March to Boston

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MARCH TO BOSTON. AKA and see "Road to Boston." American, March (2/4 time). D Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AB. The march was also entered into the c. 1776-1778 music copybook of fifer Thomas Nixon Jr. [1] (1762-1842), of Framingham, Connecticut. Nixon was a thirteen-year-old who accompanied his father to the battles of Lexington and Concord, and who served in the Continental army in engagements in and around New York until 1780, after which he returned home to build a house in Framingham. The copybook appears to have started by another musician, Joseph Long, and to have come into Nixon’s possession.

The march is familiar nowadays as "Road to Boston," but it most often appeared as "March to Boston" in fife and other instrumental tutors of the late 18th and early 19th centuries. It was printed in Samuel Holyoke's The Instrumental Assistant, vol. 1 (1800, Exeter, N.H.), Joshua Cushing's The Fifer's Companion No. 1 (Salem, MA, 1805), Norris & Sawyer's The Village Fifer (1808, Exeter, N.H.), David Hazeltine's Instructor In Martial Music (1810, Exeter, N.H.), Charles Robbins' The Drum and Fife Instructor (1812, Exeter, N.H.), Daniel Steele's New and Complete Preceptor for the Fife (1815, Albany), and Alvan Robinson's Massachusetts Collection of Martial Musick (1818, Hallowell, Me.). The melody also appears in several period musicians' copybooks as well. Under the title "Irish Haymakers--March to Boston" the tune was entered into the music copybook of American musician M.E. Eames, frontispiece dated Aug. 22nd, 1859 (p. 179). The Irish Haymakers, longways for sets of five to eight couples, was a dance for which this tune was the accompaniment. It was advertised as an Entr'acte entertainment on the London stage as early as 1767 (The Pubic Advertiser, Oct. 21, 1767, "End of the Play a Dance called The -IRISH HAYMAKERS, By Sig. Glorp, Mrs. King, &c.").

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