BackPlayford with a Difference, Volume 1

Shepherd's Holiday
Old Batchelor
The Twenty-Ninth of May
The Witches
Mr Young's Delight
Nampwich Fair
Nine Elms
Nobles of Betly
Step Stately
Dick's Maggot
Cottey House
Jenny, Come Tie My Cravat


It's much easier to criticise Playford and Sharp than to get it right yourself!

Shepherds' Holiday — page 8

Format should be “3 couples longways”, not “Longways duple”.

The Witches — page 23

The way I've explained B1 doesn't get everyone back to their starting positions, so please reverse the corners.  That's what happens when you change your interpretation and don't try it — and I'm not going to blame Tom Cook!

B1:  Original second corners (second man and first woman) clap: together, both (1 bar), while first corners cast right shoulder into each other's place.  Circle left ¾ [home].

Music: I'd forgotten that the top B in bar 3 of the B-music should be flattened.  Given this I would change the chord from G to Gm and change the chord in the next bar from C dim to a straightforward C.  I also misread some notes on the smudged photocopy of the 7th Edition that I have.  You can see the corrected music here.

Nine Elms — page 29

The key signature should be one sharp, not two.

Step Stately — page 34

Andrew Coates has pointed out that the third figure doesn't work with seven couples!  Since it's a double progression there are two neutral couples at the top after the first turn, and four after the second turn.  If the top three of these now start the third turn, there is a neutral couple in fourth place — not a good idea.  I don't see how the figure can work with any number except three or five — and I bet Playford and Sharp never tried it either!

Dick's Maggot — page 40

The instructions give A1 and A2, but in the music I have written these as a single line.  Play the music as written.

Not a correction, but an interesting observation: the dance “Highland Lass” published 8 years later in 1710 has word-for-word the same instructions as Dick's Maggot.

Cottey House — page 45

The two G notes in bar 4 of the B-music should each be a B.

Abergenny — page 59

Kathryn and David Wright think I should expand the description of the two-hand turns in A1 of the Second Figure.  I mean symmetrical turns, 1st man and 2nd woman (and 4th man and 3rd woman) turning in the reverse direction.

June 2009

On Tuesday, August 24, 2021, Janet from Orpington wrote:
It would be useful if we could hear a sample of music before buying a download or CD.  I've bought some CDs in the past (not from you) and been disappointed by music that is dreary or the wrong speed. I am a musician who records many tunes on my keyboard, and like music that makes people want to get up and dance.
On Tuesday, August 24, 2021, Colin Hume from Letchworth wrote:
Janet -

I'm sorry but that's just too much work for very little return!
If I were a company selling large numbers of CDs I would do it.