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Author Topic: What is Morris?  (Read 20831 times)

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risto

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What is Morris?
« on: December 29, 2007, 03:13:19 AM »

Please explain to me (in simple words) what is Morris (dancing). I have always liked English music very much. One of my top favourites has always been the J.W. Duarte's English Suite as a composition for the guitar. Julian Bream is the guitar nerd of all times for me and Simon Mayor is one of my absolute heroes on the mandolin. But I have no idea what is Morris and what it is all about. Please enlighten me. Thanks.
« Last Edit: December 29, 2007, 03:16:15 AM by risto »
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Steve_freereeder

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Re: What is Morris?
« Reply #1 on: December 29, 2007, 08:24:17 AM »

Tee hee!  Risto - you've asked an emotive question there, otherwise known as a can of worms. ;)
I'll let some of the others take the lid off first!
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Lester

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Re: What is Morris?
« Reply #2 on: December 29, 2007, 08:44:29 AM »

Morris is the ritual dance form indigenous to England. It comes in a number of forms dependant on where it was collected (click on the links for examples picked at random from YouTube):


Wikipedia give more detail which is to be trusted in the normal Wikipedia manner.

Musically and in my view (as a Cotswold dancer/musician) it works like this:

  • Cotswold Morris - good tunes, bets played by single musicians to enable them to help the dancers. The bible of Cotswold tunes in Bacon which can be found HERE in ABC
  • North West Morris - Big bands with multiple accordions melodeons etc plus a big drum, the tunes are less specific and tend to be those commonly known in the session repertoire and played as sets of tunes. Good source is Mally's North West Tune Book if nothing else there is a list of suitable tunes on the page
  • Border Morris - Very few collected tunes so most anything seems to be used. Example teams tunes HERE. Again tendency towards bands and drums
  • Molly -  Someone else will have to hold forth here as I know very little othere than tunes tend to be played slowly and there is a certain prediliction for the muscians to join in the dance
« Last Edit: December 29, 2007, 08:46:25 AM by Lester »
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C age ing

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Re: What is Morris?
« Reply #3 on: December 29, 2007, 08:47:33 AM »

Risto,
Don't worry your Finnish head about it, you are much better off breeding excellent rally and F1 drivers. Talking about breeding, Morris is a totally unnatural sexual act that should not be mentioned in polite society.
Old Bill.
(We'll soon be round to check your hard drives.)
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C age ing

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Re: What is Morris?
« Reply #4 on: December 29, 2007, 09:03:14 AM »

Lester,
English?
Then you go on to mention Border.
Are you telling us that such an indistinct border with Welsh names on both sides, Morris stopped dead at the border?
As I am Welsh and despite the season, where do we meet for the duel?
Suggest death star equipped single rows at thirty paces.
Old Bill.
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trombonetom

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Re: What is Morris?
« Reply #5 on: December 29, 2007, 09:28:22 AM »

Hello,

Cotswold dancing (the type that comes from the cotswolds) is obviously the best type!
It involves a lot more technique than border and is therefore a lot harder.In my opinion (which is of course, always right) border looks messy, but is good for mass dances beause it is easy.

Cotswold uses bells on the legs, and sticks or hankies depending on which dance you are doing. It is split up into several different "traditions", each tradition coming from a particular village in the Oxfordshire/warwickshire area. There are perhaps 25/30 traditions, at a rough guess. The tunes used for Cotswold are generally EXCELLENT
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Lester

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Re: What is Morris?
« Reply #6 on: December 29, 2007, 09:33:07 AM »

Lester,
English?
Then you go on to mention Border.
Are you telling us that such an indistinct border with Welsh names on both sides, Morris stopped dead at the border?
As I am Welsh and despite the season, where do we meet for the duel?
Suggest death star equipped single rows at thirty paces.
Old Bill.
I believe all the collected dances were from the English side of the border but I may be wrong but since you are Welsh I don't need to argue as I am obviously superior :-)

ps My mother comes from Bromyard, my father from Aberbargoed and my middle name is Gareth!

Steve_freereeder

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Re: What is Morris?
« Reply #7 on: December 29, 2007, 10:36:10 AM »

Molly Dancing tends to be found in East Anglia - particularly Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire, although one of the best teams (Seven Champions) hails from Kent.

The elements of Molly dancing are heavy slow dancing, disguise (blacked up faces or other makeup), flamboyant kit (clothing), etc. Rather than trying to describe it further, have a look at some video clips on YouTube:

Ouse Washes Molly dancers here:
http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=DSirQF_KCKY&feature=related

Gog Magog Molly here:
http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=y-d_-tDC11I&feature=related

Pig Dyke Molly here:
http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=QXs7cqt-4HQ&feature=related

Seven Champions here (note musicians joining in the dance):
http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=pAXnLUWRfCs

Hope this helps!

