Free English traditional music workshops

Photo by Alex Bienfait

English traditional music workshops – Gun & Spitroast, Horsmonden, Kent

The tunes for these classes are posted below!

Learn to play traditional tunes for music sessions and dancing in the company of other beginners. Play slowly and practice whatever’s causing difficulty for you. Join fiddler, concertina, guitar and melodeon player Gavin Atkin at the Gun & Spitroast pub at Horsmonden, Kent (TN12 8HT) on the FIRST and THIRD Tuesdays of each month at 8pm until the summer of 2018. (The workshop at Brenchley in a few days time on the 27th September is the last under the old schedule.)

Please join us at any point through the year – we do play our tunes very slowly to begin with, and play only a two or three over and over again on any given evening. To sign up for emails about these events and others we run in mid-Kent click here!

Admission is free but we have a small collection (a couple of quid would be fine) to cover expenses.

Typical instruments might be melodeon, fiddle, concertina, mandolin, harmonica, whistle, flute or banjo, but we’ll be just as happy if you pitch up with percussion (say, a triangle, tambourine, cajon, or snare and hi-hat) or  a saxophone or an electronic piano. Reading music isn’t necessary, though it definitely helps (and is worth working on it you can).

In addition to the classes we run tunes sessions (see the Sessions page) and in the spring and autumn also put on a dance in which the class is joined by friends to form a band to play for dancing. To see an example of one of these dances, click here.

Please tell your friends and especially anyone who’s starting to play and really should know about these classes! There’s a poster to print out and give to friends here: Horsmonden classes flier.

For information, call Gavin Atkin on 07985 522734.

Music for these workshops

Click on the links to download either pdf files of the tunes, or ABC notation (which can be played using the various ABC softwares and websites, including the excellent www.mandolintab.net), or to access YouTube clips (many of which are here, but I’ll have to catch up with the rest when I have time!).

Don’t miss the notes about playing these tunes at the bottom of this page – I’ve put them there for convenience, but that doesn’t mean they are not important and useful!

Workshop regular Kathy Wallwork has kindly made an index of the YouTube videos. Thanks Kathy! To access it, click here: Tunes YouTube index

There’s also a short YouTube demonstrating some of the most common tune types.

Tunes for the dance on the 25th November:

Waltzes
Hare’s Waltz (32 bars)
Peeler Creek (waltz 16 bars, I think)
Polkas
Galopede (32 bars)
The Quaker (polka 32 bars)
Jigs
The Squirrel in a Tree (jig 32 bars)
The Ball (jig 32 bars)
48-bar jigs
Oats and Beans
Reel or march
The Curly Headed Ploughboy (reel or march 32 bars)
Schottische
Smith’s a Gallant fireman
Hornpipe
Off to California

7th November 2017The Curly Headed Ploughboy and Oats and Beans Abcs: The Curly Headed PloughboyOats and Beans YouTube: Off to California

17the October 2017 –  The Quaker and The Trip to Highgate Abcs The Trip to HighgateThe Quaker YouTubes: The Quaker (for melodeon and fiddle)The Trip to Highgate, Smith’s a Gallant Fireman

Tenterden Folk Festival tunes workshop 2017Sally Sloane’s Mazurka, The Trip to Highgate Abcs: Sally Sloane’s MazurkaThe Trip to Highgate YouTubes: Sally Sloane’s Mazurka, The Trip to Highgate, Davey Davey Nick Nack 

3rd October 2017 (NB – it’s a Tuesday and it’s at The Gun, Horsmonden) – Hare’s Waltz and Galopede Abcs: Hare’s WaltzGalopede YouTubes: Hare’s Waltz, Galopede, The Squirrel in a Tree

27th September 2017 (NB – at Brenchley Memorial Hall) –  The Ball and Peeler Creek abcs: The BallPeeler Creek YouTubes: Squirrel in a Tree, The Ball, Peeler Creek

Summer 2017 A little present in abc format – Harry Reeves’ Favourite in abc format: Harry Reeves’ Favourite – in D (dots in pdf) and the original YouTube played in C on tuned-down fiddles (so playing in C using D fingering). Have fun with it – it’s a great tune and there’s a lot to pick out and think about here, especially the way the tune is full of rhythmic drive…

24th May 2017 – The Fairy Dance and Charlie Batchelor’s Lost Jig abcs: Charlie Batchelor’s Lost Jig, The Fairy Dance YouTubes: The Lost Jig, The Fairy DanceOh Dem Golden Slippers

10th May 2017 – The Hesleyside Reel and The Redesdale Hornpipe abcs: The Hesleyside Reel, The Redesdale Hornpipe YouTubes: The Lincolnshire Polka, The Hesleyside Reel, The Redesdale Hornpipe

26th April 2017 – The Gloucester Hornpipe, Schottische de Virmoux abcs: The Gloucester Hornpipe,  Schottische de Virmoux Youtubes: The Gloucester Hornpipe, Schottische de Virmoux, Mount Hills

12th April 2017 –  The Rope Waltz, Lemmy Brazil’s No 2 abcs: The Rope Waltz, Lemmy Brazil’s No. 2 Youtubes: The Rope WaltzThe Market Rasen QuickstepLemmy Brazil’s No 2

8th March 2017 – Drops of Brandy abc: Drops of Brandy YouTube: Drops of Brandy (This is a ‘slip jig’, and it goes jiggity jiggity jiggity, unlike the jigs you are used to, which usually go jig-ty jig-ty or jiggity jiggity or some combination. You’ll hear lots of versions on line but I should warn you that many are rather fast… )

Kathy has kindly made one of her excellent lists including the first four bars of each tune.

