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)

 "The instrumental composition of dance music ensembles could be colourful and sometimes unexpected. The most enduring instruments across this period were the violin and tabor & pipe, the latter being a small drum and single-handed three-holed pipe played by a sole performer. As late as the 1820s, the tabor & pipe featured in the dance band engaged for tenants' balls at Eaton Hall" source

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

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 has a midshipman dancing with a 'lady' with pipe and tabor and fiddle providing the music:
sketchby Cruikshank playerthe player
1810Star (London) - Tuesday 30 October 1810


sailors danceFrance, Record 1790 printed fabric: (Full textile design here)
Frederick R. Selch Collection of American Music History
Inventory of Series 2: Visual Materials
1789 1789
1789 player1789 player detail
shepherds boyshepherds boy
1791 The Country Parish Clerk by J Robinson [part]1791Sheffield Public Advertiser - Friday 19 August 1791

1791 poem

“…In merry mood the pleasing throng
"Tripp’d down the lively dance along
The "Squire made a smart advance
With heels and trips, just brought from France,
While country loobies legg’d behind,
A clownish ’semblance of mankind ;
The pipe and tabor, bow ‘and ‘sring,
Made all the air with music ring 5
The dancers hopp’d in numbers plenty,
And form’d in couples nearly twenty….”

The Weekly Entertainer, and West of England Miscellany 1791-09-26:
Vol 18 Iss 451

1791 story

“…rural pipe and tabor were placed, at Clara’s request, under the shade of her beloved acacias
on the margin of the lake; the merry notes of music sounded, Adeline led off the dance…”

‘The Romance of the Forest: Interspersed with Some Pieces of Poetry.’ [...] In Three Volumes. (Volume III)
by Ann Ward Radcliffe

1791 Bath New Assembly Rooms, general Meeting:1791Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette - Thursday 01 December 1791

1791 play

“…Here's a goodly morning. The sun shines till our blood dances to it like a frisky wench to a tabor.”

‘The surrender of Calais a play in three acts’ by George Colman, (the Younger.) As Performed at the Little Theatre, Hay Market 

17921792 'A French Family' - English satire, detail 1792close-up of player
17941794 ‘The Dancing  Master’s Ball’ 1794close-up of players
17951795 ball ticket
1790 - 18001790 - 1800 child player with adult fiddler

1792 song Ca ira! ‘A favourite National Chansen, sung in the Entertainment of Le Champ de Mars, at Sadler's Wells.’

“…Chearfully we now shall rear the vine,
Merrily enjoy the fruits of labour,
Dancing, be to the pipe and tabor,
While John Bull in the song shall join,
Ah! ca ira &c….”

‘The Muses Banquet, or Vocal Repository, for the year 1792. Being the newest and most modern collection of songs, duets, trios, &c.’

1793 ‘The Prize, a Ballad.’ (Founded on a true Story,) dedicated to the Earl of Mansfield.1793‘Poems’ by  Burrell, Sophia, Lady

1790's New dances in Bath

"The only important non-Continental innovations arrived from the Celtic fringe in the 1790s with
a grateful infusion of Highland reels and strathspeys with Irish jigs. These were first signalled in the
dancing masters' classes and then by the addition of 'an Harp and a Pipe and Tabor' to the Upper
Assembly Rooms orchestra on ball nights."

Trevor Fawcett, "Dance and Teachers of Dance in Eighteenth-Century Bath", Bath History Journal 2 (1988) [p. 32]

1793 story 1793‘Memoirs of Mary, a novel.’ by Mrs. Gunning. In five volumes. ... 1793: Vol 2

1794 story

“…a poor blind youth from a neighbouring hamlet playing on a fantastic pipe and taber soon summoned
the cottagers to a little lawn, where a rustic ballet was formed,… and when the piper and the villagers retired,…
The utmost decorum had been observed by the domestics and peasantry, who had equally enjoyed the evening
by dancing on the back lawn, to the enlivening pipe and tabor…”

‘The mystic cottager of Chamouny: a novel, in two volumes.’ ... 1794: Vol 1

1794 story

“…The entertainments of this evening consisted ‘of a ball and supper; it was a fancy ball, and the company
danced in groups in the gardens, which were very extensive….observing the cotillions...the light fantastic
steps’ of their dances ; the musicians, with the lute, the hautboy, and tabor, seated at the foot of an elm…”