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C age ing

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Re: What is Morris?
« Reply #8 on: December 29, 2007, 11:43:35 AM »

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Tyker

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Re: What is Morris?
« Reply #9 on: December 29, 2007, 12:35:53 PM »

What about Long Sword and Short Sword (rapper) . Aren't they counted as morris ?
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Lester

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Re: What is Morris?
« Reply #10 on: December 29, 2007, 12:39:20 PM »

As Steve wisely remarked at the start of the thread:

Theo

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Re: What is Morris?
« Reply #11 on: December 29, 2007, 12:43:24 PM »

What about Long Sword and Short Sword (rapper) . Aren't they counted as morris ?

No, I don't think they are.  Rapper seems to have originated in the coalmining areas of northeast England, and it also has an Irish connection somewhere in its past.  Virtually all of the tunes traditionally used for rapper in its home area are Irish jigs, played very fast.
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trombonetom

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Re: What is Morris?
« Reply #12 on: December 29, 2007, 12:43:54 PM »

They are sort of counted, although you would get different answers if you asked different people.

Longsword: Danced with swords that don't bend, one end has a handle, the other doesn't. The music is slow compared to the some-what fast tempoed Rapper.

Rapper: Fast tempo, a fixed handle at one end, a swivel handle at the other. Very bendy to enable fast, complicated figures.
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TomB-R

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Re: What is Morris?
« Reply #13 on: December 29, 2007, 12:48:23 PM »

This is going to turn into a general Morris discussion, isn't it! (Whilst staying on topic re the original question, of course.)
I guess longsword and rapper would come under the "morris" umbrella, if they wish to.
To my mind step clog isn't morris, although NW clog obviously is. (Although step clog sides belong to the Morris Federation.) (And get called sides.)
App*l*chian is American and therefore irrelevant!
Cotswold can fairly claim a continous tradition back into times "whereof the memory of man runneth not to the contrary."
Is it fair to say Border basically died, and was resurrected from a few fragments of DNA? What evidence is there of an actual Border dance tradition, or was it always more informal than Cotswold.
What's the traditional provenance of NW Clog Morris and Molly?
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Lin Erica

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Re: What is Morris?
« Reply #14 on: December 29, 2007, 02:42:21 PM »

scooze me one an' all ...........

here we are, hiding up here in the Nottinghamshire/Lincolnshire border wild country, dont know if we are classified yet as we havent been discovered by Cecil  ;)

Risto Im sure you know that there is a wealth of information out on the www   all you have to do is google morris, or were you after the more personal point of view???

Happy New Year to you all   :-*
Lin
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Ollie

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Re: What is Morris?
« Reply #15 on: December 29, 2007, 03:09:23 PM »

From Brewer's dictionary of Phrase and Fable

Quote
Morris Dance
A dance, popular in England in the 15th Century and later. It was commonly a part of the May games and other festivals and pageants, and the dancers were adorned in with bells. It was brought from Spain, in the reign on Edward III (1327-77) and was originally a military dancer of the Moors or Moriscos, hence the name.

Thismay also help

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Old Leaky

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Re: What is Morris?
« Reply #16 on: December 29, 2007, 03:24:13 PM »

And here's me thinking it was, er, FRENCH!
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Ebor_fiddler

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Re: What is Morris?
« Reply #17 on: December 29, 2007, 09:36:44 PM »

I don't know where Brewer's got the definition from, but, from the content, it sounds more like 17/18th Century "dodgy reasoning" rather than sound research. I strongly suspect that our rite is called "Morris" because the dancers blacked up and therefore looked "Moorish" (in case I am accused of being non-PC, may I mention that in tribal societies of dark-skinned people, their dancers "white up" for anonymity).
We enjoy playing for it anyway!
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risto

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Re: What is Morris?
« Reply #18 on: December 30, 2007, 12:40:37 AM »

Quote
Risto Im sure you know that there is a wealth of information out on the www   all you have to do is google morris, or were you after the more personal point of view???

Yes I know, but it's so much more fun to hear opinions and views from live persons (specially the melodeon ppl) than read an encyclopedia.  ;)

Quote
Happy New Year to you all   :-*
Lin

I'll second that.

(We'll be two hours ahead of you but the Aussies are going to win this. All Aussies out there, just don't ruin the New Year before it gets here!) ::) (Oh my, the Hardy's Bin did it again) ;D
« Last Edit: December 30, 2007, 12:46:15 AM by risto »
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My one man band recording: http://www.elisanet.fi/rap/Bonaparte_Crossing_The_Rhine_Risto.mp3

C age ing

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Re: What is Morris?
« Reply #19 on: December 30, 2007, 06:35:20 AM »

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