The Acrobat hornpipe

Also known as Acrobat’s, The Acrobat’s, The Acrobat’s, Gate To The West, Nightingale, The Nightingale.

There are 21 recordings of a tune by this name.

A tune by this name has been recorded together with Galway Bay (a few times), Off To California (a few times) and The Shelburne (a few times).

The Acrobat has been added to 9 tune sets.

The Acrobat has been added to 131 tunebooks.

Download ABC

Seven settings

X: 1
T: The Acrobat
R: hornpipe
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Dmaj
AG|:FAde fdba | (3gec (3gec c'2c'b | a^g=ge cc'ba | ^gaba fdAG |
FAde fdba | (3gec (3gec c'2c'b | a^g=ge cc'bc |1 d2f2 d2AG :|2 (3dcd f2d2 ed ||
| cefe c'a^ga | fdfa d'b^ab | ^ge^de f2g2 | (3ac'b (3a^gf e2 (3fed |
cefe c'a^ga | fdfa d'b^ab | ^ge^de f2g2 |1 (3aba ^g2 a2ed :|2 (3aba ^g2 a2=g2||
X: 2
T: The Acrobat
R: hornpipe
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
D>C|B,>DG>A B>Ge>d|(3cAF (3cAF f3e|d>^c=c>A F>fe>d|^c>de>d B>GD>C|B,>DG>
A B>Ge>d|(3cAF (3cAF f3e|d>^c=c>A F>fe>F|G2B2G2::
A>G|F>AB>A f>dc>d|B>GB>e g>e^d>e|c>A^GA ^A>Bc>^c|(3edc (3edc A2A>G|
F>AB>A f>dc>d|B>GB>e g>e^d>e|c>A^G>A ^A>Bc>^c|d2f2d2:|
X: 3
T: The Acrobat
R: hornpipe
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Gmin
uF>E |D>FB>c d>Bg>f | ((3ecA) ((3ecA) a3g | f>=e_e>c A>ag>f | =e>fg>f d>BF>E|
D>FB>c d>Bg>f | ((3ecA) ((3ecA) a3g | f>=e_e>c A>ag>A | B2d2B2 :|
|: uc>B | A>cd>c a>f=e>f | d>Bd>g b>g^f>g | =e>c=B>c ^c>d^d>=e | ((3gf=e) ((3fed) c2c>B |
A>cd>c a>f=e>f | d>Bd>g b>g^f>g | =e>c=B>c ^c>d^d>=e | f2a2f2 :|
X: 4
T: The Acrobat
R: hornpipe
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Gmin
|: F>E |D>FB>c d>Bg>f | (3ecA (3ecA a3 g | f>=e_e>c A>ag>f | =e>fg>f d>BF>E |
D>FB>c d>Bg>f | (3ecA (3ecA a3 g | f>=e_e>c A>ag>A | B2 d2 B2 :|
|: c>B |A>cd>c a>f=e>f | d>Bd>g b>g^f>g | =e>c=B>c ^c>d^d>=e | ((3gf=e (3fed c2c>B |
A>cd>c a>f=e>f | d>Bd>g b>g^f>g | =e>c=B>c ^c>d^d>=e | f2 a2 f2 :|
X: 5
T: The Acrobat
R: hornpipe
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Gmin
FE|:DFBc dBgf|(3ecA (3ecA a2 ag|f=e^dc Aagf|=efgf (3_ecB (3AFE|
DFBc dBgf|(3ecA (3ecA a2 ag|f=e^dc AagA|1(3BAB (3cBA B2 FE:|2(3BAB (3cBA B2 cB ||
|Acdc afef|dBdf bg^fg|ec^Bc ^cd^de|(3gfe (3fed c2 cB|
Acdc afef|dBdf bg^fg|ec^Bc ^cd^de|1(3fgf (3efg f2 cB:|2((3fgf (3efg f2||
X: 6
T: The Acrobat
R: hornpipe
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Gmin
FE|:DFBc dBgf|(3ecA (3ecA a2 ag|f=e_ec Aagf|=efgf dBFE|
DFBc dBgf|(3ecA (3ecA a2 ag|f=e_ec AagA|1B2 d2 B2 FE:|2B2 d2 B2 cB |
[K:Fmaj]|:Acdc afef|dBdf bg^fg|ec=Bc ^cd_e=e|(3fag (3fed c2 cB|
Acdc afef|dBdf bg^fg|ec=Bc ^cd_e=e|1(3fgf eg f2 cB:|2(3fgf eg f2|]
X: 7
T: The Acrobat
R: hornpipe
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Dmaj
K:Bb, F
M:4/4
L:1/8
|:FE|DF Bc dB gf|((3ecA) ((3ecA) a3g|f=e _ec Aa gf|=ef gf dB FE|
DF Bc dB gf|((3ecA) ((3ecA) a3g|f=e _ec Aa gA|B2d2 B2:|
K:F
|:cB|Acdc af ef|dB df bg ^fg|ec =Bc d2 e2|((3fag) ((3fed) c2cB|
Ac dc af ef|dB df bg ^fg|ec =Bc d2 e2|f2a2 f2:|

