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origin of the tune Staten Island

Guy Wolff 22 Nov 98 - 12:43 AM
Barry Finn 22 Nov 98 - 01:27 PM
Pete Peterson 22 Nov 98 - 05:19 PM
Barbara 22 Nov 98 - 06:18 PM
John in Brisbane 22 Nov 98 - 06:22 PM
rosebrook 22 Nov 98 - 06:57 PM
Bob Bolton 22 Nov 98 - 11:09 PM
Liam's Brother 23 Nov 98 - 01:17 PM
Guy Wolff 24 Nov 98 - 05:36 PM
Peter Howell 14 Jan 04 - 02:27 AM
greg stephens 14 Jan 04 - 03:14 AM
open mike 14 Jan 04 - 09:44 AM
Desert Dancer 15 Oct 11 - 02:30 PM
Will Fly 15 Oct 11 - 02:49 PM
Jack Campin 15 Oct 11 - 04:53 PM
Desert Dancer 15 Oct 11 - 05:01 PM
Desert Dancer 15 Oct 11 - 05:04 PM
Desert Dancer 15 Oct 11 - 05:07 PM
Desert Dancer 15 Oct 11 - 05:38 PM
Desert Dancer 15 Oct 11 - 07:01 PM
EBarnacle 16 Oct 11 - 03:50 PM
Desert Dancer 16 Oct 11 - 05:00 PM
Tootler 17 Oct 11 - 03:06 PM
Desert Dancer 17 Oct 11 - 03:35 PM
GUEST,leeneia 18 Oct 11 - 10:24 AM
Jack Campin 18 Oct 11 - 10:48 AM
Desert Dancer 18 Oct 11 - 03:48 PM
Jack Campin 18 Oct 11 - 04:03 PM
Desert Dancer 18 Oct 11 - 06:07 PM
Desert Dancer 18 Oct 11 - 06:32 PM
greg stephens 18 Oct 11 - 06:50 PM
Desert Dancer 18 Oct 11 - 07:29 PM
Jack Campin 18 Oct 11 - 07:33 PM
Desert Dancer 18 Oct 11 - 11:20 PM
Desert Dancer 19 Oct 11 - 12:27 AM
Desert Dancer 19 Oct 11 - 12:57 AM
Jack Campin 19 Oct 11 - 12:53 PM
GUEST,Luckylcs 11 Feb 14 - 02:27 AM
Jack Campin 11 Feb 14 - 06:20 AM
Desert Dancer 11 Feb 14 - 03:35 PM
Desert Dancer 11 Feb 14 - 04:18 PM
Manitas_at_home 11 Feb 14 - 05:57 PM
Jack Campin 01 May 15 - 09:35 AM
Seamus Kennedy 01 May 15 - 06:58 PM
Guy Wolff 21 Nov 16 - 05:43 PM
Desert Dancer 21 May 18 - 08:27 PM
Jack Campin 22 May 18 - 05:15 AM
Lighter 22 May 18 - 07:54 AM
Steve Shaw 22 May 18 - 09:28 AM
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Subject: origin of the tune Staton Island
From: Guy Wolff
Date: 22 Nov 98 - 12:43 AM

Years ago while playing concertina in New Hampshire I learned the Fiddle tune Staton Island and was told it was a tune from Marble Head Mass....Years later I learned that the Marblehead fishing fleet came down to save Washington's troops from the battle of Brooklyn {A sort of american vertion of Dunkurck} led by Johnathan Gover. Has anyone ever heard if this action was realy the origin for this tune? Regards to all............


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Subject: RE: origin of the tune Staton Island
From: Barry Finn
Date: 22 Nov 98 - 01:27 PM

The theory of the origin of the tune may be tied into the orign of how the Island got it's name. Back before navagational aids & wind driven ships the new world was an unknown & uncharted coastline full of dread. Hudson had found in inland waterway cutting through present day New York but others couldn't copy his efforts due to lack of morden technology. It was well know that the fog in this area could be thick as pea soup & the coastline rugged & dotted was shoals & islands. Well on one expedition when nearing the coast the lookout on the foredeck was peering through the fog & could hear the sound of wase cresting, he asked the port side lookout to hush & listen, after a few moments of silence the starboard watch whispered over, pointing out into the fogbank "is dat an island". True stoy I was there. Barry


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Subject: RE: origin of the tune Staton Island
From: Pete Peterson
Date: 22 Nov 98 - 05:19 PM

But Comically Now, I always thought it was a tune to be played on the tin whistle at sea-- and that the Staten Island referred to is the one off Cape Horn, not the borough of NYC. But I don't know any way to tell for sure. PETE


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Subject: RE: origin of the tune Staton Island
From: Barbara
Date: 22 Nov 98 - 06:18 PM

I don't know about 'Staten Island' but the tune 'Staten Island Ferry' is definitely about the one in NYC harbor. Staten Island is a different tune.
Blessings,
Barbara


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Subject: RE: origin of the tune Staton Island
From: John in Brisbane
Date: 22 Nov 98 - 06:22 PM

This has a vastly different history for me. Through the stylish playing of this tune by Peter Howell, a very fine double bassist from Melbourne, I was motivated some time later to pick up the string bass myself. Peter was never satisfied to play in 1st position when he could do something wonderful in 3rd. It's that modal C note in the B part of the tune (in the key of D) that's such great fun to slide up in pitch to. Thanks Peter.


