Walter Bulwer’s Polka no. 2

Walter Bulwer was a fiddle player from Shipham in Norfolk. Born in 1888, he was a well known musician in the area, playing for many years in bands with his wife Daisy who played piano and banjo.

Here is a link to a recording of Walter Bulwer himself playing this tune: https://open.spotify.com/embed/track/4oAC9779ZNFrjaWKAWNIqW There is a third part that he adds in occasionally but I haven’t covered that here, as it isn’t commonly played in sessions or at dances.

Here is a video with a slow and faster playthrough:

Here’s a walk through of the tune:

We played with the phrase at the beginning of the B section (bars 9 and 10), varying the rhythm: this included tying repeated notes together, dividing the rhythm into equal notes and subdividing the notes into shorter note values. We then combined these in different ways to create different rhythmic variations – this is a relatively simple but effective way of adding a little variation into your playing!

Here’s a PDF of the tune:

And another with the chords:

The (Other) Rogue’s March

The penultimate tune of the term is a tune that I learned from Laurel Swift. It’s listed in Dave Townsend’s English Dance Music vol. 1 as the C and D parts of the better known Rogue’s March, as sung here by John Tams and Barry Coope:

This well known tune dates back to the late 1700s, and is said to have been used across the British Isles and America to drum disgraced soldiers out of the army. However, I’ve not been able to find any reference to the C and D parts of the tune, so it’s a bit of a mystery!

Here is a slower and faster version of the tune. The faster part includes the turns that we added throughout the tune wherever a step-wise crotchet-quaver pattern occurs on the first beat of a bar.

Here is a walkthrough:

Here are the dots:

A PDF with the dots can be downloaded below, along with a second PDF with standard and alternative chords:

The Sheriff’s Ride

Here is the tune from Monday 29th June, the Sheriff’s Ride.

The Sheriff’s Ride is an English tune used in the Lichfield Morris tradition, in Staffordshire.  The title refers to a unique tradition dating from Queen Mary’s Charter of 1553 in which Lichfield was separated from Staffordshire and made a ‘City and County’ with a right to appoint its own Sheriff.  The Charter commanded the Sheriff to make a complete perambulation of the City to inspect the boundary each September.  ​The oldest recorded collection of the tune as played for the Morris dance is from 1898 (Bacon, ‘A Handbook of Morris Dances’, The Morris Ring 1974) though it is probably older than this, most likely dating back to the mid-1800s, when polka-type tunes originated.

The Sheriff’s Ride shares parts of its melody with some versions of the song Raggle Taggle Gypsies, a song that became particularly popular in the broadsides in the early- to mid-1800s, telling the tale of a rich lady who runs away to join a group of gypsies. 

The first video is a slow and a faster version of the tune, the second is a walkthrough:

Below is the link to the PDF:.

Old Adam was a Poacher

Here is Old Adam was a Poacher, a tune collected from William Andrews of Devon by Sabine Baring Gould in 1892. The B part is very similar to versions of the jig Hunt the Squirrel as listed here https://www.folktunefinder.com/tunes/198732 however I’ve not been able to find out if this version of the tune is also from the South West of England. Chris Bartram speculates that the tune may have French origins, explaining the dual mode – it seems plausible but it’s almost important to remember that it’s speculation and not fact! Here’s the slower and faster versions:

Here are the dots:

And here are PDFs of the tune and the chords:

Lastly, here’s a version on the song by the fabulous Blowzabella:

Staffordshire Hornpipe

Here is the tune from Monday 8th June, the glorious Staffordshire Hornpipe notated from John Locke in 1909 by Cecil Sharp. Here is the slower and faster versions to listen to:

 

Here’s the walk through:

 

Here is a video looking at some basic ornamentation and variation:

 

And finally a video on bowing as there are specific issues for fiddle players in hornpipe tunes!

 

Lastly, here are the dots, with a PDF available here:

Jack’s Alive

This week we learned a tune called Jack’s Alive, a tune from the 18th century that’s in the English, Scottish and American traditions.  This is an English version, but it’s worth looking up others, I recommend folktunefinder.com and https://tunearch.org/ as fairly reliable sources of tunes and, critically, of background information.

Video 1 is a slower and faster play through for you to listen to:

 

We then have a walk through:

 

Here are some ideas about about ornamentation:

 

And a few more about little variations for the tune:

 

Finally here are the dots, with a PDF available here:

Jack's Alive

 

The chord chart with the second chord sequence is available here– these show how you can get stuck in a G -D – G – D pattern if you only stick to the obvious chords, but suggest a route out of this!

Ievan’s Upcycled Jig

This is a tune that came into being last week – I was looking at a tune called Chartley March, but my brain kept pushing me towards the tune I’ve covered here, which is pretty similar.  Having played it down the phone to a number of friends, no one could work out what it was, but luckily the hive mind of the class (I think Bob cracked it!) managed to identify it as a jig version of Ievan’s Polkka, which we’ve renamed Ievan’s Upcycled Jig.

Here’s the slow and faster version to listen to before you try learning it:

 

And here’s the walk through:

Here are videos on ornamentation and on melodic variations:

 

And finally here are the dots with a PDF here , with a second PDF with possible jig rhythms for chords instruments or for fiddle shuffles (chord shapes are listed in the bonus post below this one).

Ifan's Upcycled Jig

I also did an Acapella arrangement, with fiddle shuffles and two melody lines to demonstrate the chord rhythms and to show how varying the ornaments and melody doesn’t necessarily create clashes – I tried to make the two parts as different as possible without going overboard, and I didn’t plan anything out before I started so it’s more an example of how the tune might sound in a session – for a concert performance or recording I would probably standardise things a little and definitely arrange the structure more.

Bonus post: two note chords on the fiddle

Here are some videos talking about how to play accompanying chords on the fiddle, as requested last week.  The first two videos are explanations, there are then some hastily drawn chord shapes, and finally some ACapella videos demonstrating the chord sequences and rhythms in context.

Video one – basic chords and rhythms, using Step Back as a reference:

Video Two – slightly more difficult chords and some other things to consider, using Idbury Hill as a reference.  Also, I turned the lights on.

 

Here are some pictures of the chord shapes:

 

And finally, the shuffle ideas in context:

 

 

Idbury Hill

Here are the videos from Monday 11th session, with apologies for the lateness!  Idbury Hill is a Morris tune, from the Fieldtown tradition.  The first video is a slow version of the tune – have a good listen before you start to learn or relearn it:

 

Here’s a walk through of the tune:

 

Once you’ve got the tune under your fingers, here are some videos on 1. ornamentation and 2. varying the tune:

 

Finally here’s a video with a play through including ornaments and variation, and a PDF with some of the ideas covered in the above videos.

Here are the dots – click here for a PDF, and a here for a PDF of the two chord sequences we tried.

Idbury Hill basic