strathspey Archive: Beginners/Explaining Music

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Beginners/Explaining Music

Message 13370 · James R. Ferguson · 12 Oct 1998 02:11:55 · Top

Lee, After several weeks of beginning SCD, a friend said to my husband
and me, "You all keep says so many bars of this and so many of that.
The only bars I know about are the ones where you get a drink. I think
I need an explanation." Guess we sometimes assume otheres know what we
know. Need to rethink that, huh? Donna

Lee Fuell wrote:

> In addition to Maberly's excellent suggestions for an information
> packet for beginners, I would like to suggest that teachers spend
> some time explaining the basics of music. Some beginners come to
> SCD with basic musical knowledge, but others (like me, when I
> started) won't know what bars, phrases, or accent beats are, and
> teachers need to explain/demonstrate this at the very beginning. It
> does little good to tell a beginner to "lead down the middle for
> four" when the beginner's reaction might be "four what?"
>
> It would seem that teachers could integrate this information into
> basic step instruction with little difficulty. It also could be
> something that would lend itself well to an instructional cassette
> tape to be handed out to beginners, combining descriptions of
> phrasing with music to illustrate the points.
>
> Lee
>
> Lee Fuell
> Beavercreek, Ohio
> e-mail: fuell@infinet.com

Beginners/Explaining Music

Message 13376 · Norman BETT · 13 Oct 1998 01:27:50 · Top

Lee has made a very good point, and I would expect a big response on this one.
I frequently play for trainee teachers working for certificate exams and this is
the cutting edge for musical dialogue. Many ideas evolved in this scene can be
extended to dance classes.

First, I'm interested to hear the word `bars' being used over there: I always
assumed you talked about measures ! Ah no, sorry, it's the RSCDS influence fo
course. Well it's a shorter word anyway.

Bars are a musical convenience; the music would sound the same without them (if
the player didn't get lost, of course). Bars are not perceived by the listener,
but beats are. Watch the clapping on the sidelines on any ceilidh night (RACDS
dancers don't clap, thank goodness!) and you know for certain that the beat has
been perceived, correctly, without ambiguity, and apparently without effort.
With great good fortune, or perhaps by design, our dance music draws a bar line
every two beats, almost without exception. This applies to both reel time and
strathspey time - unless you are one of those dreadful people who discerns four
beats in the strathspey bar (surely only a non-dancer could do that).

So we have a language by which the dance teacher can converse with the musician.
Both know exactly what is meant when he/she asks for 8 bars of music. If you
tell the musician or band that the dance is 32 bars long everyone is happy.
You've then got to say `how many times through', and preferably say 8 X32, or
whatever (thinks: 4 times through Seton's Ceilidh Bands is actually 8 X 32 - how
confusing for a non-dancing musician!)

Come in here, all you teachers! Are you going to tell the dancers to count
beats: or get them to think in terms of bars, that is 2 beats at a time ?. For
`down the middle and back' you will probably tell them to take four travelling
steps down and four back - that will be 8 bars, so a single skip-change-of-step
equals one bar. A setting step requires 2 bars however. I think it's useful
for everyone to know how many bars various common figures occupy - not really
too mind-bending, is it ?

Beware of `The Bonnie Lass of Bon Accord'. Skinner wrote it in 4/4 time to be
played at march tempo and in the act of slowing it down for the dance, each
written bar equals 2 bars of normal strathspey music.

Norman
>
>
>
>

Norman Bett
Cambridge UK

Tel: 01223-248988

Beginners/Explaining Music

Message 13380 · SMiskoe · 13 Oct 1998 02:08:13 · Top

In a message dated 10/12/98 9:33:00 PM, you wrote:

<<Norman says:
Come in here, all you teachers! Are you going to tell the dancers to count
beats: or get them to think in terms of bars, that is 2 beats at a time ?.
For
`down the middle and back' you will probably tell them to take four travelling
steps down and four back - that will be 8 bars, so a single skip-change-of-
step
equals one bar. A setting step requires 2 bars however. I think it's useful
for everyone to know how many bars various common figures occupy - not really
too mind-bending, is it ?>>

I find that frequently teachers do not really understand the music. I have
heard them describe strathspey as "like a waltz, it's slow". They rely on the
counting method to get everyone through the figure rather than asking them to
listen to the musical phrase. ie Down the center, 2-2-3, 3-2-3,turn-2-3,
up-2-3, 3-2-3,4-2-3. They may be great dancers and good teachers but they've
not been taught how to explain. And many, unfortunately, view dancing as
successfully completing a string of figures rather than as moving their bodies
to music.
Hopefully, this will change as the new teachers' training courses emphasize
the dance/music relationship.
Cheers,
Sylvia Miskoe, Concord, NH USA

Beginners/Explaining Music

Message 13385 · John Chambers · 13 Oct 1998 07:05:48 · Top

| First, I'm interested to hear the word `bars' being used over there: I always
| assumed you talked about measures ! Ah no, sorry, it's the RSCDS influence fo
| course. Well it's a shorter word anyway.
|
| Bars are a musical convenience; ...

That's the best summary. However, to SCD dancers, the terms seem to
have a fairly intuitive meaning: A "bar" is the amount of dance it
takes to do a step (either PdB or SCS) once on each foot. This
usually (but not always) agrees with the bar lines in the music.

The reason it doesn't always agree is that to musicians bar lines are
rather arbitrary, and people aren't always consistent. In particular,
for "march" type tunes (often called "bouncy reels" by dancers), it's
common to use only half as many bar lines, so a bar of music is two
bars for the dancers. If you aren't aware of this, the result can be
confusing.

And, of course, one reason for saying "bar" rather than "measure" is
so you can make jokes about 32-bar reels. "You'd be reeling to, if
you'd just done 32 bars."

Beginners/Explaining Music

Message 13387 · Trans Vector Technologies, Inc · 13 Oct 1998 10:55:51 · Top

Norman Bett writes,

>With great good fortune, or perhaps by design, our dance music draws a bar
>line
>every two beats, almost without exception. This applies to both reel time and
>strathspey time - unless you are one of those dreadful people who discerns
>four
>beats in the strathspey bar (surely only a non-dancer could do that).

Hmmm... I find this statement very confusing. I was under the impression
that Strathspeys were generally written in 4/4, Reels in 2/4 or 4/4 and
Jigs in 6/8. However, regardless of what appears on the music paper, I, the
dance teacher think of musical "bars" as the amount of time to perform one
skip change step, one pas-de-basque step, two slip steps, one strathspey
travelling step or one common scottishe step. That is the way I hear the
music, so for strathepey, I am one of those "dreadful" people who discerns
four beats in a strathspey bar, one beat for each of the distinct movements
in the step.

Cheers, Oberdan.

Trans Vector Technologies, Inc, 184 Estaban Drive, Camarillo, CA 93010-1611
Phone: (805)484-2775, FAX: (805)484-2718, EMail: ootto@tvt.com

Beginners/Explaining Music

Message 13388 · Donald F. Robertson · 13 Oct 1998 11:18:43 · Top

Norman BETT wrote:

> unless you are one of those dreadful people who discerns four
> beats in the strathspey bar (surely only a non-dancer could do that).

Perhaps, but musicians are always dreadful enough to do
that. The written music for any strathspey will show that
strathspey's are -- by definitian -- in 4/4 time, i.e., four
quarter-notes per bar. They are heavily syncopated marches
(or, more technically and accurately, marches with grace
notes immediately before and after the beat).

-- Donald
_________________________
Donald F. Robertson
San Francisco

donaldrf@hooked.net

Donald's Space Exploration page:
http://www.hooked.net/~donaldrf/index.html

The known is finite, the unknown is infinite; intellectually
we stand on an islet in the midst of an illimitable ocean of
inexplicability. Our business in every generation is to
reclaim a little more land. -- Thomas Huxley.

Beginners/Explaining Music

Message 13389 · Donald F. Robertson · 13 Oct 1998 11:34:15 · Top

SMiskoe@aol.com wrote:

> I have
> heard them describe strathspey as "like a waltz, it's slow". They rely on the
> counting method to get everyone through the figure rather than asking them to
> listen to the musical phrase. ie Down the center, 2-2-3, 3-2-3,turn-2-3,
> up-2-3, 3-2-3,4-2-3.

Sorry to harp on this, but, a strathspey is in no way like a
waltz, nor should they be counted in threes. Waltzes are in
3/4, while strathspeys are in 4/4. Think of it as
"step-together-step-hop" -- four distinct beats. While it
is common in dance teaching, as a musician, I do not think a
strathspey should _ever_ be counted in threes (leaving the
fourth beat silent) -- this only confuses the issue. I also
think dancers should be taught to accurately count music.
Taking the steps of a dance is, in some ways, very similar
to playing a musical instrument -- all four beats of a
strathspey have to be danced, just as they have to be
played.

