strathspey Archive: Machine without Horses

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Machine without Horses

Message 32626 · Patricia Ruggiero · 20 Nov 2002 00:21:07 · Top

(Again.)

In _An Album for Mrs Stewart_ (Alastair MacFadyen), there are copies of
pages from Mrs. Stewart's notebooks. One of them shows a handwritten copy
of this dance, and it reads thus (I'm using semicolons to indicate the end
of the first three 8-bar phrases):

"The 1st Cu. cast off one Cu. right hands across with the 3rd Cu.;
Cast up and left hands across with the 2d Cu.;
Lead down between the 3rd Cu. the 2nd Cu. follows cast up into your own
places;
Cross over one Cu. right and left.

Rutherford 1772"

I'm hoping that I can prevail upon Jim Healy, or anyone else who has the
original instructions, to compare Mrs. Stewart's notes with the original and
tell us if she copied them *exactly*; if she didn't, would you be so kind as
to supply the original instructions?

From this it appears that the casts, in figures 1&2, were 4 bars; that is,
there was no setting to start the figures, as we do now. What interests me
more is, of course, figure 3. These instructions would seem to settle the
dispute about whether the 2s danced straight to the top or cast around top
place; neither ending prevailed, as both couples ended the third figure in
original places. The progression didn't occur until the 4th figure; but, at
this point, how they accomplished the 4th figure is not clear to me.

I think "cross over one couple" means "cross and cast off one place" but
that leaves the 1s on the improper side and I don't see how any sort of R&L
figure could get them proper again (well, 5 changes could, but not in four
bars!)

Back to the 3rd figure --
The reconstructed version (Bk. 12) seems very clear in its instruction that
"second couple dance up to the top." Possibly no one considered having the
2s cast around top place; possibly they did think of it but then rejected it
for one reason or another. I suppose we'll never know how that particular
reconstruction came into existence -- unless there are notes somewhere. Are
there? Did Miss Milligan, Mrs. Stewart, and others who reconstructed these
old dances leave notes as to their choices and reasons?

Pat

Machine without Horses

Message 32627 · Volleyballjerry · 20 Nov 2002 00:56:54 · Top

Re that "third figure"...

I've generally found that there isn't time for C2 to cast around first place,
which may be why it wasn't transcribed into a modern dance that way. C2
sometimes tends to unintentionally lag a bit behind C1 anyway, such that C2,
in any case, gets to top place, easy way in, just in time for the right and
left (which for this dance is just-right timing). Sometimes there is a
couple (or individual) who does try something resembling a cast around first
place (perhaps thinking that it is called for), but because of the timing, it
ends up being a fast pivot-swirl-in-place-and-go and not terribly parallel
anyway to what C1 is doing in its easy wide cast into second place.

Robb Quint
Thousand Oaks, CA, USA

Machine without Horses

Message 32628 · GOSS9 · 20 Nov 2002 08:50:16 · Top

The replacement of a 4 bar cast with set and cast is
a common factor in dances edited by Miss M. When she
did changed the cast from 4 to 2 in "Red House" she
misaligned the phrases from the music from AABBCC to
an ABBCC dance with AABBC music.

Machine without Horses

Message 32642 · Jim Healy · 21 Nov 2002 01:38:13 · Top

Greetings!

Pat Ruggiero has some questions arising from the Rutherford version of The
Machine without Horses.

Pity you didn't make it to my talk at Summer School on interpreting old
dances, Pat. I used exactly this example and now that you have asked for it
on Strathspey I'll need to find another good example :(

A few comments. The (R)SCDS was never conceived as an academic institution.
The main function was simply to keep traditional style SCD going. Therefore,
dances have never been re-created but interpreted and adapted to the style
which has itself been interpreted and adapted and continues to evolve.

The specifics:

1. Yes, the instructions were copied accurately.

2. As Goss has already said, the substitution of set and cast for a four bar
cast is a relatively standard interpretation from the early era. Who, why,
where and when may be interesting questions but the fact of the matter is
that it is what was decided and what we have.

3. Putting aside the research hat and speaking in a purely personal
capacity, I was taught, have always danced and still teach that second
couple "shadow" top couple's cast. I have never found it awkward or prone to
pivoting into place although I have occasionally wished that the first
couple in front of me were more aware that there was a couple following them
- which may have nothing to do with casting.

4. And, so to the nub of the matter:
Cross over one couple, right and left. This is not cross and cast. Neither
is it right and left as we know it, Jim. Country dancing right and left
involved couples changing places diagonally and then back. If you can access
it (I haven't been able to today) there is an online copy of Thomas Wilson's
Complete System of English Country Dancing through the Library of Congress
web site. (If somebody with a more reliable line can post the URL I would
appreciate it.) If you look at pages 56 and 57 of Wilson, there is not only
a complete description of CD rights and lefts but an explanation of where
_our_ rights and lefts comes from. Wilson states "This figure is very
different from the 'Quadrille Right and Left' which is the 'Chain Figure of
four. See the 'Diagram and Quadrille Panorama' a work by the same author".

And so the difficulty in the interpretation becomes clear.
Wilson was not researched at that time.
'The society' was using a definition of Right and Left from a different
tradition, the quadrilles.
Therefore, the interpretation of the original dance instructions was made to
fit that wrong definition.

HTH

Jim Healy
Perth, Scotland

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Machine without Horses

Message 32644 · Lydia Hedge · 21 Nov 2002 02:22:48 · Top

Library of Congress URL is

http://www.loc.gov/

Then, following links to find Thomas Wilson, I got to this page:

http://lcweb2.loc.gov/ammem/dihtml/dicatlg.html

Then, I used Edit / Find to find Wilson.

