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Origins: The two or three Sellenger's Rounds

GUEST,Gordon 13 Feb 18 - 04:15 PM
GUEST,Jerry 14 Feb 18 - 05:26 AM
Gordon Jackson 14 Feb 18 - 08:49 AM
GUEST,Mick Pearce (MCP) 14 Feb 18 - 08:55 AM
GUEST,Mick Pearce (MCP) 14 Feb 18 - 09:06 AM
Gordon Jackson 14 Feb 18 - 09:45 AM
Gordon Jackson 14 Feb 18 - 09:52 AM
GUEST,CJB 14 Feb 18 - 10:45 AM
GUEST,Jerry 14 Feb 18 - 12:27 PM
GUEST,Mick Pearce (MCP) 14 Feb 18 - 12:29 PM
Stower 14 Feb 18 - 05:03 PM
GUEST,Mick Pearce (MCP) 14 Feb 18 - 05:08 PM
Stower 14 Feb 18 - 05:11 PM
GUEST,Mick Pearce (MCP) 14 Feb 18 - 06:17 PM
Herga Kitty 14 Feb 18 - 07:09 PM
GUEST,Mick Pearce (MCP) 15 Feb 18 - 06:57 AM
GUEST,Mick Pearce (MCP) 15 Feb 18 - 07:00 AM
GUEST,Mick Pearce (MCP) 15 Feb 18 - 08:31 AM
Stower 17 Feb 18 - 11:43 AM
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Subject: Origins: The two or three Sellenger's Rounds
From: GUEST,Gordon
Date: 13 Feb 18 - 04:15 PM

I have a question about the origin of the well-known tune, Sellenger’s Round (aka The Beginning of the World). The details are not dissimilar to the question I recently posted about Kemp’s Jig.

Folk musicians are very familiar with Sellenger’s Round, and can often be heard to proclaim ‘Oh yes, that’s in Playford’, only it’s not!

The Sellenger’s Round (in C) in Playford (1651) is a completely different tune to the one known to folkies (in G). There is another tune in Playford, Spring Garden (in C), which has the alternative title of Sellenger’s Round, but this is yet another tune.

But now the plot thickens. Volume 1 of the Fitzwilliam Virginal Book, although compiled in the nineteenth century, contains pieces from about 1562-1612, including a William Byrd arrangement of Sellenger’s Round (the ‘folkie’ one in G). Clearly, Byrd didn’t compose the tune, as Playford predates the FVB collection, and also because it certainly doesn’t sound like a Byrd composition.

So, does anyone out there have any idea of where the tune – and the title – came from?

Thanks in advance,
Gordon


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Subject: RE: Origins: The two or three Sellenger's Rounds
From: GUEST,Jerry
Date: 14 Feb 18 - 05:26 AM

My understanding is that yes, this tune predates the Playford collections, but confusion might arise because Sellengers Round is surely the name of a fairly ancient circle dance, rather than a tune per se, although it is commonly danced nowadays to the tune called The Beginning of the World, or have I got that wrong way around. It follows then that it could be danced to other jig time tunes, presumably including Spring Gardens (which I’m not familiar with).


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Subject: RE: Origins: The two or three Sellenger's Rounds
From: Gordon Jackson
Date: 14 Feb 18 - 08:49 AM

Hi Jerry,

Yes, I suspect you may be right in that SR is the dance and BotW is the tune, but ...

1) Most (not all) references to the dance have BoftW as the accompanying tune. Even Byrd called his version SR, not BotW;

2) This doesn't actually answer my question of where the tune (BotW) comes from.

For the avoidance of confusion (!), the Playford version can be heard here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=LmoVwIRa9K0, starting at about 4:30. The common tune - the one I'm interested in - is this one: www.youtube.com/watch?v=iMy7Shm8aW4&t=30s.

Gordon


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Subject: RE: Origins: The two or three Sellenger's Rounds
From: GUEST,Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 14 Feb 18 - 08:55 AM

Sellenger's Round wasn't in the 1651 edition of The English Dancing Master, it appeared in editions 3 onwards (3-18), with alternate title The Beginning of the World, so 1657 is its first appearance in Playford.

I don't think that Spring Garden is an alterative title. I believe this stems from a misreading of the index in Jeremy Barlow's The Complete Country Dance Tunes from Playford's Dancing Master (1651-1728). The index entry reads:

Sellenger's Round 129 Sellengers Round 132

Then entry is the title and tune number in Barlow ('Sellenger's Round 129') followed by the name it was listed under in the first edition it appeared in and page number (or tune number in editions that didn't have 1 dance per page). So the 2nd part of the index entry 'Sellengers Round 132' means tune was listed as 'Sellengers Round' on page 132 of the 3rd edition. However if the 2nd part of the index is read as another entry in Barlow then tune 132 in Barlow is Spring Garden and I think this is where the mistake comes.

