Back to Market Lass
MARKET LASS, THE. American, Country Dance Tune (2/4 time). D Major. Standard tuning (fiddler). AABB. The dance and tune of the same name appears in several American musicians and dancer manuscripts. Music manuscript collections containing the tune include those of Mansfield, Conn., musician Eleazer Cary's c. 1797 copybook, New Haven, Conn., keyboard player John Ives c. 1800 copybook, and Onondaga, N.Y. flute player Daniel Henry Huntington's 1817 copybook. The dance were resurrected for modern contra dances by Ralph Page (1903-1985), although Dudley Laufman's "Glenn Towle" was substituted for the original tune. Page wrote in his occasional Northern Junkett in the 1970's:
At the beginning of last summer's Folk Dance Camp teaching sessions, I took a calculated risk and presented a half dozen real old and traditional contra dances. As it turned out there was no risk at all because every one of them we accepted and liked and I'm sure they will have another reasonably long life. The contras presented were "The Tillage Maid," "The Market Lass," "lisi Tour Granny, "Dorchester March," "My Heart's Desire," Mada«, "You are the One" and "The Lilly."
Of them all, "The Market Lass" was the best liked. It was a big hit with all the dancers; a "smash hit" if you will. Versions of it can be found in several old-time dance manuscripts. The one that I presented is from John Burbank's book, Brookfield, Mass, 1799. The dance became a hit as soon as 1 began teaching it to the tune "Glenn Towle". From that moment there was never a doubt in anyone's mind that the two belonged together. Played at a slow (by modern standards) tempo, you have an opportunity to really "dance" instead of galloping thru the figures with all the grace of a hog on ice. The tune will haunt you and I give unstinting credit to Dudley Laufman for composing it.
Source for notated version:
Printed sources: Page (Heritage Dances of Early America), 1976. Sweet (Fifer's Delight), 1965/1981; p. 62.