I picked up Lamplighter’s Hornpipe out of Cole’s 1000 Fiddle tunes a while back when I was reading through some tunes. I think it’s fun to play and it has a catchy melody. It’s not especially difficult, but it’s playful and gives you some room to play around with it.
Lamplighter’s Hornpipe according to Fiddler’s Companion
LAMPLIGHTER’S HORNPIPE . AKA and see “Merry Soldier.” American, Canadian, Scottish; Hornpipe. USA; New York, Maine. A Major (most versions): G Major (Shaw). Standard tuning. One part (Burchenal): AB (Bronner, Silberberg): AABB (most versions): AA’BB’ (Kerr). The first strain is similar to the first strain of “Key West Hornpipe.” It was cited as having commonly been played for country dances in Orange County, New York, in the 1930’s (Lettie Osborn, New York Folklife Quarterly), and Bronner (1987) says it is more popular with old‑time fiddlers in New York State than the literature on tune collecting shows. He thinks its features suggest an 18th century British Isles derivation (a safe guess). Burchenal (1918) uses the tune for two New England contra dances she prints alongside, one called the “Boston Fancy” and the other the “Lamplighter’s Hornpipe;” Tolman and Page, in the “Country Dance Book” also have a dance they call the “Lamplighter’s Hornpipe” which is similar to the dance given as “Lamplighter’s Hornpipe” in Elias Howe’s 1858 Ball‑Room Hand Book (pg. 85). Presumably, this is the same dance Howe later printed with the tune in his 1000 Jigs and Reels (c. 1867). Tony Parkes and Steve Woodruff (1980) find the tune in Elisha Belknap’s (Framingham, Mass.) 1784 manuscript, though it may have been added around the year 1800, and remark that both dance and tune were very popular in the mid‑19th century. Bronner (1987) indicates the tune was often an alternate for dances which call for “Durang’s Hornpipe,” while Briggs suggests it for “Jefferson and Liberty,” an easy contra dance. The tune was listed in the repertoire of Maine fiddler Mellie Dunham (the elderly Dunham was Henry Ford’s champion fiddler in the mid‑1920’s). Sources for notated versions: Les Weir, 1976 (New York State; learned from his father) [Bronner]; Ruthie Dornfeld, Ron West [Phillips]; Laurie Andres [Silberberg]. Bronner (Old-Time Music Makers of New York State), 1987; No. 28, pg. 117. Burchenal (American Country Dances, Vol. 1), 1918; pg. 39 (appears as “Boston Fancy” ) and pg, 49. Cole (1000 Fiddle Tunes), 1940; pg. 93. Ford (Traditional Music in America), 1940; pg. 85. Howe (1000 Jigs and Reels), c. 1867; pg. 82. Jarman (Old Time Fiddlin’ Tunes); No. or pg. 28. Kerr (Merry Melodies), Vol. 2; No. 342, pg. 38. Miller & Perron (New England Fiddlers Repertoire), 1983; No. 108. Phillips (Traditional American Fiddle Tunes), Vol. 2, 1995; pg. 204 (two versions). Ryan’s Mammoth Collection, 1883; pg. 128. Ruth (Pioneer Western Folk Tunes), 1948; No. 21, pg. 9. Sandvik (Folke‑Musik i Gudbrandsdalen), 1919 & 1948; pg. 79. Shaw (Cowboy Dances), 1943; pg. 389. Silberberg (Tunes I Learned at Tractor Tavern), 2002; pg. 86. Sweet (Fifer’s Delight), 1954/1981; pg. 64. White’s Unique Collection, 1896; No. 107, pg. 19. Alcazar Dance Series FR 203, Rodney Miller ‑ “New England Chestnuts” (1980). Fretless 132, “Ron West: Vermont Fiddler.” MCA Records MCAD 4037, “The Very Best of Don Messer” (1994).