The Merry, Merry Milkmaids

The Merry, Merry Milkmaids is an English Country Dance. It was published by John Playford (website) in 1651 in The English Dancing Master. It was interpreted by Cecil Sharp (website) in 1912 and published in The Country Dance Book (Part 3). Found in The Playford Ball. It is a proper 4 Couple Longways dance. There is no progression in this dance. It is a USA dance. The dance lasts 120 bars. It is in the key: C major.

Playford writes:

Lead all a D. forwards and back, set and turn S. That again First and 3. cu. meet your own, slip between the other, take hands across and go round each four The other four as much

Sides all, set and turn S. That again First man cast off, go to the lower end and stay, the rest following, the we. as much, set and turn S. All that back again

Arms all, set and turn S. That again Men back, and go the S. Hey We as much

Playford (and Sharp) just say "men go the single hey". I added the stuff about right shoulder and left shoulder to make it symmetric.

The tune was published by Playford with the dance. It was performed by Bare Necessities (Earl Gaddis, Mary Lea, Peter Barnes, and Jacqueline Schwab) on the album At Home. The music is used with permission from the Country Dance Society, Boston Centre, Inc.

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.A11-4Up a Double, and back
5-8Partners set and turn single
I.A21-4Up a Double, and back (again)
5-8Partners set and turn single
I.B11-21s+3s fall back, come forward
3-41s+3s slip down inside, 2s+4s slip up outside
5-8Fall back a double and come forward
9-121s+2s, 3s+4s right hands across
I.B21-22s+4s fall back, come forward
3-42s+4s slip down inside, 1s+3s slip up outside
5-8Fall back a double and come forward
9-121s+2s, 3s+4s right hands across
II.A11-4Right Siding
5-8Partners set and turn single
II.A21-4Left Siding
5-8Partners set and turn single
II.B11-4M1 cast to bottom, followed by other men
5-8W1 cast to bottom, followed by other women
9-12Partners set and turn single
II.B21-4M1 cast to top, followed by other men
5-8W1 cast to top, followed by other women
9-12Partners set and turn single
III.A11-4Right Arming
5-8Partners set and turn single
III.A21-4Left Arming
5-8Partners set and turn single
III.B11-4Men fall back a double and come forward
5-12Men right shoulder hey for four on the side
III.B21-4Women fall back a double and come forward
5-12Women left shoulder hey for four on the side

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.

< Prev Top Next >

The dance itself is out of copyright, and is in the public domain. The interpretation is out of copyright, and is in the public domain. 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 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.