Iv a musical context Northumbria is tyen te mean Northumberland, the myest northren coonty iv England, and Coonty Durham. Accordin te 'World Music: The region is weel-knawn for its borders ballad tradition, the Northumbrian smawpipes (a kind o bagpipe at is unique te the region), and a strang fiddle tradition at was awriddy weel-established bi the 1690s. Northumbrian music tyeks influence frev other musical traditions i the British isles, myest ov aw frae Scotland, Ireland, and other pairts o Northren England.
Local musical forms an stylesEdit
Northumbria and the Scottish mairches hez byeth gat a lang history o border ballads, sic as 'The Ballad o Chevy Chase'. Northumbria hez its awn repertoire o folk dances an aw, the twe myest weel-knawn is rapper dancin an Durham and Northumberland style clog dancin. Tradition Northumbrian dance music soonds varra different te traditional dance music frev other pairts ov England. Wiv its rare-brokken drivin quaver rhythms, it is mair siccanlike tiv Irish and Scottish dance music nor dance music frae sooth o the Tees.
Mony Northumbrians tuins is shared wiv other musical traditions, and abuin aw wi them ov Ireland, Scotland and other pairts o Northren England. Hooiver, there is offen a difference atween a Northumbrian version ov a sang and variants frev other pairts o the world. The Irish tuin, 'The Chorus Jig', at hez three strains, is fand i the Northumbrian tradition as 'Holey Hawpenny', an ornate five-strain variation set. A Scottish strathspey, 'Struan Robertson's Rant' appears, withoot the Scotch snap, as a smawpipe tuin caw'd 'Cuckold come oot o the Amrey', a lang variation set. These twe examples shows hoo we offen cannet be çartain where an awd sang comes frae; ilk can be played wiv a primitive instrument, and may hae been played for lang afore their forst publication, mebby even langer nor they hae been sin. Assumptions o regional origins can gan agyen the study o music undertyen biv enthusiastic musicians (at may hae their awn allegiances) hooaniver, regional versions and styles (sic as Northumbrian) is nobbut a different matter awthegither, acaws they hae reliable and established sources.
Tuins in hornpipe rhythm is weel-appreciated i the region, byeth for playin and dancin, and particularly clog dancin. Yen rhythm at is popular i the region is the rant, used for figur dances sic as The Morpeth Rant wiv a characteristic step; musically it is siccanlike tiv a reel, tho a bit slawer, and wi mair ov a lilt tid.
I the lyeter medieval period pipe music appears te hev been characterised bi the use o the Northumbrian 'war pipe', at may hae been the ancestor o the Greet Heeghland Bagpipe, but ne examples on't hez survived. It appears te hev been replaced i the region by the aighteent century biv a variety o pipes, rangin frae the conical bore, oppen-ended border pipes, te the cylindrically bored smawpipes; the closed-ended kind wiv its single octave compass and closed fingerin is knawn te hev existed sin the sivinteent century, and oppen-ended kinds was knawn an aw. The Union or Pastoral pipes, the precursor o the Irish Uilleann pipes, is knawn te hev been played and myed i the region in aw. The earliest knawn bagpipe manuscript frae the UK is a tuinbuik bi William Dixon o Stamfordham i Northumberland, frae 1733. This includes forty tuins wiv extensive sets o variations. Some o the tuins corresponds te later versions o knawn smawpipe tuins; others, wiv a nine-note compass, munnet hae been played on owther Border pipes or oppen-ended smawpipes, like the Scottish smawpipes.
In the early nineteent century, makers sic as John Dunn and Robert and James Reid added keys te the closed-ended smawpipe, extendin its range tiv awmyest twe octaves. Wiv its greeter flexibility, the instrument becam mair fashionable aroond this time. Hooiver, Border pipes dizn't seem te hae been used i Northumberland varra muckle efter the middle o the century, tho they were revived as the 'hawf-lang pipes' i the 1920s and mair successfully i the 1970s and 80s.
- J. Reed, Border Ballads: a Selection (Routledge, 2004).
- S. Broughton, M. Ellingham, R. Trillo, O. Duane, V. Dowell, World Music: The Rough Guide (Rough Guides, 1999), p. 66.