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Subject: RE: origin of the tune Staton Island
From: rosebrook
Date: 22 Nov 98 - 06:57 PM

The history of the tune I don't know. What I did want to share is the way I've heard this tune played in concert that was really neat. I think of tunes as having an A and a B part. In the B part, the 5th measure, there are 2 of the same notes played (I think they are C's) with emphasis. I've heard the B part repeated as usual, then repeated a third time and end after those 2 C's. Try it, you might enjoy it.

Rose


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Subject: RE: origin of the tune Staton Island
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 22 Nov 98 - 11:09 PM

G'day all,

Not wishing to be pedantic (it comes naturally, without requiring a wish), but I understood that (something like) Staten Eylandt was the Dutch name in the days of Nieuw Amsterdam and this simply meant (the) Government Island.

Of course thtis has nothing to do with the origins of the tune and I am interested to see what my American Cousins come up with. I recently published a book of new dances in traditional Australian styles (10 years Down the Track, by Mike Waters, Bush Music Club, Sydney, 1998) and had to dissuade the author from describing Staten Island in the notes as a Scots tune ... because he heard it played by a Scottish band!

Regards,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: origin of the tune Staton Island
From: Liam's Brother
Date: 23 Nov 98 - 01:17 PM

"The Staten Island Hornpipe" is a tune played commonly by Irish players. The New York City borough of Staten Island (Richmond County, New York State) does have many Irish connections including having been the site of a quarrantine facility last century for (mainly Irish)immigrants on arrival in the USA.

Arguing for a nautical connection, Sailors' Sung Harbor where Bill Doerflinger collected probably the only version of "The Leaving of Liverpool" taken from tradition and many other fine songs is on Staten Island.

It would be interesting to see whether "The Staten Island Hornpipe" is in Chief O'Neill's collection of Irish tunes. Sorry, mine is in storage.

All the best, Dan Milner


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Subject: RE: origin of the tune Staton Island
From: Guy Wolff
Date: 24 Nov 98 - 05:36 PM

Hi Dan , My Grandfather was a chicago man in the latter part of the 19'th century and though Jewish lived in the Irish sectoin of town and my father said he talked warmly of the chief of police who would hire any Irishman for the police department who was a good fiddle player and in fact imported quite a few players!.Dad said the parties were somthing to remember. It was only years later that I made the conection to Oneal's book. Everything can seem so conected. Cheers..


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Subject: RE: origin of the tune Staton Island
From: Peter Howell
Date: 14 Jan 04 - 02:27 AM

hi John, thank you very much, I am honoured to have had such an influence on you, although I can't remember a thing about that tune. Can you help me with the Where, When and With Who stuff please. Now that I'm a bit older I'm having a lot of fun in the minus 3 position! Thanks again for your kind words and support.


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Subject: RE: origin of the tune Staton Island
From: greg stephens
Date: 14 Jan 04 - 03:14 AM

This tune was also known as the Tobacco Land Hornpipe. Whether this was its first name, before Staten island, I dont know.
    Stylistically,it sounds to my ears like a Scottish or northern English hornpipe, rather than Irish, as has been suggested earlier. But people and styles were moving so freely across the Irish Sea and Atlantic Ocean in the 1700's(presumably the date of the tune) that almost anyone could have come up with it.
    A great tune, whatever it's origin.


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Subject: RE: origin of the tune Staton Island
From: open mike
Date: 14 Jan 04 - 09:44 AM

we have often, when playing this hornpipe for contra dances
added some comical sounds during those aforementioned double
notes in the "B" part--such as quack quack, honk honk, or
some such nonsense. a great way to beak up the repetitve
nature of playing for dances....
oh, by the way the links on the bottom of the page are
about a crash of the Staten Is. Ferry and a law that come of it.


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Subject: RE: origin of the tune Staton Island
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 15 Oct 11 - 02:30 PM

Here's the Fiddler's Companion entry. I'll comment on the notes marked {#} in the following post.

