I don’t know where I first heard Trafalgar Hornpipe, but it has some nice twists and turns. It sounds like something that I may have heard Mark O’Connor play as part of a medley, but I don’t have Trafalgar Hornpipe in my iTunes anywhere.
On second pass, I think it was actually hearing Billy Contreras play the Brilliancy Medley at the Grand Master Fiddler Championship. After playing it in A, he proceeded to show me how he had been practicing playing it in all of the modes. My head nearly exploded.
It is in Cole’s 1000 fiddle tunes, so it’s been around for quite some time. As I looked around, it does have some relation to Brilliancy. But, based on my listening, it’s related to the Howdy Forrester version of Brilliancy, rather than the version I play, which is based off of the version that Eck Robertson recorded in the 1920′s.
Trafalgar Hornpipe according to Fiddler’s Companion
TRAFALGAR HORNPIPE. AKA and see “Passaic Hornpipe.” English (?), Hornpipe. A Major (Cole, Ryan): G Major (Miller). Standard tuning. AABB. The ‘A’ part is shared also with “Brilliancy.” The English victory at the naval battle of Trafalgar was much commemorated in music and song, and on inn signs in Britain. One Trafalgar was a famous inn on the Thames River in London, the location for some years of the political Liberal Ministerial dinner until Gladstonian times. Cole (1000 Fiddle Tunes), 1940; pg. 94. Miller (Fiddler’s Throne), 2004; No. 319, pg. 187. Ryan’s Mammoth Collection, 1883. ONE 101, Bob McQuillen & Old New England – “Old New England” (learned from Seattle fiddler Armin Barnett).
Passaic Hornpipe according to Fiddler’s Companion
PASSAIC HORNPIPE. AKA and see “Trafalgar Hornpipe.” American, Hornpipe. A Major. Standard tuning. AABB. John Hartford and Stacy Phillips both note the first strain is the same as “Brilliancy.” Cole (1000 Fiddle Tunes), 1940; pg. 93. Ryan’s Mammoth Collection, 1883; pg. 127.