Annotation:Cuckoo's Nest (1) (The)

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X:1 T:The Cuckoo's Nest [1] M:4/4 L:1/8 S:Charles Benfield (Bledington) K:Gdor A|B2B2G2f2|d2cB c2c2|BA G2 FFGA|B2G2G2:| |:d2|g2g2g2a2|g2d2d2 de|f2f2f2g2|efed c2c2| BcBA G2f2|d2 cB c2c2|BA G2 FFGA|B2G2G2:|| d4g4|g4g4|a2g2f4|d4d4|d2e2 f4|f4 f3g|efed c2c2| BcBA G2f2|d2cB c2c2 BA|G2 FFGA|B2G2G2||

CUCKOO'S NEST [1], THE. English, Reel and Morris Dance Tune (4/4 time). G Dorian (Playford version): G Major (Longborough, Ilmington versions): G Minor/Dorian (Bacon & Raven-Bledington version): E Minor (Mallinson-Bledington). Standard tuning (fiddle). AABA (Bacon-Longborough): AABB (Playford): AAB, x4, AA (Ilmington, Longborough): AABBCC (Raven-Bledington): AABB,AABB,AACC,AACC,AA (Bacon & Mallinson-Bledington). Sometimes known as "The Old Cuckoo's Nest" to differentiate it from what is perceived as newer airs with that title. The melody is said to appear in Playford's The English Dancing Master (1651), but I have not been able to verify the source. "The Cuckoo's Nest" has had great currency as a morris dance tune from many villages of England's Cotswold region; it is melodically similar in the areas of Ilmington, Longborough and Bledington, although it has a wide variation in other locales. John Kirkpatrick (1976) notes that the Longborough dancers were particularly proud of their jumps which occur after every bar of stepping, and that the music should reflect and allow for this practice. In folksong, the 'cuckoo's nest' is sometimes a euphemism for female genetilia (Simpson & Roud, Oxford Dictionary of English Folklore, 2000).

"The Cuckoo's Nest" has numerous variants and versions. A more complete discussion of the vicissitudes of the tune can be found at "annotation:Cuckoo's Nest (4) (The)."

Additional notes
Source for notated version : - Charles Benfield (Rollo Woods, England) [Bacon-Bledington]. Benfield (1841–1929) was born in Bould, a hamlet just down the hill from Idbury, Oxfordshire, who was the musician for the second 19th century revival of the Idbury/Bledington Cotswold morris team. He originally played a pipe and tabor but switched to the fiddle when "the position became open." Collector Cecil Sharp noted many tune from Benfield, although at the time the fiddler was quite elderly and had no playable instrument. Sharp first had to buy him a new fiddle to continue his collection work.

Printed sources : - Bacon (A Handbook of Morris Dances), 1974; pp. 67, 86, 256. Mallinson (Mally's Cotswold Morris Book, vol. 1), 1988; No. 45, p. 28. Mallinson (Mally's Cotswold Morris Book, vol. 2), 1988; No. 26, p. 14. Raven (English Country Dance Tunes), 1984; p. 12 and p. 84 (two morris versions).

Recorded sources : - Carthage CGLP 4406, Hutchings et al – "Morris On" (1983/1972). Topic TSCD458, John Kirkpatrick – "Plain Capers" (1976/1992).

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