Lyrics & Knowledge Personal Pages Record Shop Auction Links Radio & Media Kids Membership Help
The Mudcat Cafemuddy

Post to this Thread - Sort Descending - Printer Friendly - Home


Morris Dance Tunes in The US

Les in Chorlton 23 Jan 09 - 11:46 AM
davyr 23 Jan 09 - 11:56 AM
Snuffy 23 Jan 09 - 12:54 PM
Les in Chorlton 23 Jan 09 - 01:03 PM
Les in Chorlton 25 Jan 09 - 06:46 AM
GUEST,Ebor_fiddler 25 Jan 09 - 04:46 PM
Azizi 25 Jan 09 - 05:26 PM
Malcolm Douglas 25 Jan 09 - 05:27 PM
Azizi 25 Jan 09 - 05:41 PM
Dazbo 26 Jan 09 - 08:31 AM
JeffB 26 Jan 09 - 11:48 AM
Folkiedave 26 Jan 09 - 12:51 PM
JohnB 26 Jan 09 - 01:01 PM
Les in Chorlton 26 Jan 09 - 01:02 PM
Little Robyn 26 Jan 09 - 02:03 PM
pavane 27 Jan 09 - 02:35 AM
Share Thread
more
Lyrics & Knowledge Search [Advanced]
DT  Forum
Sort (Forum) by:relevance date
DT Lyrics:





Subject: Morris Dance Tunes in The US
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 23 Jan 09 - 11:46 AM

As far as I can tell the people who emigrated from England to the US from the 16C to the end of the 19C did not take the Morris with them.

They took songs, tunes and dances but not the Morris.

Is that correct?

The interesting question is: did they take any Morris dance tunes - or tunes most closely associated with the Morris?

Cheers

L in C


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Morris Dance Tunes in The US
From: davyr
Date: 23 Jan 09 - 11:56 AM

"It's no news that American revivalists, drawing from English dance materials which had been collected and disseminated by Sharp and his successors (and rivals), taught morris and sword dances at the southern settlement schools from the time of the First World War."

http://www.americanmorrisnews.org/pastissues/may2007v27n1/current_issue/stevecorrsinv27n1hoistingonthelockinamerica.html

I don't know how definitive this quote is, but it suggests there may have been no Morris (dances at least) in the US before the Sharp revival.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Morris Dance Tunes in The US
From: Snuffy
Date: 23 Jan 09 - 12:54 PM

What are now considered "morris tunes" come from a bewildering range of periods: many can be reasonably accurately dated as "hits of the day" of the 18th and 19th centuries, being adopted by the morris quite a while after after the primary waves of English colonists had left these shores.

The dances are probably older, and may have been danced to a variety of tunes. Basically you were depenedent on the piper or fiddler and danced to whatever tune he could play.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Morris Dance Tunes in The US
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 23 Jan 09 - 01:03 PM

Good point Snuffy. What is also confusing is the variety of Names attached to any particular tune.

Perhaps folkie tune-smiths from the US would have a view on this?

L in C


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Morris Dance Tunes in The US
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 25 Jan 09 - 06:46 AM

Hello, anybody there?

L in C


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Morris Dance Tunes in The US
From: GUEST,Ebor_fiddler
Date: 25 Jan 09 - 04:46 PM

Certainly in the early days of settlement, emigrants tended to be what the Blessed Mike calls "The Christian Taliban" or Puritans. To such people the Morris was anathema (literally - look it up!). As far as I can see, it was not until the early 20th century when general culture in the US developed to allow this sort of thing.

(Discuss, filling no more than three sides of foolscap. Do not attempt to use both sides of the paper at once).


