French Four (4)

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FRENCH FOUR [4]. New England, Reel. C Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). One part (Linscott): AB (Howe). The tune was printed by Howe and Linscott along with the dance of the same name, an extremely popular country dance from the mid-19th century on, mentioned numerous times in period accounts of dances, balls and cotillions. The dance may have derived from old English country dances called "Trenchmore Galliard" or "Westcountry Jigg", according to Linscott (1939). The year that Elias Howe's publication 1000 Jigs and Reels appeared, 1867, the title "French Four" appeared on a dance card for a fashionable New Year's Eve Ball at Chagrin Falls, Ohio (music provided by "Miller's Band," calling by a man named Farr). Several tunes were used as a vehicle for the French Four, including "Soldier's Joy" and other familiar tunes. The origins of the melody for "French Four [4]" are unknown, although structurally it is similar to mid-19th century forms. A dance called the "French Four" was performed in August, 1914, at the 150th anniversary celebration of the town of Lancaster, New Hampshire, according to a period playbill.

Source for notated version: Willie Woodward (Bristol, N.H.) [Linscott].

Printed sources: Howe (Musician's Omnibus, No. 1), 1862; p. 46. Howe (1000 Jigs and Reels), c. 1867; p. 81. Linscott (Folk Songs of Old New England), 1939; p. 78.

Recorded sources:




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