Pompey ran Away

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X:1 T:Pompey ran away M:3/4 L:1/8 R:”Negroe jig” B:Aird – Selection of Scotch, English, Irish and Foreign Airs, vol. 1 (1782, No. 163, p. 57) Z:AK/Fiddler’s Companion K:G B2 BA G2|EGFD G2|B2 BA G2|EGFD G2:|| dBcA G2|EAAF G2|dBcA G2|EGFD G2| EAAF G2|EGFD G2|EAAF G2|EGFD G2||



POMPEY RAN AWAY. American, Jig (3/4 or 6/4 time). G Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB. The tune, perhaps the earliest extent attributed to African-Americans, appears in Glasgow publisher James Aird’s Selection of Scotch, English, Irish and Foreign Airs, vol. 1), 1782, No. 163, p. 57), labelled a “Negroe Jig” and indicating its provenance as "Virginian." American songwriter Dan Decateur Emmett's biographer, Hans Nathan, described it as "one of the earliest blends of European and primitive melodies," and conjectures that it is a collaboration between a British visitor who transcribed it from a transplanted African source. "It consists of English and Scottish folk song elements, but the frequent reiteration of a short-winded motive is the contribution of the slave"[1]. How authentic the melody is to African or African-American tradition is unknown.

Additional notes

Source for notated version: -

Printed sources : - Johnson (A Further Collection of Dances, Marches, Minuetts and Duetts of the Latter 18th Century), 1998; p. 15.

Recorded sources: - Fellside Recordings FECD376, Vic Gammon & Friends - "Early Scottish Regtime" (2016).

See also listing at:
See/hear Timothy Twiss play the tune on fretless banjo on youtube.com [1]
See also the ethnomusicological aricle, "From Akonting to Banjo: A Story of Musical Colonialism and Cultural Appropriation" [2]



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  1. Hans Nathan, Dan Emmett and the Rise of Early Negro Minstrelsy, 1962, pp. 187-188.