Print

Print


 Curiously (or is it really so curious?),
> the well-known "Hoe-Down" from Copland's *Rodeo* calls to mind the
> fling, although surely what Copland had in mind was something more
> along the line of an American square- or line-dance.
>
>                                          J. MARSHALL BEVIL
 
The tune that Copland used in "Rodeo" is based *very* closely on a
transcription of "Bonaparte's Retreat" as played by Kentucky fiddler W.M.
Stepp.  Stepp was recorded for the Library of COngress, and Ruth Crawford
Seeger did a great transcription of his version of "Bonaparte's"--which
is one of the real masterpieces of American old-time fiddling (IMHO, of
course, but it's a judgment shared by lots of others as well).  Seeger's
transcription appeared in the Lomaxes' _Our Singing Country_, and Copland
used that as his source.  It's a pretty straight hoedown, with little of
the dotted rhythms characteristic of flings, at least to my ears.
 
I've not found a written definition of fling, but many of the tunes that
are printed under that heading are quite similar to strathspeys in
incorporating the sixteenth-dotted eighth "Scotch snap."  In performance,
they seem to be played faster than strathspeys.  They're sort of "lite"
strathspeys (sorry--it's Monday!)....
 
Paul Wells