Nonesuch (1651)

Original Publications:

tlbull1 The [English] Dancing Master, 1st Edn, published by J. Playford, London 1651 (and 2nd & 3rd editions)

Images:

tlbull1 Click Here

Modern Interpretations:

tlbull1 [The] Country Dance Book Part 2, Cecil J. Sharp, published by Novello and Company Ltd, London, 1911(with later, undated corrections)
tlbull1 The Playford Ball, Kate Van Winkler Keller & Genevieve Shimer, The Country Dance & Song Society, Boston USA, 1990 (providing Cecil Sharp's interpretation)
tlbull1 Playford with a Difference Vol I, Colin Hume, London 1995 (providing Michael Barraclough's interpretation)

Comments:

tlbull1 Nonesuch, which is a four couple set dance shares a substantially similar dance instruction and a substantially similar tune with Al La Mode de France (all editions) which is a longways for as many as will.  Keller & Shimer consider that the dance is "described twice", ie Nonesuch and A La Mode de France are the same dance.  This could be so, but it is equally possible that a new dance (A La Mode de France) has been created from an older dance (Nonesuch).  It should also be noted that, whilst described as "longways for as many as will", A La Mode de France only fits the music when done by 4, 8, 12 etc couples.  The description for A La Mode de France also includes a symbolic representation of the disposition of the dancers in the middle of the dance showing only 4 couples.  There is a strong possibility, therefore, that A La Mode de France is actually a four couple longways dance also.
tlbull1 The dance is often referred to as "irregular", it is however, perfectly regular.  It consists of the three standard figures, each lengthened by the addition of a double set and turn single (or equivalent) because the tune is 16 bars long.  The first chorus is duple minor progressive and the second and third choruses are whole set non-progressive.
tlbull1 In the Introduction section of the Country Dance Book Part 2, Cecil Sharp uses Nonesuch as part of the evidence for his (then) interpretation of the term "siding".  However, it is his interpretation rather than the original dance instruction that supports what he says.  In fact the interpretation makes the siding figure shorter in order to accommodate a mis-interpretation of the second chorus.  The result supports his original siding hypothesis but is not supported by the original instruction!  NOTE: By the 1920's, Sharp had decided that his interpretation of siding was wrong and that now referred to as "straight/oblique/Shaw" was more likely to be correct.  His efforts to get his interpretation changed were thwarted by the English Folk Dance Society (which he had of course created!).
tlbull1 The modern practice of each person springing into their next position in the second figure comes from an undated correction published by Novello and replaces the original instruction to slip (in 1 bar) into place.  This reconstruction suggests that neither of these is in fact correct.
tlbull1 This is the only dance where Cecil Sharp interprets correctly the way to do the progression in a longways dance with a progressive minor set.  Ie, the dance starts with the top two couples only dancing the chorus, during which the 1st couple progresses below the 2nd couple.  The 1st couple then dances with the 3rd couple and progresses again.  The next time through, the 1st couple dances with the 4th couple and the 2nd couple joins in dancing with the 3rd couple.  However, Sharp stops after 7 iterations when the 1st couple has got back to the top rather than allowing the sequence to be completed in 9 iterations when all have got back to place.  Folklore has it that this was because it was only possible to get a certain amount of music on a 78rpm record.
tlbull1 The tune is a 16-bar refrain and the dance is made up of 16-bar blocks.  The complete dance requires the tune played 15 times.
tlbull1 Whilst it is clearly foolish to meddle with the instructions for such a well-loved dance the interpretation by Sharp appears to have significant weaknesses.  The interpretation offered below has the merit that it follows the instructions and fits the 16-bar phrase.  The final hey also only needs 10 changes rather than 11 and therefore requires less manipulation by the dancers or the musicians to match the dance with the music.

Formation:

tlbull1 Longways for four couples

Music

tlbull1 ABC Format
tlbull1 MID Format

Notation:

Bold text represents original instructions and light text represents interpretations by Michael Barraclough

