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Author Topic: The VMP Buttrey MSS Project  (Read 29778 times)

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ChrisP

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Re: The VMP Buttrey MSS Project
« Reply #180 on: January 18, 2019, 10:26:50 AM »

Working on Qinton's transcription of this very difficult tune, #191, I feel that it has some beauty and it's worth trying to make something from it. However, Buttrey seems to be transcribing from somebody else playing the tune to him, and he's evidently struggling. The sense within is not quite within my reach, so although I hesitate to ask the committee to design a horse and accidentally end up with a camel, does anyone have any further suggestions to add to my tentative alterations?
X:191
T:Slow March. JBut.191, A
Z:Village Music Project Quinton Cumbes 2019
N:An intriguing tune, some rebarring done
N:NB1 these notes all crotchets in ms, this my best guess
N:NB2 this a crotchet in ms
N:My note values in bars 4 + 16 may be wrong guesses
N:* notes appear to be dotted, unsure if artifact of old MS?
R:Slow March
M:3/4
L:1/8
Q:1/2=60
K:G
"^Key sig C| in MS""_rest added"z2|\
DGGGG2|"tune edited somewhat, see notes"BGEG FA|GdcB d2|ef/g/ d2"_NB1"BG|FAAAA2|
DGGGG2|BGEG FA|G>gf>e "*"d2|fedc B2"*"|dcBAG2|G>GG2:|
Bc|dBdBG2|geedd2|dd Bd/c/ Ac|BAB2 AA|"NB2"A4"*"A2|
DGGG"*"G2|BGEG FA|"_compare with bar 8""*"G2gfed|fedc"*"B2|dcBAG2|GGG2:|

Pete Dunk

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Re: The VMP Buttrey MSS Project
« Reply #181 on: January 18, 2019, 11:29:25 AM »

So I counted the number of crotchets in the A music, 32. Hmm, that would be eight bars of four crotchets then. So, reinstate original C| time sig, move the barlines around (haven't corrected added minim etc) and we seem to have a tune of sorts!  :|glug

 
X:191
T:Slow March. JBut.191, A
Z:Village Music Project Quinton Cumbes 2019
N:An intriguing tune, some rebarring done
N:NB1 these notes all crotchets in ms, this my best guess
N:NB2 this a crotchet in ms
N:My note values in bars 4 + 16 may be wrong guesses
N:* notes appear to be dotted, unsure if artifact of old MS?
R:Slow March
M:C|
L:1/8
Q:1/2=60
K:G
DGGGG2"tune edited somewhat, see notes"BG|EGFA GdcB|d2ef/g/ d2"_NB1"BG|FAAAA2DG|
GGG2 BGEG| FA G>gf>e "*"d2|fedc B2dc|BAG2 G>GG2:|
Bc|dBdBG2ge|edd2dd Bd/c/|AcBA B2 AA|"NB2"A4"*"A2DG|
GG"*"G2 BGEG|FA G2 gfed|fedc B2 dc|BAG2 GGG2:|
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ChrisP

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Re: The VMP Buttrey MSS Project
« Reply #182 on: January 18, 2019, 01:01:01 PM »

Quinton's version was verbatim and in 4/4, I played around with it in that above version. I think you're right about 4/4, so I had another go. It now works quite well but is very heavily edited, so I will put Quinton's verbatim version along with my edited version as here added onto it:-

X:191
T:Slow March. JBut.191, A
N:Heavily edited
M:C|
L:1/8
Q:1/2=60
K:G
z2|DGGGG2BG|EGFA GdcB|d2ef/g/ d2BG|FAAAA2A2|
DGGG G2BG|EGFA G>gf>e|d2 fe dcBA|G2 G>GG2:|
|:Bc|dBdBG2ge|edd2 d2dd |B2dc AcBA |B2 AA A4|
DGGG G2BG|EGFA G2 gf|edfe dcBA|G2 GGG2:|

nigelr

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Re: The VMP Buttrey MSS Project
« Reply #183 on: January 18, 2019, 01:42:06 PM »

2) I'm only capable of applying the simple 'rule' relating to the final note. For example, "If it's scored in one
sharp (ie: G), but ends on an A, then it's A dorian.". (this is effectively the same as the example quoted above.)
Is this simple approach OK? I mean, it can go completely pear-shaped if the original writer of the MS has made
a mistake in transcription, or if the edge of a photograph/image has ben clipped..
The first note idea is certainly one that I use, but I think there are other matters to consider and it can be a bit subjective.  My thought process is normally:

1. Does the tune follow the given "key" signature (ie are there any other accidentals that occur regularly);
2. What is the tonic - the starting and/or ending notes;
3. What does the tune actually sound like when played - minor, minor'ish, major'ish or major (this is the subjective bit);
4. Given all of the above work out the closest/most appropriate mode.

