Sloe (The)

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X: 1 T:Slave, The T:Sloe,aka. RH.491, The R:Country Dance C:"by H.R.Bishop, 1816" B:Rev.R.Harrison's MS,c1815,Cumbria O:England A:Temple Sowerby,Cumbria Z:vmp.Simon Wilson. Review PJH, 2008. M:2/4 L:1/8 Q:1/4=110 F:http://www.cpartington.plus.com/Links/HarrisonRev/Harrison(12-4-16).abc K:D F/G/|Ad de|fe dc|BA Bd|BA FF/G/|\ Ad de|fe dc|BA Bd|ed d:| |:A/A/|BA FA/A/|BA Fd/d/|ed cB|B2 Ad|\ dc ce|ed df|fe dc|e2 d:|



SLOE, THE. AKA – “The Slave.” English, Country Dance Tune (4/4 time). D Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB. Barry Callaghan[1] traces the tune to an opera called The Slave, composed by Sir Henry Rowley Bishop (1786-1855) in 1816. Bishop composed several operas in the first quarter of the 19th century, most of them forgotten and of incidental value. However, he was appointed musical director at Vauxhall in 1830, appointed to the Reid chair of music in the university of Edinburgh, and finally to the chair of music at Oxford in 1848. He was knighted in 1842, the first musician to be so honoured. The tune was noted (as “The Sloe”) in tradition in the early 20th century by collector Cecil Sharp from the playing of John Mason (Stow-on-the-Wold, Glocestershire). It was entered as “The Slave” in some English musicians’ manuscripts, such as that of the Rev. Robert Harrison (Brampton, Cumbria, 1820). It has also been suggested that the tune was named after the fruit of the Blackthorn.

Additional notes

Source for notated version: -

Printed sources : - Callaghan (Hardcore English), 2007; p. 48.

Recorded sources: -EFDSS CD13, Katie Howson and Jeannie Harris – “Hardcore English” (2007. Various artists). Old Hat Music OH4 CD, Katie Howson & Jeannie Harris – “Unbuttoned.”



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  1. Barry Callaghan, Hardcore English, 2007.