May Newbie Group Song Project-- Fisher's Hornpipe

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  1. Kevin Stueve
    Kevin Stueve
    title says it all.
    Feel free to post tab / notation/ youtube versions.
  2. HonketyHank
    I like the tune and will be working on it. I did some searching and I found many versions available as downloadable midi, abc, tef, pdf files. Listening to them all was rather time consuming, but interesting. Of course the pdf versions had to be read and played by me to get the gist, so that took even longer.

    The tune itself is rather a misnomer. Almost every version I found is based on reel rhythm, not hornpipe rhythm. Then there is the key signature. It appears that it was originally written in B-flat and purists insist that is the only way to play it. Yikes. I am just now trying to get acquainted with F. I hate those scales with notes played on the first fret. Most versions, though, are transposed into the key of D, which is an old friend. Finally, there is the overall structure. Most are the standard AABB, but there are several that add a repeated C part.

    In the end I found several versions that I liked and which seemed playable by mere mortals.

    I have decided to muddy the waters even further and work on my own version which will be a hybrid of my three favorites. My A part will come from Baron Collins-Hill's My B part comes from a version I found at mando hangout . And the C part comes from the Shartel version of the tune found at

    Adding the C part makes me have to work harder to get it done and down semi-pat. But I like the C part and it requires some pinkie usage, which I need to practice.
  3. HonketyHank
    Here's a video with the C part:
  4. Mark Gunter
    Mark Gunter
    I really like this one, Hank

    They seem to be having a blast in that video, but I think it will be a while before I can learn any of that, LOL
  5. Mark Gunter
    Mark Gunter
    Interesting thing to me, I bought two of Sam Bush's lesson from Happy Traum's website a while ago, one is on rhythm mandolin and the other on lead mandolin. The All About Lead Mandolin starts with Fisher's Hornpipe, and the printed material starts with Sam's tab for it. I had just started trying it last week. Since that's our tune for next month, I'll be trying to get that version down so that I can follow the Bush videos on lead mandolin. His first several lessons require that you know how to play this. So, thanks Kevin, this is something I needed to tackle!
  6. HonketyHank
    Re Mike and Chris video: I saw that one, rolled my eyes, said "yeaaaahhhhh, righhhht", and moved on.
  7. Mark Gunter
    Mark Gunter
    You didn't like it? I like watching the virtuoso's have fun. They added a bunch more parts beyond the C part, though
  8. HonketyHank
    Oh, I liked it. But I knew I couldn't even get the head moves down, much less the notes. And gosh, there are a lot of notes! As Baron might say, "Rather notey".
  9. CliffMac
    what can be said Chris Thile, the best out there, and Mike Marshall wow hammer ons wow neither the right or left hand ever stop. Some day but not today, not today.
  10. Kevin Stueve
    Kevin Stueve
    okay looked at several versions a couple that were more ambitious than others settled on this version
  11. HonketyHank
    Kevin, I like that version too. I am using parts of it in what I am working on. Mandozine is a great resource for tef files.
  12. Mark Gunter
    Mark Gunter
    Finally got this tune memorized yesterday and today - I always seem to get stuck before reaching the end of a tune, and takes a lot of effort to learn the last part. But I have it all memorized now, and today I practiced and played it for a few hours. I actually got to where I could play this tune really fast tonight, but it's not clean enough and there are a couple of problem spots that I need to smooth out. Anyway, I'm really getting into this tune, I like it a lot better than the Lisdoonvarna Highway.

    The version I'm learning is pretty simple, and it does not include a C part. I chose it because it's the first song treated in the Homespun Videos of All About Lead Mandolin by Sam Bush, I used the tab that was included in the course. It seems the first six or more lessons use this tune as a jumping off point for Sam to teach some variations and embellishments, and to get any use of those lessons I need to know how to play this tune and pretty fast too, I suppose, in the simple melody version he gives with no C part.

    Anyway, looking forward to posting a video soon, then maybe I'll try to watch those videos and learn some Sam Bush embellishments by the end of the month.
  13. MediumMando5722
    This is my first attempt at one of the group songs. Is it cheating to use video lessons?
  14. Mark Gunter
    Mark Gunter
    Chris, certainly not, that's perfect! Use any means at your disposal to learn a new tune. Looking forward to hearing your version whenever you're ready.
  15. MediumMando5722
    Cool. I have the first half of part A down.

    Fair warning: my version will be very different. I'm not really familiar with the song, and after listening, I think I'm more inclined to go with a slower, more swingy take.
  16. Mark Gunter
    Mark Gunter
    First run at the simple melody version I'm using.

