Playford's The Dancing Master is the classic compendium of English country dance tunes. First published in 1651 it went through eighteen editions in almost 80 years. In its day it was the most popular collection of its kind and engendered numerous imitations. The tunes selected by Playford and his successors were taken from many sources and demonstrate the extraordinary richness and vitality of popular melody in England during the late 17th and early 18th centuries.
This book brings together, for the first time under one cover, 535 tunes and their variants from the eighteen original editions. It provides a fund of musical material for performers, whether folk musicians or baroque instrumentalists, and for class and instrumental music teachers. It is also an invaluable reference book for anyone interested in the history of English music.