Steamboat Quickstep

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X:1 T:Steamboat Quickstep M:6/8 L:1/8 R:Jig B:Elias Howe – Second Part of the Musician’s Companion (1843, p. 38) Z:AK/Fiddler’s Companion K:A V:1 a2e c2A|Ace a3|agf edc|Bed cBA| a2e c2A|Ace a3|agf edc|edB A3:| |:A|c2e efe|efe c2A|d2f fgf|fga e3| c2e efe|efe c2A|agf edc|edB A3:| V:2 e2cA2E|EAc f3|fed cBA|GcB EDC| e2c A2E|EAc f3|fed cBA|cBD C3:| |:z|A2c cdc|cdc A2E|B2d ded|def c3| A2c cdc |cdc A2E|[df]ed cBA|cBD [C3E3]:|]



STEAMBOAT QUICKSTEP, THE. AKA "The Steamboat." AKA and see “Steamboat March,” "Uncle Jim," "Washington Quickstep." American, Canadian; Jig and Quickstep (6/8 time). USA, New England. A Major (Ford, Lerwick, Miller & Perron, Sweet): G Major (Kennedy): F Major (Linscott): C Major (Howe). Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB. "This melody was a great favorite in the 1800's and gave its name to a contra dance and waltz as well as to the march in double time which is given here. As early as 1787 a steamboat was tried out on the Delaware Riverby John Fitch. Robert Fulton, in 1807, made his famous trip from New York to Albany, and such news of the day was immediately taken into the lives of the people to become a part of work and play" (Linscott, 1939). The earliest printed version of the tune I have come across is from Elias Howe’s (1820-1895) Complete Preceptor for the Accordeon (1843), a selection of tunes arranged for the diatonic accordion, a fairly new instrument of the time, pitched in the key of ‘C’. Canadian versions appear under the title “Uncle Jim.” This tune is perhaps the "Steamboat" (sans 'quickstep') in the key of 'A' recorded for the Library of Congress in 1939 by Clarke County, Mississippi, fiddler Charles Long (who was originally from Choctaw County, Alabama).


Additional notes
Source for notated version : - the copybook of Elizabeth Foster Reed (1796-1823) {unpublished manuscript} [Linscott].

Printed sources : - Christeson (Old Time Fiddlers Repertory) (appears as “Steamboat March”). Ford (Traditional Music in America), 1940; p. 81. Elias Howe (The Musician's Companion), 1843; p. 38. Howe (Complete Preceptor for the Accordeon), 1843; p. 25. Jarman (Square Dance Tunes), p. 16. Kaufman (Beginning Old Time Fiddle), 1977; p. 63. Kennedy (Traditional Dance Music of Britain and Ireland: Jigs & Quicksteps, Trips & Humours), 1997; No. 174, p. 41. Lerwick (Kilted Fiddler), 1985; p. 39 (appears as "The Steamboat"). Linscott (Folk Songs of Old New England), 1939; pp. 112 113. Miller & Perron (New England Fiddlers Repertoire), 1983; No. 21. Sannella, Balance and Swing (CDSS). Sweet (Fifer’s Delight), 1965/1981; p. 33. White’s Excelsior Method for the Guitar, 1894; p. 56.

Recorded sources : - Alcazar Dance Series FR 204, Rodney Miller - "New England Chestnuts 2" (1981). Meadowlands MS 2, "Art Rosenbaum and Al Murphy."




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