Duchess of Hamilton's Rant

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DUCHESS OF HAMILTON'S RANT. English, Jig. A Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB. See note for "Miss Gunning's Reel" for more on the Duchess of Hamilton. The tune appears in a music and country dance manuscript from the village of Ashover, Derbyshire, dated 1762, written by Joshua Harrison and David Wall. While nothing is known of Harrison, Wall was a bassoonist, whose epitaph can still be seen on a memorial plaque in All Saints Church, Ashover. It reads:

To the memory of David Wall
Whose superior performance on the bassoon endeared him
To an extensive musical acquaintance.
His social life closed on the 4th Dec. 1796. in his 57th year.

The melody had been published earlier, however, in David Rutherford's Choice Collection of Sixty of the Most Celebrated Country Dances (London, 1750, p. 56), the same notes with a key signature of two sharps instead of the three in the Ashover ms. Rutherford included it again ten years later in his Compleat Collection of 200 Country Dances, vol.2 (London, 1760, p. 35), this time with a key signature in three sharps. Anne Gilchrist ["Old Fiddlers' Tune Books of the Georgian Period", JEFDSS, vol. 4, No. 1, Dec. 1940, p. 18] noted that, in her experience, the Rant was a name rather loosely applied of various lively dance-tunes, but properly seemed to her to have belonged to a quick 2/4 time melody. However, as this jig suggests, it was applied to a variety of meters.

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