Portland Fancy (1)

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X: 1 T: Portland Fancy [1] O: Boston, 1847 B: Elias Howe "Drawing Room Dances" (Boston, 1859) B: (Howe's was a reprint of Henri Cellarius's "Drawing Room Dances", 1847) N: Cellarius and Howe published only the first 3 parts; the 4th part is of unknown later origin. M: 6/8 Z: Transcribed to abc by Mary Lou Knack N: "Gigue des Sucres" is a Qu\'ebecois version of the first two strains. R: jig K: G "D7"FE | "G"D2G D2G | DGA B2B | "C"cBc "D7"ABc | "C"e2d "D"BGE| "G"D2G D2G | DGA B2B | "C"cBc "D7"DEF | "G"GBA G |] Bd | "G"g2g "D"fgf | "C"ece "G"d2B | "C"cBc "D7"ABc | "G"Bcd "C"e2"D7"d| "G"g2g "D"fgf | "C"ece "G"d2B | "C"cBc "D7"DEF | "G"GBA G |] K: C "G7"E=F | "C"GAB c2d | e2f g3 | "Dm"def "G7"Gcd | "C"e2c "G7"GEF| "C"GAB c2d | e2f g3 | "Dm"def "G7"GAB | "C"ced c |] zG | "C"E2G E2G | EGc e3 | "G7"dBd fdB | "C"ced "G7"cGF| "C"E2G E2G | EGc e3 | "G7"dBd fdB | "C"c2e c |]



PORTLAND FANCY [1]. American, Canadian, English; Jig. USA; New Hampshire, Maine. Canada, Cape Breton. A Major [Welling]: A Major ('A' and 'B' parts) & D Major ('C' and 'D' parts) [Cranford, Ford, Kennedy, Linscott, Miller & Perron, Phillips, Raven, Ruth, Sweet]. Standard tuning (fiddle). ABC (Phillips): ABCD (Kennedy, Miller & Perron, Raven, Sweet): AABBC (Ford, Ruth): AA’BBCC (Cranford): AAABBCC (Linscott): AABB (Welling). Linscott (1939) says it was derived from an Irish reel, though she does not specify which one she thinks was the original. The tune is linked in New England with a country dance of the same name, but Burchenal (1918) also prints the reels "Texarkana" and "Young America Hornpipe" as "Portland Fancy" [1] and "Portland Fancy" [2] with the dance in her collection, indicating the jig "Portland Fancy" was not the only tune (or form) associated with the dance of that title. Portland Fancy was danced in August, 1914, during the 150 anniversary celebration of the founding of the town of Lancaster, New Hampshire, according to a playbill of the period. Michael McKernan remembers a more recent dance version of the “Portland Fancy” can be seen in Charles Walters’1950 film Summer Stock [1], starring Judy Garland (her last film for MGM). The scene begins in a barn in Connecticut which is the venue for a dour local community dance group who dance Portland Fancy. Young people from New York (including actor Gene Kelly) jump down from the hayloft, insinuate themselves into the dance and eventually turn it into a swing session.

The first three parts of the melody first appear in print in Henri Cellarius's 'Drawing Room Dances (1847), reprinted in Elias Howe's Drawing Room Dances (Boston, 1859). The fourth part, anonymously composed, was grafted on at some later point [note: I have been unable to find music in the Cellarius 1847 publication]. Bayard (1981) thinks his Pennsylvania-collected untitled quadrille (Dance to the Fiddle, 1981, No. 572, p. 509) is a derivative of this tune, and he prints an unusual version of the standard "Portland Fancy" tune in waltz time (No. 641). The jig "Portland Fancy" was in the repertoire list of the elderly Mellie Dunham (Norway, Maine), who was Henry Ford's champion fiddler in the late 1920's, and a recording of it was made in 1926 by the Plymouth, Vermont, Old Time Barn Dance Orchestra with fiddler Uncle John Wilder (see note for "Lady Washington's Reel" for more on this group).

The first two strains are popular among French-Canadian musicians in Quebec and northern New England, under various titles; see, for example, fiddler Joseph Allard's "Gigue des sucres (La)" (recorded in the key of G on a 78 RPM disc).


Additional notes
Source for notated version : - Edson Cole (Freedom, N.H.) [Linscott]; the Plymouth Vermont Old Time Dance Orchestra [Phillips]; Winston Fitzgerald (1914-1987, Cape Breton) [Cranford].

Printed sources : - Cazden (Dances from Woodland), 1955; p. 25. Cranford (Winston Fitzgerald: A Collection of Fiddle Tunes), 1997; No. 175, p. 70. DeVille (The Universal Favorite Contra Dance Album), 1905; No. 85. Ford (Traditional Music in America), 1940; p. 77 (dance is also printed). Kennedy (Fiddler’s Tune-Book, vol. 2), 1954; p. 48. Linscott (Folk Songs of Old New England), 1939; p. 109 (dance is also printed). Miller & Perron (New England Fiddler’s Repertoire), 1983; No. 52. Phillips (Traditional American Fiddle Tunes, vol. 2), 1995; p. 376. Raven (English Country Dance Tunes), 1984; p. 104. Ruth (Pioneer Western Folk Tunes), 1948; No. 125, p. 43. Sweet (Fifer's Delight), 1965/1981; p. 26. Welling (Welling's Hartford Tunebook), 1976; p. 10.

Recorded sources : - Alcazar Dance Series FR 203, Rodney Miller – "New England Chestnuts" (1980). Okeh Records 45073 (78 RPM), Plymouth Vermont Old Time Barn Dance Orchestra with Uncle John Wilder (1926). Rounder Records, Carl MacKenzie – “Welcome to Your Feet Again.” Smithsonian Folkways SFW CD 40126, Two Fiddles – “Choose Your Partners! Contra Dance & Square Dance Music of New Hampshire” (1999).

See also listing at :
Alan Snyder's Cape Breton Fiddle Recordings Index [2]
Jane Keefer's Folk Music Index: An Index to Recorded Sources [3]
Hear the Plymouth, Vermont, band's 1926 recording at youtube.com [4]



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