Astley’s Ride - polka
Matt Cunningham plays this tune as a polka on Vol 8 of his CD collection “Dance Music of Ireland”, in conjunction with the jig “Haste to the wedding” and the hornpipe “Leslie’s” for a specific ceili dance called “The Three Tunes”.
Pete Cooper plays it as a reel (probably closer to its original form) on his CD “English Fiddle Tunes” by doubling the note values and changing the time signature to 2/2. His version has a few minor differences and is as follows:
Af | d2d2 d2cd | e2e2 e2fe | dcBA B2c2 | defg agfe |
d2d2 d2cd | e2e2 e2fe | dcBA B2c2 | d4 d2 :|
|: de | f2f2 f2ef | g2g2 gagf | e2e2 e2de | f2f2 fgfe |
d2d2 d2cd | e2e2 e2fe | dcBA B2c2 | d4 d2 :||
Pete Cooper gives an interesting and unusual history for this 18c century tune in his on-line notes to his English Fiddle Tunes CD at http://www.petecooper.com/eftnotes.htm#9. Whether Astley composed this tune for his (genuine) ride, had it written for him, or used an already known tune, probably will never be known.
Astley’s Ride - polka
I’ve just noticed that in my post above I’ve got Pete Cooper’s version starting with "Af"; it should of course be "af". I think the "Af" was an artefact caused by the editing system capitalising the first letter of a paragraph.
Astleys’ Ride interesting and unusual history
I clicked on the link and it wouldn’t work. Please assuage my curiosity and post the history.
[9 Astley’s Ride
Key of D. Philp Astley (1742-1814) invented the modern circus in 1768, discovering that if he stood on a horse’s back while it galloped in a circle, centrifugal force helped him keep his balance. He engaged a clown, musicians and other performers and in 1771 opened Astley’s Amphitheatre in Westminster Bridge Road, London. This may have been one of the tunes played by the circus band during his daring displays of horsemanship. By the poet John Clare’s time, Astley’s was an established visitor attraction, and on Clare’s first trip to London in 1820 he and a friend (‘Rip’) ‘went to Astleys Theatre where we saw morts of tumbling.’ The tune also appears in the Hardy Family manuscripts (see note to Tune 6), and was noted down in Oxford, in 1789, by antiquarian Jean-Baptiste Malchair, who heard it played on ‘Flute a bec and Tambour’ by street musicians.
The present version reflects the way the tune is commonly now played. Its main rhythmic characteristic is the recurrent pattern of three crotchets (quarter notes) preceded by a pair of quavers (eighths). ‘O, I see,’ said Joanna, a student of mine, when I pointed this out. ‘You mean it keeps going Tweedle Bash! -Bash! -Bash!’ Which I think expresses the point very clearly.]
Anstey’s Ride unusual and interesting history
Whistlejohn, I’ve just now (Feb 4, 2013) clicked on the Pete Cooper link, and it worked for me. Weejie’s post is a copy of the link.
For some reason this tune is known in Scotland as "Drumleys".
Astley’s Ride, X:3
Setting as played at the Golden Guinea pub session, Bristol (UK).