-- Donald
_________________________
Donald F. Robertson
San Francisco

donaldrf@hooked.net

Donald's Space Exploration page:
http://www.hooked.net/~donaldrf/index.html

The known is finite, the unknown is infinite; intellectually
we stand on an islet in the midst of an illimitable ocean of
inexplicability. Our business in every generation is to
reclaim a little more land. -- Thomas Huxley.

Beginners/Explaining Music

Message 13390 · Donald F. Robertson · 13 Oct 1998 11:44:10 · Top

John Chambers wrote:
>
> so a bar of music is two
> bars for the dancers. If you aren't aware of this, the result can be
> confusing.

Actually, as a musician, I found this _tremendously_
confusing when I first started dancing. Bars? Those aren't
bars. What are they talking about?

-- Donald
_________________________
Donald F. Robertson
San Francisco

donaldrf@hooked.net

Donald's Space Exploration page:
http://www.hooked.net/~donaldrf/index.html

The known is finite, the unknown is infinite; intellectually
we stand on an islet in the midst of an illimitable ocean of
inexplicability. Our business in every generation is to
reclaim a little more land. -- Thomas Huxley.

Beginners/Explaining Music

Message 13393 · Norman BETT · 13 Oct 1998 14:39:27 · Top

Sorry Oberdan, I was being a bit provocative there.

But I do feel strongly about 2 beats in the strathspey bar - as a musician.
Dancers can perceive what they like. Reels and strathspeys are written in `cut
common time' that is 2/2 not 4/4. In reels, we know this from the beat
perceived by the listener; and of course this ties up with the 2 beats we here
in 6/8 time; couldn't be anything else !

In strathspey time the rhythm is very subtle: as the foot comes forward after
the pull-through there is (to my mind) a very strong build up to the next strong
beat which occurs just as the foot reaches the floor and takes weight. The
close in third position is an off-beat. Then follows the next step forward,
another strong beat, perhaps just a little less than the first one. The
puul-through is the final off-beat leading up to the start of the next bar.>
>
Norman
>

Norman Bett
Cambridge UK

Tel: 01223-248988

Beginners/Explaining Music

Message 13394 · Norman BETT · 13 Oct 1998 14:39:28 · Top

>John Chambers wrote:
>>
>> so a bar of music is two
>> bars for the dancers. If you aren't aware of this, the result can be
>> confusing.
>
>Actually, as a musician, I found this _tremendously_
>confusing when I first started dancing. Bars? Those aren't
>bars. What are they talking about?
>
>-- Donald
>_________________________

In 99% of the music we use, a bar of reel time equals two beats (as perceived by
the listener). For the complete settind step, pdb to the right followed by pdb
to the left, 2 bars are required. Only the musician needs to know this. When
it comes to figures,however, a new problem arises: how do we get the dancers
to pace themselves so that they finish on time ? This is where the large-scale
structure of the tune can help, played well and with good cadences. How often
have I heard the dance teacher say " the music will tell you how to phrase your
figures" ! Sadly it very often doesn't.

Norman

Norman Bett
Cambridge UK

Tel: 01223-248988

Beginners/Explaining Music

Message 13399 · Ian Price · 13 Oct 1998 19:16:27 · Top

Message text written by INTERNET:strathspey@tm.informatik.uni-frankfurt.d=
e
>- unless you are one of those dreadful people who discerns four
beats in the strathspey bar (surely only a non-dancer could do that).<

Yo! Count me in as one of them dreadful ones.

I do it because a strathspey STEP has four beats to it (count 'em) in bot=
h
travelling and setting incarnations, whilst the equivalent reel/jig STEP
has two, also in both skip-change and bas-de-basque.

Also, a 4-beat bar is indended to be played 'strong-weak-medium-weak',
which accurately reflects the emphasis of the (RSCDS style of) strathspey=

step. A Strathspey played in a 2/4 time signature makes in many cases an
excellent Highland Schottische.

Now I'm going to post a flame.

The post from which I extracted the above contains several (not one, not =
a
few, but SEVERAL) examples of absolute bloody rubbish in relation to
scottish music, not to mention a very patronising tone to those of us
_fortunate_ enough to be living across the pond. For example, I do still
think of 'measures' as things on the walls of 'bars' (into which bo''les
are inserted upside doon), and as most on this list know, a 'Scots Measur=
e'
is usually 16 bars long.

Fortunately I have to leave for work before my blood boils, but any who
want to be set straight on some of the more ridiculous ideas creeping int=
o
this dialogue, can e-mail me privately.

BOOM! Must be getting old, even my flames have lost their flicker :-)

-2chter

PS - still here but have seen several other replies to the original post
(since I only check my e-mail once a day I'm not usually quick enough off=

the mark with a first-reply), and the followup, and I stand by the above.=

More so in fact since as one poster pointed out (or anyway implied), we
don't do 8 x 64 bar Strathspeys.

Norman's problem seems to be he thinks 'one pas-de-basque' is two bars - =
it
isn't, but is often erroneously taught that way! Two bars is ONE
PAS-DE-BASQUE-ON-EACH-FOOT, same as two strathspey bars is ONE SETTING ST=
EP
ON EACH FOOT.
-2chter.

Beginners/Explaining Music

Message 13405 · Trans Vector Technologies, Inc · 13 Oct 1998 20:14:31 · Top

Norman Bett writes:

>How often have I heard the dance teacher say " the music will tell
>you how to phrase your figures" ! Sadly it very often doesn't.

Actually, the music I choose to teach by does. If the music does not have
the structure of the dance, I do not use it for dancing. Listening maybe,
but not dancing. Drawing pleasure from dancing to the music or
alternatively, expressing the music with your body, requires that the music
and the dance be structured similarly.

Now a question for our musicians: When I dance a Strathspey or a reel, I
expect the strongest emphasis to be on the first of four beats [strong,
light, medium, light]. If the music is not played that way, it does not
energize me for the steps I am doing. So, back to the question...if the
music is written with 2 beats to a measure does this mean that alternate
measures are played differently?

By the way, I randomly picked book 9 from my RSCDS dance books. All the
reels and jigs in that book are written with 4 beats (quarter notes) to the
measure. The same is true for book 38 EXCEPT for a Skinner reel (Summer
Wooing) written with 2 beats to the measure (2/4). However, this reel has
LOTS of 1/16th notes. It looks real challenging to play. My guess is that
it would be more difficult to read if it were written as 4/4. Also, the
music in alternate bars looks different--all odd numbered bars begin with
an eighth note while even numbered bars begin with a sixteenth note.

Cheers, Oberdan.

Trans Vector Technologies, Inc, 184 Estaban Drive, Camarillo, CA 93010-1611
Phone: (805)484-2775, FAX: (805)484-2718, EMail: ootto@tvt.com

Beginners/Explaining Music

Message 13406 · Richard L. Walker · 13 Oct 1998 20:37:59 · Top

What about the airs used for dances like Saint John River, Seann
Truibhas Willichan, etc.?

-----Original Message-----
From: Oberdan Otto <ootto@tvt.com>

(snip)
Now a question for our musicians: When I dance a Strathspey or a
reel, I
expect the strongest emphasis to be on the first of four beats
[strong,
light, medium, light]. If the music is not played that way, it
does not
energize me for the steps I am doing.
(snip)

Beginners/Explaining Music

Message 13407 · Trans Vector Technologies, Inc · 13 Oct 1998 21:08:30 · Top

In reply to my comment, Richard Walker asks:

>What about the airs used for dances like Saint John River, Seann
>Truibhas Willichan, etc.?
>
>-----Original Message-----
>From: Oberdan Otto <ootto@tvt.com>
>
>(snip)
>Now a question for our musicians: When I dance a Strathspey or a reel, I
>expect the strongest emphasis to be on the first of four beats [strong,
>light, medium, light]. If the music is not played that way, it does not
>energize me for the steps I am doing.
>(snip)

Actually, those dances and the music for them, although quite nice, do not
energize me. Dancing to airs is a lot like floating around the floor--nice
for a change, but insufficient for a hearty appetite for driving
strathspeys.

Cheers, Oberdan.

Trans Vector Technologies, Inc, 184 Estaban Drive, Camarillo, CA 93010-1611
Phone: (805)484-2775, FAX: (805)484-2718, EMail: ootto@tvt.com

Beginners/Explaining Music

Message 13408 · Malcolm and Helen Brown · 13 Oct 1998 23:12:39 · Top

Oberdan wrote, on the subject of "airs".


