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The Swedish

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Alternative title: Three Meet

Source: Journal of English Folk Dance and Song Society 3 p. 137-8
Performer: Newman, Mrs
Place Collected: Snowshill
Date collected: June 1935
Collector: Albino, H.H.

From H H Albino:  “This tune is played to Three Meet or The Swedish, which is danced (among modern dances) at Snowshill, on St. Barnabas’s Day celebrations, the church being dedicated to that saint. Mrs. Newman learnt it from an old fiddler who died a few years ago aged about 90. [He] used to play for the  dancing at Snowshill.” And “The dance known as “The Swedish” was discovered at Upper Slaughter, Glos., a few years ago where it is still danced traditionally at the harvest suppers.”

The A music (first strain) of this tune is similar to the B music (second strain) of the version from Guiting, and vice-versa.

HH Albino published the dance movements with the tunes:

Longways for as many as will
(Duple minor set, but each man having 2 partners)

A1   1-4   The two men (first man facing down, and second man facing up) lead their partners forward a double and back.
A1   5-8  The men link arms with their partners and the trios change place in a body, moving to the left.
A2             Repeat to places.
B1   1-4  Hands-six clockwise [slipping step, according to EFDS News IV (2) p 49 (no. 36)].
B1   5-8 Hands-six counter-clockwise
B2            The two men go hands-three clockwise with their own partners, and at the same time the two 3-rings revolve around each other in a half circle clockwise, and change places (sk. s.[skip step?]) (Progressive.)

The tune is a version of the Carnival of Venice, based on a Neapolitan folk tune Oh Mama, Mama Cara and popularized by violinist and composer Niccolò Paganini (1782-1840), who wrote twenty variations for violin and orchestra on the original tune. He titled the work Il Carnevale Di Venezia, Op. 10, 1829.

Mr Hodge of Snowshill provided the following ditty for the opening phrase of music:

“Charlie had a fiddle, worth a piece of gold.
Once it was a new one, now it’s very old.”

Note by Charles Menteith

Media & Downloads

See the song/tune as collected (PDF file)
Hear the song/tune (midi file)

Modern recording performed by: Green Willow Band

Song/tune as collected (abc file)