6-bar reels

Jim Healy

Message 39419 · 1 Oct 2004 13:27:22 · Fixed-width font · Whole thread

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Goss,

I do like a passionate view but, even by my standards, you do go over the
top sometimes. The Goat Fell Gallop was written by Roy Goldring who, IMO,
has written some of the best dances in the modern canon – off the top of my
head, John of Bon Accord, Reel of the Royal Scots, Saltire Society Reel, EH3
7AF among those published by the Society as examples. I do think that it is
a little excessive to suggest that he be drummed out of the devisor corps on
the basis of one dance that may be a little less successful than others. On
that basis we would have to stop everyone devising dances as soon as they
had an unsuccessful one (says whom?). As you are keen on examples today,
what do we do with Iain Brockbank? He has stated publicly that he revised
and retitled a dance because he was unhappy with the original, only for some
dancers to announce on Strathspey that they preferred the original. Do we
take away his keyboard on the basis of his own opinion or on that of the
other dancers? And, as for Bratach Bana … well, obviously Drewry should have
been stopped long ago.

Overall, I am confused by the thrust of your argument on 6 or 8 bar reels
for supporting couples. Let me accept for the sake of argument that the
tradition is eight bars for everyone. Advances in Scottish dancing are
achieved, as in most other fields, by breaking the rules - the only question
is whether the “choreographic invention” is perceived as a progressive
innovation or an unacceptable breach of the tradition. (I do agree that
there are some things that are beyond the pale of the tradition but not
everyone shares my opinion that La Baratte falls into that category.) No
matter how it came about, the six bar reel has been accepted by modern
dancers and adopted as practice and thus, as they say, sic transit Gloria
Swanson.

Jim Healy
Perth, Scotland

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