manuscript room

INFO

Thomas Westrop's 120 Country Dances, Jigs, Reels, Hornpipes, Strathspeys,
Spanish Waltz etc.for the Violin, London, n.d. (1860's).

Transcribed for the Village Music Project by Ruairidh Greig, 2010

Not much is presently known about this book of country dance tunes.

There was a Thomas Westrop, member of the Society of Musicians, in this entry on their database:
Surname: Westrop
Firstname: Thomas
Born: 15 December 1821
Died: 17 December 1881
Instrument: Organ;Piano Forte;Violin
Career: 'Performs on the Organ, Piano Forte, and Violin and is also a teacher of Harmony - has considerable private teaching'
Admitted: 1 June 1845



and this from the BRITISH MUSICAL BIOGRAPHY:-

Westrop, Thomas, composer and writer,
brother of the above, was born at Lavenham
in 1816. Died at London, December 17, 1881.
He edited " 120 selected short anthems,"'
London, 1861; Psalms, hymns, etc., 1862;
Eighteen selected \ ocal duets, London, 1863 ;
Sacred songs, 1863. Universal violin tutor,
1862. Complete organ tutor, 1863. Com-
poser of a large number of comic and other
songs, hymns, pf. pieces, etc.

IGI:-
Birth: Lavenham, Suffolk, England
Christening: 31 DEC 1821 Suffolk County Bts, Suffolk, England
Parents John Westrop, Anne East


This may or may not be our man, but he is only on the fringes of respectable music society, as the reference to comic songs indicates, so he remains a distinct possibility.

The earliest appearance of the book that I have found is an advertisement from the Sidney Morning Herald Monday 4 July 1870 p8.
Though in this instance it is arranged for piano it is undoubtedly the same corpus.
'Westrop's Book of 120 Country Dances, Reels, Hornpipes, Strathspeys, &c., for the piano-forte; post free 1s 9d'
The book contains 'Dixie's Land' and from Wikipedia - According to tradition, Ohio-born minstrel show composer Daniel Decatur Emmett wrote "Dixie" around 1859, therefore it must have been compiled in the 1860's.
The book seems to have been remarkably popular, or at any rate persistent, and remained in print in London well into the 20thC, possibly until after WW2. Copies are regularly to be found second hand.

Chris Partington, 2011