~ Becky in Tucson

STATEN ISLAND (HORNPIPE). AKA and see "The Arranmore Ferry," "Burns' Hornpipe," "None So Pretty [2]." Scottish, English, Irish, American; Hornpipe. USA; New England, southwestern Pa. Ireland, County Donegal. D Major. Standard tuning. AABB (most versions): AA'BB' (Harker/Rafferty). {1} "Staten Island Hornpipe" was first printed in James Aird's Selection of Scotch, English, Irish, and Foreign Airs (vol. II, 1782), printed in Glasgow, identical to version played today. {2} I suspect that the title may have associations with the large contingent of British troops that were stationed on Staten Island during the American Revolution, and, since period army references abound in Aird's period collection, he may have obtained it from British military sources. Others have convincingly argued that the title refers to Isla de los Estados, located just east of Tierra del Fuego off the coast of Argentina, a welcome landmark to sailors which marked a successful passage of Cape Horn and the beginning of the last leg of the journey home. The island was first claimed by the Dutch in the 16th century and named after their governing state council, hence Staten Island (the same rationale for New York's Staten Island). There is even a State Island in the Atlantic Arctic region, mapped in 1695, and it is possible (though much more unlikely) the title derived from it. A version appears in the 1823-26 music manuscript book of Lincolnshire musician Joshua Gibbons under the title "Scotch Hornpipe."

***

"Staten Island Hornpipe" appears in a few musician's manuscripts from North England in the 19th century, though none predate Aird. It was reintroduced I in traditional circles during the 1960's "folk revival" in the United Kingdom (and America, for that matter), largely through the playing of English fiddler Dave Swarbrick. {3} Burchenal (1918) associates the tune with the New England contra dance The Haymakers, or The Merry Haymakers, and indeed, in the intervening years the tune has gained strong associations with American contra dance music, so that it is often mistaken for an American tune. From contra-dance musicians it has even been imported into American "old-time" repertoire, and has been even called an "Appalachian standard," which it by no means is. Any associations to the Staten Island ferry (e.g. the 'c' natural notes in the 'B' part being likened to the toots of a steam whistle) are spurious. Bayard (1981) sees a general resemblance to "The Athole Volunteers March" printed in McDonald's Gesto Collection.

***

In Donegal the tune is known as "Arranmore Ferry," although it has been absorbed into Irish repertoire under its usual title in modern times. Irish versions tend to differ from Scottish and American versions, sometimes centering in the mixolydian rather than major mode (see Mike Rafferty's version, for example), and sometimes being played as a reel. Sources for notated versions: Hiram Horner (fifer from Westmoreland and Fayette Counties, Pa., 1960) and Hoge Ms (a fife MS from Pa., 1944) [Bayard]; Danny Gardella [Phillips]; Stephanie Prausnitz [Silberberg]; the 1823-26 music mss of papermaker and musician Joshua Gibbons (1778-1871, of Tealby, near Market Rasen, Lincolnshire Wolds) [Sumner]; New Jersey flute player Mike Rafferty, born in Ballinakill, Co. Galway, in 1926 [Harker]. Aird (Selection), vol. II, 1782; No. 83, pg. 30. Bayard (Dance to the Fiddle), 1981; No. 318A‑B, pg. 274. Brody (Fiddler's Fakebook), 1983; pg. 266. Burchenal, 1918; pgs. 4‑5 (appears as "Haymakers" [2]). Cole (1000 Fiddle Tunes), 1940; pg. 97. Harker (300 Tunes from Mike Rafferty), 2005; No. 255, pg. 78. Honeyman (Strathspey, Reel and Hornpipe Tutor), 1898; pg. 46. Hunter (Fiddle Music of Scotland), 1988; No. 314. Jarman (Old Time Fiddlin' Tunes); No. or pg. 30. S. Johnson (The Kitchen Musician No. 4: Collection of Fine Tunes), 1983 (revised 1991, 2001); pg. 14. Johnson (A Further Collection of Dances, Marches, Minuetts and Duetts of the Latter 18th Century), 1998; pg. 2. Kennedy (Fiddlers Tune Book), vol. 1, 1951; No. 5, pg. 3. Kerr (Merry Melodies), vol. 1; No. 8, pg. 21. Miller & Perron, 1983; No. 129. Phillips (American Fiddle Tunes), vol. 2, 1995; pg. 226. Raven (English Country Dance Tunes), 1984; pg. 172. {4} Ryan's Mammoth Collection, 1883; pg. 133. Silberberg (Tunes I Learned at Tractor Tavern), 2002; pg. 150. Spandaro (10 Cents a Dance), 1980; pg. 3. Sumner (Lincolnshire Collections, vol. 1: The Joshua Gibbons Manuscript), 1997; pg. 60 (appears as "Scotch Hornpipe"). Sweet (Fifer's Delight), 1965/1981; pg. 56. Tolman (Nelson Music Collection), 1969; pg. 18. F&W Records 1, "F&W String Band." Front Hall 05, Fennigs All Stars‑ "Saturday Night in the Provinces." June Appal 014, John McCutcheon‑ "The Wind That Shakes the Barley" (1977. Learned from Richard Blaustein). Kicking Mule 209, Hank Sapoznik‑ "Melodic Clawhammer Banjo." North Star RS0009, "The Wind in the Rigging: A New England Voyage" (1988). Rounder Select 82161-0476-2, "The Wind That Shakes the Barley: Hammered Dulcimer Music" (reissues, orig. released 1977).

