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.
Welcome back! Here’s the New Rigged Ship no. 1 in D major. I have found this tune in several sources, the earliest of which is an 1800 edition of Thomas Hardy’s manuscript (from Dorset), it also pops up in an 1853 Scottish book ‘Hamilton’s Universal Tune Book no.2’ and there’s an 1908 version collected in Derbyshire titled ‘The Man Who Couldn’t Get Warm’. There are both reels and jigs from the Shetland Isles called ‘Da New Rigged Ship’ or the ‘Da Full Rigged Ship’, however these do not seem to be related!
The warm ups and drills we started with are on a new page that you can find on the top menu – the main thing to note is that this tune contains lots of 3rds (that is to say a small jump of three notes), for instance in the D to F#s in the first two bars of the A section, and in bars 9 and 11 of the B section. This is a really handy interval to listen out for – think ‘cuckoo!’ – and it gives us lots of scope for variation!
We started by filling some of these 3rds in with the ‘missing’ notes (see HERE for a written variation).
We then took a load of notes out to create more space, before adding some slightly different patterns back in (see HERE for the written variation).
Please note that these variations are designed as a starting point, recapping some of the ideas we covered in class, and are not supposed to be a perfect examples although I have tried to make them at least reasonably musical! Other possibilities for melodic variation could include playing down the octave, or varying the order of the notes in repetitive sections, for instance in bars 3 and 4 of the A section.
Here are the videos from guest tutor Beth’s class, where she taught Epping Forest, a tune from the 4th edition of Playford’s ‘Dancing Master’ manuscript (1670). Huge thanks to Beth for covering the session! Here’s the tune:
And here’s the riff:
And here’s the riff for Lord Frog, the tune for which can be found on the old Ealing Session website here:
Here are the PDFs for the tune, the tune with bowing, the the tune with bowing and riff and the Riff, with the regular dots below.
Not to be confused with any of the Shetland tunes of the same name! I know this tune from playing in sessions and in trying track down it’s origins I’ve found it listed as ‘The New Rigged Ship no 2’ or ‘The Rigged Ship’ in England where its played as a jig, as ‘The Hills of Glenorchy’ in Scotland where it’s played as a march or quickstep, and as ‘The Wild Hills of Wannie’ in Northumberland where it’s played slowly as an air. There are numerous other titles for it, and variations of it, and it seems well travelled! Often a sign of a good tune….
The PDF of the tune, chords and bowing/ornaments variations is here, and the dots are below. We improvised in the B section by making up our own rhythms for alternating between Es and Bs in bars 9-10 and then between Ds and As in bars 11-12, and then back to to Es and Bs for bars 13-14 before picking up the tune again in the last two bars (aka at the ‘tail’). ‘Stab’ chords played every two bars helped punctuate the changes here.