Tag Archives: viola

Skrap-Ollas Polska




I begin with apologies. It’s been a while since I last posted a tune – Christmas and work and a strained hand have driven a coach and horses through my blog schedule.

But though it’s a freezing January in the Northern hemisphere, here’s something to raise our heads, lighten our steps and give thanks for the glimmerings of longer days. Glorious Swedish duo Marin/Marin play Skrap-Ollas Polska on fiddle and viola – both 5-string instruments, in standard tuning CGDAE, (viola an octave lower).

I include two videos: the first shot at a festival with Swedish dancers; the second, a closer stage performance where some of the fingering is visible and the interplay/improvisation is right up front.

Keep warm, everyone – and enjoy!



Mia Marin (5-string fiddle), Mikael Marin (5-string viola)

With dancers Petra Eriksson and Anton Schneider, at the Korrö Festival, 2014. (The video starts mid-tune, comes round to the beginning again at 0:22.)


(‘Marin/Marin – Skrap-Ollas Polska’, YouTube video, 3:39. Published by BornLonesome, 2 Aug 2014. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z-1Pb8j0Ios)



Performance at Studio 55 Marin, San Rafael, California in 2013.


(‘Marin/Marin (Mikael & Mia Marin) perform a Swedish Polska at Studio 55 Marin), YouTube video, 4:34. Published by Studio55Marin, 10 Dec 2013. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eASpnw9MX2M)


Marin/Marin: see Mia’s website

Mia Marin:  Facebook

Mikael Marin:  Facebook

Korro Festival:  website


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Filed under Nordic traditional, Scandinavian folk, Swedish traditional, Uncategorized

Whitehall Minuet



Whitehall Palace, London


This lovely tune is named for the Palace of White Hall, which had grown larger than Versailles or the Vatican by the time it was almost entirely destroyed by fire in 1698.

The Whitehall Minuet was published in 1709 by John Young in his tunebook Dancing Master, and in John Walsh’s Compleat Country Dancing Master, 1718.

Hare’s Maggot and French Morris, the ‘set’ partners to the minuet in the two very different renderings below, are both Playford tunes from 1701.

I’ve always understood that ‘maggot’ in a title means a tune that sticks in your head – an ear-worm. But I see from the wonderful Traditional Tune Archive that although the word can mean a dram (a liquid measure), ‘the musical meaning may stem from the word’s derivation from the Italian word maggioletta, or a plaything’.


The Askew Sisters

Emily Askew (fiddle), Hazel Askew (melodeon)

From a 2014 performance at TwickFolk, Twickenham, Middlesex, UK. The set is also on their CD In the Air or the Earth.

(‘The Askew Sisters – The Whitehall Minuet and Hare’s Maggot’, YouTube video, 5:10. Published by Eugey Baby, 15 Oct 2014. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=guZEJy_ggRQ)



Becky Price (accordion), Miranda Rutter (fiddle, viola), Matthew Coatsworth (fiddle, viola)

From the acclaimed but unreleased 2012 album Mudlarking. Whitehall Minuet starts at 1:41.




Askew Sisters:  this coming Monday 19 September, at London’s Green Note, Camden. Last few tickets here!

Boldwood:  Saturday 15 October, St Peter’s Church, Wolvercote, Oxford. Tickets: info@stpeterswolvercote.org  or 01865 559316


For more information on CDs, gigs etc:

Askew Sisters:  website   facebook

Boldwood:  website   facebook






Filed under English folk/traditional, Uncategorized

Folk Music Retreat with Laurel Swift

Street, Somerset

7-9 October 2016

Street retreat

Just a few places left on this first event in Laurel Swift’s 2016-2017 varied teaching programme – a multi-instrumental weekend retreat with the emphasis on developing ensemble skills alongside individual playing and musicianship. Expect dynamic, inspirational teaching in great company, fuelled by wonderful food and drink in glorious country settings.

