Tune of the Day: Morpeth Rant
This composition is often attributed to William Shields, a popular 18th-century musician and composer originally from Swalwell, Northumberland. However, as scholars have pointed out, Shields often appropriated traditional or folk melodies, and “Morpeth Rant” may not be original to him.
The town of Morpeth is in Northumberland, a market center on the River Wansbeck. A special dance specific to this tune has been performed for over two centuries, and the dance itself is called the Morpeth Rant. Like many such dances, however, numerous tunes could be used as the vehicle for the steps.