Hornpipe (form)

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HORNPIPE. Originally the name given to a wind instrument of British origin, localized primarily in Cornwall and Wales. The word derives from the Celtic 'pib-corn' or 'piob-corn' (in Brittany, Cornwall and Ireland), or 'pib-corn' and 'corn-bib' in Wales, and there may be a Celtic origin for the instrument, which logic dictates was known to pastoral peolpes from ancient times. Chaucer (in Romanunt of the Hose) mentions the hornpipe as a Cornish instrument, according to Chappell-

Controve he would, and foule faile, In Floites made he discordaunce,
With Hornpipes of Carnwaile. And in his musike with Misehauce,"

The medieval hornpipe was a wooden pipe with finger holes and a bell of horn at the further end with a single reed covered by a horn mouthpiece at the near end. The instrument is mentioned in the writings of Ben Jonson (Sad Shepherd), Dryden (in his translation of the Aeneid), Robert Greene Greene's Groatsworth of Witte), Chaucer, and in the Tatler (No. 157), according to Pulver (1923). Jonson, in Love's Welcome at Welbeck, says-

Your firk-hum jerk-hum to a dance,
To wonder at the hornpipes here
Shall fetch the fiddles out of France,
Of Nottingham and Derbyshire.

The instrument gave name to the dance which it accompanied originally, of pastoral origins, though it sustained several developments during its lengthy history. Perhaps the first surviving written composition of a hornpipe is to be found in the works of Hugh Aston, an organist in Henry VIII's reign (which appears in John Stafford Smith's Musica Antiqua {1812}). By the time Henry's daughter, Elizabeth I, ascended the throne, the hornpipe was fairly popular and an accepted dance form, making Banrnaby Rich's list of fashionable dances (1581). It appears that sometime after this the hornpipe developed variations peculiar to certain areas, for Ben Jonson remarks of the Nottingham and Derbyshire hornpipes, and later Lancashire hornpipes became quite famous. By the end of the 18th century the form was ensconced on the stage and was frequently mentioned in period literature, and it remained popular there until the mid-19th century. In fact, several performers of the time, chiefly women, made their reputations with the dance, which increasingly took on the nautical motif that remains etched in popular thought today. Sailors did dance the hornpipe, though it is impossible to tell what the inter-relationships were between the stage and nautical hornpipe; Pulver (1923) thinks the sailors' dance may have nothing to do with what was once a pastoral dance, but may have been derived from the Dutch 'Matelotte'.

The earliest ("single") hornpipes were in triple meter (3/2, 6/4 and 12/8) and examples can be found in Matthew Locke's Melothesia (1673), Humphrey Salter's Genteel Companion (1683), Playford's Apollo's Banquet (1690), and Henry Purcell's Bonduca (1695). Duple ("double") hornpipes appeared beginning in 1666, when Playford published one in Musick's Delight on the Cithren, though this was rare. Increasingly, however, the duple form superseded the triple, and by the middle of the 18th century the duple form (which Pulver thinks may have begun simply as a name composers used in the spirit of the hornpipe dance rather than any more substantive musical reason) became dominent. Emmerson (1972) writes that the antiquary William Stenhouse records in his Illustrations of the Lyric Poetry that 3/2 hornpipes had been played in Scotland "time out of mind, as a particular species of the double hornpipe," and that a former piper of the Duke of Northumberland, one James Allan, maintained that this "particular measure originated in the borders of England and Scotland." On the evidence of the large amount of triple-time hornpipes (such as "Dusty Miller (The)," "Go to Berwick Johnnie" and "Jockey Said to Jenny") from the Borders and Northumberland, Emmerson believes this may be true. In Scotland the triple-time hornpipes were referred to as 'single' hornpipes, while the duple-time, "Jacky Tar" class of hornpipes was referred to as 'double' hornpipes.



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