Melodeon.net Forums

Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
Advanced search  

News:

Welcome to the new melodeon.net forum

Pages: [1] 2   Go Down

Author Topic: Morris dances 101  (Read 1187 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

-Y-

  • Respected Sage
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 251
  • Handry 18 (G/C), Mélodie (D), Club IIb (A/D)
    • a database of 400 or more melodeons here
Morris dances 101
« on: June 03, 2019, 08:47:19 AM »

Hello all,

Following last month Theme of the Month that was Morris dances, I have a few questions.

I tried (too late for being in time) to find some tunes I could play, but I had trouble finding explanations about Morris dances. I found a website that listed the same tunes but for different villages, and all the information I could gather was far too general.

SO

I was wondering if some people here could enlighten me on that subject. Is it a general term for traditional dance in England ? Or is it a specific part of traditional dancing ? If so, how does it compare ? If someone has a bit of history also, I'm more than interested!

Thanks in advance
Logged
Y.

Planchée, folk music from Eastern BrittanyIsidore et les sans-soucis, folk music from Québec

(please excuse any misspelling or odd wording, english is not my mother tongue)

Lester

  • MADman
  • Mods and volunteers
  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 7956
  • Hohners'R'me
    • Lester's Melodeon Emporium and Tune-a-Rama
Re: Morris dances 101
« Reply #1 on: June 03, 2019, 08:59:17 AM »

Cotswold morris dancing was recorded in the early 1900s by the likes of Cecil Sharp and his chums. The dances and tunes were collected from various villages where there were either extant teams or old guys who could remember things. So you end up with, for example, Bampton tunes/dances which were collected from informants in Bampton. Since villages are close together and teams may well have shared musicians, a rarer resource than dancers, there are tunes that appear in differing versions from multiple villages.


There are also morris traditions about which others can speak more authoritatively than me from the Welsh Borders, North West, East Anglian Molly, and, depending on your viewpoint, Long Sword and Rapper Sword dances. These all have separate and distinct tunage.

Thrupenny Bit

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 4773
  • happily squeezing away in Devon
Re: Morris dances 101
« Reply #2 on: June 03, 2019, 09:22:02 AM »

Continuing with Sharp:
After discovering the dancers at a small village outside Oxford called headington, Sharp then went on around the Cotswold villages. He discovered there were 27 villages that had their own dances. Some villages had slight variations on each other and some varied greatly.
With a broad brush, some villages are single step traditions ( one-hop, two hop ) and others a double-step tradition ( one-two-three hop, one-two-three hop ) Therefore there is differences in the music to accommodate this. Further, sometimes the tradition has slows so again the music has to slow down to enable the dancer to perform this step.
Being a morris musician takes an incredible amount of skill, and needs constant focus on the dancer whilst dancing.

The morris is a ritual dance. That means it's danced for an occasion - a celebration, an event, for a fee etc - it is not  social dance involving couple dancing.
The origins of the Cotswold morris is simply not known.
It probably followed Catherine of Aragon when she came over to marry Henry VIII and brought members of her court with her. Its only a guess but several eminent researchers think it is likely. When it evolved down to the villages it became a method of collecting money to bolster wages for those working on the farm or other such low paid people.

That's my simple roundup of Cotswold morris, which I've had the pleasure in being involved in for a long time.
There are lots of morris on things like YouTube.
Take a good look around, then you will see a lot of variation between the different sides dancing. It shows what a difficult time a morris musician has, coping with variations in dances and dancers. It's a hard life being a morris musician.
I just dance and let them get on with it...……
cheers
Q


Logged
Thrupenny Bit

I think I'm starting to get most of the notes in roughly the right order...... sometimes!

Howard Jones

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 795
Re: Morris dances 101
« Reply #3 on: June 03, 2019, 09:27:20 AM »

Morris is a specific type of traditional dancing.  It was ritual rather than social, and sides were usually all-men (although it is now questioned whether that was always the case, and certainly today you find men's, women's and mixed sides).  There are several regional styles, which differ considerably from one another, and within those regions there are local variations - particularly with Cotswold morris, where each dancing village had its own style and own dances, with their own variants of the tunes.

There is quite a lot of information on the Morris Ring's website https://themorrisring.org/about-morris

jonm

  • Regular debater
  • ***
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 171
Re: Morris dances 101
« Reply #4 on: June 03, 2019, 09:31:25 AM »

The earliest known reference to morris in England is around 1450, a record of a payment for the purchase of bells. So it was commonplace and not in any way novel within rural communities in the 15th century, which puts the Catherine of Aragon theory about 50 years out, at least.