I don't know if the other two versions are more than variants of each other. For example the Playford version is more elaborate than the Byrd's simple statement in Fitzwilliam.

Simpson's BBBM has a long entry on the tune with various sources listed (eg William Ballet's Lute Book, which I think is late 15th/early 16thC). He also says 'References to the tune under one name or another abound in literature of the 16th and 17th centuries'.

Also (from BBBM) the origin is unknown though has been supposed that name derives from 'St.Leger's round'. Grattan Flood argued for an Irish origin and name derived from Sir Anthony St. Leger, lord deputy of Ireland in 16th C. (Though if memory serves Grattan Flood is known to be fanciful of origins! MCP)

Mick


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Subject: RE: Origins: The two or three Sellenger's Rounds
From: GUEST,Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 14 Feb 18 - 09:06 AM

Gordon the 2nd tune you link on youtube is Byrd's statement of the tune from Fitzwilliam (or at least the undecorated tune statement as listed in BBBM - Byrd marks decorations on the many of the beats). The first is as in the Dancing Master,

Mick


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Subject: RE: Origins: The two or three Sellenger's Rounds
From: Gordon Jackson
Date: 14 Feb 18 - 09:45 AM

Thanks Mick, the index thing always confused me. I see now that it’s explained at the start of the index, but I never read it! Also, you’re right about Sellenger’s Round first appearing in the 3rd edition. The Barlow edition is not terribly well laid out, is it? You have to search through the text to find the start of each edition, and they are pretty easy to miss.

However, the two tunes seem completely different to my ear.

I don’t know what Simpson’s BBBM is I’m afraid. William Ballet’s Lute Book is available online, but the music’s all in tablature, which I don’t read, so I don’t know which of the tunes is referred to. Do you?

Gordon


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Subject: RE: Origins: The two or three Sellenger's Rounds
From: Gordon Jackson
Date: 14 Feb 18 - 09:52 AM

Mick, regarding the Byrd tune, I mentioned that in my original question. He called it simply Sellenger's Round, with no mention of The Beginning of the World. As Byrd was earlier than Playford, he must have come across the tune elsewhere, and that brings us right back to my original question!

PS I notice all my inverted commas have somehow become question marks - my punctuation is really not that bad!


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Subject: RE: Origins: The two or three Sellenger's Rounds
From: GUEST,CJB
Date: 14 Feb 18 - 10:45 AM

Way back I read that an early Sellenger's Round - tune - was on a manuscript in the Queen's private collection.

And maybe the good folk of the ECD mailing list might have further information.

http://www-ssrl.slac.stanford.edu/~winston/ecd.htmlx


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Subject: RE: Origins: The two or three Sellenger's Rounds
From: GUEST,Jerry
Date: 14 Feb 18 - 12:27 PM

Having checked the Youtube references, I would agree that the second tune is the one now commonly associated with this dance, and I don’t recognise the first one. However, I see other YouTube videos there that refer to the Byrd version, but seem to be the same common tune slowed down to a waltz like tempo. None of this helps in finding its origin of course, but happy hunting all the same.


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Subject: RE: Origins: The two or three Sellenger's Rounds
From: GUEST,Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 14 Feb 18 - 12:29 PM

Gordon BBBM is Claude Simpson's The British Broadside Ballad and its Music.

In The Ballet Lute book it starts about half way down page 101 (using the pencilled page numbers - it's page 105 of the pages on Trinity's site William Ballet's Lute Book") and finishes on the second stave on p103, where you can see the name at the end. (You might find it easier to download the pdf)

Here's another copy of Sellenger's Round for lute: Cambridge MS Dd.3.18 - Sellengers Rounde - lute tablature (png image). There are other lute versions I think.

The origin will almost certainly be unknown, all we have is where it was written down or referenced. It was used for a song in John Pickering's interlude Horestes 1567, though I don't know if that's the earliest reference.

(Much the same - in terms of unknown origin - applies to Kemp's Jig in your other thread.)

Mick


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Subject: RE: Origins: The two or three Sellenger's Rounds
From: Stower
Date: 14 Feb 18 - 05:03 PM

The 'Sellenger's Round' in Playford (1651) is not a completely different tune to that played late in the previous century. If you listen to the chord structure and the general direction of the melody you'll hear that it is a development of the same melody, just a bit fancier. You can play one on top of the other and they'll fit.

'Sellengers Round' also went under the title 'The Beginning of the World' because, according to the 1607 comedy, 'Lingua' (which also calls it 'Sellenger's Round'), it is in effect the dance tune of the universe, being the first tune the planets played, using Venus as
the treble and Saturn as the bass. When the character Common Sense asks why, then, can we not hear it now, Memory replies that "Our ears are so well acquainted with the sound, that we never mark it." This fits in entirely with the renaissance idea of the music of the spheres.

