the Pipe and Tabor compendium

the Pipe and Tabor compendium

essays on the three-hole pipe

England: history of the pipe and tabor

'Regency' Dancing (1790 - 1829)

There is much literary reference to the pipe and tabor being played for dancing in the ballroom for royalty as well as at village celebrations, picnics and on board ship.

"Miss Hop would foot it, toe and heel,
And in the ball-room toil and labour;
So, to win her heart, a highland reel
I learn'd upon the pipe and tabor. "

( 'Love Turned Music-Master' by Charles Dibdin, 1740 - 1814)

Sailors of all classes danced to the pipe and tabor. England was at war with France and large numbers of men were
soldiers and in the navy. Whether or not women were present dances were held on board ship, often to the pipe and tabor.
A drawing in the Bodleian Library Collection has a midshipman dancing with a 'lady' with pipe and tabor and fiddle
providing the music:
sketchby Cruikshank player
1810 Sailors' dance

Star (London) - Tuesday 30 October 1810

sailors danceRecord 1790 printed fabric
Toile, red, on linen: probably a quilt fragment. 18th c.
Sailor playering for two male youth dancers.

Frederick R. Selch Collection of American Music History
Inventory of Series 2: Visual Materials

1780's London

1780'sManchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser - Saturday 26 November 1881

1784 satire, playing for maypole dancing 1784Lewis Walpole Library
1789 1789
1789 player1789 player detail
1791 Bath New Assembly Rooms, general Meeting:1791Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette - Thursday 01 December 1791
1792 'A French Family' - English satire, detail 1792 1794 ‘The Dancing  Master’s Ball’1794
1796 In a poem ' The departure of the Year':

‘Strike up the pipe, the tabor, and the dance
We’ll lure him back with spritliness and joy’

The Pedlar: A Miscellany, in Prose and Verse, by C. I. Pitt. By Charles Dibdin

1798 poem

1798Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette - Thursday 30 August 1798

1798 newspaper report of a dance, Winchester 1798 fordancing 11798 for dancing 2Hampshire Chronicle - Monday 29 October 1798
player in band
Isaac Cruikshank (1764–1811) depicted the pipe and tabor player in the balcony as part of a band for a ball.
from 'Caricature ornaments for screens', 1800.
1801 The King and Queen visited the Staffordshire regiment: 1801 Royal visit to militiaStar (London) - Monday 20 July 1801
1802 'A merry go round’1802satirical print of Bonapart playing the pipe and tabor as the powers of Europe dance
1801 at Bartholemew Fair, London: 1801Oracle and the Daily Advertiser - Friday 04 September 1801
1802 1802Hampshire Chronicle - Monday 05 April 1802
In 1803 the British government paid Charles Dibdin (1740 - 1814) to write a series of songs to "keep alive the national feelings against the French." Dibdin's songs were said to be worth ten thousand sailors to the cause of England. He was one of the composers that Jane Austen particularly liked.
Dibdin's song 'Entertainments Sans Souci, Finale', includes:
"All you who have light heels
Dance to the pipe and tabor
At country dances and at reels
Try how well you can labour"

An 1803 poem by T Dibdin:

1803 Dibdin

1803 Dancing master broke the law: 1803 Dancing Master ProsecutedSun (London) - Thursday 24 March 1803

Poem fragment  by Henry Kirk White describes a Whitson celebraton:

“A day of jubilee, and oft they bear,
Commix'd along the unfrequented shore,
The sound of village dance and tabor loud,
Startling the musing ear of Solitude.

 ‘The Poetical Works of Henry Kirk White’ 1785-1806, born in Nottingham, died from brain fever when studying at Cambridge.


18051805Northampton Mercury - Saturday 06 April 1805
1806 Masquerade Ball and Supper given by the garrison at Bexhill:
1806Star (London) - Tuesday 13 May 1806
1806 Broderip and Wilkinson music for sale: 1806
'Tekeli' music and dance

This was a popular operatic work composed by James Hook (1746-1827) in 1806. Tekeli was also a very popular tune which subsequently appeared in many musicians' manuscripts and published collections, for example Goulding's 'Twenty Four Country Dances for the Year 1808'. Often the word 'pandean' is coupled with 'Tekeli' ( or Takele, Tekely, Tekeele). The same tune is called 'A Favourite Pandean Dance' in local manuscripts in Shropshire, Dorset and Sussex. Similar melodies are in the Hardy MSS under the title 'Pandean Dance in Tekeli', in the Welch MSS of 1800 and the dance occurs in 1809 in 'Wilson's Treasures of Terpsichore'.The tune survived as a merry-go-round tune at Southport Fairground until Victorian days.

