Pepper's Black

Pepper's Black is an English Country Dance. It was published by John Playford (website) in 1651 in The English Dancing Master, London. It was interpreted by Cecil Sharp (mod) in 1922 and published in The Country Dance Book (Part 6). Originally a 6 Couple Circle this version is a Circle as many as will dance. There is no progression in this dance. It is a multipart dance. The dance lasts 64 bars. It is in the key: D Major.

Playford writes:
Take hands, go twice round back again All set and turn S. That again

First Cu. lead a D. forward and back to the 2. That again Turn each others wo. Turn your own Do this change to all, the rest doing the like.

First Cu. lead to the second Cu. as before The S. Hey all four Do this Change to all, the rest doing the like ·:

First Cu. ad 2. man take hands, the the man on your left hand, lead a D. forward and back again ·: Bring your wo. under your left arm, holding both fast, turn your body half round to the left hand bring your man under your right arm, turn half about to your right hand Do thus to all.

I am not happy with this animation.

I cannot figure out how Sharp's instructions lead to a progression in parts 2, 3, & 4. I have modified the first two parts to be progressive, but I can't see any way to make the fourth so. As far as I can tell everyone ends each part where they started.

Playford's progression just seems too dull for modern dancers, and I have no clue what Sharp intends so I have made up mine own.

The animation plays at 120 counts per minute. Men are drawn as rectangles, women as ellipses. Each couple is drawn in its own color.

I.A11-4Circle left
5-8... and back by the right
I.B1-4Partner set and turn single
5-8That again, set and turn single
II.A1-41s+2s forward a double and back
5-8That again, forward and back
II.B1-4M1+W2, W1+M2 two hand turn once and a half
5-8Partner two hand turn
III.A1-41s+2s forward a double and back
5-8That again, forward and back
III.B1-8Facing partner, three changes of a circular hey
IV.A1-21s+2s forward a double, M2 take M1's left hand in his right
3-4Fall back
5-81s+M2 forward a double and back
IV.B1-4W1 passes under men's arched hands, M1 follows
5-8M2 passes under 1s's arched hands, M1 follows

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.

If you wish to link to this animation please see my comments on the perils of youtube. You may freely link to this page, of course, and that should have no problems, but use one of my redirects when linking to the youtube video itself:

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The dance itself is out of copyright, and is in the public domain. The interpretation is out of copyright in the US, but I'm not sure of other jurisdictions. My visualization of this dance is copyright © 2021 by George W. Williams V and is released under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

This website is copyright © 2021,2022,2023,2024 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.