Monday 6th January was our first week back and we covered a range of tunes, starting with the Plane Tree jig and its possibly original 4/4 counterpart Schottishe a Bethanie (video link to the fabulous Mel Biggs of Morai and ‘Pick Up and Play’ fame). We used this tune as inspiration and the second half of the night was taken up with Kit White’s no.2, which we recapped and then collectively turned from a polka into a jig.
I’ve roughly notated the various stage we went through to reach the end product; at stage one we played even quavers in 6/8 to fill out the bars, at stage two we simplified the rhythm and at stage three we replaced key patterns with ‘hill’, ‘ditch’, ‘zig zag’ or scale shapes. Each replacement was selected from two or three options presented by me and voted on by the group – the title refers to the idea that a camel is a horse designed by committee!
Dots in PDF form can be found here.
Here is the tune from 7th October’s class: The Doctor. It’s a tune from Aird’s Airs and Melodies Book of tunes from England, Scotland and Ireland but I’ve also found it in the 1823 Jackson manuscript from Wyresdale, Lancashire.
Here are the dots, with a PDF available here.
Here is the tune from Monday 30th’s session, with apologies for the late posting. This is a tune by Peter Barnes, it can be found in the book “The Portland Collection: Contra Dance Music in the Pacific Northwest”. Peter says of this tune: “I actually wrote this tune on the fiddle when I was trying to teach myself that instrument in the mid ‘70’s. I made it easy to play on the violin, which may account for its totally unexpected popularity. Since then it’s been recorded eleven times (usually without my permission!) and has had two dances choreographed to go with it.”
Here is the PDF file.
Here is the tune ‘The Mallard no 2’. It’s in Dave Townsend’s English Dance Tunes book but I can’t find it anywhere else – there are other tunes and songs that share the title but none with the same melody.
The PDF can be found here. Fiddle players might want to try double stopping with the open G string in the first two bars, then the D string in the next bar before going back to the G string for bars five and six. In the second section, you can double stop with the open G string for the first three bars.
Here’s the video from Dave’s session on April 8th, with apologies for the delay in posting. Here’s the tune:
…and here’s the chord part:
The dots for this tune can be found by clicking here. Massive thanks to the incredible Dave Delarre for this great session, and I’ll be back for the beginning of next term on April 29th.
Here’s the video for Playford tune The Beggar Boy, from the 1651 manuscript – it was included in subsequent editions right through to the 7th in 1686, and Chappell (1859) notes that there are several ballads written to the tune, as tended to happen with popular tunes.
And here are the dots:
Here are the dots, for those who want to print them out.
We created contrast between sections with drone-like minor chords in the A section and swifter changing major chords in the B section. I’ve tagged the tune as both major and minor as it can be harmonised as either, giving a different character.
We created a groove for the A section by picking out notes from the D minor and C major triads. Since Dm and C are neighbours, it’s possible to move between the chords in a scale pattern. Here’s a link to a chart explaining this: for each of the main beats listed at the top, pick a note from the coloumn beneath. There is an example of how you could do this at the bottom, with notes highlighted in red. You might want to print this sheet out and circle one note in each column to create your own part.
Picking Up Sticks, or The Picking of Sticks, is a Playford tune and is in the earliest editions of the manucript from 1651, though only the A part is listed. It’s not clear when the B part came along, though it’s in a rough and undated manuscript by Sabine Baring-Gould (1834-1924).
Here is the video for Picking Ups Sticks, with thanks as always to Mary D.
Here are the dots – we learned the tune, and named the melodic figures ‘runs’, ‘hills’ and ‘skips’ before paring the tune back to the bare bones and reordering the figures to create variations.
There is a PDF of the tune and chords here, for those who can’t print the graphics file.