Hamstead Heath #2 ~ 4 Couple

Hamstead Heath #2 ~ 4 Couple Hamstead Heath #2 ~ Quadruple Progression Hamstead Heath #2

Hamstead Heath #2 ~ 4 Couple is an English Country Dance. It was published by Playford (John Young) (website) in 1726 in The Dancing Master, The Third Volume, 2nd ed.. It was interpreted by George Williams in 2022. Originally a Quadruple Minor this version is a proper 4 Couple Longways dance. In this dance the couples are permuted by: 4123. The minor set lasts 48 bars.

Playford writes:

Note: Each Strain is be play'd twice over.

The first Cu. lead down to the 4th Cu. the first Man turn the 4th Wo. and the first Wo. turn the 4th Man with her Right-hand and her Partner with her Left Then turn the 3d Cu. and your Partners as before; then the 2d Cu. and your Partner Then cross over every Cu. below the 4th. and take your Partner by both Hands, and draw quite round every Cu. 'till you come to the Top Change Places with the 2d Cu. and cast off, Right and Left quite round, and turn your Partner

Scott Pfitzinger's interpretation is very different from mine.

This dance is very quick, there's a lot of distance to cover in a short amount of time. Just a warning.

The first Cu. lead down to the 4th Cu. the first Man turn the 4th Wo. and the first Wo. turn the 4th Man with her Right-hand and her Partner with her Left Somehow the 1s must cross if M1 is to get to W4 and W1 to M4. Playford doesn't mention this, but presumably it's either at the top, before the lead, or at the bottom, after it. I arbetrarily picked the top.

Playford doesn't tell us which hand the 1st man should use. If he's just lead down then turning by the left makes sense, giving us mirror turns, but then the left hand turn partner doesn't work well. So I have M1 doing a u turn after the lead to face up, and then giving his right hand to W4.

Then we do the same thing with the other two couples, except that after turning the 2s the 1s only need to do a half turn to get proper.

Then cross over every Cu. below the 4th. and take your Partner by both Hands, and draw quite round every Cu. 'till you come to the Top. These instructions are probably directed to the 1s, and "cross over every Cu." means that the 1s should do lots of crosses between the couples, rather than all the couples should cross over.

The second half seems clearer and directed unambiguously at the 1s.

Change Places with the 2d Cu. and cast off, Right and Left quite round, and turn your Partner. Usually Playford uses "cast off" to mean "cast down". It is possible that the 1s should chnage on the sides with the 2s, and then cast down with the 3s. That gives us a double progression dance, which seems unlikely for Playford. Well... the rights and lefts might be three times around, and if done with the 3s would return us to a single progression.

Or, more likely, the 1s change with the 2s, and then cast back to the top, and then do three (slow) changes of rights and lefts in 8 bars of music. It seems odd for the first 2/3rds of the dance to be so fast and this last bit so slow...

Or... the rights and lefts could be five changes and if done facing neighbor instead of partner would again get progression right. I like the logic of it, but it fits the music even worse.


But who wants to do a single progression quadruple minor anyway, especially one where the 2s,3s, and 4s do almost nothing. Better to make it a four couple longways dance.

The 1s change with the 2s, then long cast down as the 3s move up, then do three changes of rights and lefts with the 4s.

The animation plays at 120 counts per minute normally, but the first time through the set the dance is slowed down so people can learn the moves more readily. Men are drawn as rectangles, women as ellipses. Each couple is drawn in its own color, however the border of each dancer indicates what role they currently play so the border color may change each time through the minor set.

The dances of George Williams (including this one) are licenced under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike: CC BY-NC-SA license.

A11-41s cross and lead down the middle improper, M1 twizzle
5-6M1+W4, W1+M4 right hand turn
7-81s left hand turn
A21-2M1+W3, W1+M3 right hand turn
3-41s left hand turn
5-6M1+W2, W1+M2 right hand turn
7-81s left hand turn half to original places
B11-31s cross, go below 2s
4-5Cross again, go below 3s
6-8Cross again, go below 4s
9-161s take hands, M1, backing up, draw his partner in a serpentine around the other couples ending home
B21-21s change with 2s
3-61s long cast down as the 3s lead up
7-121s+4s face partner, three changes of rights and lefts
13-161s two hand turn

If you find what you believe to be a mistake in this animation, please leave a comment on youtube explaining what you believe to be wrong. If I agree with you I shall do my best to fix it.

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The dance itself is out of copyright, and is in the public domain. The interpretation is copyright © 2022 by George Williams. And is released under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. My visualization of this dance is copyright © 2022 by George W. Williams V and is released under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

This website is copyright © 2021,2022 by George W. Williams V
Creative Commons License My work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. Most of the dances have more restrictive licensing, see my notes on copyright, the individual dance pages should mention when some rights are waived.