Thirty-one comments

Source: Eamon Cotter : Trad Irish Music from Co clare
Transcription: gmp
Note: Version for Flute ( the original is in Bb )

The Acrobat in G

T:Acrobat’s Hornpipe
M:4/4
L:1/8
R:Hornpipe
O:USA
Z:Steve Mansfield
K:G
D>C|B,>DG>A B>Ge>d|(3cAF (3cAF f3e|d>^c=c>A F>fe>d|^c>de>d B>GD>C|B,>DG>
A B>Ge>d|(3cAF (3cAF f3e|d>^c=c>A F>fe>F|G2B2G2::
K:D
A>G|F>AB>A f>dc>d|B>GB>e g>e^d>e|c>A^GA ^A>Bc>^c|(3edc (3edc A2A>G|
F>AB>A f>dc>d|B>GB>e g>e^d>e|c>A^G>A ^A>Bc>^c|d2f2d2:|

The Acrobat in Bb

T:ACROBAT’S — HORNPIPE
T:(Can be used as a Clog.)
M:C|
L:1/8
R:hornpipe
O:As performed by G.L.TRACT.
B:Ryan’s Mammoth Collection of Fiddle Tunes
Z:Contributed 20010917181900 by John Chambers jmchambers@rcn.net
K:Bb
uF>E \
| D>FB>c d>Bg>f | ((3ecA) ((3ecA) a3g | f>=e_e>c A>ag>f | =e>fg>f d>BF>E
|
| D>FB>c d>Bg>f | ((3ecA) ((3ecA) a3g | f>=e_e>c A>ag>A | B2d2B2 :|
|: uc>B \
| A>cd>c a>f=e>f | d>Bd>g b>g^f>g | =e>c=B>c ^c>d^d>=e | ((3gf=e) ((3fed
) c2c>B |
| A>cd>c a>f=e>f | d>Bd>g b>g^f>g | =e>c=B>c ^c>d^d>=e | f2a2f2 :|

Yay! A proper hornpipe!

Dow
What actually makes a hornpipe qualify in your eyes, for being ‘proper’???
I knew you had a thing about how they should be played also…..sorry not supposed to mention that.

LOL, I was just stirring, but seriously, put simply, for me a hornpipe should sound stupid if you try and play it as a reel. And the thing about how they "should" be played, well, I just think it makes a great topic for a right good old argument. Most Irish musicians are more than happy to take the bait when I start on about it, even if they know I’m just winding them up.

And now he pitches the ball….

Dow, "proper" is relative to what kind of music you’re playing.

