Rustic Reel (1)

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X: 1 T: Rustic Reel [1] C: %R: jig B: Elias Howe "The Musician's Companion" Part 1 1842 p.67 #3 S:'s_Companion_(Howe,_Elias) Z: 2015 John Chambers <> M: 6/8 L: 1/8 K: D % - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - A |\ f2e dcB | A2F D2E | FGF FED | F3 E2A | f2e dcB | A2F D2E | FGF EDE | D3 z2 :| |: A |\ g2e f2d | c2d ecA | g2e f2d | cec A2A | g2e f2d | cde fga | ece dcB | ABc ddd :| % - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

RUSTIC REEL [1]. AKA and see "City Guards," "First Western Change," "Jinny O Jinny My Toes are Sore," "Libby Prison Quickstep," "Monongahela March," "O Dear Mother My Toes are Sore (2),” "Quadrille Canadien (Boulay) 1ère partie," "Virginia Reel (3)." English, American; Jig or March (6/8 time). D Major (most versions): C Major (Howe). Standard tuning (fiddle). AAB (Hardings, Howe, Raven): AABB (Cole, Sweet). In spite of the word ‘reel’ in the title (which usually denotes a fast duple-time tune), the music is in 6/8 or jig time. The reverse is sometimes true as well; tunes with ‘jig’ in the title turn out to be reels (c.f. “Chorus Jig”). “Rustic Reel” is actually the name of the dance and not the tune; in fact, any suitably brisk twenty-four bar tune (duple or triple time) will suffice as the vehicle for the dance, Hazard, in 1849, specified a Scotch reel, while Hillgrove in 1863 specified music in 6/8 time. However, it is not uncommon for tunes to be so associated with the name of the dance that they, too, take on the name. The dance requires lines of three to perform the figures, thus each dancer needs two partners and faces a set of three dancers. Some sources note that it is particularly well suited for the last dance of the evening.

The American painter William Sydney Mount, a native of Stony Brook, Long Island, was a fiddler who often played for and attended dances. In a letter dated January 30th, 1839, to his brother Robert, also a musician as well as a dancing master who had left Long Island to ply his craft in Tarbolton, Tarbolton County, Georgia, William Sydney described an affair he attended in New York city:

I was at one of Mr. Parker’s assembly (i.e. dance) at Tammany Hall Last week about two hours, and danced a few times. I saw no new figures except a Reel called the Rustic Reel, and as it is a fashionable dance in N.Y. I will endeavour to describe it (there follows a description of the figures with music noted on the bottom of the page).

In Mount's description of the figures the dancers are clearly in couples, and not in threes, although this appears to be an anomaly since more or less contemporaneous dance manuals clearly direct it for three (see The Ball-room Instructor, 1841). Elias Howe gave directions for Rustic Reel in his Howe's Complete Ball-Room Hand Book (Boston, 1858), claiming the dance was popular around 1808. He remarked on the difference between dancing at the beginning of the 19th century and its evolution in the mid-century mark:

It was then the custom to take all the steps in each of the different dances, and to introduce the 'Pigeon's Wing' or some other flourish, as often as possible; dancers at the time often boasted that they 'put in so much work' as to wear out a pair of dancing slippers in one evening. The walking or sliding through the different changes, so fashionable at the present day, would have filled our forefathers with horror and disgust.

In America, the tune was printed as "Rustic Reel" as early as 1826 in New York music publisher Edward Riley's Riley's Flute Melodies, vol. 4 (1826, p. 21), and in several early Boston-based Elias Howe (1820-1895) volumes such as The First Part of the Musician's Companion (1842) and Complete Preceptor for the Accordion (1843, published by Oliver Ditson). The melody was entered into the music copybook of Gloucester, Mass., musician John Beach, with entries made from about 1801 to 1825. One hundred years later the tune could be found in the repertoire list of Norway, Maine, fiddler Mellie Dunham (the elderly Dunham was Henry Ford's champion fiddler in the late 1920's). The Howe publication Ryan's Mammoth Collection (1883), and its 20th century iteration, Cole's 1000 Fiddle Tunes (1940) gives directions for a dance to "Rustic Reel." Canadian fiddler Arthur Joseph Boulay (1883-1948) recorded the tune as "Quadrille Canadien (Boulay) 1ère partie" in November, 1923, at the beginning of the 78 RPM era (the record was not issued by Victor until the following February). Boulay spent the first three decades of his life in New Hampshire, where he was born, before emigrating to Canada, and learned to play while in the United States. Much of his recorded repertory is New England staples. The first strain of the tune is shared with "First Western Change,"

Additional notes

Source for notated version: -

Printed sources : - Cole (1000 Fiddle Tunes), 1940; p. 33. Harding's All-Round Collection, 1905; No. 184, p. 58 (listed as "Virginia Reel"). Howe (Complete Preceptor for the Accordeon), 1843; p. 9. Kerr (Merry Melodies, vol. 1), c. 1880; No. 16, p. 29. Raven (English Country Dance Tunes), 1984; p. 122. Ryan’s Mammoth Collection, 1883; p. 60. Sweet (Fifer’s Delight), 1965/1981; p. 30.

Recorded sources: -

See also listing at:
Read more about the Rustic Reel dance at the Capering and Kickery site [1]

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