The many lives of an English hill and its tune: morris meets mediaeval meets mazurka in this varied trio of videos – topped off by a slow audio teaching file.
Idbury Hill is an Iron Age hillfort near the village of Bledington in Oxfordshire, England. The tune is a Cotswold Morris dance tune originating in the village.
Charles Benfield (1841-1929), fiddler with the Bledington Morris in the second half of the nineteenth century. (Portrait by A. van Anrooy*)
Lester Bailey (melodeon)
(‘Idbury Hill, Bledington – Lester – Melodeon’ YouTube video, 2:02. Posted by Lester Bailey, 27 Sep 2012. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ibur3E4nFgg)
Paul Martin (Dunholmpiper) (vielle/mediaeval fiddle)
Lively version – with a belting rhythm section! Paul says he plays mostly in GDGD or GCGD (but nb this is a 5-stringed fiddle…) [Correction: Paul’s instrument is a 4-stringed medieval fidel – see his comment below.]
(‘Idbury Hill’ YouTube video, 2:12. Posted by Dunholmpiper, 13 Oct 2014. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7rhJsxwiYO4)
Meet Idbury Hill the mazurka! Wonderful resetting of the tune, followed by the original morris version.
(‘Idbury Hill’ YouTube video, 2:56. Posted by anahatamelodeon, 14 Mar 2012. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UX–KYRn4YU)
Laurel Swift (fiddle)
Slow audio file for Laurel’s beginners’ fiddle class at the EDFSS Saturday Folk Music Workshops, Cecil Sharp House, London
Lester Bailey, Anahata, Paul Martin (as Dunholmpiper), and Laurel Swift all have websites/channels bursting at the seams with great tunes.
See also Fiddletails 8 July for details of Laurel’s forthcoming fiddle and multi-instrumental retreats.
* Reproduced under Creative Commons license from The Traditional Tune Archive, which has fascinating notes on the history of the tune and the characters associated with it, including a lovely story about Charles Benfield and his fiddle.
2 responses to “Idbury Hill”
Thanks for the correction, Paul – I found so many refs to 5-strings I lost my nerve, despite your clear tuning information. It’s such a beautiful instrument, and a fantastic version – I was thrilled to include your video. Glad you like the blog – it’s just my own choice of tunes, so it’s great to know when they resonate with others too.
Very best wishes,
Hi Jenny, glad to see the video on your site. You’ve got some great music on here!
My fiddle is a four string Medieval Fidel, not five, although some instruments have a fifth string.
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