Dixon tune notation

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Dixon tune notation

Postby Julia Say » Sun Nov 20, 2011 2:30 pm

In the Bobby Shaftoe thread, John Gibbons wrote:

The Dixon tunes - even the 8-note ones which ended up on NSP, all are notated with a flat 7th.


Er...I don't think so.

Wm. Dixon p20.png
Wm. Dixon p20.png (167.99 KiB) Viewed 1559 times


Here's the beginning of "Hit her between the legs"

There's a key sig of sorts there, but it's open to interpretation.

More importantly, I've just noticed something. The title has been overwritten, and the date beside it is in the second hand. I'll have to get back and look at some more of it, but the original hand on this page at any rate, is earlier (and more ornate). I am thinking this may be Percival's master work to get his freedom - 1697.

Aaargh!

Julia
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Re: Dixon tune notation

Postby John Gibbons » Sun Nov 20, 2011 4:58 pm

Interesting - but what is that symbol to the right of the g clef?
It is definitely not a sharp sign as in Atkinson or more modern sources.
Do any other tunes have this mark? It is more like the mangled corpse of a modern treble clef.
I doubt if it is an integral sign. It seems attached to the g clef, and I believe is a part of it.
Compare Atkinson's Cock up thy Beaver Jemme, which has a very similar g clef.
Atkinson has such or similar g clefs with various key signatures.
This 9-note tune definitely needs an F natural, for the harmony to work.

The old hand is certainly more similar to some in Atkinson's MS,
but if the 1690's date is correct for this music,
it is remarkably - though not impossibly - early for very sophisticated long variation sets.
The Scottish ones at least got bigger from the early to the mid-18th c.
Though in England Cock up thy Beaver was already huge in the 1690s.

John
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Re: Dixon tune notation

Postby John Gibbons » Sun Nov 20, 2011 5:21 pm

I looked at all the clefs in the images from the Dixon MS in the new edition of The Master Piper.
In each of these examples, the g is continued with a flourish, as in Atkinson.

I see there is in Julia's example 'Hit her between the legs' another mark on the top (f) line,
immediately above the g clef, but it looks like a smudge to me.
You wouldn't want to sharpen the f in this tune, for sure.

John
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Re: Dixon tune notation

Postby Julia Say » Sun Nov 20, 2011 7:46 pm

Here's an expansion of it:

keysig1.png
keysig1.png (271.35 KiB) Viewed 1547 times


and here's the one from the start of Canny Willie Forster:

keysig2.png
keysig2.png (161.9 KiB) Viewed 1547 times


Other tunes have it too (I haven't checked all of them)

It seems to be saying "this line is g" - with a flourish after it (the one on Willie Forster looks less like an integral, John!)

Does that help?

I suspect what we need is a comparison with some other early clef representations.

Julia
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Re: Dixon tune notation

Postby John Gibbons » Sun Nov 20, 2011 10:09 pm

The Atkinson ones on FARNE are variations on the 'g+flourish' pattern.
By the 3rd quarter of the century, Vickers has modern g clefs.
I suppose the greater availability of printed music caused
hands to converge towards the printed standard.

John
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Re: Dixon tune notation

Postby adrian » Mon Nov 21, 2011 3:49 pm

What instrument is this music for? Doesn't matter, I've just noticed the 4 line stave.
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Re: Dixon tune notation

Postby John Gibbons » Mon Nov 21, 2011 11:52 pm

The 4-line stave is the clincher -- so non-standard that it only makes sense for an instrument with a 9-note compass from F to g.
BP or open end smallpipes in G are the only likely possibilities that seem to fit,
though you might build a case for the bottom octave and a bit of a treble recorder.
If we knew for sure that WD had a damaged left thumb, that option might hold up, but not otherwise....

John
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Re: Dixon tune notation

Postby adrian » Tue Nov 22, 2011 1:08 am

Low f and octave from g to G and the script is is C; therefore F's are natural.
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Re: Dixon tune notation

Postby Julia Say » Tue Nov 22, 2011 9:28 am

Could be, Adrian. It could also be that the key sig is just "left out" - as in the GHB music of today. And the GHB plays a c#, not a natural, and an F# not a natural. When they change key into D or Bm they don't change key sig. as we would (might, anyway!)

So I think rather we are dealing with an MS where the readers / players were expected to "know" what the the tunes should sound like and therefore what key - in our modern terms - they are in. Or more pertinently, which drones / instrument / cross fingering to use.

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Re: Dixon tune notation

Postby OldTomsRant » Tue Nov 22, 2011 2:51 pm

Sticking my neck out here, but the Dixon variations don't sit easily on Border pipes played with either modern GHB fingering, or the old open C fingering. There's too great a risk of crossover noises in the c,d,e,c patterns (in the key of A) that occur throughout. Was the fingering different in 1733, or is this not Border pipe music?
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