The Cheshire Way
John of the Green
The famous triple-time hornpipes of North West England, with a selection of country dance tunes of the Baroque era
Compiled by John Offord
This is the second edition of his book of tunes first published in 1985. lt costs £15 and can be ordered via the web site.
John is a fiddler and well known on the London traditional music scene - especially at The Greenwich session at the Lord Hood on Tuesday nights.
This is a scholarly volume and is not just another tune book. It has over 100 pages of tunes and has on average about 3 tunes per page.
The bulk of these are 3/2 hornpipes. These are strange beasts to play and are not the general fodder of sessions. Tempo and accent are crucial to making a success of them. They are not conventional 2/4 hornpipes, (‘Captain Pugwash’), not 3/4 waltzes joined together, but are meant to be counted in 6s. (Cheats like me have been known to split them into a bar of 4/4 and a bar of 2/4). The two most well known titles are ‘Old Lancashire Reel’ and ‘Three Rusty Swords’. Two 3/2 Playford tunes I especially like are ‘Dick’s Maggot’ and Mr Beveridge’s
‘The Virgin Queen’ is in 9/4. lt is logical to play the first half as a triple jig. The way the second half is written l got more sense out of it playing 4 + 2 + 3. They’re not easy!
To get some idea of how they go, Steve Bliven has translated a number of these
into ABC format and they are still available on the net.