Rakes of Rodney

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RAKES OF RODNEY. AKA and see "Rhode Island March." English, American; Country Dance Tune. ‘Rodney’ perhaps refers to Admiral Rodney, an 18th century British naval hero. The tune was entered into the 1789 music manuscript collection of musician Cushing Eells (Norwich, Conn. ), and into the 1790 music manuscript of Ralph Pomeroy (New Haven and Hartford, Conn.). Dance figures for “Rhode Island March, or, Rakes of Rodney” appear in the collection of dance figures called A Collection of Contra Dances containing the Newest, most Approved and Fashionable Figures, printed in Stockbridge, Mass., in 1794. tune was preserved in a chime clock made at the end of the 18th century by New Windsor, Connecticut, clockmaker Daniel Burnap, and also in a c. 1800 clock by Williamstown, Massachusetts, clockmaker Daniel Porter (b. 1775), who was Burnap’s apprentice.

The dial on Burnap’s clock is engraved with the titles of six songs, one of which the clock played every three hours, at 3, 6, 9 and 12. The song to be played was selected by adjusting the pointer in the dial arch. The melodies included "General Elliot's Minuet/Minuit," "Hob or Nob," "Rakes of Rodney," "French King's Minuet/Minuit," "Banks of the Dee (The)," and "Rosey Wine." Porter’s clock similarly played six tunes, the names of which are written across the top of the lunette. They read: "Rakes of Rodney," "Bells of York," "Primrose Hill," "Scotch Luck," "Jemmy's Farewell," "Gen V’ Horn’s March"/"General Van Horn's March." Porter’s tune selections are from a variety of sources. Titles like “Gen. Van Horn’s March” and “Bells of York” suggest that some of his customers were from the upper Hudson valley. “Rakes of Rodney” was probably from a pinning diagram given him by his master, Daniel Burnap. Like many of the American antique musical clocks, a selection of six tunes allows for a different tune each day of the week excluding the Sabbath” [1].

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