Faithful Shepherd (The)

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FAITHFUL SHEPHERD, THE. English (originally), American; Country Dance Tune (cut time). G Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABBCCDD. The title was recorded as having been one of the tunes danced to at a 1752 "turtle frolic" at Goats Island, near Newport, Rhode Island (a turtle frolic was a special event when West Indies turtles, towed astern from the Caribbean, arrived in port). Phrases of the tune are identical to the melody known as "Allemande Swiss," and the whole is strongly reminiscent of "Shepherd's Hey." An early version appeared in a publication entitled 24 Country Dances, printed in London in 1769, although it also appears in James Aird's Selection of Scotch, English, Irish and Foreign Airs (vol. I, Glasgow, 1782), and Charles and Samuel Thompson's Compleat Collection, vol. 3 (London, 1773). Country dance figures can be found in numerous country dance collections on both sides of the Atlantic dating from the late 18th century. Music manuscript versions are fairly common as well, albeit some rather distanced from printed versions. "Faithful Shepherd" appears in Ira Clark's 1891 copybook (Simsbury, Conn.), Luther Kingsley's 1795 commonplace book (Mansfield, Conn.), flute player Ensign Thomas Molyneaux's 1788 copybook (Shelburne, Nova Scotia), William Clark's 1770 copybook (Lincoln), and William Vickers' 1770 music manuscript collection (Northumberland). Molyneaux gives the title as "Allemande Swiss" and the alternate title as "Faithful Shepherd." John Fletcher wrote a play in 1610 called The Faithful Shepherd, although it is not known if this has any association with the title for the country dance tune.

Source for notated version: the 1770 music manuscript collection of Northumbrian musician William Vickers [Seattle].

Printed sources: Aird (Selection of Scotch, English, Irish and Foreign Airs, vol. 1), 1782; No. 67, p. 24. Kidson (Old English Country Dances), 1890; p. 10. Moffat (Dances of the Olden Time), 1922; p. 3. Seattle (Great Northern/William Vickers), 1987, Part 3; No. 535 (appears as "Cotillon"). Thompson (Compleat Collection of 200 Favourite Country Dances, vol. 3), 1773; No. 157.

Recorded sources:




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