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Meaning: Parson Upon Dorothy

GUEST,BobL 28 Jan 13 - 04:59 AM
Nigel Parsons 28 Jan 13 - 05:16 AM
Jim Carroll 28 Jan 13 - 06:37 AM
GUEST,leeneia 28 Jan 13 - 10:37 AM
GUEST,999 28 Jan 13 - 11:24 AM
Mo the caller 28 Jan 13 - 11:30 AM
Jack Campin 28 Jan 13 - 12:10 PM
TheSnail 28 Jan 13 - 12:14 PM
GUEST,leeneia 28 Jan 13 - 12:20 PM
Jack Campin 28 Jan 13 - 02:22 PM
Jim Carroll 28 Jan 13 - 02:29 PM
Noreen 28 Jan 13 - 02:58 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 28 Jan 13 - 03:41 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 28 Jan 13 - 03:49 PM
Jim Carroll 28 Jan 13 - 03:55 PM
Nigel Parsons 29 Jan 13 - 04:47 AM
Rob Naylor 29 Jan 13 - 04:52 AM
Mo the caller 29 Jan 13 - 07:53 AM
Mick Pearce (MCP) 29 Jan 13 - 07:58 AM
Jack Campin 29 Jan 13 - 09:03 AM
GUEST,Grishka 29 Jan 13 - 10:00 AM
Mick Pearce (MCP) 29 Jan 13 - 11:38 AM
Jack Campin 29 Jan 13 - 11:59 AM
Mick Pearce (MCP) 29 Jan 13 - 12:37 PM
Jack Campin 29 Jan 13 - 01:15 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 29 Jan 13 - 01:20 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 29 Jan 13 - 02:02 PM
GUEST,Jack Sprocket 29 Jan 13 - 02:15 PM
GUEST,Squeezer 29 Jan 13 - 06:40 PM
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Subject: Origin: Parson Upon Dorothy
From: GUEST,BobL
Date: 28 Jan 13 - 04:59 AM

Playford's "Dancing Master" includes a dance (well, two or three actually) called "Parson Upon Dorothy", a.k.a. "The Shepherd's Daughter". Does anyone have a clue where this title originates? A lot of dances were simply named after the songs whose tunes they used, but a few are Irish titles assimilated into English: I wondered if this might be one of them.


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Subject: RE: Meaning: Parson Upon Dorothy
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 28 Jan 13 - 05:16 AM

Sorry, I've no idea of the origin, but to give a starting point, it can be found Here apparently from a source printed in 1709


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Subject: RE: Meaning: Parson Upon Dorothy
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 28 Jan 13 - 06:37 AM

Perhaps it's an old English custom not referred to in polite society!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Meaning: Parson Upon Dorothy
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 28 Jan 13 - 10:37 AM

Have you ever looked at an old music manuscript? They can be amazingly hard to read.

The song was probably "Parsnips from Dortney."


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Subject: RE: Meaning: Parson Upon Dorothy
From: GUEST,999
Date: 28 Jan 13 - 11:24 AM

Whoever they were from, she wasn't in Kansas anymore.


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Subject: RE: Meaning: Parson Upon Dorothy
From: Mo the caller
Date: 28 Jan 13 - 11:30 AM

Perhaps it is Jim.
According to this CD it's aka Parson upon Dolly, so maybe it is a song. But no lyrics that I can find.


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Subject: RE: Meaning: Parson Upon Dorothy
From: Jack Campin
Date: 28 Jan 13 - 12:10 PM

There are a lot of "Parson" tunes - The Parson and his Boots, The Parson in the Suds, The Drunken Parson. I wonder if some of them are related to this?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Parson%27s_Wedding

though it wasn't a musical play and I don't know of musical adaptations; also it has no character called Dorothy or Dolly in the known script.


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Subject: RE: Meaning: Parson Upon Dorothy
From: TheSnail
Date: 28 Jan 13 - 12:14 PM

Maybe the parson was a Friend of Dorothy.


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Subject: RE: Meaning: Parson Upon Dorothy
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 28 Jan 13 - 12:20 PM

I think that even if the song had had a title in some Gaelic language, that English speakers would have given it a new title which sounded similar but made some sense. Whether you call it 'Parson upon Dorothy' or 'Parson upon Dolly,' it doesn't make sense, and it's just a scrap of nonsense from the past which we will probably never understand.

I have looked at many country dance tunes, and while their names may be whimsical, they all make sense. They show a modicum of good taste, too.

Recently I had occasion to search for a different, rather well-known tune on the site called TheSession. The site listed 30 known names for it. Clearly, if we spend too much time on the names of tunes, we won't have time to play them and have fun.

(Now I remember: the tune with 30 names was "The Night Larry was Stretched.")


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Subject: RE: Meaning: Parson Upon Dorothy
From: Jack Campin
Date: 28 Jan 13 - 02:22 PM

There are so many "Parson" tunes (two more: "Parson's Farewell" and "The Parson of Eltham") that in the historical context it is much more likely that those words DID make sense. Even the weirdest titles in the older repertoire usually have a story behind them, though to understand it you may need to know about a long-forgotten historical episode or pick up an allusion to a song that's nobody's sung for 200 years.


