Jimmy O’ The Bu’s barndance

Also known as Jimmy O’ The Bu’s Polka.

There are 2 recordings of this tune.

Jimmy O' The Bu's has been added to 18 tunebooks.

Download ABC

Five settings

1
X: 1
T: Jimmy O' The Bu's
R: barndance
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Dmaj
|:A2 A2 A>F/ A/d>|c2 B2 B2 e>d/|c2 c2 c>A/ B>c/|d>c/ d>e/ f>e/d>B/|A2 A2
A>F/ A/d>|c2 B2 B2 e>d/|c2 c2 c>A/ B>c/|d2 f2 d2 B2:|
|:A2 f2 f>e/ d>c/|B2 g2 g3 f|e2 a2 ^g2 a2|b2 a2 ^g2 a2|A2 f2 f>e/ d>c/|B
2 g2 g3 b|a2 f2 g2 e2|d2 f2 d4:|
2
X: 2
T: Jimmy O' The Bu's
R: barndance
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Dmaj
A2 A2 A>F Ad|c2 c2 c>A B>c|d>c d>e f>e d>B|A2 A2 A>F Ad|c2 c2 c>A b>c|d2 f2 d2 B2:|
A2 f2 f>e d>c|B2 g2 g3 f|e2 a2 ^g2 a2|b2 a2 ^g2 a2|A2 f2 f>e d>c|B2 g2 g3 b|a2 f2 g2 e2|d2 f2 d4:|
# Added by hetty .
3
X: 3
T: Jimmy O' The Bu's
R: barndance
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Dmaj
A2A2 AFAd|c2B2 B2ed|c2c2 cABc|dcde fedB|
A2A2 AFAd|c2B2 B2ed|c2c2 cABc|d2f2 d2B2:|
A2f2 fedc|B2g2 g3f|e2a2 ^g2a2|b2a2 ^g2a2|A2f2 fedc|B2g2 g3b|a2f2 g2e2|d2f2 d4:|
# Added by hetty .
4
X: 4
T: Jimmy O' The Bu's
R: barndance
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Dmaj
|:A2 A2 A>FA<d|c2 B2 B2 e>d|c2 c2 c>AB>c|d>cd>e f>ed>B|
A2 A2 A>FA<d|c2 B2 B2 e>d|c2 c2 c>AB>c|d2 f2 d2 B2:|
|:A2 f2 f>ed>c|B2 g2 g3 f|e2 a2 ^g2 a2|b2 a2 ^g2 a2|
A2 f2 f>ed>c|B2 g2 g3 b|a2 f2 g2 e2|d2 f2 d4:|
5
X: 5
T: Jimmy O' The Bu's
R: barndance
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Dmaj
A2 A2 A>FA>d|c2 B2 B2 e>d|c2 c2 c>AB>c|d>cd>e f>e (3dcB|
A2 A2 A2 (3FAd|c2 B2 B2 e>d|c2 c2 c2 (3ABc|d2 f2 d2:|
A2 f2 f>ed>c|B2 g2 g2 (3agf|e2 a2 ^g2 a2|b>a^g>a f2 (3fed|
A2 f3 e d>c|B2 g2 g3 f|e2 a2 c2 a2|1 d2 f2 d2:|2 d2 A2 D2||

Twenty-two comments

Mmmmm, a polka not a reel

This is actually a polka but you can only submit a 2/4 here so I chose the "reel" category as the timing is 4/4.
This is a well known Orcadian tune which I learned from Jennifer Wrigley at a workshop a few years ago.

I’ve changed it back to a polka.

Thanks, Jeremy. That looks much better. It’s just that it was taught to us in 4/4 originally.

It sounds more like a sort of barndancey type thing to me.

It’s not a polka, that’s for sure. It looks as though it needs to be under 4/4 because of its structure, especially those hornpipey quarter note endings, and listen to that swing!

It does sound a bit "barn dancey", I agree. but it is called a polka , ie "Jimmy O’ the Bu’s Polka" so what do we do here? 🙂

You call it "Jimmy O’the Bu’s Barndancey Polka!

Posted by .

Oh God!

Posted by .

