Annotation:Oyster River Reel (The)

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X:1 T:Oyster River M:2/4 L:1/8 R:Reel B:O'Flannagan - The Hibernia Collection (Boston, 1860, p. 7) Z:AK/Fiddler's Companion K:G D|GB B/A/G/A/|Be e/f/g/e/|dB AG/A/|B/c/B/A/ G/F/E/D/| GB B/A/G/A/|Be e/f/g/e/|dB AG/A/|BG G:| |:e/f/|g>a g/f/e/d/|gg ag/a/|bb ag/a/|bb/a/ g/f/e/d/| e/f/g/a/ g/f/e/d/|gg ag/a/|bb ag/a/|bgg:| |:BB B/c/B/A/|GE E2|AA A/B/A/G/|FDD| dc dA|B/A/B/c/ dA/G/|FD ED/E/|FDD:|]

OYSTER RIVER (REEL), THE. AKA - "Oyster River," "Oyster River Hornpipe." American, Irish; Reel or Hornpipe. G Major (Cole, Kerr, Phillips, Songer): G Major {'A' and 'B' parts} & D Major {'C' part} (Ford, Sweet). Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB (Cole, Kerr, Phillips, Songer, Sweet): AABCC (Ford). This polka-like reel is identified as an "Irish Reel" in Kerr's Merry Melodies vol. 1 (c. 1880's), perhaps on the strength of its previous printing in Patrick O'Flannagan's Hibernia Collection (Boston, 1860). However, the tune was a staple of Boston publisher Elias Howe's publications, including O'Flannagan's and William Bradbury Ryan's Ryan's Mammoth Collection (1883). "Oyster River" was also entered in the 1826-1859 anonymous music manuscript, probably from Maine, entitled Melodist: A Collection of music in two volumes (No. 29, p. 17), that included dance tunes as well as songs. The first strains of the Irish polkas "Church Street Polka (1)," "Gurteen Cross," and "St. Mary's" are cognate with "Oyster River," and, while the "Oyster River" seems to predate those tunes and may be of American origin, it does not preclude an earlier version (so far unsurfaced) with an Irish provenance.

The title perhaps refers to Oyster River, New Hampshire. The hamlet of Oyster River Plantation was the scene of a devastating massacre during King William's War in 1694. Abenaki Indians, incensed at abuses from the English population and encouraged by the French, killed and captured nearly 100 settlers, one third of the population.

Additional notes

Printed sources : - Cole (1000 Fiddle Tunes), 1940; p. 105. Ford (Traditional Music in America), 1940; p. 76 (appears as "Oyster River"). Hopkins (American Veteran Fifer), 1905; No. 100 (appears as "Oyster River Hornpipe"). Elias Howe (Second Part of the Musician’s Companion), 1843; p. 47. Kerr (Merry Melodies, vol. 1), c. 1880; p. 41. O'Flannagan (The Hibernia Collection), 1860; p. 7. Phillips (Traditional American Fiddle Tunes, vol. 2), 1995; p. 214. Ryan's Mammoth Collection, 1883; p. 142. Songer (Portland Collection), 1997; p. 154. Sweet (Fifer's Delight), 1965/1981; p. 51. White's Unique Collection, 1896; No. 129, p. 23.

Recorded sources : - Marimac 9012, Fish Family Dance Band - "Fluke Hits" (1987). Marimac 9030, Lotus Dickey - "Fiddle Tunes from Orange County, Indiana, vol. 2" (1989). North Star Records NS0038, "The Village Green: Dance Music of Old Sturbridge Village."

See also listing at :
Jane Keefer's Folk Music Index: An Index to Recorded Sources [1]

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