Traditional Folk Tunes for String Quartet: Durang's Hornpipe

Traditional; arranged by Dina Maccabee

This arrangement of “Durang’s Hornpipe”—which takes its name from the famous 18th- and 19th-century American dancer John Durang—is based on a version I learned at a jam session during the 2008 Berkeley Old Time Music Convention. Little did I realize this permutation, which begins the low refrain with a G chord rather than the tonic D, was a rather unconventional version that barely resembles the way “Durang’s Hornpipe” is normally transcribed in fiddle-tune books. Seattle musicians Jere and Greg Canote, who play and teach this version of the tune, helped me trace its origin to Bruce Greene in North Carolina, who had heard and recorded it played by William Lee “Jake” Phelps, a Kentucky fiddler born in 1883.

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