The Acrobat

Anyone know who wrote this?
Its a stage hornpipe written for theatrical performance in vaudeville/music hall. These have a distinctive feel regardless of whether they were written in Dublin, London, Newcastle or America. They are generally crowd pleaserscos that’s what they were meanttobe and they are sometimes quite difficult as they were to be played by virtuosi.
Noel

And now he knocks it for six

Jack, you’re right. It’s relative to whether I want to play good music or not :-D

I understand it must be really dificult to play Irish style on a Brit-Box, Dow. Get an anglo and it will seem easy and natural. : ¬ ]

If by "Irish style" what you mean is "the style in which these would have been played in Ireland for stage clog dances" then that’s perfectly achievable on the English concertina. If by Irish-style what you mean is how most Irish musicians play stage hornpipes these days, then I wouldn’t particularly want to try and emulate it anyway :-P

BTW This is really nice to play in Bb on the English. Might be a challenge for the Monkey-Box though Jack. You’ll have to clean all that dust that’s collected in your Bb accidental due to underuse :-D

Bb eh… how anti-social. You must be one of those guys who shows up at sessions and plays in odd keys so that everyone is forced to sit and listen to your solo. It doesn’t surprise me much that a Brit-Box would facilitate anti-social behavior though… comes with the territory I guess. : ¬ P

Yes I know it was originally in Bb by the way… but it originated in vaudeville/music hall theaters. Audience attention is key in those settings.

You’re the one who likes sessions to be public performances, not me, remember?

Play in Bb in a session, now would I do a thing like that? Especially if there’s a monkey-box player there. I wouldn’t want them to feel jealous of my accidentals.

I’ve just lost twice at draughts on your website. Bloody stupid game anyway :-)

I never said I "like sessions to be public performances." My point was that the ones that happen out in public are public performances by circumstance. I don’t consider my personal participation as a "public performance," but I do acknowledge that the public perceives it as such. Misquoting people is a slippery downhill slope, Dow… careful now.

By the way… I’m sitting at the other end as your opponent when you’re playing draughts at my site. ;-)

The Acrobat

This is on Alasdair Fraser’s Portrait of a Scottish Fiddler and listed as "trad." It’s also in the Scottish Fiddlers’ Session Tune Book from Taigh Na Teud in, uh, Bb, with no composer listed. Not definitive, but maybe the composer’s lost in time -

Posted by .

The Acrobat

Also recorded by Alie Bain in the first LP of Boys of the Lough, in the original key.

Wrong

This is not on "The Boys of The Lough’s" 1st LP - look up the track listing I posted. I think it was on a much later recording, possibly "Regrouped"

Posted by .

Written by James Hill. Name lad that wrote The Wonder, The High Level and many other great tunes.

I don’t think it was.

‘Attributions’ ~ some say this, others say that…

I’ve heard Scott Skinner blamed for this one, as well as James Hill, and even that P.T. Barnum of circus fame has something to do with it’s naming, supposedly using it as a theme for his ‘acrobats’, though I’ve as yet to see that confirmed. There is a tune by this name in Kerr’s Merry Melodies, but it’s not the same melody… It is also said that it is an ‘adaption’ of the Clog "The Nightengale" (both tunes are in "Ryan’s Mammoth Collection", 1883), but it is a damned site different, and not just the key signature. In Ryan’s it is listed "As performed by G.L. Tracy." My guess from the bits of scraps flying about with regards to this and Mr. Tracy, George Lowell Tracy, 1855-1921, ‘composer’, ‘arranger’, etc., that if anything it might be classed as Mr. Tracy’s…and why not, eh? It has a bit of the ‘operetta’ about it.

Mr. Tracy was hired by Gilbert & Sullivan and the producer Rupert D’Oyly Carte to arrange and publish their operettas for the Americans. Mr. Tracy has had his name associated with a number of fine tunes, some information on that can be found at Nigel Gatherer’s fine site, a place where the name of the originator, ‘Gatherer’, and the results are worthy of much respect, hail the chief, one of several:

http://www.nigelgatherer.com/

Oh yes, pride of place for Mr. Tracy ~ Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.A.

Acrobatics on Irish harp

Maire Ni Chathasaigh actually performs this on the Irish harp, retuning just about every other note as she plays for the chromatics. It’s awesome and she brings the house down with it every time. Truly an "acrobatic" feat!

Is the sheet music available in Bb?

I first heard this in Bb on an old 78 recording of Winston Scotty Fitzgerald in Cape Breton.

