Annotation:Tank (The)

Find traditional instrumental music

Back to Tank (The)

X:1 T:Tank, The M:2/4 L:1/8 R:Country Dance B:Nathaniel Gow – “The Favorite Dances of 1812: Some of which are Composed B:& the whole arrange for the piano forte by Nath. Gow” (1812, pp. 2-3) N:”As Performed at his Annual Ball in George Street Assembly Rooms the 3rd of March.” B: Z:AK/Fiddler’s Companion K:Bb z|B2-.b2|G2-.g2|F2 f>e|{e}d>c B2|~d>e f2|~e>f g2|f2Ta2|b3:| |:e|d2 ~d>e|f2 fd|(g.e) (e.c)|(cA) (AF)|d2 ~d>e|f3d|(g.e) (c.A)|[B,2D3B3]:|]

TANK, THE. AKA and see "Ferne Hill." Scottish, English; Country Dance Tune (2/4 time) or Hornpipe. England, Shropshire. A Major (Kerr/vol. 1, Winter): D Major (Cahusac): G Major (Ashman): B Flat Major (Gow, Kerr/vol. 4, Kershaw). Standard tuning (fiddle). AB (Kerr): AABB (Ashman, Gow, Kerr/Vol. 4, Kershaw). The country dance and tune "The Tank" was originally composed as "Ferne Hill" by Deborah Susannah Flower, Viscountess Ashbrook (c. 1780-1810), of Beaumont Lodge in Berkshire, first wife of Henry Jeffrey Flower, 4th Viscount Ashbrook (1776-1847), as researched by Paul Cooper at Regency Dances [1] . Lady Ashbrook lived at Beaumont Lodge, Berkshire, some 15 miles from the estate of Ferne Hill, belonging to the Metcalf family, with whom there was presumably a strong personal or social connection [2] . The melody was first published by James Platts in his collection entitled 13th Number (c. 1809), and Lady Ashbrook died soon afterwards. The country dance and tune was picked up by London publishers in the next year or two and issued under the title "The Tank," although its association with Lady Ashbrook was lost. When it was published by G in his 26th Number (1811) as "The Tank", it was credited to "Mr. [John] Reeve of Bury" (Bury St. Edmunds), whose name appears as a composer of tunes in various period collections. Publisher Platts attempted to defend his copyright in a suit, with various publishers responding; one, Wheatstone, maintaining that the tune had been composed overseas and found its way to Ipswich around the year 1810, where a "Mr. Harrington of Bury" arranged it as a rondo which was published by Mr. Gray of Bury [3] . The provenance is muddled (perhaps intentionally?), but as Cooper points out, the fact is that Lady Ashbrook's "Frene Hill" is the earliest published record.

Exactly where the name "The Tank" came from, or what it means also remains obscure. It was popular for a time in the second decade of the 19th century, but ceases to be mentioned after about 1818 or so.

Moore's (in Ashman) and Kershaw’s versions are both simplified ones. The melody (in B flat) appears in the manuscript copybook of Ann Winnington, c. 1810, from New York City, and a version was entered into the mid-19th century collection (vol. 4, p. 52) of County Cork Church of Ireland cleric and uileann piper James Goodman. It can also be found in the mid-19th century music manuscript of William Winter (1774-1861), a shoemaker and violin player who lived in West Bagborough in Somerset, southwest England.

Additional notes
Source for notated version : - a c. 1837-1840 MS by Shropshire musician John Moore [Ashman]; contained in the Joseph Kershaw manuscript—Kershaw was a fiddler who lived in Slackcote, Saddleworth, North West England, in the 19th century, and his manuscript dates from around 1820 onwards [Kershaw].

Printed sources : - Ashman (The Ironbridge Hornpipe), 1991; No. 73b, p. 30. William Cahusac (The German Flute Preceptor), c. 1814; p. 15. Gow (Favorite Dances for 1812), 1812; p. 2. Kerr (Merry Melodies, vol. 1), c. 1880; No. 12, p. 29. Kerr (Merry Melodies, vol. 4), c. 1880’s; No. 307, p. 32. Knowles (The Joseph Kershaw Manuscript), 1993; No. 29. Edward Riley (Riley’s Flute Melodies vol. 2), New York, 1817; No. 207, p. 58. Geoff Woolfe (William Winter’s Quantocks Tune Book), 2007; No. 319, p. 113 (ms. originally dated 1850).

Recorded sources : - Wild Goose Records WGS325CD, "Hampshire Dance Tunes" (2006. Various artists).

See also listing at :
See Paul Cooper's excellent research in Paper 36, "Programme for a Second Royal Ball, 1813", 2019, [1].

Back to Tank (The)

(0 votes)

  1. Paul Cooper, Paper 36, "Programme for a Second Royal Ball, 1813", 2019, [2].
  2. Cooper notes that Lord Ashbrook's second wife was Emily Theophila Metcalfe (1790-1885), whom he married after Deborah died at age 30, and speculates that the tune was written prior to her death by the First Lady Ashbook for her friend Emily.
  3. See further details in Cooper's "Paper 36", previously cited.