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The Aurora Violin Manuscripts
A manuscript of tunes hand written by musicians from Oregon's Aurora Colony who played for dancing in the Willamette Valley, Oregon, in Pioneer times. Suitable for historians of mid to late 19th century popular dancing in America and musicians in general who are interested in music from this period in American history.
166 Tunes in Standard Music Notation, with suggested chords. History of the manuscripts, the Aurora Colony, and the musicians that played dances from it, annotations about the tunes, etc.
Edited and typeset in SCORE from the original hand written manuscripts by Vivian Williams.
194 pages, 8.25 X 10.75 inches, soft cover, perfect bound
The Story of the Manuscripts
Oregon's Aurora Colony, founded in 1856, was perhaps the most musical town in the pioneer Pacific Northwest. It was a Christian communal society settled primarily by Germans, for whom music was an important part of life. The Aurora brass band won many band contests of the period, and is well known to music historians. Not so well known are Aurora's violin based quadrille bands. Vivian Williams found six violin manuscripts from these dance bands in the archives of the University of Oregon and the Aurora Historical Society, dating from 1863 to 1892. These stunning manuscripts reflect the advanced musical training of the quadrille violinists, and the wide range of the dances done in the Colony. This book contains tunes selected from these manuscripts, ranging in difficulty from simple to challenging. The dances that were done to the tunes include quadrilles, waltzes, mazurkas, polkas, schottisches, varsouvienes, marches, polonaises, galops, and others. The tunes are set in standard musical notation, with suggested chords. Some of them have 2nd violin parts in addition to the melodies. Many of them have not been performed for over 100 years. This really is the "lost dance music" of the Victorian era in the pioneer West.
The music from the manuscript has been set in the SCORE music engraving computer program. The original order has not been retained. Obvious errors were corrected, while some idiosyncratic notations were left as in the original. This is sometimes a judgment call: one persons error can be another persons alternate setting!
There is nothing authentic about the chords in this book; no chords were written in the manuscript. They are merely suggestions, added by Vivian and Phil Williams, according to their own preferences, in order to make the tunes more immediately accessible to casual players. Musicians should feel free to alter them according to their own taste and skill level. Some of the mystery tunes may have been original compositions of the contributors. It has not been practical to make an exhaustive search for the probable source of every single tune: there is room for much more research on this subject.
Following is a listing of the tunes in the book, preserving the names and spellings
as they appear in the manuscript. The tune names in brackets [ ] were not in
the original manuscript, but were discovered by research by the editor. The
book includes research notes with the original names of the tunes and their
source, where known. Some of the tunes appear in tune books of the 1850s through
the 1870s, some were identified from collections of sheet music of the period
and personal knowledge of the editor. Most are relatively unknown to contemporary
fiddlers and dance musicians. The tunes run the gamut from relative simple to
ones requiring a fairly high degree of technical mastery of the instrument.
St. Louis Serenading Waltz
Schottische: I Had $15
Pages from the original manuscripts and the book setting in PDF format. Click on the page image to view it full size.
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