Frost On The Bow hornpipe

Frost On The Bow has been added to 13 tunebooks.

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One setting

X: 1
T: Frost On The Bow
R: hornpipe
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Gdor
G3 A BA GB|AF FE F2 Bc|d3c Bc de|fe fg fd cA|
(3Bcd GB (3ABc FA|BG GF GA Bc|dg gf (3def cA|BG GF DF GA|
B3 A GB AG|AF FE F2 Bc|d3c Bc de|fe fg fd cA|
(3Bcd GB (3ABc FA|BG GF GA Bc|dg gf (3def cA|BG GF G4||
g3 a bg df|g3 b af df|g3 a bg af|gd fd cB AF|
(3Bcd GB (3ABc FA|BG GF GA Bc|dg gf (3def cA|BG GF G4|
g3 a bg df|g3 b af df|g3 a bg af|gd fd cB AF|
Gg gf gd BG|Ff fe fc AF|(3Bcd GB (3ABc FA|BG GF G4|]

Sixteen comments

Frost on the Bow

Written by me in my freezing cold apartment. It isn’t as long as it looks - with the variations in the repeated parts I thought it would be simpler to write the whole thing out that do some fancy "one, two" repeat thingamajiggy. The tune is played straight through with no repeats. (Unless you feel like playing it again.)

It doesn’t call for a very pronounced "hornpipe swing" - it’s almost a reel, but with the way the parts end I figured, "OK, so this is a hornpipe." I hate hornpipes. Enjoy.

Goodness, Jeremy, you’re fast. I swear I just posted this ten seconds ago and it’s already gotten the treatment. Did you automate or something?

Possibly he’s matched in speed only by you… 🙂

Ah, sure, I’m not that quick.

I take that back. I’m actually tmuch too fast - I posted the tune before it finished writing itself, and as it turns out I got the B part backwards. ABCs are now corrected.

Nice Tune Kerri and it does definitely have that hornpipe feel to it. Was the cold an essential part of the creative process?

Thanks, Donough. I wouldn’t have been imagining my bow frosting over if it wasn’t so bloody cold in here, which wouldn’t have got me thinking what kind of melody a frozen bow might play. I was kind of aiming for the lonesome sound of wind whistling through the igloo cracks as polar bears lumber past in the season of endless night. So, yeah, brr! The cold has a lot to do with this tune. But I can’t take it any more. I’m getting out of here and going to my frozen bed, where at least I have a big feather duvet to pull up over my frozen head.

Why do people live in such inhospitable parts of the world. I got out of Ireland because I couldn’t stand the weather, but Montreal………………

Nice little tune. I’ll have to learn it, in part because I feel like I’ve shared the experience with you, not only by your posting, but because the cold has come from you to me, although it’s warmed up a few degrees on its way south, where I sit in my little, stone Zen monk’s cell composing a lament with frost on my toes.


Ah, that’s better. The toes. Not the lament.

Ah well, at least robes are nice and suggly, but I’ll have to consider getting some winter weight woolens.

And fuzzy slippers.


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I like it! And on a hot, midsummer night down here in the antipodes, it’s as cooling as a cold beer.

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I’ve decided it ought to be played as a fast reel, gradually decreasing in sped until it’s a slow air, which ought to stop altogether midway through, when the player ought to turn blue and remain motionless. Think Jack Nicholson at the end of The Shining, but with a fiddle in his hand.

decreasing in "speed", that is.

The glory of bad intonation

So I tried this out with my buddy Peter on guitar the other night and he thought I was doing some kind of fancy major key change in the B part because my pinky was flapping around uselessly somewhere between a B flat and B natural. And he says that was really cool the way I wrote it all wacky and complicated like that. So I says, actually, I’ve been totally screwing it up the whole time and it’s supposed to be a perfectly ordinary B flat. And he says no, I think you should keep it like that, and this other guy, Dave, says yeah me too, it’s neat. So then I come home and start playing first four bars of the B part like this:

g3 a =bg df|g3 b af df|g3 a (3=bag af|gd fd cB AF|

And it sounds very good, I think.

You know what? I’m just going to come in here whenever I’m lonesome from now on.

Or when, like this evening, I’m trying to kill a beer and everyone else has gone to bed.

But it’s relevant. Honest. So, after I came up with this particular string of notes, I couldn’t get it out of my head. Not because of any particular brilliance or anything, but because… well… because it’s "educational". For me.

Seeing as it didn’t exist before I started playing it, it’s a tune I have absolute freedom to play it any way I damn well please. Nobody can glare at me for changing the notes around, nobody can accuse me of getting it wrong, nobody can whap me with their fiddle bow if I play it differently every time.

Since I realized this enormous thing:

"This is not a composition, it is a string of notes"

I’ve played (in my head), "Frost on the Bow: The Strathspey" "Frost on the Bow: The Fast Reel" "Frost on the Bow: The Slow Reel" and even "Frost on the Bow: The Jig"

So far. There are so many possibilities. What about the Slip Jig? The Hop jig? The Barndance? The Waltz? The "Lament" whatever that means). The Slow Air? The Mazurka?

If I had a year to spare I’d sit down with this silly little string of notes I came up with and just play them and play them and play them again until there was nothing left to explore.

I know I need to do my penance here with five or six "traditional" tunes for exposing this particular string of notes to public scrutiny, but truth be told I don’t really feel like it’s *mine*. It’s just a simple string of notes. It’s always been sitting there waiting to be played. Maybe someone already played it a hundred years ago, only to have it forgotten.

Mmmmmm ~ damn, hyperthermia setting in again. Would you knock those icicles off my nose and douse me in anti-freeze so I can keep playing this toward eventual narcolepsy ~ nnnnn…ice…