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Who was Sir Roger Decoverley?

Alan Day 24 Sep 05 - 11:04 AM
12string growler 24 Sep 05 - 11:58 AM
Sorcha 24 Sep 05 - 12:14 PM
greg stephens 24 Sep 05 - 01:20 PM
R. Padgett 24 Sep 05 - 01:38 PM
The Fooles Troupe 24 Sep 05 - 06:50 PM
GUEST,leeneia 25 Sep 05 - 02:50 PM
Malcolm Douglas 25 Sep 05 - 03:42 PM
Alan Day 25 Sep 05 - 05:48 PM
Mark Cohen 25 Sep 05 - 09:54 PM
Peace 25 Sep 05 - 10:01 PM
Malcolm Douglas 25 Sep 05 - 10:32 PM
Bugsy 26 Sep 05 - 03:39 AM
JohnB 26 Sep 05 - 11:32 PM
Splott Man 27 Sep 05 - 03:50 AM
Mr Red 27 Sep 05 - 07:50 AM
Mr Red 27 Sep 05 - 07:52 AM
GUEST,leeneia 27 Sep 05 - 10:15 AM
Anglo 27 Sep 05 - 10:39 AM
Malcolm Douglas 27 Sep 05 - 11:43 AM
Anglo 27 Sep 05 - 01:03 PM
Leadfingers 28 Sep 05 - 11:15 AM
Paul Burke 29 Sep 05 - 08:04 AM
Anglo 29 Sep 05 - 10:51 AM
katlaughing 07 Jun 08 - 11:32 PM
GUEST,doc.tom 08 Jun 08 - 05:50 AM
GUEST,doc.tom 08 Jun 08 - 07:11 AM
Tootler 08 Jun 08 - 05:44 PM
GUEST,Bill the sound 08 Jun 08 - 06:27 PM
Rapparee 09 Jun 08 - 08:52 AM
GUEST,leeneia 09 Jun 08 - 11:17 AM
Malcolm Douglas 09 Jun 08 - 02:31 PM
Geoff the Duck 10 Jun 08 - 04:54 AM
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Subject: Who was Sir Roger Decoverley?
From: Alan Day
Date: 24 Sep 05 - 11:04 AM

I would be interested to know if this person existed and why was a tune named after him ?
Al


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Subject: RE: Who was Sir Roger Decoverley?
From: 12string growler
Date: 24 Sep 05 - 11:58 AM

And, If he was as boring as his tunes namesake, why did they give him a knighthood

Chris


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Subject: RE: Who was Sir Roger Decoverley?
From: Sorcha
Date: 24 Sep 05 - 12:14 PM

Sir Roger de Coverly was the name of a rakish character in popular literature in the early 18th century. He was supposedly a country squire from Worcestershire, and a member of a small club which ran the popular newspaper The Spectator that appeared daily from 1711 to 1712, and his grandfather was said to have invented the dance that went by his name.

In fact, save for the existence and popularity of The Spectator, it was all a fiction by Joseph Addison, one of the principal contributors to the paper. Kidson, writing in Groves, says the prefix 'Sir' in the title is not found until after Addison and Steele used the name in their paper. What is revealing about this is that "Roger of Coverly" was considered an old dance at the time the paper was published.


http://www.ibiblio.org/fiddlers/SIR.htm


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Subject: RE: Who was Sir Roger Decoverley?
From: greg stephens
Date: 24 Sep 05 - 01:20 PM

Considered by some to be derived from "Roger de Calverly" (Calverley being a village in Cheshire). The Sir was certainly added well after the tune's first appearance. The Cheshire origin is reinforced by its being referred to as a Cheshire tune in a very early published example.


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Subject: RE: Who was Sir Roger Decoverley?
From: R. Padgett
Date: 24 Sep 05 - 01:38 PM

I thought it as something to do with The Scarlet Pimpernell, but then the old grey cells are not what they used to be


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Subject: RE: Who was Sir Roger Decoverley?
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 24 Sep 05 - 06:50 PM

My ears are not what they used to be - they used to be my ears...


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Subject: RE: Who was Sir Roger Decoverley?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 25 Sep 05 - 02:50 PM

Isn't this dance mentioned in Dickens' "The Christmas Carol?" I believe they dance it at Old Fezziwig's party.