Polka, Barndance or Schottishe

This is deffiniteley a Polka (without the dots) or it couod be a schottishe (with the dots). 2/4 is fine as is 4/4 depending on how you write the notes, however the way it is written here is wrong anyway. There are too many bar lines. The odd number bar lines are superfluous and hinder the flow and the phrasing of the tune. It needs to be played very steadily and if a polka certainly slower than you would expect the average Irish polka to be played.
Here are my two versions:-
X: 1
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
Q: 160
R: Schottishe (Hornpipe?)
A2 A2 A>F Ad | c2 c2 c>A B>c | d>c d>e f>e d>B | A2 A2 A>F Ad | c2 c2 c>A b>c | d2 f2 d2 B2 :||
A2 f2 f>e d>c | B2 g2 g3 f | e2 a2 ^g2 a2 | b2 a2 ^g2 a2 | A2 f2 f>e d>c | B2 g2 g3 b | a2 f2 g2 e2 | d2 f2 d4 :||
Will post the Polka later.

Posted by .

Missed out bars

sorry I’ve missed out the 2nd bar:-
c2 B2 B2 e>d | and the 6th bar in the ‘A’ music:-
c2 B2 B2 e>d |
typed in haste before going to work.

Posted by .

Hetty, I originally submitted this tune in 4/4 and there were only 8 bars. There isn’t a facility here for 4/4 polkas, so Jeremy changed it. That’s why there’s extra bars because the timing had been changed to 2/4.
The actual music is correct as taught to me by an *Orcadian* fiddler but she did say that this polka can have slightly different settings even in Orkney from where it originates. I agree that it should(and does) get played more slowly than an Irish polka.

Polka, Barndance?

Pity the number of bars were changed because I feel there was no reason for doing so, musically. Herewith anyway my ABC for the Polka set in 2/4.
M: 2/4
L: 1/16
Q: 160
R: Polka
K: D
A2A2 AFAd | c2B2 B2ed | c2c2 cABc | dcde fedB |
A2A2 AFAd | c2B2 B2ed | c2c2 cABc | d2f2 d2B2 :||
A2f2 fedc | B2g2 g3f | e2a2 ^g2a2 | b2a2 ^g2a2 | A2f2 fedc | B2g2 g3b | a2f2 g2e2 | d2f2 d4 :||
John, I am glad to hear that yuo originally sent this as 8 bars, presumably for each musical phrase i.e ‘A’ music and ‘B’ music making 16 written bars but 32 played. I feel it should never have been chaned and anyway here are plenty of Polka’s written in 4/4 timing, maybe not Irish but then, as you say, this isn’t. Did you originally send it with dots as it is written here? It would be useful to know how much was changed by Jeremy.
I would like to add this to my repertoire and would certainly like some more tunes from the Orkneys. My dilemma is which form to use. Your advice would be welcome. Cheers.

Posted by .

Not A Polka - - -

When the dances came away from the tunes things just got all mixed up. As has been suggested previously, it is a schottische or barndance. It really would be nice to have this back the way it should be, 4/4, with that hornpipe skip, and placed under the proper heading, ‘Barndance’. That category desperately needs more of the ‘right stuff’, to raise the percentage of actual "barndancy" tunes. There’s nothing wrong with calling it a ‘polka’ if you need, but that doesn’t make it so, and the tune is perfect for the sort of dancing it was intended for. If you take the B part alone, the steps would be, woman’s step given, man’s is opposite, both starting on outside feet:

|R-L-R-hop|L-R-L-hop|R-hop, L-hop|R-hip, L-hop|

Sometimes it takes the dance to make sense of the music and how it should be barred, whatever it has come to be called.

As far as I know, the word "polka" is part of the actual title "Jimmy O’ the Bu’s Polka" though it is very much more like a barndance.
I’ll research this tune a little further, as it has caused a lot of controversy, with a view to possibly resubmitting same.

"polka"

"Polka" became a kind of catch all for describing any dance that had a hop or skip in the step, or ‘hop123’, as with hornpipe type dances, including barndances. Even steps fro mazurkas and Varsoviennes have been called ‘polka steps’ because of this hop,though in this case the count is either ‘12hop’ or ‘hop12’. So, there’s really no surprise to find something in this genre referred to as a ‘polka’. As the music and the dance are distanced from each other, things change, or an association sticks.

