Jovial Beggars (1) (The)
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JOVIAL BEGGARS , THE. AKA and see "Parthenia (3)." English, Country Dance Tune (6/4 or 6/8 time). D Major (Playford): B Flat Major (Barnes, Christian). Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB. Prior to the 13th edition of the Dancing Master the tune appears as "Parthenia (3)," with "Jovial Beggars" as an alternate title. However, beginning with the 13th and continuing to the 18th (and last) edition of the long-running series, the melody appears only as "The Jovial Beggars." The tune was also published by Walsh in The Compleat Country Dancing Master, editions of 1718, 1731 and 1754.
Researcher Graham Christian (2015) remarks that the dance and tune were title so as to capitalize on the "perennial success" of Richard Brome's play The Jovial Crew, first performed around the year 1641, and subsequently frequently revived. In 1731 it was turned into a long-running ballad opera. The songs in the original play had a separate popularity of their own, aside from their context in the stage production. Some were extracted and emerged as broadsheet ballads; "The Beggars Wedding; or The Jocial Crew" was issued in 1676 and "The Beggar's Chorus in the Jovial Crew" was printed in 1684. As Tiffany Stern writes in her Introduction to a 2014 edition of Brome's A Jovial Crew: "The play came to seem a continuation of a balladic concern with merry beggars--for a number of Restoration ballads, reflecting upon the play consciously or unconsciously, reinforce the idea that the story itself is an extended drinking ballad" (p. 65)
Source for notated version:
Barlow (Complete Country Dance Tunes from Playford's Dancing Master), 1985; No. 188, p. 51 (appears as "Parthenia or The Jovial Beggars"). Barnes (English Country Dance Tunes), 1986. Christian (A Playford Assembly), 2015; p. 54. Walsh (Complete Country Dancing-Master, Volume the Fourth), London, 1740; No. 71.