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Thomas Tait's Book

Early 19th century, Winterton, Lincolnshire

Go to ABC file, by Ruairidh Greig

Go to a PDF of the ABC notation

A short book of twenty three tunes for a wind instrument,  from the collection of early wind instruments and music books held in All Saint's Church, Winterton, Lincolnshire, relics of the West Gallery band and choir that once were there.

The front cover is inscribed in pencil, not very legibly, with what looks to be "Thomas Tait's Book". The handwriting is not inconsistent with the author's hand elsewhere in the book. At the back of the book in a much fairer hand, is "Miss A. Alderson, Gainsbro"

This short handwritten music book has a mixture of religious and secular music. Ruairidh Greig has transcribed the secular music into ABC Music Notation.

The tunes are a mixture of militia marches and country dances.

The numbering of the tunes, the fact that many are spaced as if to allow for the later insertion of another voice, and the presence in several places of multi-bar rests, suggests that the pieces have been copied out of a larger work for more than one instrument.

Some of the tunes go beyond the normal first position attainable by an amateur string player, and can be presumed to be for a wind instrument.

Census and other records show several Thomas Taits living in Winterton around this period. Later censuses have it as Tate rather than Tait.

There is a very high probability that Thomas Tait was a member of the All Saints Church West Gallery Band.

West Gallery Music

West Gallery events are still held in All Saints Church from time to time.

From The Galpin Society For the Study of Musical Instruments Newsletter 44 February 2016 is the following:-

"An  ongoing Heritage  Lottery  Fund  project - ‘All Saints: the story it tells of Winterton’ - has enabled the church to arrange full conservation of  a set of ‘west gallery’ wind  instruments  and  manuscripts."
An article about the church instruments can be found on the church webpage.

An article about West Gallery Music can be found here

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