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Jan 12, 2019 - 9:46:47 AM
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83 posts since 1/3/2019

For those interested in the fife tradition and how it relates to fiddling in the upper-south.

Here is a 1960 field recording of 80 year old fifer Hiram Horner playing Squirrel Hunter. The tune was also popular on the fiddle down the spine of the Alleghenies from SW Pa, into Maryland, and West Virginia where it was called Rainy Day by Melvin Wine and Dan Friend's Piece by Ernie Carpenter. vimeo.com/310976354

Edited by - ShawnCraver on 01/12/2019 09:49:01

Jan 12, 2019 - 9:56:52 AM

3428 posts since 12/8/2007

How very cool! I did a little research, too, and found that the fife is a very old instrument, dating back centuries, and was often used at dances. It was more common in Appalachian folk music than any other instrument for a while.

Thank you Shawn.

Jan 12, 2019 - 10:50:07 AM
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1158 posts since 4/6/2014

Seems to me to be closely related to a Scottish march that my good friend and partner in crime Danny, used to play on Accordion,

Loch Torridon

Or is that just me?

PS: liking the rest of your stuff on Vimeo also yes

Edited by - pete_fiddle on 01/12/2019 10:58:22

Jan 12, 2019 - 12:30:47 PM

7142 posts since 3/19/2009

Well, Pete, as you know, there is only ONE fiddle tune and all the others are just variations..

Jan 12, 2019 - 12:53:34 PM

fidlpat

USA

552 posts since 5/11/2009

Way cool, Shawn,,,
Yep, that's the tune alright, and it does sound as if it has March antecedents,,,

Especially so with the instrument being used.

Jan 12, 2019 - 1:56:42 PM

1158 posts since 4/6/2014

Dan and i used to play it along with "The Bottom Of The Punch Bowl"

I would never have guessed it might have links to "Squirrel Hunters" ....maybe?

But as you imply Lee, "One tune to rule them all. One tune to bind them"...or maybe not....i'm now thinking of all the folk that have the "T" shirts with "So Many Tunes, So Little Time" on em smiley

Jan 12, 2019 - 2:08:01 PM
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7142 posts since 3/19/2009

quote:
Originally posted by pete_fiddle

Dan and i used to play it along with "The Bottom Of The Punch Bowl"

I would never have guessed it might have links to "Squirrel Hunters" ....maybe?

But as you imply Lee, "One tune to rule them all. One tune to bind them"...or maybe not....i'm now thinking of all the folk that have the "T" shirts with "So Many Tunes, So Little Time" on em smiley


You may have heard old timers say, "WHY I've forgotten more tunes than you know."..Well..I'm an old timer and I've forgotten more tune than many people know.. I've known Squirrel Hunters for a long time and often it is also call "Hail Against the Barn Door."

Jan 12, 2019 - 4:24:55 PM

83 posts since 1/3/2019

Yep. It's a very popular tune these days and I've known it for a long time myself. Dan Friend is a distant relative of mine. Phoebe Ice is another tune out my neck of the woods that is rising up in the current old time scene. I think it is interesting how the melody drives the tune and it's how it's best on fiddle as well. For these upper south/pennsyltucky tunes.

Jan 12, 2019 - 10:26:30 PM

4078 posts since 9/26/2008

I first learned it as “Hail...” back in late 90s then, because I didn’t really have anyone to play it with, I forgot it. Until John Hartford recorded it and the mandolin player wanted to play it in our bluegrass band. We had a fun arrangement where the rhythm instruments drop out in the last round as the fine strain starts, the join back in for the final round. Fun stuff.
I love the fife version. Looking forward to hearing more gems like this; keep them coming, please.

Jan 12, 2019 - 10:33:13 PM

4078 posts since 9/26/2008

quote:
Originally posted by pete_fiddle

Seems to me to be closely related to a Scottish march that my good friend and partner in crime Danny, used to play on Accordion,

Loch Torridon

Or is that just me?

PS: liking the rest of your stuff on Vimeo also yes


I hear elements of a couple tunes but it’s very late and I can’t make Fiddle noise to decide which tunes. “June Apple” and “Salt Creek” come to mine. It has the same modality as all of them.

Jan 13, 2019 - 1:46:50 PM

RobBob

USA

2613 posts since 6/26/2007

Thanks for the background on this tune. I got to know Dr. Bayard in the 1970's through fiddle music but was familiar with his work from spending time in the State library in Harrisburg, PA in the 1960's.

Jan 13, 2019 - 2:22:23 PM
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7142 posts since 3/19/2009

I found this little gem on The Session....."The Squirrel Hunters is a nickname given to militiamen and men that came to the defense of Cincinnati, Ohio when it was threatened by Confederate forces that had been victorious in Kentucky. There were not enough regular Union forces in the area that could be spared, so Governor Tod called for volunteers. Over 15,000 men showed up. Confederate force upon learning of the size of the force opposing them turned back and retreated. The Governor went to the legislature and asked for discharges for these volunteers. Years later these men were given one month’s pay for their service, $13."
True??? Don't know, but it was a fun read.

