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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: Quince Dillon's High D - fiddles and fifes


Please note this is an archived topic, so it is locked and unable to be replied to. You may, however, start a new topic and refer to this topic with a link: http://www.fiddlehangout.com/archive/1896

allenadale - Posted - 12/17/2007:  10:50:29


We were talking about this tune in another discussion and I checked Fiddler's Companion for some background information. What I found was interesting, but I thought I should present it here as a separate topic.

From Fiddler's Companion (http://www.ibiblio.org/fiddlers/):

Quincy Dillon (b. 1813) was a Civil War fifer who taught the tune to fiddler Henry Reed of Glen Lyn, Virginia, near the West Virginia border. Reed didn't remember its real name and gave it a descriptive title. Evidently, it is the only tune attributed to Dillon to survive.

***

Jim Taylor (1995) researched Reed’s source and found that Quincy (or Quincey, as it is spelled on his military service records) volunteered for service as a fife player in the 166th Virginia Militia in August of 1861 at Red Sulpher Springs in Monroe County, now part of the state of West Virginia. The unit was subsequently incorporated into the 59th Virginia Militia, and Dillon served in that unit until its capture at the Battle of Roanoke Island, North Carolina, in February, 1862. Taylor says that members of the 59th who either escaped or were later paroled were reorganized as the 26th Virginia Battalion, and it was in that organization that Quince again enlisted (signing his name with an ‘X’) in 1863 at Centerville, now Greenville, (West) Virginia, where he was promoted to Chief Musician. “It is difficult to tell from the record,” says Taylor, “but it appears as though Quince was present at most of the engagements of the 26th Virginia Battalion from its skirmishes in western Virginia to the large battles of New Market (May 15, 1864), Third Winchester (Sept. 19, 1864), and Cedar Creek (Oct. 19, 1864).” Paul Gifford finds genealogical records that indicate Quincy Perry Dillon was born about 1827 in Franklin Co., VA, and died 12 February, 1902, in Cashmere, Monroe County, West Virginia. Family genealogy records: “He leaves a wife and seven children. ‘Uncle Quincy’ was married twice, his first wife being Miss Catherine McGhee. She has been dead a number of years. His second wife was Miss Jennie Chambers. Uncle Quincy, as he was popularly called, was a noted man in the Civil War as a “Fifer”. He belonged to Edgar’s Battalion of Infantry, C. S. A., and was not only honored by the Southern Army but by the Northern Army for his Music on the Fife. His funeral was preached at Pine Grove Church by Revs. Henry and James Dillion of Summers County. Uncle Quincy has been a member of Pine Grove Baptist Church for 30 years.”

***

Professor Samuel Bayard researched the interplay between fiddle and fife in the Western Pennsylvania area, largely a traditional survival of Civil War and post-Civil War genres. The fifer (along with the drummer) in the Civil War not only provided the cadence for the often long and gruelling marches, but also signalled times of day and various duties and routines of the camp. In addition, musicians were expected to serve as stretcher bearers and to assist medical personnel when called on in battle.

OTJunky - Posted - 12/17/2007:  11:07:40


Thanks - interesting background....

--OTJ
"I can barely fiddle on four strings. Why would I want five?"

magnuscanis - Posted - 12/17/2007:  11:22:56


I always just assumed Quince Dillon was a fiddler (probably because I learnt the tune from a fiddle book). It's interesting to know that he was a fifer. I always like to know some background about the tunes I play whenever possible (not that I play Quince Dillon's very often - I'd probably have to look it up to remember it).

Out of interest, were (or are) fifes and flutes much used in old-time music? I'm much more used to Welsh and Irish music, where flutes are one of the more popular instruments; we don't tend to get many fifes though (actually I don't recall ever seeing one used in Irish or Welsh music, although I've seen piccolos used once or twice).

- Magnus

OTJunky - Posted - 12/17/2007:  12:58:37


We have a long - and fascinating thread - on fifers and their relationship ot OT fiddlers here.

http://www.fiddlehangout.com/forum/...TOPIC_ID=794

Turns out fifers didn't play along much with fiddlers. Seems like most fifes are pitched in keys that are somewhat awkward for most fiddlers and the instrument's pretty loud - used in the old days to synchronize canon fire from widely disparate locations.

But it doesn seem like they added tunes to the OT tradition and have maintained their own active tradition - at least in the U.S.