More tunes for the dance on the 25th March:

22nd February – it’s time to start practising tunes for the barndance at Brenchley Memorial Hall starting at 8pm on the 25th March.

We’ll need a mix of jigs, polkas, hornpipes and schottisches, reels, marches and a waltz or two. There are not chords for all of these at the moment, but as there’s been a call for them, I will work up some chords and post them here between now and the 22nd.

Here are my initial suggestions from recent months’ workshops. In each case, I propose we use the simpler chords for now, and in the case of Oats and Beans, let’s be brave and go for the B music in D!

8th February –  The Steamboat and Oats and Beans abcs: The SteamboatOats and Beans Chords: Off to California, Oats and Beans , The Steamboat YouTubes: Off to CaliforniaOats and Beans, The Steamboat

25th January – The Sloe and In the Toyshop abcs: The SloeIn the Toyshop YouTubes: The Sloe, In the Toyshop, The South Wind Chords: In the Toyshop

11th January – The Dorset Four Hand Reel and Percy Brown’s Polka abcs: The Dorset Four Hand Reel, Percy Brown’s Polka YouTubes: The Dorset Four Hand Reel, Percy Brown’s Polka, Buttered Pease No 1 Chords: Buttered Pease,

14th December – Over the Waterfall and Marche des Cabrettaires abcs: Over the Waterfall, Marche des Cabrettaires YouTubes: Over the Waterfall, Marche des Cabrettaires and Waiting for the Federals (aka The Seneca Square Dance) Chords: Over the Waterfall So that’s a French tune and two American tunes, all now favourites in English sessions. That’s English music for you…

23rd November – it’s the last practice before the dance so get there if you can!

9th November YouTube: Sonny Brogan’s Mazurka Chords: Sonny Brogan’s Mazurka

26th October – More tunes, this time hop-steppy hornpipey things, a couple of reels, a march and a waltz…

  • The Tipsy Parson
  • Smith’s a Gallant Fireman
  • Roxburgh Castle
  • Over the Hills and Far Away
  • The Dashing White Sergeant – here’s a YouTube: The Dashing White Sergeant
  • Fred Pigeon’s Number 2
  • Hare’s Waltz (this will be new for some of you – see pdf, abc, YouTube)

12th October – it’s time to start work on a set of tunes for the dance at the end of November. We have just four practices between then and now, and I know the time will go by like a rocket…

So here’s a suggested collection to begin with:

  • The Bourton Six
  • Rig-a-Jig-Jig
  • The Belfast Polka
  • Uncle Jim’s
  • The Swiss Boy
  • The Fiery Clockface
  • The Hundred Pipers
  • Dr Faustus’ Tumblers

They’re all tunes we’ve covered in the workshops if you look at the links below. I’ll need to add a couple of hornpipes and another reel…

28th September – The Swiss Boy and Uncle Jims Abcs: The Swiss BoyUncle Jim’s YouTubes: The Swiss BoyUncle Jim’s, Rusty Gulley

22nd June – 22nd June 2016 The Bourton Six, The Quaker and Dr Faustus’ Tumblers, Abcs: The Bourton SixThe  Quaker, Dr Faustus’ Tumblers YouTubes: The Bourton Six, The QuakerDr Faustus’ Tumblers, Park

8th June 2016 – Seven Stars and Rig-a-Jig-Jig, Abcs: Seven StarsRig-a-Jig-Jig YouTubes: Seven Stars Rig-a-Jig-Jig, Michael Turner’s Waltz, The Gypsy Waltz

25th May 2016 – La Russe and The Belfast Polka Abcs: The Belfast Polka, La Russe YouTubes: The Dory Boat, The Belfast Polka,  La Russe

11th May 2016 – The Harlequin Air, The Sussex Bonny Breast Knot Abcs: The Harlequin Air, The Sussex Bonny Breast Knot YouTubes: The Harlequin Air, Smith’s a Gallant Fireman The Sussex Bonny Breast Knot

27th April 2016 – Over the Hills and Far Away and The Italian Schottische Abcs:  Over the Hills and Far Away, The Italian Schottische Some YouTubes: Over the Hills and Far Away, The Italian Schottischeand The Tip Top Polka.

