Annotation:Northern Nancy

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X:1 T:Northern Nancy M:6/4 L:1/8 R:Country Dance Tune/Jig B:John Playford - Dancing Master 4th edition (1670) K:Gmin D2|G3A G2^F4 G2|A4B2 c2B2A2|B3c d2 D4G2|A6 G4:| |:d2|f4d2 c3B A2|B4c2 d4A2|B3c d2D4G2|A6 G4:|

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).

The tune is mentioned in an odd political tract entitled A Second Tale of a Tub: or the History of Robert Powell, the Puppet-Show-man (1715). A crowd of spectators was present for an organ performance, at the conclusion of which the various factions in the audience began to call for their favorite tunes. Amongst the crowed were:

a parcel of brawny fellows with Mantles about their shoulders, and blew caps about their heads. Next to them sate a company of clownish look’d Fellows with leather breeches, and hob nail’d shoes...the great booby hod nailed fellows whose breeches and lungs seem’d to be of the same leather, cried out for “Cheshire Rounds,” “Roger of Coverley,” “Joan’s Placket,” and “Northern Nancy.” Those with the Blew bonnets had very good voices, and split their Wems in hollowing out—“Bonny Dundee”—“Valiant Jockey,” “Sauny was a Bonny Lad,” and “’Twas within a Furlong of Edinburgh Town.”

Additional notes

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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