Chirping of the Lark (The)

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X: 1 T:Chirping Of The Lark. (p)1651.PLFD1.015, The T:Bonny Kate. (p)1651.PLFD1.015 M:4/4 L:1/4 Q:1/2=100 S:Playford, Dancing Master,1st Ed.,1651. O:England;London N:The A strain is very much the same as the A strain of Bonny Kate from N:the Harrison & Wall Collection. H:1651. Z:Chris Partington. K:F f2ed/e/|fFFd|cBAG|AFF2:| |:f>fee|d/f/e/d/^cA|B/c/d^c/d/e|d2d2:|



CHIRPING OF THE LARK, THE. AKA and see "Muscadin," "Kemp's Morris." English, Air (4/4 time). F Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB. The air appears in Henry Playford's English Dancing Master (1651) and his Introduction to the Skill of Musick (1655), and was retained in the long-running Dancing Master series through the 8th edition of 1690 (there is also a companion tune, of sorts, called "The Chirping of the Nightingale"). It also appears in Fitzwilliam Virginal Book as well as in the Nederlandtsche Gedenck-Clanck (1628) under the name "Muscadin". Elsewhere in Continental Europe it can be found as "Egelsche Foulle," "Englische Toy," "Englander Dans" and similar titles. A German source calls the tune "Kemp's Morris", and it has been suggested that it was because it was the tune that accompanied Kemp, the "Engelsche Foulle", when he danced "the morrice over the Alps" in 1601[1]. Kemp visited France, Germany and Italy and returned to England in September, 1601[2]

The tune combines a variant of bars 1-4 of "Nobody's Jig" with four bars of unrelated music, and begins in the key of 'F' Major, but changes key to 'A' Minor in the second strain.


Additional notes



Printed sources : - Barlow (Complete Country Dance Tunes from Playford's Dancing Master), 1985; No. 15, p. 19. Chappell (Popular Music of the Olden Times), 1856; p. 277. Raven (English Country Dance Tunes), 1984; p. 39.

Recorded sources : - Rootbeat Records RBRCD42, Leveret - "Diversions" (2019).




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  1. John M. Ward, "The Morris Tune," Journal of the American Musicological Society, vol. 39, No. 2, Summer, 1986, p. 310.
  2. Chambers, The Elizabethan Stage, II, 326, cited by Ward, ibid.
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