I'm sure others approach things differently but this gives me a pretty good stab at what is needed.
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ChrisP

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Re: The VMP Buttrey MSS Project
« Reply #184 on: January 18, 2019, 02:09:53 PM »

 Like so, B: and S: fields still to come:-

X:191
T:Sandra Cameron's March,aka. JBut.191
T:Slow March. JBut.191, A
Z:Village Music Project Quinton Cumbes 2019
R:Slow March
N:In it's unedited state this seems to make little sense, but
N:I have made a heavily edited version which is quite pleasant,
N:and named it after the donor of the MS - C.Partington, Ed.
M:C|
L:1/8
Q:1/2=60
K:G
"Heavily edited reconstruction - CGP"\
z2|DGGGG2BG|EGFA GdcB|d2ef/g/ d2BG|FAAAA2A2|
DGGG G2BG|EGFA G>gf>e|d2 fe dcBA|G2 G>GG2:|
|:Bc|dBdBG2ge|edd2 d2dd |B2dc AcBA |B2 A>A A4|
DGGG G2BG|EGFA G2 g>f|edfe dcBA|G2 G>GG2:|
[|zzzz|]
"Unedited original"DGGGG2|BGEG FA|GdcB d3|ef/g/ d2B2G2|FAAAA2|
DGGGG2|BGEG FA|G>gf>e d2|fedc B3|dcBAG2|G>GG2:|
Bc|dBdBG2|geedd2dd|Bd/c/ AcBAB2|AAA2A3|DGGGG3|
BGEG FA|G3gfed|fedcB3|dcBAG2|GGG2:|

ChrisP

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Re: The VMP Buttrey MSS Project
« Reply #185 on: January 19, 2019, 10:30:43 AM »

John Buttrey was a fifer, and although it appears at this stage that he wasn't the only author of the book, some at least of the tunes are specifically for military use. I don't play the fife or any other blowy instrument. Can any among us give a view as to whether the tunes as a whole are playable and within the compass of the fife?

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Re: The VMP Buttrey MSS Project
« Reply #186 on: January 19, 2019, 11:14:24 AM »

John Buttrey was a fifer, and although it appears at this stage that he wasn't the only author of the book, some at least of the tunes are specifically for military use. I don't play the fife or any other blowy instrument. Can any among us give a view as to whether the tunes as a whole are playable and within the compass of the fife?

What is the range of a "military" fife

[Edit: None of my tunes go higher than b but I have one tune that goes down to B, and a couple going down to C#. One tune is unplayable because it lacks a comprehensible musical structure (rather like the one Q has). I think it's likely the rest can be played on a d/g friendly fife.]
« Last Edit: January 19, 2019, 11:27:35 AM by Tone Dumb Greg »
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Re: The VMP Buttrey MSS Project
« Reply #187 on: January 19, 2019, 11:44:06 AM »

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fife_%28instrument%29

It's a transposing instrument (who knew?) and there are several types, it seems.
So these tunes might not have sounded as written, if they were really written for a fife.
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Tone Dumb Greg

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Re: The VMP Buttrey MSS Project
« Reply #188 on: January 19, 2019, 12:44:28 PM »

John Buttrey was a fifer, and although it appears at this stage that he wasn't the only author of the book, some at least of the tunes are specifically for military use. I don't play the fife or any other blowy instrument. Can any among us give a view as to whether the tunes as a whole are playable and within the compass of the fife?

Many  (possibly most) of the tunes I have are found, somewhere, in Aird's Airs. the full titles of these volumes are variations on

"Aird's # Volume/selection of Scotch, English, Irish and Foreign Airs
Adapted for the
FIFE, VIOLIN, or GERMAN FLUTE"

if that helps.
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howard mitchell

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Re: The VMP Buttrey MSS Project
« Reply #189 on: January 19, 2019, 12:51:25 PM »

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fife_%28instrument%29

It's a transposing instrument (who knew?) and there are several types, it seems.
So these tunes might not have sounded as written, if they were really written for a fife.

