Morris Off polka

Also known as La Morisque, La Mourisque, Mouresque.

There are 4 recordings of this tune.

Morris Off has been added to 2 tune sets.

Morris Off has been added to 14 tunebooks.

Download ABC

Four settings

X: 1
T: Morris Off
R: polka
M: 2/4
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
|:B/c/|d d d e|d3c|B G G A|F2 D2|
B G G A|B G G A|B G G A|F2 D:|
X: 2
T: Morris Off
R: polka
M: 2/4
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
B/c/d dd|d3 c|BG GA|F2 D2|B/c/d dd|d3 c|BG GA|D4:|
# Added by hetty .
X: 3
T: Morris Off
R: polka
M: 2/4
L: 1/8
K: Dmaj
X: 4
T: Morris Off
R: polka
M: 2/4
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
|:A|B/c/d de|d2 dc|BG GA|F>E D2|B/c/d de|d2 dc|BG AF|1 G2 G:|2 G2 G G/A/||
|:BG GA|BG cA|BG GA|F>E D z|BG GA|BG cA|BG AF|1 G2 G G/A/:|2 G2 G||

Twenty-four comments

Pavanne / la Mourisque

This is an incomplete renditioning of the Pavanne/la Mourisque by Susato.
ABC should be:
M: 2/4
L: 1/8
B/c/d dd | d3 c | BG GA | F2 D2 | B/c/d dd | d3 c | BG GA | D4 :||
BG GA | BG cA | BG GA | F2 D2 | BG GA | BG cA | BG GA | D4 :||

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I’ve heard “Morris On” but not read the sleeve notes. Do they give any details? If not, what a pity. If so it might be usefull to include them here.

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I was wondering when ol’ Tielman Susato (c.1500 - 1561 ~ “Dansereye”, 1551) was going to get a show here… I like your “should be” hetty…I’m waiting for the rest… 😉

Pavanne/la Mourisque by Tielman Susato

This should please our Members in Belgium and Holland - a Flemish tune from the Renaissance predating the Baroque era (which many Irish tunes date back to) by more than half a century.

Well, come on already, give us the rest…

I haven’t got my notes for it here, and none of the recordings I do have here have this or I’d get to transcribing it just for the memory…

Pavanne/la Mourisque by Tielman Susato

You could try plugging “Tielman Susato” into Google’s Advanced Search. There are over 20,000 pages on him!

Boris (Johnson) Dancers

For my sins in the 70s, I listened to Morris On until the vinyl wore through. Being a David Munroe fan, I knew about Susato then and I don’t ever recall hearing this tune on the lp although the tune does appear in Bacons “black book” under various morris traditions.

Only 20,000 pages hounddog?

Hey Geoff, I don’t think that’s enough penance for your sins… 😉

Two Renaissance Dance Bands

Just in case anyone is interested “La Mourisque” is the first track on the first side of an LP entitled, “Two Renaissance Dance Bands”, released in 1976 on HMV, HQS 1249. featuring the Early Music Consort of London directed by David Munroe.
The first track features the full band of: Cornetts, Sackbutts, Recorders, Crumhorns, Dulcian & Rackett, Violins, Viola’s, Lute, Regal and Percussion. What a glorious envigerating ‘noise’. It fills me with the same emotions that I get when listening to early Cheiftains.

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‘should be’

I know that there are always interpretations of tunes from time to time but when I see good stirring melodies being diluted for various reasons then I cannot help saying so. people from all over vthe world are lookintg at this web site and we are giving them information which many take as being ‘THE WORD’
I feel that with EVERY submission there SHOULD BE an accompanying short offering giving as much prominance as possible for the tune. most of the time this is done but not always.

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‘La Mourisque’ is also NOT a Polka.
could Mandolinman tell us where he got it from?
I heard ‘Morris On’ a long time ago and so ‘geoffwright’ could well be ‘right’. See! we have confusion already.

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Thanks hetty, you reminded me, I think I have all of David Munrow’s work somewhere. I had a vinyl of the “Morris On” album too, but sadly not here…

Damn, I’ve found it ~ but I should be in bed already. I roll home and this is what I get ~ being wound up…

I’ve two takes on this one a la CDs:

“Susato: Dansereye”
New London Consort & Philip Pickett
Decca 436 131-2
track 38: “La Morisque”

“Renaissance Dance”
(2 of David Munrow’s LPs on two CDs ~ a great buy!!!)
The Early Music Consort of London & David Munrow
Virgin Veritas
CD I - track 1: “La Mourisque”

Nice one ‘c’ I will look out for the Phil Picket CD. “Renaissance Dance” must be a reissue on CD of my LP. Side one of my LP is twelve dances from ‘The Danserye’ and side two contains Dances for Broken Consort from Thomas Morley ‘First Book Of Consort Lessons’ Amongst many finr musicians are: David Munrow, Phil Picket & Christopher Hogwood.

It would be nice if Jeremy could replace the ABC here with mine as I then could give it it’s correct title.

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Even better hetty (& hounddog), it is two David Munrow/Early Music Consort of London albums, two CDs. It is one that escapes the notice of most:

CD 1:
1 - 13: Tylman Susato ~ 12 Dances from the Danserye
14 - 21: Thomas Morley: Dances for Broken Consort

1 - 9: Michael Praetorius ~ Dances from Terpsichore
10: Giorgio Mainerio
11: Giuseppe Guami
12: Pietro Priuli
14: Giogio Mainerio

Giorgio Mainerio ~ missed the ‘r’ above…

Morris Off

Having emailed ‘mandolinman’ it turns out his source was the Nottingham Music Database, within Eric Foxley’s Music database. ‘Morris off’ comes with the source as BIDFORD but does that mean the town of Bidford? As ‘geoffwright’ has already stated it is not amongst the collection of Bidford dances within Bacon’s collection.

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Morris Off

Today I’ve submitted “Morris On” (tune # 6607), the companion tune to this one. In my notes to Morris On I’ve outlined the relationship between the two tunes (they are processional dances used for the start and finish of Morris dance sets). My source (Bacon’s “Handbook”) for both tunes gives them as being in 4/4 time (i.e. technically “reels”), so it appears that the ABC for Morris Off should rightfully be in 4/4. Whatever it is, it is not a polka - a much more recent dance from a different background.

“PIFFARO: A Flemish Feast” ~ another recording

Flemish Renaissance Wind Music
ARCHIV ~ 457 609-2

Track 6: “La Morisque” ~ Tylman Susato

Source for transcription: “Het Derde Musyck Boexken”
Tylman Susato, Antwerp, 1551

Cecil Sharpe’s take on this tune

the spirit has been Anglicised, the steps remain. Tabourot, for instance, a very quaint and interesting writer on dancing, tells us that when he was a youth—that would be early in the 16th century—it was the custom in good society for a boy to come into the hall after supper with his face blackened, his forehead bound with white or yellow taffeta, and bells tied to his legs. He then proceeded to dance the Morisco [Morris Off] the length of the hall, forth and back, to the great amusement of the company. So says Tabourot, long dead; and to-day we learn that, in most winters, a side of Morris-men dances at White Ladies Aston, one-and-a-half mile from Spetchley, Worcester.


Down in southern England you will hear this tune played in a set between “Horses Brawl” (Branles des Cheveaux) and Bear Dance. We usually call it “The Other One” because no-one can remember the name, but otherwise “Amoresque” which is obviously a corruption of La Mourisque. We also play it a lot faster than the recording I’ve just listened to. Here is a transcription from a local session:


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