Belle of Claremont Hornpipe

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 Theme code Index    111H1H 222H2H
 Also known as    Dolly Brown
 Composer/Core Source    
 Region    United States
 Genre/Style    Contra
 Meter/Rhythm    Hornpipe/Clog
 Key/Tonic of    C
 Accidental    NONE
 Mode    Ionian (Major)
 Time signature    2/4
 Structure    AABB
 Editor/Compiler    William Bradbury Ryan
 Book/Manuscript title    Ryan's Mammoth Collection
 Tune and/or Page number    p. 142
 Year of publication/Date of MS    1883
 Title of recording    
 Record label/Catalogue nr.    
 Year recorded    
 Score   ()   

BELLE OF CLAREMONT HORNPIPE. AKA and see "Dolly Brown." See "Wagoner (1)," "Tennessee Wagoner." American, Hornpipe. C Major (Cole, Ford, Ryan): D Major (Kerr). Standard tuning. AABB (Cole, Ford): AA'BB' (Kerr). The tune that R.P. Christeson believes "Wagoner" is derived from. Bayard (1981) agrees, in part, but says both come from older tunes. See my summary of Bayard's research under "Tennessee Wagoner."

The origins of the title are unclear. If was assume an American provenance for the title, the most famous 'Claremonts' are Robert Fulton's original steamship of that name (spelled somewhat differently, The Clermont), and the mansion it was named for, Claremont, New York, on the banks of the river (the Hudson) that his steamship plied. The mansion stood north of Grant's Tomb and was built soon after the American Revolution by one Michael Hogan, who had once been a fellow midshipman with Prince William, King George III's third son. Hogan entertained the Prince at Claremont when the latter visited America. Later, when Joseph Bonaparte, Napoleon's elder brother, was in America after the Battle of Waterloo, he lived at Claremont. Fulton's steamship had its first trials on the river opposite the mansion. An 1893 account entitled "Sunday in Greenwich Village" (see records that "Two of the company on Fulton's first steamboat voyage down the Hudson have but lately passed to the other side of the sea of time. Dr. William Perry, who lived at Exeter, New Hampshire, and who survived his ninety-eighth birthday, rode from Albany to Kingston on the return trip of the steamboat, and had a vivid remembrance of the incidents of that eventful voyage. He declared that the name of the boat was not the Clermont, and has been generally accepted, but Katharine of Claremont, so called in honor of Fulton's wife, who was a daughter of Chancellor Livingston, and her family, to whose liberality he owed the money to carry out his idea of a vessel propelled by steam." It is possible, then, that the 'belle' of the title was Katharine.

Alternatively, there were connections in Ryan's Mammoth Collection with mid-18th century musicians from around Claremont, New Hampshire, from whom this title possibly derived. Michael McKernon has uncovered through his researches a musical northern New England family named Densmore who are credited in Ryan's with a couple of tunes. Michael identifies the Densmores from old accounts as "probably O. Densmore from Chelsea, Vermont, who led a dance band in the 1840's and 1850's, and/or a relative of C. Densmore, Claremont, New Hampshire, a musician/band leader of the same era. Though I have no record of a T. Densmore per se, the Messrs. Densmore' from Chelsea (along with a Densmore [probably C.] from Claremont), joined more than two dozen musicians who played at a Musicians' Annual Ball in Lebanon, New Hampshire, in 1847. O. Densmore was (at least) once listed as playing the 'clarionet' (clarinet)." [Fiddle-L archives, 20 Feb, 2001). Although there is no date of publication for the Kerr's Merry Melody collections, they were published around the same time as Ryan's Mammoth (1883) and share many of the same tunes. It is hard to tell which was published first, although a review of titles suggests Ryan's was the earlier publication.

Printed sources: Cole (1000 Fiddle Tunes), 1940; p. 106. Ford (Traditional Music in America), 1940; p. 121 (appears as "Dolly Brown"). Kerr (Merry Melodies), vol. 2, c. 1880's; No. 352, p. 39. Ryan's Mammoth Collection, 1883; p. 142.

T:Belle of Claremont
S:Ryan's Mammoth Collection (1883)
Z:AK/Fiddler's Companion
C/C/C C/E/G/E/ | c/E/G/E/ c/E/G/E/ | D/D/D D/F/A/F/ | d/F/A/F/ d/F/E/D/ | C/C/C C/E/G/E/ | 
c/E/G/E/ c/E/G/E/ | D/f/e/f/ e/d/c/B/ | [Ec][Ec][Ec]z :: e/c/.c e/c/g/c/ | e/c/c/e/ .gd/c/ | 
B/G/.G B/G/d/G/ | B/G/G/B/ d/f/e/d/ | e/c/.c e/c/g/c/ | e/c/c/e/ gG | A/a/g/f/ e/d/c/B/ | [Ec][Ec][Ec]z :||