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X: 1 T:Sawney & Jockey. (p)1679.PLFD1.234 T:Sawney Was Tall. (p)1679.PLFD1.234 T:Corn Rigs. (p)1679.PLFD1.234 M:4/4 L:1/4 Q:1/2=100 S:Playford, Dancing Master,6th Ed.,1679 O:England;London H:1679. Z:Chris Partington. K:C cc/d/ed/c/|B>Ad>G|c>d (e/f/)(e/d/)|cggG| c>ded/c/|B>Ad(c/B/)|A>G (A/B/)(c/A/)|Gcc2:| |:cge/f/g|Bdd>d|cge>d|(c/d/)(e/f/)g>c| cg(a/g/)(f/e/)|(d/c/)(B/A/)BA/G/|A>G|A/B/c/A/|HGcc2:|

SAWNEY. AKA – “Sawney & Jockey,” “Sawney was Tall.” AKA and see "Sandy." Scottish, Air (4/4 time). C Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AAB. The tune is a prototype of the Scottish Measure "Corn Riggs (are Bonny)." The air appears as "Sawney" (another name for Alexander or Sandy) in three editions of Henry Playford's Apollo's Banquet, beginning with the 5th edition of 1687. However, it had earlier been printed, with directions for a county dance, in his father John Playford's Dancing Master, 6th edition (1679), as "Sawney and Jockey," and continued under that title in the next two Dancing Master editions, which were also published by Henry (John Playford died around 1686). John Playford also published it under the title "Northern Song (A)" in the third book of his Choice Ayres (1681). The title of the piece changed to "Sawney was Tall" in the Dancing Master beginning with Henry's 9th edition of 1695, and it continued under that title in all subsequent Dancing Master editions through the 18th and final issue of 1728. It was also published by rival London publisher John Walsh in his Compleat County Dancing Master of 1718 (and editions of 1731 and 1754), and Complete Country Dancing-Master, Volume the Fourth (London, 1740, No. 188).

As a song air it can be found in D'Urfey's Pills to Purge Melancholy (1719-20) as "Swaney was tall and of a noble race," reprinted from his opera The Virtuous Wife (1680), and, while no composer is listed William Chappell believes the melody to have been the work of Thomas Farmer, formerly on of the London Waits. Chappell writes: " In 1684, after having attained some repute as a composer for the theatres, he was admitted to the degree of Bachelor in Music atthe University of Cambridge. He died at an early age, and the estimation in which he was held by his contemporaries may be judged by the elegy which was written upon his death by Tate, to which Purcell composed the music." D'Urfey's first stanza goes:

Sawney was tall and of Noble Race,
And lov’d me better than any eane;
But now he ligs by another Lass,
And Sawney will ne’er be my love agen:
I gave him fine Scotch Sarke and Band,
I put ’em on with mine own hand;
I gave him House, and I gave him Land,
Yet Sawney will ne’er be my Love agen.

The air was the vehicle for songs in John Gay's Polly (1729), his successor to his wildly successful Beggar's Opera of the year before, and can also be heard in the Village Opera (1729) and The Chamber-Maid (1730).

Additional notes

Source for notated version: -

Printed sources : - Emmerson (Rantin’ Pipe and Tremblin’ String), 1971; No. 23, p. 127.

Recorded sources: - Folkways Records FW 3044, Ewan MacColl - "Broadside Ballads, vol. 2 (1962, as "A King and No King").

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