Sleeve Notes for Hampshire Dance Tunes CD by Hampshire Dance Musicians
In Winchester Records Library, there is a manuscript book, ref. 210M87/1. The title page has R Pyle 19th January 1822 written in decorated script. The book contains 171 secular tunes, largely country dance tunes with a few airs and song accompaniments, and a few psalm and hymn settings in the back. It thus reinforces the classic idea we have of an English village musician, someone who plays for dances when required and in the church on Sundays. The book came from Nether Wallop, in the Test Valley in Hampshire, and was part of a collection supplied by Mr. Mouland, a descendant of the Pyles.
Whilst there are some familiar tunes in the book, my thoughts when I first looked through the material is that Id never heard of most of them. This was confirmed when I started looking into the background. I could only find references to around half the tunes, generally in publications dating between 1780 and 1820. When played, it was apparent that many would form robust, Southern English dance tunes, readily lending themselves to spontaneous harmonies and improvisations. It seemed that they ought to see the light of day again. A chance meeting with Roger Watson of TAPs (Traditional Arts Projects) led to some funding from Test Valley Borough Council to pursue this idea. The idea of a CD of selected tunes, played by local artists, emerged, together with an accompanying book containing a larger selection. Doug Bailey, of WildGoose Records agreed to produce the CD. Pete McClelland of Hobgoblin agreed to finance the book.
The playing on this CD represents modern, Southern English playing at its best. I hope you enjoy it.
We know little about R Pyle. He was Richard Pyle, youngest of seven children born to John and Ann Pyle of Nether Wallop in 1808. The farm still stands today in the middle of the village. Until the 1960s, it was known as Pyle Farm. It is now called Old Brook Farm. In the 1851 census, Richard is recorded as unmarried and owning the farm, where he lived with his unmarried sister, Martha. He died in 1880.
We dont know the instrument Richard played. There are sufficient well-known tunes in their common keys in the manuscript to suggest it wasnt a transposing one. The keys chosen for many of the tunes require excursions into the higher positions on the fiddle, and there are hardly any instances of notes below C on the fiddle G string. It thus seems unlikely he was a fiddle player. The flute seems the most likely instrument, although an oboe or C clarinet are also possibilities. However, Richard was 14 when he started the manuscript book. He was the youngest son of an affluent farmer. As such, it is likely he would play the traditional gentlemans instrument, the flute.
This CD is an outcome of a project in which many people have given their time and effort for little or no money. Our thanks to all of them. We would like to acknowledge the permission granted by Mr Mouland, the owner of the manuscript, to publish and use this material. We would also like to thank the staff of Winchester Records Library for their help and advice and Traditional Arts Projects for instigating this project and for providing funding, through Test Valley Borough Council, that assisted in the recording of this CD. Rob Harbron assisted early in the project, in selecting tunes for the CD. Malcolm Taylor and Peta Webb, of the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library at Cecil Sharp House, have been very helpful in researching the origins of the tunes.
A particular thanks to all the musicians who contributed their time and talents to recording this material.
A book containing selected tunes from the manuscript is also available:-
Hampshire Dance Tunes
Edited by Bob Shatwell and Paul Sartin
Published by Hobgoblin
1 Oxford University Volunteer’s Quickstep
This is attributed to Joseph Reinagle, who was a prominent English musician and friend of Haydn. He was born around 1760.
2 Two unnamed waltzes
No record could be found of these.
3 The Barber of Seville, Earl of Rosslen, Chainess dance
I couldn’t find direct references to any of these tunes. However, Rossini composed his opera in 1816, so the title “Barber of Seville” would be popular. The second tune almost certainly refers to Alexander Wedderburn (1733 – 1805), Lord Chancellor of Great Britain, who was created first Earl of Rosslyn in 1801.
4 Belvidere waltz
No reference found to this tune. The title probably refers to the Belvedere palace in Vienna.
