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February 2012 Tune of the Month: Anthony Robb

PostPosted: Wed Feb 01, 2012 4:21 pm
by Dally
Hello All,

John Dally has kindly invited me to choose the TOTM for February and it is:

The Keelman Ower Land
This tune has been a favourite since 1973 when (according to Johnny
Handle) Carole & I gave its first public airing in years. It is still
yielding up its secrets 38 years on.
3/2 tunes are becoming more popular and widely established as shown by
the following abstract from Stewart Hardy submitted to the North
Atlantic Fiddle Convention (A" Cos go Cluas - trans. aEUR~from foot
to ear') 2012
I think it might be of interest to some:
Working with Dinosaurs
Triple-time Hornpipes
Stewart Hardy
The triple-time hornpipes of the British Isles suffered a dramatic
reversal of fortune during the eighteenth century: initially one of the
most widely played tune forms, at its end the decline was such that if
"extinction" was not complete, then continued existence was "critically
endangered". Not until the last quarter of the twentieth century was
there a significant effort to reawaken interest in this type of tune. A
wealth of fabulous material has been unearthed, containing great energy
and appeal for performer and listener alike. Without an unbroken oral
tradition and with the disappearance of dances associated with these
tunes, there are significant challenges to developing historically and
contextually informed interpretations. Clues are found in the surviving
manuscripts and published collections, folk song and literary
descriptions of village dance. Attempts to reconstruct the dances also
provide illuminating material. Rediscovering and resurrecting
triple-time hornpipes presents an opportunity to observe the shift from
social process to aesthetic product in reverse - "from ear to foot"
rather than "from foot to ear". In this paper I will explore these
issues, demonstrate tunes and suggest some practical and well-founded
solutions to problems of interpretation.

Thanks for making the selection, Anthony. It's a tune that goes well on the Border pipes as well.

Re: February 2012 Tune of the Month: Anthony Robb

PostPosted: Sun Feb 05, 2012 12:42 pm
by OldTomsRant
Here's my offering:
http://dl.dropbox.com/u/55194209/Keelma ... 20Land.wav

The link will take you to a fairly large .wav file - sorry about the file size, but I find this method preserves sound quality and overcomes some of the compression issues associated with soundcloud (though I'll also upload it there at some point)

Chris

Re: February 2012 Tune of the Month: Anthony Robb

PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2012 9:10 pm
by edric
Having heard the other entries, I was inspired to have another crack (there's a version in my "First 30 tunes" set on soundcloud), so here it is:

http://soundcloud.com/edric-ellis/keelman-ower-land-again

Haven't quite nailed the triplets run at the very start there, needs a bit more work.

Re: February 2012 Tune of the Month: Anthony Robb

PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2012 11:35 pm
by Matt Seattle
edric wrote:Haven't quite nailed the triplets run at the very start there, needs a bit more work.


Very nicely played, Edric. The 'triplets' should, IMO, be taken with a pinch of salt. The source (Minstrelsy) is not always trustworthy, and the way Chris and Anthony play the opening phrase is the way most people interpret it, and more consistent with the idiom.

Here's one I made earlier
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ukg3qxvXYn8
This was the first public appearance of the MSB, and there's a slightly different arrangement on our CD. I have long thought the tune was much too good to be so short.

Re: February 2012 Tune of the Month: Anthony Robb

PostPosted: Thu Feb 16, 2012 6:34 am
by Dally
Here's my recording for the month. 3/2 hornpipe, waltz, which is it?

http://soundcloud.com/john-dally/keelman-oer-the-land

Re: February 2012 Tune of the Month: Anthony Robb

PostPosted: Thu Feb 16, 2012 9:22 am
by edric
Dally wrote:Here's my recording for the month. 3/2 hornpipe, waltz, which is it?


At the risk of exposing more of my boundless ignorance than is strictly necessary, it doesn't really feel like either of those options to me - it doesn't seem to have much of the "3" about it? (Certainly, it doesn't when I play it). It also doesn't have what I think of as the more typical 3/2 hornpipe rhythm (i.e. tunes like Rusty Gulley, Old Lancashire Hornpipe, ...)

I must confess that sometimes I find tunes get stuck in my head with the pulse contrary to usual expectations - e.g. for me "Cuddy Clauder" toggles between feeling like "3" and feeling like "2", but mostly "2" these days. (Also, rather OT for this group, but in a similar vein, the intro to AC/DC's "Riff Raff" from the album "Powerage" always throws me - what feels like the first beat of the bar moves by 1 beat when the full tune sets off.)

Re: February 2012 Tune of the Month: Anthony Robb

PostPosted: Fri Feb 17, 2012 2:31 am
by Dally
This tune does seem to be unique. Listening to Ian, Chris and Anthony play the tune it struck me that my own sense of it was different, but why? Is it a native rythmn, like the strathspey, which as an overseas piper I have to "learn"? In one book (don't remember which right now) the tune is written in 6/8, IIRC.

Re: February 2012 Tune of the Month: Anthony Robb

PostPosted: Fri Feb 17, 2012 1:03 pm
by OldTomsRant
Hi John

There are a number of tunes in this rhythm: Felton Lonnin, Fenwick of Bywell, Hoop Her & Gird Her, and I'll Have Her In Spite of her Minnie, for example. They're usually written in 6/8, but the feel is of a minuet rather than a jig. Berwick had a primitive setting of KOL in 6/8. It appears in Matt Seattle's latest edition of Bewick under the name "The Boddies of Birse". Definitely not a 3/2 tune, though!

Re: February 2012 Tune of the Month: Anthony Robb

PostPosted: Fri Feb 17, 2012 8:56 pm
by Matt Seattle
Yes, what Chris said. Ditto Dixon's 6/4 tunes. I don't know much about minuets, and I think of them more as the air version of a jig, with many examples of individual tunes which appear in both guises, e.g. Felton Lonnen, of which I have a nice jig setting as well as the beautiful, soulful air. Same thing with 9/8s, e.g. The Peacock Follows The Hen / Cuddle Me Cuddy. There's perhaps a halfway area in between, too, e.g. Blanche Of Middlebie, but we are left to our own devices on how to interpret tunes that have dropped out of continuous circulation. I'm persuaded that 6/4 rather than 6/8 is a good way to notate tunes such as Keelman, as Julia did with Squire Dacre in the updated yellow NSP-LBPS Border book.

Re: February 2012 Tune of the Month: Anthony Robb

PostPosted: Sat Feb 18, 2012 10:57 am
by Julia Say
Thanks, Matt. I currently favour 6/4 representation for the "stately" airs, and laments etc. It stops folk automatically thinking of them as jigs (tho I fully accept that some exist in both forms). I identified a few others I would personally think of this way though I haven't always been able to get them printed in "my" preferred form.
Nor can I remember offhand which ones they were - brain on other things at present.

I think I like the idea of Keelman that way - I'll have to go and try it.

Julia