“Green Mountain Petronella”
Tune Collections ~ other transcriptions:
"The New England Fiddler’s Repertoire" ~
Randy Miller & Ron Perron
Fiddlecase Books, 1983 - tune #73
"The Fiddlecase Book of 101 Polkas" -
Randy Miller & Ron Perron
Fiddlecase Books, 1978 - tune #71
"The Fifer’s Delight: A Fife Method & Collection ~"
Sweetheart Flute Company, 1964/1981 - - page 41
“Petronella” & “Green Mountain Petronella”
I was reminded of this old New England Chestnut of a set when folks were talking about ‘repeats’, how many and all. "Petronella":
and "Green Mountain Petronella" were and still are joined up to accompany the dance "Petronella":
Folks would play both tunes many times, but to bring it down to manageable, say 6 Xs "Petronella" / 6 Xs "Green Mountain Petronella" / & then back to "Petronella" again for another six times. But, in many case it was just "Petronella" over and over and over again ~ that old way of one tune to one dance… Mind you, a lot of fun was had with the music and the dancers in all those repeats. If you knew the dance you’d know how these tunes and it work so well together, and leave a lot of things open for a little sport and fun…
“Green Mountain Petronella” ~
I’ve given this in the two keys it is known in, ‘G’ and ‘A’, but also, they both go for a second run swung… I have seen it transcribed in 2/4 and 4/4…
“The Phillips Colection of Traditional American Fiddle Tunes ~
Volume One: Hoedowns, Breakdowns, & Reels"
Mel Bay Publications, 1994 - #MB94711
Page 105 ~ 4/4
Page 183 - "Petronella" ~ 4/4
Sources & Influenze don’t mix ~ JACK PERRON, not Ron ~
Jack Perron & Randy Miller for the first two collections mentioned above… Who’s Ron? I am quite miserable at the moment and should leave ABCs alone for awhile. This week has been asthma, grass pollen, that has advanced to flu by some mad circuitous route. The two together are hell… I do not trust myself in this state, more unbalanced than usual…
The wheezing lilter ~ tunes with a difference ~ and for some half conscious reason I find it humorous…
Swing ~ Swang ~ Swung ~ and definitely not enough for a cat
The swing given to tunes with the midi here is jarring to my senses, but it does give some idea of it. While ‘A>A’ suggests mathematically that the previous ‘A’ takes half the value of the following ‘A’, making it ‘A/’, I have never played anything with that ‘extreme’ of a swing.
For the sake of mayhem, and realizing this is under the influence of the flu and a bad night’s sleep, let’s use the minim (1/2 note):
SWING = A>A
~ dotted minim (1/2 note +) followed by a crotchet (1/4 note)
SWANG = (3A-AA
~ dividing a semi-breve into thirds, 2/3s followed by a 1/3
SWUNG = (5A-A-AA-A
~ taking a Balkan twist to it, 3/5ths followed by 2/5ths
It’s the middle one that makes the most sense, especially when you see all the transcriptions in the past that tend to favour triplets as content and variation… That’s also, at least around that, where I tend to be, though I do sometimes slip into a balkan swing now and then… ;-)
There are a load of you who won’t like this next bit, choosing to see it as heresy or just not choosing to see it at all, but "NOTATED MUSIC" has made its impact on ‘tradition’. In order to makes things ‘easier’, assuming that the musician would already have the understanding and knowledge to know to swing certain things, the publishers went for the easy option, and it saves on ink, to do everything straight.
I used to set type, the old way, you know, well probably not ~ with tray after tray of different lego like pieces, only instead of the little points rising from the pieces to join them, we had wood and metal blocks with letters and other characters rising from them, backwards, or actually mirror images, if you’re looking at them. Maybe my slant on dyslexia, but it has always been easy for me to read and write mirror-imaged, from right to left. So, I wasn’t too bad at this job. You’d pick what you need from its little division in the tray. For every character there was a place and for every type face or type size there was a tray.
Tight things, using the American take on notes, like 1/16th and 1/32nd note are just too damned tight and messy to work with, especially in the smallers sizes. So if I were to set a score for hornpipes with a swing, using 1/16th notes, in say a book size (A4 in the UK / 8 1/2 x 11 in the USA ~ approximatel) and I wanted to get at least three tunes on the page, I’d set up the blocks of notes from right to left, block everything in, tension it all once I had what I wanted, slip in the paper and away we’d go.
While you do have all those many pieces held tight, they can still move. As you print the paper isn’t exactly clean, and the threads that make up a sheet of paper, the fiber/pulp, can build up with the ink on the blocks of type, especially with something as fiddly as 1/16th notes, swinging those hornpipes. So, doing it straight is less fuss, less ink, and the raised bits that make up the music are a bit more balanced, less uneven for when the impression is made on paper.