See also listings at:

Jane Keefer's Folk Music Index: An Index to Recorded Sources

Alan Ng's Irishtune.info

X:1
T:Staten Island Hornpipe, The
M:C|
L:1/8
R:Hornpipe
K:D
AG|FDFG A2Bc|defe dcBA|B2GB A2FA|G2E2 E2AG|
AG|FDFG A2Bc|defe dcBA|d2d2 efge|1 f2d2 dBAG:|2 f2d2 defg:|
|:a2fa g2eg|f2df e=cAB|=c2=c2 efge|=c2=c2 efge|
a2fa g2eg|f2df ec (3ABc |d2d2 efge|1 f2d2 defg:|2 f2d2 dBAG:|

X:2
T:Staten Island
M:C
L:1/8
S:John Rook manuscript (Wigton, Cumbria, 1840)
K:D
AG|FDFG A2A2|defd c2 Ac\B2 GB A2 FA|G2E2E2 AG|FDFG A2A2|
defd c2A2|d2d2 efge|f2d2d2::fg|a2 fa g2 eg|f2 df e2c2|=c2c2 efge
|=c2c2 efge|a2 fa g2 eg|f2 df e2A2|d2 d2 efge|f2d2d2:|


To play or display ABC tunes, try concertina.net


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Subject: RE: origin of the tune Staton Island
From: Will Fly
Date: 15 Oct 11 - 02:49 PM

I first heard "Staten Island" from the playing of Dave Swarbrick (on the 1967 album "Rags, Reels and Airs"). He pairs it with "Jimmy Allen" and double-tracks it on mandolin and fiddle. Great track - really swings and with the subtlest of guitar accompaniment from Martin Carthy.

One of my favourite more modern versions is a double high whistle in D duet by Hamish Moore and Dick Lee on their album "The Bees Knees" - where they play the melody, and all around the melody, with a wonderful, ethereal jazz lilt.

And I play it regularly in our ceilidh band, where we start off with a couple of choruses in Moore and Lee's style before kicking it off as a standard hornpipe.


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Subject: RE: origin of the tune Staton Island
From: Jack Campin
Date: 15 Oct 11 - 04:53 PM

The title "Burns's Hornpipe" came first. It appears in Scottish manuscripts of the 1770s - so whoever Burns was, he wasn't the poet.

A lot of early Scottish versions don't have the C naturals.

Can we please not have any more Kuntzlore reposted here?


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Subject: RE: origin of the tune Staton Island
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 15 Oct 11 - 05:01 PM

Hearing Will's jazzed up version via the "Beauty of hornpipes" thread got me looking for its origins. I've known this tune since hearing it in the context of New England contra dancing in the 1970s revival (from the F&W String Band, to be specific).

In the discussion of the tune at TheSession.org, there was a comment that annoyed me, that the version of the tune from New England (basically, a historical, unornamented version) was spurious to that site's purpose of collecting Irish traditional tunes, since it didn't represent how the tune is played at Irish sessions in Ireland today. I thought that Michael Bolton's comment on this (in moving that discussion to a separate thread) was very good -- that the skeleton of the tune and ornamented versions both have value to be studied.

But, it also made me look harder to see what the origin might be, because I (being American) had assumed that it was a really American tune (which of course added to my umbrage in response to that comment from the Irish player).

Regarding the notes above:

{1} "Staten Island Hornpipe" was first printed in James Aird's Selection of Scotch, English, Irish, and Foreign Airs (vol. II, 1782), printed in Glasgow, identical to version played today. So, it's probably not American (although it could possibly fall under "foreign"...), but if it is, it got back east across the Atlantic early on.

{2} ...the title may have associations with the large contingent of British troops that were stationed on Staten Island during the American Revolution, and, since period army references abound in Aird's period collection, he may have obtained it from British military sources. Heavens, don't tell the Irish that it could possibly be English! ;-)

But also, Others have convincingly argued that the title refers to Isla de los Estados, located just east of Tierra del Fuego off the coast of Argentina, a welcome landmark to sailors which marked a successful passage of Cape Horn and the beginning of the last leg of the journey home. The island was first claimed by the Dutch in the 16th century and named after their governing state council, hence Staten Island (the same rationale for New York's Staten Island). Could have been American or British sailors (or pre-Revolution British American sailors...!).

In the end, the odds on "British Isles", or maybe just 18th century "British" (in the large sense) are good. The specific nation of origin is a matter of speculation.

{4} Ryan's Mammoth Collection, 1883 and {3} Burchenal (1918) associates the tune with the New England contra dance The Haymakers, or The Merry Haymakers -- Ryan's collection was built from Elias Howe's, and ca. 1867 he published "Howe's One Thousand Jigs and Reels" and began his huge "Musician's Omnibus". They published in Boston. It's clear the the tune has been in the U.S. since at least somewhere in the mid-19th century, and in active use in New England since that time. (I've come across pre-1970s references to it in the contra dance scene, later than Burchenal's.) So, as far as a playing tradition for this tune goes, New England's is reasonably venerable.

~ Becky in Tucson


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Subject: RE: origin of the tune Staton Island
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 15 Oct 11 - 05:04 PM

Jack Campin - "Kuntzlore"?