> Actually, those dances and the music for them, although quite nice, do not
> energize me. Dancing to airs is a lot like floating around the floor--nice
> for a change, but insufficient for a hearty appetite for driving
> strathspeys.
>

I quite agree, but I think they can be very useful in eliminating
an excessive hop or a hurried pull through - if you are trying
to persuade a class that it takes "2 beats" to pull through, rather
than one and a hold, a slow air can be very useful.

Malcolm

--
_ _
|_|_ |_| Malcolm & Helen Brown - York (UK) - m.brown@netcomuk.co.uk (Tir-Nan-Og)
_ |_|_
|_| _|_| Connecting via NETCOM Internet Ltd
|_|

Dancing to airs

Message 13409 · Etienne Ozorak · 13 Oct 1998 23:56:07 · Top

Hi,

I'd like to know who first though of using airs to dance strathspeys to.
Birks of Invermay and Lea-Rig are both old dances which appear in the RSCDS
books, but there's never been a good explanation for it.

Etienne

Dancing to airs

Message 13448 · Ron.Mackey · 15 Oct 1998 02:50:08 · Top

Hi, Etienne wrote -
>
> I'd like to know who first though of using airs to dance strathspeys to.
> Birks of Invermay and Lea-Rig are both old dances which appear in the RSCDS
> books, but there's never been a good explanation for it.


I don't like dancing a strathspey to slow airs, generally speaking,
in fact I blame them for the many sloppy strathspey steps we see
around. I also think that many are played too slowly; great for 25
y.o. athletes in Dem. teams but deadly for those who are less
physically well endowed.
Cheers, Ron :)

< 0 Ron Mackey,
'O> Mottingham,
/#\ London. UK.
l>
Ron.Mackey@btinternet.com

Dancing to airs

Message 13478 · REBECCA SAGER · 16 Oct 1998 03:00:09 · Top

Back in June when we had our "Jig for Joy" dance, using all the music
from my favorite CD, we danced Mrs _Milne_ (not Mrs Muir, Ian) of Kinneff
to the "Dancing Airs" track, and quite enjoyed it. One male dancer
commented he felt he should be flourishing his lacy handkerchief during
the Gavotte. We have also used it for Drewry's "Georgian Strathspey" -
again I felt good about it. Both dances have reels of four and graceful
lead-through figures with a fair bit of ground to cover.
I feel you get from dancing a Strathspey what you put into it. You put in
a good surge and reach and graceful handing and use of the upper body and
eye contact, and you'll find it much more satisfying than if you just
drift through it wimpily.

Becky
--
Becky Sager,
Marietta GA USA
http://www.mindspring.com/~atlbrnch

Dancing to airs

Message 13495 · Ron.Mackey · 18 Oct 1998 02:30:31 · Top

Hi ,Becky
Both dances have reels of four and graceful
> lead-through figures with a #fair bit of ground to cover.#
> I feel you get from dancing a Strathspey what you put into it. You put in
> a good surge and reach and graceful handing and use of the upper body and
> eye contact, and you'll find it much more satisfying than if you just
> drift through it wimpily.

I have just given a class including two strathspeys.
The first was The Crookit Horned Ewie (music by Fiddlers 3+2) and
The Robertson Rant with all the original tunes from the CD by
Jim MacLeod and I was able to say that this is what I understand by a
strathspey.
I do not understand how some of the modern dances are called
strathspeys. No wonder a lot of the footwork is slack!

(gracefully relinquishes soapbox and exits stage right>>>>>>>>>>>>>>)
:)

Cheers, Ron :)

< 0 Ron Mackey,
'O> Mottingham,
/#\ London. UK.
l>
Ron.Mackey@btinternet.com

Beginners/Explaining Music

Message 13414 · John Chambers · 14 Oct 1998 03:21:27 · Top

| Actually, those dances and the music for them, although quite nice, do not
| energize me. Dancing to airs is a lot like floating around the floor--nice
| for a change, but insufficient for a hearty appetite for driving
| strathspeys.

And I think that's why the devisers of such dances choose airs rather
than strathspey tunes; they want that floating feel rather than the
more usual driving feel.

One of the lessons I've learned in playing for classes over the years
is that for dances that call for airs, it's best to play real
strathspey tunes during the teaching. Then, once the dancers know the
dance, you can play the air. But it's a lot harder for many dancers
to hear the measures in an air.

Beginners/Explaining Music

Message 13418 · James R. Ferguson · 14 Oct 1998 04:41:25 · Top

You know, I have never really been too puzzled about bars and measures.
We've always been told "it takes so many bars for this" and/or "go down
for 4 bars and up for 4", etc.
It always seemed to work just fine for me.
I do hope after reading all the latest postings, I won't be like the
centipede who got along just fine until someone asked him how he knew
which foot to move first. After that he was stuck in one spot, not
knowing which foot he needed to move next!
(Just adding a bit of levity, here.) Donna

Beginners/Explaining Music

Message 13420 · Greg Reznick · 14 Oct 1998 10:06:09 · Top

This is a multi-part message in MIME format.

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Boy, this whole discussion is alarming.

"RSCDS dancers don't clap" - I don't? And if I do, is it a problem?

"2 beats to the bar for a PdB" - Isn't the "two beat PdB" the bane of a
teacher's existence? How can you do it right if you don't hear all four
beats?

And by the way, the habit of counting 1-2-3-and-2-2-3-and does make a
beginner think that this is =BE time. At least I did until I kept trying =
to
count the music and coming up short. But I've never heard a teacher count=
in
two's. Even trying to imagine it, I picture myself skipping instead of
skip-change.

* Greg
* Pleasanton, CA

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------=_NextPart_000_0021_01BDF6FE.1B531E00--

Beginners/Explaining Music

Message 13421 · Dewdney Andrew · 14 Oct 1998 11:20:39 · Top

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Greg Reznick [SMTP:greznick@dnai.com]
> Sent: 14 October 1998 08:06
> To: strathspey@tm. informatik. uni-frankfurt. de
> Subject: RE: Beginners/Explaining Music
>
>
>Boy, this whole discussion is alarming.

>"RSCDS dancers don't clap" - I don't? And if I do, is it a
problem?

I agree! Fortunately I seem to have become a lapsed RSCDS member
this year, so I can clap and enjoy the whole music/dancing experience
without fear of retribution!
On a more serious note, I do know that some bands find the feedback
from clapping distracting, it can rock their rhythm, whilst others always
seem to make their music really 'rock', the more noise that emanates from
the floor! Iain McPhail for example.
Question is, what rhythm are they playing?
Well, as a dancer who plays, I've always thought reels had four
beats in a bar, and eight steps took eight bars.
Strathspeys are generally the same. (slow airs are a bit of a moot
point! and yes there odd ones about - how many of use have heard Ian Muir's
'Pink Panther' for example!!!) And jigs, well, yes, there are 6 beats to a
bar, but there are still eight bars for eight steps. The 'jigginess' comes
because the dancer (should) use the first and last note from each group of
three quavers 1 (2) 3 4(5) 6 for their (not two beat!!) p-d-b! The
crotchet/quaver type jigs are best for learning this. I have been in the
company of experienced dancers who when doing step practice don't really
alter their timing when using 8 bars reel into 8 bars jig! All the music
I've scrounged from several friendly band leaders has always looked like
this, anyway! Nothing more complicated than that, surely? There will be
exceptions, there always are, but maybe they shouldn't be used for teaching!
Now - the problem comes when you start talking to pipers -
especially when they seem to want to always play 2/4 pipe marches, how many
bars do you tell them to play?!

Andrew Dewdney

Beginners/Explaining Music

Message 13425 · Margaret Connors · 14 Oct 1998 14:48:24 · Top

Greeting to All!

At 08:35 PM 98/10/12 GMT, you wrote:

>With great good fortune, or perhaps by design, our dance music draws a bar line
>every two beats, almost without exception. This applies to both reel time

I think that this is one of the difficulties that people have when trying to
hear if the music is a reel or a jig. What people hear are the two pulses
in each bar, regardless of the number of notes in the bar. (I think I am
using North American terminology here, my Oxford Companion to Music would
describe it as two beats in the bar, and use the word pulse for the actual
notes.) Usually it is the pulses that are heard, not the beats. As noted,
although 6/8 time has six beats to the bar, each beat being an eighth note,
there are two pulses to each bar. I have found that music that may be
printed in 4/4 time, implying four pulses, can also have only two pulses to
the bar.

>and
>strathspey time - unless you are one of those dreadful people who discerns four
>beats in the strathspey bar (surely only a non-dancer could do that).

