Annotation:Nobody's Jig

Find traditional instrumental music

Back to Nobody's Jig

X: 1 T:Nobody's Jig. (p)1679.PLFD.232 M:4/4 L:1/4 Q:1/2=120 S:Playford, Dancing Master,6th Ed.,1679 O:England H:1679. Z:Chris Partington. K:C d|cAAB/c/|dDDd|cAAB/c/|d3d|! cAAB/c/|dAAG|F2E2|D3:|! |:d|ceed/c/|dffe/d/|ceed/c/|dffe/d/|! cAAB/c/|dAAG|F2E2|D3:|]

NOBODY'S JIG. AKA and see "My Lady Winwood's Maggot," "Noman's Jig." Related to "No Man's Jig." English, Country Dance Tune (2/2 time). G Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB. Merryweather (1989) states the tune dates from the 17th century when the term 'jig' meant any spirited dance tune, rather than the 6/8 time dance (as in Irish jig) form familiar to us in modern times. Barnes (1986) for some reason dates the tune to 1721, however, it appears in the Fitzwilliam Virginal Book (c. 1650?), and was later published by John Playford in his Dancing Master [1] from (the supplement to) the 6th edition of 1679 and subsequently through the 18th and final edition of 1728. The tune and country dance directions were also published by the Walshes, in The Compleat Country Dancing Master (1718, and later editions of 1731 and 1754). The tune seems related to, at least structurally, to "No Man's Jig," a morris-dance version of "Buttered Peas (1)."

Implied in the title is a double meaning that has been a kind of joke from the Middle Ages to the present (or, perhaps, from far antiquity—in Homer's Odyssey, Ulysses claimed his name was "No-man", and when he managed to blind the cyclops Polyphemus, the giant bellowed to others that 'No man has blinded me!'). 'Nobody's Jig' can refer to a jig that no-one has laid claim too, but also could be taken to mean it belongs to (a person named) Nobody. This dual meaning was extent at the time. Reginald Nettle, in his book Sing a Song of England (1954), says that Thomas Weelkes, referring to the Shakespearean actor, dancer and performer Will Kemp, set the following words to the tune in his Ayeres or Phantasticke Sprites (1608):

Since Robin Hook, Maid Marian, and Little John are gone-a,
The hobby-horse was quite forgot when Kemp did dance alone-a.

"'Nobody' was a familiar figure in the street literature of Elizabethan London," writes John M. Ward[1], "frequently depicted with his breeches reaching to his neck. He was also one of the title characters in No-body and Some-body, a play of the 1590's that was taken abroad by English actors." "Pickelhering" is the name variants of the tune go by in Germany and other parts of the Continent. Ward sees "Nobody's Jig" as one branch of the "Staines Morris (3)" ur tune family, with "Kemp's Morris" being another branch.

Nettles believes the tune to be a variant of the Helston Furry Dance melody.

Additional notes

Printed sources : - Barlow (Complete Country Dance Tunes from Playford's Dancing Master), 1985, No. 232, p. 59. Barnes (English Country Dance Tunes), 1986. Elias Howe (Musician’s Omnibus Nos. 6 & 7), Boston, 1880-1882; p. 619. Karpeles & Schofield (A Selection of 100 English Folk Dance Airs), 1951; p. 18 (appears as "My Lady Winwood's Maggot"). Merryweather (Tunes for English Bagpipes), 1989; p. 42. Raven (English Country Dance Tunes), 1984; p. 23. Walsh (Complete Country Dancing-Master, Volume the Fourth), London, 1740; No. 63.

See also listing at :
Hear a guitar setting of the tune on [2]

Back to Nobody's Jig

(0 votes)

  1. John M. Ward, "The Morris Dance," Journal of the American Musicological Society, vol. 39, No. 2, Summer 1986, p. 308