In the James Oldfield manuscript of 1808 from Belper in Derbyshire, some of the pieces are marked "Bugle Solo" and "Fife" at appropriate points. Almost all of the tunes are notated in G or D. James Oldfield is listed as "Drummer and Fifer" (along with 12 others) in the regimental records and was paid 1s 1 3/4d per day. The same records contain invoices for "C Fifes" and " D Fifes" (6 of each costing £2 2s for 6). I'm convinced that these tunes, of a similar age and origin to the Buttery manuscript, were written for fife but who knows if the keys were transposed.
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Re: The VMP Buttrey MSS Project
« Reply #190 on: January 19, 2019, 01:20:20 PM »

Quote from: Howard Mitchell-Borts (Mitch) link=topic=23252.msg278812 #msg278812 date=1547902285
... I'm convinced that these tunes, of a similar age and origin to the Buttery manuscript, were written for fife but who knows if the keys were transposed.

Aird's Airs are written as  standard handbooks of tunes for 18th C military bands featuring Fife, Violin and German flute.
Looking through them, the vast majority of tunes are in D or G. There are a few exceptions, but not many. So far I have seen a couple in C, one in F.

The Buttrey MS features many tunes that seem to be directly from Aird's, in the same keys, which suggests that the band  he played for played, almost exclusively, in D and G. They would have loved a D/G box player.
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Gena Crisman

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Re: The VMP Buttrey MSS Project
« Reply #191 on: January 19, 2019, 02:56:20 PM »

Don't forget the changing pitch standards, too! Once you go back far enough, the actual frequency they used for A4 etc on their instruments could be anyone's guess... Just because a score says D, even if they werent intending to transpose it at the time, it might be more like a C to us now.

It's still worth thinking about though. Just like tunes that are written for the melodeon might include note progressions and changes that can perplex accordion players, tunes written for fife would most likely include some Fife specific nuances.
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Tone Dumb Greg

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Re: The VMP Buttrey MSS Project
« Reply #192 on: January 19, 2019, 03:05:41 PM »

Don't forget the changing pitch standards, too! Once you go back far enough, the actual frequency they used for A4 etc on their instruments could be anyone's guess... Just because a score says D, even if they werent intending to transpose it at the time, it might be more like a C to us now.

That's true, but it doesn't have any effect on the playabilty of a tune on a fife.
The fife will be tuned to the contemporary standard for the band, orchestra, etc. it is being performed with. The variation is the same for everyone.

Edit:and these melodies are fife, fiddle anf Germ,an flute specific. Mine are very similar (actually, mostly the same) as  what what we use when we venture to play an 18th C tune.
« Last Edit: January 19, 2019, 03:08:27 PM by Tone Dumb Greg »
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Re: The VMP Buttrey MSS Project
« Reply #193 on: January 19, 2019, 03:55:59 PM »

Other than for background historical interest, there is no need to worry about this transposing fifes thing.

The specified pitch (key) of the fife referred to the lowest note (the fundamental) which could be played with all 6 finger holes covered. So a 'fife in D' played a note which sounded a D on its fundamental, just like a D whistle does now. On most treble-clef wind instruments, the fingering of [LH 1 2 3 | RH 1 2 3] is nearly always 'read' as D, regardless of what pitch comes out. As a result, the D fife played at 'concert pitch' and was not a transposing instrument.

I've owned two fifes in my time, one in D and the other in C. The C fife sounded C as its fundamental, like a C whistle. To play the C fife, you read and finger the music in exactly the same way as the D fife. It simply sounds one tone lower. You don't have to learn separate fingerings for the C fife. In this respect, the fife family is similar to the saxophone family, which always uses the same fingering for the notes being read, regardless of the size and pitch of the saxophone being used. The written music is adjusted (i.e. transposed) as necessary to ensure that the correct sound is heard.

With regard to transcribing the Buttrey manuscript, it doesn't matter one bit what key the fife or any other instrument was pitched in, and it certainly doesn't matter about historical pitch standards. The important thing is the actual written notes. It is sufficient to transcribe the hand-written manuscript into the same key as written and not to worry at all about the pitch of the instrument it may or may not have been played on.
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Gena Crisman

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Re: The VMP Buttrey MSS Project
« Reply #194 on: January 19, 2019, 04:10:29 PM »

Well, I was really referring to these:

So these tunes might not have sounded as written, if they were really written for a fife.
I'm convinced that these tunes, of a similar age and origin to the Buttery manuscript, were written for fife but who knows if the keys were transposed.