However, with respect to strathspey music, as dancer I hear four
pulses or beats to the bar. When I played some strathspeys on the piano
last night, (the music for Up in the Air, The Rakes of Glasgow, Strathcare
and Anna Holden's Strathspey) my fingers definitely felt four pulses, even
when I kept the base line to two pulses. I couldn't push the music into
two. On the other hand, I found that I could push the reels that I played
back and forth from two to four pulses per bar (not necessarily desirable,
but I could do it).

Margaret Connors,
St. John's, Newfoundland,
Canada

Beginners/Explaining Music

Message 13429 · Richard L. Walker · 14 Oct 1998 17:24:11 · Top

I always find it easiest to say phrases with the music.
If "apple butter apple butter apple butter apple butter" fits the
music, it is a reel.
If "jiggity jiggity jiggity jiggity" fits the music, it is a jig.
The entire process takes less than five or six seconds.
Although the phrases are based on counting, just using them with
the music is a whole lot easier than counting.
(I remember the first time I mentioned this, Anselm came back with
a couple of phrases in German than had the same rhythm as "apple
butter" and "jiggity." Funny.)

-----Original Message-----
From: Margaret Connors <mconnors@morgan.ucs.mun.ca>
I think that this is one of the difficulties that people have when
trying to
hear if the music is a reel or a jig.

Beginners/Explaining Music

Message 13432 · Ian Price · 14 Oct 1998 18:41:59 · Top

Message text written by INTERNET:strathspey@tm.informatik.uni-frankfurt.d=
e
>(Just adding a bit of levity, here.) Donna<

Once you can levitate, you're REALLY dancing!

-2chter

Beginners/Explaining Music

Message 13433 · Ian Price · 14 Oct 1998 18:42:02 · Top

Message text written by INTERNET:strathspey@tm.informatik.uni-frankfurt.d=
e
>Now a question for our musicians: When I dance a Strathspey or a reel, I=

expect the strongest emphasis to be on the first of four beats [strong,
light, medium, light]. If the music is not played that way, it does not
energize me for the steps I am doing. So, back to the question...if the
music is written with 2 beats to a measure does this mean that alternate
measures are played differently?<

My argument exactly! And the answer is, if the music is written with "2
beats to a measure", dance it as a reel!

-2chter

Beginners/Explaining Music

Message 13434 · Ian Price · 14 Oct 1998 18:42:15 · Top

Message text written by INTERNET:strathspey@tm.informatik.uni-frankfurt.d=
e
>
By the way, I randomly picked book 9 from my RSCDS dance books. All the
reels and jigs in that book are written with 4 beats (quarter notes) to t=
he
measure. The same is true for book 38 EXCEPT for a Skinner reel (Summer
Wooing) written with 2 beats to the measure (2/4). However, this reel has=

LOTS of 1/16th notes. It looks real challenging to play. My guess is that=

it would be more difficult to read if it were written as 4/4. Also, the
music in alternate bars looks different--all odd numbered bars begin with=

an eighth note while even numbered bars begin with a sixteenth note.<

The joker in the pack is very often what is called "common" or "cut" time=
=2E
You can identify these at the beginning of the piece where instead of whe=
re
is says "4/4" it says "c", and/or instead of "2/4" it says
"c-with-a-vertical-slash" or (for us norteamericanos) a cent sign.

As far as I can tell this is no more than a convenience of notation - ya
still plays the music its respective way as if there were 4 or 2 beats in=

the bar, except every beat is written as a quaver instead of a crotchet
(I'll have nane o' yer quarter-note/sixteenth-note terminology, a
hemidemisemiquaver was always good enough for me!).

I seem to have misplaced the books, but my recollection is that a great
deal of pipe music is written this way. And getting back to the 2/4 or 4/=
4
thingy, ask any piper to explain the difference between a 2/4 march and a=

4/4 march -- if you have a couple of hours to spare for the response.

-2chter

Beginners/Explaining Music

Message 13435 · Ian Price · 14 Oct 1998 18:43:02 · Top

Message text written by INTERNET:strathspey@tm.informatik.uni-frankfurt.d=
e
>
Actually, those dances and the music for them, although quite nice, do no=
t
energize me. Dancing to airs is a lot like floating around the floor--nic=
e
for a change, but insufficient for a hearty appetite for driving
strathspeys.

Cheers, Oberdan.<

Depends how you play 'em! Had an interesting experiment at VFO rehearsal
last night.

We're rehearsing a new set for Mrs. ? (Muir?) of Kinneff, having stripped=

in the "proper" first tune for the dance, which is one of those awful
dreary slow airs (for dancing, but The Rose Of Allandale does have a
smashing melody!). I had the orchestra sight read it 'as-written', and ha=
d
to ask at the end of 32 bars if anyone was still awake!!

We then played it again in 'true' 4/4, with the orchestra's 'rhythm
section' giving it that strathspey swing with the 'push' on beat 1 etc. =

Wow! what a difference it made to THAT tune. It really brought it to life=
=2E

One of the problems I always felt was that many early recordings of
slow-air-as-a-strathspey sold short on the potential to play these tunes =
as
_dance_music_ through what I can only describe as a lack of confidence or=

vision on the part of the arrangers of the day (20+ years ago). The troub=
le
is that these recordings set the tone for large numbers of derivative
musicians who saw this as being the 'right way to play' these tunes. I
felt that I had tried to move this process on a little, with the release =
of
Schiehallion's arrangement of "Sarona" in 1982 - but I invite you all to
listen to that track again and be the judge on whether "My love is like a=

red red nose" can in fact be arranged and played to support a strathspey
step.

-2chter

Beginners/Explaining Music

Message 13438 · Dewdney Andrew · 14 Oct 1998 19:33:00 · Top

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Ian Price [SMTP:IanPrice@compuserve.com]
> Sent: 14 October 1998 16:43
> To: INTERNET:strathspey@tm.informatik.uni-frankfurt.de
> Subject: Re: Beginners/Explaining Music
>
> One of the problems I always felt was that many early recordings of
> slow-air-as-a-strathspey sold short on the potential to play these tunes
> as
> _dance_music_ through what I can only describe as a lack of confidence or
> vision on the part of the arrangers of the day (20+ years ago). The
> trouble
> is that these recordings set the tone for large numbers of derivative
> musicians who saw this as being the 'right way to play' these tunes. I
> felt that I had tried to move this process on a little, with the release
> of
> Schiehallion's arrangement of "Sarona" in 1982 - but I invite you all to
> listen to that track again and be the judge on whether "My love is like a
> red red nose" can in fact be arranged and played to support a strathspey
> step.
> --
> Ian Price <IanPrice@compuserve.com>
>
I haven't heard the suggested recordings, but I can easily imagine
how this can be achieved, and it would be a help to the dancers, because
dancing to a slow air, played slow, because 'the band know its a slow air
but can't play it slow enough yet there are dancers out there syndrome', is
not easy and doesn't fit the step. But why do it to such beautiful tunes?
These tunes are actually written as slow airs for solo performance. They
are lyrical and beautiful, and require great expression. The driving
'oompah' of the Strathspey (for want of a better description) kills this.
Duchess Tree, Cradle Song, Sarona, Flower o the Quern, are all in the
Fiddler's Bible (otherwise known as the pink Scott Skinner) and I still
can't play them like they're supposed to sound: such as Ron Gonella may have
played them, for example. One thing I've worked out is that the tempo is
changed subtly throughout the piece, more as you would a classical piece
(pro musos out there, correct me if I'm wrong!) This is disastrous for
dancers! Take some of the other great "classic Strathspey' tunes in that
book, Milladen, for example, and to get the best out of that tune, you need
to slow down, pause, create suspense (rather hard!) Having said that, it's
a cracker played at strict dance tempo! One interesting counter-example is
the why Our Highland Queen is written as a fairly fast, flash number in SS
and yet most bands insist on drawing it out into a slushy one! Why?
Maybe the tune 'My love is like a red red nose (sic)' deserves such
a treatment! You'd play that along with "Angels from the Realms of Glory"
and "Rudolph the Red Rosed Reindeer" I suppose (yes, Ian Muir has played
those two at a Christmas Dance!)
Time to duck out of the firing line and go home, I think....
Andrew

Beginners/Explaining Music

Message 13439 · briscoe · 14 Oct 1998 21:35:23 · Top

Could someone who knows both North American and British usage for music
terminology please post a translation table for half note/quarter
note/etc. vs. crotchets and quavers? Much obliged--

ellie briscoe
Alexandria VA USA

Beginners/Explaining Music

Message 13440 · Etienne Ozorak · 14 Oct 1998 23:35:54 · Top

On Wed, 14 Oct 1998, Mel and Ellie Briscoe wrote:

> Could someone who knows both North American and British usage for music
> terminology please post a translation table for half note/quarter
> note/etc. vs. crotchets and quavers? Much obliged--

Crotchets and quavers? Is that anything like Republicans and Democrats?
Tories and Whigs? Abbotts and Costelloes? Sorry. Should have resisted
the temptation.

