Beau Stratagem (The)

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BEAU STRATAGEM, THE. AKA - "The Beaux' Stratagem." English, Country Dance Tune (2/2 time). A Minor. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB. The French word beau became a nickname for eighteenth century dandified men, especially after a rage for English fashions swept the Continent. The Beaux' Strategem was a play by George Farquhar, published in 1707 and first staged at the Queen's Theatre, in the Haymarket, London. It presents a "terrible indictment on love and marriage" in a era when divorces were difficult or impossible to gain, and in which women could be left destitute because of property laws.

The melody (as "Beaus Stratagem") was published in the 1718 and 1728 editions of London publisher John Young's Second Volume of the Dancing Master and as "Beaux Strategem" in the second and third editions. It was also published by the Walshes in New Country Dancing Master, Second Book (1710), their Second Book of the Compleat Country Dancing-Master (1719 and subsequent editions of 1735 and 1749).

Source for notated version: Williamson (English, Welsh, Scottish and Irish Fiddle Tunes), 1976; p. 35.

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