Submitted because someone requested it.Transcribed from Ashley Hutching’s album "Son Of Morris On"
Jockey At The Fair
This is a set dance in jigtime.
How do you know which came first ?
I don’t know if this jig has its own place in ITM, but it’s more familiar to me as the tune for a popular English Cotswold morris dance ("Son of Morris On" and its predecessor and recently released sequel being a collection of such tunes) often known as "Jockey _to_ the Fair."
To be pedantic about it, in the morris context the B part for "Jockey" is usually played _three_ times, because it’s a "corner dance." The typical morris set is arranged this way:
So, the "corners" — dancers 1 and 6, 2 and 5, 3 and 4 — each take a turn dancing as a couple to the B part.
Always thought it was typically English - but it IS in O’Neill’s, so ……
It certainly sounds English - perhaps Northumbrian (The name Jockey or Jock - a local diminutive of John, equivalent to Jack, not a rider - appears in a number of Northumbrian tune titles). But if it appears in O’Neill’s, then it was obviously played by Irish musicians some time ago. My guess is than it was taken to Ireland by English dance masters in the 18th(?) century - hence its use as a set dance tune.
well even if it is english, we still dance it in irish dancing
‘Jockey to the Fair’ is also the tune that shepherd/farmer ‘Gabriel Oak’ plays more than once in Thomas Hardy’s novel ‘Far from the Madding Crowd’. Given Hardy’s attention to detail, and the fact he describes it as ‘well known’, it was probably pretty common around Dorset in the mid nineteenth century. Extracts…
Gabriel’s hand, which had lain for some time
idle in his smock-frock pocket, touched his flute which he
carried there. Here was an opportunity for putting his
dearly bought wisdom into practice.
He drew out his flute and began to play "Jockey to the Fair"
in the style of a man who had never known moment’s sorrow.
Oak could pipe with Arcadian sweetness and the sound of the
well-known notes cheered his own heart as well as those of
the loungers. He played on with spirit, and in half an hour
had earned in pence what was a small fortune to a destitute
While the cup was being examined, the end of Gabriel Oak’s flute became visible over his smock-frock pocket, and Henery Fray exclaimed, “Surely, shepherd, I seed you blowing into a great flute by now at Casterbridge?”
“You did,” said Gabriel, blushing faintly. “I’ve been in great trouble, neighbours, and was driven to it. I used not to be so poor as I be now.”
“Never mind, heart!” said Mark Clark. You should take it careless-like, shepherd, and your time will come. But we could thank ye for a tune, if ye bain’t too tired?”
“Neither drum nor trumpet have I heard since Christmas,” said Jan Coggan. “Come, raise a tune, Master Oak!”
“Ay, that I will,” said Gabriel, pulling out his flute and putting it together. “A poor tool, neighbours; but such as I can do ye shall have and welcome.”
Oak then struck up “Jockey to the Fair,” and played that sparkling melody three times through accenting the notes in the third round in a most artistic and lively manner by bending his body in small jerks and tapping with his foot to beat time.
It appears in Volume 2 of Aird’s Airs (c1780), "A Selection of Scotch, English, Irish, and Foreign Airs, adapted for the Fife, Violin or German Flute", Glasgow (about 600 tunes in three volumes)
They’re all online at Leeds University courtesy of Richard Robinson:
(scroll up a bit for the frontpiece image)
Version from Thompson’s Compleat Collection of Country Dances c.1770
T: Jockey to the Fair
|:D|G2A B2c|d2g d2c|BdG GFG|A/B/cB A2d|
d^cd efg|faf e2g|fed Ad^c|(d3 d2):|
|:d|afd afd|c2c B2c|dgd dgd|dcB A2A|
G2G B2d|g3 e3|dBG AcA|(G3 G2):|
X: 3 “Jockey at the Fair” ~ Roche, 1912
B: "The Roche Collection of Traditional Irish Music, Volume II", page 32, tune #277
N: Category = Set Dances
There is an (English) song to this tune, it’s also an Irish Set Dance