Annotations and comments

Ann Hinchliffe has posted one annotation/comment since 30 May 2023.


Third Reading

About Tuesday 29 May 1660

Ann Hinchliffe  •  Link

Dance, tune etc called Twenty Ninth May can be seen at… , one of the Dancing Master series originally published by John Playford. The tune called 29th May appears in all editions from 1686 onwards. It was later adapted -- by Vaughan Williams, I think -- for the hymn All Things Bright and Beautiful. It's unlikely to have been the tune that the morris dancers used to welcome Charles II as (a) there's no ref that I know of earlier than 1686 and (b) the style is more similar to French Baroque whereas the earlier Playford tunes are less florid, more English. (Or British, apologies to other parts of UK.) The dance figures given here are quite complex, evidently choreographed for an audience with leisure and probably a dancing master, as Pepys and his wife had. Evidence of morris goes back to the 1400s but there's virtually no info of *how* it was danced, apart from the description in Kemp's Nine Daies Wonder, 1599/1600. The figures must have been simpler and more open than those shown here, to have been danceable in the street. Pepys' portrait as painted by John Hayls (see Diary for 17 March 1666) shows him holding a sheet of music printed in a style similar to Playford's music publishing; Pepys visited Playford's bookshop many times. The tune as used for morris dancing is traceable only to the 1800s, though it may have continued in earlier use as a country dance, like many other Playford tunes. Dance figures were very variable and unlike modern ceilidh or country dances were usually identified by tune name not by choreography.