~ Becky in Tucson


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Subject: RE: origin of the tune Staton Island
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 15 Oct 11 - 05:07 PM

And sorry, I was typing as you posted, Jack. If it's in multiple 18th century Scottish manuscripts, then certainly its playing tradition there is quite venerable.

~ B in T


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Subject: RE: origin of the tune Staton Island
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 15 Oct 11 - 05:38 PM

Following up on that...

Burns' Hornpipe in Köhlers' Violin Repository, Part One (1881-1885, p. 67), which Jack Campin has linked to online pdfs of here previously.

If you say it was "Burns'" before "Staten Island", you've got a publication of the tune under that name prior to James Aird's 1782? (Or is it in Aird as "Burns'"?)

~ Becky in Tucson


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Subject: RE: origin of the tune Staton Island
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 15 Oct 11 - 07:01 PM

Sorry - some days I just get obsessed with these things...

The MacLean Music Collection from Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia includes "104 published books of Scottish and Cape Breton fiddle music, all of which were either purchased by or given to Joseph MacLean and date from 1793 to 1996".

There is a reasonably good representation of pre-1850 titles. They have ever so helpfully indexed the entire thing by tune name (you can download a pdf at that site).

Here are the only "Staten Island" or "Burns" hornpipe results:

Tune title
Author (if any)
Book title
Publisher
Date of publication (I added these for the last three)


Staten Island
One Thousand Fiddle Tunes
Cole Publishing Co., M. M.
1967 (This is a reprint of a 1940 publication that is actually the same thing as "Ryan's Mammoth Collection" 1883, which came from Elias Howe's.)

Staten Island
Burt, John
Cornhuskers Book Of Old Time Fiddlin' Tunes, The
Jarman & Co., Harry E.
1938

Staten Island
Kerr's 1st, 2nd, 3rd, & 4th Collections of Merry Melodies for the Violin
Kerr, James S.
~ 1870+

Staten Island
Kerr's Collection of Reels & Strathspeys, Highland Schottisches, Country Dances, & Etc.
Kerr, James S.
1875

Staten Island or Burn's Hornpipe
Milne, Peter
Middleton's Selection of Strathspeys, Reels, & Etc. For the Violin
Bayley & Ferguson Ltd.
1870 (plus later editions)


~ Becky in Tucson


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Subject: RE: origin of the tune Staten Island
From: EBarnacle
Date: 16 Oct 11 - 03:50 PM

In re: Barry's comment above, I've usually heard it referred to as occuring aboard Varazanno's vessel.


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Subject: RE: origin of the tune Staten Island
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 16 Oct 11 - 05:00 PM

as in Verrazzano, of the Verrazano Narrows Bridge.

(My father used to drive that on his daily commute.)

~ Becky in Tucson


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Subject: RE: origin of the tune Staten Island
From: Tootler
Date: 17 Oct 11 - 03:06 PM

"Subject: RE: origin of the tune Staton Island
From: Desert Dancer - PM
Date: 15 Oct 11 - 05:04 PM

Jack Campin - "Kuntzlore"?

~ Becky in Tucson"

It seems Jack had a spat with Andrew Kuntz at some point in the past as a result of which he is very scathing of the information on the Fiddler's Companion website.

I was criticised by Jack some time ago for posting some information from the Fiddler's Companion - to the effect that everything (my emphasis) on the site was "crap". Personally I feel Jack is somewhat harsh on Andrew Kuntz. The Fiddler's companion is a useful resource but as is the way of these things, it is bound to contain some errors. I treat it like Wikipedia, a very useful resource with much valuable and interesting information, but be aware; there will be errors.


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Subject: RE: origin of the tune Staten Island
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 17 Oct 11 - 03:35 PM

Thanks, Tootler, I suspected it was something along those lines.

Regarding the points from Fiddler's Companion that I focused on, I recognize the name stories as reasonable but unverifiable speculation (#1 and #2), and the Burchenal and Ryan's Mammoth Collection references (#3 and #4) I have read for myself.

I hope Jack will return to the thread and share some details on his own assertions.

(And I posted to soon about my father's commute: he was coming from New Jersey and the Verrazano Bridge goes to Brooklyn.)

~ Becky in Tucson


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Subject: RE: origin of the tune Staten Island
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 18 Oct 11 - 10:24 AM

Thanks to all who've contributed to this thread. It's a good tune, and I've added it to my collection of pieces to play.

The C naturals are quite unexpected. The gang is gonna love them.


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Subject: RE: origin of the tune Staten Island
From: Jack Campin
Date: 18 Oct 11 - 10:48 AM

I can't find my reference to the earliest MSS (which I thought predated Aird's 1782 publication) - will have to go back to the NLS and search for a bit.

What I did find in my notes was some transcriptions from a manuscript with a date of 1796 by James Robertson [NLS Acc.12304(A)], which includes a lot of tunes with unambiguously American titles. So it seems likely that he thought it was American, even that early. He had the C naturals, as does Aird; the version from the fluters of the Black Watch in the flute music pages on my website, from 1813, doesn't.


