Week #202 ~ The Stool of Repentance

  1. Barbara Shultz
    Barbara Shultz
    This week's winner is The Stool of Repentance, which was submitted as a Scottish Jig.

    The Session says "Also known as The Cuttie Stool, Mary Custy’s, O Stool Of Repentance, The Stool O’ Repentance, Stool Of Repentance, The Waddling Gander".

    Here is a link to the tune on the Session

    Here are three settings of abc from that site:

    X: 1
    T: The Stool Of Repentance
    R: jig
    M: 6/8
    L: 1/8
    K: Amaj
    |:a2e c2e|agf e2c|aff f2e|fag f2e|
    a2e c2e|agf e2c|d2e f2e|fac B2a:||
    |:cAA eAA|cAA edc|dBB fBB|dBB fed|
    cAA eAA|fag a2e|d2e f2e|fac B2a:||

    X: 2
    T: The Stool Of Repentance
    R: jig
    M: 6/8
    L: 1/8
    K: Dmaj
    c2A AcA|AcA e2c|d2B BGB|BGB fed|!
    c2A AcA|AcA e2c|d2e f2e|fac B2A:||!
    cAA eAA|cAA edc|dBB fBB|f2e fga|!
    cAA eAA|cAA edc|d2e f2e|fac B2A:||!
    a3 c2e|agf edc|a2f f2e|fag fed|!
    a3 c2e|agf edc|d2e f2e|fac B2A:||!
    c2e ecA|cde edc|d2f fdB|adB fdB|!
    c2e ecA|cde edc|d2e f2e|fac B2A:||!

    X: 3
    T: The Stool Of Repentance
    R: jig
    M: 6/8
    L: 1/8
    K: Amaj
    A|cAA eAA|gAA f2e|dBB fBB|aBB f2e|
    cAA eAA|gAA f2e|dfd ege|fac TB2A:|
    |:aga ABA|ABA TB2A|aga BcB|BcB Tf2e|
    aga ABA|ABA TB2A|dfd ege|(fa)c TB2A:|]

    Here is a link to the abc from abcnotation.com from John Chambers; abc collection

    and the abc from that site:

    X: 1
    T: the Stool of Repentance
    N: The title refers to the "dunking chair" that was used to punish
    N: people in some parts of the British Isles and New England.
    R: Jig
    Z: John Chambers <jc:trillian.mit.edu>
    M: 6/8
    L: 1/8
    K: A
    |: {efg}"A"a2e c2e | agf edc | "Bm"aff f2e | "D"fag "E7"f2e \
    | "A"a2e c2e | agf edc | "D"d2e f2e | "E7"f<ac "A"B2A :|
    |: "A"cAA eAA | cAc edc | "Bm"dBB fBB | dBd "E7"fed \
    | "A"cAA eAA | cAc edc | "D"d2e f2e | "E7"f<ac "A"B2A :|

    Here's a link to a guy on fiddle.... which also has some history of the tune.
  2. David Hansen
    David Hansen
    The Fiddle Muisc of Scotland by James Hunter says this tune was written by Niel Gow but the Gow Collection of Scottish Dance Music just says "old". Either way it's a spirited tune seemingly having nothing to do with repentance. First time through on my Sobell mandolin and then my octave joins for the second.

  3. OldSausage
    You're sounding better than ever, if that's possible!
  4. luurtie
    I agree with David, this is a great studio quality recording! Your mandoline is defenitely the ultimate sounding instrument for this tune....
  5. Marcelyn
    That's wonderful, David. You've captured the mood of the tune perfectly.
  6. bev wigney
    bev wigney
    Just super, David!
  7. Larry Ayers
    Larry Ayers
    I really enjoyed your rendition,David! It makes me want to improve my recording skills. Nice tempo and excellent tones.

    Here's my take on the tune, which reminds me of the Devil's Dream reel. I'm playing an Osage Orange ten-string cittern which I built several years ago. Its design is a scaled-down version of the design of the Selmer-Macaferri oval-hole jazz guitars made back in the 1930s and '40s.

    I added mandolin and guitar tracks to the mix, all recorded with Audacity.

  8. bev wigney
    bev wigney
    My attempt at this week's tune. I started off making a backing track on my old Weymann tenor banjo and a bodhran drum, then played those back while playing the old Stella mandolin. All the recording was done with the iMac's internal mic and speakers.

  9. Martin Jonas
    Martin Jonas
    This is one of the first jigs I learned, from Nigel Gatherer's site, but I haven't played it for several years. It's a fun tune, with a good jiggy lilt. Here is my quick-and-dirty recording. Played three times through. First time on resonator tenor guitar, joined for the second repeat on mandolin (Mid-Missouri M-0W) and for the third repeat also on waldzither (my 1925 Zimmermann waldzither), all to a tenor guitar rhythm. I've played it in unison on all three instruments to give the tune a bit of a session character -- the feel is a bit loose, which I think suits the tune.

