I try to find the suggested tune and usually it works thanks to John
Chambers and the strathspey server and a few other friends. If I can't
then I just use my discretion.
When I first was playing the usual format was 1-1-2-2-3-3-1-1. That was
fine for quick time but it meant that the 16 bar strathspeys were played 4
times. Then the 1-2-3-1-2-3-2-1 crept in. I don't know where it came
everyone uses 1-2-3-4-2-3-4-1.
If you are playing 32bar jigs and reels you don't need to keep changing
tunes although it is such the norm that dancers rely on the music change to
the dance. But think about playing 16 bar tunes. You need to change tunes
to help keep track of the number of times. Try playing Fairy Reel 8x or
16x. Who's keeping the numbers straight. And if you are playing a 40 bar
dance you really need the crutch of a change tune to keep the order
Same for a 48 bar dance.
Sylvia Miskoe, Concord, NH USA