Anyway, I can understand why the printers went that way, it is just easier, and it is less likely for the type setter to screw up. So all that sheet music and collections ~ all STRAIGHT…. Printing tyranny! ~ because that is the way things went, especially in America, all straight, all flat. But there is that other problem too, if you were to take the notated ‘swing’ as gospel, which is 3/4 ~ 1/4, which is not my understanding or way with ‘swing’. So really, those damn dots and their limitations, the tyranny can work either way. But ‘sense’, that exists too, the gentle agreement between the swing of thirds and triplets…
There are so many great tunes out there, and some lend themselves well either way, straight or swung, but it does seem we’re missing the full joy of possibilities if we do everything ‘straight’, somehow having accepted that old myth that ~ "if it’s in print it must be so!" It is somehow also sad to realize how much impact and influence ‘print’ has had on ‘tradition’ ~ and some of you will never be able to admit that, it just isn’t ‘traditional’ in your religion ~ but that doesn’t mean it isn’t so…
I totally agree with everything you just said. I’ve always thought that printed material has had a "straightening" effect on the tradition, and it’s a shame. I use "swang", not "swing", but sometimes can lapse into "swung" as it’s easy to do if your inner metronome is getting lazy. If you don’t play swung, you’re missing immense joy to be had in the intricacies of the rhythm - in the notes that aren’t there. By that I mean, if you "swang", then you’re effectively playing an even triplet with the middle of the 3 notes missing. So for every 8 notes of a reel, hornpipe, barndance, fling, whatever, you’ve got an "imaginary" 12 notes. A 12-note rhythm is going to be more interesting and intricate than an 8-note one because there’s more in there to listen to, even if some of the things in there are "ghost" beats.
“The Ruffwater Fakebook:
The Growing Library of Dance Tunes Played by
The Olde Michigan RUFFWATER STRINGBAND,
Edited by Judi Morningstar
White Lake,Michigan, U.S.A. 1991
Another 2/4 G Major transcription of this tune ~ page 42
|: E | DG G/F/G/E | DB B>B | ~
i don’t think you can notate swing as I don’t think its performed uniformly across a phrase. I have seen a very detailed analysuis of jazz players and whilst there were over all patterns of how the various notes were pulled or pushed against their nominal note length and where they were played in respect to the metronomic beat, the point was that different performances of the same piece by the same player usually showed different patterns.
Some of the archive trasncriptions of Northumbrian Pipers have attempted to write out music exactly as played. Its jolly hard to read.
Personally i prefer to read music (even Newcastle Hornpipes) in straight and apply the swing myself. But there again, the Angels lead fiddler prefers it all to be written out.
At the end of the day, I don’t think notation can ever show you anything other than what notes to play and perhaps remind you how you want to play them. To get an authentic sound, you have to listen to someone playing it or else have lots of experience of playing similar tunes in a similar way.
Anyone who has heard world class classical violinists (Perlman, Lynsey , etc) trying to play jigs, reels or hornpipes will see immediately what i mean. The notes are all correct but the music just isn’t dancey.
Angels of the North
And, as I would tend to add ~ experience playing for dance / dancers… The dots can only provide the bones, a rough guide. We have to flesh it out and breath life into it… In order to do that you have to experience a lot of that ‘life’ ~ listening, feeling, and striving to make it get up and dance in our own hands… Dr. Frankenstein I presume?
It ain’ t calculus either, or quantum mechanics, or jazz. Though things cross and are shared between forms, and some musicians relish such crossing and borrowing, there is a ‘common sense’ to music, such as with the preponderance of triplets found in ‘swung’ tunes. ‘Dance’ is that other element that speaks to and breaths sense into ‘dance music’, though for some that sense is lost. Some ‘go through the motions’ but it just doesn’t dance ~ like your classical musicians, those who haven’t the heart for it, lack understanding and appreciation.
‘Chaos theory’? Every breath we take, inhalation and exhalation, is unique. So I can imagine, if we were speaking of micro-seconds, every swing in a tune would be equally ‘unique’, but bringing it down to ‘basics’, the prime directive of most traditional music, outside of the ‘competitive’ and ‘exhibitionist’, is to take the path of least resistance, to take things, if it can be said ~ ‘naturally’, not pushed, not mathematically precise but in loose agreement. What is the consequence of this? ~ 2/4, 3/4, 4/4, 6/8, 9/8 ~ etc., a nice, preferrably steady, beat, the pulse.that holds it all together, at least for dance music, so the dancers can follow, so the music can speak to the dancers… How else might circumstances speak to us with regards to ‘swing’? Well, 3/4 hornpipes becoming 9/8 jigs, some ‘machines’ and people notating 4/4 swung tunes as 12/8 ~ even folks who should know better ~ ‘eggspurts’…
“Whitehaven Volunteers” ~ also a good fit for the dance
Key signature: G Major
Submitted on November 6th 2006 by ceolachan.
“The Teelin Petronella” ~ Con Cassidy’s lovely tune for the dance
Key signature: G Major
Submitted on July 16th 2007 by ceolachan.
Green Mountain Petronella, X:3
Setting as played at the Golden Guinea pub session, Bristol, UK.