ALLEMANDE SWISS. English, American; Country Dance Tune. The music first appeared in the English publication The Compleat Tutor for the Guitar (Thompson, London, 1770). A formerly well known contra-dance tune in America, it appears in several musicians manuscripts of the late 18th century (Greenwood, Nixon etc.). Elizabeth Van Rensselaer included it in her 1782 music copybook in Boston. It also appears in the music manuscript copybook of Henry Livingston, Jr. In 1775 he was a Major in the 3rd New York Regiment, which participated in Montgomery’s invasion of Canada in a failed attempt to wrest Montreal from British control. An important land-owner in the Hudson Valley, and a member of the powerful Livingston family, Henry was also a surveyor and real estate speculator, an illustrator and map-maker, and a Justice of the Peace for Dutchess County. He was also a poet and musician, and presumably a dancer, as he was elected a Manager for the New York Assembly’s dancing season of 1774-1775, along with his 3rd cousin, John Jay, later U.S. Chief Justice and Governor of New York. The first two phrases are musically identical to the tune known as “The Faithful Shepherd,” found in a publication entitled 24 Country Dances, printed in London in 1769, although it also appears in James Aird’s Selection of Scotch, English, Irish and Foreign Airs (vol. I, Glasgow, 1782), and Charles and Samuel Thompson’s Compleat Collection, vol. 3 (London, 1773), Luther Kingsley’s 1795 commonplace book (Mansfield, Conn.), flute player Ensign Thomas Molyneaux’s 1788 copybook (Shelburne, Nova Scotia), and William Vickers’ 1770 music manuscript collection (Northumberland). Molyneaux gives the title as “Allemande Swiss” and the alternate title as “Faithful Shepherd.”
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Henry Livingston’s manuscript copybook, late 18th century (Photo copy).