Horses' Bransle (The)

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HORSES' BRANSLE, THE (Bransle des Chevaux). English, Country Dance Tune (whole or cut time). C Major ('A' and 'B' parts): C Mixolydian ('C' part). Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB (Barnes): AA'BB'CC. A French dance and melody that had currency in England. Merryweather (1989) gives the dance (a Branle, pronounced brawl) for this tune, composed around 1589, which features a movement in which the dancers paw the floor like horses. Both melody and dance may have been composed by the French canon Jehan Tabourot (1519-95) who used an anagram of his name (Thoinot Arbeau) as a penname for his dance instruction book Orchesographie (1589, pp. 165-167, which includes the "Horses' Bransle"). In modern times the tune is still heard played by traditional French musicians, especially as a hurdy-gurdy piece, and several variants exist. A version was recorded in the 1970's by the French traditional group Malincore. Another version, quite distanced from the original French, was recorded by the Albion Band in the 1970's (attributed to Eddie Upton), and this version is sometimes heard played by English session musicians. See also note for "Branle."

Source for notated version:

Printed sources: Barnes (English Country Dance Tunes, vol. 2), 2005; p. 61 (appears as "Horseplay", the name of a dance by Gary Roodman set to the tune). Merryweather (Merryweather's Tunes for the English Bagpipe), 1989; p. 31.

Recorded sources:




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