Red and all Red

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RED AND ALL RED. English, Country Dance Tune (2/4 time). G Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB. The melody was originally published by Charles and Samuel Thompson in Thompson’s Compleat Collection of 200 Favourite Country Dances, vol. 1 (London, 1757), although Graham Christian (2015) has remarked that it may be a variant of the much older "Dumbarton's Drums (1)." The first strain has the usual eight bars, although the second has fourteen. The title is a phrase that may have been applied to a person, but is also a reference to short-horned cattle, whose solid color, “red and all red,” was deemed the most desirable as it signified purebred animals. In Plato's theory of forms (i.e. having abstract property or quality), an oft-cited example is the form of redness, which is red, and all red objects are simply imperfect, impure copies of this perfect form of redness. An alternate explanation of "Red and all Red", posited by Christian, is that it was a reference to British Army service, where red was "the established hue for the soldiers of the Crown."

The tune and dance (reconstructed by Charles Bolton, Colin Hume and others) are popular today with English Country Dance groups.

Source for notated version:

Printed sources: Barnes (English Country Dance Tunes, vol. 2), 2005; p. 108. Christian (A Playford Assembly), 2015; p. 94. Thompson (Compleat Collection of 200 Favourite Country Dances, vol. 1), 1757; No. 41.

Recorded sources:

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