See under Organ stop (Horn).
A single-reed Aerophone incorporating animal horn, either around the reed, or forming a bell, or both; some are played with a bag. The word appears in Chaucer’s Romaunt of the Rose as ‘hornpipes of Cornewaile’ (see Estive), and in two 15th-century vocabularies and an inventory of an Oxford scholar (see Langwill). As a rustic instrument it is cited both by Spenser in Shepheards Calender and by Ben Jonson in The Sad Shepherd. A ‘Lancashire hornpipe’ is mentioned with other wind instruments in the report of a lady’s concert in The Tatler of 11 April 1710. Hawkins wrote that ‘we have no such instrument as the hornpipe’ but referred to its common use in Wales, where it was called Pibgorn (or pibcorn). He cited Daines Barrington’s paper of 1779 (in Archaeologia) where this and other wind instruments of Welsh shepherds are described. Subsequent references to ‘hornpipe’ as an instrument are antiquarian, as in Stainer and Barrett’s Dictionary of Musical Terms (London, 1876), until in 1890 when Henry Balfour revived the word as a generic term for numerous folk instruments resembling the Welsh pibgorn still to be found in Europe and north Africa.
The general characteristics of these are a simple pipe of elder, cane or bone, sounded by a beating reed of cane or elder; in the majority of species two such pipes are joined parallel together (double pipe). Over the distal end of the pipes is fixed a bell of cowhorn or in certain instances two bells. Instruments of this description are depicted in medieval art from the 10th century, and in English art and sculpture of the 14th and 15th centuries, and to such as these the contemporary name ‘hornpipe’ is reasonably presumed to refer. Examples are in the Beauchamp Psalter (in which it is held by a shepherd) and in the stained glass of St Mary’s, Warwick (fig.1). In these as in the pibgorn (of which 18th-century specimens are preserved) the reed(s) are covered by a second cowhorn forming a cup which is held to the player’s mouth – an arrangement which is retained in the Basque hornpipe, the alboka. In some Russian and Albanian species the reeds are taken directly in the mouth, as they were in older Scottish forms of the instrument (‘stock-and-horn’) of which late 18th-century accounts are by Alexander Pennecuik and Robert Burns (see Langwill): these were single pipes of sheep’s thigh-bone or bower-tree with cowhorn bell and oaten reed, made by shepherds. Later Scottish examples have a turned wooden reed-cap like that of a bagpipe practice-chanter. The majority of hornpipes are, however, double pipes played with an inflated bag of goatskin, cow’s stomach, etc. Such ‘bag-hornpipes’ occur iconographically in the west from the 14th century and today exist as folk instruments from the Caucasus and the Volga regions in Russia to the Greek islands and north Africa (see Bagpipe, §8). A summary of the astonishing variety of musical techniques accruing from different arrangements of finger-holes on these and on bagless hornpipes also has been attempted by Baines. The melodic compass, however, reaches a 9th at very most. Fig.2 shows a Moroccan bagless hornpipe.
The earliest reed instrument carrying a horn bell is that which became known in Rome as the Phrygian Aulos, described briefly by Pollux and others. The two pipes, one longer than the other, were held one in each hand and the longer ended with a cowhorn bell, as first depicted on a Minoan sarcophagus of c1400 bce in the Iraklion Museum (Crete). A likeness to the mouth-blown double hornpipe as now known occurs in a figurine of the 8th century bce from Asia Minor (see Rimmer). Several pairs of bird-bone pipes found in Avar graves of the 5th and 6th centuries ce are considered to be parts of hornpipes, and likewise some wooden pipes of the 9th century or earlier in the Fries Museum, Leeuwarden (see Crane).
H. Balfour: ‘The Old British “Pibcorn” or “Hornpipe” and its Affinities’, Journal of the Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland, xx (1890–91), 142–54
L.G. Langwill: ‘The Stock-and-Horn’, Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, lxxxiv (1949–50), 173–80
A. Baines: Bagpipes (Oxford, 1960, 3/1995)
J. Rimmer: Ancient Musical Instruments of Western Asia in the Department of Western Asiatic Antiquities, the British Museum (London, 1969), pl.viii
F. Crane: Extant Medieval Musical Instruments: a Provisional Catalogue by Types (Iowa City, 1972), 46
ANTHONY C. BAINES
A dance resembling the Jig but distinguished from it by its metre, which may be variously 3/2, 2/4 or 4/4.
1. Introduction and types.
The name is often assumed to derive from the instrument that is supposed to have performed the music. There is no precise evidence for this: the instruments commonly named are the bagpipe, fiddle and harp, and whereas the instruments may acquire vernacular names, the dance is called ‘hornpipe’ throughout the British Isles. Loosely used, the term may indicate music or dancing of an elementary kind, such as that considered by Thomas Morley to be, like the jig, too trivial to merit consideration.
