I’m willing to wager that most of you haven’t heard of a velocipede, and even fewer know what one is. But, I’m willing to bet that some of you fiddlers out there recognize this melody.
If you recognize the tune, but can’t place it, it was a tune that Howdy Forrester was famous for playing. If you still don’t have it, think of playing it at a High Level, and then you have it.
You guessed it, if you break it down, it becomes the High Level Hornpipe.
So, last night, I was picking a tune for Kerry Varble who won the “Sally Growler Challenge” by being the first one to correctly proclaim that a Sally Growler is an ugly fish. Knowing that Kerry likes Bb hornpipes, I pulled out Cole’s 1000 fiddle tunes, and started reading through Bb hornpipes. I worked up one of them that wasn’t too tricky, but that wouldn’t do for today, and then I came across Velocipede Hornpipe. I knew as soon as I started playing it that I recognized the melody, and it only took me a couple of minutes to recognize that it was the origin of Howdy Forrester’s High Level Hornpipe.
Well, when I chatted with Kerry, she didn’t want to hear Velocipede Hornpipe even though I told her it was cool and that she would recognize it. She wanted to hear Peaches and Honey (by that name – not Peaches and Cream), so being the accommodating chap that I am, I played Peaches and Honey, but today I play Velocipede Hornpipe, whether you want to hear it or not!
VELOCIPEDE HORNPIPE. AKA and see “Highland Hornpipe,” “High Level Hornpipe .” American, Hornpipe. B Flat Major (‘A’ part) & F Major (‘B’ part). Standard tuning. AABB. “Can be used as a Clog” (Ryan). A velodipede was a 19th century bicycle, with pedals attached to the front wheel, knick-named the ‘boneshaker’ descriptive of the experience of riding the contraption. Cole (1000 Fiddle Tunes), 1940; pg. 110. Ryan’s Mammoth Collection, 1883; pg. 147.