--OTJ
"I can barely fiddle on four strings. Why would I want five?"

fiddlepogo - Posted - 12/17/2007:  16:53:55


Wars were frequent enough in the early history of the US that there were lots of opportunities for enlisted men to hear fife music
even if they weren't fifers. The French and Indian War (Seven Years War), the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, the Mexican War
and the Civil War all offered opportunities for contact with lots of fife music. Some fiddle tunes obviously must have been fife tunes besides
Quince Dillon's High D: The Raw Recruit, The 8th of January, Soldier's Joy, The Girl I Left Behind Me, Garry Owen, and the White Cockade all have some military connections and sound fife-able...

Michael

http://www.ezfolk.com/audio/bands/1088
for mp3s, blog, and "Michael's Old Time Fiddle & Banjo Hour" (hifi & lofi audio streams)

"We have met the enemy, and he is us!" - Walt Kelly's Pogo

FiddleJammer - Posted - 12/17/2007:  18:28:29


Alan Jabbour has photo's of Quince's gravestone and more info here...

http://www.alanjabbour.com/photos_q...n_grave.html


Terri

tunelist, musings, and podcasts at
http://fiddlejammer.blogspot.com

DougD - Posted - 12/17/2007:  19:13:40


allenadale, what I was trying to direct you to at the LOC was this, from Alan Jabbour's notes. Its on the same page as the sound file links:

"Henry Reed gave no name to this tune, though he played it twice and also played two sets of a tune in G with the same first strain (see "Breakdown in G," AFS 13037a01, AFS 13033b25). This tune cannot be traced to other sources. It somehow came to be thought of as a tune Henry Reed learned from Quince Dillion, though there is no concrete evidence of this in the fieldnotes from the 1960s, and it has gone back into circulation among some performers in the old-time music revival under the title "Quince Dillion's High-D Reel," the title used here.

The guitar accompaniment by Henry Reed's son Gene is interesting in that he uses a minor-seven chord (here a C chord in the key of D). By the testimony of all his children, Henry Reed was a stickler for "the right chords," so we can assume that the chords represent Henry Reed's own musical choices. It is sometimes thought that such chords as minor-seventh chords are "untraditional" among older musicians; this is evidence to the contrary.

Henry Reed's son James plays "Quince Dillion's High-D Reel" with four parts and explains that his father used to play the two extra strains but had omitted them in the recordings presented here."

So, Henry Reed actually had no name for this tune, and there is no particular reason to think he learned it from Quince Dillion. I'm no fifer, but I think this tune exceeds the compass of that instrument. Alan's essay and the video on bowing are linked on the home page for the collection.




Edited by - DougD on 12/17/2007 19:21:20

OTJunky - Posted - 12/17/2007:  19:29:45


I think Alan Jabbour plays those "Two extra strains" on the CD, "Jabbour, Levy and Reed".

Apparently he gets together with Henry Reed's family once a year for a musical "reunion" and they recorded this one.

I can't say that I think the two additional parts add much to the tune. But there they are, nevertheless, and - as is often the case -some of you might think differently about them than I do.

--OTJ
"I can barely fiddle on four strings. Why would I want five?"

fiddlepogo - Posted - 12/17/2007:  20:19:26


No, I'm pretty sure the fife goes up to high D.

I was poking around in some .abc tune collections probably
from the British Isles. One tune came in 2 versions that were identical except that one was in D, and the other was in Bb.
There was a notation that explained that the D version was the version as played on fife
and for fiddlers that could make the shift; the Bb version was so
that fiddlers who <didn't> like to shift out of 1st position could
play the tune. That maybe one reason why "fiddle" tunes in Bb
were more common in the 19th century than now- it was a way
of playing all those cool fife tunes!


quote:
Originally posted by DougD

allenadale, what I was trying to direct you to at the LOC was this, from Alan Jabbour's notes. Its on the same page as the sound file links:

"Henry Reed gave no name to this tune, though he played it twice and also played two sets of a tune in G with the same first strain (see "Breakdown in G," AFS 13037a01, AFS 13033b25). This tune cannot be traced to other sources. It somehow came to be thought of as a tune Henry Reed learned from Quince Dillion, though there is no concrete evidence of this in the fieldnotes from the 1960s, and it has gone back into circulation among some performers in the old-time music revival under the title "Quince Dillion's High-D Reel," the title used here.

