Tom Willson wrote:
Would anyone happen to know where I could get the
music (sheet) for all 5 figures of the "Plain Quadrille" (AKA the "French
I don't know whether the Plain Quadrille originally had a single musical setting
associated with it, but by the mid-19th century there were dozens, probably hundreds, of
settings, each one in five figures with the correct number of measures for each. Some were
newly written for the purpose, others were arranged from currently popular songs (such as
those by Stephen Foster).
One group of settings with which I am familiar is derived from the comic operas of Gilbert
and Sullivan (1875 through 1896). When each new show was produced, their publisher
(usually Chappell) issued songs and the complete score for singing and playing at home,
plus dance music specially arranged from the songs. There was usually a waltz, polka,
quadrille, and lancers, and sometimes others, such as a march or galop.
In the pre-Internet days, the G&S dance arrangements were all but impossible to find,
because people collected them for their beautiful full-color covers. But someone has
kindly scanned the music and made it available online. If you go to the Gilbert and
Sullivan Archive (http://www.gsarchive.net/
), you'll see a menu of opera titles on the
left side of the home page. Clicking on a title will take you to that opera's
"home" page, where there are links to the dance music (among many other
goodies). Patience Quadrille and Trial by Jury Lancers are particularly well-arranged;
both have been recorded.
These are piano arrangements. According to old advertisements, band parts were also
available, but I don't know of any still in existence. Chappell's London
headquarters suffered a notorious fire in 1964, and it is believed that many one-of-a-kind
pieces of music were lost.
New book! Square Dance Calling: An Old Art for a New Century
(to be published real soon)