World Turned Upside Down (1) (The)

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X:1 T:World Turned Upside Down [1], The M:2/4 L:1/8 Z:AK/Fiddler’s Companion K:D AA dd | e/f/g/a/ fe/f/ | gB cf | e>d A2 | AAdd | e/f/g/a/ fe/f/ | gB cf | e>d d2 :| |: ec/d/ eA | e/d/e/f/ eA | e/d/e/f/ ed/c/ | B>A A2 | aa/g/ fe/d/ | e/f/g/a/ fe/f/ | gB cf | e>d d2 :|



WORLD TURNED UPSIDE DOWN [1], THE. AKA and see "When the King Enjoys His Own Again.” English, Country Dance or Song Air (cut time). D Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AB (Miller): AAB (Camus, Sweet). The tune originally went to an extremely popular Cavalier song called “When the King Enjoys his Own Again,” from the English Civil War, and later taken up by the Jacobites to serve in the Stuart cause. The original text appears in the Thomason Tracts (669.f.10 (47)), where it is dated April 8, 1646, and decries the passing of all the favorite English Christmas traditions after the forces of King Charles were defeated by the Parliamentarians at the battle of Naseby in 1645

Listen to me and you shall hear, news hath not been this thousand year:
Since Herod, Caesar, and many more, you never heard the like before.
Holy-dayes are despis'd, new fashions are devis'd.
Old Christmas is kickt out of Town.
Yet let's be content, and the times lament, you see the world turn'd upside down.

The wise men did rejoyce to see our Savior Christ’s Nativity:
The Angels did good tidings bring, the Sheepheards did rejoyce and sing.
Let all honest men, take example by them.
Why should we from good Laws be bound?
Yet let's be content, &c.

Command is given, we must obey, and quite forget old Christmas day:
Kill a thousand men, or a Town regain, we will give thanks and praise amain.
The wine pot shall clinke, we will feast and drinke.
And then strange motions will abound.
Yet let's be content, &c.

Our Lords and Knights, and Gentry too, doe mean old fashions to forgoe:
They set a porter at the gate, that none must enter in thereat.
They count it a sin, when poor people come in.
Hospitality it selfe is drown'd.
Yet let's be content, &c.

The serving men doe sit and whine, and thinke it long ere dinner time:
The Butler's still out of the way, or else my Lady keeps the key,
The poor old cook, in the larder doth look,
Where is no goodnesse to be found,
Yet let's be content, &c.

To conclude, I'le tell you news that's right, Christmas was kil'd at Naseby fight:
Charity was slain at that same time, Jack Tell troth too, a friend of mine,
Likewise then did die, rost beef and shred pie,
Pig, Goose and Capon no quarter found.
Yet let's be content, and the times lament, you see the world turn'd upside down.

Alexander Garden wrote an anecdote in 1828 of the British surrender at Yorktown that concluded hostilities of the American War of Independence. In it, Garden specified "The World Turned Upside Down" as the tune the British bands played while their army marched out with colors cased. This notion has persisted to the present day as a popular legend, although no contemporary accounts have been found of any of the titles of march tunes played at the surrender, save that the American bands played "Yankee Doodle". Camus (1976) finds Aedanus Burke comes closest to describing any British music: “They marched thro’ both Armies at a slow pace, and to the sound of music, not military marches, but of certain airs, which had in them so peculiar a strain of melancholy, and which together with the appearance before me excited sentiments far different from those I expected to enjoy.” Even if it was true that a tune called “The World Turned Upside Down” was ordered played by a bitter British bandmaster, it still leaves the problem of which melody this was since there were several tunes known by the title. As something of a floating title, it would be impossible to know which tune was played. In addition to the above titles, the tune was the vehicle for songs called “The Old Woman Taught Wisdom” and “Derry Down.” As "When the King Enjoys his own again," the melody was included in Elizabeth Rodgers' Virginal Book (1656) and in the John Simpson (London) manuscript, and was published in London in 1750 in the Compleat Tutor for the Flute (part 2, p. 11); there are no other published versions of the melody under the "World Turned" title. Similarly, the tune does not appear in any British musicians manuscripts under the "World Turned Upside Down" title. If the melody was played by British bands at Yorktown it seems more likely it would have been played as "When the King enjoys his own again" rather than the "World Turned Upside Down," which changes the significance of its playing dramatically.

See also Arkansas fiddler Absie Morrison’s “British March” for another tune claimed to have been played at Yorktown.

The title appears in Henry Robson's list of popular Northumbrian song and dance tunes ("The Northern Minstrel's Budget"), which he published c. 1800. Several English inns and taverns have carried the name World Turned Upside Down. The sign of one such-named old London pub depicted a donkey sitting in a cart pulled by a man, a pig killing a butcher, a bear conducting a dancing man, a rat chasing a cat, a hare shooting a man, and dogs ridden by fixes chasing a man (Hackwood, 1909). See similarities with the nonsense song “Martin Said to His Man.”

Additional notes

Source for notated version: -

Printed sources : - Camus (Military Music of the American Revolution), 1976; Example 17, p. 164. Miller (Fiddler’s Throne), 2004; No. 361, p. 211. Sweet (Fifer’s Delight), 1965; p. 48.

Recorded sources: -Gourd Music 110, Barry Phillips and Friends – “The World Turned Upside Down” (1992).



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