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Brilliancy - Fiddle Tune a Day - Day 107

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Published on Apr 18, 2012

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I learned Brilliancy originally from Dale Morris about 3 weeks before I went to Weiser for the first time. And, I played it at Weiser in my first (and only) round that year. I have more about my first year at Weiser in my post about the Great Western Clog, and more about my week with Dale Morris in another post.

When I got to Weiser and heard so many different versions of Brilliancy, I wanted to incorporate them all into mine, but I followed Dale's advice and stuck to the version he taught me. It was the right way to approach Weiser, and I learned a lot about contesting from Dale.


Brilliancy according to Fiddler's Companion

BRILLIANCY. AKA‑ "Brilliance," "Brilliancy Medley." AKA and see "Liverpool Hornpipe [1]," "Louisville Hornpipe." See also related tunes "Drunken Billy Goat," "Miller's Reel," "Wake Up Susan." Old‑Time, Texas Style. USA, west Texas. A Major. Standard tuning. AABB (Christeson, Phillips/1994): AABBCC (Phillips/1995): AABBCCDDEE (Brody). John Hartford and others note that the first strain of "Passaic Hornpipe" is the same as this tune, as is "Trafalger Hornpipe" (the latter is cognate with the 'A' and 'C' parts of "Brilliancy"). Stacy Phillips remarks that the tune is a combination of "Passaic," "Trafalgar" and "Dew Drop" (the 'B' part) hornpipes. See also the related tune "Butterfly Hornpipe." There is some thought that "Brilliancy" was Eck Robertson's name for the set of variations he developed for "Drunken Billy Goat," though Charles Wolfe (1997) states the tune is an amalgam of several fiddle tunes including "Drunken Billygoat" in combination with "Wake Up Susan," "Old Billy Wilson" and "Bill Cheatum." The piece was one of Robertson's best known pieces and sold over 2,600 copies when it was released in September, 1930 (Wolfe, 1997). Harry Smith (Folkways FA2952, 1952) writes: "'Eck' Robertson was one of the pioneer rural recording artists, with unaccompanied solos issued by Victor thirty years ago. His playing in the present recording is quite archaic in its studied and exaltant formality, but the medley of traditional tunes is more suited to the popular dance steps of the 1920's than for the square dance." Sources for notated versions: Red Williams [Christeson]; Eck Robertson (West Texas) [Brody]; Howard Forrester [Phillips]. R.P. Christeson (Old Time Fiddlers Repertory, vol. 2), 1984; pg. 5. Brody (Fiddler's Fakebook), 1983; pg. 57‑58. Phillips (Traditional American Fiddle Tunes), vol. 1, 1994; pg. 37. Phillips (Traditional American Fiddle Tunes), vol. 2, 1995; pg. 183. County 507, Eck Robertson‑ "Old‑Time Fiddle Classics." Folkways FA2952, Eck Robertson (1922) ‑ "American Folk Music, vol. 2." Rounder 0046, Mark O'Conner‑ "National Junior Fiddle Champion." Sonyatone 201, Eck Robertson‑ "Master Fiddler." Victor 40298A (78 RPM), Eck Robertson & Family {1929. 2nd fiddle by Dr. J.B. Cranfill}.

Drunken Billy Goat according to the Fiddler's Companion

DRUNKEN BILLY GOAT. AKA and see "Rocky Mountain Goat," "Mud Fence." Old‑Time, Breakdown. USA, Missouri. A Major. Standard or AEae tuning. AABBCC. A related tune is "Brilliancy." Source for notated version: Vivian Williams (Seattle) [Phillips]. Brody (Fiddler's Fakebook), 1983; pg. 91. Phillips (Traditional American Fiddle Tunes, Vol. 1), 1994; pg. 75. American Heritage 25, "Poor Richard's Almanac." Elektra EKS 7285, The Dillards with Byron Berline‑ "Pickin' and Fiddlin.'"

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