The Old-Time Herald Volume 14, Number 4

The Portland Fancy
By Paul F. Wells
collection of Paul Wells


"The Portland Fancy” is one of the staples of the New England dance tradition. It regularly appears on dance cards from the last quarter of the nineteenth century on, and is still danced today, at least in tradition-minded circles. Various tunes have been associated with the dance but the most common melody, and the one that usually carries the name “Portland Fancy,” is a three-part tune in 6/8. The first two parts of this tune are in A major, and it modulates to D major for the final strain. I know of only a handful of recordings of the tune, all from either New England or neighboring areas of Canada.

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