Lottery (The)

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X:1 T:Lottery, The M:C| L:1/8 R:Country Dance B:Samuel, Peter & Ann Thompson - Compleat Collecton of 200 B:Favourite Country Dances, vol. 5 (1788, No. 142, p. 71) Z:AK/Fiddler's Companion K:D a|a>baf gfed|c>def ecAG|FAGB Acdb|afdf fe za| a>baf gfed|c>def ecAG|FAGB Acdb|afef d2D:| |:A|F>GAA BAdA|F>GAA B/A/G/F/ EA|F>GAA BAdA|GFED A2 A,2| F>GAA BAdA|F>GAA B/A/G/F/ EA|F>GAA BAdB|AGFE D2-D2:|]



LOTTERY, THE. English, Country Dance Tune (cut time). D Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB. The tune appears to be unique to London music publishers Samuel, Ann and Peter Thompson's Compleat Collection, vol. 5 (1788). The title may refer to a revival of Henry Fielding's (1707 - 1754) comic ballad opera The Lottery, first staged at the Theatre Royal in Drury Lane in 1732, and based on the English joint-stock lottery of 1731 designed to raise £800,000 of a proposed £1,200,000 government loan. Tickets cost £10 each, but winnings were paid in stock rather than currency. It was customary for ticket-holders to sell the stock for cash. Problems arose in the lotteries not through the mechanism of the drawing, but rather through the manipulation of tickets by dishonest stockjobbers, as in Fielding's portrayal of his character Stocks. Although fraud in lotteries was punishable by death, it was difficult to prove and easy to obscure and thus was seldom punished[1].

The Thompson's country dance melody is different than the melody for the song "The Lottery," sung at Sadler's Wells in the 1760's and probably also linked to a revival of Fielding's opera.


Additional notes



Printed sources : - Thompson (Compleat Collecton of 200 Favourite Country Dances, vol. 5), 1788; No. 142, p. 71.






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  1. Edgar V. Roberts, "Fielding's Ballad Opera "The Lottery" (1732) and the English State Lottery of 1731", Huntington Library Quarterly Vol. 27, No. 1 (Nov., 1963), pp. 39-52 (14 pages)