[SCA-Dance] Halfe Hannikin

tmcd at panix.com tmcd at panix.com
Thu May 22 00:31:06 EDT 2008


      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.

On Thu, 15 May 2008, Alex Clark <alexbclark at pennswoods.net> wrote:
> At 07:36 PM 5/14/2008 -0500, Tim McDaniel wrote:
> >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.

You seem to me to be trying to eat your cake and have it too, arguing
for a stricter reading in the first case and a looser reading in the

For "armes" versus "turn" [1], to assume that two different words mean
two different things except where otherwise specified *is* the most
literal reading.  The common verse always starts "Armes all" and not
"Turn all", even in (e.g.) Mage on a Cree where they're on adjacent
lines.  In only three dances (Parson's Farewell, Heart's East, and
Saint Martins) can I clear interpret "turn" to be close to what we do
as arming, and that only because they say "turn by the ___ hand".  I
think it justified to conclude that "armes" and "turn" are different.

[1] I exclude "turn" modified as in "turn off", "turn single", or
"turn back to back", in the which cases they're clearly no species of
arming or turning as a couple.

As for siding and "that againe": I had thought that siding is always
symmetric, so I concluded that an omission was irrelevant.  Dargason
and Stanes Morris both say "Sides once", which is indicative that
siding twice is at least common if not the default.  (In Row well ye
Marriners, "sides" is some sort of progression.)

But three dances (Greenwood, A Health to Betty, and London
Gentlewoman) clearly have asymmetric siding, which puts a hole in my
theory.  Also, he would have had to omit "that againe" three times
from Halfe Hannikin.

> >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.

You posit that this dance has a unique progression (which is beyond
question), rare or unique music notation, AND rare asymmetric siding?
I'm not used to improbabilities piling on improbabilities.

(Not that I'm averse to it.  It's growing on me: it's certainly a
refreshing break from doubling-again-siding-again-arming-again.
Further: from a practical point of view, it's nicer for Halfe Hannikin
to have one siding and one turning, because it makes each rep faster,
allowing the group to get thru the whole dance faster.)

> 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).

Given that he lived about 200 years before Emerson coined the phrase,
such a doubt is perhaps not entirely unwarranted.

> 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,

I know nothing about the way Playford notated tunes.  What's the
overall evidence for that?

> > http://www.pages.drexel.edu/~white/ECD/halfhannikin.html
> > http://www.srcf.ucam.org/round/dances/cdb/cdb4/hannikin
> 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

Do you side left or side right?

> take both hands and go once round to the L hand (clockwise),

Playford doesn't specify a direction.  Do you have a reason to prefer
left to right?  At least turning right may avoid some dizziness, and

> and move up on the men's side or down on the women's side to find a
> new partner.

... this requires a full turn and then an extra half position walking,
where turning right means breaking a bit early and going straight to
the new position.

> 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.

Playford says "stand alone", not "walk up and back alone". ... do you
have the people who are unpartnered staying in their positions at the
ends of their lines, so at least the #1 man must lead up a double just
to avoid being trampled by #2 man?  Presumably you have the "outies"
shift over to the other side during the end of the turn, to get out of
the way of the progression and to get to their own progressions.

Danyell de Lincoln
Tim McDaniel; Reply-To: tmcd at panix.com

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