‘The Mysteries of Udolpho, a Romance; Interspersed with Some Pieces of Poetry. In Three Volumes.’ by Radcliffe, Ann Ward

1794 play

When early morn begins to dawn,
We'll gayly hie to labour;
At setting sun, our labour done,
We'll trip to pipe and tabor

‘The Apparition! A musical dramatic romance, in two acts,
as performed with universal applause at the Theatre-Royal,
Hay-Market.’ by J. C. Cross, ... 1794

1794 story

“…the tenants and young villagers were dancing gaily,
to the enlivening sounds of the pipe and tabor…”

'Madeline; or, the Castle of Montgomery, a novel. In three volumes.' 1794:
Vol 1 by Kelly, Isabella


1795 song:
Sung by Mr. Darley.
“…When the shrill pipe and tabor proclaim the light dance,
With transports I see my dear Mary advance;
Then such grace she displays while she trips mid the throng,…”

‘The Jovial Songster, or, Sailor's Delight: a choice collection of cheerful and humourous songs, that are sung by the brave tars of old England, and other merry companions, ... including, among other diverting subjects, the sailor's description
of a hunting.’

1795 story ‘The Village Assembly’

“…two blind fidlers, and a pipe and tabor, the parchment of which had met with a fraction,
consequently emitted a most horrid report, but every body's oral nerve not being so quick as
mine, it did not appear to affect them. …”

[Ed This passage is followed by a hilarious description of some of the dancers]

'The Observant Pedestrian; or, traits of the heart: in a solitary tour from Cærnarvon to London: in two volumes,
by the author of The Mystic Cottager. 1795: Vol 2'

1796 poem 'To Lavinia on her birthday'

“…They to their mistress carol'd forth her praise.
Their toll and labour
Oer at setting sun,
With pipe and tabor to the dance they run;…”

‘Original miscellaneous poems.’ by Edward Atkins Harrop. 1796

1796 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

1796 play 1796'The Smugglers; a musical drama' by Birch, Samuel,
Lord Mayor of London

1797 song

1797‘The new whim of the night; or the town and country songster;
(for 1797.) Containing a choice collection of the most approved
songs, sung at the Theatres Royal, Vauxhall, Sadler's Wells’

1797 song 1797‘The new whim of the night; or the town and country songster; (for 1797.)
Containing a choice collection of the most approved songs, sung at the
Theatres Royal, Vauxhall, Sadler's Wells,

1797 story

“…a crowd of peasants were assembled, dancing
to the sound of a pipe and tabor and two fiddles.
Every countenance was exhilerated with a smile,
and the spectators seemed to enjoy the festive scene….”

‘Palmira and Ermance. A novel, in three volumes.’
by Mrs. Meeke, ... 1797: Vol 1


1797 [part of advertisement]

1797Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette - Thursday 14 December 1797

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

1798 story

“...Three violins and a pipe and tabor now began a very lively tune to the dance the bride had called;
and in less than a quarter of an hour the greatest gaiety prevailed.  The amusement was kept up with
infinite spirit for about an hour, when refreshments of various kinds were handed about…”

‘The Sicilian. A novel. In four volumes. .'.. 1798: Vol II by Meeke, Mary

1799 poem

“…‘Twas twelve and seven dances past
Scarce had the tired fidlers ceased to play…

(The Boulanger a whimsical parade is,
The ladies running round the beaux,
And then the beaux go hopping round the ladies.)…

T’was now my turn to foot it in the middle,
And twenty circles had I nearly made;
When thro' the ranks, you'd scarce believe,
He rush'd, and caught me roughly by the sleeve,
Cursing the pipe and tabor, and the fiddle,…”

‘The Margate new guide; or Memoirs of five families out of six;
Who in Town discontent with a good Situation, Make Margate
the Place of their Summer Migration.WITH NOTES, AND
OCCASIONAL ANECDOTES.’1799 by Sharpe, Richard Scrafton.

1799 song

“…Where weary reapers labour,
With Sylvia gay, he seen,
Or, to the pipe and tabor,
Light tripping o er the green….”


