Sir Sidney Smith’s march

By James Hook

Also known as Handel’s Gavotte, Sidney Smith’s, Sir Sidney Smith, Sir Sidney Smith’s, Sir Sidney Smith’s, Sir Sidney Smiths, Sir Sydney Smith’s.

There are 15 recordings of this tune.

Sir Sidney Smith’s has been added to 1 tune set.

Sir Sidney Smith’s has been added to 68 tunebooks.

Download ABC

Two settings

X: 1
T: Sir Sidney Smith's
R: march
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
Bc|:d2d2d2d2|e2d2c2B2|dcBc A2 dc|BcAB G2dc|
BdBd AdAd|GdGd FdFd|Bcde d2^c2|1 d2d2d2 Bc:|2 d2d2d2 AG||
FDFA dABc|B2B2B2 dc|BGBd gde=f|e2e2e2 gf|
egeg dgdg|cgcg BgBg|egeg dgdg|cgcg BgBg|
e2d2c2B2|e2d2c2B2|e2d2c2B2|B2A2A2 Bc|
d2d2d2d2|e2d2c2B2|dcBc A2dc|BcAB G2 dc|
BdBd AdAd|GdGd FdFd|EdEd FdFd|GdGd AdAd|
EdEd FdFd|GdGd AdAd|cedc BAGF|G2G2G2||
X: 2
T: Sir Sidney Smith's
R: march
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
d2 d/d/d d2 d2|(3efe d2 c2 B2|dcBc A2 dc|BcAB G2 dc|
BdBd AdAd|GdGd GFdc|Bcde d2 ^c2|d6:|
FDFA dABc|B6 dc|BG (3Bcd gde=f|e6 gf|
egeg dgdg|cgcg BgBg|egeg d2 gd|cgcg B2 gB|
e2 (3ded c2 B2|e2 d2 (3cdc B2|(3efe (3ded c2 B2|B2 A2 ABce|
d2 dd d2 d2|e2 (3ded c2 B2|dcBc ADdc|BcAB G2 dc|
BdBd AdAd|GdGd FdFd|EdEd FdFd|GdGd AdAd|
EdEd FdFd|GdGd AdAd|cedc BGAF|G6:|

Fourteen comments

A lovely tune from Northumbria.


Do we know a composer?

Thanks for the link.

Sir William Sydney Smith, British Admiral 1764 - 1840 ~

“British admiral, born at Westminster; entered the navy at 12, became a captain after many gallant services at 18, was naval adviser to the king of Sweden and knighted, joined Lord Hood off Toulon and helped to burn the French fleet; was taken prisoner by the French in 1796, and after two years made his escape; forced Napoleon to raise the siege of Acre, and was wounded at Aboukir; was rewarded with a pension of £1000, and raised in the end to the rank of admiral (1764-1840). ”

extract from “The Nuttall Encyclopaedia of General Knowledge”
~ edited by the Reverend James Wood, 1907

And here are a few more links for the curious ~

National Maritime Museum ~

Here’s a picture of the dude ~

The Napoleonic Guide

Instittuto Historico de Petropolis ~ the Brazilian connection

Rice University ~ a bio and his papers ~

Once again chapter and verse from ceolachan.Thanks.

Hey Dafydd, you beat me to this march. I had it on the back burner considering submitting it. I sent out some music to a few others to give it a go and then forgot about it until you came along and added it here. I’ll have to come back and add my ways with it, or at least a few variations.

I hope you are well, drop me a line sometime…

a friend in the digital quagmire ~ ‘c’

“Sir Sydney Smith’s March” ~ other ways and a repeated B-part

R: march
K: G Major
|: Bc |
d2 d/d/d d2 d2 | (3efe d2 c2 B2 | dcBc A2 dc | BcAB G2 dc |
BdBd AdAd | GdGd GFdc | Bcde d2 ^c2 | d6 :|
|: AG |
FDFA dABc | B6 dc | BG (3Bcd gde=f | e6 gf |
egeg dgdg | cgcg BgBg | egeg d2 gd | cgcg B2 gB |
e2 (3ded c2 B2 | e2 d2 (3cdc B2 | (3efe (3ded c2 B2 | B2 A2 ABce |
d2 dd d2 d2 | e2 (3ded c2 B2 | dcBc ADdc | BcAB G2 dc |
BdBd AdAd | GdGd FdFd | EdEd FdFd | GdGd AdAd |
EdEd FdFd | GdGd AdAd | cedc BGAF | G6 :|

I first learned this one from Alistair Anderson…

Handel’s Gavotte?

I note SSS’s March aka Handel’s Gavotte - what’s it’s connection with Handel?

Apparently composed by James Hook of Norwich (c18th). An interesting example of what must have at one time been a popular tune throughout England, surviving and becoming a “traditional” tune from a completely different area.

Re: Sir Sidney Smith’s March

This tune is also played on the album Equinoxe by the Celtic Fiddle Festival, this is where I first heard it

Re: Sir Sidney Smith’s: location, location, chronology, etc

Ref the discussion of tunes travelling and morphing this may be true of nearly every tune on the session to a greater or lesser extent, and the reason why most of us are interested in identifying and respecting provenance. Not necessarily the same as being bound to follow it exactly of course.

Some people won’t like seeing a tune pretty clearly English in origin here: nearly all the recordings of it listed here are English or Scottish, but Buttons and Bows (Seamus McGuire, fiddle-viola; Manus Mcguire, fiddle; Jackie Daly, accordions,concertina,whistle; with Garry O’Brian, mandocello,guitar, piano; and Charlie Lennon, piano) recorded the tune on their 1987 “The First Month Of Summer”. So it’s made it to the mainland. See

Anyway, nobody seems to have answered the question as to the Handel link, if there is one. Just a reminder of some chronology (and that composers and admirals travel around as well as tunes …):
George Frideric Handel: 23 February 1685 – 14 April 1759 (born In Halle, died in London)
James Hook: 3 June 1746 – 1827 (born in Norwich, died in Boulogne)
Sir William Sidney Smith: 21 June 1764 – 26 May 1840 (born in London, died in Paris)

James Hook was a prolific composer whose compositions included stage works, vocal works, chamber music, keyboard sonatas, concerti and over 2000 songs. See a potted biography with further links at

This youtube video shows three English musicians (Alistair Anderson, Richard Thompson and Kathryn Tickell) producing a great rendering of the tune in a live performance at Gateshead in 2008 (the tune following Sir John Fenwick’s The Flower Among Them, as per Kathryn Tickell’s earlier CD “Northumbrian Collection”, 1998). Wondrous guitar from Richard Thompson to complement the melodies.

Re: Sir Sidney Smith’s

I believe this tune is given the title Handel’s Gavotte in the manuscripts of Poet John Clare (“The Northamptonshire Peasant Poet” 1793-1864) who collected some 200 folk tunes. He was a fiddler who described himself as “a decent scraper”