Original Tunes by Sarah Gowan and Bill Quern


tune year type abc pdf mp3 video notes
A.J. & Emily’s
2013 march abc pdf   video Two tunes written for the wedding of Emily Spann and A.J. Masko.
A.J. and Emily’s
Wedding Waltz
2013 waltz abc pdf   video  
All the Devils Are Here 2007 reel abc pdf     “Hell is empty, and all the devils are here!” -- William Shakespeare, The Tempest. Composed as a distraction during a tense week between medical tests.
Anne Drove 2006 an dro abc pdf     A tune Sarah made up when we first heard traditional French music and wanted to capture the droney mesmerizing feel of the French An Dro. Like many of her tunes, it was written in the car.
Balance the Bees 2012 jig abc pdf mp3   Bee decline was on our minds. Also we needed a dance tune with balancy B parts.
Bee and Bramble 2013 waltz abc pdf mp3 video A tune written for some pretty good mead..
Bellend 2007 morris abc pdf     A manly Morris tune.
Big Phat Ragg 2006 rag abc pdf mp3   Written for our ceilidh cohorts, The Big Phat American K-Lee Band.
Bill’s French Tune 2004 reel abc pdf     Bill wrote this tune on our way to Augusta Dance camp. It was never officially named and got passed around as “that French sounding tune Bill wrote”. “Bill’s French Tune” is what stuck.
Bingo Wings 2013 jig abc pdf mp3 video1
A wibbly wobbly tune written after we heard the British expression “Bingo Wings” for the first time.
The Clootie Well 2017 3/2 abc pdf mp3   Both of us were inspired to write tunes after visiting the Munlochy Clootie Well in Scotland. Bill generously let Sarah used the tune title for her first tune in 3/2.
Come, Let’s Be Married 2009 march abc pdf     The recessional tune we wrote for the wedding of Chloe Maher and Rick Mohr.
Concord 2008 reel abc pdf     A crooked tune that would go well with the crooked version of Cherokee Shuffle. Named for our little house on Concord Avenue.
Côte à Côte 2016 mazurka abc pdf


  Cheek to cheek, side by side, a mazurka for us.
Cricket Moon 2008 schottische abc pdf     A schottische for the noisy crickets that sneak onto the front porch every September.
Crossing Ithan Creek 2001 waltz abc pdf     We used to cross Ithan Creek three times to get to our local contra dance.
Dance with Larry 2007 reel abc pdf     Every year at least one set in the big band Rum & Onions’ repertoire completely defeats Sarah as a player and is branded with the notation D.W.L. [Dance with Larry] at the top of the page. Thanks to Larry Koplik who cheerfully acknowledges the difficulty of some of the tunes and invites her to enjoy the music from the dance floor instead. We’re tickled to hear other R&O band members have adopted the DWL tag whether they are dancing with Larry or someone else.
Dancing Flowers 2002 waltz abc pdf     Our first tune collaboration written for Judith Flowers on the occasion of her kidney transplant. Judith and her husband Nelson Baitzel were among the first to welcome us to the dance community. We still play this waltz in her memory.
Dancing with Mom
in the Kitchen
2011 waltz abc pdf mp3   Bill is number 10 of 11 kids. By the time he was in high school, most of his siblings were grown and his Mom had a little more free time. Bill wanted to impress a gal at school and so he charmed his Mom into sharing a bit of her new 4:00 pm “wine time” to teach him how to waltz.
The Devil’s Dance 2001 reel abc pdf     We’re not sure who first thought the devil needed an advocate - he seems to have no problem speaking for himself. Here is a notey tune that practically wrote itself, but takes a little work to play at dance speed.
The Doubtful Guest 2011 jig abc pdf     Written after an unsettling visit with a sick friend. The title comes from the very peculiar illustrated story by Edward Gorey, one of Sarah’s favorite childhood books.
Down for the Count 2013 reel abc pdf     A flu season tune penned when Sarah thought everyone else was getting sick, but her. Then the sore throat started...
Emmaroo 1999 waltz abc pdf     A waltz for a dreamy five-year old.
Epstanbul 2014 reel abc pdf     For our band mate & friend Steve Epstein on his 60th birthday. Steve likes tunes in Klezmer modes, so we indulged him this one time.
Ever Efter 2014 hambo abc pdf     A hambo for the BBE (Best Boyfriend Ever) and forever favorite hambo partner.
F-Bomb 2012 reel abc pdf     Commemorating the addition of the word “F-Bomb” to the Oxford English Dictionary. Bill wondered what a musical F-bomb would sound like, so we made a tune to find out.
Fiona’s Reel 2001 reel abc pdf     This is a cat tune.
The Fire Jig 2003 jig abc pdf mp3 video1
A house with a fireplace is a lovely house, indeed. The mp3 file is from the Coracree recording Dancing in the Sky.
Four Forty Four 2001 jig abc pdf     Sarah sees 444 everywhere without even trying. She wakes up at 4:44, passes cars with 444 license plates, spots the 444 house numbers. It’s a creepy little quirk that deserved a tune.
