Jack on the Green (1)

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JACK O' THE GREEN [1]. AKA - "Birkhead's Masque," "Cheshire Way (Ye)," "Parting Lovers (1) (The)." English, Jig (9/8 or 9/4 time). D Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB. The melody was first printed in the Third Volume of the Dancing Master, 2nd edition, printed in London by John Young in 1726. Young includes the alternate title "Birkhead's Masque." The dance and tune were quickly picked up by Young's competitor, John Walsh, and published in the Third Book of the The New Country Dancing Master (London, 1728), and thereafter appears in several publications, including David Rutherford's Compleat Collection of 200 of the Most Celebrated Country Dances (London, 1756) and James Oswald's Caledonian Pocket Companion (1760). The melody appears in the 1770 music manuscript copybook of William Vickers, a Northumbrian musician about whom, unfortunately, little is known; it also appears in London musician Thomas Hammersley's 1790 music manuscript copybook. See note for "Jack on the Green (2)" which gives some background on the foliate figure and custom, which may or may not have anything to do with the country dance.

It is not known for certain whom the alternate title, "Birkhead's Masque," refers to. Malcolm Douglas [1] finds that Walsh:

...apparently featured "Mr Birkhead of the Theatre Royal" as composer in his collection of 1721. Perhaps Mathew Birkhead, an actor of the period, credited with at least one published song; perhaps someone else. Thomas D'Urfey (Pills to Purge Melancholy, edition of 1719-20, vol.II p.120, prints a song "Sung in my last benefit Play by Mr. Birkhead". There was also a Henry Birkhead (1617-96) who was involved with the theatre.

Source for notated version:

Printed sources: Thompson (Compleat Collection of 200 Favourite Country Dances, vol. 1), 1757; No. 186. Walsh (Caledonian Country Dances), c. 1745; p. 33.

Recorded sources:




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