  17. Sleet
    Sounds good, Mark, with your metronome ticking away in back!

    For me, getting the melody down on this one hasn't been too difficult, but I'm hornpipe inclined as far as rhythm goes. Baron at Mandolessons says it can go either way, as reel or hornpipe. Dan Levenson, in his notes, states emphatically that it is not a hornpipe. The contentious comments on state that it's Welsh. I don't know where Mr. Fisher hailed from or what he had in mind, but I can't seem to make it come out with anything except a hornpipe bounce.
  18. HonketyHank
    Hey Mark, that sounds real hornpipe-y. And I like the left hand ornamentation - very clear.

    If that's a rough first try, I am going to be blown away with the end of month product.
  19. HonketyHank
    Here's a problem. I have been diligently working on Fishers Reelpipe. Plenty of time left before end of month. Thought I would take a break for a quick run-through of Road to Lisdoonvarna. Gack! I couldn't even fumble my way through it. Had to stop several times for do-overs. I know I am getting old and my short term memory is not what it used to be, but phooey. Muscle memory (if you believe in such a thing) isn't the same as short term memory, is it? Shoot, I had that tune down pat a week ago.

    Well, I just now checked. At least I can still play a few other tunes, even if fumbling a bit. Soldiers Joy is still there. Liberty is there except for the one phrase that always gives me a clunky note or two. So, I guess I just need more repetitions on Rd to Lisdoony.
  20. BJ O'Day
    BJ O'Day
    That is a problem I also struggle with. I am changing my practice routine to review, (relearn), tunes that I had down pat.
  21. Sleet
    It's interesting to me that it takes me so long to learn a tune. My memory is generally not too bad, but there are tunes I've played hundreds of times that I don't "know." Sometimes if I get the first couple of notes, it will launch me in the right direction. Age may have something to do with it. It might have been easier a couple dozen years ago. But I also think it's just a different kind of learning for me. I don't have a musical background, so there's nothing similar in my brain to hang onto the new learning. Forging new pathways takes a lot of time and repetition, but that's probably why they say that new learning is good for the mind. I think that remembering new tunes will get easier as I have more of a foundation to build on. For now, I run through the handful of tunes I know as I practice new ones, to help them stick.
  22. Mark Gunter
    Mark Gunter
    So far I've done pretty well at learning fiddle tunes, just the simple melody versions, but I can't play them up to speed yet. Maybe some day if I keep working at it. And the easiest to learn are the ones with a teacher who shows how to play it note-for-note. Using tabs only is a little more tough for me. So far, I've retained pretty much all of them, but can't really play one through very easily without mistakes.

    Other tunes are tougher for me to learn. I've been working on two different Bach pieces for several months, and can't get past the first third of either song yet. The same goes for the Sam Bush tune Poor Richard's Blues. I've only been able to learn the first half, after a couple months starting on it.

    Key for me is having fun playing or learning to play songs that I really dig. Lisdoonvarna, for instance, is not my cup of tea. I can still play it right now, but I suspect I'll lose that one over time, because I don't really care much for it. It's all good exercise for learning to play mandolin, but the ones I care about are the ones I keep going back to and trying to play them right, up to speed, etc. and I think those are the ones you can retain longer.
  23. lex
    Wow, I'm surprised y'all are finding this tune easier to learn than Lisdoonvarna. I'm find this one really hard to wrap my mind around. My fingers get comfortable playing G,F#,D over and over and then get tripped up when F#,D,G comes along. Then there are parts where I want to play G then F# but it's supposed to be F# then G. I know that all songs (especially fiddle tunes) are a mix of few notes played repeatedly in varying patterns but this one is a struggle.

    Which ties into Hank's comment. I find that when I learn a tune there is a weird cycle where it's really hard to play when I haven't yet committed a tune it to memory. Then, for a little while it becomes much easier when I've memorized the notes and am beginning to developing the muscle memory to play it quickly. As muscle memory takes over, I slowly loose the mental map of the song and just rely on my fingers to "feel" where they are supposed to go. Inevitably, my fingers forget their way(especially if I don't play the song constantly) so, I have to go back and relearn parts of the song over and over again. The thing that really throws a wrench in the system is when two songs have an identical sequence of notes where one or two are in a different order (which, of course, applies to most fiddle tunes). Then my fingers have a hard time finding the right path through the notes. Both ways are well traveled and familiar but choosing which one to take is the hard part.