Etienne

Beginners/Explaining Music

Message 13442 · Joan Dahl · 15 Oct 1998 00:01:23 · Top

I must confess that the musical bits of this thread have passed me by.

I turn the situation on its head; I don't say to myself "down the middle
for 4 bars" but rather "4 bars is the time it takes to go down the
middle".

It reminds me of my naval training, and my introduction to chemical
warfare. I was told that the gas phosgene smells of geraniums, then given
a tiny sniff. Ever since, I am able to positively identify a geranium
because it smells of phosgene. Not many gardens in submarines ;-)>

-norman-

---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Norman Dahl | ndahl@ozemail.com.au
Mardel Trust | http://www.ozemail.com.au/~ndahl/nd_cv/
Mobile: 0412 026 426 | Phone/Fax: (07) 3267 1506
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Beginners/Explaining Music

Message 13443 · briscoe · 15 Oct 1998 00:08:03 · Top

Great job, Andrew!
--ellie

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Wed, 14 Oct 1998 15:14:40 -0400 (EDT)
From: "Andrew J. M. Smith" <mstajsx@panther.Gsu.EDU>
To: Mel and Ellie Briscoe <briscoe@access.digex.net>
Subject: Re: Beginners/Explaining Music

Ellie - easier said than done.

In British music parlance the order of notes, starting from longest would
be: (every note is half of the one above)

breve (super long - only used in church music?)
semibreve (a whole bar in 4/4 time - a big fat note with no stem)
minim ( 2 beats in 4/4 time - what you would call a half note)
crotchet ( 1 beat in 4/4 time - a quarter note)
quaver ( 1/2 beat in 4/4 - an eighth note)
semiquaver (1/4 beat in 4/4 - a sixteenth note)
demi-semiquaver (1/8 beat in 4/4 - a thirtysecond note)
hemi-demi-semiquaver (1/16 beat in 4/4 - a sixtyfourth note)

And we refer to measures as bars.

Clear?

Now from the semiquaver in bar 16.....

Andrew
*******************************************************************************
Message from:
Andrew J. M. Smith
Andrew-Smith@gsu.edu
*******************************************************************************

On Wed, 14 Oct 1998, Mel and Ellie Briscoe wrote:

> Could someone who knows both North American and British usage for music
> terminology please post a translation table for half note/quarter
> note/etc. vs. crotchets and quavers? Much obliged--
>
> ellie briscoe
> Alexandria VA USA
>
>
>
> --
> Mel and Ellie Briscoe <briscoe@access.digex.net>
>
>

Beginners/Explaining Music

Message 13444 · Margaret Connors · 15 Oct 1998 00:10:29 · Top

Greetings to All!

At 01:30 PM 98/10/14 -0400, you wrote:
>Could someone who knows both North American and British usage for music
>terminology please post a translation table for half note/quarter
>note/etc. vs. crotchets and quavers? Much obliged--

As a Canadian I had to learn both the British and American terminology, and
as I grew up in Montreal, I also learned the French names as well. When I
began to study music, I learned the notes as semi breve, minim etc. I also
love the sound of hemidemisemiquaver as a word, but I think that semi
quavers are quite enough to play. Now in Canada, whole note, half note
etc., are generally used.

There are also a notes called the breve and the longa. The breve is often
called a double whole note today, but in the sixteenth century, if the breve
was "perfect" it could be subdivided into three semi-breves, two if
"imperfect" Similiarly the longa could be subdivided into three breves if
perfect and two if imperfect. The sign for perfect time was a circle, for
imperfect a broken circle or C. This notation provided an indication of
tempo, which was based on the human pulse rate. "Cut time" was twice as
fast, and was indicated as a circle with a line through it if perfect, and a
C with a line through it if imperfect. The latter has become synonymous
with 2/4 time as the C has become synonymous 4/4 time, but it can be 2/2 time.

As this is probably far more than you ever wanted to know, the translation
table follows:

North American British French

whole note semi breve ronde

half note minim blanche

quarter note crochet noire

eighth note quaver croche

sixteenth note semiquaver double-croche

thirty-second note demisemiquaver triple-croche

sixty-fourth note hemidemisemiquaver quadruple-croche

Margaret Connors,
St. John's, Newfoundland,
Canada

Beginners/Explaining Music

Message 13480 · Malcolm and Helen Brown · 16 Oct 1998 03:41:39 · Top

Ian wrote:

> By the way, I randomly picked book 9 from my RSCDS dance books. All the
> reels and jigs in that book are written with 4 beats (quarter notes) to the
> measure.

1)There has never been a jig with four quavers to a bar!

> The same is true for book 38 EXCEPT for a Skinner reel (Summer
> Wooing) written with 2 beats to the measure (2/4). However, this reel has
> LOTS of 1/16th notes. It looks real challenging to play. My guess is that
> it would be more difficult to read if it were written as 4/4.

2)Actually it would be easier to read in 4/4 time. As a musician of some
sixteen years a page of black is far more intimidating than a white page.
As you appear to be a musician you should appreciate that writing a tune in
4/4 time would give broadly the same effect and the musician would be more
at ease as there is less black to play.

> Also, the
> music in alternate bars looks different--all odd numbered bars begin with
> an eighth note while even numbered bars begin with a sixteenth note.<

3)This is almost true. If I might draw your attention to bar twenty, you
will notice that it starts with a quaver. As to them looking different,
Mr Skinner obviously just wanted it to sound like that!


> The joker in the pack is very often what is called "common" or "cut" time.
> You can identify these at the beginning of the piece where instead of where
> is says "4/4" it says "c", and/or instead of "2/4" it says
> "c-with-a-vertical-slash" or (for us norteamericanos) a cent sign.

4)No, "cut common time" is in fact 2/2.

>
> I seem to have misplaced the books, but my recollection is that a great
> deal of pipe music is written this way. And getting back to the 2/4 or 4/4
> thingy, ask any piper to explain the difference between a 2/4 march and a
> 4/4 march -- if you have a couple of hours to spare for the response.
>

5)As a piper of some fifteen years (please note I have been a musician for
sixteen years which means I play more than just the pipes!), a 2/4 march
is stressed on the first beat with the second beat being weak and a 4/4
march has the empahsis of Strong, Weak, Medium, Weak, very much like a
dancer should dance a strathspey, (And yes, I dance too), and come
to think of it, teach!

Alasdair (using his dad's computer)

(Sorry, but as Alasdair was passing through I thought he could explain
to me the difference between 2/4 and 4/4 - I didn't realise he
would go to these lengths! - Malcolm)

--
_ _
|_|_ |_| Malcolm & Helen Brown - York (UK) - m.brown@netcomuk.co.uk (Tir-Nan-Og)
_ |_|_
|_| _|_| Connecting via NETCOM Internet Ltd
|_|

Beginners/Explaining Music

Message 13484 · Ian Price · 16 Oct 1998 18:53:50 · Top

Message text written by INTERNET:strathspey@tm.informatik.uni-frankfurt.d=
e
>> The joker in the pack is very often what is called "common" or "cut"
time.
> You can identify these at the beginning of the piece where instead of
where
> is says "4/4" it says "c", and/or instead of "2/4" it says
> "c-with-a-vertical-slash" or (for us norteamericanos) a cent sign.

4)No, "cut common time" is in fact 2/2.<

This I did write, and thanks for the clarification.

Beginners/Explaining Music

Message 13485 · Ian Price · 16 Oct 1998 18:59:34 · Top

Message text written by INTERNET:strathspey@tm.informatik.uni-frankfurt.d=
e
>
Ian wrote:

> By the way, I randomly picked book 9 from my RSCDS dance books. All the=

> reels and jigs in that book are written with 4 beats (quarter notes) to=

the
> measure. <

OH NO I DIDN'T ! I don't think I even _have_ Book 9. I think that was
probably Norman's part of the dialogue.

Beginners/Explaining Music

Message 13585 · Trans Vector Technologies, Inc · 21 Oct 1998 18:49:59 · Top

>Message text written by INTERNET:strathspey@tm.informatik.uni-frankfurt.de
>>
>Ian wrote:
>
>> By the way, I randomly picked book 9 from my RSCDS dance books. All the
>> reels and jigs in that book are written with 4 beats (quarter notes) to
>the
>> measure. <
>
>OH NO I DIDN'T ! I don't think I even _have_ Book 9. I think that was
>probably Norman's part of the dialogue.

