Off To California hornpipe

Also known as Bound For California, Fireman’s, Fireman’s Reel, The Fireman’s Reel, The Fireman’s, Going To California, The Humours Of California, Imtigte Go California, The Juggler, Off The California, The Portsmouth Hornipe, Whiskey, The Whiskey.

There are 67 recordings of a tune by this name.

A tune by this name has been recorded together with Joe Bane’s Schottische (lots of times), The Liverpool (lots of times), The Boys Of Bluehill (a few times), The Plains Of Boyle (a few times) and The Harvest Home (a few times).

Off To California has been added to 53 tune sets.

Off To California has been added to 1,499 tunebooks.

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Seven settings

X: 1
T: Off To California
R: hornpipe
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
|:GFGB AGED|GBdg e2df|gfgd edBG|ABAG E2DE|
|G2GB AGED|GBdg e2df|gfgd edBG|ABAF G4:|
|:gfeg fedf|edef edBd|gfgd edBG|ABAG EDEF|
|GFGB AGED|GBdg e2df|gfgd edBG|ABAF G4:|
X: 2
T: Off To California
R: hornpipe
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
|:GFGB AGED|GFGB d2d2|egge dBBG|ABAG E2D2|
|GFGB AGED|GFGB d2d2|egge dBBG|1 A2G2 G2DE:| 2 A2G2 G2Gg||
|:gfeg fed2|edBd edBd|g3d edBG|ABAG E2D2|
|GFGB AGED|GFGB d2d2|egge dBBG|1 A2G2 G2Gg:| 2 A2G2 G2DE||
X: 3
T: Off To California
R: hornpipe
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
(3DEF|: GFGB AGED|GBdg e2 (3def|gfgd edBG|ABAG E2 (3DEF|
GFGB AGED|GBdg e2 (3def|gfgd edBG|1 (3ABA GF G2 (3DEF:|2 (3ABA GF G2 (3def||
|:gfeg fedf|edef edBd|gfgd edBG|ABAG E2 (3DEF|
GFGB AGED|GBdg e2 (3def|gfgd edBG|1 (3ABA GF G2 (3def:|2 (3ABA GF G4||
# Added by dcef .
X: 4
T: Off To California
R: hornpipe
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
(3DEF|: "G"GFGB "D"AGED|"G"GBdg "C"e2 (3def|"G"gfgd "Em"edBG|"Am"ABAG "D"E2 (3DEF|
"G"GFGB "D"AGED|"G"GBdg "C"e2 (3def|"G"gfgd "Em"edBG|[1 "D"(3ABA GF "G"G2 (3DEF:|[2 "D"(3ABA GF "G"G2 (3def|]
|:"E"gfeg "Bm"fedf|"C"edef "Em"edBd|"G"gfgd "Em"edBG|"Am"ABAG "D"E2 (3DEF|
"G"GFGB "D"AGED|"G"GBdg "C"e2 (3def|"G"gfgd "Em"edBG|[1 "D"(3ABA GF "G"G2 (3def:|[2 "D"(3ABA GF "G"G4|]
# Added by Bryce .
X: 5
T: Off To California
R: hornpipe
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
|: (3DEF | G>FG>B A>GE>D | G>Bd>g e2 (3def | g>fg>d e>dB>G | A>BA>G E2 (3DEF |
G>FG>B A>GE>D | G>Bd>g e2 (3def | g>fg>d e>dB>G | A>GE>F G2 :|
|: (3def | g>fe>g f>ed>f | e>de>f e>dB>d | g>fg>d e>dB>G | A>BA>G E2 (3DEF |
G>FG>B A>GE>D | G>Bd>g e2 (3def | g>fg>d e>dB>G | (3ABA E>F G2 :|
X: 6
T: Off To California
R: hornpipe
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
DE|GABG AGED|GABd e2d2|edBd gedB|ABAG E2DE|
GABG AGED|GABd e2d2|efge dBAc|B2G2G2|]
AB|dgfg edBc|dgfg e2d2|edBd gedB|ABAG E2DE|
GABG AGED|GABd e2d2|efge dBAc|B2G2G2|]
X: 7
T: Off To California
R: hornpipe
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
|:"G"GFGB AGED|GBdg "C"e2df|gfgd edBG|"Am"ABAG "D"E2DE|
|"G"G2GB AGED|GBdg "C"e2df|gfgd edBG|"D"ABAF "G"G4:|
|:"Em"gfeg "D"fedf|"C"edef edBd|gfgd edBG|"Am"ABAG "D"EDEF|
|"G"GFGB AGED|GBdg "C"e2df|gfgd edBG|"D"ABAF "G"G4:|

Eighteen comments

As usual with hornpipes, this tune needs to be played with a certain "bounce". If you overdo it, though, it’ll just sound twee. The trick is to play it with a different emphasis than you would play a reel but without going completely over to the "dotted" rhythm that you see in so many transcriptions of hornpipes.

I find the first part of this tune fairly bland but the second part has a nice cascading sound that I like.

Far from Home

The second half is rather similar to the second half of ‘Far From Home’ is it not?

I see what you mean, Jakki, though I did’t realised that.

Leadint Notes

Is it only me who play the triplets (3DEF and (3def before the first part and the second part respectively?

Re: Leading notes

No.

I do it do. And I usually put in some more of that stuff here and there… :)

Okay, need some help here — have someone who has played mainly Old Time and Bluegrass and English trad at our session, and she played a completely different B to this tune — it sounded kind of Scottish/GHB-ish to me. Anybody know what the story is with this different setting?

Aha! Never mind, I figured it out, she’s playing the Fireman’s Reel. :)

“The Fireman’s” ~ what Californian’s do to hornpipes ~

reel / hornpipe ~ to swing or not to swing
Key signature: A Major
Submitted on November 6th 2002 by Trevor Jennings.
https://thesession.org/tunes/1115

I meant the plural ‘Californians’, but they can be a mighty possessive bunch too…

see The Sweet Flowers Of Milltown (barndance) and Tom Morrison’s (reel) for related tunes (obvious in the first part)

Origins of Off to California

Does anyone know (or want to make up) the origins of this tune?

Thanks,
Petey

Mary and Andrew MacNamara

Here is what they play on the fantastic album "Open Hearth" :

K: Gmaj
|:GFGB AGED|GFGB d2d2|egge dBBG|ABAG E2D2|
|GFGB AGED|GFGB d2d2|egge dBBG|1 A2G2 G2DE:| 2 A2G2 G2Gg||
|:gfeg fed2|edBd edBd|g3d edBG|ABAG E2D2|
|GFGB AGED|GFGB d2d2|egge dBBG|1 A2G2 G2Gg:| 2 A2G2 G2DE||

That’s it, more or less…

Origins of Off to California

Apparently (< Fiddler’s companion) O’Neill actually heard the tune in California, and published it under that name. There’s a very similar tune which is often called "Miss Johns(t)on’s Hornpipe" which seems to crop up not infrequently on both sides of the Atlantic (and Pacific - in Australia Harry Cotter of Schottishe fame recorded a scorching - if nameless - version). So perhaps the "California" name was just local until O’Neill used it. Certainly the words "Off to California" scan nicely with the 7th bar, so perhaps "Miss Johnson’s" acquired a song along those lines locally at some time. And then again, perhaps not!

origins

well, why play it IN California, when you’re already there? Seems like it would have been written as a send-off for those heading there.

Off To California, X:5

Setting as played at the Golden Guinea pub session, Bristol, UK.

Off To California, X:6

From a manuscript of Padraig O’Keeffe’s playing, as transcribed in an ITMA interactive score