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Subject: RE: Who was Sir Roger Decoverley?
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 25 Sep 05 - 03:42 PM

The relevant passage is quoted at the Fiddlers Companion (see Sorcha's post), together with a good bit of further information precied from various sources. In a box somewhere, I have a collected edition of all the Spectator pieces; but they don't have anything to do with the dance, of course.

The tune appears in the Dancing Master (1695 and thereafter), first in 3/9 and later in 9/4. Notation and dance instructions are at The Dancing Master, 1651-1728: An Illustrated Compendium


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Subject: RE: Who was Sir Roger Decoverley?
From: Alan Day
Date: 25 Sep 05 - 05:48 PM

Please accept my great thanks for the information in your postings and all the time and effort you have put in.
With luck I may be able to return the compliment in the future.
Al


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Subject: RE: Who was Sir Roger Decoverley?
From: Mark Cohen
Date: 25 Sep 05 - 09:54 PM

Malcolm, did you mean to say 3/8? I don't think I've ever seen a ninth note.

Aloha,
Mark


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Subject: RE: Who was Sir Roger Decoverley?
From: Peace
Date: 25 Sep 05 - 10:01 PM

9/8 maybe?

Click on 'Sheetmusic'


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Subject: RE: Who was Sir Roger Decoverley?
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 25 Sep 05 - 10:32 PM

No, I meant exactly what I said: 3/9. That's what Playford used to begin with, though after a few years he moved to 9/4. I expect he had what he saw as good reason for that; I don't understand musical theory sufficiently to guess why. What we see nowadays as unusual or exotic wasn't so very unusual in the past.

Not 9/8; that's a more recent approach, though certainly the way we'd notate (and play) it nowadays.


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Subject: RE: Who was Sir Roger Decoverley?
From: Bugsy
Date: 26 Sep 05 - 03:39 AM

"Roger de Calverly" is what my mother used to call my penis. Hence - to give someone a "good Rogering"


Cheers


Bugsy


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Subject: RE: Who was Sir Roger Decoverley?
From: JohnB
Date: 26 Sep 05 - 11:32 PM

Wouldn't three bars of 3/9 give you the same tempo "feel" as one bar of 9/8. I would suppose that at some time conventions changed and all the bottom numbers became even for counting purposes. When did bar lines come into common useage? this could also have some bearing.
Just my thoughts, knowing nothing much about theory, or much else if it comes to that.
JohnB


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Subject: RE: Who was Sir Roger Decoverley?
From: Splott Man
Date: 27 Sep 05 - 03:50 AM

Has anyone got the dance notation?

I've danced it, but don't know it in detail to call it. A web search hasn't been very helpful.

Splott Man


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Subject: RE: Who was Sir Roger Decoverley?
From: Mr Red
Date: 27 Sep 05 - 07:50 AM

this has been on E-Ceilidh at least once to my knowledge -

the dance is in the EDM - 1646 was it? I always assumed it was called Sir Roger de Coverly in that - it pays to KNOW trather than know - dunnit. But I was told the Spectator provenance regarding Sir Roger's grandfather being THE Sir Roger in the dance.

All of the EDM is on the web - what I have seen of pages (and I think it was S R d C) you will have a project on your hands to interpret the jpg - before you decipher the dance notation. Good Luck.


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Subject: RE: Who was Sir Roger Decoverley?
From: Mr Red
Date: 27 Sep 05 - 07:52 AM

first find - your on your own Splottman

1651 first publish - 1646 was er - um - wrong.


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Subject: RE: Who was Sir Roger Decoverley?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 27 Sep 05 - 10:15 AM


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Subject: RE: Who was Sir Roger Decoverley?
From: Anglo
Date: 27 Sep 05 - 10:39 AM

I'm confused by the 3/9 time reference.

The data coding in the page Malcolm links to above gives 3/9 as the time sig. in Playford's 9th, 10th, and 11th editions, changing to 9/4 in the listing for the 12th. There is one facsimile image representing all editions, and I don't see where the information is which identifies its source. Which edition does this image come from? I use Jeremy Barlow's book as my standard Playford reference, and he gives the 9th edition version as 9/4 throughout, noting the variations in later editions.

Are we sure the 3/9 notation isn't a typo by the indexers of the on-line database? Malcolm was adamant in reaffirming it. But a ninth note simply doesn't exist in my lexicon. It would be shorter than an eighth note (a quaver in English terminology), and there would be only three of them to the bar. It looks to me like the old-fashioned time sig. of 3 (with no denominator) would indicate 3 dotted half-notes, or dotted minims.

