Black Jack (3)

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BLACK JACK [3]. English, Country Dance Tune (6/8 time). F Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AB (Sharp, Walsh): AABB (Karpeles, Raven). The tune was first published in John Playford's Dancing Master in the supplement to the 3rd Edition (London, 1665) and appeared in all subsequent editions of the long-running series, through the 16th (1716), although dropped from the final two editions. A different melody called "Black Jack" appears in the 17th and 18th editions of the Dancing Master (1721 & 1728). Playford's original "Black Jack" was also printed by John Walsh in his Compleat Country Dancing Master of 1718 and in editions of 1731 and 1754. Antoine Pointel printed it in Paris in 1700 in his Airs de Danses Angloises Hollandoises et Francoises a Deux Parties.

According to Grose's The 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue a 'black jack' was "a jug to drink out of, made of jacked leather." The black jack was a sturdy leather tumbler lined with resin or black pitch as waterproofing and was a common tankard in alehouses and taverns, or anyplace where drink was typically served. Whether the tune title refers to this is unknown, as alternative explanations may be equally plausible.

Source for notated version:

Printed sources: Karpeles & Schofield (A Selection of 100 English Folk Dance Airs), 1951; p. 14. Raven (English Country Dance Tunes), 1984; p. 21. Sharp (Country Dance Tunes), 1909; p. 25. Walsh (Complete Country Dancing-Master, Volume the Fourth), London, 1740; No. 177.

Recorded sources:

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