The Lowland Hornpipe

hornpipe and diddle

I've been planning to say something about the hornpipe, but till now haven't been able to figure out where to start.

I'm not going to say much about the history; if you're interested, my thoughts are on this site HERE and you can here performances of the early hornpipes on my Youtube channel.

What I want to do here is revisit the suggestion I made in that essay that the triple time hornpipes that appear in the Lowland sources cna be divided into two groups, which I then called 'Lancashire' and @border', thought I would probably now opt ofr the latter being 'Lowland'. These groups are well-demonstrated by the tune 'Welcome HOme My Dearie'.

Here is Rook's verision: I'm sorry, it's written here in Aminor/G; you'd need to transpose it up a tone to play on an A chanter - I will try and get a version in A uploaded, but the point I will make about the form of the tune should be clear

and here's my unpolished performance of this

Here is Neil Stewart's 1761 version:[sorry, this one's in D]

An here's my performance of this [equally unpolished - note the ongoing struggle to get those quaver runs even]]

I've approached both these tunes in these performance in much the same way, which I think is probably the standard 'dird' for these 3/2 tunes today.- three emphatic beats to the bar. But notice that Rook gives his version a 3/4 time signature; there is a clue here to the possibility of playing tunes of this format in a different way, and it is this possibility that lead me to divide these tunes into two groups; Tunes that have Rook's structure, and there are a number, all of which use the same short theme in some inter=val or other - seem to want to pplay rather differently, with an emphasis on the first beat, a suppressed second beat and a slight emphasis on the third beat, leading into the first beat of the next bar. A classic example of this kind of dird is the well-known Northumbrian song 'Dance to thee Daddie'; Here's my version of Rook's setting played this way [as unpolshed as ever]

And then, just as I've tidied this classification up, along comes WIlliam Vickers with this version:

which is essentially the Stewart tune played in the Rook setting ; here's what I can make of it at present. I think it could well go quicker, and would then fit in the 'Lowland' category, a form of 3/4 tune which comes closer to a mazurka than any other 3/4 format. Which brings me to the Lowland Mazurka ...

You must be logged-in to post comments