I remain -

Confused in Schenectady


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Subject: RE: Who was Sir Roger Decoverley?
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 27 Sep 05 - 11:43 AM

Not as confused as I am when it comes to technicalities of notation! I was starting to have doubts, but it turns out that the Dancing Master edition of 1698 has the tune in 3/9, so there is no typo involved.

You can see Roger of Coverly on page 167 at http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/ampage?collId=musdi&fileName=004/musdi004.db&recNum=174. The default images aren't too easy to read, but there are 300 dpi tiff versions available which are easily legible.


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Subject: RE: Who was Sir Roger Decoverley?
From: Anglo
Date: 27 Sep 05 - 01:03 PM

Thanks for that, Malcolm. If I hadn't seen it with my own eyes, etc. etc. (Now I can think of it as a Playford error, rather than Bob Keller's - and it was corrected in the 12th edition). When in doubt, rationalize.


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Subject: RE: Who was Sir Roger Decoverley?
From: Leadfingers
Date: 28 Sep 05 - 11:15 AM

I used to have a book of traditional songs ( Now loaned to some pillock and never returned ) Which had a quote something like 'In the days before Tin Pan Alley put a musical strait jacket on peoples ears , all sorts of time signatures were commonly used'


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Subject: RE: Who was Sir Roger Decoverley?
From: Paul Burke
Date: 29 Sep 05 - 08:04 AM

I doubt if it's ears, it's just that humans are very good at halving, and pretty poor at other ratios. Anyone TRIED playing it in 3/9?


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Subject: RE: Who was Sir Roger Decoverley?
From: Anglo
Date: 29 Sep 05 - 10:51 AM

It's easy to _play_ in 3/9. Just a hair faster than in 3/8. Tempo is not absolute. The denominator just gives you the unit of measurement, as a fraction of a whole note (semibreve); the numerator tells you how many beats to the bar. It's nigh impossible to _write_ in 3/9, at least according to the standard definition of what a time signature _is_. The "simple" way to write the basic measure would be as 3 16th notes (semiquavers) with a tuplet bracked defines as 16:9. But you can see that this makes no real sense.

What Playford _meant_, I would assume, was a measure of 9 notes (in this instance quarter notes, ot crochets), subdivides into three groups (of three). This would normally be written as 9/4, and that's what the signature was changed to in later editions. So in that sense, both the 3 and the 9 are really numerators.

My experience of early notation isn't enough to know whether this was widely used, I'm afraid, but people invent their own conventions all the time. I do, when writing out music, depending on what I'm trying to express. Sometimes you can just explain these in a footnote; other times you may consider them self-evident.


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Subject: RE: Who was Sir Roger Decoverley?
From: katlaughing
Date: 07 Jun 08 - 11:32 PM

Just had fun reading through this after finding a high school book of my grandmother's from 1903 entitled "Sir Roger de Coverly Papers, from the Spectator" edited by W.H. Hudson. I wonder if grandma has a clue she would marry a Hudson and if she knew the tune.


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Subject: RE: Who was Sir Roger Decoverley?
From: GUEST,doc.tom
Date: 08 Jun 08 - 05:50 AM

Anglo's interpretation just above is the most logical! The only other possibility is that it was a printers error which was perpetuated in subsequent editions (not unusual) until it was finally corrected. /16 = semiquavers: /8 = quavers: /4 = crotchets: /2 = minims: /1 = breves. The clue is in the number series. There simply is not, nor ever was, a note value of 9.
Tom


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Subject: RE: Who was Sir Roger Decoverley?
From: GUEST,doc.tom
Date: 08 Jun 08 - 07:11 AM

Ooops! /1 = semi-breve
Tom


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Subject: RE: Who was Sir Roger Decoverley?
From: Tootler
Date: 08 Jun 08 - 05:44 PM

During the 17th century, musical notation underwent a fairly fundamental change. Bar lines appeared, the form of the time signatures and the notation generally took on a "more modern" appearance.

