Miss Moore’s Rant

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MISS MOORE’S RANT. American, Reel. G Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABBCC. A quite popular tune and vehicle for dancing during and after the American War of Independence. The melody and/or dance figures appear in numerous musicians’ and dancers’ manuscript copybooks from the era, including that of Henry Livingston, Jr. Livingston purchased the estate of Locust Grove, Poughkeepsie, New York, in 1771 at the age of 23. In 1775 he was a Major in the 3rd New York Regiment, which participated in Montgomery’s invasion of Canada in a failed attempt to wrest Quebec from British control. An important land-owner in the Hudson Valley, and a member of the powerful Livingston family, Henry was also a surveyor and real estate speculator, an illustrator and map-maker, and a Justice of the Peace for Dutchess County. He was also a poet and musician, and presumably a dancer, as he was elected a Manager for the New York Assembly’s dancing season of 1774-1775, along with his 3rd cousin, John Jay, later U.S. Chief Justice of Governor of New York. The melody also appears in the commonplace music books of East Hartford, Connecticut, musician James Hosmer (1798-1799), Captain George Bush, and Pepperell, Massachusetts musician Nancy Shepley (with dance figures). It also appears in a manuscript by Aaron Thompson, fife-major in the 3rd New Jersey Regiment. Kate Van Winkler Keller (“Fiddle, Dance and Sing with George Bush”) notes the similarity between Bush and Thompson’s music and dance figures, and believes it is possible the both collected dances that may have been performed in the winter encampments at Morristown, New Jersey (1778-1780).

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