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The Sailor's Hornpipe



 Genre: Celtic
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The Sailor's Hornpipe a.k.a. The College Hornpipe a.k.a. "Jack's the Lad"

I decided I'd sit down at the piano and after a few minutes, I put together a little arrangement of this traditional sailor tune, a staple for many Celtic musicians.
Alas, it is rather difficult to capture the full joy of it on the piano rather than with fiddles or penny whistles. And you can probably tell I really don't have much experience performing Celtic airs. Nevertheless, I hope you find it a merry listen. :)

Don't be deceived by the simplicity and slow tempo at the intro! I *promise* it picks up!

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Song Stats
Hits: 15109
Comments: 21
Fans: 7
Plays: 4726
Downloads: 439
Votes: 10
Uploaded: Jul 06, 2006 - 02:03:22 AM
Last Updated: Jul 11, 2006 - 11:30:36 AM Last Played: Sep 22, 2017 - 03:09:57 PM
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kristyjo said 4122 days ago (July 6th, 2006)
I really liked the ending!
That really showed off some good playing.
As a matter of fact, I personally think you could have left of the very first
'verse' all together, as your second variation was simple enough to catch
where you were going with it. I liked the recurring octaves that happened
through the piece, they gave it continuity.
I like the way you picked up both the pace and the complexity. The
arrangement is really good and leaves me with lots of energy at the end.
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Andronis said 4121 days ago (July 6th, 2006)
I really liked the ending!
There's no performance anxiety when you have unlimited recording takes and nobody but you listening until you settle on one! :)

As for the octaves, I was trying to mimic the exchanges between violin and flute from Sir Henry Wood's famous arrangement that they use for the Last Night of the Proms, but when you've got one instrument, all you can do is change the style, the harmony, the dynamics, or the register, really, so I did all of them, and so the switching of octaves mimiced switching instruments.

Thanks for listening and your insight! Glad to have you back with us! :)
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drakonis said 4122 days ago (July 6th, 2006)
This was actually quite delightful. My first thought on the intro was "huh,
I don't recognize this... oh, wait, OK, this old barnacle, yes, what can he
do to make this tolerable?" And you gently lulled me at the beginning
into thinking it would be trite, but you were correct in warning me that it
would "pick up"... it did so! That was a unique rendition with fun
harmonies, and rather dextrously played with sinister speed (i.e. both
your right and left hands.) This shall be DL'ed and faved as a show-off
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Andronis said 4121 days ago (July 6th, 2006)
This is one that you just can't play on an electric keyboard. At least not mine. The poor plastic keys just can't take being played that fast.

While the arrangement is new, I have played the melody at varying speeds for fun regularly for nearly two years with my usual occasional piano practice.

Anyway, thanks for listening!
Check out my latest song called Hymn Medley for 9-19-2010
Komrade K said 4117 days ago (July 10th, 2006)
I'm glad you wrote...
... that it picks up as I was tempted to quit listening after the opening few
bars. Anyway this thing gets better and better - and not just because it
gets faster there's some nice harmonic invention too. I'd defy any able
bodied seaman to keep up at the end tho'!!


PS - I've always thought of this as a traditional English tune rather than
anything 'celtic'.
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Andronis said 4117 days ago (July 11th, 2006)
I'm glad you wrote...
Well yes, you're quite right about it being more English than Celtic, but there's no Sea Chanty category here or anything, and since hornpipes seem to get performed more frequently by Celtic performers today than performers of other genres. I usually post over in Classical. While this is just for piano and the style is old and traditional, that doesn't make it any more classical than Jazz piano. And other than classical, I don't know where else I would've put it. I don't think piano qualifies very well for 'Folk' or 'Acoustic'. ;)

Thanks for listening and for your generous compliments. :)
Check out my latest song called Hymn Medley for 9-19-2010
Magritte said 4116 days ago (July 11th, 2006)
For some reason I had this tune in my head the other day -- I swear! No idea why. Fun arrangement and gorgeously played! My only wish is that the sound was a little less muddy...maybe some mixing could clear it up a bit? Very enjoyable.
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Andronis said 4114 days ago (July 14th, 2006)
I know exactly the feeling about having a tune in your head. This one time, I "Everyone Knows It's Windy" popped into my head while I was taking a shower and then it happened to be played at the food court at the mall when I went to eat lunch later that day.