Arghh! Mea culpa!

Cheers, Oberdan.

Trans Vector Technologies, Inc, 184 Estaban Drive, Camarillo, CA 93010-1611
Phone: (805)484-2775, FAX: (805)484-2718, EMail: ootto@tvt.com

Beginners/Explaining Music

Message 13447 · Malcolm and Helen Brown · 15 Oct 1998 01:57:51 · Top

If you can get hold of an old copy of book 18 you will find that the
name tune for Maxwell's Rant is to be danced "2 steps to the bar" -
it almost sounds like a fast strathspey if you listen to the recording
on the Miss Milligan tape - (the latest edition shows the music
written so that one performs one step to a bar)

Malcolm

--
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_ |_|_
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|_|

Beginners/Explaining Music

Message 13453 · Ian Price · 15 Oct 1998 09:06:30 · Top

Message text written by INTERNET:strathspey@tm.informatik.uni-frankfurt.d=
e
>(I remember the first time I mentioned this, Anselm came back with
a couple of phrases in German than had the same rhythm as "apple
butter" and "jiggity." Funny.)<

Or as we count in the reptilian wastes of Western North America ...

e.g. Rachel Rae (in those abominable 2-bar phrases)
~~~~~~~~~~~
||: Grasshopper Grasshopper | Grasshopper Grasshopper |
| Grasshopper Alligator | Alligator Crocodile :||

| Alligator Grasshopper | Grasshopper Grasshopper |
| Alligator Grasshopper | Alligator Crocodile |
| Alligator Alligator | Grasshopper Grasshopper |
| Grasshopper Alligator | Alligator Crocodile |

<aargh! enough already>

But it's more politically correct than bum-titty-bum, which was my Dad's
count. :-)

-2chter

Beginners/Explaining Music

Message 13454 · Ian Price · 15 Oct 1998 10:44:44 · Top

>Message text written by INTERNET:strathspey@tm.informatik.uni-frankfurt.=
de
>Maybe the tune 'My love is like a red red nose (sic)' deserves such
>a treatment!

Glad to see you're still awake!. The real name of the TUNE is of course
"Low Down in the Broom", the other is (almost) the title of the Burns son=
g
which was set to that tune.

> You'd play that along with "Angels from the Realms of Glory"
>and "Rudolph the Red Rosed Reindeer" I suppose (yes, Ian Muir has played=

>those two at a Christmas Dance!)<

No the other tunes are "Sarona" and Skinner's "Highland Cradle Song". And=

they don't go all the way to the strident treatment you would expect of a=

good Marshall Strathspey either, more lilting but still with empathy for
the step. Difficult to describe, which is why I prefer to let the music
communicate the mood for itself.

And "Rudolf" is a Scots Measure, silly! :-) It's been in MY Christmas s=
et
with Jingle Bells, Santa Claus is Coming to Town, and Deck the Halls, for=

about 20 years now. And, getting on my moral high horse, I would NEVER
include a non-secular tune like "Angels ..." in a novelty SCD set which
could lay me open to charges of sacrilige from the Morningside Matrons of=

Coates Crescent. I mean, fun is fun ... =

-2chter

Beginners/Explaining Music

Message 13455 · Ian Price · 15 Oct 1998 10:45:13 · Top

Message text written by INTERNET:strathspey@tm.informatik.uni-frankfurt.d=
e
> But why do it to such beautiful tunes?<

Because Mr. Drewry and others command it. And it's basically their show,
since they have the power to ask someone else to play for their Annual Ba=
ll
next year. Anselm would call it Realpolitik! I say the man who pays the
piper calls the tune.

-2chter

Beginners/Explaining Music

Message 13456 · Ian Price · 15 Oct 1998 10:45:31 · Top

Message text written by INTERNET:strathspey@tm.informatik.uni-frankfurt.d=
e
>Could someone who knows both North American and British usage for music
terminology please post a translation table for half note/quarter
note/etc. vs. crotchets and quavers? Much obliged--<

delighted, unless I'm beaten to the punch (again) :-(

Full Semibreve
Half Minim
Quarter Crotchet
Eighth Quaver
Sixteenth Semi-quaver
Thirty-second Demi-semi-quaver
Sixty-fourth Hemi-demi-semi-quaver
128th Flea-fart (brass instruments only)

And for those enamoured of the italian written instructions on how the
composer/arranger qualitatively recommends tempo and dynamics, I am
reminded of a very old limerick. Those easily offended cut to the next
message NOW Those with curious or dirty minds page down.

|
|
V

A young violinist called Cleo
Was seduced by a cellist from Rio
As she took down her panties
she cried "no Andantes,
I want this Allegro con brio" !

-2chter

Beginners/Explaining Music

Message 13458 · Pia · 15 Oct 1998 13:08:22 · Top

Donald F. Robertson wrote:
>
> SMiskoe@aol.com wrote:
>
> > I have
> > heard them describe strathspey as "like a waltz, it's slow". They rely on the
> > counting method to get everyone through the figure rather than asking them to
> > listen to the musical phrase. ie Down the center, 2-2-3, 3-2-3,turn-2-3,
> > up-2-3, 3-2-3,4-2-3.
>
> Sorry to harp on this, but, a strathspey is in no way like a
> waltz, nor should they be counted in threes. Waltzes are in
> 3/4, while strathspeys are in 4/4. Think of it as
> "step-together-step-hop" -- four distinct beats. While it
> is common in dance teaching, as a musician, I do not think a
> strathspey should _ever_ be counted in threes (leaving the
> fourth beat silent) -- this only confuses the issue. I also
> think dancers should be taught to accurately count music.
> Taking the steps of a dance is, in some ways, very similar
> to playing a musical instrument -- all four beats of a
> strathspey have to be danced, just as they have to be
> played.
>
> -- Donald
> _________________________
> Donald F. Robertson
> San Francisco
>
> donaldrf@hooked.net
>
> Donald's Space Exploration page:
> http://www.hooked.net/~donaldrf/index.html
>
> The known is finite, the unknown is infinite; intellectually
> we stand on an islet in the midst of an illimitable ocean of
> inexplicability. Our business in every generation is to
> reclaim a little more land. -- Thomas Huxley.
>
> --
> "Donald F. Robertson" <donaldrf@hooked.net>

When people have explained strathspeys as being like a waltz, I have
always interpreted it as being because it was "groundhogging",slow and
dreamy and "romantic" compared to anything quicker not how it is counted
or not as the case may be - but then again I'm a dancer not a musician so
what do I know.

pia

Beginners/Explaining Music

Message 13459 · Pia · 15 Oct 1998 13:29:46 · Top

Dewdney Andrew wrote:
>
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: Greg Reznick [SMTP:greznick@dnai.com]
> > Sent: 14 October 1998 08:06
> > To: strathspey@tm. informatik. uni-frankfurt. de
> > Subject: RE: Beginners/Explaining Music
> >
> >
> >Boy, this whole discussion is alarming.
>
> >"RSCDS dancers don't clap" - I don't? And if I do, is it a
> problem?
>
> I agree! Fortunately I seem to have become a lapsed RSCDS member
> this year, so I can clap and enjoy the whole music/dancing experience
> without fear of retribution!
> On a more serious note, I do know that some bands find the feedback
> from clapping distracting, it can rock their rhythm, whilst others always
> seem to make their music really 'rock', the more noise that emanates from
> the floor! Iain McPhail for example.
> Question is, what rhythm are they playing?
> Well, as a dancer who plays, I've always thought reels had four
> beats in a bar, and eight steps took eight bars.
> Strathspeys are generally the same. (slow airs are a bit of a moot
> point! and yes there odd ones about - how many of use have heard Ian Muir's
> 'Pink Panther' for example!!!) And jigs, well, yes, there are 6 beats to a
> bar, but there are still eight bars for eight steps. The 'jigginess' comes
> because the dancer (should) use the first and last note from each group of
> three quavers 1 (2) 3 4(5) 6 for their (not two beat!!) p-d-b! The
> crotchet/quaver type jigs are best for learning this. I have been in the
> company of experienced dancers who when doing step practice don't really
> alter their timing when using 8 bars reel into 8 bars jig! All the music
> I've scrounged from several friendly band leaders has always looked like
> this, anyway! Nothing more complicated than that, surely? There will be
> exceptions, there always are, but maybe they shouldn't be used for teaching!
> Now - the problem comes when you start talking to pipers -
> especially when they seem to want to always play 2/4 pipe marches, how many
> bars do you tell them to play?!
>
> Andrew Dewdney
>
> --
> Dewdney Andrew <Andrew.Dewdney@med.siemens.de>

LAPSED???? Oy get back in there and tell The RSCDS Non-clappers it is OK
to clap (and smile and have fun and birl). The RSCDS is spending a lot
of time and effort trying to change its image. RSCDS is fun - we are
