• Since 1994 TASC has been organising Events & Workshops to encourage the use and enjoyment of Folk Music in Mid Wales and the Borders
    REGISTERED CHARITY 1042144 Swn-y-Coed, Llandinam. SY17 5DJ tel:01686 688102 . . . admin@tradartsupport.org.uk     VIEW SITE MAP
    SEVERN SUITE
    This was a project created by TASC in 2006 with the support of PRSF New Music Works Scheme which operates in Wales in partnership with the Arts Council of Wales(ACW). Additional help was provided by Powys County Council and the Gwendoline and Margaret Davies Charity.

    click here for the main TASC website.


    BUY THE BOOK

    A book of the dances and tunes, together with a CD is available direct from TASC. Visit our shop to buy it.


    MUSIC NOTATION

    The music notation for the book was created using music software called MusicEase. There is a professional edition, but we used the standard version, which does almost everything you would need and is several hundred pounds cheaper than Sibelius. It was retailing for $79.95 in autumn 2007 (about £39).You can download an evaluation copy free for 30 days.

    Among its many uses it can convert the wonderful abc notation into stave notation. If you don't know abc you have a treat in store. It is a way of writing out tunes in plain text, making them incredibly small files. As a result you can download a bucketful of tunes in no time at all. Most fascinating of all is the sectionalised web-wide abc index where you can browse thousands of tunes.

    There are plenty of guides to writing music in abc such as this one from John Chambers as a plain text file. so although it might look a bit forbidding at first it doesn't take too long to get the hang of it.

    The Severn Suite was always meant as a contribution to the tradition that would grow and develop, so if you make any new arrangements, have any ideas, or do anything interesting with it, we would love to hear from you.


    TRANSPOSING AND SAMPLES
    The Rant of the Rushing River is a tune from the book written in MusicEase. The original was in the key of F, so we have put it into a more melodeon friendly G. You may need to save this first (right click on your mouse). We have used the font Inkpen2 for some of the symbols, which you might need to reproduce the way it looks in the book, but it will work without.

    Here's the same thing generated as a midi file (yes, we know it sounds awful, but it is good enough to hear how the tune goes if sight reading isn't your thing.

    In the next section is a snatch of John playing the tune in the original key.

    And here's the image(as a jpg)and as a PDF file.We will put some more of these on the site in the future.
    A FEW SAMPLES

    Here is a taste of the tunes


    All tunes copyright:-
    * Squeezer Music **May Monday Publishing ***Squeezer Music/May Monday Publishing

    Here are some parts written by Kitty Greenwood for her workshops held in spring 2008:

    • Standard instrument parts


    • Cello parts

    • Bb instrument parts


    • All rights reserved and no material may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or in any information and storage and retrieval system without permission in writing from the publisher.

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    THE ACCOMPANYING CD
    A few people have been puzzled by the numbering of tracks on the CD that accompanies the book. This is the full list.
    1. Fanfare for the Llandinam Bellringers
    2. The Rant of the Rushing River
    3. St. Llonio's March
    4. The Gwendoline Davies Landslide
    5. The Malt House Cottage Conjuror
    6. Canon Fodder (played as a canon)
    7. Canon Fodder (with chords)
    8. The Elgin Evacuation Code
    9. Ted Morris s Christmas Coal Chase
    10. The Hafren Hornpipe and a Half
    11. The Swn-y-Coed Waltz
    12. Top Sawyer s Tripling Tensome
    13. Opposite Angel Hills
    14. Severn Up
    BACKGROUND
    The inspiration for the tunes came in a large part from Jeremy's Pryce's book Llandinam - A Glimpse of the Past (also available from TASC - visit our shop )

    Here are a some images of Llandinam and its rich history:


    The might River Severn at Llandinam

    . . . and the massive Iron Age hillfort of Cefn Carnedd that overlooks the village

    The Church of Saint Llonio as it was in 1757 . . .

    and as it is today.

    and the view from the hills above.


    TASC gratefully acknowledges the support of Powys County Council, the Arts Council of Wales, the Performing Rights Society Fund New Music Works Scheme and the Gwendoline and Margaret Davies Charity for enabling us to commission this work.
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    dancers

    These dances and music were created together, returning to the original practice of Country Dance, where figures, steps and tune evolved in partnership.

    • The Rant of the Rushing River is a dance by John with ten-bar phrases rather than the usual eight. It is a longways set, for as many as will, danced with a rant step in sets of two couples.
    • Saint Llonio's March is reminiscent of a stately galliard or pavane. It was created by John to match the unusual and irregular metre, where three bars of 5/4 time is followed by one of 6/4.
    • The Gwendoline Davies Landslide is a lively dance for couples by Karen. It needs at least 8 couples, who dance in fours for most of the dance. It has more than a little of an Irish set dance feel, and is expressive of the hwl of a village's successful protest.
    • Canon Fodder is possibly the most ambitious of all the dances, but at its heart has a very simple idea. The tune for Canon Fodder was written as a canon (the musical equivalent of a round) where the melody overlays itself to provide harmony (as in a round). This dance from John creates a canon movement for the dance that does the same thing, so that each couple in the square set repeats a figure. Breathtaking to watch, and exhilarating to dance.
    • Ted Morris's Christmas Coal Chase is Karen's version of a the chase bourree. French, and other mainland European dances, have been very popular with dancers in mid Wales in recent years, and this unusual version attempts to catch the freewheeling spirit of Ted Morris, a village character.
    • The Hafren Hornpipe and a Half is a dance from John in honour of the river Severn, which is starting to gather strength as it passes through Llandinam on its long voyage to the sea. As John says, it is "at the speed of a slow lolloppy hornpipe, but has a catch in the rhythm. There are six bars to each phrase of music, and every third bar is longer by half."
      • The Swn-y-Coed Waltz can be danced either as a noral waltz, or with a particular two bar step which is described in the book. It is a dance for three couples with partners facing each other in lines. The dance in 32 bars long.
      • Top Sawyer's Tripling Tensome is danced to a triple hornpipe, with three main beats to the bar, like a slip jig but in even time. Or like a polka with an extra half a bar each time.
        It is written by John to mark one of Llandinam's - and Wales's - most famous characters, ancestor of the present day Lord Davies and the famous Davies sisters. Longways set for four couples.
      • Opposite Angell Hills is a haunting and unusual couple dance from Karen. With slow balletic movements it explores the upper body space which are here used to evoke the strange ancient magic of the landscape.
      • Severn Up is already the most well-known of the dances, having been given an airing at Sidmouth and Whitby as well as more local village hops. With a splendid four part tune to set the pace John has here created a classic dance. It needs seven couples in a longways set and plenty of room, plus a full sense of fun.
      N.B. There is an error in the notation of the B part of Severn Up in the book.
      Click here for a pdf of the corrected part.
      Click here for a jpg of the corrected part.

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