18001800 ball invitation card 1800close-up of players
18001800 Isaac Cruikshank depicted the pipe and tabor player
in the balcony as part of a band for a ball.

from 'Caricature ornaments for screens', 1800.
1800close-up of players (from a different print)
1800 poem ‘The SPORTING HAY-MAKERS.’1800‘Drowned Mariner; or, the Low-lands of Holland hath twin'd my love and me.
To which are added, the jolly sailor's wedding.
The sporting hay-makers. Absent Jockey. 1800’
1800 song within a play: ‘Jane of Flanders ;
A DRAMA IN TWO ACTS.’1800The Lady's Monthly Museum 1800-06: Vol 4
1800 poem ‘In Ev’ry Fertile Valley’1800‘The Fashionable, or, London and Country Songster.’

1800 children's story ‘ETON MONTEM’

“Pipe and Tabor, and Dance of Peasants.”

[Ed There is no indication in this play where
the pipe and tabor plays for the dancing]

‘The Parent's Assistant, or, Stories for Children’ by Edgeworth, Maria

1800 play 'Paul and Virginia'

“…Hence, ye idle pack, away,
Instead of hard and healthy labour,
Jigging to the pipe and tabor,
Go home, go home, and work, I say…”

Songs, duets, trios, chorusses, &c. in Paul & Virginia, a musical drama, in two acts: as performed at the Theatre-Royal, Covent-Garden.

1801 The King and Queen visited the Staffordshire regiment:1801 Royal visit to militiaStar (London) - Monday 20 July 1801

1801 story

“…She found herself in the room, appropriated to the dancers, aroused from thought by the brisk notes of the pipe and tabor.  “You intend to dance, of course, Miss Melville said Meriton.
'May I hope for the honour of your hand ?”

‘Splendid Misery: A Novel in three volumes’, Vol 1 by Thomas Skinner Surr

1802 24th October, Cowberg, Cape of Good Hope1802 ‘Voyages and travels to India, Ceylon, the Red Sea, Abyssinia, and Egypt : in the years 1802-1806,’ by Mountnorris, George Annesley

1804 New Assembly Rooms Bath, rules1804 ‘A guide to all the watering and sea-bathing places :with a description of the lakes…’ by Feltham, John.
18001800 Invitation card 1800close-up of musicians
18021802 dancing at hay-making time
18021802 'A merry go round’
satirical print of Bonapart playing the pipe and tabor
as the powers of Europe dance

18041804 sketch

18061806 in the ball-room

1806close-up, player in band on balcony
In 1806 a satire depicts the pipe and tabor player
working with a fiddler for an aristocratic couple to dance. 1806'The Honey Moon'
18071807 playing for a longways set 1807close-up of musicians
'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. ', in the Welch MSS of 1800
and the dance occurs in 1809 in 'Wilson's Treasures of Terpsichore'.

"The instructions for the English country dances Tekeli and the Pandean Dance in Tekeli appeared in many collections of dances published in England, Ireland, Scotland, and America.  Both these dances were enjoyed at different levels of society from
the Duchess of Richmond’s ball in Dublin Castle, through to rustic dances in Dorset where Thomas Hardy played." source
Similar melodies are in the Hardy MSS under the title 'Pandean Dance in Tekeli"

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

1805 song 'The Garland' by William Dixon:

"Hark, hark, hark, hark the merry merry pipe and tabor
lead the festive dance along
let us now forgetting labour
Haste to join the jocund throng" etc

1805 poem‘ALL IS NOT VANITY’
“…What then? I’ve the pleasure of labour;
My health is improv’d when I fast;
And to-morrow, with dance, pipe, and tabor…”

The Lady's Monthly Museum 1805-04: Vol 14

1806 Masquerade Ball and Supper given by the garrison at Bexhill:
1806Star (London) - Tuesday 13 May 1806
1806 poem 1806The Poetical Register, and Repository of Fugitive Poetry for 1806—1807.

1807 newspaper report
“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

1807Sporting Magazine

1807 story, a wedding dance
“…Eliza was hostess among their wives and daughters-and when -the pipe and tabor called them
to the merry dance— she gave her hand to Augustus, and joined the happy throng….”

The Mask of Fashion; a plain tale, with anecdotes foreign and domestic' by Surr, T. S. (Thomas Skinner)

1807 story, at a ball

“…she declares that nothing but “ drops of brandy” (the name of a popular tune) can restore her…
It must be highly amusing to the looker-on to see the gravity of some, the pleasantry of others,
and the folly with which all keep frisking about to the pipe and tabor, like so many hay-makers in a pantomime….”