Oh, and you’ll need to pack walking boots with your instruments!

Glast Tor

Full details and booking here.

For Laurel’s full programme of retreats, workshops and classes, see the Teaching menu on her website.


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Filed under English folk/modern, English folk/traditional, Uncategorized

Black and Grey


A tune from Playford’s The Dancing Master, 1686 (also known as A Trip to Kilburn – originally the name of the dance that belongs to the tune).

The Round  has a good piece on the Playford tunes and dances – ‘melodies that set a-tapping the toes of Charles II, Henry Purcell and Samuel Pepys,’ says Mary Anne Ballard of the Baltimore Consort.

So, here’s Black and Grey played by quartet Boldwood, followed by a slower version on mandolin that’s perfect for catching the tune by ear.



Becky Price (accordion), Daniel Wolverson (viola), Matthew Coatsworth (fiddle), Kate Moran (fiddle)

A video made during rehearsal in January 2016.


(‘Boldwood – Black and Grey’ YouTube video, 4.31. Posted by Boldwood, 2 Feb 2016. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8k90Hj9RHIQ)


Folk and Classical Mandolin

Sadly no name or contact details for this accomplished mandolinist, whose YouTube video notes quote interesting dates and information for the tune from The Fiddler’s Companion.


(‘Black and Grey or A Trip To Kilburn (Playford, 1686), on mandolin’ YouTube video, 0.58. Posted by Folk and Classical Mandolin, 27 Nov 2010. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_1dHP5cJQvc)


Boldwood: for CDs, gigs and other news, see their  website   Facebook

Also available from their website is the brilliant The Boldwood Dancing Master, a book of over 70 English country dance tunes from 1679 to 1838.

Folk and Classical MandolinYouTube channel


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Stop press! Multi-instrumental folk music retreat

Folk Music Retreat with Laurel Swift

April 8th – 10th 2016

Thurlby, Lincolnshire


Just a few places left on this amazingly good workshop with fiddler/composer/dancer Laurel Swift. Fabulous teaching, playing and walking (and food!) in an unspoilt Lincolnshire village – the kind of weekend where you play your socks off and go home feeling as though you’ve had a week’s holiday.


Don’t forget your walking shoes as well as your instrument/s!


Full details and booking on Laurel’s website


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Filed under English folk/modern, English folk/traditional

Quinn Darrow Hornpipe


Breezy hornpipe that may have travelled to American and back* before arriving in the playlist of Boldwood’s unissued 2012 album Mudlarking.  (*see Matthew Coatsworth’s Folkmusicnotes)



Becky Price (accordion), Miranda Rutter  (fiddle, viola), Matthew Coatsworth (fiddle, viola)




boldwood cdBoldwood’s wonderful CDs are available on their website – along with marvellous tunes book The Boldwood Dancing Master,  ‘a collection of English country dance tunes from 1679 to 1838’.

Current details of recordings, concerts etc are also on their  Facebook page.


Use the Search box above to find other great Boldwood tunes.




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The Miller of Perth

Boldwood play mainly forgotten tunes from 18th century England, painstakingly researched and liberated from lost manuscripts and the extraordinary (to us) phenomenon of dance fans. This 3/2 hornpipe was discovered by Becky Price in an unpublished handwritten manuscript in the British Library.



Becky Price (accordion), Miranda Rutter (fiddle, viola), Matthew Coatsworth (fiddle, viola)


(From Boldwood’s 2012 unreleased second album Mudlarking, available on Soundcloud here.)


Boldwood-Dancing-Master-front-cover-300x210The dots for The Miller of Perth are published in The Boldwood Dancing Master, available from the Boldwood website – along with a brilliant new CD – and also on  Matthew Coatsworth’s fascinating website ‘English and French Music: an online manuscript’.

For more information and another great Boldwood tune, see Fiddletails post Jackson’s Shaving Brush (June 2015).




Filed under English folk/traditional