5 L’ete, The Triumph
The quadrille was formally introduced into society in 1815. It had several parts: “Le Pantalon, L’ete, La Poule, la Pastourelle and Finale”. Often different tune sets would have the same titles. There are two “L’etes” and three “La Poules” in the original manuscript. “The Triumph” is one of the commonest southern English tunes of the 19th century. Versions from different manuscripts often differ slightly, suggesting a popular tune.
6 Salamanca and Seville waltzes
No reference could be found to these tunes, although both were almost certainly composed shortly after Wellington’s successful campaign in the Peninsular war of 1812.
7 Cinderella country dance, Windsor Park
In 1812 Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm published their famous collection of Germanic folk tales and included a version of the French Cinderella story. The tune and dance were probably composed shortly afterwards. Windsor Park was published in “Riley’s Flute Melodies” of 1814. It is now known as “Bonny Breast Knots” (Sussex version).
8 Lady Caroline Morrison, The Sovereign
No reference could be found to Lady Morrison. Several references could be found to “Royal Sovereign, but this was a different tune. George IV was crowned in 1822. This tune could have been composed for this occasion.
9 Lady Caroline Bertie, Regent’s Favourite
Wheatstone has “Lady Caroline Bertie” in “A Selection of Elegant Country Dances” book 8 (1814). She was daughter of the 4th Earl of Abingdon. Various references could be found to tunes with “Regent” in the title, but not this one. However, the name dates it to 1811-1820.
10 Waterloo Dance, Isle of France
Both tunes are in Wheatstone “A Selection of Elegant Country Dances (1815). Pyle also refers to the second tune as “Waterloo” in the manuscript, suggesting the two were interchangeable.
11 Bang up, The Tank
“Bang up” is also published in Townsend “1st Collection of English Country Dances”. “The Tank” is in Wheatstone vol. 2. It appears in many collections of 19th century English music.
12 Morgiana, Captain Wyke
Morgiana was a slave girl from the Arabian nights who assisted Ali Baba. The popularity of the name is thought to arise from the appearance of “The Forty thieves – A grand melodramatic romance” by R B Sheridan. The tune is thought to date from around 1812. Captain Wyke (or White) is found in many collections. The second and third parts are often put together to make a 32-bar jig.
13 The Brick, What argufies Pride and Ambition
“The Brick” is in 3/8 time and has the alternative title of “A New Dash”. This suggests it wasn’t a waltz. Maybe a Mazurka. The second tune had a time signature of 9/8, but was written irregularly, with some bars formally in 3/8 time and others in 6/8. The version played here has been “regularised” to make it into a passable slip-jig. However, it is highly likely that the original was meant to accompany a song.
14 Granos Jig, The Legacy
The first title should probably read Grano’s Jig. The name almost certainly refers to John Baptist Grano, who was a trumpeter who worked with Handel in the 1720s. The jig is unusual, with a six bar second part. The second tune can be found in a few collections of 19th century music, e.g. “Lincolnshire Collections” vol 1 p68 Ed. P D Sumner (1997). This is from a collection dated 1823 – 1827 by Joshua Gibbons.
15 A new gig, Ride a Mile
The first tune is better known as “Barney Brallaghan”. Attributed to J Blewitt, musical director at the Theatre Royal, Dublin, and dated around 1813. Ceolas suggests that “Ride a Mile” is an anglicised version of “Is Cuma Liom” and that the tune originated in the 17th century or earlier.
16 Henri Quatre, The Clermont, Tom and Jerry
Keller lists a “Vive Henri Quatre” in 2/4 time and a “Chasse d’Henri Quatre” in 6/8 time, dated 1818. However, these are different tunes. No reference could be found to the second tune. The last title refers to Corinthian Tom and Jerry Hawthorne (the original Tom and Jerry), two characters from Pierce Egan’s “Life in London”, a popular chronicle of debauchery and low-life in Regency London.