Dutch Skipper (6) (The)

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DUTCH SKIPPER [6], THE. English, Scottish; Country Dance tune (whole time). D Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABBCC (Aird): AABBCCDD (Young): AABBCCDDAABB (Gow). The Dutch Skipper was originally a country dance, later a character dance that became choreographed for performance in imitation of dances from Holland, and known to the London stage since at least the season of 1709-10, when a 'dutch skipper's dance' was performed by Miss Santlow. The 'Dutch Skipper' was advertised in the Spectator of June 11, 1712, as being one of the entre-act dances performed during a production of the comic Revenge, or Love in a Tub, to be danced by Mr Thurmond and Mrs. Bicknell, and 1721 it was performed at Lincoln's In Fields, London, by a Mr. Sandham, "Upon his toes." By the 1740's it had become a stage standard for Madame Auretti, a dancer from a famous touring family. Walsh's New Country Dancing Master, 2nd Book (London, 1710), then in John Young's second volume of the Dancing Master (London, in four editions from 1710 to 1728) and republished in Walsh's Second Book of the Compleat Dancing Master (London, 1719). It seems to have had somewhat longer longevity in Scotland where it appears in Gow prints the same melody, note for note, that is found in James Aird's Selections, (vol. 3, Glasgow, 1788) in three parts, although the repetitions of each differ slightly from one-another. The same melody also appears in the 1768 (James) Gillespie Manuscript of Perth.

Gow attaches two jig parts, the returns to the slow duple section. These jig parts do not appear in Aird, and are sometime split-off in manuscripts and also called "The Dutch Skipper." This jig part was itself the vehicle for a song in Achilles, but was also used by itself in Abraham Longford's The Lover His Own Rival (1736). It appears as a jig in Walter Rainstorp's (Cheapside, London) music commonplace book of 1747, and in London musician Thomas Hammersley's music manuscript collection of 1790. See also William Vickers' "Dutch Skipper (1) (The)" for a jig that uses similar melodic material to the 6/8 section of the Gow's tune.

As a vehicle for opera songs set to various lyrics, "The Dutch Skipper" enjoyed widespread popularity on the 1730's London stage. John Gay used the melody in his opera Achilles (1733), but it also could be heard in the Grub Street Opera (1731), Genuine Grub (1731), Robert Drury's Rival Milliners (1737), George Lillo's Silvia (1731), Welsh Opera (1731), and Rome Excis'd (1733).

Source for notated version:

Printed sources: Aird (Selection of Scotch, English, Irish and Foreign Airs), vol. 3, 1788; p. 180. Gow (Fourth Collection of Niel Gow's Reels), 2nd ed., originally 1800; p. 35. Young (Second Volume of the Dancing Master, 1st edition), 1710; p. 102.

Recorded sources:




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