Not much is known today about Napoleon W. Gould, the composer of this charming miniature. He was a British guitarist and banjo player who went to the United States sometimes in the mid-nineteenth century, where he joined the Daniel Decatur Emmett minstrel show and appeared with it, and with other minstrel groups, at least 20 times between about 1850 and 1870.† While in the US, Gould published several compositions and arrangements for guitar and for banjo, notably, with the Oliver Ditson Companyof Boston. The present composition was published in London by Johanning & Co. sometimes between 1837 and 1843, ostensibly before Gould’s departure to the US. A footnote at the bottom of page 3, readsas follows: N.B. This Mazurka is founded on the favorite french Chansonette “Ce n’est pas ta dot”.
The chansonette “Ce n’est pas ta dot” was composed by Loïsa Puget (1810-1889), a composer of manypopular songs that seem to have had a certain appeal not only in France, but also in England and the US. The reference to “in the style of Don T. Huerta” is clearly an expression of indebtedness by Gould to a particular composition by Trinidad Huerta, i.e., his Souvenir of the Fair at Mairena In Spain, a Favourite Mazurka, published in London circa 1828. Not only Gould uses a similar title, the same key, the same time signature and the same D tuning, the entire texture of the piece follows the Huerta model almost to the letter: extensive use of glissandi, double harmonics, a variation in arpeggio and the same gradual diminution of volume towards the end. In essence, this is a clever elaboration of a popular tune, using the compositional elements of a recognized master.