13th April 2016 – Three Around Three, Davey Davey Knick Knack and The Heel and Toe Polka I’ve been asked to go over some old favourites that are common tunes that lots of people around the sessions will know.  So here they are! Abcs: Three Around ThreeDavey Davey Nick Nack, The Heel and Toe Polka And there are even some old YouTubes… Three Around Three, Davey Davey Nick-Nack, and The Heel and Toe Polka.  YouTubes: Three Around Three and Davey Davey Knick Knack with just a few ornaments for fiddlers and single note instruments and  The Heel and Toe Polka

23rd March – Washing Day, Archie’s Fancy Abcs: Washing Day, Archie’s Fancy YouTubes:  Speed the Plough, Roxburgh Castle,  Archie’s Waltz, Washing Day

10th February – it’s time to focus on  the tunes workshop members have nominated as favourites they’d like to play at the dance at the Bell & Jorrocks, Frittenden, on the 19th March! So we’ll work on them, and an additional one we’ll work on by ear. The nominated tunes are (use the index or search down the page for dots, YouTubes etc):

  • The Tipsy Parson
  • Jackie Tarr
  • The Chatham Hornpipe
  • Paddy Carrey
  • Dribbles of Brandy
  • Uncle’s Jig
  • Spirit of the Dance
  • The Gypsy Princess
  • The Louth Quick Step
  • Peeler Creek
  • Bewicks Hornpipe
  • Captain Pugwash
  • The Ball
  • Fred Pigeon’s No 2
  • La Marianne

10th February – Youtube: Jenny Lind

27th January – Bewick’s Hornpipe and The Staffordshire Hornpipe abcs: Bewick’s HornpipeStaffordshire Hornpipe Youtubes: Bewick’s Hornpipe, The Staffordshire Hornpipe, Captain Pugwash

13th January – Astley’s Ride and Midnight on the Water Abcs: Astley’s RideMidnight on the Water Youtubes: The Patacake Polka, Midnight on the Water, Astley’s Ride The Recovery

9th December – Albert Farmer’s Bonfire Tune, The Chatham Hornpipe  abcs: Chatham HornpipeAlbert Farmers Bonfire Tune Youtubes: Chatham HornpipeAlbert Farmers Bonfire Tune, Shave the Donkey 

28th October – we’ll start practising for the dance at Frittenden on the 28th November. I’ve linked to the dots on the list, but search the page below for the links to the YouTubes or use Kathy’s handy index (link above).  We may also learn a tune by ear, just to keep our hands in…

The tunes etc we’re planning to use so far are:

23rd November – it’s the last pracrtice before the dance so get there if you can! 23rd November – it’s the last pracrtice before the dance so get there if you can!
9th November YouTube: Sonny Brogan’s Mazurka 9th November YouTube: Sonny Brogan’s Mazurka
26th October – More tunes, this time hop-steppy hornpipey things, a couple of reels, a march and a waltz… 26th October – More tunes, this time hop-steppy hornpipey things, a couple of reels, a march and a waltz…

    • The Tipsy Parson
    • The Tipsy Parson
    • Smith’s a Gallant Fireman
    • Smith’s a Gallant Fireman
    • Roxburgh Castle
    • Roxburgh Castle
    • Over the Hills and Far Away
    • Over the Hills and Far Away
    • The Dashing White Sergeant – here’s a YouTube: The Dashing White Sergeant
    • The Dashing White Sergeant – here’s a YouTube: The Dashing White Sergeant
    • Fred Pigeon’s Number 2
    • Fred Pigeon’s Number 2
    • Hare’s Waltz (this will be new for some of you – see pdf, abc, YouTube)
    • Hare’s Waltz (this will be new for some of you – see pdf, abc, YouTube)

12th October – it’s time to start work on a set of tunes for the dance at the end of November. We have just four practices between then and now, and I know the time will go by like a rocket… 12th October – it’s time to start work on a set of tunes for the dance at the end of November. We have just four practices between then and now, and I know the time will go by like a rocket…
So here’s a suggested collection to begin with: So here’s a suggested collection to begin with:

    • The Bourton Six
    • The Bourton Six
    • Rig-a-Jig-Jig
    • Rig-a-Jig-Jig
    • The Dory Boat
    • The Belfast Polka
    • The Belfast Polka
    • Uncle Jim’s
    • Uncle Jim’s
    • The Swiss Boy
    • The Swiss Boy
    • The Fiery Clockface
    • The Fiery Clockface
    • The Hundred Pipers
    • The Hundred Pipers
    • Dr Faustus’ Tumblers
    • Dr Faustus’ Tumblers
    • The Seven Stars

They’re all tunes we’ve covered in the workshops if you look at the links below. I’ll need to add a couple of hornpipes and another reel… They’re all tunes we’ve covered in the workshops if you look at the links below. I’ll need to add a couple of hornpipes and another reel…

28th September – The Swiss Boy and Uncle Jims Abcs: The Swiss Boy, Uncle Jim’s YouTubes: The Swiss Boy, Uncle Jim’s, Rusty Gulley
22nd June – 22nd June 2016 The Bourton Six, The Quaker and Dr Faustus’ Tumblers, Abcs: The Bourton Six, The Quaker, Dr Faustus’ Tumblers YouTubes: The Bourton Six, The Quaker, Dr Faustus’ Tumblers, Park

