One of the things I do when I want some musical variety is read through Cole’s 1000 fiddle tunes (otherwise known as Ryan’s Mammoth Book of Fiddle Tunes or the Fiddler’s Bible). I play through a page or two of fiddle tunes. (There are usually 6 or so tunes to a page.) I will read through a tune a couple of times and if it is interesting, I will play it a few more times, and if I like it, I will commit it to memory by playing it a few more times without the music. Constitution Hornpipe is one of those tunes that I liked enough to learn. The B part reminds me of Topeka Polka.
Constitution Hornpipe according to the Fiddler’s Companion
CONSTITUTION HORNPIPE . AKA and see “Lone Appendicitis.” American, Canadian; Hornpipe or Breakdown. USA, New England, Nebraska. Canada, Cape Breton Nova Scotia. F Major. Standard tuning. AABB (Bayard, Christeson, Ford, Harding, Jarman, Messer, Miller & Perron, Phillips): AA’BB’ (Kerr). The tune was perhaps named for the American naval vessel The Constitution, of the War of 1812 fame. The square-rigged ship still exists and is on display in Boston harbor. Christeson (1973) says the original version, as published in older tune books, is more difficult to play than the one he collected, and Bayard’s (1981) source also thought the tune strenuous, saying “If you think that’s not hard to play, just try it!” The first strain is also the same as the “Jinrikisha Hornpipe” and, in simplified form, Huntington’s 3rd tune on his pg. 23.