Back to Maid's Morris
MAID'S MORRIS. English, Country Dance Tune (2/2 time). C Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). ABB (Christian, Karpeles, Raven, Sharp): AABB (Barnes). The melody dates to 1689, when it was introduced into the third supplement to the 7th edition of the long-running Dancing Master  series by Henry Playford, son of publisher John Playford. "Maid's Morris" was retained in the Dancing Master volumes through the 18th edition of 1728, then published by John Young. The tune was also published by the Walshes in The Compleat Country Dancing Master, editions of 1718 and 1747.
Graham Christian (2015) writes that there is no reason to connect this tune with either rural or antimasque performance, and spurns the modern-era notion that morris dancing was a strictly male occupation. He cites numerous historical examples of women morris dancing, beginning with Will Kemp's morris dance from London to Norwich in the year 1600, when after he left his position of principal clown in the troupe The Chamberlain's Men (see "Kemp's Jig" for more). He was joined by women morris dancers twice during the journey, in Chelmsford and Sudbury, and (as Peter Parolin writes in his article "If I had begun to dance"  (2012), his account "suggests a great deal about the broad cultural phenomenon of women's performance. Most clearly, it establishes the customary and unexceptional nature of women's performance."
Source for notated version:
Printed sources: Barlow (Complete Country Dances from Playford's Dancing Master), 1985; No. 304, p. 74. Barnes (English Country Dance Tunes), 1986. Christian (A Playford Assembly), 2015; p. 67. Karpeles & Schofield (A Selection of 100 English Folk Dance Airs), 1951; p. 20. Moffat (Dances of the Olden Time), 1922; p. 9. Raven (English Country Dance Tunes), 1984; p. 25. Sharp (Country Dance Tunes), 1909; p. 56.