Bottom of the Punch Bowl (1) (The)

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BOTTOM OF THE PUNCH BOWL [1], THE. Scottish, English, Irish; Country Dance, Scottish Measure, Reel, March or Hornpipe. D Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB. Composed by James Oswald, born in Dunfermline, Scotland, c. 1711, died in Knebworth, England, 1769, appearing in his Caledonian Pocket Companion, vol. 1 (London, 1760, p. 29). O'Farrell (c. 1805) lists the tune as Scotch. The tune meets the criteria for a Scottish measure and should more properly be characterized as such rather than the generic description 'country dance'. It appears in the Gillespie Manuscript of Perth (1768). Samuel Bayard (Dance to the Fiddle, March to the Fife, 1981) believes it to be a tune a "special development" of the air "Boyne Water (1)."

Bottom of the Punch Bowl is also the name of a Scottish country dance frequently taught in country dancing schools of the 19th century. It was entered into several 18th century musicians' music manuscripts in America (presumably in support of the dance), including those of flute player Aaron Beck (1786), Jeremiah Brown (Seabrook, N.H., 1782), and Luther Kingsley (Mansfield, Conn., 1795). In Britain it appears in the music manuscript collection of fiddler John Fife, begun in 1780. Indications are that Fife was from Perthshire, and may have spent time at sea.

The word 'punch' derives from a Hindi word, panch, meaning 'five', because of its five ingredients: spirits, water, lemon-juice, sugar and spices. The word was first recorded in English in 1669.

Source for notated version: fiddler Ward Beebe (Seattle) [Songer].

Printed sources: Aird (Selection of Scotch, English, Irish and Foreign Airs, vol. 1), 1782; No. 93, p. 33. Alburger (Scottish Fiddlers and Their Music), 1983; Ex. 22, p. 45. Barnes (English Country Dance Tunes, vol. 2), 2005; p. 140 (appears as "Webley Figure Eight," the name of a country dance set to the tune). Carlin (The Gow Collection), 1986; No. 237. Huntington (William Litten's Fiddle Tunes, 1800–1802), 1977; p. 18. Jarman (Old Time Fiddlin' Tunes), No. or p. 24. Kennedy (Fiddlers Tune-Book, vol. 2), 1954; p. 24. Kerr (Merry Melodies, vol. 1); No. 8, p. 26. Lerwick (Kilted Fiddler), 1985; p. 8. MacDonald (The Skye Collection), 1887; p. 168. McGibbon (Collection of Scots Tunes, vol. 3), 1762; p. 81. McGlashan (Collection of Scots Measures), 177?; p. 4. O'Farrell (Pocket Companion, vol. 1); 1805; p. 75. O'Flannagan (The Hibernia Collection), 1860; p. 11. James Oswald (Caledonian Pocket Companion, vol. 1), 1760; p. 29. Phillips (Traditional American Fiddle Tunes, vol. 1), 1994; p. 35. Raven (English Country Dance Tunes), 1984; p. 144. Roche (Collection of Traditional Irish Music, vol. 2), 1912; No. 232, p. 17. Songer (Portland Collection), 1997; p. 37. Stewart-Robertson (The Athole Collection), 1884; p. 148.

Recorded sources:




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