TTA

From The Traditional Tune Archive
Jump to: navigation, search
Welcome to the Traditional Tune Archive
The Semantic Index of North American, British and Irish traditional instrumental music with annotation, formerly known as
The Fiddler's Companion.

Featured Tunes

Listen to the featured tunes of the weekRICKETT'S HORNPIPE.

Rickett's Circus, Philadelphia, on the corner of Market and 12th St.

The particular Rickett honored in the title was a circus promoter, one John Bill Ricketts [1] (1769-1800), a Scottish immigrant who came from England in 1792 and flourished in America through the 1790's until his Philadelphia enterprise was destroyed in a fire on Dec. 17, 1799. He reportedly delighted his audiences by dancing hornpipes on the backs of galloping horses [Ivan Tribe], and toward the end of his career hired another famous American hornpipe dancer, John Durang, to produce pantomimes for him. Alan Jabbour (in "American Fiddle Tunes") says that circuses under his name appeared in New York City, Philadelphia, Norfolk, Charlestown, Albany, Boston, Hartford, and Montreal.

John Bill Ricketts, aka, Breschard, the Circus Rider, by Gilbert Stuart



The earliest appearance of the melody is in Alexander McGlashan's Edinburgh-published Collection of Scots Measures of 1781, with the title "Danced by Aldridge," a reference to the great Irish-born dancer of the late 18th century Robert Aldridge (see note for "Aldridge's Hornpipe (1)"). Unfortunately, McGlashan's 3rd measure in the first strain is garbled, and the fourth measure is missing altogether in the printed version (making the first strain only seven measures long). The tune was popular in Britain under a few titles, chiefly "Manchester Hornpipe" and "Yarmouth Hornpipe." Imported to America, it became a very popular melody in all regions and genres; in the Appalachians it was one of the imported hornpipe tunes that survived relatively intact, and was only slightly less common among fiddlers than "Fisher's Hornpipe," which is easier to play. In the South the tune lost all connections with the hornpipe dance, and is often played at the same pace as a breakdown. Not everywhere, however, for as Mike Yates (2002) remarks, “the tune was actually more popular in the northern cities and is one of the few tunes that is played in the south as a hornpipe.” Collector Samuel Bayard (1981) agreed that the hornpipe was an "exceedingly well-known" piece whose title was almost invariably the same, and he found it as popular among fifers in his collecting region (southwestern Pennsylvania) it was with fiddlers. "Rickett's Hornpipe" was also popular with northeastern U.S. fiddlers, notes Bronner (1987), who writes that by the 1850's it was a common selection for fiddle-tune collections. It retained its popularity into the 20th century and was cited as having frequently been played for country dances in Orange County, New York, in the 1930's (Lettie Osborn, New York Folklore Quarterly).

At mid-20th-century it was one of the tunes often in the repertories of amateur fiddlers throughout the country, as, for example with Buffalo Valley, Pa., region dance fiddlers Ralph Sauers and Harry Daddario. Patrick Bonner, a fiddler from Beaver Island, Michigan, recorded the tune on 78 RPM for the Library of Congress. Bonner was the youngest son of immigrants from Arranmore Island, County Donegal (Beaver Island was destination for a number of Arranmore families), and the Donegal fiddle tradition can be heard in his playing. It was even recorded on a 78 RPM by the Irish-American group Dan Sullivan’s Shamrock Band. The tune was recorded for the Library of Congress by musicologist/folklorist Vance Randolph from Ozarks Mountains fiddlers in the early 1940's, for the same institution by Herbert Halpert from Mississippi fiddler Stephen B. Tucker (b. 1859) in 1939 (under the title "Raker's Hornpipe"), and in 1937 from the playing of Luther Strong (Hazard, Kentucky). It was played by R.L. Stephens of Camp Hill, Alabama, at a contest in Columbus, Georgia, according to the Columbus Enquirer of December 10 & 12, 1926 (Cauthen, 1990). One Georgia band heard on mid-1920’s radio playing “Rickett’s Hornpipe” consisted of a pair of uncles and a pair of nephews; the uncles were fiddlers Newt and Ed Tench, aged sixty-four and sixty-one years of age, who claimed to have been playing the fiddle for forty-five years or more. According to the newspaper the Atlanta Journal, they had “an enviable reputation as musicians in the mountain districts of Georgia,” and they had fiddled together so long that “harmony between the two is merely a matter of second nature.” (quoted by Wayne W. Daniel, Pickin’ on Peachtree, 1990, p. 54).


