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Valerio and Andrew.

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.

December 19 2018  Featured tune:           OLD CHRISTMAS MORNING

David "French" Carpenter [1] (1899-1965)

Old-Time, Breakdown. USA, West Virginia. A Mixolydian/Major. AEae tuning (fiddle). AB: ABB'. Old Christmas refers to the celebration of Epiphany, or Twelfth Night, on January 6, and was the date some old-time Appalachian communities celebrated Christmas (surviving into the latter half of the 20th century in isolated parts of eastern Kentucky) by lighting bonfires at night with much gun-play and fireworks. The custom was imported from North Britain, where the revelry of "Old Christmas" reached its climax in a rough and sometimes violent practice called stanging, in which a person was hoisted on a long pole and made to dangle in the air until he bought himself free (Fischer, Albions Seed, p. 745). In the Frank C. Brown Collection of North Carolina Folklore one old-timer is quoted:

In some parts of this county it is the custom to observe what is known as Old Christmas. Opinion varies as to the date; some believe it is the fifth and some the sixth of January. This day is believed by the people who keep it to be the real Christmas, the birthday of Christ. They say the Christmas we regularly keep is the "man-made" Christmas ... (Brown, I, 2416).

The tune is related to "Brushy Fork of John's Creek (1)," in the repertoire of Pocahontas County, West Virginia, fiddler Burl Hammnons. The Hammons family also had other, different, tunes by the name "Old Christmas Morning"; see Sherman Hammons' "Old Christmas Morning [2]" and Lee Hammons' "Old Christmas Morning [3]."

OLD CHRISTMAS MORNING full Score(s) and Annotations and Past Featured Tunes

X:1 T:Old Christmas Morning [1] S:French Carpenter (1899-1965, Clay County, W.Va.) M:C| L:1/8 N:AEae tuning R:Reel D:Kanawha 301, French Carpenter - "Elzic's Farewell" (1978. Originally recorded 1963) F: Z:Transcribed by Andrew Kuntz K:Amix g2e2a2+slide+g2|abag e2a2|g/a/g ed c2d2|BBBB ^G2B2| +slide+[A3A3](A, [A4A4])|g2e2a2g2|abag e2a2|+slide+g2 ed c2d2| BBBB ^G2B2|[M:3/4]+slide+[A6A6]|[A2A2][A2d2]f2|[M:C|][e4e4]-[e4e4]|[e2e2]{f}g2f/g/fed|cdcA E2Bd| cAB^GE2Bd|[c2e2][c2e2] ccd[de]|cdB^G A2Ad|[c2e2][c2e2][A,2E2]Ad| cAB^G [E2A2]Ad|[c2e2][c2e2] ccd[de]|cdB^G [A2A2]Ad|[c2e2][c2e2][A,2E2]Ad| cAB^G [E2A2]Ad|[c2e2][c2e2] ccd[de]|cdB^G [A4A4]|[A4A4]|

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

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