1807 1807Morning Post - Wednesday 18 February 1807

musicsource Music also here Tekeli played on fiddle here

'The Dowager Countess of Clonmell gave an elegant ball and supper on Wednesday evening, at her house in Portman Square.... The second dance, " Tekeli," was also danced down by her Ladyship and Earl Percy, followed by twenty-five couple.'
Morning Herald (London) - Friday 12 June 1807

1807 1807Morning Herald (London) - Thursday 02 July 1807

1807 The Countess Spencer’s Fete Champetre, Wimbledon1807Morning Post - Monday 06 July 1807

18071807Morning Herald (London) - Saturday 11 July 1807

1807 Mr Angertien’s Grand Fete at Woodlands1807Morning Post - Friday 24 July 1807

“The Annual October Meeting of the Northern Shooting Club, which commenced here on the 7th instant, terminated last night with a Play, Ball, and Supper. ... the ball-room extremely crowded every evening.  The favourite dances were Drops of Brandy, Lord Madras and Tekeli....”
Morning Post - Friday 16 October 1807

1808 ‘Mrs. Leigh's Ball, at Oakhill, on Friday last, was one of the most splendid.... at nine o'clock, the benevolent hostess' and Colonel Vinson of the West York, led off the merry dance, with Tekeli.’
Morning Post - Tuesday 26 January 1808

1808 Mrs Miles’s Ball1808Bristol Mirror - Saturday 09 January 1808

1808 1808Oracle and the Daily Advertiser - Monday 08 February 1808

1808 ‘The Ball at Argyle-street Rooms, on Monday, was opened by Viscount Dursley and Miss Wellesley,
to the favourite air of Tekeli.’
Oracle and the Daily Advertiser - Thursday 28 April 1808

1808 at the Argyle Street Institution 1808Oracle and the Daily Advertiser - Wednesday 27 April 1808

1808 1808British Press - Thursday 09 June 1808

1808 'The Royal Family - Lady Mary Bentinck’s Ball'1808Oracle and the Daily Advertiser - Saturday 11 June 1808

1808 Mrs T Hope’s Grand Ball and Supper, Mansfield Street 1808British Press - Monday 20 June 1808

‘Her Royal Highness the Princess of Wales gave a magnificent. Ball and Supper, on Monday evening, at her seat at Blackheath.... The ball was opened at half past ten o'clock, by Lady CHARLOTTE CAMPBELL and Mr. ST. LEGER,
to the favourite air of Tekeli, followed by about 50 couple:’
Oracle and the Daily Advertiser - Wednesday 29 June 1808

‘Sir Thomas Wilson gave a magnificent dinner, ball, and supper, at his elegant villa, near Shooters Hill.... The dancing Commenced soon after nine, in the elegant saloon about twenty-five couples stood up to the lively tune of "Tekeli." ‘
Morning Post - Wednesday 24 August 1808

1809 Weymouth
‘Harvey’s Rooms, on the Esplanade, which were lifted with an assemblage of beauty and' fashion never before experienced at so early a period of summer season. ... Captain ATKINs and the elegant Miss..Sweetenham led most gracefully to the tune of the Fairy Dance ...  followed to the tune of Tekeli; and the light fantastic toe pointed to a very early hour.’
Pilot (London) - Friday 23 June 1809

‘The Perthshire Hunt met here on Wednesday last. It was attended a very great assemblage of the Nobility and Gentry of this and other counties; ... The usual entertainments of Public Breakfasts, Dinners, and Assemblies took place. ... The Band, conducted by Mr J. Bowie, gave universal satisfaction.. The following were the leading tunes danced : ... Medley—Tekeli’
Perthshire Courier - Monday 09 October 1809
more pipe and tabor for dancing
In 1806 a satire depicts the pipe and tabor player working with a fiddler for an aristocratic couple to dance. with fiddler'The Honey Moon'

“Lady Johnstone’s ball and supper: at the Assembly Rooms, York....The dancing commenced about 10 o’clock when every countenance seemed in unison with the merry pipe and tabor...  “

York Herald - Saturday 07 March 1807


1807 Grand Masquerade at the Pantheon 1807Morning Herald (London) - Wednesday 29 April 1807  

1808 Newspaper report on royal fete at Old Windsor:1808 newspaper report on royal fete


1808 Dancing at Greenwich Hill, London; Grand Anniversary Festival 1808Star (London) - Tuesday 19 April 1808

1808 Private subscription Masquerade in India 1808Government Gazette (India) - Thursday 11 February 1808
1807 Died 1807 diedManchester Mercury - Tuesday 08 September 1807
1811 Died: 1811Oxford Journal - Saturday 19 January 1811
1809 'Jubilee Reminiscences and Old Tokens' entry ticket: 1809from 1887 Letter to the Editor in Isle of Wight County Press and South of England Reporter - Saturday 21 May 1887
18091809 poemChester Courant - Tuesday 12 December 1809

1809 report from Worthing of the Jubilee Celebration:

“The old men were furnished with pipes and tobacco; and the young people with pipes and tabors

Kentish Gazette - Friday 03 November 1809

1809 'Voyages and Travels in India, Ceylon, the Red Sea, Abyssinia, and Egypt', pub 1809. October 24th1809
1810 report from Court, London 1810Star (London) - Tuesday 30 October 1810
player in band


In 'Princely Amusements or the Humors of the Family'
George Cruikshank has the pipe and tabor player at
the front of the band.

