Lady’s Plaything jig

Also known as General Howe’s March, Generals Howes March, The Ladies Play Thing, Ladies Plaything, The Ladies’ Play Thing, Ladies’ Plaything, The Ladies’ Plaything, The Lady’s Play Thing, The Lady’s Plaything.

There are 2 recordings of this tune.

Lady’s Plaything has been added to 1 tune set.

Lady's Plaything has been added to 15 tunebooks.

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Two settings

X: 1
T: Lady's Plaything
R: jig
M: 6/8
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
|:d/c/|B2B Bcd|A2A A2d|G2G GAB|A3 D2d|
dgd BdB|GBG D2c|BcB AGA|G2G G2:|
|:d|dBd dBd|e2e e2c|cAc cAc|d2d d2d|
BGB BGB|c2c c2c|Bcd dcB|B3 A2d|
dgd BdB|GBG D2c|BcB AGA|G2G G2:|
X: 2
T: Lady's Plaything
R: jig
M: 6/8
L: 1/8
K: Amaj
e/d/|c2c cde|B2B B2e|A2A ABc|c3 B2f|
eae cec|AcA e2d|cdc BcB|A2A A2:|
z|ece ece|f2f f2d|dBd dBd|e2e e2d|
cAc cAc|d2d dcB|cde edc|c3 B2f|
eae cec|AcA e2d|cdc BcB|A2A A2:|

Thirteen comments

Ladys Plaything

This is another tune from the Joshua Jackson manuscripts which sounds very familiar but doesn’t seem to be here - or at least not with this name, key signature or initial string of notes. This is JMS 118.

Somehow I feel that it should have a C1 part - anyone any suggestions?

Lady’s Plaything - C part?

I’ve always thought that this tune belonged to a small group of dance tunes with extended B-parts (12 bars long) whose last 4 bars sound like an afterthought. I don’t know if that is why you feel that something is missing. This is reflected in the dance that accompanies another example of this type of tune: ‘Sir You Are A Comical Fellow’. The last 4 bars of Comical Fellow accompany the dance instructions: "clap 4 times and turn on the spot" and have a real bolted-on feeling to them.

Another great tune of this type, also in Jackson, is ‘Sukey’s Delight’.



… its vintage probaly suggests that it’s best left "as is".

However, I have to admit that I’d overlooked Suckeys Delight (mostly ‘cos you can’t play thefinal chords, as published, on a whistle πŸ™‚ ) which is surely in the same genre. The JJ dance instructions for it, though, don’t say what to do for the last 4 bars - did they just stand there?

Irrespective, it doesn’t seem to be on here anywhere so I’ll do the transcription and add it when I’ve time.

Andy I suggest you stop ripping off the people who sell this book and find some tunes that aren’t in it to post on this site.

I remember paying around Β£15 for the Joshua Jackson book and so should everyone else. Cheers!

Posted .

I don’t have this one so haven’t checked, but I have to agree, if all you are doing is ABC-ing from the work in print.

It would be a reasonable contribution if you had your own way with it first before offering it here, something you or friends had been playing for awhile and having fun with, spruced up in your own style, or that of your local session’s. You could then refer to this book as your original source for it or as an alternate setting.

I know it is a compilation from a historical document, but it would be much preferred if you breathed life into it before adding it here, instead of just converting it to ABCs and adding one tune after the other from the available collection…nice tunes or not…

The Lady’s Plaything

I used to play this with a folk group in Edinburgh in the 1990s - great tune, and I think we got our version from Matt Seattle’s wonderful Border Pipes selection, which had it n the key of A. It’s in Aird’s first selection (1782) in G, and I have also come across the same tune under the title "General Howe’s March" - I can’t remember where that was, but I’ll look through my notebooks later and let you know.

The version I play is slightly different to andy9876’s:

T:Lady’s Plaything, The
T:General Howe’s March
S:West Edinburgh Folk Group and Matt Seattle
Z:Nigel Gatherer
e/d/ | c2c cde | B2B B2e | A2A ABc | c3 B2f |
eae cec | AcA e2d | cdc BcB | A2A A2 :|
z | ece ece | f2f f2d | dBd dBd | e2e e2d |
cAc cAc | d2d dcB | cde edc | c3 B2f |
eae cec | AcA e2d | cdc BcB | A2A A2 :|

‘slightly different’ is good! πŸ˜‰

It’s not you andy9876, no way, it is the ‘act’ and ‘repetition’…nice tunes though they are… πŸ˜‰


.. I was about to call time on my using this book as a source anyway. Hopefully, the short selection that I’ve transcribed, together with their provenance, will alert others to this rich seam. It contains well over 150 more tunes, many of which don’t appear to be here "in the sesh" at all, or are early variants of others that do. (It was never my intention to "rip off" this work, and I’m rather hoping this sounds more like an advert for it πŸ™‚ )

"Tunes, Songs and Dances from the 1798 Manuscript of Joshua Jackson, North Yorkshire cornmiller and musician". Presented by Bowen and Shephed, published by Yorkshire Dales Workshops - ISBN 1 897925 17 4)

I’ve transcribed the tunes "as written" because of their history. I’m slowly learning them and sharing them in my local sessions, adding my own tweaks and ornamentation on the way and picking up on those my co-conspirators inject. I’ll maybe add these takes back in as comments if and when they settle into a repeatable form.

Jir or set dance

Rather than four bars tacked onto a jig, is this instead a longer quirkier set dance form like "St. Patrick’s Day"? At fourteen bars it’s not a jig, but certainly holds together better than "tacked on " would describe. Does anyone know how these oddly lengthed tunes developed?

From experience playing for dancing I would hazzard a guess that tunes like this were put together for specific dances. The majority of standard Irish, and for that matter English & Sottish tunes fit into the 16, 32, 48 bar mould (obviously there are exceptions) and in many respects most dances do the same.
Where a tag-on 4 or 8 bar phrase appears there is often a dance on phrase which in some cases offers a dance couple the chance to swing-on and find another couple (e.g. Waltz Country Dance is a 32 bar dance with an 8 bar tag-on to do just that).
Sometimes the ‘Chicken and egg situation’ comes to mind. Either way I strongly feel that ‘dance’ is central to their creation.

Posted by .

~ ‘dance’ is central to their creation

Nice one Andy, respect… πŸ˜‰

& hetty, I’m in agreement… I could swear I’ve even seen a dance somewhere in my digging through mouldy old tomes that had a name like this appended to it… Actually, while my hard disk fried I think I saved some remnant of a database. I’ll have to check that in the morning…

This is also found in Thompson’s Compleat Collection of Country Dances c.1770