Playing along with Morris band and dancers

Discussion in 'Bandroom News - User Submitted' started by AlbertR, Mar 1, 2018.

  1. AlbertR

    AlbertR New Member

    Messages:
    3
    With a brass instrument I have been asked if I could play with a Morris team. It is bucking all tradition and might be like musically mixing oil and water, chalk and cheese etc but I fancy giving it a go. It's a bit of a challenge and it is amazing how diametrically opposite this sort of music playing is to brass bands.

    The vast majority of their music is in D, and G to a lesser extent. So my Bb instrument would need to play in the key of E for their key D, and I would have to play in A for their G.

    That isn't really a problem and with fancy software I can transpose any pieces or just learn to transpose on the hoof. Or even practice my playing by ear, but all those sharps don't sit well with me. They don't read off music incidentally, although some may use 'the dots' to learn a piece.

    My questions are:
    1. has anyone experience of this
    2. would I be best to find a 'C' instrument (so I just play in D and G without transposing)

    Ideally I think I would like a 'C' tenor horn. This would be mainly for bass notes, as when you have whistles and accordions etc it seems a tenor horn is actually bassie and would not be too obtrusive.

    I appreciate any thoughts (even if it is a quote about everyone should try everything in life at least once except etc.)
     
  2. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    6,512
    Location:
    Oxford
    One of our tuba players, Phil Ash, does this regularly with a Morris team back in his home town of Sheffield. I'll message you his email address.
     
  3. AlbertR

    AlbertR New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Many thanks Dave. I've just written an email
     
  4. Mujician

    Mujician Member

    Messages:
    81
    Location:
    Ilkeston
    I can't remember the name of the side, but in their group of musicians was a trombone player. I'm not a great fan of musical labels and think that within reason, any instrument can play any style.
    If there is an accordion in the morris band, then I think playing the bass parts on a tenor horn would be lost. What other instruments are in the group?
     
  5. Slider1

    Slider1 Active Member

    Messages:
    221
    Location:
    Kent
    A few years ago, being in the area I visited Stoke Braun Canal Museum and on that day there was a Morris Dance Festival with Sides coming from all parts of the Country.
    most of the Sides had conventional accompaniment but there where lots of Trumpets, Trombones Tubas etc.
    I think if you can transpose it, play it, was the order of the Day and it was a Brilliant day out:):):)
     
  6. Flat Eric

    Flat Eric New Member

    Messages:
    19
    Many years ago I used to play fiddle with the John O'Gaunt Morris Men, we had a regular musician who played trombone and an occasional player on tuba. I once asked the trombonist how he managed with transposition and those sharp keys. He told me he didn't think about keys and transposition, rather a home note or tonic. From there it is easy to build with the 3rd and 5th to create a bass line. With a little experience he said it was a simple matter to play any line he wanted in either D or G which were the only keys used since there were melodeons in the band that could only play in those keys.
     
  7. Slider1

    Slider1 Active Member

    Messages:
    221
    Location:
    Kent
    A long time ago we where asked to back a Morris Side, They provided some sheet music and the MD asked about speed. They said they normally practice to records at 33 rpm.o_O
     
  8. Flat Eric

    Flat Eric New Member

    Messages:
    19
    I remember being told by the squire that for younger athletic dancers we had to play slower, for older decrepit dancers play faster. The reasoning being that the higher a dancer was able to jump the longer it took them to come down. So an 18 year old lad whose leaps were three feet high took longer to land on the beat than an old man who only leapt three inches!
     
    Slider1 and Jack E like this.
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