The guitar accompaniment by Henry Reed's son Gene is interesting in that he uses a minor-seven chord (here a C chord in the key of D). By the testimony of all his children, Henry Reed was a stickler for "the right chords," so we can assume that the chords represent Henry Reed's own musical choices. It is sometimes thought that such chords as minor-seventh chords are "untraditional" among older musicians; this is evidence to the contrary.

Henry Reed's son James plays "Quince Dillion's High-D Reel" with four parts and explains that his father used to play the two extra strains but had omitted them in the recordings presented here."

So, Henry Reed actually had no name for this tune, and there is no particular reason to think he learned it from Quince Dillion. I'm no fifer, but I think this tune exceeds the compass of that instrument. Alan's essay and the video on bowing are linked on the home page for the collection.







Michael

http://www.ezfolk.com/audio/bands/1088
for mp3s, blog, and "Michael's Old Time Fiddle & Banjo Hour" (hifi & lofi audio streams)

"We have met the enemy, and he is us!" - Walt Kelly's Pogo

DougD - Posted - 12/17/2007:  21:16:30


I should have checked around a little - evidently the fife is capable of three octaves, according to this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fife_(musical_instrument)
Interesting that they claim that fifes typically play in Bb, although the music is written in D. I wonder if thats the real reason for the two versions of the tune you found - one in D for the fifer, and one in Bb for non transposing instruments.

Edit: the (musical_instrument) is part of that link. I can't make it include it for some reason.


Edited by - DougD on 12/17/2007 21:19:03

allenadale - Posted - 12/17/2007:  23:16:45


Thanks, DougD. Very interesting discussion. I guess only Henry Reed and Quince Dillon know what really happened in the genesis of this tune.

I always asumed it was written as a showpiece for fiddlers because the double high D is such a reach.

fiddlepogo - Posted - 12/18/2007:  00:41:37


Chances are that Dillon would have only pushed it back a couple
of generations like "I learned it from fifer A_loysius B_ertram C_amden 9th
Pennsylvania Volunteers who learned it from X_avier Yvonne Z_inkgruber, a captured Hessian fifer in the Battle of Valley Forge.
I thought I was totally making that up, but Quince Dillon's
bears some resemblance to a German tune called "Unterlander's
Heimweh" that was used on cheap Casio toy keyboards in the 1980s, and which also sounds like a fife and drum tune. Not identical, just a family resemblance in the tune shape,
sort of like Red Haired Boy and Salt Creek.
And about 1/3 of the Hessian mercenaries stayed in the U.S.
after the Revolutionary War... (one of them was an ancestor of mine...)
and some of them could've been fifers!
So maybe the original is in some obscure manuscript moldering
in a German museum, or maybe it was destroyed by an unlucky
bomb hit in WWII!

On the other hand, frankly, I was a bit stunned to find out that the authorship of Molly Hare, Miss McLeod's and Farewell to Whiskey isn't shrouded in the mists of time, but is clearly by Niel Gow, a Scottish fiddler and composer. (Molly Hare is a retitled variant of his "Fairy Dance"). So who knows- maybe someone
will come across a tunebook containing the original Quince Dillon's with the true author... but then again maybe not.

quote:
Originally posted by allenadale

Thanks, DougD. Very interesting discussion. I guess only Henry Reed and Quince Dillon know what really happened in the genesis of this tune.

I always asumed it was written as a showpiece for fiddlers because the double high D is such a reach.





Michael

http://www.ezfolk.com/audio/bands/1088
for mp3s, blog, and "Michael's Old Time Fiddle & Banjo Hour" (hifi & lofi audio streams)

"We have met the enemy, and he is us!" - Walt Kelly's Pogo

FiddleJammer - Posted - 12/18/2007:  05:05:48


quote:
So maybe the original is in some obscure manuscript moldering
in a German museum, or maybe it was destroyed by an unlucky
bomb hit in WWII!


What????

Michael..... What you been smoking????? Your imagination is running rampant through an old time hallucination.

:-)

*Appropriate seasons greetings to all depending on your individual religious/non-religious beliefs,

Terri

*Shamelessly plagiarized from a recent holiday greeting.

tunelist, musings, and podcasts at
http://fiddlejammer.blogspot.com

Steve Dillon - Posted - 12/18/2007:  08:26:59


Well, if you take a look at my profile picture, you will see a picture of (who we think is) Uncle Quincy and his second wife.

