Cushion Dance (2) (The)
X:1 T:Cushion Dance  M:C L:1/8 R:Long Dance S:O'Neill - O'Neill's Irish Music (1915) Z:AK/Fiddler's Companion K:G GGGG G2 Bc | dedc B2G2 | DDDD DEFG | ABAG F2D2 | GGGG G2 Bc | dedc B2 G2 | DDDD DCB,A, | G,2 G,2 G,2 z2 || dDdD cCcC | BB,BB, A2D2 | dDdD cCcC | BB,BB, A2D2 | =FFFF F2 ED | EEGG EECC | DDDD DCB,A, | G,2G,2G,2z2 ||
CUSHION DANCE , THE. AKA - "New Cushion Dance." Irish, Country Dance (4/4 time). G Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AB. "The old dance or rather game connected with this tune is described in Wilson's A Companion to the Ballroom, London 1816" (O'Neill). Elsewhere O'Neill (1913) digs, while "any form of levity at a wake subjected the Irish to obloquy and ridicule," the Cushion Dance often concluded a country wake in 'Merrie' England. He states:
Kissing appeared to have been an essential part of most English dances, a circumstance which probaby contributed not a little to their popularity. This custom, according to Mrs. Lily Grove, author of Dancing--a reknowned work-still survives in some parts of England, and when the fiddler thinks the young people have had music enough he makes his instrument squeak out two notes which all understand to say 'Kiss her.' At the end of each strathspey or jig a particular note from the fiddle used to summon the rustic to the agreeable duty of saluting his partner with a kiss, that being his fee or privalege according to established usage.
See also the note for "Babbity Bowster" for an account of the dance in Scottish tradition.
Francis O'Neill probably obtained the tune (as he did so many times) from one of the publications of Boston publisher Elias Howe, where it appears as "New Cushion Dance" in his Musician's Omnibus Nos. 6 & 7 (1880-1882), or possibly Winner's book.