May Tune of the Month: Staten Island

Happy May, and more importantly, happy World Fiddle Day and World Whisky Day (both on May 21)! To celebrate we chose a tune loved by many fiddlers across many genres, “Staten Island”.

The title is almost certainly a reference to the island in New York; I don’t know of any other Staten Islands, and the colonies were certainly on the radar of Scottish tune-publishers (the Aird collection—where the tune was first published—was well-loved in America, and Robert Mackintosh went so far as to compose and publish “The 4th of July or Anniversary of American Independence” a decade later).

Charlie Gore claims that it has an alternate title of “Burn’s Hornpipe”, but I haven’t seen that in print. It may be listed as such in the Middleton collection of 1870, which I don’t have access to. I can say more certainly, though, that it appears as “Staten Island” in the second Aird collection (1782) and its c. 1800 reprint by Joseph MacFadyen.

No bass line was included, but Jeremy obligingly made one up.

Here it is by Aird:

And here it is looking virtually identical courtesy of MacFadyen:

But enough fiddling, time to take advantage of World Whisky Day!

Copyright © 2017 Tim Macdonald