Pease upon a Trencher

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PEAS(E) UPON A TRENCHER [1] (Pis air an mias). AKA and see "Time I've Lost in Wooing (The)." English, Scottish; Country Dance Tune (2/4 time); Irish, Air. F Major (Raven): G Major (Merryweather & Seattle, O'Flannagan, O'Neill). Standard tuning (fiddle). AB (O'Flannagan, O'Neill): AABB (Merryweather & Seattle, Raven). A trencher is an oblong trough-shaped shallow dish formerly used instead of a plate. The melody appears in a number of musicians’ manuscript copybooks, including those of Henry Beck (1786), John Fife (compiled 1780–1804 in Perthshire, Scotland, and possibly at sea), William Calvert (North Yorkshire, 1812), Oliver White (Conn., 1775), fifer Aaron Thompson (New Jersey, 1777–1782), and Ebenezer Bevens (Middletown, Conn., 1825), among others. In print it can be found in James Aird’s Selection of Scotch, English, Irish and Foreign Airs, vol. 1 (Glasgow, 1782), Neil Stewart’s Select Collection of Scots, English, Irish and Foreign Airs, Jiggs, and Marches (Edinburgh, 1788), and in numerous fife tutors and martial publications of the early 19th century. It was a melody in John O’Keefe’s opera The Poor Soldier (1784). The melody can be heard played by a musical clock of 1798-99, from the shop of famous New Jersey clock-makers Leslie and Williams.

The melody saw martial use as the regulation signal for breakfast and supper, sounded by fifers. It was used for this purpose as early as 1816 when it’s use was identified in a volume called The Martial Music of Camp Dupont, published in Philadelphia. A version of the melody appears in Alvan Robinson’s Massachusetts Collection of Martial Musick, first published in Maine in 1818 (with later editions in 1820 and 1824). It's martial use continued through the American Civil War (c.f. Bruce & Emmett's Drummers and Fifers' Guide, 1862): [It] "Is the signal for breakfast, and it is to be beat at 7 o'clock, or at any other hour set apart for the same. Fifteen minutes before which, the Drummer's Call will be beat by the drummer of the guard."

Source for notated version: an MS collection by fiddler Lawrence Leadley, 1827–1897 (Helperby, Yorkshrire) [Merryweather & Seattle].

Printed sources: Aird (Selection of Scotch, English, Irish and Foreign Airs, vol. 1), 1782; No. 168, p. 58. Bruce & Emmett (Drummer's and Fifer's Guide), 1862; p. 37. P.M. Haverty (One Hundred Irish Airs, vol. 2), 1858; No. 198, p. 90. Hime (Forty Eight Original Irish Dances), 1804; No. 5. Johnson (Kitchen Musician No. 16: A Further Collection of Dances, Marches, Minuetts and Duetts of the Later 18th Century), 1998; p. 15. Mattson & Walz (Old Fort Snelling: Instruction Book for the Fife), 1974; p. 98. Merryweather & Seattle (The Fiddler of Helperby), 1994; No. 125, p. 65. O'Flannagan (The Hibernia Collection), 1860; p. 25. O'Neill (Music of Ireland: 1850 Melodies), 1903; No. 533, p. 93. Raven (English Country Dance Tunes), 1984; p. 150. Riley (Flute Melodies, vol. 1), 1814; p. 92.

Recorded sources:




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