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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 weekPUSH ABOUT THE JORUM. AKA and see "Betsy Baker (1)," "Captain O'Neill," “Lads and Lasses (2),” "McClellantown Hornpipe," "Rowan Tree (1) (The)," "Rattle the Bottles (1)." Scottish, English; Country Dance, Strathspey or Reel. G Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AB (Cole): AAB (Athole, Gow, O’Farrell): AABB' (Kerr). The title “Push about the jorum” means 'hurry up and pass the whiskey jar'. A jorum was “a chamberpot, used as a mug in drinking healths or toasts” (c.f. Legman, notes pp. 176-177 in The Merry Muses of Caledonia, by Robert Burns), and as such can be considered a ‘convivial tune’. Burns (no stranger to convivial assembly) used the tune as the vehicle for his bawdy songs “The Summer Morn” and “There’s Hair On’t.” He must have liked the tune, for he used if for two other of his songs, "Does Haughty Gaul Invasion Threat?" and "The Dumfries Volunteers."

The melody was employed for several other (non-Burns) songs as well, such as Hudson's "Betsy Baker (1), James Payne's comic song "Patents all the rage," sung by Mr. Munden at the Theatre Royal Covent Garden, W. Ball's "The British Sailor's Lament," and "Ye Stockton Lads and Lasses" (printed in Ritson's Durham Garland). In fact, William Chappell (The Ballad Literature and Popular Music of the Olden Times, Vol. II, 1857) wrote that "Push about the Jorum" was originally known as the melody for "Touch the thing," "being a vulgar song with a good tune; Miss Catley sang other words to it in The Golden Pippin, and with great success. From that time comic songs have been written to it without number." The "other words" sung by actress Ann Catley (1745-1789) that Chappell refered to were written by Irish playwright Kane O'Hara [1] (1711-1782) for his three-act burletta Golden Pippin (1773, Air IV). He has his character Iris serve a group with goblets on a tray, while singing:

When pickerings hot
To high words got,
Break out at Gamiorum;
The flame to cool,
My golden rule
Is--push about the jorum!
With fist on jug,
Coifs who can lug,
Or show me that glib speaker,
Who her red rag
In gibe can wag,
With her mouth full of liquor.

As the scene ends, the characters drink and exit the stage and all sing in chorus:

The golden rule
Is--Push about the jorum.

The song, which O'Hara directed to be sung to the tune of "Touch the thing you bastard," was printed in period songsters such as The Goldfinch, or New Modern Songster (1782).

PUSH ABOUT THE JORUM full annotations and Past Featured Tunes

T:Push about the Jorum [1]
B:Gow – Fifth Collection of Strathspey Reels (1809)
Z:AK/Fiddler’s Companion
G|dGBG F(AA>)c|BGBd (e/f/g) Tf>e|dGBG F(AA>)B|EGFA G2G:||
d|[B2g2] Tf>g afed|(.g.g) Tf>g {fg}a2d2|dgfg afed|(e/f/g) (f/g/a) g2 g>d|
[B2g2] Tf>g afed|gg fg {fg}a2d2|dgfg afed|egfa gbeg||

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.

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  • 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.