Portabella

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PORTABELLA. English, Country Dance Tune (4/4 time). G Minor. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB. The melody and dance instructions ("Longways for as many as will") date to 1715 when they were first printed in London publisher John Walsh's Twenty Four New Country Dances for the Year 1715, appearing again in Walsh's Second Book of the Compleat Country Dancing Master (1719). It was picked up by rival London publisher John Young for his own Second Volume of the Dancing Master [1] (3rd edition) of 1718, and was retained in Young's 4th edition of 1728. John Walsh published it in his own Second Book of the Compleat Country Dancing-Master (1719).

Graham Christian (2015) finds the tune appeared in the act music for Colley CIbber's play Love's Last Shift (1696) where it was described as a "Bore" i.e. a bourrée. It was composed, states Christian, by James Paisible [2] (1656-1721), a composer and virtuoso recorder player originally from France (where his first name was Jacques). Paisible also played oboe and bass viol, and composed for the theater, where he met and married Moll Davis, a singer and actress who had been the mistress of Charles II. He lived and worked in London for some forty years.

See also the similarly-spelled “Porto Bello” and "Portabello Hornpipe" for an explanation of at the title.

Source for notated version:

Printed sources: Barnes (English Country Dance Tunes), 1986. Christian (A Playford Assembly), 2015; p. 89.

Recorded sources: Argo ZDA 158, "Giles Farnaby’s Dream Band" (1973. Various artists).




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