Frankenstorm 2012 reel abc pdf     This is the storm of the century! No, wait, THIS is the storm of the century!!
Give Us a Fishie &
We’ll All Go Home
2012 reel abc pdf     We have no freakin' clue how this tune got this title. It just popped into Sarah's head and wouldn't go away.
Glaikit Quean 2013 jig abc pdf mp3 video1
“Glaikit Quean” is band mate Allan Carr’s Scottish expression for an awkward girl. This tune recollects a sweet, but very glaikit lassie we met in our travels with our band Coracree.
Gundercuff.Jig 2003 jig abc pdf     A tune for Gary Undercuffler when he FINALLY got an email address.
Handshouse Waltz 2007 waltz abc pdf     This tune was inspired by a sort of Scottish wedding we played for at the remarkable Handshouse Studio in Norwell, MA, the home of Bill’s teachers Rick and Laura Brown.
He Chased Her 'Til
She Caught Him
2016 reel abc pdf mp3   "He chased her 'til she caught him" - another great expression handed down by Sarah's southern grandmothers.
Hell Hot and
Heaven Sweet
2013 reel abc pdf   video1
“Next Sunday preaching Hell Hot and Heaven Sweet!” -- we saw this on a sign at a Baptist Church in North Carolina when we were on tour with our band Coracree.
High Reach Farm 2000 waltz abc pdf     A waltz inspired by Sarah’s family’s tree farm in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont.
The House on the Rock 2012 waltz abc pdf   video Sarah first heard of House on the Rock from the book “American Gods” by Neil Gaiman and was very excited to discover it was a real place. We made it our destination for her 50th birthday, and had an amazing day exploring the weird and wonderful magic created by Alex Jordan in the middle of Wisconsin.
I’ll See You in
the Morning
2015 waltz abc pdf     When Sarah’s children were babies she made up a little lullaby to sing them to sleep, “I love you, yes I do, love my sleepy, sleepy boy.” Then she’d kiss them good night with “Sleep tight, I’ll see you in the morning.” Her attempt to preserve a bit of the lullaby turned into this silly music-hall style waltz, which is actually more representative of family bedtimes at our house than the original tune.
Ig-Night 2013 reel abc pdf   video The Phoenixville Firebird Festival in Phoenixville, PA is best described as an ultra-mini Burning Man. A pagan night out in mid-December, it’s one of our favorite events. Bill’s Morris team and Sarah’s clogging team dress in their Border Morris rags and dance away winter in a grand parade culminating in the burning of a giant wooden phoenix. We had to miss the 2013 festival because of wicked weather, so we wrote this tune while we stayed home and sulked.
Janie Janie Jane 2013 reel abc pdf     A birthday tune for band mate and dear friend Jane Rothfield. She and husband Allan Carr have an endearing quirk of calling each other by name three times. It cracked us up and before long we all started doing it.
January Spring 2007 waltz abc pdf     The bears are awake and flowers in bloom - what has happened to winter?
Little Beech Trees 2011 waltz abc pdf     A memorial tune for our sweet friend Tori. The title comes from a note she wrote about an autumn walk: “I started the walk thinking the little beech trees should just let go already... but ended the walk having learned something about knowing when to hang on and when to let go.” -- Tori Barone
Lootering 2005 jig abc pdf mp3 video A jig written after the madness of Hurricane Katrina. A New Orleans resident said in an NPR interview, “We wasn’t lootering - we only took what we needed!” The fact that anyone felt they had to defend themselves against charges of theft in the wake of the chaos of that storm, seemed so brave and sad, Sarah wanted to embrace the word “lootering” and give it a tune.
The Lost Mitten 2012 reel abc pdf     You might think this tune was about one of the approximately 150 mittens gone missing during 25 years of raising children. It’s actually a historical tune about an election.
Mariah’s Key 2010 waltz abc pdf   video A waltz for Sarah’s great-great-great-grandmother Mariah Gowan. That branch of the family tree abruptly stops with her, and one day we hope to unravel the mystery of who came before. We do know that she was a very adventurous and resourceful woman who lived and died in the mountains of Western North Carolina.
Mimolette 2014 bourree abc pdf mp3   A bourrée in three named for a delicious French cheese written with the delightful Ladies at Play in mind. The mp3 is one of several interpretaions of the tune that they sent us via a hilarious email exchange while they were on the road.
Mulberries in the Dark 2013 waltz abc pdf     A waltz for Anna Rain, who stepped on mulberries in the dark.
My Father’s Table 2001 waltz abc pdf     A “therapy tune” honoring the experience of being simultaneously horrified and delighted to discover what we have inherited from our parents.
Nancy in a Shirttail 2007 reel abc pdf   video1
Some of our best tune titles came from Sarah’s Louisiana Mamaw. “Nancy in a shirttail” was her colorful expression for getting caught naked. This also happens to be one of Sarah’s favorite clogging tunes.
