Black Dance (The)

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BLACK DANCE, THE. Scottish, English; Country Dance Tune. G Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AB (McGlashan): AABB (Sumner). John Glen finds the melody first printed in Joshua Campbell's 1778 collection (p. 58), and it was published in Glasgow by James Aird in his Selection of Scotch, English, Irish and Foreign Airs, vol. 1 (c. 1782) and in Ediburgh by fiddler-composer and bandleader Alexander "King" McGlashan in his A Collection of Scots Measures (c. 1778, p. 1). English printings predate Scottish ones, however; EASMES lists printings of "Black Dance" in R. Bride's Twenty Four Country Dances for the Year 1769, David Rutherford in 1772, Charles and Samuel Thompson in their Compleat Collection of 200 Favourite Country Dances, vol. 3 (c. 1773), Straight and Skillern's Two Hundred and Four Favourite Country Dances, vol. 1 (London, 1775), and Longman and Broderip's Compleat Collection of Two Hundred Favourite Country Dances (London, 1781). American publications containing "The Black Dance" are Edward Riley's Flute Melodies, vol. 2, published in New York in 1817 and various period country dance publications. Perhaps the earliest printing was in M. Landrin's Receuil d'Anglaise, published in Paris around 1760. The second part is half the length of the first in some versions (e.g. McGlashan's). The second strain is the same as "Perry's Victory (1)."

The melody also appears in numerous late 18th century manuscript copybooks on both sides of the Atlantic, such as those of Luther Kingsley (Mansfield, Connecticut, 1795), Abel Shatuck (Colrain, Mass., 1801), flute player Henry Beck (1786), keyboard player Elizabeth Van Renssellaer (Boston, 1782), and Jeremiah Brown (Seabrook, N.H., 1782). It also appears in the copybook of flute player Henry Livingston, Jr. Livingston purchased the estate of Locust Grove, Poughkeepsie, New York, in 1771 at the age of 23. In 1775 he was a Major in the 3rd New York Regiment, which participated in Montgomery's invasion of Canada in a failed attempt to wrest Québec from British control. An important land-owner in the Hudson Valley, and a member of the powerful Livingston family, Henry was also a surveyor and real estate speculator, an illustrator and map-maker, and a Justice of the Peace for Dutchess County. He was also a poet and musician, and presumably a dancer, as he was elected a Manager for the New York Assembly's dancing season of 1774–1775, along with his 3rd cousin, John Jay, later U.S. Chief Justice of Governor of New York. British manuscript sources include Joshua Gibbons (Market Rasen, Lincolnshire, 1823) and John Carter (1792). The melody also appears in the c. 1785 music manuscript collection of John Sutherland, a pastoral piper from Aberdeenshire (p. 112).

Source for notated version: the 1823–26 music mss of papermaker and musician Joshua Gibbons (1778–1871, of Tealby, near Market Rasen, Lincolnshire Wolds) [Sumner].

Printed sources: Aird (Selection of Scotch, English, Irish and Foreign Airs, vol. 1), 1782; No. 52, p. 18. McGlashan (Collection of Scots Measures), 177?; p. 1. Robert Ross (Choice Collection of Scots Reels), Edinburgh, 1780; p. 29. Straight and Skillern (Two Hundred and Four Favourite Country Dances, vol. 1), c. 1775; No. 36, p. 18. Sumner (Lincolnshire Collections, vol. 1: The Joshua Gibbons Manuscript), 1997; p. 84. Thompson (Compleat Collection of 200 Favourite Country Dances, vol. 3), 1773; No. 140.

Recorded sources: CDSL8284, Jimmy Shand – "The Legendary."




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