Female Sailor (The)
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FEMALE SAYLOR/SAILOR, THE. English, Country Dance Tune (6/8 time). G Dorian. Standard tuning (fiddle). AAB (Barnes): AABB' (Johnson). Originally French ("La Matelote"), the tune and dance were adopted by the English for a longways country dance in the first decade of the 18th century. The melody was composed by French composer Marin Marais for his opera Alcyone (1706), as "Marche pour les Matelots", and was set to a dance by Raoul-Auger Feuillet in his Recueil de contredanses (1706). Feuillet's volume was reprinted in a translation by John Essex entitled For the Further Improvement of Dancing, published in London by the firm of Walsh & Randall in 1710, and entered English repertoire.
Around the year 1860 William Morris (1834-1896) employed the melody for his Christmas Carol "Masters in this Hall," still occasionally heard in holiday repertory.
Source for notated version:
Printed sources: Barnes (English Country Dance Tunes, vol. 1), 1986. Johnson (Twenty-Eight Country Dances as Done at the New Boston Fair), vol. 8, 1988; p. 4.
See also listing at:
Hear the tune by Les Matelots on youtube.com