Scornful Nancy

Find traditional instrumental music
Jump to: navigation, search

Back to Scornful Nancy


X:1 T:Scornfull Nancy M:C L:1/8 R:Country Dance B:John Walsh - Caledonian Country Dances (c. 1745, p. 88) N:Published in several volumes and different editions, 1731-c. 1745) Z:AK/Fiddler's Companion K:C G2|G3A G2(FE)|(FE)(DC) A3c|G3A (GA)(GE)|G4 c2 (cd)| (ed)(cA) (cA)(GE)|(FE)(DC) A3c|G3A (GA)(cE)|G3A c2:| |:GA|c2e2e2 (de)|(fe)(dc) A2 (GA)|c3d (ed)(ec)|f3-g/a/ g3a| (ga)(gf) e2 (de)|(fe)(dc) A3g|(e/f/)g G2 (GA)(GE)|G4 c2:|]



SCORNFUL NANCY. English, Air and Country Dance (whole time). C Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB. "Scornful Nancy" is also known by the first line of the song set to it, "Nancy's to the green wood gane." The air was the vehicle for a song in Theo. Cibber's Patie and Peggy: or, The Fair Foundling (1730, a recasting of Allan Ramsay's The Gentle Shepherd), John Mitchell's ballad opera The Highland Fair; or, The Union of the Clans (1731), and John Gay's Achilles (1733, a song beginning "In war we've nought but death to fear"). The song (as "Scornful Nancy") was printed in Alan Ramsay's Tea-Table Miscellany, vol. 1 and, with music, in William Thomson's Orpheus Caledonius (London, 1725). Ramsay (born in 1684) indicated it was an old song, and by antiquarian William Stenhouse's reckoning [1] it is "at least as ancient as the union of the crowns in 1603." John Glen [2] states there is no proof for Stenhouse's assertion, but does point out that the tune can be found in the Blake Manuscript (692) as "Tow to Spine" (spin), and that "an excellent version is given in Margaret Sinkler's MS., 1710, unnamed." The song begins:

There Nancy's to the green-wood gane,
To hear the gowd-spink chatt'ring,
And Willie he has follow'd her,
To gain her love by flatt'ring:
But a' that he cou'd say, or do,
She geck'd and scorned at him,
And ay when he began to woo,
She bid him mind wha gat him.

The song is also called "Ranty, Tanty" [1], published on a broadsheet around 1701.

London publisher John Walsh printed the tune with directions for a country dance in his Caledonian Country Dances (c. 1745).

Additional notes

Source for notated version: -

Printed sources : Johnson (Scots Musical Museum, vol. 1), 1787; No. 50, p. 50. John Walsh (Caledonian Country Dances), c. 1745; p. 88.

Recorded sources: -



Back to Scornful Nancy


  1. William Stenhouse, Illustrations of the Lyric Poetry and Music of Scotland, 1853, p. 54.
  2. John Glen, Early Scottish Melodies, 1900, No. 50.