Key West Hornpipe

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KEY WEST HORNPIPE. American, Hornpipe. G Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB. 1st strain is similar to "Lamplighter's Hornpipe (1)." At the time this tune was included in Ryan's Mammoth (1883), Key West's mainstay industry was wrecking (i.e. salvage), but by 1890 it was accounted one of the most prosperous cities in the state. The name 'Key West' is thought to derive from a mishearing of the Spanish Cayo Heuso, meaning 'island of the bones', so called because when the Spanish explored the island they found numerous bleached remains of victims of warring indigenous tribes, who left them unburied either because of religious reasons, or because of the difficulty in working the hard-packed limestone ground.

Source for notated version:

Printed sources: Cole (1000 Fiddle Tunes), 1940; p. 97. Kerr (Merry Melodies), vol. 2; No. 373, p. 41. Ryan's Mammoth Collection, 1883; p. 133. White's Unique Collection, 1896; No. 125, p. 22.

Recorded sources:




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