2021-06 Tune of the Month Rickett's Hornpipe

  1. HonketyHank
    The tune of the month for June 2021 is "Rickett's Hornpipe" (or more properly but seldom seen, "Ricketts' Hornpipe"). The SAW thread contains several interesting interpretations from MC members, here: http://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/gr...#gmessage18316. There is a tabledit transcription by Mike Stangeland in the MC tablature library, here: https://www.mandolincafe.com/te/tabl...ipe-D-Trad.tef. ABC and standard notation versions can be found at thesession.org (https://thesession.org/tunes/272) and at tunearch.org (https://tunearch.org/wiki/Rickett%27s_Hornpipe).

    The title refers to John William "Bill" Ricketts, remembered as "The Father of the American Circus" (see https://www.circusesandsideshows.com...ttscircus.html ). Ricketts emigrated from England to Philadelphia, USA, in 1792, where he established an equestrian school and started America's first circus featuring himself dancing hornpipes on the back of his galloping faithful steed, Cornplanter. Seriously.

    The first known publication of this tune was in "A Collection of Scots Measures" by Alexander McGlashan in 1781, under the title "As Danced by Aldridge". The Aldridge in the title was a famous Irish dancer in the late 18th century. Since Ricketts was only 12 years old when the tune was published, it is doubtful that it was written by him or for his performances. My guess is that it probably was a tune that he used in his performances and thus became so-titled in America. It became popular in Britain as "Manchester Hornpipe" and "Yarmouth Hornpipe", among other titles.

    As "Rickett's Hornpipe", the tune became quite popular in North America. I read somewhere that it was one of the more popular military band tunes throughout the 19th century. It can be heard on modern recordings as a hornpipe, a reel, and as a fast breakdown.

    Here is a mandolin rendition of the tune by Dave Ruch, an upstate NY performer and teacher:


    And here is one of my favorite fiddlers, Patti Kusturok:

  2. Mark Gunter
    Mark Gunter
    Wow, Dave Rich is getting an awesome sound with that.
  3. HonketyHank
    I have read through a few of the older versions and I was bothered by a nagging feeling that I had played this tune before. I finally realized that I was hearing "Off to California" in my mind. They are quite similar, at least in the version I was gravitating toward (taken from Ryan's Mammoth Collection, published 1883). Now I am thinking I might try a more modern version, maybe something like Mike Stangeland tef in the MC tabledit library.
  4. NDO
    This sounds way faster than Farewell to Whisky! Will be interesting to try.
  5. Louise NM
    Louise NM
    Since I never got "Farewell to Whiskey" (Whisky?) recorded, I figured I had better get on Rickett's before the month disappeared. With a brand new set of strings—installed in just under 40 minutes, record time, and with minimal blood shed—here's the hornpipe.

  6. NDO
    Wow Louise that was great! How did you learn it so fast!
  7. Louise NM
    Louise NM
    NDO, it's much quicker to learn a tune when you don't memorize it!
  8. NDO
    Lol, I decided if I’m going to learn a tune I’m going to memorize it... I decided if someone wants me to play a song I’m not going to rely on an iPhone or a sheet music if I’m in the mountains without cell coverage
    But I’m beyond impressed with how well you played it! That was beautiful.
  9. Swimbob
    That was great Louise. I can barely read music let alone sight read so I'm impressed.

    I learn by ear so much faster that I don't focus as much on my ability to read as I should. That being said I pretty much have to memorize a song if I want to play it. As it turns out this was a pretty easy tune to learn once I broke it down into parts. I can play it (somewhat) but still don't have technological know-how to film and post.
  10. HonketyHank
    I enjoyed watching your left hand fingers as much as the listening -- you get good service out of your pinkie, even on the A string. Well done, Louise!
  11. Mark Gunter
    Mark Gunter
    Very nicely done, Louise!
  12. bbcee
    Thanks for starting the month out so promptly, with such a nice version. Good job on the triplets, and that Pava has such a nice singing quality to it on this one.

    I better buckle down and learn this, it's been on my list since forever!
  13. phb256

    Wow, my phone does a great job of picking up all the wind and traffic noises. I think I'm starting to get the hang of this one, but I still trip over my fingers and lose my place.
  14. HonketyHank
    Good job, phb. And if there was indeed a subtle edit in there, it was so subtle that I didn't notice it. The MC sounds great, too.

    It looks like a mandocello's scale length makes even the 5th fret a significant pinkie challenge.
  15. Mark Gunter
    Mark Gunter
    Great work on a lo-o-ong neck phb
  16. NDO
    Great job phb!
  17. Louise NM
    Louise NM
    Nice work, phb.

