Peacock's Variations

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Re: Peacock's Variations

Postby John Gibbons » Wed Nov 23, 2011 7:32 pm

The Marsden tunes are wonderful, but as Adrian says, a bit different.

Note the Butterfly is not a 3/2 hornpipe, but a 9/4 jig, whatever Marsden wrote at the front!
But a fine one for all that! It's The Suttors of Selkirk.

Marsden's 'Madam Catbrin's' is a close relative of Henry Atkinson's 'Uncle John'.
I once made a big set out of the pair of them.
But fiddle hornpipes, with their wider range and having more chords available,
behave differently from bagpipe ones.

Slap and Kiss one of Marsden's most obvious 'originally bagpipe' tunes,
is a relative, I think, of All the Night I Lay with Jockey, and Matt links it to Dixon's
'Nichol Foster's Hornpipe' too. Both connections are fairly clear but not both at the same time...

Last edited by John Gibbons on Wed Nov 23, 2011 8:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Peacock's Variations

Postby OldTomsRant » Thu Nov 24, 2011 11:25 am

Going back to Francis' original post, I think he makes an important point about how literally we take Peacock's settings. Any transcription is likely to be a snapshot of what was played at that moment in time, or maybe even an approximation to what he usually played in Peacock's case.

There are differences between Henry Clough's settings of tunes and those of his son Tom. It is tempting to catalogue these as distinct records of the tune at different points in history, yet often the differences appear to be little more than alternative interpretations: sometimes there are greater discrepancies between two of Tom's notations of the same tune. Neither is there necessarily an 'improvement' of the piece over time, but rather, alternative versions reflecting individual' tastes. Personally, the way I have played Cuddy Claw'd Her this week is different to how I was playing it a fortnight ago.

While Tom Clough commented that Felton Lonnen "Has always been played in our family this way", comparison of his setting with Henry's might suggest otherwise, if the written notes are taken as evidence. Obviously there is a lot more to the tradition than note-for-note reproduction of historical settings. Past players in an unbroken tradition may have taken that for granted, but our task here is to rediscover everything that underpinned that tradition, and not to get too hung up about the 'dots'

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Re: Peacock's Variations

Postby adrian » Fri Nov 25, 2011 12:22 am

What I'm trying to say is, that Peacock, Clough and the Tyneside, Border and Carlisle varions have certain runs in them, which is not the same as elsewhere. Going through the Johnny Green Cheshire manuscript, the tunes show perculier endings, which are not the same as Northern tunes.
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Re: Peacock's Variations

Postby John Gibbons » Fri Nov 25, 2011 9:54 am

I think the figuration of these tunes depends in detail on the instrument the setting is for.
Atkinson's 'Uncle John' has a lot in common with Marsden's 'Madam Catbrin' they are on the same ground and both are for fiddle.
Some of the figures in 'Mr Preston' - originally a 9-note pipe tune - are very Dixon-like.
You write variations that sit well under the fingers on your own instrument.

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Re: Peacock's Variations

Postby Matt Seattle » Wed Feb 29, 2012 5:27 pm

Francis Wood wrote:Quite right to question Wright's competence! It's a sloppy effort and very cheaply produced.

It's a priceless work, done for the love of, and for the lovers of 'this kind of music' as T Bewick has it. The effort expended in notating and engraving was out of all proportion to any likelihood of material gain. I too am 'excessively pleased' with it. One of the outstanding artifacts of human civilisation.

Francis Wood wrote:the quality of the work introduces several ambiguities

most of which are easily resolved from other sources or by native wit.
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Re: Peacock's Variations

Postby John Gibbons » Wed Mar 14, 2012 11:46 pm

The size of Wright's actual market can be judged from the tiny number of surviving copies; however the number of early 19th century and later sources which have verbatim (or extended) Peacock variation sets shows that it did satisfy an unmet need.
It did that much better than NM did 3/4 of a century later!
So it may well have been done as a labour of love, despite the typos. If the music was not engraved in Newcastle, unlike the frontispiece and fingering chart, then blaming Wright for them is maybe unfair.

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