Deborah is a violinist and violist specialising in English folk music. She trained in viola and Baroque viola at Birmingham Conservatoire, before returning to her first love of traditional music, song and dance.
She is a member of Stepling, a band performing English music, step-dance, song and percussion. She also plays for a number of function bands, performing at barn dances and ceilidhs across the UK.
Deborah has played with a number of folk artists, dance and theatre projects. She plays with Folk Dance Remixed, a dance company combining traditional dance with hip hop and street dance styles, performing as such events as Car Fest, the Southbank's Festival of Love and Glasgow's Commonwealth Games Festival.
She records on a regular basis for a number of people, including The Mystery Fax Machine Orchestra, and for Laurel Swift's 'Travelling with Thomas' musical.
Deborah teaches music, song and dance regularly for The English Folk Dance and Song Society, as well as on a freelance basis for various workshop series, festivals and music services. She recently completed The Teaching Musician MA degree course at Trinity Laban, graduating with Distinction.
Here’s another 3/2 hornpipe to go with Rusty Gulley, known as ‘Adam Glen’ or ‘Pawkie Adam Glen’ – the word pawkie means ‘artfully shrewd’ and is still in use in Scotland and northern parts of England, from the English ‘pawk’, meaning trick.
Try adding the turns and triplets that we’ve been using recently in places where the melody moves by step, and look out for places where there are repeated notes – we will try some things out with those next time!
Here is the tune from January 18th’ class, Herbert Smith’s Four-Handed Reel. Despite the title it is a polka – the ‘four-handed reel’ refers to a dance figure and not to the nature of the tune! It goes rather nicely with Grandfather’s Tune and has a similar descending scale pattern that gives lots of opportunities for turns and triplets, as discussed last week. You can also vary the rhythm in the B part, sub-dividing or combining the notes in bars X , Y and Z.
This tune is a little unusual in that it has an extra two beats in the A music. It might be that this was added on purpose to help dancers get to where they need to be in the dance, or it might just be a quirk that caught on!
Our final tune of the term: Stingo can be found in the 1651 edition of Playford’s Dancing Master, with versions known as Cold and Raw, Oil of Barley and many other names. Here’s a video with demos on the viola this time, for the sake of variety and definitely not because that was the instrument I had out and I’m too lazy to switch.
Here are the dots:
We played with the idea of adding ‘fidgets’ in as melodic/rhythmic variations – where you have two notes the same, try adding a note in between, either going up or down a step. Here is a PDF with some examples in red, and underneath it the PDF of the original:
A gorgeous tune to go with Cumberland Waltz. Furze is another word for gorse, and this tune/song was collected in Hampshire in 1907 from Moses Mills. I’ve included a recording of the Watersons singing it at the bottom of the page, there the tune to the song is a little different from our tune. Here is a video with a slow and faster play through:
We experimented by adding some turns in passages where the melody moved down by step, and added rhythmic variation by subdividing the last note of some bars. These were either just subdivided (blue), or else the second of note of the pair was changed to a D (red) as this fitted the chords, as is very satisfying on the fiddle! The effect is that you create more rhythmic movement and some forward momentum into the next bar. Here is a link to an example – it’s not a definitive version, it’s just one set of options and the idea is to experiment and come up with various placements that you like:
Here’s the Cumberland Waltz from, surprisingly enough, Cumberland. It was recorded in the 1950’s by Robert Forrester and Norman Alford, along with other songs and tunes from the area, on an album called ‘Pass the Jug Round’. This is available on Apple Music, and is worth looking up!
Here’s a slower and faster run through of the tune:
Here are the dots with the slightly more interesting chords that we tried out – who doesn’t love a walking bass line?
You might want to try some turns in places where the melody moves downwards by step or by a small interval such as a 3rd, good places to start might be bars 4-5 or bars 21-24. As a challenge, try adding up to three turns in the A section and maybe four in the B section. The effect of this ornament is to emphasize where the melody moves smoothly – sometimes less is more so try them wherever they might fit and then chose just a few places for each time through! Here’s a video on turns to refresh your memory:
Here’s tonight’s tune, Willie Was a Bonnie Lad. It’s a 16 bar reel from England that goes rather nicely with Allonby Lasses and that you can practise your clave rhythms on. It feels rather like a pipe tune to me, but I’ve not been able to find out much about it – I have it in a couple of tune books but there is no info forthcoming! Here’s a video with a slow and a faster run through on it:
Here are the dots:
Here’s a PDF with the suggested emphasis, achieved with accents or slurs/phrasing, your choice!
Allonby Lasses is a reel from the Lake District, from the 1825 Browne family manuscript. It’s is undoubtedly similar to a number of other tunes, specifically the Flagon Reel (present in the 1770 Vickers manuscript from around Newcastle, also widespread across the Scottish Borders at the same time) and the related Flogging Reel (Irish). As I’ve said before, a good tune will travel! It seems to be very much a pipe tune, which would go some way to explain why there are versions in G Mixolydian and G major, according to the limitations/quirks of Northumbrian/Border/Uillean pipes.
Here are the dots:
We played with the emphasis of different notes to create different kinds of drive or groove. Here is a PDF of the things we tried: