EMMA SNOW. American, Minstrel Song (2/4 time). E Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AA'B. The song "Emma Snow" was written by blackface minstrel Charles White in 1848. It tells of an idyllic Alabama love story that ends in tragedy:
Now that happy time hath sorrow,
The day is turned to night;
I lost my dearest Emma
By the poison adder's bite.
We miss'd her in de evening,
And we hunted far and wide,
And we found her in the meadows
Whar she sicken'd and she died.
The melody forms the first part of Bellport, Long Island, ship's captain and fiddler Isaac Homan's "Melodeon Set," a set of quadrilles made entirely of minstrel tunes. Homan entered a number of minstrel song airs into his mid-19th century music manuscript collection, along with quadrille and cotillion sets, and misc. dance tunes. The set was attributed in the MS to "M, Titus" (clearly indicated with a comma, not a period); 'Titus' is a name that appears in several places in the MS, and refers to a neighbor and musician with who apparently Homan played regularly. Perhaps the 'M' refers to Homan himself. It seems likely that Homan and his musical friends may have put on minstrel shows in his community; certainly he and his friends played for community dances.
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