Mrs. Savage's Whim

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MRS. SAVAGE'S WHIM. English, Country Dance Tune (3/2 time). B Minor. Standard tuning (fiddle). AAB. The tune (a triple hornpipe or jig) dates to 1710 when it was published by John Young in the first and second editions of the Second Volume of the Dancing Master [1]. Young was the successor to John and Henry Playford (father and son) for the long-running series which began in 1651. In fact, notes Graham Christian (writing in CDSS News, issue #189, March/April 2006) the dance figues were not new but had appeared a decade earlier with a Purcell melody from his opera Bonduca, but were married to a new tune for the 1710 volume. Rival London publisher John Walsh (father and son) printed the melody in his Complete Country Dancing Master, vol. 2 (editions of 1719, 1735, and 1749).

Graham Christian (2015) suggests the title refers to one of the "noteworthy and notorious women" of the Savage family, particularly Elizabeth Savage, daughter of the 4th Earl Rivers. She eloped with James Barry, 4th Earl Barrymore in 1706, an escapade for which her father never forgave her. When he died in 1712 she found she had been left out of his will, which Barrymore contested with partial success. Elizabeth did not live long to enjoy the inheritance, however, as she died in 1714.

Source for notated version:

Printed sources: Barnes (English Country Dance Tunes), 1986. Barron (The Fair Quaker of Larchmont), 1992. Bentley (The Fallibroome Collection, vol. 1), 1962. Christian (A Playford Assembly), 2015; p. 75.

Recorded sources: Bare Necessities, vol. 7 – "By Request."




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