I was noting that they probably wouldn't sound as written if played the same way now, in any case. That aspect seemed largely ephemeral, was really all I was getting at - as Steve said, it basically doesn't matter - I really only brought it up specifically to help further invalidate the importance of it.

I do disagree slightly though; the mechanics of playing a C fife in D vs a D fife in D etc, and the impact it might have on the tune and the mechanics of playing intervals, progressions, the dynamics of a tune, caused by playing 'away' from the most comfortable scales of the instrument - I think that's super interesting, but a bit harder to learn about - maybe that's what everyone quoted was getting at and I missed it. It's an interesting area, to me at least - I learnt a bit about how Flutes have developed over even recent years, and the options you can have added to them to help make certain things more viable, like c# trill keys. Sometimes you just can't do something comfortably on an instrument, so, if you're writing down tunes, even other people's, sometimes you don't write those things in and the tunes slowly change. I still think it's important when considering old tunes like these because, much like playing tunes from other cultures or even genres within your own culture, if you just play the same pitches, often you are not really playing the same music they did, and without recordings, it can get lost. It makes me wonder what having the G key signature really meant to the players at the time.

Sadly I'm not sure how much of that kind of information can really be intuited from the scores anyway, and as Steve also noted, it's perhaps rather outside the scope of transcribing the written tunes, which have already lost so much of that kind of information anyway.
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Re: The VMP Buttrey MSS Project
« Reply #195 on: January 19, 2019, 04:32:35 PM »

Haha! I almost wish I'd never asked now! It reminds me that several years ago the biggest row on the ABC developers group was about transposition and how to handle it in ABC. It was very serious indeed, lasting for years, and I think led to several members leaving the group, all because they saw transposition from different angles. I always take two sharp steps to the rear when the subject comes up now.
The simple reason I asked, is to confirm that it could be described as a manuscript for a fifer, since he was a fifer, (I already know it's OK for fiddle) rather than speculating as to whether he also had to have another instrument because of the nature or range of the tunes, or adapt them in some fifey way.
So yes, it's tunes for a fife.

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Re: The VMP Buttrey MSS Project
« Reply #196 on: January 20, 2019, 12:14:47 AM »

... I always take two sharp steps to the rear when the subject comes up now...

 I C what your doing there...;D
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Re: The VMP Buttrey MSS Project
« Reply #197 on: January 20, 2019, 06:58:55 AM »


The first note idea is certainly one that I use, but I think there are other matters to consider and it can be a bit subjective.
My thought process is normally:

1. Does the tune follow the given "key" signature (ie are there any other accidentals that occur regularly);
2. What is the tonic - the starting and/or ending notes;
3. What does the tune actually sound like when played - minor, minor'ish, major'ish or major (this is the subjective bit);
4. Given all of the above work out the closest/most appropriate mode.

I'm sure others approach things differently but this gives me a pretty good stab at what is needed.

Ta. Nice to know I'm not making a complete muck-up!

1./2. Yes, I've seen a few examples where either the tune is scored 'just plain wrong(ish)', eg: (a) scored for Highland
        pipes, when t'experts reackon it's in Dmaj; or (b) is scored (say) in G with all Fs marked as Fnat, and ending on
        an A, so presumably it's really Aminor(ish). (I hope that's right!); or (c) the order in which the parts are played can
        'change everything' (so playing ABCA rather than ABC means it looks like G not F#loc!!!).
3.     Subjective, and really quite important?
4.     The difficult-est bit...

Roger
« Last Edit: January 20, 2019, 07:36:14 AM by Roger Hare »
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Re: The VMP Buttrey MSS Project
« Reply #198 on: January 21, 2019, 05:47:14 PM »

I was intrigued by Ken Purvis's references to Carroll so I asked him to elucidate (via the Buttrey Fife Music site). I got this reply:

"Carroll was an Irish-American military musician stationed at Fort Niagara at the time he wrote his manuscript who apparently played both fife and fiddle. There are some very amusing accounts of his time there (c.1812) and I believe his MS is held at the Newberry library in Chicago. There is a copy in the Fort York library. There are about 250 tunes, many of which overlap with the Buttrey book plus a few of his own compositions.
Cheers,
Ken"
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Greg Smith
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Re: The VMP Buttrey MSS Project
« Reply #199 on: January 24, 2019, 07:50:54 PM »

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