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The Nine Lives Of Morris

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Someone, anyone, please help.

 

Two different people have assured me that Morris Dancing/Music is part of / "the same thing, really" as Irish Traditional music. One in the bakery aisle. One on the geek thread. (That he/she protests too much is another matter entirely.)

 

Would anyone like to weigh in?

 

Morris music is English, no? English folk. Not Irish folk.

 

 

Lucy

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Morris music is English, no? English folk. Not Irish folk.

 

Well. English folk, although in all these genres there's plenty of overlap.

 

The Session, the Irish site, has versions of "Speed the Plough" and others; Donkey Riding, a classic Morris tune, has been recorded by Irish and Scottish bands.

 

In rapper and Northwest, we use more tunes that would be recognizable to Irish players (especially in rapper, where speed is all important). There are plenty of common Morris tunes that have name equivalents in Irish (Over the water to charlie, for example) that turn out to be different tunes entirely.

 

Mostly I don't see much overlap in tunes, and the styles couldn't be more different.

 

Irish: speed and lots of ornamentation.

 

Morris: mostly so slow Irish players tend to tear their hair out, much more rhythmic, more stripped down.

 

You don't get points in Morris playing for adding frills, and you're likely to get your head taken off with a stick if you go too fast.

 

That's one Morris muso's views, anyway.

Edited by Jim Besser

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I think you missed the tongue in cheek nature of the reply.

 

 

As to your question, looking in from the outside, there are similarities, and if you are not into the various traditional British forms (this is not to insult the Irish, Welsh, Scotch or English members here), they are similar. If you are, there is a world of difference (or at least some ocean). Look at the source of the comment. Even if her daughter plays the concertina, it doesn't mean the mother takes the time to know the differences. I can give you various examples of similar things. The local AM NPR affiliate here plays bluegrass Saturday and Sunday evenings while having a news talk format the rest of the time. One day the had the station manager on the call in talk, one fellow called in and complained about the "Country Music" and could they get rid of it. Or at church, the choir did a "Jewish folk song," (don't ask me the tune, I don't remember) and a comment was made about how we needed a flute to make sound more "deserty." Yet I do remember it being a klezmer tune, and very eastern european sounding. People don't bother to find out more than they have to about things, and would rather live with their misconceptions.

 

Alan

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I think you missed the tongue in cheek nature of the reply.

 

Alan

 

Nope. I understood M was joking. And thought his/her post was funny enough to warrant a separate thread. Apparently I failed to make clear my teasing/joking response.

 

Mea culpa.

 

 

Lucy

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I think you missed the tongue in cheek nature of the reply.

 

Alan

 

Nope. I understood M was joking. And thought his/her post was funny enough to warrant a separate thread. Apparently I failed to make clear my teasing/joking response.

 

 

Serves me right for not reading the other threads.

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Irish traditional music and Morris dancing are pretty much the same thing, like the USA and Canada, Belgium and the Netherlands, astronomy and astrology, or Australia and New Zealand. There may be a few subtle differences that seem "obvious" to those who care deeply, but to the rest of the world, they are more or less synonymous.

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Irish traditional music and Morris dancing are pretty much the same thing, like the USA and Canada, Belgium and the Netherlands, astronomy and astrology, or Australia and New Zealand.

Concertinas and accordions.

Edited by David Barnert

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quote]

Concertinas and accordions.

 

Or indeed melodeons and musical instruments.

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Irish traditional music and Morris dancing are pretty much the same thing, like the USA and Canada, Belgium and the Netherlands, astronomy and astrology, or Australia and New Zealand. There may be a few subtle differences that seem "obvious" to those who care deeply, but to the rest of the world, they are more or less synonymous.

Danes, Swedes, and Norwegians -- in America, anyway.

 

Seems the more people are alike, the more they hang onto their differences. ;)

 

Back on topic, more or less: Is "Good Humor" a Morris tune?

The Irish/Celtic/Old-Timey band I play in plays this tune a lot. The lead sheet makes a reference to Morris dancing, so I thought I'd ask.

