Castagnari Tommy D/G at the Button Box

A few weeks ago my job took me within stopping distance of Sunderland, MA, so I stopped at the Button Box. It was a great time. I met Margaret of the e-mails and got to sit among the instruments. One stood out among the rest. A used Castagnari Tommy in D/G that’s there. I enjoyed most of the instruments I tried, but this one was just magical. The feel was effortless, so very responsive. Here’s me playing “Mominette,” a scottish by Maxou, of La Chavannée fame. This tune has become my “go to” piece for trying out instruments. If I had the cash, it would be hard to pass this one up.

6 thoughts on “Castagnari Tommy D/G at the Button Box

  1. Hi Gary,

    I've been playing this tune for the past week since I read this post. I love it. Although my 4 year old daughter requested a different song yesterday after hearing it one too many times I guess…

    When searching for some sheet music on the Internet, I came across Clive Williams' tutorial of this tune, which I found very helpful. I noticed his version has some differences than yours. Do you know anything of the history of the versions? I like them both, but was curious.


  2. Hello, David, the version I play is from “the blue book” — one of two early anthologies of Massif Central tunes compiled by Mel Stevens. Mel gathered the tune in his travels as a traditional D minor scottish with no name, I learned it from him and gave it a name (“Scottish a Bethanie”) which became a common name for it at the time, As it turns out the tune was neither traditional nor nameless. It was written by Maxou and was called “Mominette.” I've never heard that original version. I imagine Clive's version is informed by the fact that this has become a popular tune in British tradFrench sessions, but I don't know for sure. It is a great tune, though, is it not! If you have an accompanist, try having them do a shuffle thing … works very well.


  3. The first part is familiar, it's #12 in the Blue Book as you say; with a different B part therein–all minor. Not sure of the provenance but will take your word for it that it's by Maxou–Heitzen, correct?
    I must say I am delighted with your site which immediately compelled me to get out the dusty squeezebox.


  4. Thanks so much for the kind words! I'm glad you're inspired. I'll double check that Blue Book tonight. Tunes do morph over time in my head. It is Maxou Heintzen, yes. There was actually quite a discussion about this over on, because we knew that Scottish a Bethanie was not correct. In the end someone on the board asked Maxou himself, and that's how we confirmed it.


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