There is a theory that John of Gaunt brought dances back from Spain in around 1370, and also evidence that Spanish dances and morris were both court entertainments in the time of Henry VIII.

The best answer to the question, and the only one with 100% validity, is "it's too old and nobody knows where it came from." That is backed up in a couple of recent PhD theses on the subject.
Logged
Castagnari Tommy and Giordy D/G, Hohner Erica, four-stop in G

george garside

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 4830
Re: Morris dances 101
« Reply #5 on: June 03, 2019, 09:39:18 AM »

several  screeds come up on google as to origins of north west morris - just put in 'origins of north west morris. saves me the job of trying to cobble something together!

george :||: :M :|glug :|glug :|glug
Logged
author of DG tutor book "DG Melodeon a Crash Course for Beginners".    Available on ebay as a 'buy now' item. Put in melodeon tutor book for full info.  Melodeon DG & BC and piano accordion tuition

-Y-

  • Respected Sage
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 251
  • Handry 18 (G/C), Mélodie (D), Club IIb (A/D)
    • a database of 400 or more melodeons here
Re: Morris dances 101
« Reply #6 on: June 03, 2019, 09:40:19 AM »

Thank you all, very useful and kind of you!
Logged
Y.

Planchée, folk music from Eastern BrittanyIsidore et les sans-soucis, folk music from Québec

(please excuse any misspelling or odd wording, english is not my mother tongue)

Thrupenny Bit

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 4773
  • happily squeezing away in Devon
Re: Morris dances 101
« Reply #7 on: June 03, 2019, 10:19:20 AM »

In reply to jonm:
Yes, there was another reference I think to the purchase of bells in the far end of Cornwall in the 1200's.
I think what we are seeing is two things.
There was an earlier form of something called 'morris'. The origins are completely lost but might have been the last remnants found by Sharp along the English - Welsh borders. To his shame he ignored the old me and didn't collect it.
The Cotswold morris found in the villages was best described to me as ripples on a pond, the centre of that pond being Woodstock where Catherine was installed before marring Henry, as you say, the Spanish link is quite strong.
But.....no one knows for certain.

I think I need to get up to date with recent PhD theses...!
cheers
Q
Logged
Thrupenny Bit

I think I'm starting to get most of the notes in roughly the right order...... sometimes!

Mark Leue

  • Regular debater
  • ***
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 122
Re: Morris dances 101
« Reply #8 on: June 22, 2019, 01:20:07 PM »

As far as the music goes, a resource you should know about is Lionel Bacon's "black book" which has been digitized. A good place to start.

https://themorrisring.org/music/handbook-morris-dances
Logged

Thrupenny Bit

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 4773
  • happily squeezing away in Devon
Re: Morris dances 101
« Reply #9 on: June 23, 2019, 05:26:15 PM »

Yes, a good resource .
I still have a black book!
Q
Logged
Thrupenny Bit

I think I'm starting to get most of the notes in roughly the right order...... sometimes!

Tone Dumb Greg

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 2242
  • DG Pokerwork, DG 2.4 Saltarelle, CF Hohner, 1040C
    • Dartmoor Border Morris
Re: Morris dances 101
« Reply #10 on: June 23, 2019, 06:09:00 PM »

John Messenger published an interesting little article.
It's about the Border tunes used around Leominster.
« Last Edit: June 23, 2019, 06:10:44 PM by Tone Dumb Greg »
Logged
Greg Smith
Is not the space between Heaven and Earth like a bellows?
It is empty, but lacks nothing.
The more it moves, the more comes out of it.
Lao Tzu

Nick Collis Bird

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 3698
  • Been squeezing melodeons for over 48 years (badly)
Re: Morris dances 101
« Reply #11 on: July 17, 2019, 06:14:03 AM »

Yes, a good resource .
I still have a black book!
Q

My signed copy was nicked in the 70’s  :'(
Logged
Has anyone heard of the song. “ Broken Alarm-clock Blues” ? It starts   “I woke up this Afternoon”

Thrupenny Bit

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 4773
  • happily squeezing away in Devon
Re: Morris dances 101
« Reply #12 on: July 17, 2019, 08:24:29 AM »

Oh no! That's an awful shame Nick.
In 1990 I was asked to represent the Morris Fed. at the Ring AGM as it was being held close by to me, and the Fed. president was a friend.  As proceedings started, I realised the silver haired elderly gentleman sat beside  me was Lionel Bacon!
Wish I'd had my book handy for signing.....
Q
Logged
Thrupenny Bit

I think I'm starting to get most of the notes in roughly the right order...... sometimes!

