University of Exeter Press is delighted to announce the release of Singing Simpkin and Other Bawdy Jigs. Our newest book was published on February 20, 2014.
These days the word ‘jig’ usually means a ‘dance’; but in the context of the Tudor and Stuart playhouses, it had a broader meaning: a short musical comedy play, which could be bawdy, satirical and even outrageous.
Although jigs were sung to popular tunes of the day, little information about the music survives. For the first time in 400 years, Clegg and Skeaping’s book reunites the scripts with their original tunes, creating a practical performing edition of the nine jigs that survive today.
Singing Simpkin and Other Bawdy Jigs
Musical Comedy on the Shakespearean Stage
Scripts, Music and Context
by Roger Clegg and Lucie Skeaping
February 2014 | £30, $43 PB | 352pp
About the book
A popular crowd-pleaser in the late sixteenth and mid-seventeenth century, the dramatic jig was a short, comic, bawdy musical-drama which included elements of dance, slapstick and disguise. With a cast of ageing cuckolds and young head-strong wives, knavish clowns, roaring soldiers and country bumpkins, jigs often followed as afterpieces at London's playhouses, and were performed at fairs, in villages and in private houses. Troublesome to the authorities, they drew the crowds by offering a lively antidote to more sober theatrical fare.
This performance edition presents for the first time nine examples of English dramatic jigs from the late sixteenth century through to the Restoration; the scripts are re-united as far as possible with their original tunes. Musical notation and dance instructions are provided alongside the text of the jigs. It gives a comprehensive history, discusses sources, plots, instrumentation and dancing, and offers practical information on staging jigs today.
'Singing Simpkin presents and appraises textual and musical evidence relating to the stage jig with exemplary thoroughness. The book adds greatly to our picture of stage performance generally, from Shakespeare's time to the Restoration.' - Jeremy Barlow, specialist in early English music from 1550 to 1750.
About the authors
Roger Clegg is Senior Lecturer in Drama Studies at De Montfort University. Lucie Skeaping presents 'The Early Music Show' on BBC Radio 3. She is a musician and broadcaster. Both have run jig workshops for the Royal Shakespeare Company, Shakespeare's Globe and with students of music and drama.