Black Mary Hornpipe (1)

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BLACK MARY HORNPIPE [1]. AKA and see "Butcher's Hornpipe (2)," "Piping Pie Man (The)," "Wright's Whim." English, Hornpipe. England, Northumberland. G Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB. The melody appears under the "Black Mary" title in the 1770 Northumbrian music manuscripts of musician William Vickers, about whom unfortunately little is known. It is unrelated to the "triple hornpipe" (3/2 time) of the same name. However, it is related to the Yorkshire tune "Butcher's Hornpipe (2)," which appears in the Yorkshire manuscript collections of Lawrence Leadley, George Spencer and Joshua Jackson. As "Piping Pie Man (The)" the tune was published in London by John Young in The Third Volume of the Dancing Master, 2nd ed., 1726, however, it appeared earlier in dancing master Daniel Wright's Extraordinary Collection of Pleasant and Merry Humours (c. 1715) as "Wright's Whim."

Although it is not known to whom the "Black Mary" title refers (and there could be endless possibilities, since the term was used for dark-haired women), there was a famous Black Mary of the formerly marshy countryside north of London, now absorbed by the metropolitan sprawl. This Black Mary was a black woman named Mary Woolaston, who rented a well and a pleasure-grounds called Black Mary's Hole in the days of Charles II. Spring place, adjoining Exmouth Street, marks the locality now (R. L. Chambers, Book of Days, vol. 2, 1863).

Source for notated version: William Vickers' 1770 music manuscript collection (Northumberland) [Seattle].

Printed sources: Seattle (Great Northern/William Vickers), 1987, Part 3; No. 431.

Recorded sources:




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