The hornpipe dance falls into three types. One is a solo executed by one person, or by two or more people dancing simultaneously but independently. In Scotland and Wales this has existed immemorially, and in England since at least the 16th century; in Ireland, where the hornpipe is not indigenous, it has been competitively developed to championship standards. A second type is a rustic round dance for both sexes in hornpipe tempo which obtained in England in the 15th and 16th centuries and the early 17th, and perhaps later without the distinguishing name. The third type of hornpipe is a longways country dance of the late 17th century in syncopated 3/2 time, created by dancing-masters for the assembly rooms or for private patrons and sometimes termed ‘maggot’, ‘delight’ or ‘whim’ (ex.1). Its figuration is intricate, and it may have been performed with hornpipe steps (as, later, minuet, waltz or polka steps were used in country dances). Movements designated ‘hornpipe’, using the rhythm of the country dance type, sometimes appeared in dance suites and incidental theatre music from the 16th to the 18th centuries, many of them cast as variations over two- or four-note ground basses. Examples may be found among the works of Hugh Aston, Guillaume Morlaye, Antony Holborne, Byrd, Purcell, Arne and Handel; Handel included two hornpipes in the Water Music (nos.9 and 12), and the chorus ‘Now Love that everlasting boy’ in Act 2 of Semele is headed ‘alla hornpipe’.
The concept of dancing as the beating of a rhythm rather than as a sequence of movements in a vertical plane is now better understood than formerly. It is not susceptible to verbal description, and it can only be depicted as a movement in suspension. Knowledge of the hornpipe, such as it is, comes from two unrelated sources: literary references which may describe the circumstances in which the dance was performed, without describing the dance, and musical examples which, except for the country dance types in later editions of John Playford’s Dancing Master and some later collections, also leave the dance undescribed. Only where the dance itself survives, as the solo hornpipe does in Ireland, can one see it in performance, but this is so varied according to individual predilection that it defies both description and notation.
2. Wales, Scotland and Ireland.
Welsh hornpipe music is to be found in Jones (1780 and 1802). In his preface to the 1802 volume Jones referred to ‘sprightly Jigs and Hornpipes’ danced at weddings, wakes and rural assemblies. The tunes are in 4/4 time and consist of two repeated sections of four bars each. Richard Warner in his Second Walk through Wales (1799) described a ball at a public house which took place to the music of the harp and concluded with a hornpipe danced by two brothers. Writers on Welsh folkdance have asserted that although such dances are hornpipes with common time tunes they are popularly called jigs.
According to later editions of The Scots Musical Museum (first published in 1787) the 3/2 measure, employed in both the Highlands and the Lowlands for the type of dancing to which the hornpipe belongs, originated in the border country and may thence have reached England. Here, during the reigns of Elizabeth I and James I, Scottish dancing was greatly admired, particularly the male solo dance called by the English ‘Scotch jig’. Even the 2/4 measure which displaced the 3/2 in the 18th century was known as ‘Scots measure’, the difference between hornpipe and jig apparently residing in the number of steps, 16 for the former, 14 for the latter; a skilful dancer alternated one with the other.
There is no evidence that the hornpipe is native to Ireland, nor is there a Gaelic word for hornpipe, jig or reel, terms that were formerly interchangeable. But the hornpipe in Ireland is now distinguished from the jig by its 2/4 time and from the Reel by the number of accents to the bar, the hornpipe having two and the reel one. When performed by two solo dancers (as in Wales or northern England), the hornpipe assumes the character of a trial of skill; in performance the body and arms remain passive. The music is usually provided by the pipes or the fiddle.
Early literary references that do not distinguish clearly between the solo hornpipe and the hornpipe round-dance occur in the Digby Morality of Wisdom (c1480, where three men and three women, servants of Lechery, dance ‘to the music of an hornpype’), in the mid-16th-century ballad ‘Our Jockey sale have our Jenny’, Spenser’s Shepheards Calender (1579), Peele’s Arraignment of Paris (1584), Greene’s Scottish History of James IV (1598), Spelman’s Relation of Virginia (1609) and Drayton’s Poly-Olbion (1613). 18th-century fiddlers’ tune books, formerly in the possession of the musical antiquary Frank Kidson, contain music examples from both sides of the Scottish–English border; other hornpipes prevalent in the rustic assemblies of Dorset are in the Hardy tune books (early 19th century; see Sherman), and hornpipes from Derbyshire, Cheshire and Wales are in Wright (c1715).
In the mid-17th century the country dance type of hornpipe appeared in the publications of John Playford; the music, in 2/4 or 3/2 time, was printed with dance instructions in The Dancing Master, but without them in such instrumental lesson books as Musick’s Delight on the Cithren (1666), Locke’s Melothesia (1673), Salter’s Genteel Companion (1683) or Henry Playford’s Apollo’s Banquet (1669) the last containing up to 35 hornpipes by Purcell. Hornpipes of a more rustic or commonplace character are contained in Wright’s Compleat Collection of Celebrated Country Dances, which followed his Pleasant Humours, but those in the second Hardy tune book (c1811) were described as being ‘fashionable in London’. Examination of these examples shows that the 2/4 or ‘Scots measure’ and, later, 4/4 replaced the older, more complex syncopated 3/2 rhythm.
