Old Noll's Jig

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X: 1 T:Old Noll's Jig. (p)1702.PLFD1.494 M:6/4 L:1/4 Q:3/4=120 S:Playford, Dancing Master,Supp.to 11th Ed.,1702. O:England;London N:Old Noll,Copperface,Great Leviathan of Men, N:His Noseship,The Sagest of Usurpers, N:The Town Bull of Ely,etc.=Oliver Cromwell Z:Chris Partington <www.cpartington.plus> K:F E|FEDD2E|FEDD2d|^c2dA2d|^c2dA2E| FEDD2E|FEDD2e|fedc>=BA|A3-A2:| |:c|ABcF2c|ABcF2f|defB2d|BcdG2g| efgc2e|fgad2a|bagg3|f3-f2a| |fgadef|efg^cde|defefd|^c3A2a| bagaAa|bagaAa|bagf>ed|d3-d2:|



OLD NOLL'S JIG. English, Country Dance Tune (6/4 or 6/8 time). England, North-West. D Minor. Standard tuning (fiddle). AAB (Carlin, Chappell, Fleming Williams, Howe, Knowles, Raven): AABC (Barnes, Sharp). The tune and dance instructions ("Longways for as many as will") appear in Henry Playford's Dancing Master, eleventh edition [1] (1701) and in all subsequent editions of the Dancing Master through the 18th and final edition of 1728. It was also published by Walsh & Hare in Compleat Country Dancing Master (1718), and in son John Walsh's 1754 edition of the same volume. Chappell (1859) notes a song called "When once Master Love gets into your Head" was once sung to this tune.

The title may refer to Oliver Cromwell, who was known by the epithet 'Old Noll' by opposing Royalist sympathizers during the English Civil War (Brewer, Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, 1894). If so, the title applied to the dance and tune may be a form of contempt, to devalue either the dance or bestowed by some wag. The remarkable Sir Roger L'Estrange (1611-1704) was known as 'Oliver's Fiddler' or 'Old Noll's Fiddler', and his curious circumstances are worth retelling. L'Estrange was the youngest son of a Norfolk baronet and a staunch supporter of the King, for whom he fought against the Roundheads and from whom he obtained a commission. He was captured, however, and condemned to die, but obtained a stay of execution for two weeks upon petition. This was later extended and L'Estrange was remanded to Newgate, where he spent four years under the daily threat that sentence would be carried out. Eventually he contrived to escape and fled to exile on the Continent. After some time Cromwell consolidated power and L'Estrange, unable to endure his exile any longer, decided to confront his dilemma directly and returned to England to petition Old Noll in person, which proved a successful strategy, for he was allowed to resume his life in England after receiving an indemnity and giving security. While he awaited this decision, according to his Memento, he was walking in St. James's Park when he heard the low notes of an organ coming from the house of Mr. Hickson. He entered and found an ensemble of a half-dozen or so musicians about to practice. Recognized not only for his notoriety but for his ability to play upon the viol, he was immediately asked to take up an instrument and bear a part. Oliver Cromwell walked in as the they played, and stayed a while to listen, then departed without saying a word [Cromwell is known to have liked and appreciated music, although many Parliamentarians frowned upon recreational music-making and dancing]. From this incident L'Estrange received the epithet 'Oliver's Fiddler' by his enemies, who maintained he had served the dictator as his musician. At the Restoration, L'Estrange received a knighthood from King James II, and was established as a publisher, translator and author, admired by Dr. Johnson, among others. He lived to his 87th year and was buried in his parish church of St. Giles in the Fields, where his epitaph is still to be seen on one of the pillars. [see entry in Robert Chambers, Book of Days, 1832].

"Old Noll's Jig" was played in the film "Moll Flanders" (1996).


Additional notes



Printed sources : - Barnes (English Country Dance Tunes), 1986. Carlin (English Concertina), 1977; p. 47. Chappell (Popular Music of the Olden Time, vol. 2), 1859; pp. 87-88. Fleming-Williams (English Dance Airs; Popular Selection, Book 1), 1965; p. 12. Elias Howe (Musician’s Omnibus Nos. 6 & 7), Boston, 1880-1882; p. 611. Knowles (Northern Frisk), 1988; No. 33. Raven (English Country Dance Tunes), 1984; p. 20. Sharp (Country Dance Tunes), 1909; p. 77.

Recorded sources : - Maggie's Music, Hesperus - "An Early American Quilt " (2007). Mrs Casey Records MCRCD1102, Nick Cooke - "Banquet of Boxes - A celebration of the English Melodeon" (2011).




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