Mantua Makers Frolic (The)

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MANTUA MAKER'S FROLIC, THE. AKA - "The Mantua Makers." English, Country Dance Tune (2/4 time). B Flat Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABBCC. Mantuas [1] were a woman's loose gown, called a 'mantie' or mantua in the 17th and 18th centuries from the French word manteau. Alternately, it referred to a mantle fashionable in the second and third decade of the 19th century, also for women, derived from the custom of wearing a "plaid." However, since they were of open crochet or lace work, they didn't hide the face and thus were more stylish for dance assemblies. A dictionary also equates the term 'mantua-makers' with dressmakers, and says a mantua is a "woman's loose outer skirt." Mantuas were manufactured as an Edinburgh women's cottage industry in small workshops or at home.

Comtesse de Mailly wearing a mantua, 1698 (Wikipedia)


The melody was printed in John Johnson's Two Hundred Favourite Country Dances, vol. 8 (London, 1758), David Rutherford's Compleat Collection of 200 Country Dances, vol. 2 (London, 1760), Straight and Skillern's Two Hundred and Four Favourite Country Dances, vol. 1 (London, 1775), as well as Charles and Samuel Thompson's 1765 collection. The melody is also contained in the large dance music manuscript collection of Northumbrian musician William Vickers (1780).


Source for notated version:

Printed sources: Straight and Skillern (Two Hundred and Four Favourite Country Dances, vol. 1), c. 1775; No. 169, p. 85. Thompson (Compleat Collection of 200 Favourite Country Dances, vol. 2), 1765; No. 7.

Recorded sources:





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