the Pipe and Tabor compendium

the Pipe and Tabor compendium

essays on the three-hole pipe

UK - Regency

Dancing to the Pipe and Tabor

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There is much literary reference to the pipe and tabor being played for dancing in the ballroom as well as informally 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)

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 militia
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 Prosecuted

Sun (London) - Thursday 24 March 1803

In 1806 a satire depicts the pipe and tabor player working with a fiddler for an aristocratic couple to dance. with fiddler

“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
...  “

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

1807 Died 1807 diedManchester Mercury - Tuesday 08 September 1807
1811 Died: 1811Oxford Journal - Saturday 19 January 1811
player in bandIn 'Princely Amusements or the Humors of the Family'
George Cruikshank has the pipe and tabor player at
the front of the band. 1812.
1812 Venetian Fete: 1812Madras Courier - Tuesday 09 February 1813
18131813 Highgate fete a1813 Highgate fete bHull Packet - Tuesday 06 July 1813
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.
1818 Fete at Frettenham1818 newspaper cutting1818 contdNorfolk Chronicle - Saturday 18 July 1818
1817 The Dance 1817 The Dance players1817 England

1823 Fonthill Abbey celebration:

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.

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”



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.

1810 Sailors' dance

Star (London) - Tuesday 30 October 1810


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