Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Blackberry Quadrille Transcription

Not too long ago I got a used copy of a book from 1987 called Old-Time Music Makers of New York State, by Simon J. Bronner.  The book examines the fiddling and old-time music of rural upstate New York during the 19th and 20th centuries.  Old-time music is usually associated with the Southern Appalachians, so it's interesting to find a book that addresses its role and meaning to the people of this region, whose fiddlers had just as much of an impact on their communities as their counterparts in Kentucky or Tennessee.

I would like to sit down and read the whole book, but so far I've just been perusing it and looking at the photographs and transcriptions of old fiddle and dance tunes.  It contains many great tunes that were part of the Yorker tradition, including Haste to the Wedding, Money Musk, Durang’s Hornpipe, Rickett’s Hornpipe, Irish Washerwoman, Rakes of Mallow, Miss McCleod’s Reel, Devil’s Dream, Turkey in the Straw, and more.  

I thought I'd share a tune in it called Blackberry Quadrille.  I wasn't familiar with the title and until I looked it up I don't think I had ever heard anyone play it.  Blackberry Quadrille was recorded on July 14, 1941 in New York City by Woodhull's Old Tyme Masters, an old-time square dance band from New York State.   Click here to listen to that recording of Blackberry Quadrille.  Woodhull's also recorded versions of Soldier's Joy, Girl I Left Behind Me and Capt. Jinks during the same recording session that day.  

Below is the book's transcription of Blackberry Quadrille.  As you can see it is in 6/8 time, making it a fun, Northern sounding tune that you could probably toss into a set of jigs or slides at an Irish session without raising too many eyebrows.  It would also make a great contra dance tune, obviously.

Blackberry Quadrille sheet music transcription
I found this YouTube video of Blackberry Quadrille.

According to this video's description, "Quadrilles, or dances in square formation of four couples facing each other, evolved in France and became popular in Britain, Ireland and America in the 19th century. It was first danced publicly in Dublin in 1816. It is possible that quadrilles were brought back to Ireland by soldiers returning from the Napoleonic wars. The Irish dancing masters increased the speed to that of Irish dances of the time and modified the dance with native Irish dance steps".

I hope you enjoy learning this tune!

1 comment:

  1. Hope you don't mind but I've used the quote you provided here for a blog entry in the Croí na Céilí Band's blog at