Uncle Quincy was my Great-great-great granduncle.



Sincerely,
Steve Dillon
Dillon Music
www.dillonmusic.com

Steve Dillon - Posted - 12/18/2007:  08:43:34


Here is a picture of Uncle Quincy's dog horn.

http://www.genealogy.com/users/d/i/...55photo.html

Sincerely,
Steve Dillon
Dillon Music
www.dillonmusic.com


Edited by - Steve Dillon on 12/18/2007 08:52:04

Steve Dillon - Posted - 12/18/2007:  08:57:05


quote:
Originally posted by DougD

I should have checked around a little - evidently the fife is capable of three octaves, according to this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fife_(musical_instrument)
Interesting that they claim that fifes typically play in Bb, although the music is written in D. I wonder if thats the real reason for the two versions of the tune you found - one in D for the fifer, and one in Bb for non transposing instruments.



Bb fifes are common now, but we see more higher keyed fifes as we move back in history.

There are fifes being purchsed for the army both in C and Bb during the Civil War, and there are fifes in D being ordered during the Revolution.

Sincerely,
Steve Dillon
Dillon Music
www.dillonmusic.com

fiddlepogo - Posted - 12/18/2007:  10:37:48


Well, perhaps my imagination was running rampant,
but I don't think I was hallucinating. Not smoking anything!
But it was <late> at night...
We don't know that Quincy Dillon actually <wrote> it...
I think the story is that Reed learned it from him, but that doesn't mean Dillon wrote it, although he could have.

We tend to assume Celtic derivation for all this fiddle stuff,
but the fife and drum tradition is a separate tradition.
The few German fife and drum tunes I have heard don't sound
German to me- they sound like English fife & drum stuff-
so with Hessians mercenaries fighting alongside the British, and the tunes
being similar, tunes may have been bouncing back and forth.
Henry Reed also knew a tune called only "British Field March".
What British influence would that have dated back to?
Probably at least to the Revolutionary War. Well, if the music of the British troops had an influence that got down to Henry Reed,
it's also quite possible that music from the Hessian troops fighting
alongside them did too.

I recently heard about the some of the Hessians staying in the
US after war, and they probably would've stayed in Pennsylvania,
which already had a considerable German population (William
Penn had welcomed German religious refugees)
Pennsylvania spreads across the Appalachians.
It is at least theoretically possible for a German fife & drum tune
to work it's way down the Appalachians.
After all, the German Scheitholt followed the same migration
path and transmogrified into the "mountain dulcimer".

Samuel Bayard records a lot of fife music in Pennsylvania.
I'm not <really> saying Quincy Dillon's is actually German-
but it could be...we tend to assume too much about history,
I do think it would be fun to poke through some German fife and drum collections, though, and compare them with the fife tunes
in Samuel Bayard's collection, and see if there are any matches.
There may be surprises- I once was singing with a Sacred Harp group and found a hymn tune which was just a note or two away
from a well known Bob Dylan tune!

Another thing about fife and drum tunes- they would've been
loud enough so that the enemy troops could hear them too.
It was the closest thing at the time to a radio broadcast-
a lot of people could hear those tunes!
It would be entirely possible for a fifer to hear the enemy's fifers
playing a tune as they marched into battle formation, then remember it after the battle.... or remember a fragment of it which
would then inspire another variant. Fiddle tunes change that way,
why not fife and drum tunes?
And Allied bombing in WWII did a <lot> of damage- I'm sure
there is a lot of history, probably more than a few libraries that went up in smoke back then.

quote:
Originally posted by FiddleJammer

quote:
So maybe the original is in some obscure manuscript moldering
in a German museum, or maybe it was destroyed by an unlucky
bomb hit in WWII!


What????

Michael..... What you been smoking????? Your imagination is running rampant through an old time hallucination.

:-)

*Appropriate seasons greetings to all depending on your individual religious/non-religious beliefs,

Terri

*Shamelessly plagiarized from a recent holiday greeting.

tunelist, musings, and podcasts at
http://fiddlejammer.blogspot.com



Michael

http://www.ezfolk.com/audio/bands/1088
for mp3s, blog, and "Michael's Old Time Fiddle & Banjo Hour" (hifi & lofi audio streams)

"We have met the enemy, and he is us!" - Walt Kelly's Pogo
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