Mr. Hill I presume ~
‘Dow’ will most likely say I presume too much. No, I haven’t had all my way with this one, though there are some variations worked in instead of just a basic tune with :||: repeats. I would have ended it differently:
| Bc/d/ ce/g/ | fd d || ~ maybe…
I hope this will bring him out of the woodwork and he will contribute his own way with this tune, or some ‘original’ early notation. But really, this is offered up like bananas wrapped in smoky bacon for the barbie…savoury and sweet…
Yes, it’s JH alright. I always thought this was more of a schottische/barndance than a polka. Especially if you swing it.
A version from Pete Loud’s book has it going into G in the 3rd part:
T: Hawk, The
C: James Hill
z|A (3A/B/A/ FA|dA/d/ f/e/d/c/|B (3B/c/B/ GB|e/B/g/f/ e/d/c/B/|
A (3A/B/A/ FA|dA/d/ f/e/d|e (3e/^d/e/ gc|ed d:|
|:g|f/g/a/b/ a/f/g/b/|a/A/d/f/ a/g/f|e/f/g- ge|d/e/f f/A/d/e/|
f/g/a/b/ a/f/g/b/|a/A/d/f/ a/g/f|e (3e/^d/e/ gc|ed d:|
|:d|d/d’/b/g/ d/B/G/B/|d/d’/b/g/ dB|d/=c/A- Ac|e/d/c/d/ Bd|
d/d’/b/g/ d/B/G/B/|d/d’/b/g/ d2|d/e/f f/g/a|ag g:|
Will be back with my own take on it.
Ah, this is one of those tunes like the Bluebell Polka that’s really a barndance, is it?
The Hawk P… P…Puuuh…Puuuh…Puuuh…Schottische
Here’s some ‘original’ early notation :-)
This is a bit more like the posted version, but the bare bones of:
T: Hawk, The
C: James Hill
F/G/|A (3A/B/A/ FA|dA f/e/d/c/|B (3B/c/B/ GB|e/f/g/f/ e/d/c/B/|
A (3A/B/A/ FA|dA f/e/d/c|B (3B/c/B/ gc|ed d:|
|:g|f/g/a/b/ a/f/g/b/|aA df|e/f/g gc|d/e/f fA|
f/g/a/b/ a/f/g/b/|ac df|e/f/g gc|ed d:|
|:A|A/a/f/d/ A/F/D/F/|A/a/f/d/ A2|A/G/E EG|B/A/F FG|
A/a/f/d/ A/F/D/F/|A/a/f/d/ A2|B/c/d c/d/e/f/|ed d:|
And this is the way I’d interpret it:
T: Hawk, The
C: James Hill
FG|A2 (3ABA F2A2|d2A2 fedc|B2 (3BcB G2B2|efgf edcB|
A2 (3ABA F2A2|d2A2 fedc|B2 (3BcB g2c2|e2d2 d2:|
|:g2|fgab afgb|a2A2 d2f2|efg2 g2c2|def2 f2A2|
fgab afgb|a2c2 d2f2|efg2 g2c2|e2d2 d2:|
|:A2|Aafd AFDF|Aafd A4|AGE2 E2G2|BAF2 F2G2|
Aafd AFDF|Aafd A4|Bcd2 cdef|e2d2 d2:|
And if you want to try and represent swing:
T: Hawk, The
C: James Hill
F>G|A2 (3ABA F2A2|d2A2 f>ed>c|B2 (3BcB G2B2|e>fg>f e>dc>B|
A2 (3ABA F2A2|d2A2 f>ed>c|B2 (3BcB g2c2|e2d2 d2:|
|:g2|f>ga>b a>fg>b|a2A2 d2f2|e>fg2 g2c2|d>ef2 f2A2|
f>ga>b a>fg>b|a2c2 d2f2|e>fg2 g2c2|e2d2 d2:|
|:A2|A>af>d A>FD>F|A>af>d A4|A>GE2 E2G2|B>AF2 F2G2|
A>af>d A>FD>F|A>af>d A4|B>cd2 c>de>f|e2d2 d2:|
That’s more like the way I’d play it anyway.
Eeugh ‘c’ it sounds shocking if you try and play it like an Irish polka! Like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole.
2/4 ~ 4/4 ~ to be or not to be ~
I knew that would bring you out in a rash. I’ll be back to discuss the 2/4 and why the version I have, while it should be a more relaxed ‘Northern’ style polka, is missing certain things that help define a ‘Schottische/German/Barndance’, but first I have to get comfortable with all those takes on it courtesy of yourself…
I’ve been playing it on GDADA mandola today and I literally can’t stop playing it. The key and range lend themselves to the instrument perfectly, and you can let the open strings ring on. I even found myself creating this thumping bass beat with the heel of my palm where the strings go over the bridge. If you hit it in just the right place at the right angle, the body of the instrument echoes inside and resonates, and you can capo it so that the tune’s in tune with the bass.
