From The Traditional Tune Archive
KNIVES AND FORKS.
This upbeat melody dates to 1719 where it appears in the Second Book of the Compleat Country Dancing Master by London publisher J. Walsh. It is used for a longways country dance that appears (with the tune) in other collections as the "Merry Hop" (John Young's Second Volume of the Dancing Master , 3rd & 4th Ed's of 1718 and 1728) and "Three Case Knives" (Wright's c. 1720, An Extraordinary Collection of Pleasent and Merry Humours). In fact, the melody is one of numerous variants of a popular and seminal 3/2 time tune categorized as a Lancashire Hornpipe or, sometimes, Cheshire Round, associated with the northern English counties. It was danced to vigorous and unrestrained steps; Graham Christian (2015) notes that their adoption into the country dance repertoire brought a touch of genuine rural jollity into the more controlled atmosphere of the assembly rooms of the 18th century.
The fork is a relative late-comer to the arsenal of table utensils. In the Middle Ages, most people ate off rounds of stale bread called trenchers, which could hold cooked meat and vegetables and which could be brought directly to the mouth, and anything else was transported to the mouth by knives and spoons. Forks were a Mediteranean invention, centuries slow to catch on, but was an affectation brought to France by Catherine de Medici, who traveled in 1533 from Italy to marry king Henry II. It was through their display at her public events, state banquets, and the like that the utensil came to be noticed as an addition to tabletop that required consideration. Early forks were two-tined, convenient for holding down a slab of meat for cutting, and often sported unique and carved handles. Use of the fork was long an affectation of the rich, however, and the knife sufficed for most people--as late as 1897 British sailors at with a knife, considering the fork to be unmanly. In the 17th century those well-off would bring their utensils with them in cases ("Three Case Knives"), as use of other utensils could be unsanitary if they could be found at all.
KNIVES AND FORKS full annotations and Past Featured Tunes
T: Knives and Forks
"A"a2ba "E7"g2ag "D"fgaf | "E7"g2e2- e2g2 f2e2 | "D"d2ed "A"c2dc "E7"Bcde |
"A"c2A2- "(E7)"A2c2 "A"B2A2 | "A"ABcd e2A2 "E7"G4 | "Bm"F2B2- B2A2 "E7"G2FE |
"A"ABcd e2A2 "E7"G4 | "A"E2 A2- "(E7)"A2c2 "(A)"B2A2|
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