Back to Masque (The)
MASQUE, THE. AKA - "The Mask." AKA and see "Hey to the Camp," "Praties are Dug and the Frost is all Over (The)," "What Would I do if the Kettle Boiled Over," "What Would You do if You Married a Soldier?" English, "Old Hornpipe". C Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB. Bayard (1981) thinks the air dates back to the 1600's. The melody was printed in the second supplement to the 7th edition of Henry Playford's (1657–1709) Dancing Master  (1688) and again in the 9th edition (1698). A rather more elaborate version was printed in the 17th edition of the Dancing Master (1721). See notes for "Hey to the Camp" and "Frost is All Over (1) (The)" - one will readily see that this popular Irish jig is a direct descendent of the Playford melody. The title refers to the masque, a form of festive courtly entertainment the heyday of which was in the 16th and early 17th centuries in England and elsewhere in Europe. It consisted of dancing, singing and acting within an elaborate stage or set design, and typically were occasions for reveling at festive events, such as weddings and Christmas celebrations. Professional actors and singers would often be hired for the masque, but supplemented by costumed guests and courtiers. In some sense, the masques were the gentrified outgrowth of the medieval pageants and courtly shows of the late middle ages, and were the counterpart to the lower classes pace-egging plays and morris dances. However, by Henry Playford's time the masque was going out of fashion in England, to be replaced the semi-opera of Dryden and Purcell.
Source for notated version:
Printed sources: Barlow (The Complete Country Dance Tunes from Playford's Dancing Master), 1985; No. 300, p. 73.