Lancashire Hornpipe (4)

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LANCASHIRE HORNPIPE [4]. AKA - "Lankesheire Hornpipe." English, Triple Hornpipe (3/2 time). D Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). ABCD. The tune was printed by London music seller and publisher Daniel Wright in his Extraordinary Collection of Pleasant and Merry Humours (1713, No. 18). John M. Ward calls it a "true" Lancashire hornpipe [1], making a distinction between other hornpipes called Lancashire Hornpipes that are in reality country dances. He equates the true Lancashire hornpipe with a rather more free form of folk dancing, rather than the proscribed dance figures in country dance collections that accompany some other "Lancashire" hornpipes (often barred in 6/4 rather than 3/2). Triple hornpipes, Ward notes, are "without exception....cast in the same four-bar variation form, one of the most distinctive and restricting in British instrumental music." Lancashire Hornpipes are more strictly defined:

...as variations on implied "double-tonic" four-bar grounds whose notes are the roots of the two chords elaborated in the descant variations. These two notes (and hence the chords they support) are always a whole step apart; and, as David Johnson has observed of such grounds, "the higher (or upper) of the two chords may be either major or minor, but the lower level chord is always major.


Additional notes

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  1. John M. Ward, "The Lancashire Hornpipe", Essays in Musicology: A Tribute to Alvin Johnson, 1990, pp. 140-173