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Morris Dance Tunes in The US
From: Azizi
Date: 25 Jan 09 - 05:26 PM

Somewhat related to your topic is the Mummers' tradition in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Here's a short article about the Philadelphia Mummers:

"January 1, 1876

First modern Mummers' Parade
In honor of the American centennial, the first area-wide New Year's Day Mummers' Parade is held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Mummers' celebrations in America date back to colonial times, when the boisterous Swedish custom of celebrating the end of the calendar year with noise making and shouting was combined with the tradition of the British mummery play. Reciting doggerel and receiving in return cakes and ale, groups of five to 20 people, their faces blackened, would march from home to home, shouting and discharging firearms into the air while burlesquing the English mummers' play of St. George and the Dragon. Philadelphia, which had a sizable Swedish population, was the center of America's mummers' celebrations.

In 1790, Philadelphia became the capital of the United States, and President George Washington initiated a tradition of receiving "calls" from mummers at his mansion. In the early 19th century, the celebrations became so popular in Philadelphia that a city act was passed declaring that "masquerades, masquerade balls, and masked processions" were prohibited with threats of fine and imprisonment. While the celebrations were quieted, they did not cease, and when the law was abolished in the 1850s, there had been no reported convictions.

In celebration of the American centennial in 1876, what had been an uncoordinated group of neighborhood celebrations turned into an area-wide parade featuring various mummers' clubs. In 1901, Philadelphia's city government decided to sponsor the popular parade, and 42 fraternal organizations received permits to stage a parade in which prizes were awarded for costumes, music, and comic antics.

The Mummers' Parade continues to be a popular Philadelphia tradition."

http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=4634

-snip-

Here's an excerpt from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mummers_Parade

..."Early Swedish Mummers appointed a "speech director", who performed a special dance with a traditional rhyme:

Here we stand before your door,
As we stood the year before;

Give us whiskey; give us gin,
Open the door and let us in.[5][6]
Or give us something nice and hot
Like a steaming hot bowl of pepper pot![10]


The earliest documented club, the Chain Gang, formed in 1840 and Golden Crown first marched in 1876 with cross-town rivals Silver Crown forming soon after. By 1881, a local report said "Parties of paraders" made the street "almost like a masked Ball."[7]

The first official parade was held January 1, 1901. The earliest surviving String Band, Trilby, paraded in 1902.[7] In the early years of the official parade, the make-shift costumes of most celebrants were gradually replaced by more elaborate outfits funded by associations' fund-raising efforts.[2]

While the Parade has clear African American influences and features a theme song by a black composer, the parade participants are almost all European American.[11][12] The earliest Parades were not. The all African American Golden Eagle Club, formed in 1866, had 300 members in the 1906 parade. With the nadir, the last black groups marched in 1929.[7][12]

The Comics "wenches" and female parts in most skits are typically performed by men in drag.[12] Women were not officially allowed in the Parade until the 1970s"


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Morris Dance Tunes in The US
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 25 Jan 09 - 05:27 PM

Plenty of tunes used in morris dancing have also been found in vernacular tradition in the USA (some, of course, having originated there); but used for purposes other than morris dancing, which is a Revival phenomenon in that country.

That isn't to say that morris dancing didn't take place in what is now the USA at any time between the beginning of colonisation and the 20th century Revival; just that if it did nobody seems to know about it (this isn't my subject, though, and others may be able to point to historical records that would contradict that) and it didn't survive as a tradition. Specialised community traditions tend not to travel with migrants unless a significant number of members of that community migrate, and settle, together. 'Ebor's' comments are relevant too, though they relate mainly to the early phases of migration.

I doubt if there are many tunes (if any) that are associated uniquely with morris dancing anyway. Making a list of tunes that happen to have been used in the morris tradition that have also been found in America would result in a list of mostly well-known tunes that have been used for social dancing and/or songs in Britain as well. What does that achieve? I don't really see the point of the question.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Morris Dance Tunes in The US
From: Azizi
Date: 25 Jan 09 - 05:41 PM

Also, see this excerpt from http://www.nationmaster.com/encyclopedia/Mummers-Parade

"The wearing of black face paint was once a traditional part of the parade. Growing dissent from civil rights groups and the offense of the black community led to a 1964 official city policy ruling out blackface.[1] Nonetheless, the parade participants are mostly of caucasian descent and minorities rarely perform in the parade in costume."


