Cheat (The)

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CHEAT, THE. AKA and see "Cheat or Swing," "Coquette (3)," "In My Cottage Near the Wood." American, Country Dance Tune (4/4 time). USA, New England. D Major. Standard tuning. AABB (Silberberg): AABCBC (Linscott): ABCD (Ford). The tune was commonly played for played for the dance "Ninepin Quadrille" or "The Cheat" in New England. Bayard (1981) traced this tune and pronounced it 'international', having found variants with diverse names from the European continent as well as the British Isles and America. He believes the original antecedent for the tune to be from France, and that there were two main versions: an earlier one (1700's) and a later one (early 1800's to modern times), but both very popular in their time. "The Cheat" belongs to the later group, and was well known as a song and dance air in France as "Dedans mon Petit Reduit" and "Bonne Aventure O Gue(La)" (see Bayard, 1981; pp. 250-251 for sources), and in Britain and America under the titles listed in the beginning (see Bayard for references). Silberberg notes that "the title refers to a river in West Virginia," however, given the apparent Northeast origins for the tune as played in America, this would not seem to be the case.

Source for notated version: from the manuscript of Elizabeth Foster Reed (1796-1823), a book of ballads and dance tunes; unpublished, but in the hands of her descendants [Linscott]; Phil and Vivian Williams (Seattle) [Silberberg].

Printed sources: Ford (Traditional Music in America), 1940; p. 61. Linscott (Folk Songs of Old New England), 1939; p. 101. Silberberg (93 Fiddle Tunes I Didn't Learn at Tractor Tavern), 2004; p. 8.

Recorded sources: Alcazar Dance Series ALC 202, Sandy Bradley - "Potluck & Dance Tonite!" (1979).




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