1812 Birth Day of Princess Charlotte of Wales celebrated at Fisher’s Hotel.
“The Ball was opened about half past ten ... 1812 ballPilot (London) - Saturday 11 January 1812
1812 Grand Masquerade at Vauxhall, London 1812Star (London) - Tuesday 21 July 1812
1812 Venetian Fete: 1812Madras Courier - Tuesday 09 February 1813

1813 ‘Mrs Busby’s Masqued Ball’
“Colonel Berkeley, as a Savoyard, with a pipe and tabor -he was accompanied by a Bear and two Monkeys; they were a very entertaining group, particularly Bruin, whose roar produced universal mirth; the Monkeys exercised their talent. by a display of a number of very clever tricks;”

Morning Post - Thursday 17 June 1813

18131813 Highgate fete a1813 Highgate fete bHull Packet - Tuesday 06 July 1813


1814Lancaster Gazette - Saturday 16 July 1814

18141814 danceGloucester Journal - Monday 08 August 1814
Edward Francis Burney (1760-1848) was one of the many who mocked or deplored the speed and physical contact of the newly introduced waltz. In 1815 he drew 'The Waltz'.
player in bandThe orchestra is up in the balcony
with a pipe and tabor player at the back.

On 22nd and 28th January 1816 a supper and ball were given in India with entertainments on the pipe and tabor.  Reported in the Madras Courier - Tuesday 30 January 1816

1810 1817 The Dance players1817 England
1817 Almacks ball ticket - only those of the highest society could gain a ticket for this dance venue. 1817

1818 Fete at Frettenham1818 newspaper cutting1818 contdNorfolk Chronicle - Saturday 18 July 1818
18211821Morning Post - Tuesday 09 January 1821

Contemporary novels not only describe pipe and tabor players  providing the music for village dances but some list the tunes they played:

“A blind fiddler, a pipe and tabor, struck up Nancy Dawson,
and the vibrating floor soon gave proof
that the dancers were strong and active.
The pipe and tabor stopped, and the blind man’s arm being suddenly
seized by his companion, a long drawling squeak usurped the place of the merry notes of “The Black Joke.”

The Village Coquette, a novel in three volumes’ by FJ

1822 a satirical print of a taborer playing for dancing outside an inn 1822 satire
1822 'Letter from Italy'1822Glasgow Sentinel - Wednesday 06 November 1822

1823 Fonthill Abbey celebration:

1825 Eaton House Ball 1825 orchestraChester Chronicle - Friday 04 February 1825

"For the annual tenants’ ball at Eaton Hall, a band of nine to twelve musicians was hired across a period of at least four consecutive years. Led by Charles Harding on “first fiddle” and consisting of violins, cellos, double bass, bassoon, horn, and tabor and pipe, the band became a regular part of the aural atmosphere at Eaton Hall for the tenantry, domestic staff, and members of the family who joined in the festivities. The duties of such musicians could be particularly onerous – while at Eaton Hall the dancers sat down to supper, as only a hundred were served at any one time, the band was obliged to provide music over an eight to ten hour period."

1825 'The Assembly Ball' an Air by Darby Kelly

“An assembly-ball, delight of all,
The fiddlers take their places, O;
A sprightly harp, two violins,
A tabor pipe, and basses, O.
The parties they all enter gay,
The old, the young, the pretty;
And waddling in, with goggling grin,
The warm ones from the City ….”

"The Universal songster: or, Museum of mirth: forming the most complete, extensive, and valuable collection of ancient and modern songs in the English language, with a copious and classified index, Volume 1"

player for ballIn 1825 George Cruikshank drew 'The Cyprians Ball at the Argyle Rooms'. He too may have had a pipe and tabor player in the band.

1826 1826Oxford University and City Herald - Saturday 11 February 1826

1827 Newspaper report:

“A dramatic corps last week exhibited at Aston Clinton, Bucks ... the music a tabor and pipe,
whose jocund sound set the audience a capering”

Star (London) - Thursday 08 February 1827

Now 'tis eve, and done all labour,
And to merry pipe and tabor,
Or to some cracked viol strummed
With vile skill, or table drummed
To the tune of some brisk measure,
Wont to stir the pulse to pleasure,
Men and maidens timely beat
The ringing ground with frolic feet;
And the laugh and jest go round
Till all mirth in noise is drowned.”

by Cornelius Webb in The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction, Vol. 10, Issue 268, August 11, 1827

1829 Letter to the Bishop of London, extract: 1829English Chronicle and Whitehall Evening Post - Saturday 01 August 1829



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