[SCA-Dance] Halfe Hannikin

Alex Clark alexbclark at pennswoods.net
Thu May 15 19:33:57 EDT 2008

At 07:36 PM 5/14/2008 -0500, Tim McDaniel wrote:
>      Lead up a D. forwards and back _.__ That againe _:__
>              Sides all _._ turn your owne _:__ First man stand alone,
>              and the last Wo. stand alone, the rest of the men take all
>              the next We.
>      ________________________________________
>      Lead up all as before _:__
>              Sides all _.__ Turne your We. _:__ First man take the
>              2. man with his left hand, last Wo. taking the next
>              Wo. with her right hand.
>      ________________________________________
>      Lead up as before _:__
>              Sides all _.__ Turn your we _:__ then the 2. man stand alone
>              the first taking the third man, the last Wo. taking te next.
>              Change thus every time till you come to your owne place.
>I notice that neither "Sides all" nor "turn[e]" say "That againe".
>I don't think that's significant.

I'm sure that it ought to be significant. The possibility that the 
instructions might have meant "that againe" in those places was inferred by 
the reader, but not necessarily implied by the author. That makes all the 
difference in the world. Something that is not even implicit in the source 
may be assumed to be modern.

>For example, if Playford were read
>literally, the haying in Whirlygig would have the upper triangle
>arming while the lower triangle was two-handed turning.

But that is not a literal reading. These two corresponding actions are 
described simply as "armes" and "turns". It is only by a modern assumption 
that a turn that is not specifically described must by default be a 
two-handed turn. In this case, "turn" could be a broader and more generic 
term that includes turns by both hands, by one hand, and by the arm. If 
anything, what this actually proves is that the reconstruction of "armes" 
as a kind of turn is justifiable.

There are some bits of Playford dances where a genuinely literal reading 
seems wrong, but I do not see that either of these is among them.

>In the case
>of Halfe Hannikin, I don't see how you could fill the music available
>with one siding and one turn.

But this depends on how much music you assume is available. This dance 
seems likely to be an exception to Playford's usual practice of writing out 
only one playing of each strain. To judge by the figures, apparently both 
playings of the second strain are written out in full, indicating that a 
bit of ornamentation is added in the second playing. So "Sides all" is done 
to the first, unornamented, playing, and "turne your owne" is done to the 
second, ornamented, playing.

Why would it have been done this way, when it wasn't Playford's usual 
method? Maybe Playford just didn't like to be behobgoblinned by a "foolish 
consistency" (though I doubt that he was acquainted with that phrase). 
Maybe it made a difference to the musicians. And maybe it's because the 
instructions fit better that way. I see from the facsimile that even with 
the second strain written out at length it still has more lines of 
instructions underneath it.

Anyway, both ways of handling repeats were valid, and I know of no real 
evidence that Playford was absolutely committed to either one. In the 
absence of such evidence, this dance may be taken as evidence that he was not.

Another argument I might mention is that Playford's audience could hear the 
music as it was played in the living tradition. Therefore, his audience 
could be assumed to be able to tell how the music should be played because 
they could hear it from those who knew it. We should not assume that 
Playford intended for his music notation to make any clear distinctions 
that we want him to have made just because the information by which his 
audience would have resolved ambiguities is unavailable to us.

>On Wed, 14 May 2008, Ben Pung <ben at houseofpung.net> wrote:
> > Second, the dance has doubles and sides, but not arms. It includes a
> > "turn your own" figure, but that's not quite the same thing.

To be more precise, it is not necessarily the same thing, and in this case 
there is no implication that it is likely to have been the same thing.

>*blush* I guess I really should make the time to sit down and go thru
>Playford (at least the dances I know off the top of my head, only a
>few) and figure out his terms, or at least notice the difference
>between "armes all" and "turn your owne".
>(Turning instead of arming does make the dance even more interesting
>from a debunking point of view.)
>So I'm supposing that it's one two-handed turn clockwise followed by
>one two-handed turn counter-clockwise.

But you, like Moses, might be supposing erroneously. Since the length of 
the music is not proven except, perhaps, by the figures that are done to 
it, it seems pointless to modify the figures to fit a version of the music 
that is merely assumed.

> >> I'm not at all good at interpreting Playford: is there a good
> >> reconstruction that my brief Googling didn't show?
> >
> > http://www.pages.drexel.edu/~white/ECD/halfhannikin.html
> > http://www.srcf.ucam.org/round/dances/cdb/cdb4/hannikin
>Many thanks!  (The first explicitly says siding and turning twice.)

I have reservations about both of these versions. Here are instructions for 
my reconstruction:

Half Hannikin: longways for as many as will (six, eight or ten recommended)
•       Lead up a D & back, twice; sides once, take both hands and go once 
round to the L hand (clockwise), and move up on the men’s side or down on 
the women’s side to find a new partner.
Progress all along both sides & to your places; when alone at the end walk 
up and back alone and wait out during sides and the turn.

As I described at length in another reply on this topic, it takes two moves 
to get from each regular place to the next, such as from second man's place 
to first man's place, and I assume that the first of these two moves is 
always to an intermediate place.

Alex Clark/Henry of Maldon 

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