‘The Pleasures of Human Life : investigated cheerfully, elucidated satirically, promulgated explicitly, and discussed philosophically. In a dozen
dissertations on male, female, and neuter pleasures. Interspersed with various anecdotes, and expounded by numerous annotations.’
by Britton, John

1807 story ‘THE DOWNHILL OF LIFE’1807‘The Lady's Magazine : or entertaining companion for the fair sex, appropriated
solely to their use and amusement’

1807 story

“…the young men and women…
assembled upon some pleasant spot
among the rocks, to dance to the sound
of the pipe and tabor, while the more
aged amused themselves with looking on,
and preparing refreshments….”

‘The Discarded Son; or, Haunt of the banditti.
A tale in five volumes’
by Roche, Regina Maria, 1764?-1845

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

1808 painting description
18081808La Belle Assemblee, Vol.4

1807 Died 1807 diedManchester Mercury - Tuesday 08 September 1807
1811 Died: 1811Oxford Journal - Saturday 19 January 1811
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', 1809pub 1809. October 24th


“…Then circled quick the blood-red wine,
Till fife and tabor gay
Invite the dance, where youth divine
And beauty led the way….”

‘Odes, lyrical ballads, and poems on various occasions’ by George Stephen Kemble 

1809 poem ‘A Familiar and Descriptive Tale’

“..The op’ra o’er—we join’d a rout,
Where cards and dancing went about
Till call’d to supper, just at four,
Tho’ somewhat late I thought the hour ;
Yet pipe and tabor did recall
The merry dancers to the ball;…”

The Poetical Magazine 1809-09: Vol 1 Iss 5

1810 report from Court, London 1810Star (London) - Tuesday 30 October 1810

1810 from the opera ‘Safe and Sound’1810‘The Literary Panorama’ by Charles Taylor

18121812 In 'Princely Amusements or the Humors of the Family'
George Cruikshank has the pipe and tabor player at the front of the band.

1812close-up of player
(different print)

1812 rout and dance at York

“As soon as dinner was over, all the tables, side board &c, & carpet were taken out, three patent lamps
lighted & two fiddlers & tabor & pipe seated in a corner. Before seven o'clock, the [illegible] began to move
& continued in motion with little rest for some hours...I believe there were 133 people invited, viz 90 ladies
& 43 gentlemen, about 100 came…”

Letter from Emma Grimston to Oswald Grimston, 6 February 1812, relating to a rout and dance held at York,
DDGR/43/32/9, East Riding of Yorkshire archives

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
A picnic is described in ' The Vicar of Wakefield' by Oliver Goldsmith, 1812:

"Our music consisted of two fiddles, with a pipe and tabor. ....
The ladies of the town .. swam, sprawled, languished, and frisked. ...
after the dance had continued about an hour, the two ladies, who
were apprehensive of catching cold, moved to break up the ball."

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

18141814Lancaster Gazette - Saturday 16 July 1814

18141814 danceGloucester Journal - Monday 08 August 1814
1815 diary entry 1815'England in 1815 as seen by a young Boston merchant :being the reflections and comments of Joseph Ballard on a trip through Great Britain…”
by Ballard, Joseph.

Edward Francis Burney 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'.18151815 The orchestra is up in the balcony with a pipe and tabor player at the back.

1815close-up of player

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

1816close-up of players

18171817 the band (from a different print)

18171817 caricature - painting on the wall of room
where couples are dancing politely
1817 playerplayer (from a different print)
1816 story

“…Mrs. Sudwell, my laundress, had given a dance the night before, to sixteen people of fashion
…we'd a fiddle and a pipe and tabor…”

‘Uncle Tweazy and his Quizzical Neighbours: a comi-satiric novel’

1816 story

“…A pipe and tabor was not forgotten ; and Somers, inspired by the surrounding gaiety, drew
his violin from the case wherein it had been buried for many years,… he instructed them in the
intricate figure of the mazy dance…”

‘My Bird and my Dog : a tale for youth’ by Minerva Press

1817 story

“…The next moment the Sound of violins and a pipe and tabor gave notice of a dance…”

‘The Balance of Comfort; Or, The Old Maid and Married Woman.: A Novel. In Three Volumes.’
by Mrs Ross


“…But pipe and tabor were even here before us, enabling a party
of English beaus and belles to dance ; and dance they did in most wretched style….”

Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine

1817 Almacks ball ticket - only those of the highest society could gain a ticket for this dance venue. 1817

1828 book review1828 book review An essay on women in a ’ Review of New Books’:

1818 Fete at Frettenham1818 newspaper cutting1818 contdNorfolk Chronicle - Saturday 18 July 1818
1818 poem ‘Hill of Tor’1818'The Rustic Muse; a collection of poems'
by Butterworth, James

1818 poem

“You know my dear Mary, how often we’ve been seen
With our tabor and pipe, dancing light on the green...”

“For what are your dancers, to those I have seen
With your tabor and pipe dancing on a damp green”
"Poems on Domestic and Local Subjects" (Oxford 1818) 

1820, A 1770's image of a cotillion was used on the cover of a music book to illustrate 'As they Were';
musicians play the pipe and tabor, and fiddle:
1820 17711771 the band (different print)

1819 poem - dance after bringing in the harvest

“…And fondly lingers, as he lov'd to hear
Arezzo’s harvest-home, and vintage-cheer.

And hears, before those sounds have died away,
The creaking wains again, the tipsy laughter,
And song;, that bursts from farm at fall of day ;
Sees the gay dance renew’d, and roof and rafter
(For Musick in this clime beats time to Labour)
Reel to the raving pipes and rattling tabor….”

'The Court and Parliament of Beasts'; by  Casti, Giovanni Battista, Rose, William Stewart

1821 newspaper cutting 1821Morning Post - Tuesday 09 January 1821

Contemporary novels not only describe pipe and tabor players  providing the music for village dances
but some also 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

1821 poem ‘The Parsons Choice of Town or Country’
“…Anon a jocund troop, in gallant trim,
Merry at heart, and light, and lithe of limb,
Comes dancing forward, to the measured sound
Of pipe and tabor, footing its gay round ;…”

British Critic, and Quarterly Theological Review

18221822 satirical print of a taborer playing for dancing outside an inn
1822 satireclose-up of taborer

1822 story

“…The laird now, afraid of my father's growing more angry, and observing my distress, proposed dancing
a reel, to employ the young peoples animal spirits sufficiently, as he said, looking archly at the major ; and, as
it was the national dance, my father consented that we should perform it. A pipe and tabour were sent for
from the house, and we danced till we were tired on the smooth shaven grass….”

'Madeline : a tale' by Opie, Amelia Alderson

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"

1825In 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 ‘Sylvia, or the May Queen; a Lyrical Drama’ Act III by George Darley ACT III.Scene I.

“…Then around you we'll dance, and around you we'll sing!
To soft pipe, and sweet tabor we 'll foot it away!
And the hills, and the vales, and the forests shall ring
While we hail you our lovely young Queen of the May!...”

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

1828 poem1828Liverpool Albion - Monday 03 November 1828

1829 procession and dressing the maypole:

“…song, the dance, and innocent revelry are not quite forgotten in some part of our land… I will recount
to you (and by your permission to the readers of the Mirror) a village féte which I lately witnessed and
enjoyed. On the 9th inst. (Whit-Tuesday), after a few miles’ walk, I arrived in the village of Shillingstone
(Dorsetshire),… Attracted by musical sounds, and following my ears instead of my nose; I soon found
my way to the vicarage-house, where the company were just arriving in procession, preceded by a pink
and white silken banner, while a pipe and-tabor regulated their march. Next after the music were four
men each bearing a large garland of flowers,… dancing took place; for the time all distinctions were laid
aside, and the greatest gentry in the neighbourhood, taking the hand of their more humble neighbours, led
them through the mazy dance with a feeling of kindness, friendship, and good humour such as I have seldom
witnessed.  Two or three hours of as beautiful an evening as ever…the party led off in the order they came
to witness the ceremony of “ dressing’’ the May-Pole….Such, sir, is the Dorsetshire way of hailing the return
of gentle skies and genial seasons; a custom of the olden time.”

The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction 1829-07-04: Vol 14 Iss 379

1829 Letter to the Bishop of London, extract: 1829English Chronicle and Whitehall Evening Post - Saturday 01 August 1829
1829 1829Dublin Evening Post - Saturday 20 June 1829
unknownsource unknown close-up
Regency dance music reproduced here



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