A1 1-8 Lead up all a double forwards and back.  That again.
A1 9-16 Set and turn single.  That again.
A2 1-4 First couple slip just between the second couple and turn your faces to them.  This seems like a small amount of movement to do to a lot of music but working backwards from the time needed for the other movements, as well as working with a 16-bar phrase, leaves little doubt that 4 bars are available for this.  Sharp describes this bit well but modern practice differs from Sharp in that the active dancers tend to either set forward and back or back and forward to use up 2 bars before leading down the centre and turning out to face the next person down on the side.  My recommendation is for the active couple to take hands (NB: Apart from the first time that each couple starts this movement, when they are at the top of the set, active couples will already be holding two hands from the previous two handed turn in bars 13-16) and slide down the set with two singles using a step and close (man leads with right, woman with left - step, close, step, close) and then each turns single 3/4 up and away from each other so that they are standing back to back, each facing the next person of the same sex down the set (man leading with left and woman with right, going step, step, step, close).  This makes a 4-bar sequence of single, single, double.  At the end, first and second couples are in a line of four, the two men facing each other and the two women facing each other. 
A2 5-6 Put them back by both hands taking hands, first man with second man and first woman with second woman, each pair moves (ones going forwards and twos going backwards) out a double from the set (at right angles to it, and not on a diagonal as stated in the Country Dance Book).
A2 7-8 and half turn them keeping hands turn clockwise halfway round so that first couple are now facing into the set and the second couple face out
A2 9-10 put them back keeping hands the first couple and the person they are facing move a double back into the set (at right angles to it as before).  Again, the two couples are in a line of four, the two men facing each other and the two women facing each other, but this time the ones are on the outside.
A2 11-12 and set them as they were  keeping hands, make an anti-clockwise quarter two-hand turn, dropping hands at the end and opening out back into the set with the ones below the twos
A2 13-16 turn your own in the second place the active couple (ie the ones who slipped down the middle) two hand turn your partner.  If you are still an active couple, ie you have not yet reached the bottom of the set, retain hands for the next repetition
A3-A10 Do thus to the last.  The 1st couple then dances with the 3rd couple and progresses again.  The next time through, the 1st couple dances with the 4th couple and the 2nd couple joins in dancing with the 3rd couple.  After 9 iterations [1+2, 1+3, 2+3 & 1+4, 2+4, 3+4 & 2+1, 3+1, 4+1 &  3+2, 4+2, 4+3]  all have got back to place.
A11 1-8 Siding with partner, right shoulder. Siding with partner, left shoulder. Using straight/oblique/Shaw (whatever you want to call it) siding
A11 9-16 Set and turn single.  That again.
A12 1-2 The first man slip before, and stand with his face downwards Slip does NOT necessarily mean slide/galop/chasse/etc.  Using one double (step, step, step, close) and starting with the left foot, the first man moves from his present position to a position in the middle of the set, slightly above his current position and ends facing down.
A12 3-4 The woman slip before him, and stand faces to your own Using one double (step, step, step, close) and starting with the left foot, the first woman moves from her present position to a position in the middle of the set, slightly below her current position and ends facing up.
A12 5-8 The second couple as much  Using one double (step, step, step, close) and starting with the left foot, the second man moves from his present position to a position in the middle of the set, slightly above his current position and ends facing down. Using one double (step, step, step, close) and starting with the left foot, the second woman moves from her present position to a position in the middle of the set, slightly below her current position and ends facing up.
A12 9-12 The third couple as much  Using one double (step, step, step, close) and starting with the left foot, the third man moves from his present position to a position in the middle of the set, slightly above his current position and ends facing down. Using one double (step, step, step, close) and starting with the left foot, the third woman moves from her present position to a position in the middle of the set, slightly below her current position and ends facing up.
A12 13-16 The last couple as much  Using one double (step, step, step, close) and starting with the left foot, the fourth man moves from his present position to a position in the middle of the set, slightly above his current position and ends facing down. Using one double (step, step, step, close) and starting with the left foot, the fourth woman moves from her present position to a position in the middle of the set, slightly below her current position and ends facing up.  All eight dancers are now in a line in the middle of the set  TOP: 1M 1W 2M 2W 3M 3W 4M 4W with everyone facing their partner.
A13 1-4 Arms all as you stand right arm turn with partner
A13 5-8 that again left arm turn with your partner
A13 9-12 Slip all to the left hand, and back to your places  This movement replaces the set and turn single which is used in the other two standard figures, presumably because there is not enough room to do the turn single with everybody much closer together.  At its most basic this is a double out to the left hand and back by each dancer.  An aesthetic interpretation would be to turn this (and its counterpart below) into a butterfly type movement having everyone follow a small loop out and back, starting moving diagonally forward to the left and returning to this place in this movement and then
A13 13-16 then as much to the right hand  everyone follow a small loop out and back, starting moving diagonally forward to the right and returning to this place.
A14 1-16 First man slip to the left hand, and stand the woman as much to her left hand, the second couple as much, third as much, fourth as much  This is a repetition of the movement in A12 except that everyone ends up on the wrong side of the set in their partner's place.  Everyone starts with their left foot.  Men start moving diagonally left and down before turning to face up and then across.  Women start moving diagonally left and up before turning to face down and then across.  At the end, everyone is now back out in the set and in their partner's place,
A15 1-16 Then the single hey, all handing down, and come up on your own side  This is a grand chain type figure, with hands, following a "U" shape down the sides of the set and across at the bottom.  There is no crossing at the top of the set.  It is started by the 1M+2M and 1W+2W with right hands.  Full sequence is:
  1. Right: 1M+2M, 1W+2M
  2. Left: 1M+3M, 1W+3W
  3. Right: 1M+4M, 1W+4W, 2M+3M, 2W+3W
  4. Left: 1M+1W, 2M+4M, 2W+4W
  5. Right: 1M+2W, 1W+2M, 3M+4M, 3W+4W
  6. Left: 1M+3W, 1W+3M, 2M+2W
  7. Right: 1M+4W, 1W+4M, 2M+3W, 2W+3M
  8. Left: 2M+4W, 2W+4M, 3M+3W
  9. Right: 3M+4W, 3W+4M
  10. Left: 4M+4W

© Michael Barraclough 1996

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