Scotch Cap (The)

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X: 1 T:Scotch Cap. (p)1651.PLFD1.089 T:Edinburgh Castle. (p)1651.PLFD1.089 M:6/4 L:1/4 Q:3/4=90 S:Playford, Dancing Master,1st Ed.,1651. O:England;London H:1651. Z:Chris Partington. F:http://www.john-chambers.us/~jc/music/book/Playford/Scotch_Cap_1651_PLFD1_089_CP.abc K:Ddor D2 D d2 d|e2 d c2 A|B2 e B2 G|1B3 d3:|2B3d2| |:d/e/|f2 A A2 d/e/|f2 A A2 d/e/|f2 A A2 F|A3 d3| B2 B A2 F|G2 G d2 d|B2 B A F2|1E3D2:|2E3 D3:|



SCOTCH CAP, THE. AKA and see "Edinburgh Castle (2)." Scottish, English; Country Dance Tune (6/4 or 6/8 time). D Dorian. Standard tuning (fiddle). ABB (Sharp): AABB (Karpeles, Raven): AA'BB' (Barnes). The melody was published with directions for a country dance by London publisher John Playford in the first edition of English Dancing Master (1651) and was retained in all subsequent editions of the Dancing Master through the 10th edition of 1698. Commencing with the 4th edition of 1670 it appeared with the alternate title "Edinburgh Castle (1)." Williamson suggests the title might refer to a nightcap or last drink prior to retiring, otherwise he believes the composer would have referred to the Scottish head gear as a bonnet. Most believe the title refers to the once-ubiquitous head covering called the Scotch bonnet. In a later era he Illustrated London Magazine [1] mentioned the Scotch Cap when describing the garb of prisoners in the mid-19th century: "All here wear the prison dress, which consists of a Scotch cap, jacket and trousers. Each prisoner is obliged to pick two pounds of oakum, as it is called, a day."
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The Scotch Cap was the name of a leather face covering that prisoners were made to wear on those rare occasions they were allowed to leave their cells; it covered the face but left holes for the eyes and was meant to isolate and preclude contact with other prisoners. A Scotch cap was also a name by which the wild black raspberry was called.


Additional notes

Source for notated version: -

Printed sources : - Barnes (English Country Dance Tunes), 1986. Karpeles & Schofield (A Selection of 100 English Folk Dance Airs), 1965; p. 18. Raven (English Country Dance Tunes), 1984; pp. 21 & 47 (the latter is a facsimile reprint of the Playford original). Sharp (Country Dance Tunes), 1909; p. 44.

Recorded sources: - Flying Fish FF 358, Robin Willaimson "Legacy of the Scottish Harpers, vol. 1." Maggie’s Music MMCD216, Hesperus - “Early American Roots” (1997).



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  1. R.B. Knowles, Illustrated London Magazine, October, 1853, p. 158.