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Welcome to the Traditional Tune Archive
The Semantic Index of North American, British and Irish traditional instrumental music with annotation, formerly known as
The Fiddler's Companion.


Featured tune:           MAD MOLL (aka The Peacock Followed The Hen)

Madmoll.jpg


MAD MOLL [1]. AKA and see "Cuddle Me Cuddy," "Cuma Liom," "Here We Go Up, (Up, Up)," "Peacock Followed the Hen (The)/Peacock Follows the Hen (The)," "Riding a Mile (1)," "Up and Down Again," "Virgin Queen," "Yellow Stockings," "Is Cuma Liom" (I Don't Care). English, Air (9/8 time). F# Minor (Chappell): A Minor (Kennedy). Standard tuning (fiddle). AAB (Chappell): AABB (Kennedy). The title dates at least from 1698 when it was published in Playford's Dancing Master [1], 9th edition, Part II, which may be the earliest printed version of the tune, although R.D. Cannon in his article "English Bagpipe Music" (Folk Music Journal, 1972) suggests the progenitor of this large tune family is the Scots jig "Up with Aley." A comic play, Mad Moll, by Thomas Middleton and Thomas Dekkar, was penned in 1611 and featured the heroine Moll Cutpurse. George Petrie prints an untitled version collected in Ireland in his collection of 1855 (Stanford/Petrie, No. 101, p. 25). 'Mad Moll' may refer to Mary, Queen of Scots, suggest Stokoe and Bruce, who was subject to periods of mental incapacity. However, it is more likely that "Mad Moll" had more to do with Middleton and Dekkar's character Moll Cutpurse, based on the real-life actress, pickpocket and fence Mary "Moll" Frith [2] (1584-1659). Moll's 'madness' appears to have been linked to her transgressing the mores of the day, including her lifelong habit of wearing men's clothing, smoking, swearing, and otherwise acting unconventional; all of which she as unapologetic for, even after she was released in June, 1644, from Bethlem Hospital (Bedlam) after 'being cured of insanity'.

The tune was the vehicle for a country dance call "Virgin Queen", and appears under that title in Playford's Dancing Master of 1703 and later editions, and as "Yellow Stockings" (the name of another dance) it is in Wright's North Country Frisks (1713) and in the ballad opera The Boarding School (1733). See Borders and Northumbrian versions under the titles "Cuddle Me Cuddy" and "Peacock Follows the Hen (The)." As "Mad Moll" the tune appears in Burton Leonard, Yorkshire, miller and fiddler Joshua Jackson's (1763-1839) music manuscript copybook (kept from 1798 until about 1820). Other titles in the tune family include "Brose and Butter," "Hey My Nanny/Hey My Nancy," "Honeymoon (The), "Dusty Miller (The)," "Faraway Wedding," "Follow Her Over the Border," "Cudgel (The)," "Jerry Houlihan" "Kitten (The)," and "Drops of Brandy."

"Mad Moll [1]" was also the vehicle for songs in the ballad operas Momus turned Fabulist (1729) and The Jealous Clown; or, The Lucky Mistake (1730). Use of melodies in ballad operas and for dancing was a two-way street, with much traffic between the two. Playwrights and producers may have been attempting to make their products accessible to a general audience by employing relatively well-known or popular tunes for songs, or, as Bruce Olson suggested, perhaps publishers reused plates from their country dance collections when they needed to insert an air in their opera publications, and selected melodies that scanned to the words.


MAD MOLL full Score and Annotations and Past Featured Tunes



X:1 % T:Mad Moll. (p)1698.PLFD1.385 T:Peacock Followed The Hen,aka. (p)1698.PLFD1.385 M:9/4 L:1/4 Q:3/4=120 K:C A|c>decAAcAA|c>decAAB2G| c>decAAcAA|B>cdd>edB2G| c>de(ge)e(ge)e|c>de(ge)eg2d| c>de(ge)e(ge)e|B>cdd>edB2G|

Why TTA Who builds the Archive

Although we are not trained musicologists and make no pretense to the profession, we have tried to apply such professional rigors to this Semantic Abc Web as we have internalized through our own formal and informal education.


This demands the gathering of as much information as possible about folk pieces to attempt to trace tune families, determine origins, influences and patterns of aural/oral transmittal, and to study individual and regional styles of performance.
Many musicians, like ourselves, are simply curious about titles, origins, sources and anecdotes regarding the music they play. Who, for example, can resist the urge to know where the title Blowzabella came from or what it means, or speculating on the motivations for naming a perfectly respectable tune Bloody Oul' Hag, is it Tay Ye Want?
Knowing the history of the melody we play, or at least to have a sense of its historical and social context, makes the tune 'present' in the here and now, and enhances our rendering of it.

Andrew Kuntz & Valerio Pelliccioni


Please register as a user to make the most of the many functions of the TTA, and enjoy the many ways that information about traditional tunes can be elicited and combined, from simple to complex situations. Users may make contributions, which, when reviewed by an editor, become part of this community project. Serious user/contributors may become editors through the TTA's autopromotion process, in which quantity and quality of entries allows increased levels of permission to edit and review the entire index.
Above all, the developers wish you joy in the use of the TTA.


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Help Getting started

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Navigation: Registered users can navigate the Traditional Tune Archive for information in a number of ways.

  • Search. The Search function is located at the bottom of the SideBar on the left, and can be used to search the entire index for any key word.
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  • Query the Archive. The “Query the Archive” function under “The Index” in the sidebar can be used to draw down reports from the TTA in either in single items or in a number of combinations. One might, for example, use a single item query to run a report in the TTA for a particular composer/core source. Clicking on the arrow at the right of the bar draws down a list of composer/core sources, or one may be typed in. For example, clicking on “Bill Pigg” and then the “Run Query” tab at the bottom left will result in a list of all compositions listed in the TTA that the Northumbrian piper either composed or is the core source for. Reports may also be run in combinations, as, for example, by selecting “William Marshall” as a composer/core source, “Three Flats” for the number of accidentals, and “Major” for the Key/Mode. This will result in a report of all Eb Major compositions of Scottish fiddler/composer William Marshall that are indexed in the TTA.
  • Drill Down. Cumulative information about TTA entries can be found in the “Drill Down” under “The Index” in the SideBar on the left.
  • Tune Books/Magazines in the TTA can be accessed under “Issues” in the left side bar. These are reproductions of publications for which access has been granted to the TTA by the copyright holder, under the Creative Commons license.