Fire Fly

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FIRE FLY (REEL). American, Reel. D Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AB. It is possible this tune was associated with the stage production called The Fire Fly, starring, at one time, the famous mid-19th century actress Lotta Crabtree (who performed in it in Boston in 1868). Mark Twain was residing in San Francisco at the time, writing for the Alta California. In the issue of September 6, 1868, Twain writes:

One of the first things that fell under our notice was one of Lotta's posters, which bore the information that she would begin a star engagement at Wallack's within a few days. It is wonderful what a firm hold that young girl has secured upon the good will of the people and press of the metropolis-I might say, of the rest of the country also, but you know that that follows, of course. Critics speak guardedly of other actresses, but the praise her without stint. The Tribune and the other great dailies are her friends. She draws surprisingly. I see nothing and hear nothing of her enterprising father. Lotta is to appear in a new play, "The Fire Fly," written especially for her. After speaking of her former successes in New York, the Tribune says:

She is aptly typical of the luminous and erratic insect, glancing and gleaming in the night air of summer. The fact the new drama in which she will appear comes from the practiced pen of Mr. Edmund Falconer, is guarantee of its theatrical merit. 'The Fire Fly' is the novelty of the week, moreover, in theatrical life, and public attention naturally centres upon it. Mr. Moss, the manager, is understood to have got up the new play with uncommon care. Should it prove a success, it will undoubtedly run along till the close of the summer season.

Source for notated version:

Printed sources: Cole (1000 Fiddle Tunes), 1940; p. 17. Ryan's Mammoth Collection, 1883; p. 41.

Recorded sources:




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