I’ve been knockin’ it about too. The quadruplet in the third part was a slip, mostly I play it so ~ | (3A/A/A/ f/d/ Ad/f/ | ~ preping for the following octave up triplet, but, I’ve had some fun pulling that quad out, RSI anyone?
I’d been wondering about that!
You’ve got me intrigued about this polka/schottische thing. I’ve read somewhere that they used to write schottisches down in 2/4. And I’ve seen them written like that before, notated without swing or anything, in old manuscripts. Do you think there’s anything in that? Maybe the answer is in how the history of each dance intertwines. I’d be interested to know more about this.
Or could this be a 2/4 march? That would explain why it sounds good with swing. It does have a very steady, marchy pulse when you swing it like that.
2/4 ~ 4/4 ~ steppin’ it:
The step shared by a number of these tunes and dances, the basic "polka step", is ‘1-2-3-hop’ (L-R-L-hop - or R-L-R-hop), and responsible for that wandering tag ‘polka’, being appled to a number of things, including waltzes and mazurkas.
NOTE: "HOP!" does not necessarily mean launching oneself free from gravity and coming down with a "PLOP!" or "BANG!"…
Here’s a part from the tune you’ve provided the link to above, with the basic "Schottische Step", it’s first part being the "Polka Step", the first two bars:
T: Bluebell Polka, The
b2 b2 gf ge | d2 d2 B2 G2 | FG AB c2 e2 | ed ^cd B2 (3Bdg |
1 2 3 hop | 1 2 3 hop | 1 hop 2 hop | 3 hop 4 hop |
It is easily four counts per bar, and the dance steps classic to the form follow it nicely.
Yes ~ 2/4 & 4/4 can be intermixed, but ~
I’ve been enjoying this tune both ways actually, 2/4 and straight, which for some reason rocks, and 4/4 and swung, which is also damned nice. Here’s some further exploration of this particular tune ~ four beats to the bar emphasized in the note divisions, keeping to the notation given in this submission:
T: Hawk, The
A2 A2 F2 A2 | d2 A2 fe dc | B2 B2 G2 B2 | ef gf ed cB |
A2 (3ABA F2 A2 | d2 Ad f2 d2 | c2 Bc g2 c2 | e2 d2 d2 FG |
A4 F3 A | d2 Ad fe dc | B4 G3 B | e2 gf ed cB |
AB AG FD FA | d3 e fe dc | B2 ge c2 Bc | e2 d2 d2 ||
f2 ga ba ^gb | a2 A2 d2 f2 | e2 fg gc ec | dc de f2 A2 |
f4 ga b2 | a2 Ad f2 a2 | e3 f g2 Ac | e2 d2 d3 g |
fg ab b2 gb | a2 A2 de f2 | ef g2 g2 c2 | de f2 f2 A2 |
f2 gb bf gb | a2 c2 d2 f2 | e4 g3 c | e2 d2 d2 ||
Aa fd AF DF | Aa fd A2 FG | A2 AG E2 G2 | B2 AG F2 G2 |
A2 fd A2 DF | A2 fd AB cd | B3 d cd ef | e2 d2 d2 FG |
(3AAA fd A2 df | (3aaa fd A4 | AA E2 E2 G2 | BB F2 F2 G2 |
Aa fd AF DF | Ad fd A4 | Bc d2 cd ef | e2 d2 d2 ||
"The Hawk" is seems to me to be destroyed by breaking it up like this into four beats to the bar. It drags if the emphasis is put there, while "The Bluebell Polka" takes that division beautifully. I can’t easily divide in half The Hawk’s two and four note groupings and runs, not without dragging the melody down. At least that is the way I’m feeling it and dancing to it, whatever way I take it. It is two beats to the bar. The above take on it doesn’t fit, for me it drags the melody down and doesn’t drive the steps of the dance well. You could notate this one either way, but while 4/4 is a perfect fit for "The Bluebell Polka", you could use it for "The Hawk" but it wouldn’t be a just representation of the way the rhythm is defined by the melody, 2/4 just seems the better fit, whether you decide to swing it or not, and, because of that, I also think this tune would tend to move at more of a clip than a schottische, but not 150 bpm…maybe 130-135, old-style Irish tempos. Here it is again, in part, as two beats to the bar, 2/4:
A part:) AA FA | dA f/e/d/c/ | BB GB | e/f/g/f/ e/d/c/B/ |
B part: ) fg/a/ b/a/^g/b/ | aA df | ef/g/ g/c/e/c/ | d/c/d/e/ fA |
C part: ) A/a/f/d/ A/F/D/F/ | A/a/f/d/ AF/G/ | AA/G/ EG | BA/G/ FG |
I like your takes on it too, swinging it is fun…
~ segway into the neighbouring realm of ‘barndance’
The ‘swing’ took over… With or without it, it fits better with its relatives under the heading of ‘barndance’, but I still also like it in its straight polka form too…but I’m schottisching around the place to it at the moment, at a nice relaxed 75 bpm…
I know what you mean about the speed. I’ve tried playing other barndances (like Farewell To The Dene) and then going into this one, and you have to speed up a bit whether you swing it or not, otherwise it drags. I take it at a more marchy pace, along the lines of "Highland Laddie" pulse. Hmm, maybe it’s going to defy categorisation. Maybe it’s something like a scotch measure or some sort of march or hybrid schottische or something. I hate things I can’t categorise. It does bad things for my insomnia and obsessive compulsive disorder.