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Subject: RE: origin of the tune Staten Island
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 18 Oct 11 - 03:48 PM

Thanks, Jack! Staten Island or Burns' at that point? Or both?

~ Becky in Tucson


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Subject: RE: origin of the tune Staten Island
From: Jack Campin
Date: 18 Oct 11 - 04:03 PM

Robertson called it "Staten Island". Some of his other American titles: "Our ship sails tomorrow bound for Maryland", "The March of the British forces upon leaving Philadelphia", "Bunkers Hill", "A Trip to Boston" and a "Yankie Dowdle" barely recognizable as the familiar tune. (Aird's version is much closer).

And I misremembered: the Black Watch fifers did have the C naturals.


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Subject: RE: origin of the tune Staten Island
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 18 Oct 11 - 06:07 PM

O.k., here's a long one, with my conclusions on the tune's origins at the bottom. (FWIW! and Whew!)

To provide more detail on the possibly American Revolution origins of the tune (and to expand on Guy Wolff's original 1998 post (!!) about a possible connection to Marblehead, Massachusetts), here is information from Wikipedia on the Battle of Long Island, also known as the Battle of Brooklyn:

"After defeating the British in the Siege of Boston on March 17, 1776, General George Washington, Commander-in-Chief, brought the Continental Army to defend New York City, then limited to the southern end of Manhattan Island. There he established defenses and waited for the British to attack. In July the British, under the command of General William Howe, landed a few miles across the harbor on Staten Island, where they were slowly reinforced by ships in Lower New York Bay over the next month and a half, bringing their total force to 32,000 men."

"On August 22, the British landed on the western end of Long Island, across The Narrows from Staten Island, more than a dozen miles south from the East River crossings to Manhattan. After five days of waiting, the British attacked American defenses on the Guana (Gowanus) Heights. Unknown to the Americans, however, Howe had brought his main army around their rear and attacked their flank soon after. The Americans panicked, although a stand by 400 Maryland troops prevented most of the army from being captured. The remainder of the army fled to the main defenses on Brooklyn Heights. The British dug in for a siege but, on the night of August 29–30, Washington evacuated the entire army to Manhattan without the [further] loss of material or a single life. Washington and the Continental Army were driven out of New York entirely after several more defeats and forced to retreat through New Jersey and into Pennsylvania."

Details:

"Washington and the army were surrounded on Brooklyn Heights with the East River to their backs. As the day went on, the British began to dig trenches, slowly coming closer and closer to the American defenses. By doing this, the British would not have to cross over open ground to assault the American defenses as they did in Boston the year before. Despite this perilous situation, Washington ordered 1,200 more men from Manhattan to Brooklyn on August 28. The men that came over were two Pennsylvania regiments and Colonel John Glover's regiment from Marblehead, Massachusetts."
...
"Washington sent a letter instructing General William Heath, who was at Kings Bridge between Manhattan and what is now the Bronx, to send every flat bottomed boat or sloop without delay in case battalions of infantry from New Jersey might come to reinforce their position. At 4:00 p.m., on August 29, Washington held a meeting with his generals. Mifflin advised Washington to retreat to Manhattan while Mifflin and his Pennsylvania Regiments made up the rear guard, holding the line until the rest of the army had withdrawn. The Generals agreed unanimously with Mifflin that retreat was the best option and Washington had orders go out by the evening.

"The troops were told that they were to gather up all their ammunition and baggage and prepare for a night attack. By 9:00 p.m., the sick and wounded began to move to the Brooklyn Ferry in preparation for being evacuated. At 11:00 p.m. Glover and his Massachusetts troops, who were sailors and fishermen, began to evacuate the troops."
...
"At 7:00 am, the last American troops landed in Manhattan. All 9,000 troops had been evacuated without a single life lost."
...
"When news of the battle reached London, it caused many festivities to take place. Bells were rung across the city, candles were lit in windows and King George III gave General Howe the Order of the Bath."

------

Other Revolutionary era activity on Staten Island:

"… on September 11, 1776, the British received a delegation of Americans consisting of Benjamin Franklin, Edward Rutledge, and John Adams at the Conference House on the southwestern tip of the island (known today as Tottenville) on the former estate of Christopher Billop. The Americans refused the peace offer from the British in exchange for the withdrawal of the Declaration of Independence, however, and the conference ended without an agreement."

There was also a Battle of Staten Island in 1777, but this was an unsuccessful raid by the Americans on the British forces.

British forces remained on Staten Island throughout the war, and they used the island as a staging ground for their final evacuation of New York City on December 5, 1783.

----

A few other notes on my research on the tune:

The tune does not show up in Bruce Olsen's "Incomplete Index of Scottish Popular Song and Dance Tunes Printed in the 18th Century".

Perhaps Jack can check Charles Gore's 'The Scottish Fiddle Music Index'.

