Monkey Hornpipe (2)

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MONKEY HORNPIPE [2]. AKA and see "McDermott's Hornpipe (2)," "South Shore," "Taylor's Hornpipe," "Ted Smith's Hornpipe," "Tite Smith's Hornpipe, "William Southern Clark's Hornpipe." English, Hornpipe. England, Wales. D Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AA'BB. The tune comes from the mid-19th century music manuscript of William Southern Clark, where it is an untitled tune. The manuscript is inscribed, "Mr W. S. Clark’s Old Music Book. William Thomas Lewis, Mardy, Aberdare, 1869" [presently kept at the National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth. NLW20067A folio 20. verso]. Clark was a mining agent on the estate of the Marquis of Bute, and William Thomas Lewis was an assistant engineer under him, notes Ceri Rhys Matthews (who recorded the tune).

Phillip Heath-Coleman, in his excellent article “Ceol rince na mBreathnach” (Musical Traditions Article MT272 [1]), traces the melody in British and Irish tradition, beginning with the cognate “Phillips's Hornpipe” from the 1837 music manuscripts of John Moore (Wellington, Shropshire). Jackie Small found that Irish piper Patsy Touhey (1865-1923) recorded a version (for Francis O’Neill, on wax cylinder [2]) of the hornpipe under the title “Taylor’s Hornpipe” (perhaps named for the New York/Philadelphia émigré uilleann pipe-making brothers Billy and Charles Taylor). Touhey’s tune does not appear in the O’Neill collection (although it does in the Dunn Family manuscripts), but O’Neill did print a version under the title “McDermott’s Hornpipe (2),” from the playing of irascible County Tipperery fiddler Edward Cronin. Heath-Coleman himself found versions in the mid-19th century manuscript book of William Lister (East Boldon, County Durham) as “Monckey”, in a Welsh collection from Glamoragan as “Monkey Hornpipe (2),” and as untitled tunes in the mss. of John Readshaw of Alston (on Tyne), Cumberland, and Lionel Winship (Wark, Northumberland). Finally, P.H-C. finds “South Shore” in Laybourne's Köhlers' Violin Repository to be a member of this tune family.

Interestingly, Heath-Coleman also writes:

The name the Monkey Hornpipe was also used of a dance involving one or two dancers going down on their hocks in a crouching position and kicking each of their legs out forwards in turn - much like popular conceptions of 'Cossack' dancing - but there is no suggestion that the tune was ever used for this dance whether under the name of the Monkey Hornpipe or any other. [22. For a description of THIS dance see Reg Hall, Scan Tester: I never played to many posh dances. Musical Traditions Supplement no.2, 1990, p.89. Now accessible on line at http://www.mustrad.org.uk/articles/r_hall.htm]. O'Neill describes the same dance as performed in Ireland, calling it the Cobblers' Dance: 'Then there was the Cobblers' Dance, in which the performers squatted on their haunches in a position even more cramped than when half-soling a shoe. In this awkward attitude the dancer kicked out with each foot alternately in imitation of the rising step of the double jig. So ludicrous was the performance in its entirety that it never failed to arouse much merriment among the audience'. [O'Neill, Irish Minstrels and Musicians. p.427.]

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