There are numerous settings of 'Sellenger’s Round', including those in the lute books Marsh, c. 1595, TCD MS 408/2, c. 1605, and Margaret Board, c. 1620 and 1635. In 'A short Account of the Minstrels -Volume One', W. Chappell lists settings in 'Lady Neville's Virginal
Book', ‘Music's Handmaid’ of 1678, and in 'Fitzwilliam Virginal Book' (previously called 'Queen Elizabeth's Virginal Book') there is a particularly fine arrangement of 'Sellingers Rownde' - by royal
appointment - by William Byrd (1543-1623).

Chappell says the title may derive from Sir Thomas Sellynger, buried in St. George's Chapel, Windsor before 1475, but he doesn't say why.

There is much evidence of its great popularity. 'Bacchus’ Bountie' (1593) mentions 'Sellengar's Round' being played joyfully by a fiddler for dancers; Middleton's 'Father Hubburd's Tales' (1604) recalls a sad country Christmas because 'Sellenger's Round' was not danced around the Maypole by moonlight; it appears as a round dance in John Playford's 'Dancing Master' (1670); and the ballad, 'The Rural Dance About The May-Pole' (1671), says: "'Begin,' says Hall; 'Aye, aye,' says Mall, 'We'l1 lead up 'Packington’s Pound'; 'No, no,' says Noll, and so says Doll, 'We’ll first have 'Sellenger's Round'.'" It is the given tune for broadside ballads from 1623, including 'The Fair Maid of Islington' (Bagford Collection), 'The merry wooing of Robin and Joan' (Roxburgh Collection) and 'Robin's Courtship' ('Wit Restored', 1658). As ‘The Beginning of the World’ it is mentioned by Thomas Deloney, referring to the times of Henry VIII (which does not mean this is accurate), and by a great host of 16th & 17th century writers, including the playwright Ben Jonson.


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Subject: RE: Origins: The two or three Sellenger's Rounds
From: GUEST,Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 14 Feb 18 - 05:08 PM

Stower

Simpson describes the Lingua explanation as facetious.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Origins: The two or three Sellenger's Rounds
From: Stower
Date: 14 Feb 18 - 05:11 PM

Mick, I wasn't meaning to state a historical actuality about the tune, only what 'Lingua' says about it. I didn't for a minute suggest 'Lingua's description is factual!


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Subject: RE: Origins: The two or three Sellenger's Rounds
From: GUEST,Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 14 Feb 18 - 06:17 PM

Sorry Stower - misread your post.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Origins: The two or three Sellenger's Rounds
From: Herga Kitty
Date: 14 Feb 18 - 07:09 PM

I haven't opened all the links, but is this the Caper and Ferk it tune, used for the Maid of Islington...?


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Subject: RE: Origins: The two or three Sellenger's Rounds
From: GUEST,Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 15 Feb 18 - 06:57 AM

Kit

The tune usually heard for The Fair Maid Of Islington is indeed Sellenger's Round.

But the broadside directs it to be sung to Sellengers Round or Caper And Firk It (eg The Fair Maid Of Islington - Bodleian). These are two tunes, not alternative names for the same tune.

Caper And Firk It is an alternative tile to the tune named as Under The Greenwood Tree in Simpson BBBM and Chappell PMOT. It is a separate tune from Sellenger's Round. (These words appear in a a version of Under The Greenwood Tree; Oh! how they do firk it, caper and jerk it, Under the greenwood tree)

Shirley Collins recorded The Fair Maid Of Islington to Sellenger's Round. So did June Tabor, but she followed it with a version of Under The Greenwood Tree as it appears in PMOT in 6/8. There is also a 4/4 version of Under The Greenwood Tree, printed in BBBM. Various edition of the Dancing Master printed tunes in both 3 and 4 time.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Origins: The two or three Sellenger's Rounds
From: GUEST,Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 15 Feb 18 - 07:00 AM

That last sentence should have read printed Under The Greenwood Tree in both 3 and 4 time, for clarity.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Origins: The two or three Sellenger's Rounds
From: GUEST,Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 15 Feb 18 - 08:31 AM

I'll get this right yet!

That last sentence (in my post of 06:57) should have read printed Under The Greenwood Tree in both 6 and 4 time, for clarity.

Kit, I should also add that the version of The Fair Maid of Islington in Sedley: The Seeds Of Love uses Sellenger's Round (if I remember correctly) and that's probably is why it's heard to that tune so often.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Origins: The two or three Sellenger's Rounds
From: Stower
Date: 17 Feb 18 - 11:43 AM

Here is The Fair Maid of Islington: facsimile of the 17th century broadside, transcript of the words and the song being sung, on the fabulous English Broadside Ballad Archive website.


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