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Morris: origins
What my name means to music
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Peter
West Sussex, England UK
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February 15, 2020 - 4:16 pm
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My family name is Morris.

If you are outside of England, it may mean very little to you, but it has relevance to the world of music and dance. There is a folk dance tradition in England called Morris dancing which has its origins in the culture of north Africa, alluding to the origin of the name Morris: "Moorish". In short, I could dress as an Arab (I do in fact look pretty authentic when I do) or wear 'blackface' with sound defence against allegations of cultural appropriation. It's just who I am: likely, there are connections to north Africa in my lineage.

Anyway, the dance and the music. Here's a Morris dance, performed by a Sussex Morris 'side', in my home town of Lewes in East Sussex:

Morris side dancing in Lewes

Morris music is usually played on an accordion or concertina, occasionally on a tinwhistle, or more rarely on a fiddle. Here's a popular UK fiddle artist and advocate, PeakFiddler, playing a typical Morris tune on both fiddle and accordion:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?.....eaJSQcfCj4

Beware of YouTube searches. Here's one of a long list of videos of the same tune, returned by the search "morris dance violin":

This may well be a Morris dance tune, but it's unrecognisable without the slow-reel 'diddly' feel which characterises these tunes when correctly deployed as in the first two links. I suspect this is a popular tune in a central Asian violin tutor textbook.

Anyway, that's one aspect of my musical heritage; I may bore you with other facets in the future...

Peter

"It is vain to do with more that which can be done with less"  - William of Ockham

"A crown is merely a hat that lets the rain in" - Frederick the Great

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GregW
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February 15, 2020 - 9:35 pm
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Thanks Peter!  If you hadnt given some history I would have thought that Bavarian.  Thanks for giving some history there.  BTW...I couldn't open the peak fiddler video but it may have just been a glitch here.  I'm familiar with his channel though.  he is an excellent fiddler!

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Peter
West Sussex, England UK
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February 16, 2020 - 2:55 am
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GregW said
Thanks Peter!  If you hadnt given some history I would have thought that Bavarian.  

  

The people of southern and eastern England were originally from Jutland (Denmark) and Saxony (Germany), absorbing / displacing the Romano-British. That's us; and so there's a connection, if not a common origin, with Bavarian traditions and culture. The later Norman invasion and assertion of political control may not have had the same impact on the populace, beyond social stratification and an annexe to our language. English, as she is spoken today, has a wide stretch of lingual roots, from Greek, Latin, Briton (Gaelic / Celtic), Old German, Norse, Jutish, French (Norman), and a smattering of Arabic, Yiddish, Irish (Gaelic), Urdu and Hindi. This list is far from exhaustive, and  the span of the 19-century peak of the British empire brought many influences.

Here endeth the Sunday morning spouting! I'm hungry; breakfast is calling.

Peter

"It is vain to do with more that which can be done with less"  - William of Ockham

"A crown is merely a hat that lets the rain in" - Frederick the Great

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MrYikes
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February 16, 2020 - 10:50 am
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What's for breakfast?

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Peter
West Sussex, England UK
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February 16, 2020 - 10:58 am
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MrYikes said
What's for breakfast?

  

Breakfast was peppered mackerel fillets, tinned tomatoes and toasted wholemeal bread, with black, unsweetened breakfast tea. We try to 'push the boat out' a little at the weekend.

Peter

"It is vain to do with more that which can be done with less"  - William of Ockham

"A crown is merely a hat that lets the rain in" - Frederick the Great

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MrYikes
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February 16, 2020 - 11:11 am
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Perfect and much better than my three cups of coffee.  But maybe my Welsh ancestry lends to a poorer start to the day.  hah.

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Peter
West Sussex, England UK
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February 16, 2020 - 11:36 am
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MrYikes said
Perfect and much better than my three cups of coffee.  But maybe my Welsh ancestry lends to a poorer start to the day.  hah.

   

My father was born in Llandudno, of parents from Manchester and Rotherham. He saw himself as Welsh, but would have preferred to have been Irish;  he always maintained that, "A Welshman is an Irishman who couldn't swim": a reference to St. Patrick's Welsh heritage.

I was born in Brighton, and so English, but happier to identify as a Sussex man.

My body no longer allows me to drink more than two coffees in each day, and I usually reach that limit.

Peter

"It is vain to do with more that which can be done with less"  - William of Ockham

"A crown is merely a hat that lets the rain in" - Frederick the Great

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