Soldier's Life (A)

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X: 1 T:Soldier's Life,A. (p)1651.PLFD.094 M:6/4 L:1/4 Q:3/4=100 S:Playford, Dancing Master,1st Ed.,1651. O:England H:1651. Z:Chris Partington. K:D d| f>ga f>ed | e2 c A2 d| f>ga f>ed | e3 e2 e| f>ga f>ed |e2 c A>GF| G>AB AB>c |d3 d2:|



SOLDIER'S LIFE, A. AKA - "A Souldier's Life," "Who list to lead a soldier's life." English, Country Dance Tune (6/8 time). D Major. Standard time (fiddle). One part. The melody with directions for a country dance was first printed in London by John Playford in his English Dancing Master [1] (1651) as "A Souldier's Life." The piece was retained throughout the long series of Dancing Master editions through the 18th and final edition of 1728, published at the time by John Young, heir to the Playford publishing concerns. Beginning with the 8th edition of 1690, published by John's son, Henry Playford, the spelling was corrected to "A Soldier's Life." Researcher Anne Gilchrist remarked: "This is a variant of the tune "Good morrow, 'tis St. Valentine's Day" (Ophelia's song) and the traditional air to "Lord Thomas and Fair Eleanor"[1]. As was usual for popular tunes, it was later used as the vehicle for several songs.


Additional notes



Printed sources : - Barlow (The Complete Country Dance Tunes from Playford's Dancing Master), 1985; No. 94, p. 35. Chappell (Popular Music of the Olden Times vol. 1), 1859; p. 303. Elias Howe (Musician’s Omnibus Nos. 6 & 7), Boston, 1880-1882; p. 619. Raven (English Country Dance Tunes), 1984; p. 43.






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  1. Anne G. Gilchrist, "Some Additional Notes on the Traditional History of Certain Ballad-Tunes in the Dancing Master", Journal of the English Folk Dance and Song Society, vol. 3, No. 4, Dec., 1939, p. 278).