Results 1 to 8 of 8

Thread: Bluebell Polka

  1. #1
    Registered User Dave Hicks's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Northeastern Indiana
    Posts
    426

    Default Bluebell Polka

    Guitar, mandolin and bass. On the slow side, but about as fast as I could handle the guitar part.



    The back story on this one is a bit complicated.

    Itís said to be a polka right there in the title, but most agree itís not; some say itís really a schottische, others that itís a barndance.

    Although the name schottische (sometimes pronounced shotish, and sometimes scotEESH) indicates a Scottish origin for this form, it probably developed in Central Europe, and some Irish musicians call it ďa GermanĒ. Nowadays schottisches are played in the UK, Argentina, Finland, France, Italy, Norway, Portugal, Brazil, Spain, Sweden, Denmark, Mexico, Australia, and the United States (and doubtless other places).

    Though some think ďBluebellĒ was written in the 1950ís, it was in print in Scotland in the late 1800s. Doubtless the best-known recording was Jimmy Shandís 1955 British hit, and he was pretty clearly Scottish. An early version turns up in Holland as "Piederman's Polka". ďBluebellĒ is also rather similar to the US tune ďFlop-Eared MuleĒ.

    Although itís usually played in three parts, there is some disagreement as to the order of the parts, as well as whether the C part (or perhaps itís the B part) is in the key of C or G.

  2. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Dave Hicks For This Useful Post:


  3. #2
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Aberdeen, Scotland
    Posts
    713

    Default Re: Bluebell Polka

    Even in Scotland, I get foxed sometimes in sessions by players who play the C part in G.
    I wonder if it's something to do with the type of accordion they play.

    And most sessions don't often play old-school dance tunes like BBP, but when they do, you'd be expected to know them.
    Bren

  4. The following members say thank you to Bren for this post:


  5. #3
    Registered User Denis Kearns's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2019
    Location
    west coast
    Posts
    53

    Default Re: Bluebell Polka

    Fun little tune. Nice job. And nice looking prickly pear flowers for the visuals.

    As a schottische, which (I think) is popular with German decedents in central Texas, I figured the name was in reference to Bluebell Ice Cream, a favorite of ours when we lived in Austin. The Bluebell folks had great commercials that used local musicians; some of which we knew and had danced to. One commercial even included a local church choir. Always nice to see musicians getting paying gigs!

  6. The following members say thank you to Denis Kearns for this post:


  7. #4

    Default Re: Bluebell Polka

    Although it’s usually played in three parts, there is some disagreement as to the order of the parts, as well as whether the C part (or perhaps it’s the B part) is in the key of C or G.
    It is very common for polkas to change keys in different parts of the tune. I have been playing quite a bit with a polka band the last couple of years and it seems like more of the polkas have a key change in the middle than don't.

  8. The following members say thank you to CarlM for this post:


  9. #5
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Aberdeen, Scotland
    Posts
    713

    Default Re: Bluebell Polka

    parts are usually played ABAC or ABABC in Scotland, with A part in key of G, B part in D and C part in C.
    The Jimmy Shand recording was a worldwide hit and his version is the most influential.

    I've also heard claims that it's an Irish tune, although it sounds middle European to me.

    I think We Banjo 3 play it in D.

    The association of bluebells with Scottish folk music goes back at least to 1803 when this song was published:

    O where and O where does your highland laddie dwell;
    O where and O where does your highland laddie dwell;
    He dwells in merry Scotland where the bluebells sweetly smell,
    And all in my heart I love my laddie well'[
    Bren

  10. The following members say thank you to Bren for this post:


  11. #6
    Registered User Dave Hicks's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Northeastern Indiana
    Posts
    426

    Default Re: Bluebell Polka

    Quote Originally Posted by Bren View Post
    parts are usually played ABAC or ABABC in Scotland, with A part in key of G, B part in D and C part in C.
    The Jimmy Shand recording was a worldwide hit and his version is the most influential.

    I've also heard claims that it's an Irish tune, although it sounds middle European to me.

    I think We Banjo 3 play it in D.

    The association of bluebells with Scottish folk music goes back at least to 1803 when this song was published:

    O where and O where does your highland laddie dwell;
    O where and O where does your highland laddie dwell;
    He dwells in merry Scotland where the bluebells sweetly smell,
    And all in my heart I love my laddie well'[
    I learned this one from one of Simon Major's books. It sounded instantly familiar, though I'm not sure I'd heard it before.

    For no special reason I did it in AABBACC, end on A, order. The C part sounded more interesting in the key of C; I believe Jimmy Shand did it in G, though.

    We've got the same bluebell species in this part of the US, but it's not common.

    D.H.

  12. #7
    Registered User Frankdolin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    near Boston, MA
    Posts
    642

    Default Re: Bluebell Polka

    Thanks Dave! Really fun tune ! Put together and played verrry nice.

  13. The following members say thank you to Frankdolin for this post:


  14. #8
    Registered User Dave Hicks's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Northeastern Indiana
    Posts
    426

    Default Re: Bluebell Polka

    Quote Originally Posted by Frankdolin View Post
    Thanks Dave! Really fun tune ! Put together and played verrry nice.
    Thanks for listening! The two little tricks I tried to pull off here were writing complementary/harmony parts behind the melody, and using all 12 chromatic scale notes in the guitar part.

    D.H.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •