Popular Music Of The Olden Time Vol 2

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RElGN OF QUEEN ANNE TO GEORGE II.                               627
modern writers, no one of the three condescends to give other authority than his own.
The late John Wilson Croker, in his Memoirs of the Embassy of Marshall de Bassompierre to the Court of England in 1626, says, in a note: " Our Country Dances are a corruption in name, and a simplification in figure, of the French Contredanse." Mr. De Quincey, in his Life and Manners, and the late Dr. Busby, in Ids Dictionary of Music, tell us the same. The discovery was not made when Weaver and Essex wrote their Histories of Dancing,* in 1710, and 1712, nor when Hawkins published his History of Music, in 1776. French etymologists have been equally in the dark, for they have reversed the position. " Ce mot [Contre­danse] paroit venir de l'Anglois, country-danse, danse de campagne; en effet, c'est au village sur-tout que l'on aime a se reunir et que l'on prefere les plaisirs par-tagos. Le grave menuet, qui n'emploie que deux personnes, et qui ne laisse aux spectateurs d'autre occupation que celle d'admirer, n'a pu prendre naissance que dans les villes ou l'on danse pour amour-propre. Au village 1'on danse pour le seul plaisir de danser, pour agiter les membres accoutumes a un violent exercise ; on danse pour exhaler un sentiment de joie qui n'a pas besoin de spectateurs." {Encyclopedic Methodique: Musique, i. 316, 4to., 1791.)
I have quoted the passage from the Encyclopedie at length, because M. Framery's reasons are exactly those which account for the long-enduring popularity of the country-dance. The French contredanse (known in England by the name of quadrille) cannot be traced to an earlier period than the latter part of the seventeenth century, and it seems to have originated in the first quarter of the eighteenth. It is not described by Thoinot Arbeau, or any of the early French writers on dancing. J. J. Rousseau, Compan (author of the Dictionnaire de Danse), and other writers of the last century, if they do not give the etymology, either say that it was danced after minuets, or with gavotte steps, therefore subsequent to both. The first French dictionary in which I have been enabled to trace the word, is that of P. Richelet, printed at Amsterdam in 1732. It is not contained in the Geneva edition of 1680, or in that of 1694.
" Contre " certainly means " opposite," and men stand opposite their partners in modern country dances, but this was by no means a rule in early times. There were great varieties of figure, and some of the earliest (such as Bellinger's Round) were danced in circles, often round a tree or maypole.
In The English Dancing Master of 1651, besides those danced in the modern way (which are described as "Longways for as many as will"), there are the following Rounds " for as many as will:"—The chirping of the Nightingale; Crathering peascods; If all the world were paper (a still-remembered nursery song); Millfield; Pepper's black; and Hose is white, rose is red. There are also rounds for four and for eight.
In Dargason (a country dance older than the Reformation) men and women
1 Weaver says, "Country-dances are a dancing the pe-      prerace to his Treatise on Chorography, or the art of dancing
culiar growth of this nation; tho' now transplanted into      Country Dances, 1710, says " This "Which we call Country
almost all the Courts of Europe." Essay towards the      Dancing is originally the product of this nation." Haw-
Hisioi'y of Dancing, 8vo., 1712, p. 170. Essex, in the      kins quotes Weaver.
2 s







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