpipe, a traditional tune collected by Cecil Sharp.

- Unexpected Pleasure, a John K composition

- Herefordshire Lasses

 

Played on a 31 button C/G Anglo that started life as a Lachenal, but was reborn with Dipper mechanism and Jowaisas bellows.

 

I've played Unexpected Pleasure for a while now, but recently reworked the fingering to smooth out some awkward bits, and am having a hard time getting it into my brain.

Edited by Jim Besser

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Ah, a 40 button Wheatstone. I'll have to try the Bb tune and see how it lays on a 30 button.

I just played through the Nymrod Hornpipe (it's been a while) and, as I suspected, I don't use any of my extra buttons.

The whole trick to getting comfortable in Bb (as I eventually figured out) is a position switch on the left side. If you think of the default finger assignment for the C row (on the push) as

ring/C, middle/E, index/G,

substitute

ring/E, middle/G,

freeing the index finger to play the essential pull-Bb on the accidental row.

This looks like it would make for a lot of pinkie work to cover the low notes of the scale (Bb, C, D). But given the actual range of these tunes, that's rarely a problem. And you can always shift back to the normal finger assignment briefly, as needed, for a particular run.

I also notice that in this key I rely pretty heavily on the pull-c on the left-hand G row, as opposed to the C row push-c on the right. It helps with phrasing.

Bob Michel

Near Philly

I find the push A/pull G on the accidental row very useful for playing in both F and Bb. My Anglo has the Jeffries layout on the accidental row which gives a push Eb/Pull C# and a push C#/pull Eb on the right hand side which very useful for for playing in Bb.

 

Edit to add: I have a habit of forgetting that I can use the G row to avoid some awkward fingerings. I normally play in Bb (& F) mostly on the C row plus the accidental row as needed. I'm not much of a chord player, not that that's much needed in a band when you are playing in parts.

Edited by Tootler

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Having just listened to BBC radio4's saturday afternoon drama "Dead Girls tell no tales" on the 60th anniversary of the killing off of Grace Archer, it thought that the ARcher's intro music should count as about as English Trad as you can get, so maybe I can find an arrangement of this.

(Its actually a piece called "Barwick Green", a "maypole dance" from the suite My Native Heath, written in 1924 by the Yorkshire composer Arthur Wood)

 

ah-ha ... http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thearchers/entries/cf86ac12-7540-362d-8030-a2c3dffabe1e

nope - links are gone.

This maybe better

http://www.gasworks-scratchy-folk-orchestra.co.uk/onlinescores.htm

Edited by spindizzy

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I can't let this month's Theme slip away without having a go at "Elsie Marley."

 

http://youtu.be/gS9yi1GHydI

 

The quintessential English ceilidh tune! Thanks.

 

And a great song too, hinny. Nifty playing.

 

A couple more for me on Crane before the month is out:

I had to play Sussex Cotillion recently at a historic dance workshop. New to me though I gather it's not uncommon in sessions. Rather slower here than was required for the dancing.

Some would argue that Bodmin isn't in England, especially when considering such customs as the Bodmin Riding March, but here it is, played in the key of C for Cornwall. :)

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I can't let this month's Theme slip away without having a go at "Elsie Marley."

 

http://youtu.be/gS9yi1GHydI

 

The quintessential English ceilidh tune! Thanks.

 

And a great song too, hinny. Nifty playing.

 

A couple more for me on Crane before the month is out:

I had to play Sussex Cotillion recently at a historic dance workshop. New to me though I gather it's not uncommon in sessions. Rather slower here than was required for the dancing.

Some would argue that Bodmin isn't in England, especially when considering such customs as the Bodmin Riding March, but here it is, played in the key of C for Cornwall. :)

 

 

Excellent.

 

I know the Sussex Polka and Sussex Waltz, but never heard the Sussex Cotillion. A very nice tune.

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