Celebrated Almack's Waltz (The)

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CELEBRATED ALMACKS' WALTZ, THE. English, Waltz. D Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABBCCDDAABB. The melody can be found in George Saunders' (a self-described "Professor of Music and Dancing") violin tutor entitled New and Scientific Self-Instructing School for the Violin (Providence, Rhode Island, 1847, No. 32, pg. 28; reprinted by Oliver Ditson in the 1850's). Although the origin of the tune's name is unknown, it should be noted that Almack's Assembly Rooms (popularly known as Almack's), King Street, London, was one of the most exclusive establishments of Regency society, and a center for fashionable popular dancing and entertainments. The rules were strict and entry was as guarded as any exclusive modern nightclub-the doors were manned by the manager and a well-known doorkeeper, Willis, and they closed at eleven-thirty promptly. Admissions vouchers had to be shown upon entry (Thompson, Dancing Through Time, 1998, p. 131). The name Almack's derived from its owner, William Macall, who reversed the syllables of his last name because he thought his real name sounded too Scottish, and thus unfashionable. The rooms (which consisted of a ballroom, supper rooms and game rooms) opened in 1765 and continued to be a center of social life through the mid-19th century. The doors were finally closed in 1863.

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