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Subject: RE: Meaning: Parson Upon Dorothy
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 28 Jan 13 - 02:29 PM

"There are a lot of "Parson"
Then there was the one who had a friend named Carson.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Meaning: Parson Upon Dorothy
From: Noreen
Date: 28 Jan 13 - 02:58 PM

It may be a red herring, but the 1709 image linked above by Nigel, has it as

Parson upon Dorothy

i.e. 'upon' in a different typeface- which could mean that it is a combination of two dances, named 'Parson' and 'Dorothy', put together?


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Subject: RE: Meaning: Parson Upon Dorothy
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 28 Jan 13 - 03:41 PM

"Parson Upon Dorothy" first appeared in the 2nd ed. of Playford's Dancing Master, 1652. The melody was retained in all subsequent editions....... Also used in Walsh's Compleat Country Dancing Master..... etc.

I could find no tune called "Dorothy" which would fit this time frame.

A lost tune?? Or perhaps also bore another name. For example, the much later song (c. 1800), "Poor Little Adaline" is about a Dorothy-

Dorothy was handsome, her teeth white as snow,
................
And poor litle Dorothy died an old maid,
And poor little Dorothy, Dorothy, Dorothy,
Poor little Dorothy died an old maid.


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Subject: RE: Meaning: Parson Upon Dorothy
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 28 Jan 13 - 03:49 PM

Above from The Fiddler's Companion, and the Bodleian (Poor Little Adaline).

"Parson Upon Dorothy" appears in many fiddling and dancing compendia, seems to be well-known in N. Am. as well.


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Subject: RE: Meaning: Parson Upon Dorothy
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 28 Jan 13 - 03:55 PM

Sorry for the levity.
This from Claud Simpson's The British Broadside Ballad and its Music not an easy book to scan – (excuse the errors) Not particularly helpful to the questioner but it provides some background
Jim Carroll

THE SHEPHERD'S DAUGHTER
This tune appears in all save the first edition of The Dancing Master (1652, p. 83 = Fig. 426), usually called "Parson upon Dorothy" or "Parson[s] and Dorothy," but in the 1670-1690 editions called "The Shepherd's Daughter." Under the former name the tune is also found in three ballad operas: Momus turn'd Fabulist and Gay's Polly, 1729, and Lillo's Silvia, 1731.
The traditional ballad known as "The Knight and Shepherd's Daughter" (Child No. 110), licensed as a broadside in 1624 and again in 1656, is preserved in an edition representing the second of these entries and published by Gilbertson: "The beautifull Shepherdesse of Arcadia," beginning "There was a Shepherd's Daughter/came triping on the way" Roxburghe III, 160).1 This issue and another of not much later date (Douce I, nT, 14) bear the tune title "The Shepheards Delight"; in issues of c. 1700 the tune is called "The Shepherd's Daughter" (Lord Crawford, Douce, Chetham, Roxburghe; reprinted in RB III, 451). The stanza is a ballad-meter quatrain with a burden "Sing trang dil do lee"; music in The Dancing Master and the ballad operas, however, is designed for a six-line or (with each strain repeated) a twelve-line stanza in this meter, and there is no provision for a refrain. It may be doubted, then, that the tune as we have it was used for singing the ballad. Chappell "adapted" the tune by eliminating the second strain which nearly or completely repeats the first, and adding a two-bar coda for the refrain (PMOT 1, 1927). This reconstruction, while it has no textual validity, is probably sound: as the tune passed from ballads to country-dance sets, a two-bar refrain would almost certainly have been discarded, in order to allow the conventional four-bar phrases to flow unimpeded.
"The forsaken Damosel: Or, The Deluded Maid," beginning "Abroad .is I of late did walk," is to the tune "A Shepherds daughter once there was" (Rawlinson 24). The tune name may be a paraphrase of the opening line of "The Beautiful Shepherdess"; except for the absence of a refrain line here, the stanza, patterns are identical.
The earlier tune name, "The Shepherd's Delight," is found as the title two ballads whose metrical patterns are so widely at variance with the leasure of "The Beautiful Shepherdess of Arcadia" that neither can be seriously considered as a source of the tune title.
Most of Child's traditional texts of "The Knight and Shepherd's Daughter" lack a refrain, but as B. H. Bronson shows (The Traditional Tunes of the Child Ballads, 1959-…, II, 535), "every copy collected with its tune has strong elements of refrain." A Somerset version which Cecil Sharp included in his One Hundred English Folksongs, 1916, p. 6, supplements the ballad quatrains with a burden "Line twine the willow dee, phonetically reminiscent of the "Sing trang dil do lee" of the seventh-century broadside; the two-bar tag at the end of the tune is characteristic of several Sharp recoveries in which the last line of each stanza is repeated or a single-line burden appended.


