[SCA-Dance] Halfe Hannikin

Alex Clark alexbclark at pennswoods.net
Fri May 23 03:25:45 EDT 2008

At 11:31 PM 5/21/2008 -0500, tmcd at panix.com 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.
>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

But it is the same principle in both cases: Try to figure out what comes 
from the source, and what else is being guessed by the reader. The 
assumption that a figure must be done again, even though the instructions 
don't say so, and there is a valid way for it to fit the music without 
repeating, seems to be the reader's guess and not the author's implication. 
And as I understand it, the convention of making a turn into a two-handed 
turn by default is also guessed by the reader, not implied by the 
author(s). As far as this principle goes, the fact that one guess allows 
two things to be the same while the other requires that two things must be 
different is irrelevant. They're both guesses, and that is my point about 
them: not that they're restrictive or permissive, but that they are guesses.

>For "armes" versus "turn" [1], to assume that two different words mean
>two different things except where otherwise specified *is* the most
>literal reading.

I am sure that that is not how language really works, it's just an extra 
guess in addition to any other guesses that the reader might be making.

This isn't computer language, where everything must be unambiguous enough 
to be reliably interpreted by mechanical methods. It's natural language, 
like the language in which cinnamon is sometimes cassia, and sometimes has 
to be "Ceylon" cinnamon. Another example: sometimes _nation_ is used to 
mean _country_, and sometimes it doesn't mean that at all, and apparently 
many people don't even know what the difference is.

>  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.

I completely agree that "armes" and "turn" are different, but I do not 
proceed from there to the assumption that they are fully mutually 
exclusive. It seems to be indicated by the context that "armes" refers to a 
specific figure, but _turn_ is still a generic term that could possibly 
include several kinds of turns (in addition to "turne S." and other 
specifically different turns), so I cannot assume that I know that it was 
never used in any broad sense. Nor can I assume that nobody in that period 
varied the kinds of two-person turns that they did at the same point in a 
given choreography.

>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.

Thank you for saying that. At this point I completely agree with your 
approach to the question. The above is an example of the creative tension 
that arises from looking at both (or, at any rate, multiple) sides at once, 
without which one's mind is likely to be blinkered, fettered, and all too 
placidly comfortable.

However, if I may quibble, perhaps the author would have to have omitted a 
_pair_ of instances of "that againe" three times. OTOH, it may be possible 
that the turn would not have been understood to go on for any particular 
amount of time.

> > >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?

Not really. The music notation isn't that odd, although it is abnormal for 
Playford. For one thing, there's more like it in the Fitzwilliam Virginal 
Book (including, BTW, an explicit notation of the original repeats of the 
tune Cecil Sharp preferred for Sellengers Round, which is not the same as 
the repeats Sharp used).

So the first of these odd features is (for the present context) not at all 
improbable--it's odd but true, and the second may be less improbable than 
it seems. As for the third, maybe it only seems improbable until you 
consider the alternative, which is that both the sides and the turn had 
significant information omitted every time.

>I'm not used to improbabilities piling on improbabilities.

When you have eliminated the impossible, that which remains, however 
probable (or not), must include the truth. In this case it seems impossible 
for all of the following to be true:
1. that the instructions for sides and the turn are literally correct and 
2. that the correct number of playings of the strain of music is indicated 
in the text,
3. that the music notation is supposed to show only one playing of the strain,
4. and that the figures went at a readily apparent speed relative to the music.
Once one has eliminated the option of assuming that all of these are true 
at once, all that remains is to ask which of these very likely-seeming 
things is not so.

If I am to disagree with one of these four things, I am especially 
reluctant to go against the first. That strikes me as a direct rejection of 
the instructions that I'm working from, without internal evidence that 
these instructions are unreliable. In fact, these instructions strike me as 
being nearly as precise and lucid as I can expect to find in Playford.

Of the other three options, rejecting either the second or third could 
actually leave me with the same conclusion, but I would find it difficult 
to make a positive argument against the second (compared with the argument 
I can make against the third). And the fourth, while it seems possible, 
strikes me as being both implausible, and susceptible to subjectivity, to 
such an extent that I would not feel comfortable with any conclusion based 
on it. That leaves the third as the weak link, because I am not convinced 
that Playford was really committed to any consistent way of identifying 
strains of music. More on that below.

>(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?

As mentioned above, the way that I am guessing was used in this strain was 
found more often in other sources than in Playford. Within Playford, I 
think the best supporting evidence from the rest of the book is simply that 
there are variations in how the repeats of the music are handled. Often 
there are double bars separating strains in the notation, while the 
characters in the text show how often each strain was played. But 
sometimes, as in Kemps Jegg and The Night Peece, the exact same sequence of 
notes is written more than once in succession, or (as in Nonesuch) with 
only a tiny change at the very end, and these seem to be about the same in 
their length and repetitions as the things that are set off by double bars 
and notated only once, with repeats being shown in the text. This does not 
indicate the exact extent to which the methods of notation varied, but I 
think it is relevant that there seems to be a significant and provable lack 
of consistency.

> > > 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?

Right side by right side; I use that as my usual default for the first or 
only sides because that is the way that is done first in my source for this 
version of sides (Feuillet).

> > 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

Again, because once figures like these are shown explicitly in Feuillet's 
dance notation, the usual rule is turn clockwise first, or only clockwise.

Also because this way people do the change along the line simply by coming 
out on a tangent from the turn. As for dizziness, it's practically the same 
amount of net turning either way, and turning the other way around could 
result in people turning more, and then turning back again to do the change.

> > 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.

But turning counterclockwise, towards the right hand, means an extra change 
of direction in order to change along the line without risk of collision, 
which could make it harder and less comfortable.

> > 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?

No, they come halfway over towards the other side of the line. As for 
"stand alone", that occurs within the instructions for the change along the 
line, so I do not assume that it continues to apply in the next figure. Of 
course, those who stood alone can't lead up according to my understanding 
of what _lead_ means, so in a way they are still left out by that 
instruction, but OTOH it includes the phrase "up all", so I can't assume 
that they are supposed to be left out either. Being unable to resolve the 
question from information in the Playford instructions, I just go with the 
version that works for me.

>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.

Yes. That is, they go the rest of the way over.

Henry of Maldon/Alex Clark

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