allowed to show it - the difference is that we can dance beautifully
and safely and still enjoy it no matter where we go. I am getting
seriously worried to about this - I have always been an RSCDS dancer
since I started dancing in Copenhagen 22 years ago - I have only danced
at RSCDS dances and classes around the world until quite recently (I have
started mingling to a higher degree with the natives, here in Fife and
a lot of them are RSCDS'ers)- and I am sorry - I have learned to birl at
summerschool (I have birrrrled at summerschool!!!)- I have clapped to
music and God forbid - I have had fun or else I would not still be
dancing Scottish Dancing. Anyone who has seen or know me knows that I
have always got a stupid big silly smile on my face - not because it is
supposed to be there, but because the dancing puts it there - RSCDS means
fun to a lot of people and I find it very sad that people think they
cannot be members of RSCDS if they start to tap their feet or clap.

Pia

Beginners/Explaining Music

Message 13460 · Dewdney Andrew · 15 Oct 1998 13:43:42 · Top

> When people have explained strathspeys as being like a waltz, I have
> always interpreted it as being because it was "groundhogging",slow and
> dreamy and "romantic"
>
> pia walker <piawalker@sol.co.uk>
>
It's what!! Strathspeys are powerful, precise and very hard work to
do properly. Yes they should flow, like a river, perhaps, with a driving
urge, smooth and continuous. The muscle control far exceeds that required
for reels!
Romantic? Well yes, actually, but a healthy sort, heather topped
hills and a' that, rather than still mill ponds!

Beginners/Explaining Music

Message 13465 · Ian Price · 15 Oct 1998 20:35:54 · Top

Message text written by INTERNET:strathspey@tm.informatik.uni-frankfurt.d=
e
>When people have explained strathspeys as being like a waltz, I have =

always interpreted it as being because it was "groundhogging",slow and =

dreamy and "romantic" compared to anything quicker not how it is counted =

or not as the case may be - but then again I'm a dancer not a musician so=
=

what do I know.<

This is the (well-expressed) epitome of a mindset I feel I have a duty to=

comment upon every time it comes up. I want to scream when MCs at dances
announce "let's all relax with a nice slow Strathspey".

To dance (and play) a Strathspey properly, requires MORE energy, not less=
,
due to the muscular control and split-millisecond timing required to do i=
t
right. It is a festival of latent controlled power (once likened to drivi=
ng
an e-type Jag in a 30mph speed limit), which is definitely not waltzing,
Matilda!

I know most people on the list agree with this, so how come the
'relax-spey' attitude persists. SOMEONE somewhere is teaching it wrong,
from a mental attitude point of view at least, and without a 'dance-tall'=

starting point how ya gonna get people to do the steps right?

-2chter

Beginners/Explaining Music

Message 13466 · Ian Price · 15 Oct 1998 20:42:03 · Top

Message text written by INTERNET:strathspey@tm.informatik.uni-frankfurt.d=
e
>LAPSED???? Oy get back in there and tell The RSCDS Non-clappers it is O=
K =

to clap (and smile and have fun and birl). <

As whassisname the Blair Castle fiddler might have said to Yehudi McEwan=
,
(misquoting the famous video), "Och, ye dinna have the clap!"

-2chter

Beginners/Explaining Music

Message 13467 · Richard L. Walker · 15 Oct 1998 21:49:58 · Top

Maybe the key word is "slow" rather than "relax." I don't recall
ever having my tongue dragging on the ground after a strathspey.
My Monymusk muscle near my hip might be yelling (announcing how
out of shape I am), but the tongue is in place and the breathing
normal.

-----Original Message-----
From: Ian Price <IanPrice@compuserve.com>

(snip)
"let's all relax with a nice slow Strathspey".
(snip)

how come the 'relax-spey' attitude persists
(snip)

Beginners/Explaining Music

Message 13469 · Malcolm and Helen Brown · 15 Oct 1998 23:25:15 · Top

Ian wrote;


> To dance (and play) a Strathspey properly, requires MORE energy, not less,
> due to the muscular control and split-millisecond timing required to do it
> right. It is a festival of latent controlled power

This brings up one of the things which seem to have changed in the
last 15 years, (which shows my age I suppose), which is how the
close in strathspey differs from that in skip change - I seem
to remember that in skip change you just kept as high on your toes
as you could, whereas in strathspey you tried to keep the heel lower,
which means that instead of contracting your calf as much as you
can, you have to "half contract" it and still keep your balance -
(which as Ian says requires both strength and control). The current
practice leads what to my eyes looks like a very strange step with
a high close, followed by a total collapse - two dips instead of one!

The reason I am writing is to find out whether anyone else has a
similar memory.

Malcolm

--
_ _
|_|_ |_| Malcolm & Helen Brown - York (UK) - m.brown@netcomuk.co.uk (Tir-Nan-Og)
_ |_|_
|_| _|_| Connecting via NETCOM Internet Ltd
|_|

Beginners/Explaining Music

Message 13475 · Ron.Mackey · 16 Oct 1998 02:36:15 · Top

> Ian wrote;
>
>
> > To dance (and play) a Strathspey properly, requires MORE energy, not less,
> > due to the muscular control and split-millisecond timing required to do it
> > right. It is a festival of latent controlled power
>
> This brings up one of the things which seem to have changed in the
> last 15 years, (which shows my age I suppose), which is how the
> close in strathspey differs from that in skip change - I seem
> to remember that in skip change you just kept as high on your toes
> as you could, whereas in strathspey you tried to keep the heel lower,
> which means that instead of contracting your calf as much as you
> can, you have to "half contract" it and still keep your balance -
> (which as Ian says requires both strength and control). The current
> practice leads what to my eyes looks like a very strange step with
> a high close, followed by a total collapse - two dips instead of one!
>
> The reason I am writing is to find out whether anyone else has a
> similar memory.

Hi, Malcolm
Oh,yes! I thought you weren't in the room that night ! The Heel.
It must have been rising all these years. I can still hear a V.I.L.
saying that one should just be able to roll a pencil under the heel
when balancing in the upright position. What's more, in Frances
Stamp's teachers class (R.I.P) we tried it. It's surprising how low
that is! I have always endeavoured to do just that.
At a recent W/E school I was told I was too low! 'Nuff said.

Cheers, Ron :)

< 0 Ron Mackey,
'O> Mottingham,
/#\ London. UK.
l>
Ron.Mackey@btinternet.com

Beginners/Explaining Music

Message 13479 · Benjamin Stein · 16 Oct 1998 03:34:27 · Top

Hi Malcolm and Ron:

I remember being taught, so many years ago, that in both fast time and
strathspey time you should be able to place an egg under your heel: the
difference is that the egg for reels or jigs would be "hard boiled" but
only a "fried egg" should fit under the heel for a Strathspey!

Ben Stein
dancers@Compuserve.Com

Beginners/Explaining Music

Message 13496 · Ron.Mackey · 18 Oct 1998 02:30:33 · Top

> Hi Malcolm and Ron:
>
> I remember being taught, so many years ago, that in both fast time and
> strathspey time you should be able to place an egg under your heel: the
> difference is that the egg for reels or jigs would be "hard boiled" but
> only a "fried egg" should fit under the heel for a Strathspey!
>
> Ben Stein

Hi, Ben
:))



Cheers, Ron :)

< 0 Ron Mackey,
'O> Mottingham,
/#\ London. UK.
l>
Ron.Mackey@btinternet.com

Beginners/Explaining Music

Message 13497 · Priscilla M. Burrage · 18 Oct 1998 04:00:37 · Top

On Thu, 15 Oct 1998, Benjamin Stein wrote:

> I remember being taught, so many years ago, that in both fast time and
> strathspey time you should be able to place an egg under your heel: the
> difference is that the egg for reels or jigs would be "hard boiled" but
> only a "fried egg" should fit under the heel for a Strathspey!

You were in a class taught by the late C. Stewart Smtih.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Priscilla Burrage Vermont US
(pburrage@zoo.uvm.edu)

Beginners/Explaining Music

Message 13511 · eclyde · 19 Oct 1998 13:00:01 · Top

In fact, "Low down in the broom" was not the tune that Burns meant
for the song. When I was taking music at Moray House Teacher's
College what seems like centuries ago, the prof played the tune
that Burns intended -- unfortunately I've mislaid my Burns book,
so can't name it, but it was Major ... The tune was light and sprightly
and gave a much different character to the song.

Eric

Ian Price wrote:

> >Message text written by INTERNET:strathspey@tm.informatik.uni-frankfurt.de
> >Maybe the tune 'My love is like a red red nose (sic)' deserves such
> >a treatment!
>
> Glad to see you're still awake!. The real name of the TUNE is of course
> "Low Down in the Broom", the other is (almost) the title of the Burns song
> which was set to that tune.
>

Beginners/Explaining Music

Message 13519 · Pia · 19 Oct 1998 17:09:02 · Top

Ian Price wrote:
>
> Message text written by INTERNET:strathspey@tm.informatik.uni-frankfurt.de
> >When people have explained strathspeys as being like a waltz, I have
> always interpreted it as being because it was "groundhogging",slow and
> dreamy and "romantic" compared to anything quicker not how it is counted
> or not as the case may be - but then again I'm a dancer not a musician so
> what do I know.<
>
> This is the (well-expressed) epitome of a mindset I feel I have a duty to
> comment upon every time it comes up. I want to scream when MCs at dances
> announce "let's all relax with a nice slow Strathspey".
>
> To dance (and play) a Strathspey properly, requires MORE energy, not less,
> due to the muscular control and split-millisecond timing required to do it
> right. It is a festival of latent controlled power (once likened to driving
> an e-type Jag in a 30mph speed limit), which is definitely not waltzing,
> Matilda!
>
> I know most people on the list agree with this, so how come the
> 'relax-spey' attitude persists. SOMEONE somewhere is teaching it wrong,
> from a mental attitude point of view at least, and without a 'dance-tall'
> starting point how ya gonna get people to do the steps right?
>
> -2chter
>
> --
> Ian Price <IanPrice@compuserve.com>Dear 2chter

I don't think I metioned relaxation I fully agree that Strathspey takes a
lot more out of you to do properly, both as a dancer and a musician. I
have also done ballroom, however, and doing a proper wals is not that
easy either!!! I think I mentioned Romantic - who said romance was
easy????

happy playing and dancing
pia

Beginners/Explaining Music

Message 13525 · Andrew J. M. Smith · 19 Oct 1998 18:09:37 · Top

Eric,

The original tune is Major Graham. What is most interesting, is that the
word accents fall in different places in the two tunes.

Low down in the broom gives us:

O my *love* is like a *red* red rose

Major Graham gives us:

O *my* love's like red, red *rose*

(Actually it gets quite complex, because in Major Graham, word stress
comes both from the rhythm and from the shape of the melody. It's a
delightful tune, and gives a completely different meaning to the words.)

*******************************************************************************
Message from:
Andrew J. M. Smith
Andrew-Smith@gsu.edu
*******************************************************************************

On Sun, 18 Oct 1998, eclyde wrote:

> In fact, "Low down in the broom" was not the tune that Burns meant
> for the song. When I was taking music at Moray House Teacher's
> College what seems like centuries ago, the prof played the tune
> that Burns intended -- unfortunately I've mislaid my Burns book,
> so can't name it, but it was Major ... The tune was light and sprightly
> and gave a much different character to the song.
>
> Eric

Beginners/Explaining Music

Message 13529 · Ian Price · 19 Oct 1998 18:48:48 · Top

Message text written by INTERNET:strathspey@tm.informatik.uni-frankfurt.d=
e
>In fact, "Low down in the broom" was not the tune that Burns meant
for the song. When I was taking music at Moray House Teacher's
College what seems like centuries ago, the prof played the tune
that Burns intended -- unfortunately I've mislaid my Burns book,
so can't name it, but it was Major ... The tune was light and sprightly
and gave a much different character to the song.

Eric
<

Was this not the tune that Gordon Jackson sang the song to, in The Prime =
Of
Miss Jean Brodie (movie) ?
-2chter

Limeriks

Message 13476 · Ron.Mackey · 16 Oct 1998 02:36:18 · Top

>Using Ian's naughty arrows, I hope anyone can join in!
Any surveyors in the house?
>
> |
> |
> V
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
There was a young lady from Wantage
Of whom the Town Clerk took advantage,
Said the Borough Surveyor ,
'I think you should pay her,
You've completely altered her frontage!'

(from a lady poetess some of you know)
Cheers, Ron :)

< 0 Ron Mackey,
'O> Mottingham,
/#\ London. UK.
l>
Ron.Mackey@btinternet.com

Limeriks

Message 13483 · Ian Price · 16 Oct 1998 18:53:27 · Top

Message text written by INTERNET:strathspey@tm.informatik.uni-frankfurt.d=
e
> There was a young lady from Wantage
Of whom the Town Clerk took advantage,
Said the Borough Surveyor ,
'I think you should pay her,
You've completely altered her frontage!'<

"She was only the Mayor's daughter, but she let the Borough Surveyor" ...=

opens up a whole new line of thought, doesn't it?

-2chter

Limeriks

Message 13498 · Campbell Downie · 18 Oct 1998 07:16:24 · Top

At 10:53 AM 1998/10/16 -0400, you wrote:
>> There was a young lady from Wantage
>Of whom the Town Clerk took advantage,
>Said the Borough Surveyor ,
>'I think you should pay her,
>You've completely altered her frontage!'<

This thread will have to be monitored (?censored) very strictly

There was a young lady called Myrtle
Who had an affair with a tyrtle
The very next morn
She gave birth to a prawn
Which showed that the tyrtle was fyrtle

Campbell Downie
PO Box 101269
Scottsville
3209 South Africa

Limeriks

Message 13551 · SallenNic · 20 Oct 1998 16:25:46 · Top

Two oddities for the record:-

There was a young Curate of Salisbury
Whose manners were halisbury - scalisbury:
He ran about Hampshire without any pampshire
Till told by his Bishop to walisbury!

Clues: The roman name for Salisbury was Sarum;
and (for non - British domiciled members) the recognised
abbreviation for ~Hampshire is Hants.

And one by Sir William Schwenk Gilbert (of Bab Ballads and Gilbert and
Sullivan fame):-

There was a young man of St Bee
Who was stung on the nose by a wasp:
When they asked "Did it hurt?", he replied "Not at all,
But at first I thought it was a Hornet".

Nicolas Broadbridge.

Limeriks

Message 13566 · John Chambers · 21 Oct 1998 03:20:23 · Top

| And one by Sir William Schwenk Gilbert (of Bab Ballads and Gilbert and
| Sullivan fame):-
|
| There was a young man of St Bee
| Who was stung on the nose by a wasp:
| When they asked "Did it hurt?", he replied "Not at all,
| But at first I thought it was a Hornet".

I've heard it with a slightly different last line that scans better:
I'm just glad it wasn't a hornet.

Beginners/Explaining Music

Message 13400 · briscoe · 13 Oct 1998 19:18:07 · Top

I've heard teachers count both ways:
"ONE two three and TWO two three and THREE two three"
and
'ONE and two and TWO and two and THREE and two." Both have a syllable for
each footfall, and count bars with the stressed first syllable matched to
the stressed first beat of the bar. I prefer the first way, since it also
counts out the footfalls within each complete step. The second way uses
"two" to show the second stressed beat of the bar, good for jigs.

Getting the new dancers to hear the phrases: talk about it. Illustrate it.
Ues tunes they know from children's songs, like "My Grandfather's clock"
or Christmas carols. Encourage them to buy recordings to play at home; we
bought a bunch of remaindered Tullochgorum and Bobby Brown records at
fifty cents each and give one to each new dancer.

I like the definition: you're not a beginner any more when you don't need
help to get through most dances and figures. You're past intermediate when
you're able to help others get through without messing yourself up and can
maintain good technique.

ellie briscoe
Alexandria VA USA

Beginners/Explaining Music

Message 13403 · Priscilla M. Burrage · 13 Oct 1998 19:57:11 · Top

On Tue, 13 Oct 1998, Mel and Ellie Briscoe wrote:

> I like the definition: you're not a beginner any more when you don't need
> help to get through most dances and figures. You're past intermediate when
> you're able to help others get through without messing yourself up and can
> maintain good technique.

I agree with Ellie. To me, Scottish Country dancing is social dancing.
One leaves the beginner stage when one recognizes that the bodies flying
by are real people. Sometimes they need a little help; sometimes it's
really part of the dance to help them and sometimes the emerging
intermediate can see that they need help. And sometimes the emerging
intermediate thinks to smile or nod at them -- just because it's a social
occasion.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Priscilla Burrage Vermont US
(pburrage@zoo.uvm.edu)

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