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Subject: RE: Meaning: Parson Upon Dorothy
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 29 Jan 13 - 04:47 AM

Noreen's comment about the different typefaces could be significant.
Parson upon Dorothy
This could make it a tune by Parson, about Dorothy (rather than any of the more salacious meanings)


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Subject: RE: Meaning: Parson Upon Dorothy
From: Rob Naylor
Date: 29 Jan 13 - 04:52 AM

Nigel, if it's in the "folkie" canon I'd have thought it *far* more likely to have one of the more salacious meanings.

I took a young (well, early 30s) friend along to a few singarounds a year or two back and at about the third singaround her eyes suddenly lit up, she turned to me and with a huge grin said "I get it now....they're ALL about sex!" :-)


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Subject: RE: Meaning: Parson Upon Dorothy
From: Mo the caller
Date: 29 Jan 13 - 07:53 AM

The link I quoted above
was lyrics for a Hannah James and Sam Sweeney album.
It said it didn't have the lyrics yet.
Does this mean they hadn't got round to obtaining the lyrics for this track - and that it is a song, or is it just a tune?


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Subject: RE: Meaning: Parson Upon Dorothy
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 29 Jan 13 - 07:58 AM

DM italicises proper names and (in 1698 version I was looking at) both Parson and Dorothy were italicized, suggesting they are both proper names. I suspect it may refer to a tune/song/poem by someone called Parson about someone called Dorothy. (Though upon could mean near or close to, so it could mean two people who were close together). I don't think it refers to the office of a parson, which I think would have had The Parson... as in The Cobler's Jig (or unitalicized title but italicized place name in The Duke of York).

There was a composer called Robert Parsons who would fit a suitable time frame, but I can't see anything by him relating to a Dorothy.


Mick


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Subject: RE: Meaning: Parson Upon Dorothy
From: Jack Campin
Date: 29 Jan 13 - 09:03 AM

I see from the VMP transcription that the tune dates from Playford's 1652 collection. That puts it in the right time frame to be related to Killigrew's "Parson's Wedding" of ten years before.


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Subject: RE: Meaning: Parson Upon Dorothy
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 29 Jan 13 - 10:00 AM

Could parson be italicized because it was considered a foreign word, not identical to the English word for cleric? There is an old northern French word "parson", considered a variant of "partition". My wild uninformed guess would be that the tune is derived in some sense from a song "Dorothy". The derivation may have been simply dropping tbe chorus, or to take another voice of a multi-voice arrangement, etc.


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Subject: RE: Meaning: Parson Upon Dorothy
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 29 Jan 13 - 11:38 AM

A La Mode de France and Bore la Bass appear unitalicized, so I think that would mitigate against that Grishka,

Mick


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Subject: RE: Meaning: Parson Upon Dorothy
From: Jack Campin
Date: 29 Jan 13 - 11:59 AM

"Parson" is the ordinary English word for "cleric". The OED has citations for it as far back as 1250.


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Subject: RE: Meaning: Parson Upon Dorothy
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 29 Jan 13 - 12:37 PM

No argument there Jack, but I think it would have been unitalicized (and preceded by the definite article) if a generic cleric had been meant (as the cobbler and duke in the examples I gave above)

Mick


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Subject: RE: Meaning: Parson Upon Dorothy
From: Jack Campin
Date: 29 Jan 13 - 01:15 PM

Here's the 1650s version (it's not clear from the site which edition they used, but they are probably identical). No italicization.

http://www.izaak.unh.edu/nhltmd/indexes/dancingmaster/Dance/Play0303.htm

Choice of typeface was often a bit random in this period, and the Playfords weren't exactly perfectionists (as that wonky sample shows). In 17th and 18th century printing it was quite common for job titles to be italicized in the same way as names.


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Subject: RE: Meaning: Parson Upon Dorothy
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 29 Jan 13 - 01:20 PM

I have found the dance with the note:

"The dance was edited by Cecil Sharp under its alternative title: "The Shepherd's Daughter."

Many other old dances, dance instructions and musical scores, including "Row Well, Ye Mariners, in the website of the Country Dance and Song Society, Bolton Collection.

http://www.cdss.org/retreads.html


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Subject: RE: Meaning: Parson Upon Dorothy
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 29 Jan 13 - 02:02 PM

The Fiddlers Companion has this note on "The Shepherd's Daughter, (2)" (AKA and see "Parson Upon Dorothy")

"...Chappell (1859), quotes Percy who states that the air was a popular tune in the time of Elizabeth I, "usually printed with her picture below it"." Chappell (p. 126, V. 1) uses the name "Parson and Dorothy" as an alternate name instead of "Parson upon Dorothy."

This does not aid the search for the meaning, but may help in the search for more information.

(Also see "The Knight and the Shepherd's Daughter.")


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Subject: RE: Meaning: Parson Upon Dorothy
From: GUEST,Jack Sprocket
Date: 29 Jan 13 - 02:15 PM

Dolly/ Dorothy was the parson's horse?


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Subject: RE: Meaning: Parson Upon Dorothy
From: GUEST,Squeezer
Date: 29 Jan 13 - 06:40 PM

I imagine it's related to the old recitation with song known as Parson Brown's Sheep. Words are on the Net. Meaning that the parson was literally upon Dorothy (or Dolly, or Molly).


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