Eureka

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EUREKA. American, Hornpipe. B Flat Major (Cole, Ryan): G Major (Miller). Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB. According to the Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable (2000), Eureka is "a cry of joy or satisfaction when one finds or discovers something. Recorded from the early 17th century, and said to have been uttered by Archimedes when he hit upon a method of determining the purity of gold (Greek heureka 'I have found it')." It is possible the tune was named for the clipper ship Eureka, a name that appears in American Clipper Ships 1833-1858 by Howe and Matthews. The Eureka was also a New York City concert saloon operated by Lee and Hatstatt at 544 Broadway. Brooks McNamara, in his book The New York Concert Saloon: The Devil's Own Nights (2002, p. 46), says (and quotes from the Clipper, an era periodical):

(The Eureka)...still had only a piano in 1874, "played by one of the Smith family," who seem to have been professional musicians. At length "Mr. Smith [perhaps Walter again] was persuaded to sing a Dutch [German] song which was translated into English as near as our limited language of the Faderland would admit." The song was printed with the Clipper article:

Song of a Swiper
Beer boys, beer, is the liquor we should stick to,
Beer, boys, beer, of a well reputed brand;
Beer, boys, beer, no more of idle sorrow,
At six cents a pint now it sparkles through the land.

Source for notated version:

Printed sources: Cole (1000 Fiddle Tunes), 1940; p. 94. Miller (Fiddler's Throne), 2004; No. 284, p. 170. Ryan's Mammoth Collection, 1883; p. 129.

Recorded sources:




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