Damn, you too? Whatever, I’m loving it ~ here’s the latest thing you’ve driven me too:
T: Hawk, The
|: F>G |
A2 (3ABA F2 A2 | d2 A2 f>ed>c | B2 (3BcB G2 B2 | e>fg>f e>dc>B |
A2 (3ABA F2 (3ABA | d2 A>d f2 d2 | c2 B>c g>AB>c | (3efe d2 d2 :|
|: g2 |
f2 g>a b>a^g>b | a2 A2 d2 f2 | e2 f>g g>ce>c | d>cd>e f>dA>d |
f>ga>b b2 ^g>b | a2 A>d f2 a2 | e>Ae>f g>AB>c | (3efe d2 d2 :|
|: (3EFG |
A>af>d A>FD>F | A>af>d A2 F>G | A2 A>G E>^DE>G | B2 A>G F>^EF>G |
(3AAA f>d A2 D>F | (3AAA f>d A>Bc>d | (3BBB g>e c2 B>c | (3efe d2 d2 :|
This is also after you reminding me of those rats, black and grey squirrels. I remember working my uncles farm and filling up their larder with grey squirrel, rabbit and various feathered carcasses… I did the gutting and skinning and my aunt did the cooking. The meat used to fall off the bones…mmm, mmm…
Okay, I think this is a 2/4 march. I’ve decided, because you have to take it at march speed otherwise it doesn’t work. You’re right about the Bluebell Polka and the fours thing - it doesn’t fit, but it doesn’t fit polka either. BUT, it does fit march, because you can play 2/4 marches swung or unswung.
Or maybe it’s actually a sort of rant. It goes well with this https://thesession.org/tunes/3470 and look what Noel said about that one. Maybe Noel might help.
But it goes well with Joe Hutton’s March too. Does anyone play that one? I don’t think I’ve posted it yet.
Yeah, I bet Noel would say it’s a rant. It’s got that "de-dah dah dah rest de-dah dah dah rest" thing happening.
Nah, for me it doesn’t have the elements of a march, it doesn’t make me want to march or dance any of the various march dances to it, for one ~ as mentioned earlier, no emphatic foursome about the rhythm, like with "The Centenary", my notation for it:
I also don’t feel the ‘rant’ about it, I can’t imagine stepping it that way, but I’d have to give it some time, try it out in that mode once I get past my initial bias against that slant on it.
However, it does fit the ballroom polka form and I do find myself easily doing any of several polka steps and dances to it, and even ‘schottische’ steps and dances. Ballroom polkas weren’t taken as quickly as say some folks have it with the Irish polkas, which are too often smeared all over the place with manic speed, city folks. Another polka on site here that bears some similarities is "Bjorn’s":
Another in that realm, "The Primrose Polka", was and is often found written out as 2/4:
I’ve more of this sort of ‘polka’ ~
I’ll work up a few others of this type to allow for greater comparison and understanding, my own included. I’ve just been dancing to a few. I’ll find ‘sources’ to transcribe from and contribute them here in the future.
Yes, "Willy Taylor’s Polka", #3479, linked to above, which I’ve just been listening to by the man himself on fiddle, is the same species of tune…
‘c’ for goodness sake will you please put me out of my misery and explain what a "ballroom polka" is so I can get some sleep tonight? It’s like a fast barndance right? Or no? What’s the difference between a normal polka and a ballroom polka in terms of dance step? *Big grumpy sigh* I don’t get all these silly dance names :-)
Your eyes are heavy ~ heaavvyy ~ Your in a meadow, you hear the babble of a stream ~
No? ~ that didn’t work? ~ sorry. And no, I’m not a babbling brook. Get some shut eye or you’ll be unsociable and irritable with those you love and a pain in the arse with those you don’t.
