Rolling Hornpipe (The)
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ROLLING HORNPIPE, THE. English, Triple Hornpipe (3/2 time). D Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). ABC. The melody appears in dancing master Daniel Wright's An Extraordinary Collection of Pleasant and merry Humours never before Published, Containing Hornpipes, Jiggs, North Country Frisks', Morris's, Bagpipe Hornpipe's, & Round's with Severall Additonal fancis added. fit for all those that play Publick (London, c. 1715). There are similarities to the Northumbrian “Sailors are all at the bar (The),” and the “Drunken Hornpipe” from David Young's MacFarlane manuscript.
"The Rolling Hornpipe" may have had 17th century Cheshire or Lancashire origins, but it received wide dissemination as a country dance and tune(s), albeit in several variations and derivatives that can be seen/heard as "Roaring Hornpipe (The)" (Wales), "Rowling Hornpipe," "Rowland Hornpipe," "Cheshire Rolling Hornpipe," "Oldham Rowling Hornpipe" and others. There are wide differences between these melodies, yet all seem united by title, purpose and a kind of musical pattern or structure. It was imported to the New World and the Rolling Hornpipe as a dance is named in 19th century articles and books as a favorite country dance, particularly among the young. For example, Colonial Children (1902, p. 193), by Albert Bushnell Hart and Blanche Evans Hazard, in speaking of older New Hampshire pastimes records:
The principle amusements of the young men were wrestling, running and jumping, or hopping three hops. Dancing was considered an important thing to know. Dancing to step-tunes, such as Old Father George, Cape Breton, High Betty Martin and the Rolling Hornpipe were favorites.
The same tunes were earlier mentioned in the same context in the Historical Magazine of 1873 (p. 367). Similarly, Rolling Hornpipe is mentioned by Estelle M. Hart in her article "In the Days of Old Father George and High Betty Martin" (Connecticut Magazine, vols. 1-2, 1895, p. 52):
There are other names of old contra dances handed down to us, the very sound of which is suggestive of the abandon of mirth and good spirits--the Rolling Hornpipe, Miss Foster's Delight, Petty-caotee, The Ladies' Choice, and Leather the Strap. Hearts were young and feet were light, even in those stern old times of our New England ancestors, and though King George was on the throne of England, it was Old Father George who held a mystical rule over the hearts of youthful Puritans.
"Rolling Hornpipe" can be found in the music manuscript collections of Elisha Belknap (1784, Framingham, Mass.) and John Gaylord Jr. (Conn., 1816), in similar versions, albeit one is barred in 2/4 and the other in 3/4 time.
Compare also the "Rolling Hornpipe" tunes with two triple hornpipes from Lancashire musician Thomas Marsden's 1705 collection, "Old Spand Hornpipe" and "Altringham Round."