The teaching of hornpipes by itinerant dancing-masters is described in Gilchrist. At country assemblies they were performed both as solos and collectively, the dancers advancing in a row, each performing a sequence of steps jealously regarded as exclusive personal property. From such displays of skill the stage hornpipe developed, frequently designated in the tune books by the name of the performer, as, for example, ‘Miss Baker’s Hornpipe’ or ‘Durang’s Hornpipe’. Emmerson described the development of the stage hornpipe from the late 18th century in both Britain and North America, a development that brought the dance to the notice of people, including royalty, not previously familiar with it. Descriptions of steps appeared in dance manuals, and according to Gallini (1770) foreigners flocked to England to ‘apply themselves with great attention to the study of the Hornpipe’, which was regarded as ‘original to this country’. He added that ‘the lower class of people’ used hornpipe steps in the country dance and that ‘few English seamen are to be found that are not acquainted with it’.
These remarks, repeated some 60 years later in The Ball, or A Glance at Almack’s (1829), have shared in perpetuating the notion that the hornpipe is both English and nautical. Of all the hornpipes composed by fiddlers none is so well known as the ‘College’ or ‘Sailors’ Hornpipe’, based on the song Jack’s the Lad (ex.2) and firmly associated with a mimetic character dance far removed from the traditional hornpipe.
Tunes such as this survived in dancing-masters’ compositions and gave their names to dances unrelated to the hornpipe. Within living memory morris dancers in Leicestershire performed a set dance which they called, from its tune, ‘The College Hornpipe’, and at their ‘evening ball’ they repeated the same figures for mixed couples in a country dance, to the same tune. This is an example of the way in which the variety, rhythmic peculiarities, local characteristics and highly personal skill of the true hornpipe have, in popular ignorance, been submerged by one commonplace tune and commonplace, easy rhythms.
See also England, §II; Ireland, §II; Scotland, §II, 6; Wales, §II.
J. Playford: The Dancing Master (London, 3/1657)
M. Locke: Melothesia (London, 1673/R)
H. Salter: The Genteel Companion for the Recorder (London, 1683)
H. Playford: Apollo’s Banquet for the Treble Violin, ii (London, 1691)
D. Wright: Extraordinary Collection of Pleasant and Merry Humour’s … Containing Hornpipe’s (London, c1715)
G.A. Gallini: Observations on the Art of Dancing (London, 1770)
E. Jones: Favourite Country Dances (London, 1780)
J. Johnson: The Scots Musical Museum (Edinburgh, 1787–1803, rev. 1853/R by W. Stenhouse and D. Laing)
E. Jones: The Bardic Museum (London, 1802)
G. Yates: The Ball, or A Glance at Almack’s (London, 1829)
W. Chappell: Popular Music of the Olden Time (London, 1855–9/R1965 as The Ballad Literature and Popular Music of the Olden Time, rev. 2/1983/R by H.E. Wooldridge as Old English Popular Music) [incl. ‘Trip and Go’, ‘Old Lancashire Hornpipe’, ‘College Hornpipe’]
J.G. O’Keefe and A. O’Brien: A Handbook of Irish Dances (Dublin, 2/1914, 7/1964)
W.S. Gwynne Williams: Welsh National Music and Dance (London, 1932, 4/1971)
E. Sherman: ‘Music in Thomas Hardy’s Life and Work’, MQ, xxvi (1940), 419–45
A.G. Gilchrist: ‘Old Fiddlers’ Tune Books of the Georgian Period’, JEFDSS, iv (1940–45), 15–22
D. O’Sullivan: Irish Folk Music and Song (Dublin, 1952)
M. Dean-Smith: ‘The Gilchrist Bequest’, JEFDSS, vii (1952–5), 218–27
L. Blake: Welsh Folk Dances and Costume (Llangollen, 1954)
J.F. Flett and T.M. Flett: Traditional Dancing in Scotland (London, 1964)
G. Emmerson: ‘The Hornpipe’, Folk Music Journal, ii/1 (1970), 12–34
M. Curti: ‘The Hornpipe in the Seventeenth Century’, MR, xl/1 (1979), 14–24
J.S. Bratton: ‘Dancing a Hornpipe in Fetters’, Folk Music Journal, vi/1 (1990), 65–82
J.M. Ward: ‘The Lancashire Hornpipe’, Essays in Musicology: a Tribute to Alvin Johnson, ed. L. Lockwood and E. Roesner (Philadelphia, 1990), 140–73