Copland’s barndance

Also known as Bonaparte’s Retreat, The Hamburger Hornpipe, McLeod’s.

There is 1 recording of this tune.

Copland's has been added to 55 tunebooks.

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Two settings

X: 1
T: Copland's
R: barndance
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
|:g2 ~g2 g2 de|gedB AG Bd|g2 b2 g2 dc|BGAc BG G2:|
X: 2
T: Copland's
R: barndance
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Dmaj
(3ABc|d2 (3edc d2 AB|dBAF EDFA|d2 [d2f2] d2 AG|FDEG FDD(3A/B/c/|

Thirteen comments

this was american composer’s Aaron Copland’s hoedown from his ‘rodeo’ work. it goes well with a lot of reels in the same key, like craig’s pipes

He did not compose it!

Yeah, ok. Not that micelfife is saying that Aaron Copland composed this tune, but he didn’t. This is yet another traditional tune adapted(stolen) by a classical/modern composer. Aaron Copland lifted, note-for-note, a Kentucky fiddler

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sorry, I didnt know that, but I dont doubt that its true

It’s not a matter of whether it’s true or not. It is a fact.
The good ole boys in Kentucky and Appalachia were playing this tune long before Copland was born.

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Copland’s aka Bonaparte’s Retreat

Copland’s version was taken directly from Ruth Crawford Seeger’s transcription ( “Our Singing Country”, Lomax and Lomax, 1941, 1955) from the playing of William H. Stepp. Alan and Elizabeth Lomax recorded Stepp on Oct. 26, 1937. There is a version of this transcription in Jeff Todd Titon’s excellent book “Old Time Kentucky Fiddle Tunes” (University Press of Kentucky, 2001). Stepp played tuned his fiddle D(8vb)DAd. Stepp’s recording is available on the Library of Congress/Rounder CD “American Fiddle Tunes”, Rounder CD # 1518. This is a superb collection of American old-time fiddling!


I may be wrong, but I *think* Brendan Gleeson played this tune very briefly in a prison hospital scene in Cold Mountain. He named it as “Napoleon’s Retreat”. Can anyone confirm?

Brendan Gleeson is one of that very select bunch of screen actors who can play the fiddle well enough to do it on screen without having to dub anyone else’s playing. Very select? Very, very select - I can’t think of any other screen actor who does it. Violin playing on screen by an actor (as opposed to a musician with a walk-on part) is usually pathetic and embarrassing to watch - it shows how difficult the instrument is.

BTW, I’d like to know where Brendan Gleeson got his fiddle strings for that film. After his fiddle case had fallen off a saddle pack on a horse and then was recovered days later from a snow drift, his fiddle was perfectly in tune! In the industry I think it’s called “willing suspension of disbelief”.


Bonaparte’s Retreat

I’m looking at the other ‘bonaparte’s retreat’ on the session and it seems to be a different tune .(maybe I’m wrong cause I’m just glancing at the sheetmusic) but is this tune really bonaparte’s retreat, or is it a different one, or what?

Old-Timey Bonaparte’s Retreat

Although the W.H.Stepp’s version is played in D, micelife’s tune in G is essentially the same tune. I’m not sure about other tunes which might take this title, but the tune I’m discussing (Copland’s source) is known as Bonaparte’s Retreat. There are other American versions of this tune, but Stepp’s Kentucky version is so fine as to be worthy of the term “definitive”. The Documentation of Copland’s source is very clear, as indicated above. Interestingly, the tune is not considered a dance piece, but rather a listening piece, despite Copland’s use of the term "hoedown).

I’m curious about the Gleeson version (is it “Irishized”?) in Cold Mountain; Stepp’s version is probably as close to the style of playing likely to have been in use during the Civil War as we are likely ever to hear. I heartily recommend it to anyone interested in this subject.

I’m not very handy with abc, or I’d try to render it. I’ll take a whack at the first four bars:

X: 1
T: William H Stepp’s Bonaparte’s Retreat
R: Reel

(3ABc | d2 (3edc d2 AB | dBAF EDFA | d2 [d2f2] d2 AG | FDEG FDD(3A/2B/2c/2 |

Pardon me if this turns out to be a mess, but at least I tried. I can render this fragment in midi if anyone is interested.

Cold Mountain

I know the scene you’re talking about- isn’t it the hospital in Petersburg, though? I don’t remember the tune weel enough,, as I’ve only seen the movie once. The only fiddle pice they put on the soundtrack is ‘Ruby With The Eyes That Sparkle’, but that’s by Stewart Duncan (one instance where Gleeson didn’t play it, I think, in the movie)

In this work, the reel that he stole is called McLeod’s Reel.

“Bonaparte’s Retreat” / “Bonnie’s Retreat” / “Napoleon’s Retreat”

X: 3
T: Bonaparte’s Retreat
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
R: breakdown / reel
K: DMaj
|: FA |\
d2 ec d2 AB | dBAF EDFA |\
d2 fc d/e/d AG | FDEG FD :|
|: EG |\

The B-part can also be played an octave up…
~ | fdfd adfd | ~

Napoleon had an alias ~ ‘McLeod’… 😉