Just to ease your mind some. I will be putting together some polkas from that loosely thrown definition, including dances and some attempt at sources and references. I’ve asked someone to send me some of my old favourites, meaning ‘sources’. You may have to wait for a reasonable take on it all, with sources and references, till after I’ve been back to visit my library, which is a damned long way away and open access to certain musical friends we’d left that branch of the library with. I’m likely to chat with some old acquaintances about it all too, those with a more involved history in that side of the issue. I’ve done the reading and research and taken workshops, but I’ve been away from that for some time now. Bt don’t fret, I will put some tunes together to submit here, from that ‘category’, the scholarship, my way with it and take on it, can wait awhile. So don’t lose sleep over it, I’ll do that for us both.
If it helps, your mention of ‘marches’ isn’t far from the mark. Marches and this species of polka have a lot in common, the similarity in the dances, both used the ‘polka step’, and tempo. Both are ‘rhythm’ dependant, but that is an odd thing to say as that is a truth for all dance music, it is what helps you place your feet and carry through the figures - in time.
Sometimes seeing a quantity of related things, like these tunes, and playing through them, better yet if you can dance to them, is the best education toward achieving an understanding… So, I’ll be back with a few more, in time…
Dow, apologies, I forgot to answer one of your questions above. You asked about a ‘difference’ in the dance step - there isn’t, not really, but there are numerous takes on the basic ‘polka’ step and it occured in combination with other steps. That ‘basic’ is a 1-2-3-hop, or hop-1-2-3, though the latter is mostly associated with the swung tunes, meaning hornpipes, highland flings, schottisches/Germans/barndances, etc. ~ this ‘basic’ also being used at times in 3/4 tunes. Even here there’s often little difference, check out the ABC for it, starting with the weight on the R-foot, ‘123hop’ followed by ‘hop123’:
R || L R L hop | R L R hop | ~
R || hop | L R L hop | R L R ~
So the dances are the same, and the tunes sound the same, they’re all the bloody same. *Sigh of frustration*. Well, I expect your work on polkas to be on my desk by the end of next week or there’l be hell to pay. I want it properly categorised and thoroughly referenced. Plagiarism will be penalised unless acknowledged in the correct fashion. And, presentation? Please. And I’m warning you now, if you don’t double space it I won’t mark it. In the bin!
"HOP" is not necessarily meant to be taken ‘literally’. Some dancers ‘launch’ themselves into the polka, ‘leaping’, emphasis on the ‘up’, while others seem to be set on loosening floorboards, cracking concrete and splitting cartilege, literally their own ~ putting their energy into the ‘down’ of the step, the volume of the "BANG" they can get hitting the floor, and in self-destruction…
NO! - they aren’t exactly the same, no matter how much they share and are similar in history and content. Beyond the ‘basics’ the tempo, step and combination of steps, and especially the ‘style’ ~ are different, but not necessarily hugely different. You don’t play or dance to the marches in the same as the polkas. The marches in the ballroom tended to be more ‘stately’, while the polkas allowed for a bit more of a carefree approach, what some would call and even overplay as ‘abandon’. Some of the dances for the marches had actual ‘marching’ in the dance, along with the polka step. So, to be simplistic, you might march this way, and then back the way you came, and then polka for a spell, within the phrased structure of the tune, say 4 bars one way, 4 the other, and polka for 8, or 6 finishing with a ‘dreher’ (double-step/pivot) = 4 X step/step-hop/hop-step… If measured in ‘sweat’, the polkas produced more pints than the marches, tending to be more vigorous over all.
One of the classic cross over in this realm are how certain Scottish marches have become Kerry polkas.
What like this one you mean? https://thesession.org/tunes/3640.
Dafydd says so.
LOL ‘c’ you’re sounding a bit irritable there, have you still not had your coffee, or are you reading those e-mails you asked me to send you because you wanted to irritate yourself for fun? :-)
“Definitive version” - according to the experts…
I forgot to mention that that transcription I did earlier was from the John Nichol ms (mid 1800s); for sheetmusic go here http://www.asaplive.com/archive/index.asp. While you’re there, have a look at the other manuscript version from the same period which is interesting because it’s notated in a dotted rhythm, proving beyond doubt that at least some people were playing it that way around the time when it was composed, even if it wasn’t usually transcribed that way. I’ve converted it to abc below, with the default note value as semiquaver so dotting can be represented and it’s nice and easy to read. It’s the same as the version in Pete Loud’s book, only the dotting is included until the writer gets sick of it and gives up halfway through. That high 3rd part has fiddle fingering marked above it. It must have been a real show off piece in that key, right up to that top D!
