X:1 T:Melodeon Hornpipe M:2/4 L:1/8 S:Ford - Traditional Music in America (1940) Z:AK/Fiddler's Companion K:A (3e/f/g/ | a/e/c/e/ A/c/e/a/ | f/d/B/G/ AB/c/ | d/f/e/d/ d/c/B/A/ | G/B/A/F/ E(3e/f/g/ | a/e/c/e/ A/c/e/a/ | f/d/B/G/ AB/c/ | d/f/e/d/ c/B/A/G/ | Ac A :| |: e | c/e/A/e/ c/e/A/e/ | d/f/B/f/ d/f/B/f/ | c/e/A/e/ c/e/A/e/ | G/B/e/B/ G/B/e/B/ | c/e/A/e/ c/e/A/e/ | d/f/B/f/ d/f/B/f/ | e/a/g/f/ e/d/c/B/ | Ac A :|
MELODEON HORNPIPE. AKA and see "Blacksmith's Hornpipe (2) (The)," "Bristol Hornpipe (The)," "Clover Blossom (The)," "Hand Organ Hornpipe," "Pretty Kate Reel," "Slayley Bridge Hornpipe." American, Hornpipe. A Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB. The title may simply references a tune played upon the melodeon, an early single row accordion introduced in the 1840's. The arpeggios in the second strain would be easy to play on the instrument. However, it is just possible that it could refer to one of the many theatres named 'The Melodeon', invariably mid-19th century concert saloons or variety houses. One Melodeon, in New York, was at 563 Broadway, near Prince Street; another Melodeon was in Boston, from 1839-1878 (which changed its name to the Bijou in 1882 and became the first theatre in the United States to be entirely lighted by electricity). Brooks McNamara, in his book The New York Concert Saloon: The Devil's Own Nights' (2002, p. 47), says of the New York venue (and quotes from The Clipper, an era periodical):
(The Melodeon)...had (a master of ceremonies in the manner of the British music hall)...who doubled as a pianist and fiddle player, as well as a comic singer. "Young Solomons, son of the old gentleman and an excellent tenor," runs the Clipper account, in 1864 "is a good card and extremely useful withal, for if the 'piannerist' or 'fiddlerist' or any other ist happens to get taken down sick, Mose takes his posish and the show goes on. He is a sort of Monsieur Boulcourt--calls out the names of the singers, raps for order and raps for applause. His style is melodramatic, if you know what that means. Or he can take a hand at the comic if necessary, always careful to avoid bawdy-house songs, which is more than we can say of some free-and-easies."
The tune appears in Ryan's Mammoth Collection (1883) as "Hand Organ Hornpipe," in Francis O'Neill's Music of Ireland as "Clover Blossom (The)," and (set as a reel) as "Pretty Kate Reel" in the 1908 J.W. Pepper collection.