Success to the Campaign

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X:3 T:Successful Campain or Bath Frolick [sic] M:C L:1/8 B:Thompson’s Compleat Collection of 200 Favourite Country Dances, vol. 3 (London, 1773) Z:Transcribed and edited by Fynn Titford-Mock, 2007 Z:abc’s:AK/Fiddler’s Companion K:G (G2 G)B (A2 A)c|BGBd g4|gfed edcB|cBAG GFED| (G2 G)B (A2 A)c|BGBd g4|gfed efge|fde^c d4:| |:d2 d=f e2 d2|c2B2c2A2|c2 ce d2c2|B2A2B2G2| (G2 G)B (A2 A)c|BGBd g4|gfed edcB|AGAB G4:||



SUCCESS TO THE CAMPAIGN. AKA - ""The Successful Campaign." AKA and see “Bath Frolick.” English, American; Reel and Country Dance Tune. USA, New England. G Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AB (Barnes): AABB most versions). Johnson (1988) dates the tune to c. 1793, and prints contra dance instructions for it. However, it is not difficult to establish that the tune predates that year, for it was reliably reported to have been danced in 1780 at a ball given in Newport, Rhode Island, for George Washington and his staff. Arthur Tuckerman reports in his book When Rochambeau Stepped Ashore; A Reconstruction of Life in Newport in 1780 (Newport, Rhode Island, 1955, pp. 20-21) that “…asked to call the tune, [Gen.] Washington deferred to his beautiful partner [Ms. Margaret Champlain]. ‘A Successful Campaign’ she cried and Rochambeau and his aides took the instruments from the musicians and played that popular, and, in this instance, prophetic dance measure.” The dance must have been extremely popular that year, for it is referenced again by a French military engineer, the Marquis de Chastellux, after attending an assembly (i.e. ball) in Philadelphia on December 14th, 1780 (when the active theater of conflict in the American Revolution had moved south). He remarked that: “These dances, like the ‘toasts’ we drink at table, have a marked connection with politics: one is called ‘the success of the campaign’, another ‘Burgoyne’s defeat’, and a third, ‘Clinton’s retreat’…” (see Howard C. Rice Jr. ed. Travels in North America in the Years 1780, 1781 and 1782 by the Marquis de Chastellux, Chapel Hill, UNC Press, 1963, vol. 1, p. 177).

In fact, the tune first appeared in London music publisher John Walsh’s Twenty-Four Country Dances (1764), and subsequently in the publication Twenty-Four Country Dances for the Year 1769, and was reprinted in Thompson's Compleat Collection of 200 Country Dances, volume III (1773). In the latter publication the alternate title “Bath Frolick” is given. It proved so popular a dance melody that nearly every manuscript collection after 1769 included it, well into the next century. It is no exaggeration to say the “The Successful Campaign” was one of the ‘top hits’ of the country dance era. For example, it appears in the American manuscripts of John Greenwood 1785 (p. 48), Aaron Beck, Joseph Cabot (Cambridge, Mass., 1784), Elizabeth Van Rensselaer’s 1782 copybook, and in Captain George Bush’s manuscript from the Revolutionary War, among many others. The melody also appears in the late 18th century manuscript copybook of Henry Livingston, Jr. Livingston purchased the estate of Locust Grove, Poughkeepsie, New York, in 1771 at the age of 23. In 1775 he was a Major in the 3rd New York Regiment, which participated in Montgomery’s invasion of Canada in a failed attempt to wrest Québec from British control. An important land-owner in the Hudson Valley, and a member of the powerful Livingston family, Henry was also a surveyor and real estate speculator, an illustrator and map-maker, and a Justice of the Peace for Dutchess County. He was also a musician and presumably a dancer, as he was elected a Manager for the New York Assembly’s dancing season of 1774-1775, along with his 3rd cousin, John Jay, later U.S. Chief Justice of Governor of New York. Dance instructions for “The Successful Campaign” appear in a variety of period publications on both sides of the Atlantic. It was employed as a marching tune as well as a country dance, and its appearance in many fife manuscripts and publications indicate martial use.

In England, “Success to the Campaign” appears in the 1770 music manuscript collection of Northumbrian musician William Vickers. Matt Seattle (1987) points out that this tune closely resembles (especially in the 2nd strain) Vickers' version of "Tipp Staff (The)."

Additional notes

Source for notated version: - the MS collection of Captain George Bush (1753?-1797) [Keller]; the 1770 music manuscript of Northumbrian musician William Vickers [Seattle].

Printed sources : - Barnes (English Country Dance Tunes, vol. 2), 2005; p. 124. Keller (Fiddle Tunes from the American Revolution), 1992; p. 13. Johnson (Twenty-Eight Country Dances as Done at the New Boston Fair, vol. 8), 1988; p. 8 (appears as "The Successful Campaign"). Seattle (Great Northern Tune Book/William Vickers), 1987, Part 3; No. 566. Sweet (Fifer’s Delight), 1965/1981; p. 72 (appears as "A Successful Campaign"). Thompson (Compleat Collection of 200 Favourite Country Dances, vol. 3), 1773; No. 176.

Recorded sources: -



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