  10. bev wigney
    bev wigney
    Nice recording, Martin. I liked hearing all the different instruments joining in. That's quite the collection of photos in your video!
  11. luurtie
    Well done folks. I found my 80 year old Otwin 120 mandolin back on an auction site and recorded this tune. I wonder how you like the sound of it. It's exactly the same as this one http://www.vintageaudioberlin.de/vab...%202/index.htm I've had three Otwin 120's, sold them all. I was happy to buy this one back.

  12. bev wigney
    bev wigney
    Hendrik, I was going to leave a comment about your video, but it seems to have disappeared just in the last few minutes. In any case, it was excellent and the Otwin is a wonderful sounding mandolin.
  13. Martin Jonas
    Martin Jonas

    Very nice, I particularly like the lilt in your triplets. I used to have an Otwin 120 exactly like yours and sometimes regret selling it -- they are really nice mandolins and pop up for little money every now and then. I bought mine for about 75 Euro on Ebay Germany and sold it for three times that to an Irish session musician in Dublin, so I can't complain. It was a fine-looking and fine-sounding mandolin. I think I still have an old MP3 lying around somewhere that I recorded before selling, I'll have to look for it.

  14. Marcelyn
    This week is racking up some excellent versions.
    That's lively, Hendrik and the mandolin does have a really nice sound.
    Very cool cittern, Larry.
  15. Francis J
    Francis J
    David, Larry, Martin, Bev, and Luurtie, you've inspired me to get out the mandolin again this morning! No work done today! I multitracked the mandolin ( 7 times! ) and put in some bouzouki/octave. Not exactly an orchestra, but a chamber group perhaps..

  16. Marcelyn
    That mandolin chamber group sounds amazingly tight, Francis. Cool arrangement.
  17. laura809
    Lots of great version. I thought Larry's Cittern was particularly neat. Luurtie, that Otwin does have a really sweet tone.
  18. Martin Jonas
    Martin Jonas
    Nice playing, Laura -- is that a Flatiron octave for the rhythm?

    Hendrik --I managed to find my old recording of the Otwin. Recorded in 2007 with a long-defunct hard-disk MP3 player, sounds surprisingly good under the circumstances. The tune is Neil Gow's "Lament for Abercairney". Maybe I shouldn't have sold it.


  19. luurtie
    That sounds very familiar to me Martin. Lots of sustain and bright but warm too. Thanks for letting me hear this. The otwins I had all sounded somewhat different. One of them was extremely loud like a banjo and had a very thin top. The one I play in my video was the most balanced of the three.

    How do you manage to get mp3's in this forum Martin?

    Francis I like your mandolin orchestra and Laura I'm alway curious about your recordings, this one is very nice! Is it an Irish Bouzouki you play there?
  20. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    A great selection of videos for this one. Interesting to hear the different instruments and the different tempos being used, and great to see some old and home-built instruments here too. David H, lovely work all round again; Larry, the award for fastest jig goes to you, and I love that instrument you are playing; Bev, Martin and Luurtie, fine versions, as too Francis and Laura. A really good selection of performances, folks.

    I was away up in Sutherland for the weekend and while there got some good photos from a walk I did, so last night I paired up the Stool with The Bridge of Athlone to accompany the pictures. Just one solo instrument this time, my JK mandolin, and backing from acoustic guitar. Recorded once again on Reaper. Aren't the triplets demanding!

  21. bev wigney
    bev wigney
    There have been some very nice additions to this week's tune! I enjoyed hearing all of them. John, your video with the photos was beautiful, along with your playing. I very much like the pairing of this tune with The Bridge of Athlone.
  22. Martin Jonas
    Martin Jonas
    Luurtie --

    To post MP3s in the social groups, post it as an attachment in this special thread in the "Song/Tune Projects" section of the main forum. You can then link the MP3 file from that thread in your message on the group.

    To get the embedded player, use the "MP3" tag. The tags I used up there look like this:


    The number after the "=" is the number of MP3s on the same thread, so you need to use "=1" for the first MP3 posted to the same thread, then "=2" for the second and so on. Not very intuitive but it works. A mini-tutorial to these tags can be seen when you click on "BBCode" in the bottom right hand corner of every page on the main forum (but not here in the groups).

  23. maudlin mandolin
    maudlin mandolin

    Great pictures and playing John. Am I right in thinking there are no traffic lights in the entire county of Sutherland?

    Here is the 3rd setting that Barbara posted abc for.
  24. maudlin mandolin
    maudlin mandolin

    My previous post was the first setting by mistake - here is the 3rd.
  25. laura809
    Nice job Maudlin, it is nice to hear the different versions back to back.
  26. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    Interesting version in that second one, Maudlin; almost as if it starts with the part B of the "original" version.
    Traffic lights in Sutherland? Very few if any, and apparently no roundabouts either.
  27. Martin Jonas
    Martin Jonas
    Earlier this week, I got an offer I couldn't refuse and bought my first ever octave mandolin -- a one-off custom all-mahogany Mid-Missouri M-111 with 22" scale length. Mike Dulak tells me it's the only mahogany OM he's ever made and as he has discontinued making octaves altogether, the only one there ever will be.

