Neat Mr. John

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NEAT, MR. JOHN. English, Country Dance Tune (cut time). A Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB. The word 'Neat' in the title means 'fine' or 'rare'. The melody was composed by dancing master Nathaniel Kynaston (1683-1757). Although very little is known about him, Kynaston appears to have been active from 1705 to about 1722 in the Shropshire/Wales border area. Walsh published some 120 of Kynaston's tunes and dances over several publications, this one from The Second Book of the Complete Country Dancing Master (London, 1719, with subsequent editions in 1735 and 1749). The Selattyn parish register in Shropshire records that a "Nathanial Kynaston, gent., & Mrs. Elizabeth Davies, both of Oswestry" married on August 25th, 1719-although whether this was the dancing master is unknown. Kynaston appears to have been a not uncommon name in Shropshire, and the family includes Sir Humphrey Kynaston, a notorious 16th century highwayman and Robin Hood figure, who preyed on the wool merchants of Shrewsbury.

Source for notated version:

Printed sources: Barnes (English Country Dance Tunes, vol. 2), 2005; p. 92. John Walsh (24 New Country Dances for the Year 1718)

Recorded sources: CDSS, Persons of Quality - "Next of Kynaston." Wildgoose WGS 298 CD, Belshazzar's Feast - "Mr. Kynaston's Famous Dance" (2000).




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