Annotation:Staines Morris (3)

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X:1 T:Staines Morris [3]. (p)1651.PLFD1.097 M:C L:1/8 Q:1/2=160 S:Playford, Dancing Master,1st Ed.,1651. O:England;London H:1651. Z:Chris Partington. K:F "_key Bb a possibility"d2 g2 e2 ^f2|g2 fe d3 e|fgf_e d2 cB|AGAB G4:| |:Bcd_e d2 cB|AGAB G4|Bcd_e d2 cB|AGAB G4:| |:B2 B2 F2 F2|GABc d3 e|fgf_e d2 cB|AGAB G4:|

STAINES MORRIS [3]. AKA - "May Pole Dance (1)," "Stanes Morris." AKA and see "Bluff King Hal." English, Air and Country Dance Tune (4/4 or 6/4 time). E Minor (Bacon, Kidson, Raven): D Minor (Williamson): D Dorian (Chappell): G Dorian (Barnes, Sharp). Standard tuning (fiddle). ABC (Sharp): AAB (Kidson): AABCC (Raven): AABB (Barnes, Chappell). This version of the "Staines Morris" first appears in an instrumental version in William Ballet's Lute Book (1595) and in the Trumbull Lute Book, and was printed with dance instructions in "much altered" form in Playford's English Dancing Master [1] of 1650-51 (as "Stanes Morris", although spelled "Staines Morris" on the contents page), and in the editions of 1657 and 1665, after which it was dropped from the long-running Dancing Master series of editions. It was the first published morris country dance. As John M. Ward points out[1] the dance figures that Playford printed were hardly the morris dance of the countryside, being rather typical of the then fashionable 'longways-for-as-many-as-will' country dance for men and women together, with no mention of bells or antic dress, and with none of the ritual manifestations we know today as morris dance.

The basic melody was popular for some time and exists in several different variations (see "Staines Morris (1)" and "Staines Morris (2)"). London music publisher Daniel Wright printed three different versions of the melody in his Extraordinary Collection of Pleasant and Merry Humours (c. 1715, pp. 2,5,6, although the latter two are untitled in the collection). However, the specific "Staines Morris" tune itself remained dormant after Daniel Wright's publication, until it was reprinted in the William Chappell's Popular Music of the Olden Times (1859). From there is was resurrected by D'Arcy Ferris (1855-192), a romantic who was responsible for the revival of the Bidford Town morris side in 1880's[2], although Ferris called it "Bluff King Hal." Cecil Sharp picked up the tune (and Ferris's name for it) for his The Morris Book (1906), but omitted it from subsequent editions and he came to believe it was more country dance than morris dance. Though yet it lived; Lionel Morris picked up "Staines Morris for the Longborough (West Midlands) dances, and it has become ensconced in the reintroduced tradition[3].

There is a town of Staines on the Thames River, but whether the title is associated with it is not known. The tune was used for a morris dance of the same name in the Cotswold village of Longborough, Gloucestershire. A song [Roud V18894] (though there were probably many) was the product of 19th century antiquarian William Chappell, who married the words of "The Maypole Song" (1656, from a stage play Actæon and Diana) to the "Staines Morris" melody, and has been recorded several times in modern times:

Come ye young men, come along,
With your music, dance and song;
Bring your lasses in your hands,
For tis that which love commands.

Then to the Maypole haste away,
For 'tis now our holiday.

See also "Nobody's Jig" (or, on the Continent, "Pickelhering") for a different branch of the basic "Staines Morris" tune.

Additional notes
Source for notated version : - Daniel Wright's Extraordinary Collection (London, c. 1715) [Offord].

Printed sources : - Bacon (The Morris Ring), 1974; p. 255. Barnes (English Country Dance Tunes), 1986. Chappell (Popular Music of the Olden Time, vol. 1), 1859; p. 243. Kidson (Dances of the Olden Time), 1910; p. 10. Offord (John of the Green: Ye Cheshire Way), 1985; p. 81. Raven (English Country Dance Tunes), 1984; pp. 34 & 46. Sharp (Country Dance Tunes), 1909; p. 25. Williamson (English, Welsh, Scottish and Irish Fiddle Tunes), 1976; p. 17.

Recorded sources : - Carthage CGLP 4406, Hutchings et al - "Morris On" (1972/1983). Maggie’s Music MMCD216, Hesperus - “Early American Roots” (1997).

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  1. John M. Ward, "The Morris Tune", Journal of the American Musicological Society, vol. 39, No. 2, Summer 1986, p. 304.
  2. ibid.
  3. ibid.