Grimaldi's Whim

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GRIMALDI'S WHIM. English, Jig. B Flat Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AAB. A 'whim', like 'maggot' or 'fancy', was a generic name meaning a tune or short melody. Joseph Grimaldi (1778-1837) was the most famous English clown, who maid the character of a clown a leading role in the theatre. Born to an Engish dancer and an Italian father (Joseph "Iron Legs" Grimaldi, ballet master of Drury Lane), Grimaldi took to the stage while still a toddler. He introduced pantomime to the theatre, and established the art of audience participation (presaging English Music Hall). By the last decade of his life Grimaldi was penniless, his health broken from the demands of his physical comedy, and unable to perform. The public came to his aide and he was sustained by a pension from the Drury Lane Theatrical Fund until his death. At the time of Goulding's publication, however, Grimaldi was at the top of his form, and just past his greatest success in Harlequin and Mother Goose; or, The Golden Egg (1806), produced at the Theatre Royal, Covent Garden.

Source for notated version:

Printed sources: Goulding (Twenty Four Country Dances for the Year 1808), 1808; No. 16.

Recorded sources:




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