RICKETT'S HORNPIPE full annotations and Past Featured Tunes


X:1 % T:Rickett's Hornpipe M:C| L:1/8 K:D (3ABc|dcdA FAdf|edcB A2g2|fgaf gfed|edcB Agfe| dcdA FAdf|edcB A2g2|fafd egec|d2f2d2:|

Why TTA Who builds the Archive

Although we are not trained musicologists and make no pretense to the profession, we have tried to apply such professional rigors to this Semantic Abc Web as we have internalized through our own formal and informal education.


This demands the gathering of as much information as possible about folk pieces to attempt to trace tune families, determine origins, influences and patterns of aural/oral transmittal, and to study individual and regional styles of performance.
Many musicians, like ourselves, are simply curious about titles, origins, sources and anecdotes regarding the music they play. Who, for example, can resist the urge to know where the title Blowzabella came from or what it means, or speculating on the motivations for naming a perfectly respectable tune Bloody Oul' Hag, is it Tay Ye Want?
Knowing the history of the melody we play, or at least to have a sense of its historical and social context, makes the tune 'present' in the here and now, and enhances our rendering of it.

Andrew Kuntz & Valerio Pelliccioni


Please register as a user to make the most of the many functions of the TTA, and enjoy the many ways that information about traditional tunes can be elicited and combined, from simple to complex situations. Users may make contributions, which, when reviewed by an editor, become part of this community project. Serious user/contributors may become editors through the TTA's autopromotion process, in which quantity and quality of entries allows increased levels of permission to edit and review the entire index.
Above all, the developers wish you joy in the use of the TTA.

Latest Tunes



Help Getting started

Collection1.preview.gif

Navigation: Registered users can navigate the Traditional Tune Archive for information in a number of ways.

  • Search. The Search function is located at the bottom of the SideBar on the left, and can be used to search the entire index for any key word.
  • Alphabetically by tune title. Under “The Index” on the SideBar on the left is “All Tunes”. Click on “All Tunes” to open up the list of tune titles in the TTA arranged in alphabetical order, 200 titles to a page. At the top of the page is an alphabetical breakdown that serves as a shortcut to pages. Clicking on any title will bring one to the music and tune fields. Once the tune appears, clicking “Tune Discussion” at the bottom of the page (below the notation) will open up the narrative information on the tune.
  • Query the Archive. The “Query the Archive” function under “The Index” in the sidebar can be used to draw down reports from the TTA in either in single items or in a number of combinations. One might, for example, use a single item query to run a report in the TTA for a particular composer/core source. Clicking on the arrow at the right of the bar draws down a list of composer/core sources, or one may be typed in. For example, clicking on “Bill Pigg” and then the “Run Query” tab at the bottom left will result in a list of all compositions listed in the TTA that the Northumbrian piper either composed or is the core source for. Reports may also be run in combinations, as, for example, by selecting “William Marshall” as a composer/core source, “Three Flats” for the number of accidentals, and “Major” for the Key/Mode. This will result in a report of all Eb Major compositions of Scottish fiddler/composer William Marshall that are indexed in the TTA.
  • Drill Down. Cumulative information about TTA entries can be found in the “Drill Down” under “The Index” in the SideBar on the left.
  • Tune Books/Magazines in the TTA can be accessed under “Issues” in the left side bar. These are reproductions of publications for which access has been granted to the TTA by the copyright holder, under the Creative Commons license.