“The Acrobat’s” ~ history repeating itself (see gm’s 3rd comment)

X: 3
T: The Acrobat’s Hornpipe
B: "Ryan’s Mammoth Collection of Fiddle Tunes", 1883, page 133
=
B: "Cole’s 1000 Fiddle Tunes", 1940; page 97
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
R: hornpipe / clog
K: Bb
|: F>E |\
D>FB>c d>Bg>f | (3ecA (3ecA a3 g | f>=e_e>c A>ag>f | =e>fg>f d>BF>E |
D>FB>c d>Bg>f | (3ecA (3ecA a3 g | f>=e_e>c A>ag>A | B2 d2 B2 :|
|: c>B |\
A>cd>c a>f=e>f | d>Bd>g b>g^f>g | =e>c=B>c ^c>d^d>=e | ((3gf=e (3fed c2c>B |
A>cd>c a>f=e>f | d>Bd>g b>g^f>g | =e>c=B>c ^c>d^d>=e | f2 a2 f2 :|

Fiddler’s Companion ~ Andrew Kuntz (A-part: Bb Major / B-part: F Major)

http://www.ibiblio.org/fiddlers/
Acrobat’s Hornpipe
http://www.ibiblio.org/fiddlers/ABER_ACT.htm#ACROBAT’S_HORNPIPE_[1]

ACROBAT’S HORNPIPE [1]. AKA ‑ "Acrobat’s Clog," "The Nightingale." American, Irish; Hornpipe. B Flat Major (‘A’ part) & F Major (‘B’ part). Standard. AABB (Cole, McNulty, Mulvihill): AA’BB (Cranford). This tune was called "The Nightengale" until P.T. Barnum began using an adapted version as a theme for his circus acrobats. The attribution "As performed by G.L.Tracy" appears in Ryan’s/Cole’s. George Lowell Tracy (1855-1921) was a young man who later composed light opera and composition books, according to musicologist Charles Wolfe. Evidently Tracy arranged music as well, for one publication from the 1880’s indicates a Sir Arthur Sullivan (of Gilbert and Sullivan fame) work was arranged by him. "Can be used as a Clog" (Cole). Perhaps the earliest recording is from 1905 by violinist Charles D’Alamaine, born in 1871 in England, who died in 1943. D’Alamaine immigrated to the United States in 1888, and by 1890 had established himself as “instructor on violin” in Evanston, Illinois; by 1910 he had removed to Yonkers, and in 1920 was a chiropractor in New York City (info. from Paul Gifford). ~

Acrobat’s hornpipe

There’s a really good version in Bb on one of Winston Scotty Fitzgerald’s LPs. I think that Paul Cranford reproduced it on one of the Classic Cuts CTs. Does anyone know where one can get the sheet music for the Bb version?

Acrobat

This version swings like an acrobat.

X: 1
T: Acrobat, The
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
R: hornpipe
K:Bb
FE|:DFBc dBgf|(3ecA (3ecA a2 ag|f=e^dc Aagf|=efgf (3_ecB (3AFE|
DFBc dBgf|(3ecA (3ecA a2 ag|f=e^dc AagA|1(3BAB (3cBA B2 FE:|2(3BAB (3cBA B2 cB ||
K:F
|Acdc afef|dBdf bg^fg|ec^Bc ^cd^de|(3gfe (3fed c2 cB|
Acdc afef|dBdf bg^fg|ec^Bc ^cd^de|1(3fgf (3efg f2 cB:|2((3fgf (3efg f2||

Acrobat’s Hornpipe on fiddle….

I first heard the tune from John Sheahan of The Dubliners.
He plays it well with a few triplets and he has achieved a nice lilt to the tune. It’s in B Flat, which was a challenge initially for me, but after a few days, I’ve got the tune to an acceptable level.

In Bb :-)

Not sure about AngusF’s version in Bb, but I’ve added my own setting (in Gmin to fit with the site) that is a bit tidier and avoids those B#s…

S: Bruce MacGregor from Blazin’ Fiddles - Magnificent Seven (https://thesession.org/recordings/1646)