Nicolina 2010 waltz abc pdf   video A waltz for Bill's first cousin once removed.
Night Geese Polska 2006 polska abc pdf     A flock of Canadian geese made an overhead appearance as Bill was composing this polska.
Northern Hambo 2004 hambo abc pdf mp3    
Peggy’s Bend 2001 jig abc pdf     A tune for the dogleg turn in the road on the way to Peggy Leiby’s house.
Phineas’ March 2015 march abc pdf     Bill made this march to inspire his melodeon student, Phineas.
Picnic at the
River Jordan
2007 schottische abc pdf mp3   In the last weeks of Sarah’s grandmother’s life, she began seeing and conversing with her many brothers and sisters, all of whom had passed before her. At one point, when the house started feeling crowded with spirits and memory, Sarah’s stepfather Stephen was heard to mutter, “Jeezum Crow, you’d think ONE of them could find a flippin’ boat to take her across the River Jordan.” We love to think of Mamaw reunited with her siblings, playing dominos, telling stories, and having a lovely picnic across the river.
Pobblebonk 2007 schottische abc pdf     A Pobblebonk is also known as a Banjo Frog, because of its distinctive call. This is a banjo tune, written on concertina, that doesn’t sound at all like a frog - Sarah just liked saying “pobblebonk”. This makes a nice tune for a hoppy little schottische.
Seventh Heaven 2016 waltz abc pdf     Sarah played with seveth intervals on 7/7.
Shake Out Your Shoes 2016 reel abc pdf     The morning after a serious car accident we were painfully reminded to shake the broken glass out of our shoes before putting them on.
The Shamble-Man 2014 jig abc pdf     A Halloween tune named for the undead characters in a favorite book series by Patrick Rothfuss.
Sidmouth 2013 jig abc pdf     A jig written after spending a delightful week with our friend Jo Wright at the Sidmouth Folk Festival.
Skippin’ Jenny 2011 reel abc pdf     Sarah has deep roots in the South and can’t imagine a New Year’s Day without Hoppin’ John, cornbread and greens. On January 2, the leftovers are known as ‘Skippin’ Jenny’.
Smoke 2002 reel abc pdf      
St Johnsbury Reel 1999 reel abc pdf     This was the first of several tunes inspired by our visits to Sarah’s family’s tree farm near
St. Johnsbury, VT.
Tampico Road 2001 jig abc pdf   video Written at the family homestead in the Northeast Kingdom in Vermont.
Thundersnow 2011 reel abc pdf mp3 video1
A storm tune and the first track on our CD ‘Dancing in the Sky’ recorded with Coracree.
Tilting Summer In 2015 waltz abc pdf



  “And there, row upon row, with the soft gleam of flowers opened at morning, with the light of this June sun glowing through a faint skin of dust, would stand the dandelion wine. Peer through it at the wintry day - the snow melted to grass, the trees were reinhabitated with bird, leaf, and blossoms like a continent of butterflies breathing on the wind. And peering through, color sky from iron to blue. Hold summer in your hand, pour summer in a glass, a tiny glass of course, the smallest tingling sip for children; change the season in your veins by raising glass to lip and tilting summer in.” -- Ray Bradbury, Dandelion Wine
Tori Barone’s Jig 2001 jig abc pdf     Written for our dear friend and contra dance caller Tori Barone.
Torpedoed Birthday 2013 zweifacher abc pdf     Bill’s father, Albert Quern, was in the Merchant Marines and tells the story about how he was torpedoed when he was 19 and rescued from the life raft when he was 20. We thought a zwiefacher, a dance in both 2/4 and 3/4, would be a perfect way to celebrate both this event and Dad’s 90th birthday.
Valley Green 2014 waltz abc pdf     We’ve played for several weddings at the Valley Green Inn in Fairmount Park. We thought it was time the spot had its own tune.
Waltzing on Earth 2014 waltz abc pdf     A waltz written on Earth Day.
WestGrove 2001 polka abc pdf     A happy little polka hummed during a ride home from West Grove, PA.
What-Not 2002 waltz abc pdf mp3
video “The only problem with putting up a what-not shelf is that sooner or later you’re bound to get what-nots.” -- Sarah’s mom, Susan Terry. Mom, you were so right, as evidenced by our seriously demented squeezebox tchotchke collection.
What’s Yours Is Mime 2014 waltz abc pdf   video Bill composed this tune and, looking for a title, asked Sarah what it sounded like. She replied, “Scary French clowns.”
Yunogo -
The Two Russian Captains
2003 waltz abc pdf mp3   Written to remember the hostage crisis in a Moscow theater in 2003.
Zisook’s Schottische 2001 schottische abc pdf     We played with fiddler Helene Zisook in several band configurations, but our favorite was in a contra dance band we called ‘Brave New Whirl’ which also included her husband Jim Speer. Fun times!


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Box and String is the duo of Bill Quern and Sarah Gowan