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Frank Collins' step dance tune

03 Jan 17 - 06:36 PM (#3830266)
Subject: Frank Collins' step dance tune
From: Ian Hayden

Frank Collins recorded this tune in country NSW in 1960, when he was 73 years old. Does anyone have a name for the tune?

Frank Collins' step dance tune


03 Jan 17 - 10:57 PM (#3830294)
Subject: RE: Frank Collins' step dance tune
From: Ian Hayden

Here's a transcription in abc (the tune was originally played in F major):

X:1
T:Three-part hornpipe
S:played by Frank Collins on fiddle, 1960
M:4/4
K:Gmaj
Bd[|"G"gdBd G2AB|"C"cedB "G"G2AB|"C"c2 eA "G"Bd dB|"D"D2G2A2 zd|
|"G"gdBd G2AB|"C"cedB "G"G2B2|"C"ceec "G"BddB|"D"D2"G"G2 G2 zB|]
[|"G"dBGB dBG2|"C"c2ef g2 ge|"G"dBGB dBG2|"D"D2FG A2 Bc|
|"G"dBGB dBG2|"C"c2ef g2ge|"G"dgfe "D"dcBA|"G"G2g2 g3g|]
[|"G"gdBd gdBd|"C"gece gece|"G"gdBd gdBd|"D"D2F2A2zd|
|"G"gdBd gdBd|"C"gece gece|"G"d2ge "D"dcBA|"G"G2g2 g3z|]


03 Jan 17 - 11:08 PM (#3830295)
Subject: RE: Frank Collins' step dance tune
From: GUEST,ChrisJBrady

Lots of step dance tunes were collected by folklorist John Meredith. See his books for further info. Unfortunately step dancing and clog dancing had long died out in Australia before Meredith's collecting and only a few steps have survived in written records. One Heather Clarke has researched this subject in depth. Another general source for info. is the 'Trove' newspaper archive.


04 Jan 17 - 08:44 AM (#3830356)
Subject: RE: Frank Collins' step dance tune
From: GUEST

Sounds like a mashup of Soldiers Joy and one that I don't recognise.


10 Jan 17 - 08:12 PM (#3831800)
Subject: RE: Frank Collins' step dance tune
From: GUEST,Guest

I don't believe step dancing had "long died out" by the time Meredith began collecting - it was more the case that their was no one collecting the dances. Shirley Andrews, the pioneer of dance collection in Australia, wasn't interested in step dances which she regarded as male-dominated. She greatly regretted this latter and was keen in supporting ongoing research.

In searching for more information about Frank Collins' tune, I have this response from Katie Howson, who plays for step dancing in England:
"First part ? don't recognise it

Second part is related to Soldier's Joy and other well known variants used for stepping under many names

Third part is a floating stepdance /breakdown theme ? see for example Sheringham Breakdown on Billy Bennington's 'Barford Angel' CD and I think also played by Billy Cooper.


My theory is that musicians who played for stepdancing often freewheeled a bit and put various 8 /16 bar phrases together. They usually played solo so there was no need to consider anyone except the dancer and their own tastes!"

Cheers,
Heather Clarke
http://www.colonialdance.com.au/trad-steps


11 Jan 17 - 08:16 PM (#3831993)
Subject: RE: Frank Collins' step dance tune
From: GUEST,ripov

yep, a fairly distinct 'Soldiers Joy' variant, and 'Madame Bonaperte'


17 Jan 17 - 02:01 AM (#3833071)
Subject: RE: Frank Collins' step dance tune
From: Ian Hayden

Well said, Heather! Thanks for your interesting input - and I appreciate you following it up with Katie Howson too.

I find it fascinating that Frank Collins lived a fairly basic existence in the backblocks of country NSW yet managed to record himself playing some very danceable tunes in a tuneful fiddle style. Evidently his mother was from gypsy stock and his father taught him to play the fiddle. According to his daughter he often couldn't afford to replace broken strings and so would have to just play on those he had left.

cheers, Ian