Nick Collis Bird

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 3698
  • Been squeezing melodeons for over 48 years (badly)
Re: Morris dances 101
« Reply #13 on: July 18, 2019, 07:10:37 AM »

I was lucky Q , Lionel was a lovely and intellectual fella with a face like a walnut. Bourne River Morris were at the Winchester Folk Festival and I bought it from him ,he was surprised that I wanted him to sign it. Being a bookbinder I was going to turn it into something better than the horrible black vinyl snap lock thingy it was in. Ho Hum, it’s all in the past and probably doesn’t exist anymore.
  I found a copy on eBay  which is in the safe keeping of our very own Malcolm Bebb.
 Sorry gang for thread drifting, but I just had to say it.
Logged
Has anyone heard of the song. “ Broken Alarm-clock Blues” ? It starts   “I woke up this Afternoon”

RogerT

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1621
  • can't walk past a box w'out picking it up...
    • Jolly Roger Accordions
Re: Morris dances 101
« Reply #14 on: July 19, 2019, 09:45:06 AM »

I returned my Black Book and (laundered) hankies to Winchester Morris when it became clear I couldn’t  dance Morris for a toffee... (:)

Bob Ellis

  • Hero?....Where's my medal, then?
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 2638
  • Ain't I cute?
Re: Morris dances 101
« Reply #15 on: July 19, 2019, 10:27:57 AM »

I still have my black book and consult it from time to time. Some of the research is now out of date, but it is a good starting point.

Roger: I think where you went wrong is that Morris is usually danced for beer - not toffee! v >:E
Logged
Bob in beautiful Wensleydale, Les Panards Dansants, Crook Morris and the Loose Knit Band.
Clément Guais 3-row D/G/acc.; Karntnerland Steirische 3-row G/C/F; Ellis Pariselle 2.6-row D/G/acc.; Gabbanelli Compact 2-row D/G with lots of bling, Acadian one-row in D; Junior Martin one-row in C.

Thrupenny Bit

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 4773
  • happily squeezing away in Devon
Re: Morris dances 101
« Reply #16 on: July 19, 2019, 11:08:32 AM »

Bob, yes absolutely, I find toffee just cracks your teeth.
We did a booking once and got paid in crabs.....which was a tad unusual.
Q
Logged
Thrupenny Bit

I think I'm starting to get most of the notes in roughly the right order...... sometimes!

Tone Dumb Greg

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 2242
  • DG Pokerwork, DG 2.4 Saltarelle, CF Hohner, 1040C
    • Dartmoor Border Morris
Re: Morris dances 101
« Reply #17 on: July 19, 2019, 11:16:21 AM »

Bob, yes absolutely, I find toffee just cracks your teeth.
We did a booking once and got paid in crabs.....which was a tad unusual.
Q

I got crabs after a dance once, but I prefer not to talk about it.
Logged
Greg Smith
Is not the space between Heaven and Earth like a bellows?
It is empty, but lacks nothing.
The more it moves, the more comes out of it.
Lao Tzu

Thrupenny Bit

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 4773
  • happily squeezing away in Devon
Re: Morris dances 101
« Reply #18 on: July 19, 2019, 11:17:15 AM »

Um... these were cooked edible crabs, not..... !!!
Logged
Thrupenny Bit

I think I'm starting to get most of the notes in roughly the right order...... sometimes!

Tone Dumb Greg

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 2242
  • DG Pokerwork, DG 2.4 Saltarelle, CF Hohner, 1040C
    • Dartmoor Border Morris
Re: Morris dances 101
« Reply #19 on: July 19, 2019, 11:19:23 AM »

Um... these were cooked edible crabs, not..... !!!

So were mine. I'm allergic. What did you think I meant?
Logged
Greg Smith
Is not the space between Heaven and Earth like a bellows?
It is empty, but lacks nothing.
The more it moves, the more comes out of it.
Lao Tzu
Pages: [1] 2   Go Up
 


Melodeon.net - (c) Theo Gibb; Clive Williams 2010. The access and use of this website and forum featuring these terms and conditions constitutes your acceptance of these terms and conditions.