T: The Hawk Polka
R: Ballroom polka-y marchy schottischey thing
C: James Hill
S: William Hall Lister ms (1840-1860)
z2|A2 (3ABA F2A2|d2A>d f>ed>c|B2 (3BcB G2B2|e>Bg>f e>dc>B|
A2 (3ABA F2A2|d2A2 f>ed2|e2 (3e^de g2c2|e2d2 d2:|
|:g2|f>ga>b a>fg>b|a>Ad>f a>gf2|e>fg2- g2c2|d>ef2- f>Ad>e|
f>ga>b a>fg>b|a>Ad>f a>gf2|e2 (3e^de g2c2|e2d2 d2:|
|:d2|d>d’b>g d>BG>B|d>d’b>g d2B2|d>=cA2- A2c2|e>d^c>d B2d2|
d>d’b>g d>BG>B|d>d’b>g d4|d>ef2 f>ga2|a2g2 g2:|
Barren Rock ~
Great! I like seeing these connections across time. I’ve actually heard a really different take on "The Hawk", Northumbrian, but can’t find the recording, if I have it. Like so many things we’ve not our vinyl here and accessible, nor much of our ‘recordings’ on shellac and wire ;-)… At the moment it’s just a memory that isn’t forming enough to transcribe it.
I’ve had my coffee. As with print sometimes it is too easy to read something in the writing, but no, there’s no irritation, not in the above musings. I’m waiting to delve into all those ‘links’ to irritation you’d sent, waiting till I’ve had a rise in the alcohol content of my blood so I can get p*ssed in several of the meanings of that word, well, not completely, just happy enough to loosen the swearing mechanisms, but keeping the focus in tact, so I can have accompaniment to my ire over reading the audacity of ‘others’, something akin to Mongolian nose music…wheezing a drone, talking to myself, and swearing…
If I do find or remember halfway decently that other take on this, I will return with it. In the meantime, thanks for all the background material on this. I like but have little background in Northumbrian music or for that matter the music of James Hill. I’m breaking through the biases built by others who chose to use Hill’s music as a weapon or a ‘display’…like with Scott Skinner addicts. Personally I believe Mr. Skinner, like Miss Jean Milligan and their cronies and imitators did more hrm than good to the music and dance under their heavy handedness.
Uh oh, I hear someone doing an incantation to open up the maws of hell, and my feet are getting warm… I think I’ll go have a cold brew now… You take care of them in my absence Dow…
William Hall Lister ~ WOW!
I love that take on it, great fun, and the high d’ s. Many thanks…
The hole beneath me is closing and cooling as I play it… As I raise my foot and smash one last little devil in the face, stamping on his claws to loosen his grasp on the carpet, it falls back and down into the red whirling vortex and the hole slams shut on "The Muckin’ o’ Geordie’s Byre" as wheezed out by the amassed choir of the Devil’s own piano accordion band… WHEW! That was close, I prefer Brueghel’s take on it all… Spit me, skin me, boil me, but spare me the piano accordion branch of hell…
Don’t fall! Don’t fall! Hold onto the picture rail if you have to, it could save you!
Scandinavian / Norwegian / Seattle Polka ~ dance the demons away…
In the ‘Comments’…finally…
Its a reel
The Angels play this as a reel after Phil Cunningham’s Little Hut on Staffin Island. done as a schotische. Obviously its not a good dance set performed this way but it always popular with the crowds and a chance for our lead fiddle to show off.
If you want an adrenalin rush, try it on concertina. The falling figure in the second half of the b part is a real finger breaker at speed.
Angels of the North
A reel? I suppose I play it at the same speed as a reel, but it’s very dissimilar to the other reels in my repertoire. Hmmm…
Northumbrian Fiddler Tom McConville plays this with Chris Newman on ‘Fiddler’s Fancy’ The music of James Hill CD.
It’s just great.
Tom Hughes plays it as the Faudenside Polka on "Tom Hughes and his Border Fiddle" Springthyme Music. He plays it with some parts dotted and the C part with "Scots Snap"; and with lots of double stopping with open D and A
I recently came back to this tune after messing around with some Sligo/Leitrim polkas - the northern style ones that ceolachan mentions. I see now why this tune is essentially the same type of tune. Slightly different to a barndance, but in the same family. 2/4, and sounds good swung or unswung. Looking forward to learning more about this genre of tune.