------

I'll take my turn at informed speculation:

That James Robertson (music notebook, Scotland, 1796) includes it along with other tunes that come from the American Revolutionary period suggests strongly that it's Staten Island, New York, not Staten Island, Cape Horn, Argentina.

If the tune has any relation to these events, it was most likely written by someone on the British side of the conflict. I don't think hornpipes get written for defeats.

However, as defeats go, a sneaky and successful retreat is worth some celebration, and as Guy, the OP, suggests, the Marblehead, Massachusetts, troops played an important role, that might be worth celebrating. On the downside for this theory, why call it "Staten Island Hornpipe" then, if that where the British were stationed, and the successful action was elsewhere? Irony? That's a bit of a stretch.

That the tune found itself in print in Britain only six years (Aird's Airs, book 2, Glasgow, Scotland, 1782) after the Battle of Long Island suggests strongly that the tune was written either in association with the celebration in Britain after the battle, or by someone who was among or associated with the British troops stationed on Staten Island around that time.

Any connection to the Irish on Staten Island, NY, would be after the fact.

A useful data point that would raise the odds for the Cape Horn Staten Island would be if there any publications of the tune prior to 1776. However, I have to ask, how much ship traffic would there have been on that route prior to 1776? European and American whalers didn't go there until 1788.

The tune could be found in the United States at most 100 years later and has been in active use here for more than 100 years.

I'm curious if there are any American printings before Ryan's Mammoth Collection (like earlier, from Elias Howe, or earlier than that).

Here's where I'm putting my money today: My bet is on the connection with the American Revolution, and that the tune was written by someone on the British side, probably in Britain, and probably someone with a connection to Scotland (like a Scot!).

~ Becky in Tucson


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Subject: RE: origin of the tune Staten Island
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 18 Oct 11 - 06:32 PM

Unless, of course, the tune existed under a different name earlier, and I'm relying on Jack Campin to let us know, if so!

And, while I'm posting excessively, people often note that "this tune is usually played as reel" (which is how it's written down), meaning without the bouncy "dotted-note" feel. I came on this from Pete Cooper in my researches on the tune (and also posted it elsewhere):

"[The Scottish fiddler in Tyneside, mid 1800s] James Hill's music made the most lasting impact. His repertoire included waltzes, jigs, reels and strathspeys, but his hornpipes became famous in his own time, and are played today. … Hill's tunes represent an evolutionary development of the hornpipe form. The introduction of a 'dotted,' or more accurately, 'triplet swing,' rhythm is combined with new bowing patterns, especially the use of slurs across the beat. William C. Honeyman, in his 1898 'Strathspey, Reel and Hornpipe Tutor,' termed it the Newcastle Style."

So, to play it as written is appropriate, despite our current associations with the term "hornpipe".

~ Becky in Tucson


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Subject: RE: origin of the tune Staten Island
From: greg stephens
Date: 18 Oct 11 - 06:50 PM

What I have not been able to find out is whether the tune's alternative name "The Tobaco Land Hornpipe" predates or postdates the Staten Island name. The Tobacco name suggests an American origin possibly(or connection, at least).


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Subject: RE: origin of the tune Staten Island
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 18 Oct 11 - 07:29 PM

Mr. Google doesn't bring anything up on that one, Greg. Where have you seen that name?

~ Becky in Tucson


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Subject: RE: origin of the tune Staten Island
From: Jack Campin
Date: 18 Oct 11 - 07:33 PM

The earliest printing Gore's team found was Aird's. It's slightly simpler than the modern form. Aird only gave the "Staten Island" title.

Those seem to be compelling reasons for an American origin - what's still missing is the exact occasion for writing a commemorative dance tune. A victory ball? Did they have such things at that place and time, in areas under British control? - it would be worth checking newspapers of the time to find out what the social scene was like.

The military movements Desert Dancer describes sound like the sort of challenge a dance deviser of any era would enjoy choreographing.

If you look at Aird, the sequence of tunes in the book confirms Desert Dancer's picture. Surrounding "Staten Island" in the same volume are a bunch of quicksteps for various regiments: the 10th, 15th, 23rd, 33rd, 40th, 44th, 45th and 55th all fought in the Battle of Long Island, according to the Wikipedia page on the order of battle, and they all have tunes in the book. It wouldn't surprise me if all the military units commemorated in that volume were on service in America. There is also a "Genl. Carleton's Quick March" and "New york Girls".


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Subject: RE: origin of the tune Staten Island
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 18 Oct 11 - 11:20 PM

Thanks for the additional details!

As I quoted above, there were celebrations in London when the word got there of the Long Island success, and Howe was given the Order of the Bath (in absentia). That seems a likely venue for tunes and dances. Up until the Christmas Eve taking of Trenton by Washington, all the British had were victories, so that's the word that got to London for that season.

With over 30,000 British troops based on Staten Island, the number of officers and loyalist civilians might have been sufficient for dancing, but I would think they would have been too busy. See this account of the various skirmishes over supplies - that winter was a very hard one.

