Portsmouth hornpipe

There are 3 recordings of this tune.

Portsmouth appears in 1 other tune collection.

Portsmouth has been added to 11 tune sets.

Portsmouth has been added to 132 tunebooks.

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Two settings

X: 1
T: Portsmouth
R: hornpipe
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
|:D2|G3A BAGF|E4e4|d2B2cBAG|A6D2|
G3A BAGF|E4e4|d2B2cBAB|G6:|
|:D2|g3a bagf|g2d4B2|d2B2cBAG|A6 D2|
G3A BAGF|E4e4|d2B2cBAB|G6:|
X: 2
T: Portsmouth
R: hornpipe
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Fmaj
|:C2|F3G AGFE|D4 d3e|f3c dcBA|G6 C2|
F3G AGFE|D4 d4|cdcA GFGA|F6:|
|:c2|f3g agfe|d3c A2GF|f2c2 dcBA|G6 C2|
F3G AGFE|D4 d4|cdcA GFGA|F6:|

Eighteen comments


This is the version that comes from John Playford’s ‘English Dancing Master’. I think it comes from the 13th version.

Was this not a “hit” for Mike Oldfield about thirty years ago? He dabbled with one or two old hornpipes as I recall including the “Blue Peter theme”? At least he didn’t record “Get down Shep”! :>))

I’ve already learned this tune by ear but I’ll download it anyway.


Mike Olfield’s!

I remember very well the Olfield’s recording.
I’m old (sigh!).


This is an English country dance tune rather than a hornpipe, but obviously there’s no option to submit the former 😉

This is *old*! I think it’s amazing that people still play these tunes. Playford’s date is 1701. There’s a version in an older manuscript from 1694-5 which I think is nicer:

|:C2|F3G AGFE|D4 d3e|f3c dcBA|G6 C2|
F3G AGFE|D4 d4|cdcA GFGA|F6:|
|:c2|f3g agfe|d3c A2GF|f2c2 dcBA| G6 C2|
F3G AGFE|D4 d4|cdcA GFGA|F6:|

It does my head in to think that at the time that this tune appeared in manuscripts, people like Mozart and Beethoven weren’t even born, and Bach was just an ankle-biter.

Portsmouth pairs up well with Newcastle (how apt) which is another Playford tune / country dance.

Posted by .

Sorry, that d in the 2nd bar of the B-part should have been an f. Aussies will recognise this as the tune that used to come on the ABC as an interlude before the news. I’m told there were morris dancers with bells and tambourines and stuff!

Portsmouth Hornpipe

If anyone is looking for the Saltfishforty version, I have transcribed a version by ear:

K: A
|: Ac| “A5”ec Bc AF EF | “A5”Ac ea f3g | “D5”ag fe fe cA | “E5”Bc BA F2 (3EFG |
“A5”Ac Bc AF EF | “A5”Ac ea f3g | “D5”ag fe fe cA | “E5”(3BAA A2-A2 :|
|: ce | “A5” fa ga fe ce | “A5” fa ga f3 g | “D5”ag fe fe cA | “E5”Bc BA F2 (3EFG |
“A5”Ac Bc AF EF | “A5”Ac ea f3g | “D5”ag fe fe cA | “E5”(3BAA A2-A2 :|

@Sammdep - your setting is not a variant of the tune in John Playford’s ‘English Dancing Master’ called “Portsmouth” - it’s an entirely different tune.

@Sammdep: on giving it some further thought, your submisson is actually an American tune called “Portsmouth Hornpipe” - which is a variant of a tune called “Off to California”


- still in the wrong place, though!

Is Sammdep’s posting a version of Off to California ?

(crossing with Mix !)

I figured posting a tune called The Portsmouth Hornpipe under “The Portsmouth (Hornpipe)” was the correct place :p. But very well, thanks for the info.

@Sammdep: Just because your tune happens to have the same name as a tune that’s already posted here doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s a variant of said tune.

Tunes are not the same as racehorses or domain names - there is is no worldwide authority set up to prevent the duplication a tune titles!

I guess that in this instance Jeremy (webmaster) will move your submission to its correct location.

Before posting, its a good idea to check out the version(s) already posted and compare them with your potential submission - either by playing them from the sheet music version or by listening to the midi version.

@Sammdep - P.S. Don’t let this advertent error deter you from transcribing and posting some more tunes! 🙂

Re: Portsmouth

Removed the extraneous ‘the’ from the title.

Re: Portsmouth

If I remember right, the B side of Mike Oldfield’s recording was Argiers, in a minor key. Another very old tune.