the Pipe and Tabor compendium

the Pipe and Tabor compendium

essays on the three-hole pipe

pipe and tabor playing techniques

playing for morris the Lichfield Way

notes from a workshop run by Peter Taylor in 2009, taken by frances


History of the pipe and tabor at Lichfield, Staffordshire
At Lichfield, Green Man Morris have 7 morris dance and 2 morris jig tunes that are played on pipe and tabor, which they fit well. Bucknell (Oxfordshire) tunes also fit well, although other Morris dance tunes vary.

This Lichfield tradition was reconstructed from research.  The earliest mention so far found is from 1774 when 2 guineas were paid to a morris side for dancing at an election rally. In A History of the County of Stafford: Volume 14: Lichfield one document is listed as:

"The Bower procession passing through the market place in the later 18th century. Drawing by C. E. Stringer in the Bodleian Library, G.A. Staffs. 4°, 7, between pp. 352–3"

This procession is a military-related celebration where greenery is carried in procession around the streets accompanying the Bower Queen on a float. The first drawing of this is from 1850 when a child pipe and tabor player is shown walking in the Whit Monday Bower procession [ the Illustrated London News (May 25th)]. 


Pipe and tabor playing techniques at Lichfield
* the signal to dancers at the start of each dance is either one or two drum beats; custom and practise dictate which

* at the beginning of both A and B music play heavy beats to count the dancers in

* play a heavy drum beat on steps that the dancer wants to emphasise

* watch the dancers as you play - then there is no need to count the number of times through each tune is played

* at the end, finish a tune holding one note then give a final drum beat as a signal for dancers when to put arms and hankies down

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