18th Century dances - Art's Seat 31&32 - long

Richard Goss

Message 23012 · 3 Oct 2000 05:20:36 · Fixed-width font · Whole thread

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Although your name is somewhat familiar, I don't think we
have met. My BC time corresponds to Pauline Barnes, Mary
Schoolbraid (now Brandon), as teachers and Simon Scott as a
great dancer in the Dem team.
That some people rely on terciary sources when primary, and,
as in your example, good secondary sources are to hand. When
McC admits editing his dances for current consumption, he
not only gives us some good dancing but also promotes the
tradition by pointing us towards his original source. I am
afraid, Asilomar class notes, just do not cut it, in the
research department, especially when McC's extended notes
indicate a "Petronella" turn.
I am not sure of the truth of my next statement, but from
passive annecdotal evidence it seems to be that naming
figures after their introductory dance, is an RSCDS, as
opposed to general traditional dance custom. While a good
teaching technique, assuming the allusion is appropriate to
one's listeners, I feel that, if carried to its logical
absurdity, CD notes would be like searching for something on
the net.

For example: I am preparing for my certificate dances and
referencing the New Revised Standard Version, 10th Edition.
"Moneymusk" is a 32 bar strathspey (Preston, c1786)
1- 4. 1st couple dance "<<Duke of Perth:1-4>>".*
5- 8. repeat with the left hand to end "<<Petronella:3>>"
9-12. 1s & corners facing dance "<<Flowers of Edinburgh:2x
13-16. 123s facing repeat 9-12.
17-24. 123s dance "<<Princess Royal:9-16>>"
25-32. dance "<<Duke of Perth:25-32>>:
*The matched double angles are "hot buttons" which, when
clicked with your mouse, will allow the dancer to peruse the
appropriate referenced phrase. E.g.: By clicking <<Duke of
Perth:25-32>>, your screen will produce a window by
referencing ...


With this rapid reference procedure, the Society can save
thousands of pounds in printing and mailing costs as while
there are an infinite number of permutations and
combinations of figures, the Society need only publish the
new ones as they are invented or discovered.

I don't think many are aware of how much cant has entered
the SCD language through references to dances that some
dancers have never danced or heard of before. Just off the
top of my head.
Inveran Reels,
Cauld Kail Setting,
Strip the Willow turning,
Glasgow Highlanders Setting,
Tulloch turns
Cadgers' reels"
Moneymusk setting

I would appreciate any other dance "allusions" that others
might offer.

------Original Message------
From: "Rosemary Coupe" <xxxxxx@xxxxxxxxxx.xx.xx>
To: xxxxxxxxxx@xx.xxxxxxxxxx.xxx-xxxxxxxxx.xx
Sent: October 2, 2000 9:20:34 PM GMT
Subject: Re: 18th Century dances - Art's Seat 31&32 - long

-----Original Message-----
From: Steve Wyrick <xxxxxxxx@xxxxxxxxx.xxx>
To: xxxxxxxxxx@xx.xxxxxxxxxx.xxx-xxxxxxxxx.xx
Date: Sunday, October 01, 2000 11:55 AM
Subject: Re: 18th Century dances - Art's Seat 31&32.

The "petronella turn" on bars 31-32 of "Arthur's Seat" seems
to fit the
"hello-goodbye" figure more satisfactorily than the quick
right-hand turn,
and I think there's good evidence that the devisor/editor
intended it. I
need to give some quick background to explain why.

"Arthur's Seat" is the first dance in Jack McConachie's
collection "Scottish
Country Dances of the Eighteenth Century." The dances in
this book are
edited versions of a manuscript in the Bodleian Library,
Oxford, entitled "A
Collection of the newest Countrey Dances Perform'd in
Scotland, Written at
Edinburgh by Da. Young W.M. 1740."

McConachie's editing of the MS is quite free (I'll comment
on that a little
below). But his language throughout the book is careful
and consistent; he
defines many of the terms he uses, and he does not use the
term "petronella
turn." In another dance in the book, "Eccles' Rant" (which
reconstructs as a strathspey), here are his first 4 bars:

"First couple, moving diagonally to their right, travel into
the middle, and
turn by their right to face partner--the lady facing down,
and the man
facing up (2 steps) (Diagram 1); they then travel to the
opposite side (into
partner's place) and turn by the right to face each other
across the dance
(2 steps)."

So here is a careful, detailed description of the first four
bars of
"Petronella," reinforced by a diagram -- although since
"Petronella" as a
term is so familiar to us now, it might evoke the same
response as the
careful description of the "Espagnole" figure in Book 41!
Note, however,
the repeated use of the phrase "turn by the right." I think
we can assume
that McC. meant the same thing in "Arthur's Seat."

I haven't made a detailed study of McConachie's editing, but
the editing of
these two dances suggests he may have had two things in
mind: solving
apparent problems in phrasing and adding variety. The first
is illustrated
in "Eccles Rant." In the original MS it appears short, so
McC. added eight
bars of a figure derived from the 19th-century dance

The second purpose, adding variety, may be illustrated by
"Arthur's Seat."
Since this is the dance under discussion, here are the
original MS
instructions. I have added the phrasing, indicated by red
print and capital
letters in the original.

"Right hands across with the first pair, and cast off; left
hands across
with the second pair, and sett a little (8 bars). Lead up
one pair, and
cast off; lead down one pair and cast up (8 bars). Sett
cross partners (8
bars). Lead out at both sides (8 bars)."

The last 16 bars as given above would work pretty well: in
modern terms,
1st couple would set and turn corners, dance out the
[?]women's side and
cast back into the centre, and dance out the [?]men's side
and cast into 2nd
place. But the figure "lead out at both sides" or "lead
out at the sides"
occurs in 20 of the 48 dances in the manuscript, normally as
the final
figure. And in 11 of the 20, it is preceded by "sett cross
partners." (The
figure "sett cross partners" followed by reel on the sides
is even more
common in the Bowman manuscript, and often cited as evidence
for the
influence of the Scottish reel on the country dance.)

McConachie is, as far as I know, the only editor to base an
entire book on a
single manuscript, and it seems quite likely that he
introduced some variety
by doing what he does in "Arthur's Seat": substituting the
different figure
of "hello-goodbye setting" at the end, and extending the
phrasing of the
first 8 bars, partly by adding the setting by first couple.
His added or
substituted figures may be anachronistic, but his prefatory
note ("edited
and adapted to conform with modern presentation") suggests
that he was more
concerned with the dances as dances than with scholarly

Rosemary Coupe

>I can't give anything authoritative on this, but the notes
I've seen on
>Arthur's Seat from Peter Hastings' cribs and the
instructions for the dance
>currently posted in the Asilomar Workshop section of the
San Francisco
>Branch's website (at
both note
>31-32 1st couple turn with RH to place. -Steve
>Steve Wyrick <xxxxxxxx@xxxxxxxxx.xxx> -- Concord, CA


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