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Morris Dance Tunes in The US
From: Dazbo
Date: 26 Jan 09 - 08:31 AM

Ebor Fiddler, I'm sure I read in some history tome that it's a myth that the majority of English settlers in the 17th C were religious zealots. Whilst many were, I believe they were out numbered by "normal" folks it's just for some reason they seem to be to the forefront in many histories of the USA.

I stand to be corrected of course (or more accurately, sit)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Morris Dance Tunes in The US
From: JeffB
Date: 26 Jan 09 - 11:48 AM

Malcolm, if you don't see the point of the question, why did you try to answer it?

Les asked a perfectly sensible and reasonable question, which I think was adequately answered in the shortest space by Snuffy, whose post you should have first read.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Morris Dance Tunes in The US
From: Folkiedave
Date: 26 Jan 09 - 12:51 PM

I don't know how definitive this quote is, but it suggests there may have been no Morris (dances at least) in the US before the Sharp revival.

I think this falls into the "absence of evidence is not evidence of absence" school of thinking. In fact I doubt that there WAS morris dancing.

But if someone had suggested that traditional carol singing of England in the style of the Sheffield carols existed in the USA they would have been laughed at wholeheartedly.

If someone had suggested there was an unbroken tradition from 1848 and it had been totally missed by every single folklorist in the USA people would have said impossible. Yet it is true.

And I think Malcolm's letter was excellent. It added to knowledge - as Malcolm invariably does.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Morris Dance Tunes in The US
From: JohnB
Date: 26 Jan 09 - 01:01 PM

There was an excellent programme on Mummering on CBC Radio a while back, it is available from it's originator Chris Brookes here.
There is an interview with Chris here.
From my memory of the programme there was a reference to an "Obby Oss" being brought over on a very early ship, this was in their opinion for mummering, although Obby Oss type customs are often associated with Morris Dancing too. A bit off the main topic but could yield fruit if you follow the links.
I don't personally think that Morris had much purity of tune origin and used many popular tunes of the time (whatever time that was)
JohnB


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Morris Dance Tunes in The US
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 26 Jan 09 - 01:02 PM

Idle curiosity was what provoked the question.

But it's interesting that Azizi came up with the info on Mumming etc. Questions do that sometimes. Interesting that:

"The wearing of black face paint was once a traditional part of the parade. Growing dissent from civil rights groups and the offense of the black community led to a 1964 official city policy ruling out blackface."
Thanks Azizi,

Les


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Morris Dance Tunes in The US
From: Little Robyn
Date: 26 Jan 09 - 02:03 PM

I'd be very interested to hear if anyone has evidence of an 'Obby Oss' being found in any country other than Britain, or even outside Padstow.
(My little one here in NZ doesn't count.)
There may have been a hobby horse or two taken over and there are certainly different versions of that type of contraption all around the world but not an Oss.
Yes, a teacher in Australia built one a few years ago - I've seen a photo of that one, and I've built 3 over the years, all child size, but the full size Padstow Oss doesn't seem to have migrated from Cornwall in earlier years.
I don't know if the Minehead one ever did.
OSS OSS
WEE OSS
Robyn


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Morris Dance Tunes in The US
From: pavane
Date: 27 Jan 09 - 02:35 AM

I have seen a similar character from Hungary, I should have a picture c1995 somewhere in the archives.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate
  Share Thread:
More...

Reply to Thread
Subject:  Help
From:
Preview   Automatic Linebreaks   Make a link ("blue clicky")


Mudcat time: 22 June 11:44 AM EDT

[ Home ]

All original material is copyright © 1998 by the Mudcat Café Music Foundation, Inc. All photos, music, images, etc. are copyright © by their rightful owners. Every effort is taken to attribute appropriate copyright to images, content, music, etc. We are not a copyright resource.