What You Please (1657)

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Original Publications:


The [English] Dancing Master 3rd edn, published by J. Playford, 1657, London (and included in all subsequent editions) 


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Modern Interpretations:

tlbull1 None known


tlbull1 It is generally the case for the layout used, in the original, that the text under the "A" music represents movement to the "A" music and the text under the "B" music represents movement to the "B" music.  However, to use this construction for this dance results in very odd combinations of A's and B's or, alternatively, far too much dance is required to be done to too little music.  However, if the first part of the left hand column is assumed to be an Introduction lasting 16 bars (AABB) then the rest of the instruction becomes standard with instructions in the left hand column representing movement to two As and the instructions in the right hand column representing movement to the B music.
tlbull1 The dance consists of a 16-bar Introduction which would have been danced by every one followed by three separate Figures.  Each of these Figures would have been started by the top two couples only and each successive couple would join in as the original top couple reached them until everyone was back in original places (or at least they and the next couple were back - I know of no conclusive evidence either way).  The top couple would then begin the second Figure.  Similarly, when everyone had completed the second Figure the top couple would start the 3rd Figure.  The structure of the dance is similar to the conventional USA (up a double, siding, arming) dances with the more normal top-to-bottom or non-progressive figure replaced by a duple minor dance.  The siding and the arming have then been dropped leaving just an "up a double" Introduction figure followed by three duple minor progressive Figures.  This is not unique - Once I Loved A Maiden Fair is another example of this structure.  Later on, dance authors must have realised that they did not have to keep to the "old" formula and dances were constructed with just an Introduction and two Figures  followed by an Introduction and one Figure, finally dropping (or at least not publishing) the Introduction leaving us with the form with which we are most familiar today.
tlbull1 The dictates of both modern and authentic performance can be achieved by doing this type of dance as a two couple longways dance.  The order then becomes: Introduction, Figure 1 (led by couple 1), Figure 1 (led by couple 2), Figure 2 (led by couple 1), Figure 2 (led by couple 2), Figure 3 (led by couple 1), Figure 3 (led by couple 2),
tlbull1 The way the dance is laid out leads one to expect that the music should be played AABn with the A musics being an introduction done by everyone followed by B musics repeated until everyone is back. However, close inspection of the dance shows that the A movements are needed to precede the B movements.  The next issue, therefore is whether the B music section is B, BB or BBB.  For the 3rd Figure it is clearly BB.  The second Figure is indeterminate but can (and is) interpreted as BB.  The first Figure seems to be BBB but if one assumes some confusion in all the instructions to "fall back" and "meet" then one can (and I have) interpreted this as BB.  Apart from maintaining a regular pattern throughout the dance (AABB) this interpretation results in the B2 movement in the Introduction, Figure 1 and Figure 3 all being the same.  It would be nice if this were also the case for Figure 2 but since the previous movements in this Figure leaves one couple "proper" and one couple "improper" a movement which can get everyone back proper (arming) is required.
tlbull1 There are specific instructions to hold hands for the lines falling back in Figure 1 (A2) and the leading up in Figure 2 (A2).  The absence of instructions for other similar movements is assumed to mean that hands are not taken.


tlbull1 Longways duple minor

Music (1716):

tlbull1 {modal url=http://www.michaelbarraclough.com/music/What%20You%20Please.abc}ABC Format{/modal}
tlbull1 {modal url=http://www.michaelbarraclough.com/music/What%20You%20Please.mid}MID Format{/modal}


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

A1 1-4 Lead up a double forwards and back
A2 1-4 That again
B1 1-2 Set to your own two singles moving forward to your partner 
B1 3-4 Fall back and then fall back a double
B2 1-4 That again repeat B1 and B2
A1 1-4 The 1st Man cross over with his woman then take the 2nd Woman by the right hand, the 1st Woman take the 2nd Man by the right hand 1st couple cross over past each other, cast down the outside one place (2nd couple moving up) and join nearest hand with their neighbor on the side (I am assuming that "1st Woman takes the 2nd Man by the right hand" is a mistake)
A2 1-4 and fall back fall back a double away from partner and then come forward a double
B1 1-4 1st Man go the figure of eight about the 2nd Man and the 1st Woman go the figure of eight about the 2nd Woman and down in the 2nd couple place 1st couple 1/2 figure eight up
B2 1-4 Set to your own and fall back two singles moving forward to your partner and then fall back a double
A1 1-2 1st Couple cross over 1st couple change places with each other as in the first half of a "Hole in the Wall" type change but do not fall back into each other's place
A1 3-4 and fall back, and the 1st Man take the 2nd Woman by the right hand, the 1st Woman take the 2nd Man by the left hand instead of falling back into each other place, 1st couple fall into the centre of a line of four with the 2nd couple
A2 1-4 and lead up all four-abreast and fall back line leads up a double and falls back a double (bending the line so that the 1st couple ends below the 2nd couple)
B1 1-4 The 2nd Couple go in the Hey, the 1st Couple following the Hey down in the 2nd Couple's place 2nd couple 1/2 figure of eight down through the 1st couple who simultaneously cast up and 1/2 figure of eight down ending with the 1st couple proper below the second couple who are improper
B2 1-4 and arms with your own 1st couple arm (right) once around whilst 2nd couple arms (right) once and a half around (so that both couples are proper)
A1 1-4 1st Couple fall back and slip down, the 2nd Couple slip up into the 1st Couple's place 1st and 2nd couples change places, 2nd couple meet (1 bar), chasee two steps up the centre of the set (2 bars) and fall back a single (1 bar) whilst 1st couple fall back a single (1 bar), chasee two steps down the outside (2 bars) and meet a single (1 bar)
A2 1-2 1st Man cross over with the 2nd Woman and change places
A2 3-4 1st Woman cross over with the 2nd Man and change places
B1 1-4 Hands half round all four and fall back circle left half way, compressing the circle slightly at the end then the two men and the two women fall back out onto their own sides
B2 1-4 Set to your own and fall back two singles moving forward to your partner and then fall back a double

© Michael Barraclough 2004



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