Bonaparte's Retreat (5)

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X:1 T:Bonaparte's Retreat (5) M:C L:1/8 S:Irvin Yaugher (Pa., 1943) [Bayard] K:Ador (3EFG|Az A2 {cB}AG E2|cde^c d2 (3efg|a>ged ^cA GE|{E}A2 A>B A2:| |:ef/^g/|a>^ged ^cdef|g>fga g2 ef/^g/|a^ged ^cA GE|A2 A>B A2:||

BONAPARTE'S RETREAT [5]. AKA and see "Bonaparte Crossing the Rhine (1)," "Bonaparte Crossing the Rocky Mountains," etc. Old-Time, March. A Minor. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB.

"This very widespread march and dance melody is generally known in western Pennsylvania by the name given it here, when it has a name at all. Versions may likewise bear the title "Bonaparte (Napoleon) Crossing the Rhine (Alps)," or some similar name. That these Napoleon/Bonaparte titles are distinctly of the 'floating' sort may be ascertained by examining ("Bonaparte's Retreat" versions, "Blackbird (The)," "Bonaparte Crossing the Alps," "Ranahan's March (1)," "Freemason's March") and the airs cited in the notes to them. In all probability the versions of (this version) were imported and diffused by fiddlers of Irish and Scottish extraction. Such a fine tune would need nothing beyond introduction to make it popular in this country among players of any nationality. Other Pennsylvania sets are Bayard Coll., Nos. 29, 59, 355. Printed versions include Linscott, p. 69; O'Neill's Irish Music, No. 101; O'Neill, Music of Ireland, No. 1824; Howe's School for the Violin, p. 23, Scanlon, p. 61. It has long been recognized that 'Guilderoy' is an alternately vocal and instrumental setting of the protean Lazarus air, one of the half-dozen or so most extensively used melodies in our entire British-American folk tune repertory (see JWFSS, I, 142). What has not been generally recognized is the fact that (this version of) 'Bonaparte's Retreat' is likewise a good and distinctive setting of the same original melod—cast is a different mode, and with a few alterations in the melodic line, but unmistakably the same. Versions of Lazarus are used to fulfill almost every function which can be required of a folk air in our tradition. They are more universally known in vocal than instrumental forms, but in this case an excellent march version has been evolved. Probably the musicians who now play both versions of this air do not identify them as cognates—the editor has never observed any evidence of such identification at any rate. Yet the contrast between the stately sweep of 'Bonaparte's Retreat' and the jaunty carriage of 'Guilderoy' gives us considerable insight into the ways in which some members of the musical folk have been able in the past to re-create and re-interpret the melodies of their inherited stock of music—and to enrich their tradition, withal, in its content and scope. Nothing more clearly reveals this power of folk artists to revitalize their culture by variation and re-creation than the different forms of some widespread traditional air; and many other examples of such artistic activity may be found among the multitudinous sets of the Lazarus melody" (Bayard, Hill Country Tunes, 1940).

Additional notes

Source for notated version: - "Played by Irvin Yaugher, Jr., Mt. Independence, Pennsylvania, October 19, 1943. Learned from his great-uncle" (Bayard).

Printed sources : - Bayard (Hill Country Tunes), 1944; No. 86. Scanlon (The Violin Made Easy and Attractive), 1923; p. 61.

Recorded sources: -

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