The Cage hornpipe

Also known as The Cadge.

There are 3 recordings of a tune by this name.

The Cage has been added to 14 tunebooks.

Download ABC

Three settings

X: 1
T: The Cage
R: hornpipe
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
|:dc|BdcB AGBA|GDDE D2EF|GDAD BDcB|AGFG ADdc|
BdcB AGBA|GEAG FEDC|B,DGD EcAF|A2G2 G2:|
|:(3def|gGBd gbag|fagf e2 (3gfe|dDFA dfed|cdgB ADGA|
BdcB AGBA|GEAG FEDC|B,DGD EcAF|A2G2 G2:|
X: 2
T: The Cage
R: hornpipe
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
AB|cBdc BAcB|A[EC][EC][EC] [E2C2]FG|AFBA cBdc|BAGA [B2G2]ed|
cBdc BAcB|AFBA GFED|CEAE FdBG|[B2G2]A2 A2:|
|:(3efg|aAce agba|gfag f2 (3agf|eEGB ecfe|dcac B2AB|
cBdc BAcB|AFBA GFED|CEAE FdBG|[B2G2]A2 A2:|
GA|BAcB AGBA|G[DB,][DB,][DB,] [D2B,2]EF|GEAG BAcB|AGFG [A2F2]dc|
BAcB AGBA|GEAG FEDC|B,DGD EcAF|[A2F2]G2 G2:|
|:(3def|gGBd gfag|fegf e2 (3gfe|dDFA dBed|cBgB A2GA|
BAcB AGBA|GEAG FEDC|B,DGD EcAF|[A2F2]G2 G2:|
X: 3
T: The Cage
R: hornpipe
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Amaj
AB|cBdc BAcB|A2E2 E2FG|AGBA cBdc|BABc B2AB|
cBdc BAcB|A2E2 E2FG|AGBA FdBG|B2A2 A2:|
|:eg|aAce agba|gfag fagf|eEGB e^dfe|=dced c2ed|
cBdc BAcB|AGBA GFED|CEAd cBAG|B2A2 A2:|
AB|cBdc BAcB|A2E2 E2FG|AGBA cBdc|BcGA B2AB|
cBdc BAcB|A2E2 E2FG|AGBA FdBG|B2A2 A2:|
|:eg|aAce agba|gfgf e2gf|eEGB e^dfe|=dced c2AB|
cBdc BAcB|AGBA GFED|CEAE FdBG|B2A2 A2:|
AB|cBdc BAcB|A2E2 E2FG|AGBA cBdB|BABc B2AB|
cBdc BAcB|A2E2 E2FG|AGBA FdBG|B2A2 A2:|
|:(3efg|aAce agba|gfag f2e^d|eEGB e^dfe|=dced c2AB|
cBdc BAcB|AGBA GFED|CEAd cBAG|B2A2 A2:|

Five comments

The Cage

A James Hill tune to be played with lots of swing. I’ve been deliberating whether to post the "authoritative" version of this, or post it the way I play it. I think the original was in A, but I prefer it in G. I decided to post my version since that is the whole point of this website. Anyway if you want older settings you can find them elsewhere on the web, e.g. JC’s, Fiddler’s Companion, etc. The setting below is taken from Graham Dixon’s currently out of print book "The Lads Like Beer" (Wallace Music):

X: 1
T: The Cage
C: James Hill
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Amaj
AB|cBdc BAcB|A[EC][EC][EC] [E2C2]FG|AFBA cBdc|BAGA [B2G2]ed|
cBdc BAcB|AFBA GFED|CEAE FdBG|[B2G2]A2 A2:|
|:(3efg|aAce agba|gfag f2 (3agf|eEGB ecfe|dcac B2AB|
cBdc BAcB|AFBA GFED|CEAE FdBG|[B2G2]A2 A2:|

Transposed to G, that becomes:

X: 1
T: The Cage
C: James Hill
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
GA|BAcB AGBA|G[DB,][DB,][DB,] [D2B,2]EF|GEAG BAcB|AGFG [A2F2]dc|
BAcB AGBA|GEAG FEDC|B,DGD EcAF|[A2F2]G2 G2:|
|:(3def|gGBd gfag|fegf e2 (3gfe|dDFA dBed|cBgB A2GA|
BAcB AGBA|GEAG FEDC|B,DGD EcAF|[A2F2]G2 G2:|

You’ll notice that the original version of this tune is based on ascending and descending sequnces of 4 notes that go across the barlines, joining in the middle of a group of 4 quavers, e.g. dc|BAcB AGBA|GEAG… In my version, these sequences alternate with those that join after the first quaver of a group of 4, e.g. dc|BdcB AcBA|GBAG… The basic melody isn’t changed, but that variation makes the rhythm slightly more syncopated, and it does nice things to the B-part. I’ve also omitted the double stops from both parts, and put my own twist on some other bits as well.

Looks like the A-part has changed a bit since it was composed. Here’s a setting entitled "The Cadge" from the Lister ms which was put together around the time when Hill would have written it:

X: 1
T: The Cadge
T: The Cage
C: James Hill
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
S: William Hall Lister ms (1840-1860)
K: Amaj
AB|cBdc BAcB|A2E2 E2FG|AGBA cBdc|BABc B2AB|
cBdc BAcB|A2E2 E2FG|AGBA FdBG|B2A2 A2:|
|:eg|aAce agba|gfag fagf|eEGB e^dfe|=dced c2ed|
cBdc BAcB|AGBA GFED|CEAd cBAG|B2A2 A2:|

Here’s a similar one from the Baty ms from around the same time:

X: 1
T: The Cage
C: James Hill
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
S: John Baty ms (1840-1860)
K: Amaj
AB|cBdc BAcB|A2E2 E2FG|AGBA cBdc|BcGA B2AB|
cBdc BAcB|A2E2 E2FG|AGBA FdBG|B2A2 A2:|
|:eg|aAce agba|gfgf e2gf|eEGB e^dfe|=dced c2AB|
cBdc BAcB|AGBA GFED|CEAE FdBG|B2A2 A2:|

Here’s another one from slightly later:

X: 1
T: The Cage
C: James Hill
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
S: John Robson ms (1874)
K: Amaj
AB|cBdc BAcB|A2E2 E2FG|AGBA cBdB|BABc B2AB|
cBdc BAcB|A2E2 E2FG|AGBA FdBG|B2A2 A2:|
|:(3efg|aAce agba|gfag f2e^d|eEGB e^dfe|=dced c2AB|
cBdc BAcB|AGBA GFED|CEAd cBAG|B2A2 A2:|

The Cage

To me this tune is based upon the cage found in coal mines. The rhythm of the Part A is predominantly that of the steam engine which drives the winding gear. The double stopping represents the pit hooter.
Part B, with it’s more sprightly rhythm represents the miners happy to be out of the dark and back into daylight, skipping down the road. Then at the end of Part B the cage returns down the shaft.

What I wonder, but never get round to trying, is whether for the steam engine the notes should be grouped and played to give dee-dum or as dum-dee.

I think that James Hill also gives a steam engine rhythm in the first two bars of The Locomotive. In Part A the locomotive is labouring to pick up speed, in Part B the locomotive has picked up speed and the engine has a lighter rhythm. In bar 4 I feel that the triplets represent the steam train crossing some points.

Or am a I just simple-mined romantic engineer ;-)

I like that theory! Have read that before in Dixon’s book. Not so sure about the double stopping thing though. A lot of the early manuscript versions from about the time when it was written (see above) don’t have the double stops and hooting rhythm, just 3 straight crotchets. That suggests to me that they might have been added later.

The Cage

This was played (and possibly recorded, but I can’t remember) by The Champion String Band at the beginning of the 80s: they called it The Cadge. They played it fast, somewhat like a rant - it did the tune no harm.

The Champion String Band was Chuck Fleming on fiddle, Martin Matthews on various stringed things and Tom Gilfellon on guitar and singing - all brilliant and experienced musicians. They put out one album, named after the band, and gave James Hill’s tunes a high profile in their repertoire.