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Bobby Shaftoe / Willie Forster and variants

PostPosted: Fri Nov 18, 2011 11:22 pm
by adrian
It is interesting to note that the tunes in C maj. with an F#, the tune Bobby Shaftoe, F# is changed to G. As this is a trad tune, Peacock was not interested in its pedigree as a song and corrupted it to be played as a tune or did the song originally not have an F# in it?

Re: Bobby Shaftoe / Willie Forster and variants

PostPosted: Sat Nov 19, 2011 9:36 am
by Julia Say
Since this tune has an impressive history and variants of its own, as well as the general principle of Peacock's "bodges" into Lydian mode (OK, they may have been someone else's too), I've split this post into a dedicated thread.

IIRC, Cannie Willie Forster was MP for Bamburgh and in 1691 fought a notably (even for those days) corrupt election, using the tune as his election jingle.
There's a variation set in Dixon (1730-ish), it's in Atkinson (1694-ish).

Personally, I think Peacock (or someone) bodged it. In 1995 (ish), Adrian gave me a copy he'd written out in D, which made more sense to him at he time. Much of what I've researched since stems from that .

Haven't time for more at present. Take it away, folks!

Julia

Re: Bobby Shaftoe / Willie Forster and variants

PostPosted: Sat Nov 19, 2011 4:43 pm
by adrian
Yes, the f# key signature, supposedly denoting the tune was in G, was misleading, it meant the key of C with a sharpened 4th.

Re: Bobby Shaftoe / Willie Forster and variants

PostPosted: Sat Nov 19, 2011 5:25 pm
by John Gibbons
C major makes far more sense than C Lydian; the Dixon and Atkinson versions,
and the tune that everyone knows, are in the major. D major works as well.

But Peacock's new improved chanter didn't have an F nat key.
So the F# in the signature is a statement about the instrument rather than the tune.
A bodge of the tune to an instrument it didn't quite fit, in other words.

John

Re: Bobby Shaftoe / Willie Forster and variants

PostPosted: Sun Nov 20, 2011 12:45 am
by adrian
interesting that the GHB had a flattened 7th at the time of Peacock's era. I put it to the bench that: Peacock knew nothing about making/tuning/ chanters and key-modes.

Re: Bobby Shaftoe / Willie Forster and variants

PostPosted: Sun Nov 20, 2011 12:12 pm
by Julia Say
I'm not sure that tuning of the GHB is particularly relevant, I-Adrian: by Peacock's time the military had got involved with it. And I think the jury is still out in the GHB world on how they were before standardisation took hold.

What is relevant however is the Border or Lowland pipe (whatever you want to call it)
Examples in the Cocks collection show a diversity of tuning, with over half the examples having a sharpened 7th as their primary finger note. This has been discussed elesewhere at length: my feeling is that both tunings were being used (on different chanters, obviously) but that most chanters were capable of producing the "other" accidental by use of cross fingering of one sort or another.

Since I don't play them I prefer to leave the minuutiae of how that works to those who do.

I think the fact that both 7ths were being played in tunes also played on the nsp, or in the process of being transferred from the border pipes (as I call them) to the nsp is extremely relevant.

The pertinent MSSS or publications are Riddell (pub. 1794), Reavely (unknown date but has a drawing in it dating it to 1801) and of course Dixon (1733) and Atkinson (1694).
Also to be borne in mind in relation to dates is that just because an MS has a date written on it, doesn't mean that that date is when the MS was written. It may be, but we mustn't assume it. So if anything these dates are on the late side.

As to players we're right across the chain of playing starting with Willie Turnbull and following through to Cant, Lamshaw, Clough etc etc as well as Peacock. They all knew each other. Most of them played both types of pipes, most also played other things too (fiddle, mostly).
And that chain continues down to us. As we know.

This is a book.......I haven't time now - someone else have a go!

Julia

Re: Bobby Shaftoe / Willie Forster and variants

PostPosted: Sun Nov 20, 2011 12:58 pm
by John Gibbons
The Dixon tunes - even the 8-note ones which ended up on NSP, all are notated with a flat 7th.
Riddell writes g# in here and there, but this may be him 'correcting' what he heard.
Some of his g# are plainly wrong. But in some places, g# on the way up, g nat on the way down, makes a lot of sense.
This depends on how the crossfingering works on a given chanter, however.

John

Re: Bobby Shaftoe / Willie Forster and variants

PostPosted: Mon Nov 21, 2011 12:33 am
by adrian
The Hammered Dulcimer player, John Rea, Northern Ireland, played tunes in G with a flattened 7th. He had influences from Scotland.

Re: Bobby Shaftoe / Willie Forster and variants

PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2011 9:13 pm
by John Gibbons
Does anyone on the list know what the c's are like on the Lowland/Border chanters in the Cocks collection, treating the tonic as A?
As there are fiddle transcriptions with a c natural, and no contemporary tutors or fingering charts, and Dixon might well have 'left out the key signature' -
(though if so, why did he bother with the clef?) the surviving old instruments are the only evidence there is.

John