    I do find that after an indeterminate period of time of frequent repetition or if a certain song "clicks" some take root in my hands and I can crank them out (relatively speaking) even if it's been along time between practices. Conversely, there are some tunes that never seem to settle in no matter how often I replay them. Fishers Hornpipe has that feeling to me.
  24. Mark Gunter
    Mark Gunter
    Reading the comments by Sleet and Hank about my video - I have to confess that I really don't know enough to distinguish between a hornpipe and other forms . . . I know the difference between the timing of a jig vs. a reel, but I don't have a grasp on what is a hornpipe, slip-jig, etc. For some reason my comprehension hasn't clicked in on that stuff. I've only been interested in music from the Isles for about a year; same goes for bluegrass, so my understanding of some of the fundamentals is sadly lacking. From the comments, I can only assume that a hornpipe is marked by syncopation? More of a swing beat?
  25. Sleet
    I'm not an expert, but my understanding is that hornpipes and reels have the same time signature, but in the hornpipe there's an emphasis on the first and third beat of the measure, which give it the bounce, or swing. Also, hornpipes are often played at a slower tempo.
  26. Kevin Stueve
    Kevin Stueve
    Okay I started late on this one (May 2) but I am struggling to get the A part memorized. This song has a 2 measure phrase the repeats like 4 times in the a part and only ends differently 1 and 1/2 times

    I got the A part!!!! 4 D's in the first half, 2 D's in the second half
  27. HonketyHank
    What gets me is that repeating phrase in the A part - I lose count of how many times I have run through it.
  28. Kevin Stueve
    Kevin Stueve
    Chinquapin Hunting as a similarly repetitive phrase in the A part and I often lose count of how many times I've played the phrase
  29. Kevin Stueve
    Kevin Stueve
    a and b part both memorized. The version I picked had a c part but I am not convinced it fits well. For now just working on AA BB.
  30. soliver
    I have been all too absent from the newbies group and regret that I've missed all the discussion over this tune! It is one of my favorites!

    I used the Mandolessons version to learn it several months back and it was tricky at first because as Baron says in his YouTube vid (and someone mentioned above it is very "notey"... but I got the hang of all the phrases and plugged away at it with a metronome and have grown to love it!

    I have enjoyed reading all of the extra info you guys have unearthed on itI may look into the C part and see if I can add it into the MandoLessons version I learned. Can anyone post a link to a version with a C part?

    Hopefully, if I can wrangle up some time, I'll record and post a vid of myself playing it for you guys!

    As to the Hornpipe vs Reel aspect you guys are talking about, the sessions post (someone posted above) gives a really good explanation IMHO to the difference between Jigs, Reels and Hornpipes and I recommend that if you haven't read it that you do!

    The gist is a basically a combination of timing and emphasis (or voicing or whatever the proper term is...). You can help yourself figure out what kind of tune it is by using phrases:

    Jig: 3/4, or 6/8 timing, emphasis on the first note of the measure bold for emphasis (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6) you can use the phrase as Baron says: "Jigity-Jigity-jigity" where each "jigity" is a measure: "JIG-i-ty JIG-i-ty JIG-i-ty"

    Reel: There seems to be a little debate as to whether it is written in 2/4 or 4/4 timing, if it is 2/4 the emphasis is on every first beat of the measure: (1, 2, 1, 2, 1, 2, 1, 2) ...if 4/4 the emphasis is on the first and third note 1, 2, 3, 4, 1, 2, 3, 4). A good phrase is "Watermelon-Watermelon": "Wa-ter mel-on, Wa-ter mel-on"

    Hornpipe: Very similarly in 4/4 with a similar emphasis, only the major difference to me seems to be an additional swing or swagger on a hornpipe where there is additional emphasis on the first note but still some emphasis on the third: (1, 2, 3, 4, 1, 2, 3, 4) and you can also use "watermelon watermelon" here as well with the different emphasis: "Wa-ter mel-on, Wa-ter mel-on".... a reel seems much more stagnant and staccato to me where there is just a lot more swing in a hornpipe.

    Hope that wasn't too much!

    btw... all of that was really confusing to type in bb code
  31. Mark Gunter
    Mark Gunter
    Very helpful explanation, Spencer, and I'm sure the link will help too, I plan to visit it to learn more. Thanks.
  32. HonketyHank
    Soliver: this one has the C part I am working on:
  33. HonketyHank
    Is everybody still working on this? I know I know it, but my fingers like to play tricks on me before I get all the way through it. I'll post a video soon, probably close to the EOM deadline.
  34. Sleet
    Hank, I think I'm in the same situation. I "know" it, but can't get through it without mistakes. I like the third part of the version I'm working on, but it seems like a stretch to get there without a meltdown. Still, I will try to get something up, and look forward to seeing what everyone else comes up with.
  35. Mark Gunter
    Mark Gunter
    Yep, still working on it. I practiced this last night watching the Sam Bush lessons. It's a neat tune.
  36. HonketyHank
    I wanted to play some golf today but I also wanted to get a video done beforehand. After many retakes, I decided to cheat before it got dark. So here it is.