8th June 2016 – Seven Stars and Rig-a-Jig-Jig, Abcs: Seven Stars, Rig-a-Jig-Jig YouTubes: Seven Stars, Rig-a-Jig-Jig, Michael Turner’s Waltz, The Gypsy Waltz

25th May 2016 – La Russe and The Belfast Polka Abcs: The Belfast Polka, La Russe YouTubes: The Dory Boat, The Belfast Polka, La Russe

11th May 2016 – The Harlequin Air, The Sussex Bonny Breast Knot Abcs: The Harlequin Air, The Sussex Bonny Breast Knot YouTubes: The Harlequin Air, Smith’s a Gallant Fireman, The Sussex Bonny Breast Knot

27th April 2016 – Over the Hills and Far Away and The Italian Schottische Abcs: Over the Hills and Far Away, The Italian Schottische Some YouTubes: Over the Hills and Far Away, The Italian Schottische, and The Tip Top Polka.

13th April 2016 – Three Around Three, Davey Davey Knick Knack and The Heel and Toe Polka I’ve been asked to go over some old favourites that are common tunes that lots of people around the sessions will know. So here they are! Abcs: Three Around Three, Davey Davey Nick Nack, The Heel and Toe Polka And there are even some old YouTubes… Three Around Three, Davey Davey Nick-Nack, and The Heel and Toe Polka. YouTubes: Three Around Three and Davey Davey Knick Knack with just a few ornaments for fiddlers and single note instruments and The Heel and Toe Polka

23rd March – Washing Day, Archie’s Fancy Abcs: Washing Day, Archie’s Fancy YouTubes: Speed the Plough, Roxburgh Castle, Archie’s Waltz, Washing Day

10th February – it’s time to focus on the tunes workshop members have nominated as favourites they’d like to play at the dance at the Bell & Jorrocks, Frittenden, on the 19th March! So we’ll work on them, and an additional one we’ll work on by ear. The nominated tunes are (use the index or search down the page for dots, YouTubes etc):

    • The Tipsy Parson
    • Jackie Tarr
    • The Chatham Hornpipe
    • Paddy Carrey
    • Dribbles of Brandy
    • Uncle’s Jig
    • Spirit of the Dance
    • The Gypsy Princess
    • The Louth Quick Step
    • Peeler Creek
    • Bewicks Hornpipe
    • Captain Pugwash
    • The Ball
    • Fred Pigeon’s No 2
    • La Marianne

10th February – Youtube: Jenny Lind

27th January – Bewick’s Hornpipe and The Staffordshire Hornpipe abcs: Bewick’s Hornpipe, Staffordshire Hornpipe Youtubes: Bewick’s Hornpipe, The Staffordshire Hornpipe, Captain Pugwash

13th January – Astley’s Ride and Midnight on the Water Abcs: Astley’s Ride, Midnight on the Water Youtubes: The Patacake Polka, Midnight on the Water, Astley’s Ride, The Recovery
9th December – Albert Farmer’s Bonfire Tune, The Chatham Hornpipe abcs: Chatham Hornpipe, Albert Farmers Bonfire Tune Youtubes: Chatham Hornpipe, Albert Farmers Bonfire Tune, Shave the Donkey

28th October – we’ll start practising for the dance at Frittenden on the 28th November. I’ve linked to the dots on the list, but search the page below for the links to the YouTubes or use Kathy’s handy index (link above). We may also learn a tune by ear, just to keep our hands in…
The tunes etc we’re planning to use so far are: The tunes etc we’re planning to use so far are:

The Kingsbridge Assembly came up in the workshop but I think it’s a bit difficult – and we should work on it another time. The Kingsbridge Assembly came up in the workshop but I think it’s a bit difficult – and we should work on it another time.

14th October Trip to Brighton, Iron Legs Hornpipe Abcs: The Trip to Brighton, Iron Legs YouTubes: The Triumph, The Trip to Brighton, Iron Legs Hornpipe

23rd September – The Recovery, and Inisheer, ABC files The Recovery, Inisheer YouTubes: The Recovery, Inisheer, Felton Lonnin
24th June – Rosalie the Prairie Flower, and The Kingsbridge Assembly Abc files: Rosalie the Prairie Flower, Kingsbridge Assembly Youtubes: The Dennington Bell, Rosalie the Prairie Flower, The Kingsbridge Assembly
10 June 2015 – Margaret’s Waltz, Garryowen The tunes come from Paul Hardy’s collection, and here are his abcs: Garryowen, Margaret’s Waltz If you’re a chord instrument player, don’t worry if your chords are different… Mine are as well, and we’ll be working on them on the night! YouTubes: Margaret’s Waltz, Garryowen, The Ball

27 May 2015 – Jacky Tar and The Tipsy Parson Abcs: Jacky Tar, The Tipsy Parson YouTubes: Jacky Tar, The Tipsy Parson, Starry Night For A Ramble 27 May