As for the "muddy" sound, my personal preference is towards how things actually tend to sound in a concert venue, which is clearly not something people tend to enjoy hearing reproduced, since you're not the first person to mention the "muddy" sound. So in the future, I'll be sure to make everything sound more studio-recorded. ;)

Anyway, thanks for listening! Glad you enjoyed it. :)
Check out my latest song called Hymn Medley for 9-19-2010
said 4111 days ago (July 16th, 2006)
As an ex-sailor, this put a big smile on my face. Terrific playing.
Andronis said 4111 days ago (July 16th, 2006)
Oh, my favorite thing to hear, making someone happy with my music, especially someone who it by default particularly relates to! Thanks for listening and letting me know. :)
Check out my latest song called Hymn Medley for 9-19-2010
said 4111 days ago (July 16th, 2006)
Well done Maestro.
I love celtic music and would love to hear you try your hand on other
celtic tunes. What happened at the end? Caffiene kick in? Amazing.

Be well!
Andronis said 4111 days ago (July 16th, 2006)
Well done Maestro.
What happened at the end is I felt crazy enough to add another melody on top which I recorded in a separate take. While theoretically playable as a series of rapid chords in the right hand, I decided against actually attempting that at such a speed. I can play the regular melody that fast, obviously, but that's because I've been playing that melody for random fun at the piano off an on for well over a year and a half now. :)

Come to think of it, I may have had some caffiene. ;)
Check out my latest song called Hymn Medley for 9-19-2010
perceptualvortex said 4111 days ago (July 16th, 2006)
Hey this is great! Lively, fun stuff. Your piano playing is really cool.
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Andronis said 4111 days ago (July 16th, 2006)
Thank you very much!

And yeah, parts of this tune did seem to find their way into Popeye. That's where I first heard it. I'm sure I heard it again from time to time, but I didn't ever really put together what the tune was, or where it came from, or what it's title was, etc. until I bought a CD of music used at the Promenade Concerts every summer in the UK. I fell in love with it within moments of hearing it in Sir Henry Wood's Fantasia on British Sea Songs, and within a week or so I was trying to figure out how to play it on the piano. After doing this regularly for over two years now, I finally decided I should sit down and notate out an arrangement, and play it instead of the usual impovised harmonies, and voila! :)
Check out my latest song called Hymn Medley for 9-19-2010
annalia said 4110 days ago (July 17th, 2006)
De ja vues
Perhaps it's because I've always been so fond of a good clear piano, that I feel I've heard this and your classic rag before. I try not to even read about songs before I listen to them because I don't want to get any pre-conceived notions. Your so right on the pick up at the end, you're jammin fast at the last. Great Playing and a merry listen too!

Thanks for sharing! :)
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spannerotoole said 3664 days ago (October 7th, 2007)
midi file?
Have I heard this before as a midi file, did you just replace the settings with Dream Piano?

If not then it is very good, If it is, then say so
Or are you the midi file creator?
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spannerotoole said 3660 days ago (October 11th, 2007)
Mike Oldefield
Check out mike oldfields version of this tune, It rocks
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Feter said 3468 days ago (April 19th, 2008)
The Sailor's Hornpipe
amazing Piano playin my friend ..great controlin
on the mood and tempo ..extrodinary piece my friend
Kudos !!
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Lennon714 said 3011 days ago (July 20th, 2009)
You absolutely captured the joy of this tune. I've always been a sucker for this tune. You rocked it out, brother! Nice one!
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Philip18 said 2187 days ago (October 22nd, 2011)
Light and lively. Especially love the way it takes off towards the end. A joy to listen to! Glad I finally caught up with it!
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SondheimSteamroller said 1927 days ago (July 8th, 2012)
A true delight! Thanks for sharing.
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Name: Sam
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I'm a software developer, but I happen to really like music, particularly of the classical or humorous variety (especially Gilbert & Sullivan). I studied piano regularly from when I was 8 until I was nearly 14, although I continue to practice on occ... [see more]

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Genre Info
Celtic music is a broad grouping of musical genres that evolved out of the folk musical traditions of the Celtic peoples of Western Europe. The term Celtic music may refer to both orally-transmitted traditional music and recorded popular music with o

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