Saturday, March 18, 2017

Radstock Jig

RADSTOCK JIG, THE. English, Hornpipe (cut time). C Major/A Dorian. Standard tuning (fiddle). AB. The English collector Cecil Sharp noted this tune from one James Higgins (1819-c. 1910), a fiddle player who was living at the time in Shepton Mallett Union, a workhouse. It was originally simply called “Radstock”, or, as Sharp gave it in his notebook, "Radstock Tune." Sharp published it soon afterwards with the title "Radstock Jig," using the convention of the word 'jig' not to denoting musical meter but rather to indicate a tune played for solo dancing (see Sharp's Folk-Dance Airs: Collected in Oxfordshire, Glocesteshire, Devonshire, Somerset, and Devonshire, 1909). Higgins was a native of the village of Shepton Mallet (south of Bath), Somerset, where he was a clerk in the local Co-operative Society, and Radstock was a nearby mining town. There is some thought, although no evidence, that the tune may have been in the repertoire of the Radstock Band, an old village band.