Aunt Hessie’s White Horse barndance

Also known as Tant Hessie.

Aunt Hessie's White Horse has been added to 6 tunebooks.

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One setting

X: 1
T: Aunt Hessie's White Horse
R: barndance
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Dmaj
|:D2 E2 F2 G2|AA zA Az A2|AA zA Az A2|AA zA Az A2|
D2 E2 F2 G2|AA zA Az A2|A2 G2 F2 E2|D8:|
d4 c4|B8|cz c4 B2|A8|
A4 B2 A2|c6 B2|A2 G2 F2 E2|D8|

Nine comments

Aunt Hessie’s White Horse

This tune is used (I would say, exclusively) for a very old dance of that name. It needs to be played fairly briskly - and with a lot of drive - for that dance.

The "A" part has a "Latin" rhythmic feel to it, and is also somewhat reminiscent of Morse code! The "B" part was been submitted without repeats, but in some versions called, repeats would be needed.

Altthough the tune is very simplistic, it is possible to make more of it than you would imagine if you were seeing the abc for the first time.


I know that there are many non Irish/celtic tunes on this data base but seriously Mix do you really think that this warrants being included amongst the many tunes of calibre found here. I think that most contrubuters to "The Session’s" tune collection try to make their contribution relevent to the promotion, development & retention of traditional tunes (bearing in mind that many although "modern" are within tradition) of a Gallic/Celtic nature.
The dance may be fun to do (wiggle yer hips and rub yer bum against yer partner’s) and at one point the tune was considered "trendy" with it’s calypso rhythm but please this is not the place for it.

Posted by .


Hetty - Clearly, you have the "hump". Or maybe, I should say the "tump! …

I did give some thought as to whether or not I should post this one - perhaps you might have deduced that from the comment that I posted along with the tune. The reason that I went ahead and posted it is because (a) I’m told that the tune has some age to it and (b) the tune db is of possible interest to ceilidh bands, as well as to session musicians.

In any case, I’m not the arbiter of what’s allowed in the db - Jeremy can (and does) delete submissions instead of adding the midi and sheet music formats. In any case, I have no means of deleting it - if you want it removed, you should write to Jeremy.

FYI , the "Celtic" music shop has it on a CD!

.. and (and the time of writing) three session members have added it to their tunebooks.

I see from your session profile that play a melodeon for barn dances in England, that you can’t spell "Guinness", and that your daughter has an Irish sports horse with a Scottish sounding name …

Are you really the Irish purist that you claim to be?

… and didn’t you know that you can "take a white horse anywhere"? 😉

Contamination Alert!

There is a decidedly non-Celtic tune called "Searching for the Soap" elsewhere on this db … posted by .. err … Hetty! ;-(

Hi Mix
You will note that my contribution of "SFTS" was in response to a submission of another tune and I also drew attention to the fact that I had heard it being played by a Scottish Band under the title ‘The Brittania Two-step’
Anyway I think the quality of my submission speaks for itself. Hopefully you will have noted that most, if not all, of my submissions have been of Irish tunes or tunes related to the Irish/ Scottish/Celtic tradition.
Where have I claimed to be a purist? What makes you think that? What is a purist anyway? I love Irish music. I also love English, Scottish, French, Spanish & Scandinavian traditional musics, listen to a lot and play a lot.

Coming back to the tune you might like to consider the following way of playing the ‘B’ music. From bar 1:
d>d c=c | B4 | d>d cB | A4 | etc etc.

Posted by .

Origin of the Tune

Hetty - I wasn’t *really* criticising the quality of your submissions! But if you fire some flak at me via this board, you shouldn’t be too surprised when I fire some back!

Whilst I think that it’s quite in order to say that you dislike a tune, I think that it’s going a bit too far to suggest that it shouldn’t have been posted at all. After all, it is Jeremy - not you or me - who decides whether a tune is allowed through or not. I imagine that the five members who have added it to their tunebooks would hold a similar view.

I’m no great lover of this tune myself. As explained, the only reason that I posted it was because I thought that it might be of some interest to ceilidh band musicians who might need to play it if that particular dance was called.

If Jeremy decided to block all non-Irish submissions (and own compositions) I think that the tune section of this site would virtually stagnate - which would be a pity.

Thanks for posting the variation - (I’m actually familiar with it). You certainly need to do that (or something like it) - especially after the second or third time through!

Finally, although the tune has a somewhat Latin or calypso feel to it, I’ve just carried out some research which seems to suggest that both the tune and the dance actually originated from the republic of South Africa.

Re: Aunt Hessie’s White Horse

I have enjoyed reading the verbal spats regarding this tune. I was hoping to know a bit more about its provenance. That it had its origins in South Africa is what I have heard too. However, the reason I looked up the tune on the Session was because I have just started practising it so I can include it in a spoken word, dance, music performance about the White Horses of the south of England at, guess where? The White Horse Show at Uffington next weekend. I have a much photocopied and wrinkled copy of the Aunt Hessie’s White Horse dance set lurking in our barn dance tune book and wanted a new clearer version to look at. While it may not be much of a tune to listen to, it does suit the occasion I’m
playing it for. Inevitably, tunes such as The Morning Brush and Saddle the Pony are included too!

Re: Aunt Hessie’s White Horse

The dance is from Natal, South Africa, but originally from Scotland not Ireland.