13th May – Dribbles of Brandy and Strike the Bell, Abcs: Dribbles of Brandy, Strike the Bell YouTubes: Dribbles of Brandy, Strike the Bell and Hot Punch

22nd April – Fred Pidgeon’s No 2 and La Fête du Village Abcs: Fred Pigeon’s Number 2, La Fête du Village YouTubes: Fred Pigeon’s Number 2, La Fête du Village, Hunt the Squirrel

8th April – Go To The Devil And Shake Yourself and Spirit Of The Dance Abcs: Go To The Devil And Shake Yourself, and Spirit Of The Dance Youtubes: Go To The Devil And Shake Yourself, Spirit Of The Dance, The Black Velvet Band

11th March 2015 – Pdf: The Parting Glass, words, music and chords, The Parting Glass suggested tune instrument line Abc: The Parting Glass – words, music and chords, The Parting Glass suggested tune instrument line YouTube: The Parting Glass

25th February 2015 – Uncle’s Jig 25th

Currently we’re practising tunes we’ve learned in earlier workshops to play for at barndance at the Bell & Jorrocks, Frittenden on the 28th March. See elsewhere on this site for information.

The tunes we’re planning to use are all on this page in one form or another. They are: The tunes we’re planning to use are all on this page in one form or another. They are:

    • The Queer Fella’s Shot-Ese
    • Bielbie’s Hornpipe
    • Castles in the Air
    • Joe Bane’s
    • Church Street
    • Scan’s Polkas
    • Marie’s Wedding
    • Kelso Fiddle and Accordion Club
    • Hey Diddle Diddle
    • John of Paris
    • The Lass of Dallowgill
    • The Oratava Waltz
    • Hare’s Waltz

11th February 2015 – The Gypsy Princess and Marche des Cabrettaires. Abcs: The Gypsy Princess, Marche des Cabrettaires. YouTubes: The Gypsy Princess, Bodmin Riding, Marche des Cabrettaires
Btw… hereare a few notes I put together for a local young fiddler: English fiddle style a few thoughts Btw… hereare a few notes I put together for a local young fiddler: English fiddle style a few thoughts

28th January 2015The Queer Fella’s Shot-ese and Marie’s Wedding. Abcs: The Queer Fella’s Shot-ese and Marie’s Wedding. YouTubes: The Queer Fella’s Shot-Ese, Marie’s Wedding, Le Canal en Octobre, Playing in parallel octaves and thirds
A fiddler’s crib sheet – this might also  be useful for someone. It’s old and I’d forgotten about it, but I’m posting it now because I have received a thankyou email from someone called Carl who read it online and found it useful.

Also, here’s a series of diagrams of useful D/G melodeon chords.

14 January 2015 Church Street and Bielbie’s Hornpipe abcs: Church Street, Beilbe’s Hornpipe YouTubes: Om Si Thi Gom or Not for Joe; Bielbie’s Hornpipe, Church Street and (for those interested in such things) a melodeon arrangement of The Jug of Punch, which we covered recently in a song workshop.

10 December 2014 Staten Island and Tom Tolley’s Hornpipe abcs: Staten Island, Tom Tolley’s Hornpipe YouTubes: Staten Island, Tom Tolley’s Hornpipe, The White Cockade

12 November 2014 – here’s a revised list of tunes for the dance on the 29th. Regulars will notice I’ve dropped a couple of the harder ones,and brought in some that are a little easier!

    1. Peeler Creek (24th September)
    2. The Sweets of May (24th September)
    3. Scan Tester’s Polkas no 2 and 1 (25th June)
    4. The Redwing (see YouTube The Redwing)
    5. Fairy Dance (11 June)
    6. Old Mrs Huddledee (24th September)
    7. The Girl With The Blue Dress On (12th February April)
    8. The Louth Quickstep (2nd January)
    9. Castles In The Air (23 April)
    10. Double Lead Through (8th January 2014)
    11. The Hundred Pipers (see The Hundred Pipers)
    12. Cock of the North (see Cock of the North)

Here’s an arrangement for Go To Sea No More, which I’m hoping Mick will sing for us. pdf: Go To Sea No More abc: Go To Sea No More
And do you think we might manage this as well, perhaps with me singing? The Wild Mountain Thyme pdf, The Wild Mountain Thyme abc And here’s a The Wild Mountain Thyme YouTube

For those who might be interested, here are two new YouTubes: The Oratava Waltz for mandolin, and an arrangement for Go To Sea No More

