Dance Tunes

English music antiquarian William Chappell (1859) dates the song of this name to 1758, reasoning from the fact that there were encampments on the coast of England in 1758 and 1759 to watch for the French fleet which had been threatening invasion of the island. The tune is used for various songs, however, it is used widely across Sussex as a tune for Morris dancing.

A mediaeval dance tune, originating in France as Le Branle des Chevaux, known in England as the Horses Brawl is played extensively across the whole of Sussex during pub folk tune sessions and even for dancing. This is something that folk musicians love to get their teeth into as it has such an exciting tune.

This dance tune is in remembrance of Janet Blunt (1859–1950, the daughter of a British general, who spent her first thirty years in India. She then moved to Adderbury in Oxfordshire where she became interested in local folk traditions. Her primary contribution to folklore is her preservation of the Adderbury traditions of folk song and dance, particularly Morris dancing. The village of Adderbury commemorates Janet Blunt every year as part of its annual Morris festivities, and a blue plaque was installed at her home Le Halle Place in Adderbury in 2009.
The tune played regularly by folk bands is well known across the whole of Sussex.
This simple but lovely waltz was composed by the renowned Sussex-based concertina, bandoneon and fiddle player, Scan Tester. It is a well-loved number played in folk sessions and pubs In Sussex

This tune was adapted from a Mozart melody by Michael Turner who was a well-known fiddle player across Sussex and was also the verger of Warnham Church in the 19th century.
This is a popular tune played by folk musicians across Sussex in particular, but is also encountered across England.

The country dances “Bonny Breast Knots” have been known since about 1770, according to Flett & Flett (1964), and long had a special place at Scottish weddings. Up until about 1900 in Roxburghshire and West Berwickshire, Scotland, it was always performed as the first dance after the wedding supper, with the bride and groom leading off with the best man and bridesmaid.

Its status in the wedding rituals may be what is referred to in the song “The Briest Knots,” quoted by Flett & Flett: Various versions of the tune are played across England. This version is of Sussex origin and is played across the County and the Downs for various dances by most Morris Dance sides.

This tune is played regular across the Sussex region by folk musicians. Also known as the Chain Cotillion or the Sussex Cotillion, it is a dance tune which first appears in manuscripts on both sides of the Atlantic in the mid-18th century. The cotillion is a four couple square dance originating in France in the early 18th century. It was developed here from a manuscript found in the West Sussex Records Office in Chichester.

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The songs provided are for enjoyment and learning purposes. Please note that these versions are not definitive; there are so many wonderful versions 'out there'. Please share your versions with us...

Welcome to the South Downs Music website; a platform enabling users to access folk songs from, and sung in, the Sussex area.

Please note: this website is a resource open to everyone, but if you download songs and material from this site and then perform these in public, you will need to be covered for PRS.

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