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Playford and Beyond

Whims and Cockleshells

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New Album and Tune Book

English Country Dance Project

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Growing up in Edinburgh, Scotland, I became enthralled by the culture of music making there: even as a child, I was deeply touched by the way that music seemed to accompany the rhythms and routines of every day life, in addition to special occasions. As a professional musician, music continues to shape my day to day experiences.

 

A sense of thankfulness propels me to share this gift with others, not only my ability to offer live music, but also that of helping others develop and cultivate the craft of making music as well. To that end, 'Whims and Cockleshells' is part of a larger endeavour. Over the last two years, I have been playing and collecting English Country Dance tunes, taking special note of the tunes whose range and idiomatic writing seem particularly well suited for the hurdy gurdy. I am currently transcribing and transposing those very tunes into hurdy gurdy friendly keys, and adding second voice parts (see sample 'Black and Grey'). The second voices are written within the style of the original melodies.

 

As I continue my hurdy gurdy pilgrimage, I have become more convinced of this instrument's beauty and versatility. I believe it has something unique to contribute to renaissance dance music, and subsequent traditions that have sprung out of it. My hope is that a compilation of English Country Dances for hurdy gurdy, with additional second voice parts for any other melody instrument, will make this beautiful repertoire easier to play for hurdy gurdy enthusiasts, and simpler to play with other musicians in dance and social settings. 

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