22 October 2014 – It’s time to start practising our tunes for the dance on the 30th November! The aim is to use only tunes we’ve played in class and at the sessions. If you’d like to suggest a favourite tune please drop me a line but I suggest we start with the following: 22 October 2014 – It’s time to start practising our tunes for the dance on the 30th November! The aim is to use only tunes we’ve played in class and at the sessions. If you’d like to suggest a favourite tune please drop me a line but I suggest we start with the following:
1. Peeler Creek (24 September) 1. Peeler Creek (24 September)
2. The Sweets of May (24 September) 2. The Sweets of May (24 September)
3. Scan Tester’s Polkas no 2 and 1 (25 June) 3. Scan Tester’s Polkas no 2 and 1 (25 June)
4. Jacob or Enrico (11 June) 4. Jacob or Enrico (11 June)
5. Fairy Dance (11 June) 5. Fairy Dance (11 June)
6. The Durham Rangers (11 June) 6. The Durham Rangers (11 June)
7. Harlequin Air (23 April) 7. Harlequin Air (23 April)
8. Shropshire Lass (23 April) 8. Shropshire Lass (23 April)
9. Castles in the Air (23 April) 9. Castles in the Air (23 April)
I guess we’ll likely get through six or seven on Wednesday night, so it might be good to concentrate on them first! I guess we’ll likely get through six or seven on Wednesday night, so it might be good to concentrate on them first!
8 October 2014 One More Dance and Then, The Lemonville Jig Abcs: One More Dance and Then, The Lemonville Jig YouTubes: One More Dance And Then, The Lemonville Jig Tune for learning by ear: The Sweets of May 8 October 2014 One More Dance and Then, The Lemonville Jig Abcs: One More Dance and Then, The Lemonville Jig YouTubes: One More Dance And Then, The Lemonville Jig Tune for learning by ear: The Sweets of May
4th October Tenterden Folk Festival workshop 4th October Tenterden Folk Festival workshop
24 September 2014 Peeler Creek and The Kirkgate Hornpipe Abcs: Peeler Creek, Kirkgate Hornpipe YouTubes: Peeler Creek, The Kirkgate Hornpipe, Old Mrs Huddledee 24 September 2014 Peeler Creek and The Kirkgate Hornpipe Abcs: Peeler Creek, Kirkgate Hornpipe YouTubes: Peeler Creek, The Kirkgate Hornpipe, Old Mrs Huddledee
25 June 2014 Scan Tester’s polkas 2 and 1 Abcs: Scan Tester’s No 2, Scan Tester’s No 1 YouTubes: Scan Tester’s Polka no 2, Scan Tester’s Polka no 1, Scan Tester’s Polka No 1 (the alternative way it’s often played), The French Assembly 25 June 2014 Scan Tester’s polkas 2 and 1 Abcs: Scan Tester’s No 2, Scan Tester’s No 1 YouTubes: Scan Tester’s Polka no 2, Scan Tester’s Polka no 1, Scan Tester’s Polka No 1 (the alternative way it’s often played), The French Assembly
11 June 2014 Jacob or Enrico, The Durham Rangers Abcs: Jacob or Enrico, Durham Rangers YouTubes: Jacob or Enrico, The Durham Rangers, Fairy Dance 11 June 2014 Jacob or Enrico, The Durham Rangers Abcs: Jacob or Enrico, Durham Rangers YouTubes: Jacob or Enrico, The Durham Rangers, Fairy Dance
28 May 2014 Bonnie Kate and The Cumberland Reel Abcs: Bonnie Kate Cumberland Reel YouTubes: Bonnie Kate, The Rochdale Coconut Dance, The Cumberland Reel, and, a bonus for Keith and Mick, Chords for Maggie May 28 May 2014 Bonnie Kate and The Cumberland Reel Abcs: Bonnie Kate Cumberland Reel YouTubes: Bonnie Kate, The Rochdale Coconut Dance, The Cumberland Reel, and, a bonus for Keith and Mick, Chords for Maggie May
14 May 2014 The Gloucester Hornpipe and The Worcester Hornpipe Abcs: The Gloucester Hornpipe, The Worcester Hornpipe YouTubes: The Gloucester Hornpipe, The Worcester Hornpipe, Hunt The Squirrel, Dynamics or ‘pulsing’ exercise, Chords for The Foggy Dewand The Young Sailor Cut Down In His Prime. 14 May 2014 The Gloucester Hornpipe and The Worcester Hornpipe Abcs: The Gloucester Hornpipe, The Worcester Hornpipe YouTubes: The Gloucester Hornpipe, The Worcester Hornpipe, Hunt The Squirrel, Dynamics or ‘pulsing’ exercise, Chords for The Foggy Dewand The Young Sailor Cut Down In His Prime.
23 April 2014 Harlequin Air, The Shropshire Lass Abcs: Harlequin Air, The Shropshire Lass YouTubes: Castles in the Air, Harlequin Air, The Shropshire Lass 23 April 2014 Harlequin Air, The Shropshire Lass Abcs: Harlequin Air, The Shropshire Lass YouTubes: Castles in the Air, Harlequin Air, The Shropshire Lass
9 April 2014 Beatrice Hill’s Three Handed Polka, The London Hornpipe, Abcs: Beatrice Hill’s Three Handed Reel, The London Hornpipe YouTubes: Beatrice Hill’s Three Handed Reel, The London Hornpipe Tune for learning by ear: The Blue Eyed Stranger 9 April 2014 Beatrice Hill’s Three Handed Polka, The London Hornpipe, Abcs: Beatrice Hill’s Three Handed Reel, The London Hornpipe YouTubes: Beatrice Hill’s Three Handed Reel, The London Hornpipe Tune for learning by ear: The Blue Eyed Stranger
26th February 2014 – practising tunes for the dance on the 29th March! The aim is to use only tunes we’ve played in class and at the sessions. At the moment the tunes list looks like this (it’s longish, but leaves room for incidental tunes, and to drop a few if they cause problems!): 26th February 2014 – practising tunes for the dance on the 29th March! The aim is to use only tunes we’ve played in class and at the sessions. At the moment the tunes list looks like this (it’s longish, but leaves room for incidental tunes, and to drop a few if they cause problems!):