The 42nd (Royal Highland) Regiment of Foot or Black Watch was also present. (Here they are, at the battle of Harlem Heights, three weeks later.) They don't get a tune mention?

Newspaper accounts would indeed be useful.


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Subject: RE: origin of the tune Staten Island
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 19 Oct 11 - 12:27 AM

This page also says, "After an army major brought news of Howe's triumph on Long Island to London several weeks later, all of Britain was ecstatic, expecting a prompt end to the war."

Aird's Airs, Book 2, as transcribed to abc by Jack Campin. This is the volume in which Staten Island Hornpipe appears, and you can see the other military and American-related titles.


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Subject: RE: origin of the tune Staten Island
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 19 Oct 11 - 12:57 AM

"The London Gazette Extraordinary" of October 10, 1776 reporting on the victory.

So London papers in the months following that would be where to look, if one had access. Here's a copy of October 12's London Chronicle for sale for only $280... ;-)


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Subject: RE: origin of the tune Staten Island
From: Jack Campin
Date: 19 Oct 11 - 12:53 PM

The British papers would be the place to look if they referred to the battle as happening at Staten Island (rather than Long Island) - if not, I'd be looking at colonial American ones.

Either way, there is good chance that an assembly that introduced a new dance in commemoration of a major event like that would have been advertised in advance or reported in the equivalent of the society columns.

I'll be in London in November and might have a chance to look in the British Library, if nobody else gets there first.


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Subject: RE: origin of the tune Staten Island
From: GUEST,Luckylcs
Date: 11 Feb 14 - 02:27 AM

I wonder why none of you bothered to learn that there is a Staten Island in SCOTLAND, and, since this is a Scottish tune, it is much more likely that it is named after the Scottish isle, and has nothing whatsoever to do with New York!


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Subject: RE: origin of the tune Staten Island
From: Jack Campin
Date: 11 Feb 14 - 06:20 AM

There isn't. You're thinking of Staffin, just off the coast of Skye. There is a well-known Phil Cunningham tune "The Hut on Staffin Island", which bears no resemblance to the tune "Staten Island".


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Subject: RE: origin of the tune Staten Island
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 11 Feb 14 - 03:35 PM

Fixing the link from me above, 19 Oct 11 - 12:27 AM:

Aird's Airs, Book 2, as transcribed to abc by Jack Campin. This is the volume in which Staten Island Hornpipe appears, and you can see the other military and American-related titles.

~ Becky in Long Beach, now


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Subject: RE: origin of the tune Staten Island
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 11 Feb 14 - 04:18 PM

I see that a couple of my links are to pages that are now defunct. The main ones still work, though.


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Subject: RE: origin of the tune Staten Island
From: Manitas_at_home
Date: 11 Feb 14 - 05:57 PM

I thought the Phil Cunningham tune referenced Baffin Island which always puzzled me. Jack's post solves the puzzle for me.


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Subject: RE: origin of the tune Staten Island
From: Jack Campin
Date: 01 May 15 - 09:35 AM

I've just come across another Staten Island tune, in the Lester Levy collection.

Staten Island Polka Mazurka, 1854

No relation to the reel/hornpipe.


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Subject: RE: origin of the tune Staten Island
From: Seamus Kennedy
Date: 01 May 15 - 06:58 PM

The second part, except for the drop to C reminds me of the B part of the Arkansas Traveller.


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Subject: RE: origin of the tune Staten Island
From: Guy Wolff
Date: 21 Nov 16 - 05:43 PM

SO 15 years later ! I just wanted to thank Becky in Tucson for all her really cool research above .. I like her educated guess that the tune Might have been written but a Scotsman on the Bristish side for the Battle of Brooklyn .. If you look at the portrate of Washington crossing the Deleware ..The man in charge of the Boats was the same then General John Glover who organized the Marblhead fisherman to man the boats at Brooklyn .. He was my Great GGG Whatever Grand Uncle.. His twin brother was Johnathan Glover my GGGG Grand father .. ( John & Johnathan; no confusion there ) . The two brothers gave the first boat to the American Navy named the Hanna .. (Also a family story )


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Subject: RE: origin of the tune Staten Island
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 21 May 18 - 08:27 PM

Hey, what's another year and a half then?? You're welcome, Guy, thanks for the inspiration.

~ Becky in Long Beach


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Subject: RE: origin of the tune Staten Island
From: Jack Campin
Date: 22 May 18 - 05:15 AM

I still haven't found the "Burns's Hornpipe" title in an early source - it's given as an alternate title in Middleton's collection, published in the middle of the 19th century, but that's the earliest use of the title I can now trace. I may have muddled something up.


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Subject: RE: origin of the tune Staten Island
From: Lighter
Date: 22 May 18 - 07:54 AM

Welcome to the club.


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Subject: RE: origin of the tune Staten Island
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 22 May 18 - 09:28 AM

The honk-honk in the second part always reminds me of the foghorn note in Malcolm Arnold's march "Padstow Lifeboat."


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