the Pipe and Tabor compendium

the Pipe and Tabor compendium

essays on the three-hole pipe

UK terminology

Victorian 'pipe and tabor' players

an analysis of morris musicians and their instruments
as collected by Cecil Sharp in his 'notes'

There appears to be no standard term for the instrument in Victorian times. This analysis of Cecil Sharp's Folk Dance Notes assumes that he used the terms of his interviewees when writing the notes up. Whether this is the case or not, it does give some indication of the range of terms that were used in the 19th century in the seven counties he visited.

I have picked out the relevant sections and arranged them in county order to see if different counties had preferred terminology. My conclusion: in counties with more than one entry there was no one term used in exclusion of all others.



Twyford Morris, 1852 . whittle and dub, Th. Wise whittle and dub


Westbury: Mrs. Johnson (nee Makepace). Her father used to play pipe and tabor, for Brack1ey dancers and for Westbury Morris, but seemed doubtful whether Westbury had an independent Morris of its own. Her father died 40 years ago then the Brackley men got another pipe and taborist.

pipe and tabor

pipe and taborist

  Barton Hartshorne: George Horwood used to play the pipe three fingers and drum
  Twyford: Pipe and drum pipe and drum


William Hooper of Sherborne used to play the Whittle and Dub

whittle and dub
  morris men from Cheltenham: They had a pipe and tabor...
Cheltenham dancers once came to Huntly, they had a pipe and tabor player. - 2 reports
pipe and tabor
  Naunton. My pipe was made by Danley of Andoversford, from whom Carter bought it. It was not a new one then and always was bound at bottom. Made of plum wood. The tabor was made by Carter himself. he got the parchment from an old drum and had the iron rings cast by an iron-man at Pourton. David Danley was the pipe man. pipe and tabor
  Minster Lovell Morris. An old man at Barrington played the whittle and dub. whittle and dub

Northleach. Thomas Young used to play pipe and tabor for them

pipe and tabor


Brackley Morris Dancers. The person who marks time is also dressed in a peculiar style and accompanied the dance with pipe and tabor. pipe and tabor
Oxfordshire Brize Norton Morris, pipe and tabor. Whittle and dub, John Hedon of Shilton, labourer

pipe and tabor

whittle and dub

   Bucknell. Joseph Pole the piper. I examined his pipe. It is of hard wood, possibly ebony - smaller bore than mine. Pole hangs the drum over his thumb not wrist. Sound much shriller than mine. Strikes dub different rhytmn

the piper


  Deddington. Joseph Woods born 1812 played whittle and dub for the Morris. He began learning when 10 and has played in villages 25 miles round. He also played in London, when he and his wife went up for hay making 60 years ago.(1894) bought by Mr. Manning.

whittle and dub

pipe and tabor

  Ducklington Morris . John Lanksbury played pipe and tabor as well as fiddle... Drum and pipe or fiddle. Drum and pipe much better music than the fiddle.

pipe and tabor

drum and pipe

  Field Assarts Morris Charles Scyphas, pipe and tabor pipe and tabor
  Field Town Morris One Thomas Heddin of Asthal (?) used to play the whittle and dub for some of the morris dancers. He "could almost make it speak". whittle and dub
  Finstock Morris Whittle and dub, Thos. Langford and Stephen Dore. Whittle and dub was taken to London many years ago.
Ascott Under Wychwood Morris. Two men played for them, Thomas Langford, pipe and tabor player from Finstock and Stephen Dower (Dare?) also pipe and taborer from Finstock.
Ascott Morris 1864 the Wake Whit-Monday.Pipe and Tabor, Th. Langford, Finstock. Leafield Morris a man once came over from Finstock, named Dore who used to play dub and whittle
Shipton Under Wychwood Morris Pipe and Tabor. John Dore of Finstock

pipe and tabor player

pipe and taborer

whittle and dub

dub and whittle

pipe and tabor

  Kirtlington Lamb Ale. A dub and whittler dub and whittler
  Leafield Morris Pipe and tabor belonged to Jonathan Williams grandfather, was played in London. (around 1870's) pipe and tabor
  North Leigh Morris Billy Brown used to play pipe and tabor pipe and tabor
  Spelsbury Morrris and Chadlington Morris a man playing pipe and tabor...The pipe and taborer's name was Edens pipe and taborer
  Stanton Harcourt Morris The Pipe and Tabor were played by John Potter of Stanton Harcourt, a famous player who "could always make it speak". He died in Oxford in 1900. His pipe had the holes lettered with the notes. pipe and tabor
  Wheatley Morris Pipe and tabor, Old Tom Hall, Islip pipe and tabor


Brailes Morris a form of pipe and tabor pipe and tabor
  Ilmington. Sam Bennet Learned tunes from old whittle and dub man Ilmington Morris When James Arthur the pipe and tabor man, and son of the old Arthur, pipe and tabor man (father in law of Michael Handy) got old the Morris waned ... The revived side came to an end because Old James Arthur was too old to play pipe and tabor. Neither Michael could remember the tune properly and Sam told me the way he played it was picked up anyhow from several people. I sang version in "Folk Dance Airs" which Michael Johnson said was a good deal like Arthur's pipe and tabor tune. Instructions for Sheperds hey included “last Jump and tap facing pipe and tabor.” Their old pipe and tabor player was Jas, Arthur flow

whittle and dub man

pipe and tabor man

pipe and tabor player

to research Asterlby(?) Morris Whittle and dub. At the hay season it was customary for these people to take their pipe and tabor with them to London when they went up there hay-making and play in the streets and they found it a great help.

whittle and dub

pipe and tabor

  A man of the name of Gomme used to come from Horton to play fife and drum
[Horton is in almost every county where morris dancing has survived.]
fife and drum



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