Young Widow (The)
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YOUNG WIDOW. American, Country Dance Tune (6/8 time). G Major ('A' part), D Mixolydian ('B' part) & D Major ('C' part). Standard tuning (fiddle). AABC (Songer): AABBC (Barnes, Morrison). The tune dates to c. 1788 and it, as well as dance instructions, appear in numerous American musicians' and dancers' manuscript collections from the last decade of the 18th century, as well as period publications. It has not been traced to British antecedents and appears to be an American invention. Morrisson (1976) remarks: "The unusual method of progression is its most distinctive feature."
Source for notated version: John Griffith's A Collection of the Newest and Most Fashionable Country Dances and Cotillions (1788). Griffiths was a dancing master who had served for a time as principle assistant to Alexandre-Marie Quesnay at the New York brand of the Academy of Polite Arts. He struck out on his own and toured Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts, working as a dancing teacher. He graced Boston for six years with his skill and then returned to New York. Griffiths later opened a dancing academy in Charleston, South Carolina.
Printed sources: Barnes (English Country Dance Tunes), 1988. Christian (A Playford Assembly), 2015; p. 138. Morrison (Twenty-Four Early American Country Dances, Cotillions & Reels, for the Year 1976), 1976; p. 45. Songer (Portland Collection), 1997; p. 213. Sweet (Fifer’s Delight), 1965/1981; p. 31.
Recorded sources: Sage Arts 1301, Rodney Miller Band - “Greasy Coat” (1990).
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