Pepper's Black (1)

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PEPPER'S BLACK [1]. AKA - "Sbonc Bogel." English, Country Dance Tune (6/4 time). G Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AB. The air was published by Playford in his English Dancing Master of 1651, although it appears it is considerably older. “Pepper’s Black” was mentioned by Nashe as a dance tune in a 1596 work, Have with you to Saffron-Walden:

Dick Harvey…having preacht and beat downe three pulpits in inveighing against dauncing, one Sunday evening, when his wench or friskin was footing it aloft on the greene, with foote out and foote in, and as busie as might be at Rogero, Baselino, Turkelony, All the flowers of the broom, Pepper is black, Greene Sleeves, Peggy Ramsey, came sneaking behind a tree, and lookt on,…

Chappell records that a 1569 ballad by Elderton, entered at the Stationers' Hall and called “Prepare ye to the Plough,” was directed to be sung to “Pepper’s Black.”

Source for notated version:

Printed sources: Barlow (The Complete Country Dance Tunes from Playford's Dancing Master), 1985; No. 78, p. 33. Chappell (Popular Music of the Olden Time, vol. 1), 1859; p. 290. Raven (English Country Dance Tunes), 1984; p. 41 (a facsimile copy of Playford’s printing).

Recorded sources:




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