"This is dance music - even if you are sitting on your backside listening to it - it is still dance music!"- This observation attributed to Gordon Potts - unless anyone knows better?
I get my greatest kicks ( well nearly! ) playing for dancers. Whether it's as part of a band for a ceilidh or barn dance, for a solo step dancer, for some precision Appalachian Cloggers, or a Morris Side, I just love the two-way thing that's going on.
The text of my article "The Unwritten Rules of the Traditional Music Session" originally published in "The Living Tradition" in 2003.
American 'Old-Time' Fiddle Tunes:
By popular request, to support some of the workshops that I run, I have also created a page of Old Time Tunes played slowly and clearly as a source for other musicians
Click here to get to the Barebones Old Time Fiddle Tunes page
Click here to download a pdf document of Chord charts for some popular old-time tunes
Not just American though - Follow the links below for some great dance tunes in a variety of stylescomposed by some very talented friends, and a few by me.
"Stealing Thyme" notation or midi file - I made up this tune over 30 years ago - it's based loosely on the melody of the traditional song 'Thyme'. I usually sandwich it between "The Splashing of the Churn" and the Peacock followed the Hen" The second change is a corker!
"A Cup of Tea" notation or midi and "A Piece of Cake" notation or midi . Two very danceable 48 bar jigs by Bruce Warburton, one time Melodeon player with Grand Union Morris, Lord Pagets Morris, and Alberts Last Dance - a ceilidh band from way back when. If anyone has any info about Alberts Last Dance ( dates, members, etc) I would be interested to hear from you. Here is an alternative midi version of these two tunes as a medley, coded by Roger (Gadge) Colwell. This is nearer to how Happenstance used to play it, than my plainer versions although it morphed somewhat as the successive influences of Bruce himself, Andy Cutting, Ian Murfitt, and finally Paul Scourfield each got applied to the tune!
"Abbots Road" notation for a 3 part 4-bar 3/2 Hornpipe written by Tim Brooks. At the time I put this together we had heard about the imminent publication of a book by John Offord called "Johnny of the Greeny Cheshire Way", which was to include a large number of 3/2 Hornpipes. At that time, being ignorant of what a 3/2 Hornpipe rhythm sounded like, I made one up to find out. Originally this tune had two parts, but Lesley suggested a third part which fitted very well. This tune could be arranged AA-BB-CC or AA-B-C-B-C but I normally play AA-B-C, which is how the tablature and this midi file are arranged. You can play it however you wish!
Incidentally abc transcriptions of many of the tunes from "Johnny of the Greeny Cheshire Way" can be found here
"Granny Does your Dog Bite?" notation - for a 64 bar American reel/polka arranged by Tim Brooks
"Dumas' Duel " notation
or midi file
- a 32 bar jig written by Geoff Drage
Sorry! The rest of these tunes are in various states of preparation, so no use clicking on them yet - as soon as the media have been prepared and appropriate permissions have been obtained their links will be activated and they will be moved to above this comment
Something Else - A 32 bar American reel/Polka by Tim Brooks
A Ream of Double Elephant - A Brilliant 32 bar hornpipe by Andy Cutting
Flash Monk - 32 bar 3/2 hornpipe by Andy Cutting - written to pair with.Abbots Road
Past and present musical associations include:
Threadneedle 2016 - ..... - England' sharpest ceilidh and barn dance band
The Gallows Hillbillies 2008 - 2016 - rebranded as Threadneedle - the music continues!
Strung Up 2006 - ..... - Occasional Barn-Dances with other musicians from the Haddenham Hoofers band
The Rose and Shamrock Ceilidh band 1979-1986
Puddleduck 1973 - 1979
Pirton Appalachian Clog Workshops
Wendy and Paul Morton