    I've been playing around with it today, trying to get to know the instrument and how to get the best tone out of it. It's an absolute pleasure to play despite the relatively long scale. To get a quick idea of how its tone records, I've made a quick MP3 of Stool Of Repentance, while it's current and under my fingers -- in a break with my recent recordings, this one has no multitracking, no click track and no video images. Simply an unadorned run-through of the tune on the Mid-Mo octave on its own.

  28. GKWilson
    That sounds terrible Martin you better send it right to me.
    Have fun. That's a great find.
  29. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    If Gary decides not to have it, send it over to me, Martin! Sounds good and I'm sure you'll have a lot of enjoyment out of it.
  30. Marcelyn
    With such a natural performance, it sounds like you've got the scale length under control Martin. That instrument suits you very well.
  31. Gelsenbury
    I love this tune! Coincidentally I remembered it at the last session I visited, and resolved to record it - just before I realised that it had become tune of the week during my brief absence from the forum. So here is my attempt, a first take just before leaving the house this morning.

  32. Manfred Hacker
    Manfred Hacker
    Nicht schlecht für einen Auftritt im Nachthemd ;-)))))
  33. Gelsenbury
    Danke! Zumindest war ich schon wach ...

    I can't keep up with many jigs. Luckily this one lends itself to slightly slower picking.

    EDIT: Concerning the link with repentance, I assume that the stool of repentance refers to an old-fashioned instrument of punishment. Here in Canterbury, we have a "ducking stool" preserved and suspended over the river Stour (http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_pGqCsz7Q_x...s400/chair.jpg). Apparently evildoers were strapped to the chair and dunked in the water. I think about this tune every time I walk past.
  34. Martin Jonas
    Martin Jonas
    Nice picking, Gelsenbury (even if it was in your nightie...)!

    On the meaning of "stool of repentance", the expression can refer to two quite different things. One is as an alternative name for a ducking stool, which as you say is an old-fashioned instrument of punishment or torture. The other (and I believe more common) meaning is as a stool in church, particularly in the Scottish kirk, on which members of the congregation that transgressed in some fashion have to sit as a form of public humiliation. Look at the pictures in my video above, which show a number of these stools and various old (and new) drawings of them in action.

  35. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    Martin is right re the stool in Scotland. The Scottish Kirk, in which the influence of the Protestant Reformer John Knox was very strong, used the stool as a means of humiliating parishioners who had transgressed in some way - and there were just so many ways to do this in Scotland at the time! Our national bard, Robert Burns, was himself threatened with the stool on more than one occasion for his daliances with the fairer sex.
  36. Gelsenbury
    Yes, that makes sense given the Scottish origin of the tune. But it makes the contrast with the jolly melody all the more striking!
  37. Bertram Henze
    Bertram Henze
    What John said reminded me of a book I read last summer about the small community on Hirta, St. Kilda in the late 19th century. This is what Wikipedia has to say about one Rev. John Mackay:

    Mackay, the new Free Church minister, placed an uncommon emphasis on religious observance. He introduced a routine of three two-to-three-hour services on Sunday at which attendance was effectively compulsory. One visitor noted in 1875 that: "The Sabbath was a day of intolerable gloom. At the clink of the bell the whole flock hurry to Church with sorrowful looks and eyes bent upon the ground. It is considered sinful to look to the right or to the left."
    Time spent in religious gatherings interfered seriously with the practical routines of the island. Old ladies and children who made noise in church were lectured at length and warned of dire punishments in the afterworld. During a period of food shortages on the island, a relief vessel arrived on a Saturday, but the minister said that the islanders had to spend the day preparing for church on the Sabbath, and it was Monday before supplies were landed. Children were forbidden to play games and required to carry a Bible wherever they went. Mackay remained minister on St Kilda for 24 years.

    I bet they had a stool of repentance or two...

    St. Kilda was evacuated in 1930, and you can hire boat trips there from the Isle of Harris now. If you want an impression of how it felt to be a St. Kildan, watch this video.
  38. neil argonaut
    neil argonaut

    A bit late, but thought I shouldn't really pass up on a Scottish tune. Been enjoying the other versions.
  39. Bertram Henze
    Bertram Henze
    That was fun to watch Neil - some secret mischievous thought that made you grin, I suppose
  40. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    Fine playing Neil, as is your playing on the other videos you have posted in the last day. Was it a burst of energy arising from the Spring Equinox? Bertram, I think the grin (noted in Neil's other posts too), was that knowledge that the triplets or other hard part are just about to be tackled and he knows he can nail them!
  41. justkaron
    Bertram, the info you posted and the link to the video about St. Kilda sparked my interest to watch several other YouTube videos about the island. Thanks for the pointer to this subject. I've enjoyed learning about it.

  42. neil argonaut
    neil argonaut
    John, no, it wasn't as much a burst of energy as a realisation that whether recording one video or 5, it takes the same time to set up and take down stuff, so I'm as well doing more at once.
  43. dustyamps
    I learned this here when it was Song of the Week in March. Played in a lower key than written.
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