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I know what you’re thinking.
Who is Morpeth? And why is he ranting? It is an election year, after all.
The story of old time music, and much of American music in general, is the story of the fusion of European and African musical traditions into new musical forms.
The African influence was on display with last week’s “proto-blues” tune, Chilly Winds.
This week’s number, Morpeth Rant, is decidedly European in its origin. It’s attributed to William Shield (1748-1829) of Northumberland (and Morpeth is a town there), though it’s suspected it may have already existed as a folk tune when he immortalized it in written form.
You may note some melodic similarities to a prior tune of the week, “Nancy,” another hornpipe with European heritage.
Sharing at least 25% of their melodic genome, these two are most certainly part of the same tune family. Cousins, or half brothers perhaps? The search for their last common ancestor is ongoing.
And as is often the case with tunes of European origin, you’ll find plenty of notes crammed into each measure. But, as you can hear, they’ve been very well chosen!
aDADE tuning, Brainjo level 4
Notes on the tab:
Notes in parentheses are “skip” notes. To learn more about these, check out my video lesson on the subject.
For more on reading tabs in general, check out this complete guide to reading banjo tabs.
Level 2 arrangements and video demos for the Tune (and Song!) of the Week tunes are now available as part of the Breakthrough Banjo course. Learn more about it here.