Music For Friends

These songs and tunes have strong associations with friends, a place or a time. In each case, the music reproduced here is only a close approximation to how I normally play them, and should be treated as a starting point for your own variations and embellishments. My hope is that one or two of them will find their way into “the tradition”, so that one day, when I’m old, I will hear one played by someone who doesn’t know where it comes from because he learnt it from a friend.

I’m gradually transcribing them into internet-friendly formats and will publish them here as and when I do.

Although I indicate approximate dance type, this hardly an exact science! Schottisches can be played as hornpipes, polkas or even reels by varying the speed and the amount of “dotting”. Jigs can be turned into marches or waltzes; 3/2 hornpipes into slip jigs and vice versa, and anything can be made into a slow air. Feel free to experiment…

What about copyright? Except where I indicate otherwise, all the songs and tunes on this web-site were written by me, Mark Fry, and I assert my right to be identified as the author. I’m happy for everyone to play them in live performance. If you’d like to record or broadcast, you must ask my permission first – I’m sure we can come to some arrangement.

Another tune named after a pub. In this case it’s a rather nice little place in Milton village, between Abingdon and Didcot. It happens to be the current venue for the 3rd Sunday “Mostly English” music session (which used to be held at The Cherry Tree). So it’s not too surprising that it’s the first place where I played this tune in public, hence the tune’s name. That was on Sunday 15th March 2020 and was the last pub session I went to before lock-down started. There were only three musicians present, the barmaid and, I think, one other.

Here’s the ABC text:

T:The Plum Pudding
C:Mark Fry
DG3|AG/A/BG | EGDG | c/B/A/G/ G/F/E/D/ | DG3|AG/A/BG |[1 EGDG/A/ | BAG2:|][2e3/2e/ d/B/G/A/ | BAG2 |]
|:egdg | cB/A/BG | egdB | A^cd2 | eg=cB/A/ | BdG2 | e3/2e/ d/B/G/A/ | BAG2:|

And here’s the score as a PDF:

Another schottisch, another tune from a signalbox… (read more…)

Here are two slower tunes, of a slightly lugubrious nature, that might do well for step-hop dances. (read more…)

King Alfred’s statue in Winchester

Here are a couple of jigs that I came up with at the start of May 2021. They were prompted by playing Philippe Plard’s wonderful jig, Zelda, which was tune of the week for the Tunesday Tuesdays group on Facebook. (read more…)

My first schottiche, my first tune named after a pub and (therefore?) my first real success. It was also one of the first tunes I invented on my Wheatstone Aeola concertina.

This tune was named after the place where I first played it, The Nut Tree in Murcot, Oxon. (read more…)

Here’s another schottische named after a pub. In this case it’s The Cherry Tree in Steventon, Oxon. This was the home of the “mostly English” session, held on the 3rd Sunday of each month, from 2000 until 2017. (read more…)

Here’s a weird little 5-time waltz for Christmas. The beat is 1-2, 1-2-3. (read more…)

A simple schottiche composed during a holiday in the Vendee, in the picturesque fortified village of Vouvant. Easter 2018 (read more…)

An English (or “three-two”) hornpipe written as a birthday present for Dick Wolff, November 2002. Dick chose the title himself.

(read more…)

A 3/2 hornpipe written as a leaving present for Nadine and Ian White when they moved from Drayton in Oxfordshire to Whithorn in Galloway. (read more…)

An English or “three-two” hornpipe. I attempted to pass this off at a session as an early 18th century tune, saying I thought it was written “between about 1700 and 1730” but was rumbled immediately. (read more…)

Schottische. Composed in Feb 2007 for my friend Corinne to play on her violin. She wanted something that would use the bottom string. The alternative version was produced for her violin teacher, Felicity, to play on her bagpipes, which don’t go so low. (read more…)

Schottische.  Composed Dec 2014 between writing Christmas Cards which had to be in the post the next morning. Any distraction will do… (read more…)

Jig. For my good friend Felicity. The first half is from Aug 2008, the second from Aug 2014. (read more…)

Reel. Written August 2008. No other information… (read more…)

Mazurka – probably! I’ve got no idea where this tune came from except that it was composed in August 2008. (read more…)

Jig. First played in public at “The Fox”, Boar’s Hill, nr Oxford, 6th May 1998. (read more…)

Schottische, written Aug 2014. First played through with Felicity and Corinne on board NB Red Cardinal while moored below Abingdon bridge on the River Thames. (read more…)

A reel to celebrate Ian Wheeler’s 49th birthday. I won’t tell you when that was or it will give his age away! (read more…)

MaxHere’s a jig that I made up on Max, my bass concertina. Take it steady and play it as low as you can. (read more…)