    It seems like your agility getting around that long-necked beast is improving by leaps and bounds every month, and that's no simple task.
  18. Sue Rieter
    Sue Rieter
    It looks like a really fun instrument, but challenging!
  19. phb256
    Thanks for the kind words everyone. "Fun but challenging" is an apt description. It helped that I didn't have to change positions.
  20. NDO
    Louise, I’m working on learning this and your version is the one I’m using to learn from. It’s so clear and steady and sounds so good! I’m still blown away that you played it so quickly after it was posted.
  21. bbcee
    Here's my take on Ricketts. Hope you enjoy. I really liked the Dave Ruch version at the top of the thread, so tried to incorporate some of his ideas in the Stangeland TEF file. I also tried to get up to his speed, but bottomed out at 130. Nothing too fancy, just a newbie and his mando.

    Man, hornpipes are hard! I love 'em to bits, but there's always some tricky parts in them that make me tear out my hair. That would be the B section on this one, alternating between the pinky and second finger, pinky and second finger. Arg!

    As my ff mandolin was in the shop for a setup this last month, I got to know my oval hole again. I've got Tomasik Starks on it, and really love the sound.

  22. Louise NM
    Louise NM
    Very nice oval. Who made it? Good job on the hornpipe, too. I love playing them. The swingy rhythm and not-breakneck tempo makes them just roll along.
  23. bbcee
    Thanks Louise, I sure enjoy playing hornpipes too. RE: the mandolin - it's a Deep Ocean, from around 2002, made in Frankfurt. A real ugly duckling - I had had my eye on it in the Classifieds for a while, it disappeared, then I wound up getting it in a trade with a guy in Canada a year or so after. It needed work, including a refret + new bridge, but it was money well-spent. Deep Ocean seemed to have disappeared around 2007, and I asked a couple of German Cafe members for any info, to no avail. So it stays a mystery.

    @PHB, my apologies fro neglecting to say how impressed I am that you've got that scale length under control! If you go to mandolin, it's going to seem like a kid's instrument!
  24. NDO
    Great job bbcee!
  25. HonketyHank
    I like the version, bbcee, and the ending. You done did it good.

    I'm glad to know that I am not the only one having trouble with the alternating B-G-B-G stuff in the B-part.
  26. bbcee
    Thanks a lot, NDO & HH. Hope you'll both be posting!
  27. phb256
    @bbcee I picked up a mandolin the other week. It does make me feel like my fingers are too big. On the plus side I feel like I can play faster since my fingers don't have to move so far.
  28. Mark Gunter
    Mark Gunter
    A nice rendition Bruce, and I love the German oval sound. Keep on keepin' on
  29. HonketyHank
    I tried to get this up to 150 bpm and actually did. But as soon as the webcam started recording, I couldn't even get close. So I just played it "comfortably". Or at least less uncomfortably.


    New L&H is in the background after a clean up. Will take it to a local luthier for new frets Friday. Don't know when I'll get it back.
  30. bbcee
    I think that's a really good tempo, and that pinky work you did paid off well - you seem so comfortable in doing those !&#@ stretches. Nice one!

    Luckily you've got a good mandolin or two to tide you over until the L&H gets back.
  31. Sue Rieter
    Sue Rieter
    Wonderful! You look so relaxed, and all that pinky work is paying off as well!
  32. HonketyHank
    Thanks, guys. I have a good stable, but I want to ride that L&H.

    It has been another nice day here in Portland. Not even hot. Thank goodness. I guess that heat dome broke down. I hope it stays broken down.
  33. Louise NM
    Louise NM
    That sounds great, Honkety! Including the tempo: my understanding is that hornpipes are a little more moderate that reels.

    It will be interesting to see what new frets do for your L&H. Are you going for tiny ones again or a more modern size? Mine needs a fret job too—they are teensy and very, very low, probably 103 years old like the rest of it. I just can't bear the thought of it going to the luthier's for as long as it would be. Here's hoping your guy is far faster than mine.

    EDIT: Just found the tailpiece for that L&H.
  34. Mark Gunter
    Mark Gunter
    Henry that was fun, I like your hammered triplets and smooth use of the pinky, and that horn pipes groove. Well played!

    I was inspired by Dave Ruch’s recording and I may be able to post a late contribution here myself. Transcribed his A part the other day, now if I can just find time to learn the B part …
  35. HonketyHank
    Thanks, Mark. Tor some reason that I have to figure out, it is easier to hammer on with that mandolin than any I have played. Just touch the string and it rings out. Pinkie work continues.

    Louise, that tp might be a bargain. It is solid platinum, isn't it? No? Oh well...
  36. Sherry Cadenhead
    Sherry Cadenhead
    Nice playing, all. Me? Still working on "All of Me." Who invented those dang chords, anyway?
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