A version of this is taken as the "7-Step Polka" in the Shetlands… If Jeremy lets my put up the Ulster version of this I’ll include a note with a transcription of the Shetland version, which is closer to the Ulster version. Except for holds, the basic dance was the same across the board, and was another one that got widespread, all hemispheres and a load of variations on a tune…

OOPS Again - - -

My brain is currently working on half a dozen barndances, and the misfiring is obviously hitting hard. The "7-Step" is another misplaced barndance on TheSession.Org site, not this one, not "Jimmy O’ the Bu’s Polka". I really quite like this ‘barndance’ and hope it finds its way over to that side to better the representations, and in its 4/4 form, at least the ABC. As I’ve been saying, nothing wrong with ‘Polka’ being part of the name, as it wasn’t always specific to the tune form…

"Lucy Farr’s Barndance"

This is on the site elswhere and is the Orkney version of the international tune and dance who’s mention slipped in the last couple of comments previous, the "7-Step". There are other notes there concerning this item and Germans/Barndances in general…

Jimmy O’ The Bu’s Barnpolka

OK. I’ve bowed to the pressure and resubmitted this tune as a barndance and amended the ABC accordingly. It does have that swing feel, right enough.
Unfortunately, I don’t know if the sheet music can be changed. See
https://thesession.org/discussions/4213

However, if not, it can be the alternative polka version. 🙂

"Jimmy O’ The Bu’s Polka" ~ ABC cleanup

Submitted on June 5th 2004 by Johannes J.

Assuming that the likes of - A/d> - is intended to be a skip, or - A<d ~ Johannes J’s transcription:

X: 1
T: Jimmy O’ The Bu’s Polka
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
R: barndance / schottische / polka
K: Dmaj
|: A2 A2 A>FA<d | c2 B2 B2 e>d | c2 c2 c>AB>c | d>cd>e f>ed>B |
A2 A2 A>FA<d | c2 B2 B2 e>d |c2 c2 c>AB>c | d2 f2 d2 B2 :|
|: A2 f2 f>ed>c | B2 g2 g3 f | e2 a2 ^g2 a2 | b2 a2 ^g2 a2 |
A2 f2 f>ed>c | B2 g2 g3 b | a2 f2 g2 e2 | d2 f2 d4 :|

"Jimmy O’ The Bu’s Polka" ~ take 2

X: 2
T: Jimmy O’ The Bu’s Polka
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
R: barndance / schottische / polka
K: Dmaj
|: (3dcB |\
A2 A2 A>FA>d | c2 B2 B2 e>d | c2 c2 c>AB>c | d>cd>e f>e (3dcB |
A2 A2 A2 (3FAd | c2 B2 B2 e>d |c2 c2 c2 (3ABc | d2 f2 d2 :|
|: c>B |\
A2 f2 f>ed>c | B2 g2 g2 (3agf | e2 a2 ^g2 a2 | b>a^g>a f2 (3fed |
A2 f3 e d>c | B2 g2 g3 f | e2 a2 c2 a2 |[1 d2 f2 d2 :|[2 d2 A2 D2 |]

I would say its a polka

well this is a great traditional orkney polka it comes from the island of hoy on the south of orkney. It is a polka (i can see how u think it should be a barndance from the dots) In orkney a lot of our polkas are more suited to being played like the scandanavian rheinlanders (slower) so they are quite different from the snappy quick scottish polkas!

Jimmy o the Bu’s Polka

Can I try to settle all this argument. James Sinclair (Jimmy o The Bu’) farmed at The Bu’ in Hoy around the turn of the 19th/20th centuries. In the 1920s The Bu’ was famous for its barn dances and the young ones from Graemsay would row across the treacherous waters of Burra Sound to attend them. Jimmy sat up on the end of the mill and played his fiddle for the dancing. By the 1960s my uncle Charlie (Davidson), a Graemsay man, was probably the last person to remember the tune and he taught it to me and to his son Dennis. In the late ’70s, I put it to paper (in 2/4 time) and introduced it to the Orkney Strathspey & Reel Society. It has spread from there and it is a Polka.