Jan 13, 2019 - 7:04:43 PM
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gapbob

USA

587 posts since 4/20/2008

I heard Squirrel Hunters were pickets, or snipers out looking for Union Troops. Maybe that was from re-enactors.

This is tune family 220 in Bayard's monumental work, "Dance to the Fiddle, March to the Fife." Wherein he says:
"In this tune, a "stop beat" piece, according to Horner (for the term "stop beat" see note to No. 387), we have several mutually inseparable versions of one of the most widespread and ramifying of our British Isles melodic families; a highly characteristic type of family, in fact, such as occurs repeatedly in our folk music."

From the note on 387:
"It was known as a 'stop piece,' meaning that when the fifes stopped playing, the drums simultaneously stopped beating, without adding any finishing rolls, beat-patterns between strains, or other flourishes."

Edited by - gapbob on 01/13/2019 19:10:12

Jan 15, 2019 - 2:39:33 PM

83 posts since 1/3/2019

I was just paging through the Bayard collection and he notated this tune from fiddler Hiram White in the 1930s. White was 69 at the time of the transcription. White called it N!@@er on the Woodpile. Fiddler George Strosnider (notated in 1929) called it Polly Put the Kettle On.

Jan 15, 2019 - 2:43:38 PM
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1422 posts since 5/13/2008

You guys are all obsessed with this fiddly thing. Sheesh!



Heh heh

Jan 16, 2019 - 3:58:44 AM

182 posts since 4/5/2008

Here's a little more info on the tune & the historical event:

https://www.facebook.com/mark.ralston.750/posts/1091053964264943

Jan 16, 2019 - 10:26:53 AM

83 posts since 1/3/2019

Jan 16, 2019 - 11:40:58 AM

gapbob

USA

587 posts since 4/20/2008

quote:
Originally posted by Mark Ralston

Here's a little more info on the tune & the historical event:

https://www.facebook.com/mark.ralston.750/posts/1091053964264943


Not accessible.

Jan 16, 2019 - 12:07:27 PM
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182 posts since 4/5/2008

Bob -  that link leads to a Facebook post..... here's the post, pics below.

TBT……Dr. Sam Bayard published 10 versions of the tune “The Squirrel Hunters” that he collected from southwestern Pennsylvania fiddlers and fifers. He attributes the tune an older, Irish source which acquired mid-1900’s American names such as “The Squirrel Hunters”, “Squirrel Hunting”, “Dilly’s Favorite”, “Old Common Time”, “Pennsylvania Quickstep”, and others. It’s possible that the story of the Civil War defenders of Cincinnati migrated from southwest Ohio to Southwest Pennsylvania and was memorialized by re-naming the tune that was eventually collected by Dr. Bayard and popularized by John Hartford. Even if there is no correlation between the Civil War episode and the tune, it still makes a good story ! !










Jan 16, 2019 - 12:23:07 PM
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DougD

USA

9036 posts since 12/2/2007

This topic has been discussed here many times, with the same information, plus more, from many of the same people. The search function on this site will uncover a lot.

Jan 16, 2019 - 12:46 PM

83 posts since 1/3/2019

quote:
Originally posted by DougD

This topic has been discussed here many times, with the same information, plus more, from many of the same people. The search function on this site will uncover a lot.


I agree. I was just thinking... It seems the recording I shared of a traditional fifer born well before 1900 playing the tune is being overlooked!

Jan 16, 2019 - 12:57:03 PM
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DougD

USA

9036 posts since 12/2/2007

On that note, Dr. Bayard's recordings, including the ones of Mr. Horner are now avaiable on YouTube, although they're not so easy to navigate. We formed a Bayard group here to try and pair up the recordings and transcriptions, but we kind of lost our motivating genius. He's been posting again though, so maybe the project will reawaken. I have it all on a hard drive as a result though.
Mr. Horner was certainly a lively player, especially for his age.

Jan 16, 2019 - 1:13:21 PM

83 posts since 1/3/2019

Yep. I remember that project ( i wasnt much help)! I have pulled some individual recordings out of the big mess of them and cleaned them up and that was my point in sharing the Horner recording of Squirrell Hunters. I'll be sharing more on my vineo page. I also noticed that the youtube collection of Bayard's work does not contain all of his recordings.

Also, a note about his recordings-- aftergoing through the Bayard recordings, I noticed he didn't transcribe all of his tunes/recordings.

Jan 17, 2019 - 2:21:14 AM
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DougD

USA

9036 posts since 12/2/2007

Not to hijack this thread, but another fiddler who was influenced by a fifer was Henry Reed, who learned some tunes from Quince Dillon, including the well known "High D tune."
A few years ago Steve Dillon, who owns a brass and woodwind store in New Jersey, posted here. Maybe our interest nudged him a bit towards continuing the family tradition by taking up the fife: dillonmusic.com/service/about/
I wonder if anyone in Mr. Horner's family still plays?

Edited by - DougD on 01/17/2019 02:21:55

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