Horse’s Bransle polka

Also known as Branle Dei Cavalli, Branle Des Chevaux, The Devil’s Fiddler, Horse’s Brawl, Horses Bransle, Horses’ Branle, Horses’ Brawl.

There are 7 recordings of this tune.

Horse’s Bransle has been added to 15 tune sets.

Horse's Bransle has been added to 134 tunebooks.

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Six settings

1
X: 1
T: Horse's Bransle
R: polka
M: 2/4
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
G>A BB|cB Ac|BA GF|E2 D2|
G>A BB|cB Ac|BG AF|G2 G2:|
dc/B/ AB|cB/A/ GB|AG FG|A2 A2|
dc/B/ AB|cB/A/ GB|AG GF|G2 G2||
_BA/G/ BA/G/|FG A2|DE FG|A_B AG|
_BA/G/ BA/G/|FG A2|DE FG|GF G2||
2
X: 2
T: Horse's Bransle
R: polka
M: 2/4
L: 1/8
K: Gdor
G>A BB|cB Ac|BA GF|E2 D2|
G>A BB|cB Ac|BG AF|1 G3 D:|2 G3 d||
|:dc/B/ AB|cB/A/ GB|AG FG|A3 d|
dc/B/ AB|cB/A/ GB|AG GF|G3 d:|
BA/G/ BA/G/|FG A2|DE FG|AB AG|
BA/G/ BA/G/|FG A2|DE FG|GF G2:|
3
X: 3
T: Horse's Bransle
R: polka
M: 2/4
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
|:G>A BB|c>B Ac|BA GF|E2 D2|
G>A BB|c>B Ac|BG AF|G2 G2:|
|:dc/B/ AB|cB/A/ GB|AG FG|A2 A2|
dc/B/ AB|cB/A/ GB|AG GF|G2 G2:|
|:_BA/G/ BA/G/|FG A2|DE FG|A_B AG|
_BA/G/ BA/G/|FG A2|DE FG|GF G2:|
4
X: 4
T: Horse's Bransle
R: polka
M: 2/4
L: 1/8
K: Dmaj
|:"D" d>e ff|"G" gf eg|"D" fe dc|"G"B2 "A"A2|
"D" d>e ff|"G" gf eg|"D"fd "A"ec|"D"d2 d2:|
|:"D"ag/2f/2 ef|"G"gf/2e/2 df|"D"ed cd|"A"e2 e2|
"D" ag/2f/2 ef|"G" gf/2e/2 df|"D" ed "A"dc|"D"d2 d2:|
|:"Dm"=fe/2d/2 fe/2d/2|"A"cd e2|"A"A>B cd|"A"e=f ed|
"Dm"=fe/2d/2 fe/2d/2|"A"cd e2|"A"A>B cd|"D"dc d2:|
5
X: 5
T: Horse's Bransle
R: polka
M: 2/4
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
|:"G" G>A BB|"C" cB Ac|"G" BA GF|"D7"E2 "D"D2|
"G" G>A BB|"C" cB Ac|"G"BG "D"AF|"G"G2 G2:|
|:"G"dc/2B/2 AB|"C"cB/2A/2 GB|"D7"AG FG|"D"A2 A2|
"G" dc/2B/2 AB|"C" cB/2A/2 GB|"D7" AG "D"GF|"G"G2 G2:|
|:"Gm"_BA/2G/2 BA/2G/2|"D"FG A2|"D"D>E FG|"D"A_B AG|
"Gm"_BA/2G/2 BA/2G/2|"D"FG A2|"D"D>E FG|"D7"GF "G"G2:|
6
X: 6
T: Horse's Bransle
R: polka
M: 2/4
L: 1/8
K: Cmaj
|:GA BB|cB Ac|BA GF|E2 D2|
GA BB|cB Ac|BG AF|G2 G2:|
|:dc/B/ AA/B/|cB/A/ GB|AG FG|A2 A2|
dc/B/ AA/B/|cB/A/ GB|AG GF|G2 G2:|
|:_BA/G/ BA/G/|FG A2|DE FG|A_B AG|
_BA/G/ BA/G/|FG A2|DE FG|G^F G2:|

Thirty-eight comments

Is the rhythm of this straight or is there some swing?

Horse’s Branle

It’s very often played with a low F natural in the last part.Opinion is divided.

We play this alot for some reason, with a bit of ‘swing’ and a low F nat in the third part apart from the last one. The third part always sound a bit ropey, but on the whole it has a nice Eastern European feel. Goes well with the Bear Dance and/or Man in the Brown Hat.

The Horse’s Branle

Is ther a mistke in the fourth bar?It’s always played E D,not E E.

The Horse’s Branle

There

The Horse’s Branle

Mistake

Jocklet, that’s the way I know it, ED in bar 4.

(Never played it at a session but have crumhorn-ed it in silly costume many a time.)

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The horse’s mistatke

I play ED in bar 4 too, but I found in the net that ABC file with EE, and I liked it.

The Horse’s Branle

I’ve never heard it played that way,and it’s played at every session that I attend here in Belgium.

About the “Horse Branle”

In fact this melody is a médiéval street music from the 13th century.

