Merrily Danced the Quaker

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X:1 T:Merrily Dance the Quaker S:Bremners Reels, c 1760 L:1/8 M:6/8 K:G GABD2B|A2G~E2D|GABD2D|E3G3:| |:dcB edc|dcB ABc|dcB efg|~B3d3| dcB gfe|dcBA2A|GABD2D|E3G3:|]



MERRILY DANCED/KISSED THE QUAKER('S WIFE). AKA – "Quaker's Wife," "So merrily danc'd the Quaker." AKA and see "Awkward Recruit (The)," "Blithe Have I Been," "Legacy (3) (The)," "Humors of Last Night (The)," "Nell's Frolic," "Nine Inch will Please a Lady," "Wilke's Wrigle." Scottish, English; Jig (6/8 time). Irish, Slide. G Major (Bremner, Gow, Mitchell, Taylor/Tweed): D Major (Hardie, Johnson, Kerr, Sumner, Sweet, Thompson). Standard tuning (fiddle). AB (Hardie, Thompson): AABB (most versions): AABBCC (Mitchell, Taylor). A variant of "Merrily Kissed the Quaker's Wife." Phillips Barry, FSSNE, No. 11, p. 13, traces the tune back to the 14th century plain-chant, "on the authority of Wilhelm Tappert's curious little book Wandernde Melodien (Bayard, 1981). Bayard thinks that "Merrily Danced" is either devolved from "Mill Oh (The)" or that both tunes evolved from a single tune; thus, to him if Barry is right and one tune stemmed from the late Middle Ages, then logically so does the other. John Glen (1891) finds the earliest appearance of the melody in print in Robert Bremner's 1757 Collection of Scots Reels or Country Dances, and it also early appears in the 1768 Gillespie Manuscript of Perth. However, an earlier printing can be found in Rutherford's Choice Collection of Sixty of the Most Celebrated Country Dances (London, 1750).

Francis O'Neill (1922) remarks: "For over a century the name 'Merrily Kissed the Quaker' has been associated with a tune or Special Dance in Ireland, but no song or verse relating thereto has been traced. In O'Farrell's Pocket Companion for the Irish or Union Pipes (1804–10), we find the tune with name annotated 'New Sett Irish' {ed. note: the 'New Sett' tune, given below, appears to be a different tune or so distorted or distantly related it may be considered a different tune}. Continuing the investigation we discover that 'Merrily Dance the Quaker' (probably the original tune) was printed in No. 7 of Bremer's Collections of Scots Reels, or Country Dances" issued in 1760. The traditional version in North Kerry taken from the Rice-Walsh manuscript serves to illustrate how far a tune may deviate from the original in a few generations." The title appears in Henry Robson's list of popular Northumbrian song and dance tunes ("The Northern Minstrel's Budget"), which he published c. 1800, and the jig was entered into the c. 1812 music manuscript collection of Northumbrian musician John Bell [1] (1783–1864). Lincoln fiddler William Clark penned it into his c. 1770 music copybook (No. 19, p. 11). Merrily Danced the Quaker's Wife is also the name of a rather uncommon Scottish country dance. The following verse is set to the tune in Chambers' Scottish Songs (1829, ii, 668):

The Quaker's wife sat down to bake
With all her bairns about her.
She made them all a sugar cake,
And the miller he wants his mouter (i.e. a fee for grinding flour).
Sugar and spice and all things nice,
And all things very good in it,
And then the Quaker sat down to play
A tune upon the spinet.
Merrily danced the Quaker's wife,
And merrily danced the Quaker
Merrily danced the Quaker's wife,
And merrily danced the Quaker.

"Nine Inch will Please a Lady" is the title of a bawdy song by poet Robert Burns, set to the air and published in Merry Muses of Caledonia.

The melody was well-known in America at the time of the War for Independence where it was employed as both a quick march and dance tune. As a march, it was published in Captain Robert Hinde's (1720–1786) Collection of Quick Marches (Hinde was the author of The Discipline of the Light-Horse, an authoritative work on the use of light cavalry, and very influential in the British army). It appears in Henry Beck's manuscript copybook for the flute (1786) and (as "So Merrily Danced the Quakers") in the music manuscript copybook of Henry Livingston, Jr. Livingston purchased the estate of Locust Grove, Poughkeepsie, New York, in 1771 at the age of 23. In 1775 he was a Major in the 3rd New York Regiment, which participated in Montgomery's invasion of Canada in a failed attempt to wrest Montreal from British control. An important land-owner in the Hudson Valley, and a member of the powerful Livingston family, Henry was also a surveyor and real estate speculator, an illustrator and map-maker, and a Justice of the Peace for Dutchess County. He was also a poet and musician, and presumably a dancer, as he was elected a Manager for the New York Assembly's dancing season of 1774–1775, along with his 3rd cousin, John Jay, later U.S. Chief Justice of Governor of New York.

The earliest recordings of the tune are to be found on American mechanical clocks, in particular several from Trenton, New Jersey, clockmakers Leslie and Williams from the end of the 18th century.

"Merrily Danced the Quaker" AKA "Quaker's Wife" is one of the tunes (along with the similar sounding march "Quaker (2) (The)") used for the Scottish country dance Aberdonian Lassie.


Additional notes
Source for notated version : - piper Willie Clancy (1918–1973, Miltown Malbay, west Clare) [Mitchell]; the Rice-Walsh manuscript, a collection of music from the repertoire of Jeremiah Breen, a blind fiddler from North Kerry [O'Neill]; the 1823–26 music ms. of papermaker and musician Joshua Gibbons (1778–1871, of Tealby, near Market Rasen, Lincolnshire Wolds), originally set in the key of 'C' major [Sumner].

Printed sources : - Bremner (Scots Reels), c. 1757; p. 53 (appears as "Merrily dance the Quaker"). Carlin (The Gow Collection), 1986; No. 460. Crosby (English Musical Repository), 1811; p. 121 (as "The Awkward Recruit"). Hardie (Caledonian Companion), 1992; p. 40. Gale (Pocket Companion), c. 1800; p. 21. Gow (Complete Repository, Part 2), 1802; p. 17. Jarman and Hansen (Old Time Dance Tunes), 1951; p. 65. Johnson (Kitchen Musician No. 10: Airs & Melodies of Scotland's Past), 1992; p. 14 (appears as "The Quaker"). Kerr (Merry Melodies, vol. 1); No. 18, p. 32. Mitchell (Dance Music of Willie Clancy), 1993; No. 91, p. 81. O'Neill (Waifs and Strays of Gaelic Melody), 1922; Nos. 96 & 98. Saar (Fifty Country Dances), 1932; No. 48. Smith (Scottish Minstrel, vol. 4), c. 1821; p. 30. Sweet (Fifer's Delight), 1964/1981; p. 25. Taylor (Traditional Irish Music: Karen Tweed's Irish Choice), 1994; p. 45. Taylor (Music for the Sets: Blue Book), 1995; p. 6. Sumner (Lincolnshire Collections, vol. 1: The Joshua Gibbons Manuscript), 1997; p. 42 (set for three instruments).

Recorded sources : - Flying Fish 299, The Battlefield Band – "There's a Buzz." Shanachie 79023, "Chieftains 3" (1971/1982). Thompson’s Twenty Four Country Dances for the Year 1805, London; p. 12. Waverly GLN 1023, "The Fiddler's Companion" (1980).




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