Boscomb Bucks

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BOSCOMB BUCKS. Scottish, Country Dance Tune (cut time). G Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AAB. London publisher John Walsh printed the dance and tune in a few publications, including his Third Book of the Compleat Country Dancing-Master (1735, p. 117, and in the subsequent edition of 1749). John Johnson published the tune in his Caledonian Country Dances, vol. 1, 3rd edition (London, 1750, p. 8) under the title "Box and Dice, or Boscomb Bucks." The melody was also included in the 1790 music manuscript collection of London musician Thomas Hammersley.

'Boscomb' perhaps refers to the village of Boscombe, Dorset, on the seacoast, while 'bucks' refers to young men. It was known as a smuggles haunt in the 18th century, but in the next century developed as a resort town. Box and Dice was an idiomatic expression that survives in Australia, and is a shortened version of the phrase "the whole box and dice." It has the same meaning as "the whole shebang," "the whole nine yards," or "the whole kit and caboodle", in other words, 'everything' or 'all of it'. The phrase is thought to have derived from dice games, where dice were often stored in a box, or, in some cases, played in conjunction with the box. For example, the game "liar's dice" required the player to cover the box with their hand to conceal the value of the score they have rolled. All that is required to play this type of game is a 'box and dice', and to have them is to have all that is necessary, or 'the whole thing'.

Source for notated version:

Printed sources: Walsh (Caledonian Country Dances), c. 1745; p. 14.

Recorded sources:




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