Northern Nancy

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NORTHERN NANCY. AKA - "Northern Nanny (2)." AKA and see "Faithful Brothers (The)." English, Country Dance Tune (6/8 time). G Minor. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB. The melody and country dance directions ("Longways for as many as will") date to 1670 when it was first published in London by John Playford in his Dancing Master, 4th edition [1]. It was retained by the Playfords, with occasional alteration of the melody, through the 18th and final edition of the Dancing Master of 1728 [2] (then published by John Young, heir to the Playford publishing concerns). It also appears in Walsh & Hare's The Compleat Country Dancing Master (London, 1718, and subsequent editions of 1731 and 1754). The tune can be heard as the air to a song in John Gay's ballad opera Polly (1729), a follow-up to his highly successful Beggar's Opera, and "it is one of the tunes called for by 'the hob-nailed fellows' in The Second Tale of a Tub (1715)", according to William Chappell (1859, p. 355).

Chappell says, "It is evidently only another version of 'With my flock as walked I', and finds reference to the tune in a song in D'Urfey's Pills to Purge Melancholy (1719, vol. 2, 232):

Then plump 'Bobbing Joan' straight call'd for her own,
And thought she frisk'd better than any,
Till Sisly, with pride, took the fiddler aside,
And bade him strike up 'Northern Nancy'

However, if there was a ballad called "Northern Nancy," it is lost. "Faithful Brothers (The)" is a version found in Elizabeth Rogers' Virginal Book (1656).

Source for notated version:

Printed sources: Barnes (English Country Dance Tunes), 1986. Raven (English Country Dance Tunes), 1984; p. 18. Walsh (Complete Country Dancing-Master, Volume the Fourth), London, 1740; No. 162.

Recorded sources: Columbia 35655 (78 RPM), National Folk Dance Orchestra. Idlewild Recordings, Idlewild - "Epping Forest" (2012).

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