Hessian Dance (1)

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HESSIAN DANCE [1]. AKA - "Hessian Camp (2), "Schwabe." English, American; Country Dance Tune (6/8 or 3/8 time). G Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). ABC. This German-English tune appears in several latter 18th century publications after first appearing in Peter Thompson's 1758 Twenty Four Country Dances and again in Charles and Samuel Thompson's Compleat Collection of 200 Country Dances, volume II (1765). It was also published by John Johnson in Two Hundred Favourite Country Dances, vol. 8 (London, 1758), David Rutherford in his Choice Collection of Sixty of the Most Celebrated Country Dances (London, 1750) and also in his Compleat Collection of 200 Country Dances, vol. 2 (London, 1760). It also was published in the London periodical The Universal Magazine of Knowledge and Pleasure of 1758. "Hessian Dance" appears in the music manuscript collections of James Biggins (Leeds, 1779) and William Vickers (Northumberland, 1770). As "The Hessian's Dance" it appears in Benjamin Cooke's c. 1770 manuscript (Leeds, west Yorkshire), while Northumbrian musician William Vickers included it in his 1770 ms. collection under the title "Hessian's Camp" (which is another country dance and tune). London publisher John Walsh published it in an unidentified country dance collection from the mid-18th century, giving it as "Schwabe, or Hessian Dance."

Van Cleef and Keller (1980) explain the tune was transported to America where it became quite popular and appeared under several titles as well as "Hessian Dance" (see alternates listed). American Henry Beck, for example, in his German flute MS of 1786 copied the tune twice (pgs. 39 & 53) as "Hessian dance" and "Asian camp." The dance figures can be found in a few American MS collections and copybooks, though many differ from the English versions. Lancaster, Pa., fluter John Hoff (1776-1818) included it in his music copybook c. 1797, and Clement Weeks,' in his Greenland, New Hampshire, MS of 1783, gives directions for a dance called "Hessian Camp" which fits a three phrase tune and probably was danced to this version of "Hessian Dance."

Source for notated version:

Printed sources: Barnes (English Country Dance Tunes, vol. 2), 2005; p. 58. Thompson (Compleat Collection of 200 Favourite Country Dances, vol. 2), 1765; No. 6.

Recorded sources:




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