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SCAN TESTER


Transcriptions in ABC format from the playing of Scan Tester and Bill Gorringe

The original recordings of the tunes can be found on the 2CD set "I Never Played To Many Posh Dances", available from Topic Records and from Veteran mail order.

Transcribed into ABC Music Notation by Chris Partington

Go to ABC file

Go to PDF of transcription

Reg Hall wrote the definitive account of Scan Tester's music and its place in the life of the community in his book 'I Never Played to Many Posh Dances', which though sadly out of print has been generously made available in PDF format at the online magazine 'Musical Traditions'. I would suggest that it is required reading for anyone with an interest in traditional dance music.

A transcription of an interview with Scan Tester by Rod and Danny Stradling can be found in the online magazine 'Musical Traditions'

A transcription of an interview with Reg Hall about Scan by Vic Smith can also be found in the online magazine 'Musical Traditions'

A brief article is in Folkopedia.


Notes on the transcription.

In these recordings Scan is usually playing the concertina in octave-separated unison, making it not always obvious in which octave a single line melody should be notated. He never learned to read music, and freed from this constraint it is evident that he did not consider the tune to reside in a single octave, or even melodic line. This may be a characteristic of other non-reading traditional musicians. Sometimes he plays additional notes on a convenient adjacent button, even omitting the 'melody' note, and there are many 'twiddles' which I have not included. I have, under pressure from the needs of both the notation and time, nevertheless attempted to notate these tunes as single line melodies, leaving the listener to elaborate. This is to preserve my sanity.

I have tried prick down enough to help you play along with the tunes on the Compact Disc without trampling on the tunes as Scan plays them. The tempii are his. Scan sometimes seems indifferent as to how many 'A's and 'B's he plays, apparently concerned mostly with the performance and having no dancers to worry about. He often finishes a tune on the A music. I have notated the tunes in a more regular fashion.

In the recordings Scan plays several concertinas, in different home keys.
Bill Gorringe has his fiddle tuned down a whole tone.
The keys in the transcriptions are provided as in the original on the concertina and fiddle, and while they may seem unfamiliar to G/D melodionists they nevertheless usually work well on most other instruments. Occasionally I have added a transposed version, since it seems that Scan and co. sensibly let circumstances dictate the key.

The numbers in the titles refer to (a) - which CD, and (b) track number.


Chris Partington, 2012

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