Playford English Country Dance Tunes for Two

John Playford published “The English Dancing Master” in 1651. This monumental work featured the music for the tunes as well as instructions for performing the dances.

This curated collection contains 37 of the tunes from the Playford book, arranged for two players. The melodies are on the top stave, and the harmony/backup is on the bottom stave. You could perform just the melody as a solo, if you are all by yourself. We have also included chords, just in case you have a guitar or ukulele handy.

Each Tunes for Two collection consists of individual spiral-bound duet books presented in score form with melody on the top line and harmony beneath so you can play each tune by yourself or with others. Duo arrangements of the tunes in this collection, in the same keys, are available for violins, violas, cellos, basses, mandolins, soprano recorders, and alto recorders.

The tunes in this collection are laid out so that there are no page turns to interrupt the flow of your playing.

PDFs are available worldwide for each of the books in the Tunes for Two series.

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For information on where to order our publications for international shipment please check here.

Playford English Country Dance Tunes for Two Basses

Book: $15.00

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Playford English Country Dance Tunes for Two Cellos

Book: $15.00

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Playford English Country Dance Tunes for Two Mandolins

Book: $15.00

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Playford English Country Dance Tunes for Two Violas

Book: $15.00

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Playford English Country Dance Tunes for Two Violins

Book: $15.00

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Playford English Country Dance Tunes for Two Soprano Recorders

Book: $15.00

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Playford English Country Dance Tunes for Two Alto Recorders

Book: $15.00

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Playford English Country Dance Tunes for Two PDFs

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Tunes in this Collection...
“All In A Garden Green”
“The Doldrum”
“Gathering Peascods”
“Green Sleeves and Yellow Lace”
“Halfe Hannikin”
“The Health”
“Hunt the Squirrel”
“The Indian Queen”
“Jenny Pluck Pears”
“Jog On”
“Kettle Drum”
“Lilli Burlero”
“Lulle Me Beyond Thee”
“Mad Robin”
“Maids’ Morris”
“Miss Dolland’s Delight”
“Mr. Beveridge’s Maggot”
“Mr. Isaac’s Maggot”
“Never Love Thee More”
“The Night Peece”
“Old Noll’s Jig”
“Once I Loved a Maiden Faire”
“Oranges and Lemons”
“Parsons Farewell”
“The Queen’s Jig”
“Rufty Tufty”
“Sellenger’s Round”
“The Shrewsbury Lasses”
“A Trip to Paris”
“The Twenty-Ninth of May”


As is typical of Deborah Greenblatt’s work, the arrangements of pleasing tunes are well done and accessible to a diverse audience of recorder players.

The publisher continues the practice of printing with unpretentious colored covers (orange for Playford). The table of contents is printed on the outside front cover. The binding is a nice spiral, enabling the music to lie flat on the stand.

Both the soprano and alto versions of each piece have the same key signature. Therefore, the alto volume consists of the same music as the soprano but is, for the most part, written up an octave. There are a few exceptions in which the alto parts are given on the same pitch level as the soprano. The practical effect is that much of the alto music is set in the upper register of the instrument, which offers something of a challenge even for more experienced players. The intention is to enable groups with both soprano and alto players to work together.

Page turns are generally avoided by the insertion of blank pages. Spacing on the pages and between staves makes for overall clarity with regard to pitches and other markings. (It is a pet peeve of mine to play from crowded staves that make it difficult to identify pitches that involve ledger lines — no problem with that here.)

There are no difficult keys. Chromatic notes are found, and in a few cases, they are a bit challenging.

These editions are accessible to intermediate players. Rhythms are generally straightforward. The textures are a mix: artfully arranged polyphony or homophony, and some in which one line carries the melody and the other serves an accompaniment function.

While some tunes are short and simple, others are longer and more elaborate. Some are composed of a melody and variations, in which the voices cross registers and trade the melody back and forth. While most of the pieces are not difficult, there are several that present more of a challenge, and thus can appeal to more experienced players. Because of the skillful arrangements, they would be very effective in concert performances.

This edition would make for great additions to one’s recorder library. Because they contain a mix of easier and a bit more challenging pieces that are pleasingly arranged, they offer less and more experienced players both a challenge and an opportunity to play simply for the enjoyment of the music.

...Victor Eijkhout American Recorder, Fall 2020

The English Dancing Master was first published in 1651 by John Playford as transcriptions of 105 English country dances. This renowned and monumental work was part dance manual, part music book, and many remain popular today. Also available for two violas, cellos, basses, and mandolins, all in the same keys, allowing for a mix and match approach.

...Hollis Taylor Stringendo, Journal of the Australian Strings Association Ltd., October 2020
used by permission of AUSTA National Journal Editor

Greenblatt has provided us a quick but thorough resource for traditional fiddle music: 37 tunes from the 1651 edition of John Playford’s The English Dancing Master. Like all of Greenblatt’s books, the notation is easy to follow, with a number of recognizable songs such as “Rufty Tufty” and “Mad Robin”. For anyone wanting to have a resource for period music, this should be in that library.

...Matt Merta
Fiddler Magazine, Summer 2021

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