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Source: Patterson, D W, 1979, The Shaker Spiritual, Princeton University Press, New Jersey

Patterson wrote:

The Turning Shuffle

The Turning Shuffle was introduced about the year 1790. This was a period when Father Joseph Meacham wanted to prune out from the Church all the dead branches and the fruit that would not set. He accomplished this by causing the members to "labor down into mortification & into as deep and heavy bearing for the loss of man, as any body of people was able to endure, even deeper than any would ever hereafter be required to descend." Members were "plainly taught" the orders of the Church, "pressingly admonished" to obey them, and "severely reproved for any disorder." Father Joseph refrained from all gifts "tending to raise the feelings from the heft of mortification." In 1796, the culminating year of this work, Lebanon did not admit a single member and twenty left. Not until the 1860s did that society again lose so many persons in a single year.
The Turning Shuffle was intended to further this mortification. In it, dance was reduced to footwork alone. Standing in their ranks, the laborers for the first part of the tune performed the "proper single shuffle" turning around twice in place. Haskell says that "in making one shuffle with each foot, they turned one eighth of a circle,"the brethren to the right and the sisters to the left. Those who were "limber jointed, would bend their knees in the exercise, till their fingers would almost or quite touch the floor." During the second half of the tune the laborers shuffled in their ranks, facing the singers. It was a very slow shuffle; in Haskell's manuscript all the thirty-one tunes for the Turning Shuffle are either 3/4 tunes performed at Shaker mode 2 or 3, or 6/8 tunes sung at mode I.
In the latter part of 1796 Father Joseph discontinued all exercises in the meetings, and when they were reintroduced a year and a half later, the Turning Shuffle was apparently not revived. Prior to this the Enfield ministry had made the Turning Shuffle a little less difficult by "hastening the speed to nearly twice as fast" and teaching the sisters a ?half shuffle." But at Lebanon from 1793 until the cessation of exercises in 1796 the laboring was a "heavy shuffle" which grew slower and slower "until it became almost impossible to exercise it at all." Calvin Green said, "I scarcely ever felt so distressing a cross as to attempt it."

The opening phrase of the tune of the ballad "One Morning in May" or "The Nightingale" probably was the seed from which this Enfield dance tune grew.

Analogue: "The Nightingale" in Sharp, English Folk Songs from the Appalachians, ii, 192-193


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