Edited by ragtimer

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Never heard of a Morris tune by that name. I only knowm Cotswold Morris, though. So it's either not a Cotswold tune, or it's a very obscure one, or it's known by a different name over here. Whistle it to show us how it goes.

 

Or of course it could be from one of the other forms of Morris.

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Tricksy. I've not heard of it either, which doesn't mean too much. Cotswold Morris usually has tunes specific to the particular dance. North West Morris, long sword and rapper usually borrow from social dance (though with long sword the set of tunes in use is pretty restricted). Border and Molly also borrow from social dance, but have a high proportion of modern newly composed for the purpose tunes. So maybe that's where "Good Humour" fits in - though it is also a fine aspiration for all varieties of the Morris.

 

Chris

Edited by Chris Timson

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I think the Eynsham dances (cotswold) may be fast enough to appease the Irish players, but the big difference between Irish and English trad dancing is in the hands. We use them - they don't seem to, except for balance.

NEVER look at morris dancers feet! :o Unless they are really good and fit, most of them will be putting fudge-steps in to get to the right place in time :rolleyes: This is why they use hankies and sticks - it takes your eye off everything else (my theory) and only people 'in the know' ie other dancers or musicians, will spot the mistakes ;)

This doesn't apply to cloggies - they have to be spot on because you can hear any errors. Or do I just think that because I'm not a clog dancer? :unsure:

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Back on topic, more or less: Is "Good Humor" a Morris tune?

The Irish/Celtic/Old-Timey band I play in plays this tune a lot. The lead sheet makes a reference to Morris dancing, so I thought I'd ask.

I've never heard of a Morris tune by that name. A search at John Chambers' tune finder turns up nothing, but a search at the same site for "Good Humour" brings up a tune that starts like this:

 

post-65-1188736014_thumb.jpg

 

Is that the tune you had in mind? I've been playing for Morris dancing for 20+ years and never ran across it before.

 

Curiously, in the USA, "Good Humor" (without the u) is a brand of ice cream, traditionally sold from a white truck that cruises the streets of residential neighborhoods during the summer, announcing its presence by ringing a set of bells attached to the front of the truck.

 

"Mister Softee" is another brand of ice cream sold in a similar fashion except that instead of ringing bells, the truck broadcasts a silly tune from a loudspeaker. The tune starts like this:

 

post-65-1188736621_thumb.jpg

 

Some 30 years ago, a Morris dance was devised called "Mister Softee" using this tune.

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Well infact Morris tunes came from all over the place. Some even came from America brought by itinerent black minstrels.

 

To my ear there is a clear difference between ITM and Morris (particularly cotswold) but as others have said - your perspective may be different - it depends where you are standing.

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Best word in the thread so far is probably SIMILAR.

 

As a cup of Nescafe is broadly similar to a cup of double shot Late.

As a pint of Heineken is similar to a pint of Brains SA.

As a Vesta curry is similar to a Prawn Jalfrezi.

As darts is similar to javelin throwing.

 

I play for Morris myself, but personally I would always take my hat off to traditional Irish musicians who appear to have centuries of tradition and a wealth of musical genre.

On the other hand, Morris fulfills a purpose, to maintain a tradition of good company, fun and smiles outside a pub on a sunny evening.

 

Hope that helps.

Phil

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All these politician type answers.

 

I'd have thought that the quick answer to the original question was. No.

 

Then add, "a distant relation"

 

Chas

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Well infact Morris tunes came from all over the place. Some even came from America brought by itinerent black minstrels.

 

To my ear there is a clear difference between ITM and Morris (particularly cotswold) but as others have said - your perspective may be different - it depends where you are standing.

It depends how much you've drunk

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NEVER look at morris dancers feet!

If you're playing for dance (any sort of dance, but particularly Cotswold Morris) that is exactly where you should be looking! You'll blow it completely otherwise.

 

I play for Morris myself, but personally I would always take my hat off to traditional Irish musicians who appear to have centuries of tradition and a wealth of musical genre.

And the English haven't? I'm not trying to do a "my dad's bigger than your dad" on the subject of heritage, I will just say that I consider the English to have a traditional heritage of great richness and depth, and a music that one can easily devote a lifetime to learning and playing.

 

Chris

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