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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: TOTW 1/10/2020 Old Tom of Oxford


Please note this is an archived topic, so it is locked and unable to be replied to. You may, however, start a new topic and refer to this topic with a link: http://www.banjohangout.org/archive/360231

John D - Posted - 01/10/2020:  07:19:39


The TOTW for 1/10/2020 is....Old Tom of Oxford. It's not Old Time, but it is old: comments about this tune on The Session state that versions show up in manuscripts in 1719 and 1752. OToO is not about a person; it refers to the bells at Christ Church College in Oxford, England.
It's a Morris dance tune. Here's a couple of videos of folks dancing to OToO:

youtube.com/watch?v=68MB4VJ9jrw

youtube.com/watch?v=twNebMFLs40

Here is a notey as all get out version on harmonica:

youtube.com/watch?v=UmBXbGq90kg

Here is a version on nyckelharpa (plus links to sheet music)

youtube.com/watch?v=WbdGFg3JpBQ

I learned this tune by ear in the early 1980's from this version from Martin Carthy's album "Crown of Horn":

youtube.com/watch?v=p_BKibsKKL4

I learned it all wrong in the beginning and have been playing it wrong for decades, so don't look for any authenticity in my version:


banjukebox - Posted - 01/10/2020:  08:33:43


Great tune! I think this would fit in nicely at any old-time jam. Thanks for posting.

RG - Posted - 01/10/2020:  09:13:36


Cool tune!!

JanetB - Posted - 01/10/2020:  12:01:56


Here are live links for John's original post.  The dancers wear bells in the first two videos.  I'm curious about the bells of Oxford for which this tune is named.  It seems like a fun tune and you play it in a plunky and pleasing way, John.



Dancing to Old Tom of Oxford



More dancing to Old Tom of Oxford



Notey harmonic version



Nyckelharpa with lyrics version



Martin Carthy



 


Edited by - JanetB on 01/10/2020 12:11:07

JanetB - Posted - 01/12/2020:  13:26:22


Your banjo is plunkily delightful, John.  The guitar version you learned from is also unique and pleasan.  



Watching the dancers, it seems that the accordion was the instrument of choice, so I learned from them.  I'd never heard of a Morris dance tune.  This one sounds Scandinavian -- perhaps could it have been so influenced?  It also sounds crooked, but the timing all comes out evenly, as my tab proved to me.  Many players on youtube start in the middle of the measure, but when they repeat the A part (though not all of them do) they go back to the beginning measure as I tabbed it.  (Sometimes tab is so useful to understand what I'm hearing.  If I'd learned it from the notation in the Sessions it may have been different yet...The Sessions notation)



Did you read the Traditional Tune archive article that says a fiddler claims the song is about a man, his wife, and his nephew who traveled around selling things?  Traditional Tune Archive information.  Perhaps lyrics were later added, since you stated that publication of the tune appeared in the 1700's.  It also claims that there are no "backsteps" in the dance, which is an interesting claim, considering the rhythm of the tune.



Thanks for an interesting TOTW!


Winged Words - Posted - 01/15/2020:  08:39:38


As Christ Church is my alma mater I guess I really ought to learn this tune!



Janet, if you scroll about halfway down this page



chch.ox.ac.uk/visiting-christ-.../tom-quad



there's the basic information about the bell Great Tom. So many bells in Oxford - Sunday morning was a treat!


Edited by - Winged Words on 01/15/2020 08:43:29

Stephen Rapp - Posted - 01/15/2020:  14:24:35


Lovely. When I lived in New England back in the 80s and 90s a lot of my friends were Morris Dancers. They encouraged me to join, but I never did. I do love that delicate bouncy style to the tunes though. Nice to see how that plays out on banjo.

Jack Baker - Posted - 01/15/2020:  14:53:11


Wonderful Janet....I love to hear you play....Jack




Originally posted by JanetB

Your banjo is plunkily delightful, John.  The guitar version you learned from is also unique and pleasan.  



Watching the dancers, it seems that the accordion was the instrument of choice, so I learned from them.  I'd never heard of a Morris dance tune.  This one sounds Scandinavian -- perhaps could it have been so influenced?  It also sounds crooked, but the timing all comes out evenly, as my tab proved to me.  Many players on youtube start in the middle of the measure, but when they repeat the A part (though not all of them do) they go back to the beginning measure as I tabbed it.  (Sometimes tab is so useful to understand what I'm hearing.  If I'd learned it from the notation in the Sessions it may have been different yet...The Sessions notation)



Did you read the Traditional Tune archive article that says a fiddler claims the song is about a man, his wife, and his nephew who traveled around selling things?  Traditional Tune Archive information.  Perhaps lyrics were later added, since you stated that publication of the tune appeared in the 1700's.  It also claims that there are no "backsteps" in the dance, which is an interesting claim, considering the rhythm of the tune.



Thanks for an interesting TOTW!






 

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