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NEAPOLITAN THRESHERS. AKA - "Neopolitan Threashers." English, Jig. D Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB. At the time Glasgow publisher James Aird's Selection, vol. 2 (1785) was published, the Kingdom of Naples was governed by King Ferdinand IV, a member of the House of Bourbon and a younger son of Charles, King of Spain. He was (as a Bourbon) in opposition to the French Revolution and later to Napoleon. When Ferdinand attempted to take Rome, Napoleon chased him out of mainland Italy, to Sicily, where the British supported him by patrolling the waters against French invasion. As the British were allied with Ferdinand against the French, they used Naples (when it was in Ferdinand's control) as a Mediterranean resupply and refitting port for their fleet.
The melody was entered in the c. 1780-1804 music manuscript collection of fife player John Fife, who may have been from Perthshire, and who may have made entries at sea (there are references to battles in the Caribbean and Mediterranean in his mss). "Neapolitan Threshers" also appears as the 3rd change of Frank Roche's "Nights of Gladness (3)" quadrille.
Source for notated version:
Printed sources: Aird (Selection of Scotch, English, Irish and Foreign Airs, vol. II), 1785; No. 47, p. 17. Cole (1000 Fiddle Tunes), 1940; p. 70. Manson (Hamilton's Universal Tune Book), 1844; p. 9. Ryan's Mammoth Collection, 1883; p. 100.