The Old Drove Road
This is a tune by the well-known Northumbrian piper Billy Pigg. I’m used to a recording of N/brian piper Joe Hutton playing it at a moderate pace as an unswung 4/4 hornpipe or reel. But looking it up in Northumbrian Pipers’ Second Tune Book, I saw to my surprise that it was dotted. It looks thus more like a march than a hornpipe or - I think - a strathspey, though it might be the latter; so I entered it as a barndance.
I’m used to playing thesecond last bar of each part with an e where the text has a d , like so: | d>D G>B e<c A>F |
I submitted the book’s version, but suspect a slip-up here on its part.
Drove roads were routes taken by cattle herders bringing beasts from Scotland and Wales, in particular, to sell in markets in England. One or more major routes passed through Northumberland and Durham, and in places where they have not been built over by modern roads their traces are still a feature of the rural landscape. The trade diminished and died out with the modernisation of life during the nineteenth century.
Looks like a schottische to me. You were right to enter it as a barndance I think.
The decline of the use of drove roads coincided with the demise of the turnpikes.
I live where two drove roads used to cross. In the 1840’s there were around 100 residents. Now there are just 8. Delivery men are always amazed to find that the place, which is marked on all road atlases of Britain, is in fact just three cottages.
Keening in the wind
Is it just me or does ‘The Old Drove Road’ sound like a speedy version of the Billy Pigg classic ‘Keening in the Wind’?
The very last note of the sheet music ought, of course, to be a G, not a D.