It’s real name is : Le bransle des Chevaux
with a “S”. It’s a dance called “Bransle”.

Posted by .

Branle/bransle/brawl has different spellings in different countries. The spelling “branle” is used throughout the Evans/Sutton Dover edition of Arbeau’s Orchesographie (which is kind-of the “O’Neill’s” of dance in that period) but it’s one of those words that gets around.

“Horses” is given in Orchesographie as a mimed branle (danced with miming and gestures) and if anyone’s interested, there’s a full description and tabulation of the dance there along with the basic tune. The book can be quite entertaining reading anyway, even if you’re not a dancer.

Posted by .

We draw out the first eighth note in the first and fifth bars to a dotted eighth. As in: G>A BB | cB Ac etc. Also we play E2 D2 in the fourth bar.

“Le Vent du Nord” did a great rendition of this along with Daniel Thonon and his brother Luc at Calixa-Lavallee, QC, CA recently. I think it sounds best with the hurdy-gurdy at least accompanying.

vonnieestes, doesn’t everything?

How Blowzabella blow it:

track 4: Branle de borgogne / Horse branle
on their album “Bobbityshooty”

Another transcriptions in 2/2 can be found on page 50, ‘Horses’ Branle’, of the publication:
“Encyclopaedia Blowzabellica: The Blowzabella Tune and Dance Book”
Dragonfly Music

Horses’ Branle - the Third Part

The third part of this tune uses an old form of the minor scale, called the “melodic minor” - in this case G-Melodic Minor.

In this old form of the minor, the intervals differ according to whether the tune is going up the scale, or down the scale.

Going up the scale, in this key, all the Es are natural and all the Fs are sharp.

Going down the scale (although the third part of this tune doesn’t actually do this) the Fs would be natural and the Es would be flat.

The correct way to score a melodic minor tune in the key of G is to use a two-flat key signature (as for natural or harmonic G-Minor), and annotate the accidentals where they occur.

(Although in this case, it might seem strange to have an Eb in the key signature where none occurs in the tune).

Players of G-D and G-D-A melodeons often omit the third part of this tune - presumably because they are unable to play Bb.

Horses’ Branle - Time Signature

The correct time signature for this tune is 2/2 (although of course there is no way of submitting a 2/2 tune to the session!)

Horses’ Branle - Source

This tune was collected by Thoinot Arbeau (1520-1595).

Horses’ Branle

It’s the first in this tune set played by Barry Hall on a reproduction 5-string mediaeval fiddle (vielle) strung with plain gut. In my opinion it’s magnificent both in sound and playing. I believe the other two tunes in the set are Staines Morris and Kettle Drum.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?jPKhBkLgFLk&feature=player_detailpageall

You might be able to approximate the sound of Barry Hall’s vielle with a modern viola (not too good!) strung with plain gut strings, the C and G being tuned up to D and A. And use a baroque bow to get his articulation.

Horses’ Branle

Trevor, that link just takes me to my own YouTube page. ??

The Horses Bransl Set?

Does anyone know the names of similar tunes(s) that would follow on from “The Horses Bransl” to be palyed as a set.

Re: Horse’s Bransle

Have always played it in G Maj/ G min, never in D.

Re: Horse’s Bransle

Le Branle des Chevaux is included in the Barnes Book II English Country Dance Collection under the dance name of HORSEPLAY. It’s in C with a modal cadence written in (C-Bflat-C). There’s some variety in the way the tune is played primarily related to whether the Bflat is continued throughout the tune. It’s NOT in the key signature. No date on it but the composer is listed as ARBEAU, it’s definitely French and clearly what we consider EARLY MUSIC.

Re: Horse’s Bransle

The seventh bar is often played wrong, that is not like the original, which is B G G F#G, not B G A F# G.
You cannot classify tunes like this as if they were Irish. it is not a polka, reel or anything in 2/4 or 4/4.

Re: Horse’s Bransle

So if it’s not (anything) in 2/4 or 4/4, John, what is the time signature?

Re: Horse’s Bransle

I did not mean it was not in 2/4 or 4/4, I meant that you cannot classify tunes like this as a polka, reel or any tune in the Irish repetoire. It is just a tune in 4/4 or 2/2 whatever you want to use.

Re: Horse’s Bransle

John Offord is right. The original score shows a C/, which means 2/2 (or 2/4) and nothing else. This is confirmed by the French text that says “binary measure”.

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Re: Horse’s Bransle

On the “branles coupés”, the tempo of the notation has little meaning, except the notion of binary.
It can be measures in 2/4, and in 4/4 within the same tune.
It is interesting to follow the steps of the dance, and in this case the accompanying percussion is essential.
Concerning the mode, especially the F and F#, one must not lose sight of the fact that we are here in the 16th century and that the temperament was certainly not the same as today.
Far from the traditional Irish music

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Re: Horse’s Bransle

It should not be forgotten either that the “Orchésographie” is an absolutely unique document for a lot of dances and tunes. That there is no other document to compare the versions, and we are not safe from transcription errors on the part of the author.
All interpretations are possible, and as Gregorio Paniagua of the Atrium Musicae in Madrid rightly said:
“Early music, from the moment it is played again, loses its temporality ”

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