    • The Girl With The Blue Dress On (32 polka)
    • The Girl With The Blue Dress On (32 polka)
    • Salmon Tails Up the Water (32 polka)
    • Salmon Tails Up the Water (32 polka)
    • Heel and Toe Polka (32 polka)
    • Heel and Toe Polka (32 polka)
    • Oh Joe, The Boat is Going Over (32 polka)
    • Oh Joe, The Boat is Going Over (32 polka)
    • The Redwing (32 polka)
    • The Redwing (32 polka)
    • Soldier’s Joy/Little Brown Jug (48-bar reel/march thing for The Virginia Reel)
    • Soldier’s Joy/Little Brown Jug (48-bar reel/march thing for The Virginia Reel)
    • The Louth Quick Step (32 reel, I guess)
    • The Louth Quick Step (32 reel, I guess)
    • Kelso Accordion and Fiddle Club (march)
    • Kelso Accordion and Fiddle Club (march)
    • The Quare Fella’s Shot-Ese (32-bar schottische)
    • The Quare Fella’s Shot-Ese (32-bar schottische)
    • Strike the Bell (hornpipe)
    • Strike the Bell (hornpipe)
    • Navvy On The Line (hornpipe)
    • Navvy On The Line (hornpipe)
    • Jigs Sally Sloane’s Jig (48-bar jig)
    • Jigs Sally Sloane’s Jig (48-bar jig)
    • The Lass of Dallowgill (32 jig)
    • The Lass of Dallowgill (32 jig)
    • John of Paris (32 jig)
    • John of Paris (32 jig)
    • The Hundred Pipers (32 jig)
    • The Hundred Pipers (32 jig)
    • Waltzes Percy Brown’s Waltz for the Veleta (32 waltz)
    • Waltzes Percy Brown’s Waltz for the Veleta (32 waltz)
    • La Marianne (32 waltz)
    • La Marianne (32 waltz)
    • Hare’s Waltz (32 waltz)
    • Hare’s Waltz (32 waltz)
    • Sally Sloane’s Mazurka (sufficiently waltz-like!)
    • Sally Sloane’s Mazurka (sufficiently waltz-like!)

PS – I’ve realised that this list includes one new polka (I thought we’d done it a while back) so here it is in abc notation The Redwing, and here’s a YouTube The Redwing. PS – I’ve realised that this list includes one new polka (I thought we’d done it a while back) so here it is in abc notation The Redwing, and here’s a YouTube The Redwing.
PPS – And here’s the Wild Mountain Thyme stuff: The Wild Mountain Thyme pdf, The Wild Mountain Thyme abc And here’s a The Wild Mountain Thyme YouTube PPS – And here’s the Wild Mountain Thyme stuff: The Wild Mountain Thyme pdf, The Wild Mountain Thyme abc And here’s a The Wild Mountain Thyme YouTube
12 February 2014 The Hesleyside and The Sportsman’s Hornpipe ABCs: The Hesleyside, The Sportsman’s Hornpipe Youtubes: The Hesleyside, The Sportsman’s Hornpipe, The Girl with the Blue Dress On 12 February 2014 The Hesleyside and The Sportsman’s Hornpipe ABCs: The Hesleyside, The Sportsman’s Hornpipe Youtubes: The Hesleyside, The Sportsman’s Hornpipe, The Girl with the Blue Dress On
22 January 2014 The Louth Quickstep and Alexandra Park ABCs: Louth Quickstep, Alexandra Park YouTubes: The Louth Quickstep, Alexandra Park, Hunting the Hare 22 January 2014 The Louth Quickstep and Alexandra Park ABCs: Louth Quickstep, Alexandra Park YouTubes: The Louth Quickstep, Alexandra Park, Hunting the Hare
8 January 2014 Double Lead Through ABCs: Double Lead Through YouTubes: The Greenland Whale Fishery (song), Sally Sloane’s Mazurka and Double Lead Through. 8 January 2014 Double Lead Through ABCs: Double Lead Through YouTubes: The Greenland Whale Fishery (song), Sally Sloane’s Mazurka and Double Lead Through.
13 December 2013 Navvy on the Line, The Weaver’s March. ABCs: Navvy on the Line and The Weaver’s March YouTubes: Navvy on the Line, The Weavers’ March and The Lass of Dallowgill 13 December 2013 Navvy on the Line, The Weaver’s March. ABCs: Navvy on the Line and The Weaver’s March YouTubes: Navvy on the Line, The Weavers’ March and The Lass of Dallowgill
27th November 2013 Kelso Accordion and Fiddle Club and Galopede Finally we get back to normal! This week there will be three tunes – these two that are written out and in abc, one one tune for learning by ear, which I will put up as a YouTube after the class. Abcs: Kelso Accordion and Fiddle Club and Galopede YouTubes: Hey Diddle Diddle,
27th November 2013 Kelso Accordion and Fiddle Club and Galopede Finally we get back to normal! This week there will be three tunes – these two that are written out and in abc, one one tune for learning by ear, which I will put up as a YouTube after the class. Abcs: Kelso Accordion and Fiddle Club and Galopede YouTubes: Hey Diddle Diddle
An aide-memoire for tunes playing
There are various tips and tricks that you can use to bring interest and life to tunes. Good country dance tune players find all sorts of ways of embellishing them and emphasising their rhythm, shape and form, and they all do it in different ways.
A good analogy is a child’s colouring book picture. The written music is like the printed outline waiting for the crayon to fill in the colours, and the pencil strokes and colours used and any added details are what makes the image individual.
I’ve listed out some ideas you might like to try using to add ‘colour’ to your playing below.
Long notes
Where you have a long note, consider:

  • inserting a lower note and going up to the higher
  • changing the chord during the note (if you have a chording instrument)
  • playing a second open or double-stopped note if you’re a fiddler or mandolin player
  • breaking it up into two notes and playing the first short and sharp (this is also good wherever you have two notes that are the same, ditto three notes, which you might play short, short, long)
  • using turns (one note up, one the same, one down, one the same ) or trills (quickly and repeatedly play the note and the note above)
  • playing the long note loud and short and leaving a space
  • if you’re a fiddler or a brass or wind player, add a little vibrato at the end of some of the long notes
  • again, with long notes, where possible play with a little pulse – that is, get louder and softer in time with the rythm. This is particularly effective with waltzes. If pulsing isn’t possible on your instrument, try achieving the same kind of effect by repeated plucking on a mandolin or banjo, by using a little vibrato on a whistle or recorder, or perhaps by breaking the note up – though this may not work if you do it too much!

Repeated notes
Where you have repeated notes, consider changing the chord or shifting the rhythm a little so that they’re not all the same.
Dominant chords, perhaps with the 7th
Using a note or chord to add tension and ‘announce’ the next phrase The last note of a tune is likely to be the key note – for example, if you’re playing in G, it’s likely the written music will end with a G note. (Ditto a C note when playing in C, or a D note if you’re playing in D. A good way to give shape to a tune and to ‘announce’ that the next phrase (say, the A music, B music or C music) is about to begin is instead of the key note to slip in the chord (even better the 7th chord) of the note that’s a fifth above.
This is called the dominant. So, for example, in a 4/4 tune in G, you might let the tune finish on a G notes with a G chord for two or three beats – but the last one or two would be a D or F# or A (all notes from a D chord) accompanied by a D or D7 chord. Ditto, an A or A7 chord when playing in D, of an F or F7 chord if you’re playing in C. It’s much easier and much more instinctive than it sounds! But be warned – it doesn’t usually work with waltzes!
Tune types Thinking about different kinds of tunes, I think it’s fair to say there are broadly two kinds – lifting tunes such as polkas, jigs, hornpipes and schottisches where the emphasis is on the off-beat (oom-PAH, oom-PAH or oom-PAH-pah-PAH), and running tunes such as marches and reels where it is on the down-beat (OOM-pah-Oom-pah or OOM-pah-pah-pah). Getting those right can bring real excitement to a tune, and to a dance.
If you have any questions about any of this, please email me at gmatkin@gmail.com and I will be pleased to try to help.

5 thoughts on “Free English traditional music workshops”

  1. Dear Mr Atkin,
    because I am becoming self-taught in the mid-West of the US, I surely appreciate these notes that you have included from your music classes
    “An aide-memoire for tunes playing”–even these brief hints can make an impression on a novice. Thank you so much.
    http://frittendenfestival.com/free-traditional-music-classes-at-the-gun-and-spitroast-horsmonden/

    I’ve printed the music and continue to live vicariously.
    most sincerely, Michelle Horner

    1. Hi Michelle! I’m very pleased you find this material interesting and useful.

      Over time I hope there will be many more slowly-played examples that should illustrate some of the ways we can interpret this music. But it all takes time, naturally…

      Gav

  2. Hi Gavin,

    Not sure how I missed this but I did! I just came across the post on mudcat. As a beginning and struggling uillean piper these sessions could be useful for me. See you in November 2011 if you’re running them again. Perhaps I’ll have a tune under my belt by then!!

    All the best,

    Paul.

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Sing, dance and play – English traditional and old fashioned music, dance and song in the heart of Kent