Radstock Jig (The)

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RADSTOCK JIG, THE. English, Hornpipe (cut time). C Major/A Dorian. Standard tuning (fiddle). AB: AA'BB' (Kirkpatrick). The English collector Cecil Sharp noted this tune from one James Higgins (1819-c. 1910), a fiddle player who was living at the time in Shepton Mallett Union, a workhouse. It was originally simply called “Radstock”, or, as Sharp gave it in his notebook, "Radstock Tune." Sharp published it soon afterwards with the title "Radstock Jig," using the convention of the word 'jig' not to denoting musical meter but rather to indicate a tune played for solo dancing (see Sharp's Folk-Dance Airs: Collected in Oxfordshire, Glocesteshire, Devonshire, Somerset, and Devonshire, 1909). Higgins was a native of the village of Shepton Mallet (south of Bath), Somerset, where he was a clerk in the local Co-operative Society, and Radstock was a nearby mining town. There is some thought, although no evidence, that the tune may have been in the repertoire of the Radstock Band, an old village band. However, the melody appears to be a close relation of the relatively common Irish hornpipe “Poll Ha'penny.” Maude Karpeles, another English collector, published the tune in a book of tunes to accompany Northwest morris dances. Howard Mitchell writes that because of the modulation the tune is somewhat difficult to play on the melodeon and it is not heard played for morris dances often—one modern English dance band included it in a band tune book with the annotation: ‘do not finish on this tune…do not start on this tune…in fact do not play this tune.’ John Kirkpatrick (2003) wrote it "must be one of the most extraordinary tunes Cecil Sharp came across."

Source for notated version:

Printed sources: Kirkpatrick (John Kirkpatrick's English Choice), 2003; p. 17. Raven (English Country Dance Tunes), 1984; p. 184.

Recorded sources: Mally DMPCD0301, John Kirkpatrick - "Orlando's Return" (2003). Home Service – “Alright Jack.” Brass Monkey - "Head of Steam" (2009).

See also listing at:
Hear the tune played on concertina on youtube.com [1]




Back to Radstock Jig (The)[edit]