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Some years on

Posted by john timpany on Monday, January 6, 2014

English fiddle isn't what it was.

Well it's not what I wrote about in the book, but then I knew it was limited to the only English fiddle player I could find.

There's Bb and the all the tunes this encompasses. What a key to play in, but after a while, it isn't so bad and it starts to make sense.

Bb, B, F and C take us back to the days in England where brass, early concertinas, serpents and shawms ruled the church bands until the organ came in and wiped out their income.

Bb and the tunes that were written in that signature over 150 years ago has since shown me that English tunes and playing were much the same as Irish once was.

Both have diverged.

English fiddle became accepted as the sound accompanying Morris and barn dances. Sawed and boxed, while Irish developed as an art form in it's own right.

Traditional English fiddling died along with Morris dancing when the world wars lost most players, and all morris sides collapsed except Bampton (which also ceased for the war temporarily) and the heritage disappeared.

Almost all sessions in England today are packed with instrumentalists playing Irish tunes, and it's wonderful and exciting, though I am saddened at the lack and loss of 'Englishness' in my country but then that's all down to not knowing the tunes, and the tunes not being so prominent as the Irish.

So I'm playing some.

Playing some more I mean. The Bb stuff.

I really wanted to do that.




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