Green Stockings

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GREEN STOCKINGS. English, Country Dance Tune and Jig (6/4 time). D Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB. The melody with dance directions (duple minor longways dance) was first published by John Playford (1623-1686) in his Dancing Master, 5th edition (1675, p. 156). The dance and tune were retained in the long-running series through the 18th and final edition of 1728, published in London at the time by John Young, heir to the Playford publishing concerns. It was also printed by rival London music publisher John Walsh in his Compleat Country Dancing Master, editions of 1718, 1731 and 1754.

The color green was associated with promiscuity or harlotry, and was the color of lust in the 16th and 17th centuries. However, it cannot have been a universally applied connotation: the Puritans wore green stockings (along with russet and scarlet colored ones). According to Hislop, "If the younger daughter in a family be married before her elder sisters, she is said to have given them 'green stockings'." Some sources say the unmarried elder daughter was compelled to wear green stockings at the younger's wedding.

Source for notated version:

Printed sources: Barlow (The Complete Country Dances from Playford's Dancing Master), 1985.

Recorded sources: Regis RRC 1175, The City Waites - "Bawdy Ballads of Old England" (1996). United Classics Records, The City Waites - "The Musicians of Grope Lane."




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