X:2 T:Red House M:C| L:1/8 S:Henry Playford – Dancing Master, 9th edition (1695) K:Gmin G2g4 fe|d4 B4|A2 f4 ed|c2 dc dcBA| G2g4 fe|d4 B4|cBAG FG A2|1 B2G2 G4:|2 B2G2G2|| |:Bc|dcBA GABc|d4B4|cBAG FGAB|c4A4| dcBA GABc|d4B4|cBAG FG A2|B2G2G2:| |:Bc|d2 d2 d2 Bc|d2d2d2 AB|c2 c2 c2 AB|c2c2c2 Bc| d2d2d2 Bc|d2d2d2 AB|cBAG FG A2|1 B2G2G2:|2 B2G2G4||
RED HOUSE. AKA and see "Whaur will bonnie Ann lie i' the cauld nights o' winter O!," "Where will Our Good Man Lay? (1)," "Where/Whar wad Our Gudman/bonny Annie lye/laye," "Where/Whar wad our guidman lie." English, Scottish; Country Dance Tune (2/2 or cut time). A Minor (Barnes): G Minor (Barlow, Kidson, Knowles). Standard tuning (fiddle). ABC (Kidson, Knowles): AA'BBCC (Barlow, Barnes). Frank Kidson notes this was a popular tune in the early 18th century and frequently used in period ballad operas as the vehicle for songs and as a country dance. John Glen traces the tune to Henry Playford's 9th edition of the Dancing Master (London, 1695; it also appears in the 12th edition, 1703 and again in 1716), Roberts finds it in Thomas D’Urfy’s Wit and Mirth; or, Pills to Purge Melancholy, while Bayard (1981) finds it in John Gay's ballad opera Polly (1729, Air 9—Polly was Gay's sequel to his famously successful ballad opera, The Beggar's Opera), Fielding's Grub-Street Opera, and Walsh's 1719 Country Dancing Master (No. 111). It appears in Walsh’s Dancing Master of 1731 (No. 111) and in Oswald’s Companion (VIII, 1755, p. 22). Kidson also finds it in vocal form in Polly (1729), and further records its appearance in Lover's Opera (1730) and Fashionable Lady (1720). The melody is also thought to be the ancestor of the song air popularly known as "(D'ye ken) John Peel." Miss A.G. Gilchrist explored this relationship in her article “The Evolution of a Tune: ‘Red House’ and ‘John Peel’” in the Journal of the English Folk Dance and Song Society (IV, 80-84). Kidson (1890) relates the story that the writer of the song "John Peel" adapted his words to an mixolydian or major Scots air (almost identical to "Red House") called "Whar wad bonny Anne lie" or "Whar wad our guidman lie" which was sung to send his child to sleep by its granny. Bayard (in his article “A Miscellany of Tune Notes,” Studies in Folklore, pp. 162–163) finds that earlier sets seem to have been minor-mode and later ones, major.
Graham Christian (writing in CDSS News, issue #188, January/February 2006) provides some remarkable sleuthing of the title based on the melody’s appearance in a volume entitled Neue und Curieuse Theatrialische Tantz-Schul, by Venetian choreographer Gregorio Lambranzi, published in Nuremburg. Engraved plates in the book depict scenes from the Commedia dell’Arte, and one page depicts the “Red House” tune above four comic dancers. Christian believes this may link the tune with the Commedia dell’Arte, and especially with the traveling troupes of Italian Comedy. While the staging effects for well-established theatres in city centers were quite elaborate, the traveling troupes made do with much less sophisticated sets. One of the most common was to paint flats on each side of the stage in a red brick pattern, to depict the respectable houses that the comic actors would soon turn into an uproar. Christian argues that the English creation of the social dance called the Red House may be an instance of melodic and visual adaptation of music and “comic pranks of Italian Comedy.”
The melody was collected in reel form by Bayard (1981) in southwestern Pa. in the mid-20th century (Bayard, 1981; No. 112, pp. 63–64). Barnes, perhaps due to its appearance in the Walsh publication, dates it to 1721. See also Welsh dance versions under the title “Tycoch Caerdydd/Red House of Cardiff.”
The dance Red House is remarkable for the equality of its action, notes dance-leader Graham Christian, with steps being initiated by the first man, then the first woman, each followed by sequential heys; alternating partner “chases.”