  37. Sleet
    Hank, that was a treat! Well done and interesting to hear the voices of those vintage instruments. I've found a number of variations on Fisher's Hornpipe, most of which I like better than the one I've been working on, but too late for me to switch. You're part C was really nice.
  38. Don Milton
    Don Milton
    Enjoyed listening to the videos. Wish I had already been on here before now. Road to Lisdoonvarna is one of my tunes I've practiced. Today was first time hearing Fishers Hornpipe. I like it. Just downloaded tabs about an hour ago. Will start on it tonight. When will next months song be announced? Don
  39. Kevin Stueve
    Kevin Stueve
    great steady tempo, I'm envious
  40. Mark Gunter
    Mark Gunter
    Great work, Hank, on the playing and on the editing. Like Sleet, I really enjoyed hearing the voices of each instrument, a real treat!
  41. Mark Gunter
    Mark Gunter
    I did mine in one take, warts and all. The weather startled me a couple times while recording, and between the thunderstorm and the A/C background, my mandolin sounds pretty warbly on some of the high notes - but it's the recording conditions rather than the instrument at fault there.

  42. Sleet
    Mark, I enjoyed your Fisher's Hornpipe. It has a great swing to it, and your turnarounds add interest. Good playing under adverse weather conditions! I hope everything is okay at your home.

    My Fisher's is not what I want it to be. I can't get the tempo right, so it just plods along, and I sometimes get stuck in an infinite loop on the B section. I don't know whether I'll post as an example of a plodding newbie, or move along to Washerwoman, which is a little more straightforward.
  43. Kevin Stueve
    Kevin Stueve
    Okay nice job Mark agree with sleet your turnarounds are a nice addition. I am not happy with my progress but will try to get it recorded this morning
  44. Kevin Stueve
    Kevin Stueve
    warts and all, the wife banging around in the kitchen, sitting in front of the windows so you can't see me and still checking the written page, but it is the end of the month.
  45. Sleet
    Nice and steady, Kevin, with a little percussion from the kitchen! You're getting a nice tone out of your mandolin. I appreciate all the postings, especially the warty ones! Makes me feel a little braver.
  46. HonketyHank
    Good work, Mark and Kevin. I think this is a great project. I get so intimidated by the virtuosity of folks I admire. It's nice to have a role model and lofty goals, but it is really nice to hang out with mere mortals like me.

    A couple of things strike me as I ponder my progress and/or lack thereof so far. One is that on both Lisdooney and Fisher's I felt like I was moving along at a pretty good clip as I recorded - not really pushing it, but moving right along. But on subsequent watching I can't believe how slow they are. I hope time and practice will get my tempo up.

    The other thing is my inability to play through my mistakes. Or even just to stop, grin, and then resume where I left off. Maybe the problem is that I am a perfectionist, but I would love to make a trainwreckable screwup and just keep going without losing my place. Or heck, just a little hiccup and keep going. I gotta stop and regroup while the metronome keeps clicking. And of course, that makes every flub into a trainwreck. And then take n+1.

    In any case, this Newbie Song of the Month club is, I believe, a way to overcome some of all this without stepping into the pond with the stars. And I am enjoying it. Rah rah. Go team!
  47. HonketyHank
    It was nice to hear the hornpipiness from Mark's rendition. I was well along in the reely version before I tried hornpiping it - I decided I better stick to the reel if I wanted to have anything to show at the end of the month.
  48. Mark Gunter
    Mark Gunter
    "In any case, this Newbie Song of the Month club is, I believe, a way to overcome some of all this without stepping into the pond with the stars. And I am enjoying it. Rah rah. Go team!"

    Hear, Hear!

    "I don't know whether I'll post as an example of a plodding newbie, or move along to Washerwoman, which is a little more straightforward."

    Sleet, you do just whatever pleases you! Just don't be intimidated by posting to this group. We are all newbies here, some with more musical backgrounds than others, and we're all just working at it, playing at it, and having fun. This is not a competition.

    I love to post my attempts. I know I'll never be "great", but I believe that by making videos and sharing them I'll continue to grow musically. Try it when you're ready, and know that the more you do it, over time, you may improve and overcome some obstacles in your playing. It's all good.

    Kevin, I admire your playing, your efforts and your gumption, as usual. Good show! Keep up the good work.
  49. HonketyHank
    Kevin, I have been trying to figure out your family name. How is it pronounced? And what is its origin?

    By the way, my off-line name is Henry Stevens. I have been thinking about using it here as well, but I just like the ring of HonketyHank. Honkety Hank was a character in a song by Pinto Colvig, recorded in 1949. I played that record until the grooves were gone when I was 5 or 6 years old. The song title is "Hooray for Honkety Hank and his hootnanny automobile". The kid in the song was kind of nerdy, just as I turned out to be.
  50. lex
    So, here's my attempt. I've enjoyed listening to everyones versions and especially like that we're all recording in various bedrooms and living rooms with thunderstorms and spouses rumbling in the background. It's cool that we're all making an effort to add music to our already hectic lives.

    Hank, you seemed pretty speedy to me and I really enjoyed hearing all those instruments. That A sound nice to my ears. I think we played a similar version so, it was helpful for me to listen to a smoother rendition. Have we decided about next months song yet?


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