The changes were more than just superficial. While the way in which pitches were notated did not really change very much, the indication of tempo/time signature did and the change reflected a change in the way in which the tempo and the time signatures were viewed. There is actually quite a good article on Mensural Notation, the style of notation used up to about 1600 here, in Wikipedia

The sections on "Modes and Mensuration Signs" and "Proportion and Coloration" are of particular interest here. On the basis of the following;

Meters could be shifted in the course of a piece, either by inserting a new mensuration sign, or by using numeric proportions. A "3" indicates that all notes will be reduced to one-third of their value; a "2" indicates double tempo; a fraction "3/2" indicates three in the time of two, etc. The proportion "2" could also be expressed by a vertical stroke through the mensuration sign (the root of the modern "alla breve" signature).


It seems likely that Anglo's suggestion is correct. It is also possible that the 3/9 was not an error but deliberate (see the comment on 3/2 above), especially as the notation in the links above shows what would almost certainly be considered at that time as old fashioned notation.

Jeremy Barlow, in his introduction to his "Complete Country Dance Tunes from Playford" has a discussion on the forms of time signature and these were steadily modified in successive editions. Incidentally, Barlow has modernised all the time signatures in his book, especially where they might be unfamiliar.

Geoff


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Subject: RE: Who was Sir Roger Decoverley?
From: GUEST,Bill the sound
Date: 08 Jun 08 - 06:27 PM

I remember my mother having a78 record possibly about 1943 c\lled Sir Roger Decoverley. As I recall he was fond of young ladies.


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Subject: RE: Who was Sir Roger Decoverley?
From: Rapparee
Date: 09 Jun 08 - 08:52 AM

There was Walter Caverley, in the West Riding of Yorkshire, who about 1604 killed his children and was himself killed by the "peine forte et dure" after he stood mute at his trial.


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Subject: RE: Who was Sir Roger Decoverley?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 09 Jun 08 - 11:17 AM

I have been playing the music on Malcolm's link above. I conclude that the tune was noted by a real amateur. For example, the tune starts with one pickup note, and it probably should start with three.

If you look at the supposed 3/9 time, you will see that it is in a suspiciously clean block. Something else was there before, and it was removed (or pasted over) and the 3/9 time put in - perhaps by somebody racked by doubts.

Or it might have been put there by a penman who was thinking 'Shall I write 3/4 or 9/8 or 3/8 or...' and he wound up combining two of them, this time into an impossible combination. A very common type of error.

This is a famous tune, and I'm surprised that I can't find a MIDI of it online. However, it seems rather dull, and I don't blame people for not bothering to untangle the original.


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Subject: RE: Who was Sir Roger Decoverley?
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 09 Jun 08 - 02:31 PM

It can be misleading to apply modern conventions retrospectively to C17 notation, when the modern system was in relative infancy; a consensus was developing but had not yet been reached. Some of the changes in time signature in later editions of Playford are likely to have been the result of standardization of methodology rather than error correction as such, though I wouldn't know whether or not that was the case here. It isn't the only example of 3/9 in Playford, incidentally: 'Bishop of Chester's Jigg' and 'Sir Simon the King' are also given that signature in some editions. It seems reasonable, on the whole, to assume that musicians of the day knew what was meant, even if we don't, and in that context I suspect we should also see the anacrusis not so much as a 'mistake' as a convention no longer used in the same way; though further comment on that would be helpful.

In order to use forensic techniques, you do need to know something about printing methods of the day. The Dancing Master (all editions, so far as I know) was set in moveable type, and the less common time-signatures were simply slotted in using standard numerals; therefore there is a break in the staff lines around them. For comparison, note that all examples of 6/4 in the Dancing Master during the same period show exactly the same effect, which is a simple artefact of the printing process, not evidence of uncertainty or alteration.

There is an interesting 'timeline' for the tune at http://spb-bal.livejournal.com/59039.html

Incidentally, a song in Pills to Purge Melancholy (1720: VI, 31) which mentions 'Roger a Cauverly', is given a time signature of 9/3.


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Subject: RE: Who was Sir Roger Decoverley?
From: Geoff the Duck
Date: 10 Jun 08 - 04:54 AM

Some interesting reading, Malcolm.
If the information is accurate, it would seem that the original Roger of Calverley the song is named after was from Yorkshire and belonged to the village of Calverley which is nowadays in Leeds near the border with Bradford. Years back, I spent a lot of time working in Calverley woods, which border onto the River Aire, with a section of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal running through them.
It seems that the Cheshire connection actually related to the already existing tune being played during a dispute involving someone named Calverley purely because the name was the same.
Quack!
GtD.


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