Several books appeared.

> Complete System of English Country Dancing

is there. Click on "Page Image Viewer" to get to the book itself.
Then, type in 56 for the page number.

Tada.

Lydia
Halifax, Nova Scotia

> Greetings!
>
> Pat Ruggiero has some questions arising from the Rutherford version of The
> Machine without Horses.
>
> Pity you didn't make it to my talk at Summer School on interpreting old
> dances, Pat. I used exactly this example and now that you have asked for it
> on Strathspey I'll need to find another good example :(
>
> A few comments. The (R)SCDS was never conceived as an academic institution.
> The main function was simply to keep traditional style SCD going. Therefore,
> dances have never been re-created but interpreted and adapted to the style
> which has itself been interpreted and adapted and continues to evolve.
>
> The specifics:
>
> 1. Yes, the instructions were copied accurately.
>
> 2. As Goss has already said, the substitution of set and cast for a four bar
> cast is a relatively standard interpretation from the early era. Who, why,
> where and when may be interesting questions but the fact of the matter is
> that it is what was decided and what we have.
>
> 3. Putting aside the research hat and speaking in a purely personal
> capacity, I was taught, have always danced and still teach that second
> couple "shadow" top couple's cast. I have never found it awkward or prone to
> pivoting into place although I have occasionally wished that the first
> couple in front of me were more aware that there was a couple following them
> - which may have nothing to do with casting.
>
> 4. And, so to the nub of the matter:
> Cross over one couple, right and left. This is not cross and cast. Neither
> is it right and left as we know it, Jim. Country dancing right and left
> involved couples changing places diagonally and then back. If you can access
> it (I haven't been able to today) there is an online copy of Thomas Wilson's
> Complete System of English Country Dancing through the Library of Congress
> web site. (If somebody with a more reliable line can post the URL I would
> appreciate it.) If you look at pages 56 and 57 of Wilson, there is not only
> a complete description of CD rights and lefts but an explanation of where
> _our_ rights and lefts comes from. Wilson states "This figure is very
> different from the 'Quadrille Right and Left' which is the 'Chain Figure of
> four. See the 'Diagram and Quadrille Panorama' a work by the same author".
>
> And so the difficulty in the interpretation becomes clear.
> Wilson was not researched at that time.
> 'The society' was using a definition of Right and Left from a different
> tradition, the quadrilles.
> Therefore, the interpretation of the original dance instructions was made to
> fit that wrong definition.
>
> HTH
>
> Jim Healy
> Perth, Scotland
>
> _________________________________________________________________
> STOP MORE SPAM with the new MSN 8 and get 2 months FREE*
> http://join.msn.com/?page=features/junkmail
>

Machine without Horses

Message 32646 · Patricia Ruggiero · 21 Nov 2002 04:28:39 · Top

Thanks for saving me some time.

Pat

-----Original Message-----
From: Lydia Hedge [mailto:lydiahedge@accesswave.ca]
Sent: Wednesday, November 20, 2002 8:13 PM
To: strathspey@strathspey.org
Subject: Re: Machine without Horses

Library of Congress URL is

http://www.loc.gov/

LOC and wilson

Message 32647 · Patricia Ruggiero · 21 Nov 2002 04:55:30 · Top

Lydia or Jim,

Printed out the pages for R&L. Now can you tell me how one goes about
finding a particular figure? I'd like to see Wilson's explanation for cross
over one couple. How do I find it among those 300+ pages?

Thanks for your help.
Pat

-----Original Message-----
From: Lydia Hedge [mailto:lydiahedge@accesswave.ca]
Sent: Wednesday, November 20, 2002 8:13 PM
To: strathspey@strathspey.org
Subject: LOC and wilson

Library of Congress URL is

http://www.loc.gov/

Then, following links to find Thomas Wilson, I got to this page:

http://lcweb2.loc.gov/ammem/dihtml/dicatlg.html

Then, I used Edit / Find to find Wilson.

Cross over one couple

Message 32655 · marjoriem · 21 Nov 2002 13:33:43 · Top

Hi Pat,

As wonderful as the Library of Congress resource is, it does not include all
of the editions of Wilson's Analysis. But the 1808 and 1811 editions are
there and the later one does have "Cross over one couple" on page 30.
Unfortunately a key word search across the whole collection didn't pull up
the term as I would have expected. However, Wilson usually has a table of
contents or index which can help you find a particular figure (and don't
forget to check under "T" for "The"). I have facsimiles of all of the
editions at home and will check to see if there are diagrams in the later
editions, but the figure is essentially cross and cast off one place and
would have taken one strain or 4 bars of music.

Marjorie McLaughlin

----- Original Message -----
From: "Patricia Ruggiero" <ruggierop@earthlink.net>
To: <strathspey@strathspey.org>; <lydiahedge@accesswave.ca>
Sent: Wednesday, November 20, 2002 7:55 PM
Subject: RE: LOC and wilson

> Lydia or Jim,
>
> Printed out the pages for R&L. Now can you tell me how one goes about
> finding a particular figure? I'd like to see Wilson's explanation for
cross
> over one couple. How do I find it among those 300+ pages?
>
> Thanks for your help.
> Pat
>

Cross over one couple

Message 32657 · Patricia Ruggiero · 21 Nov 2002 15:49:14 · Top

Marjorie wrote:
>... the figure is essentially cross and cast off one place and would have
taken one strain or 4 bars of music.

Thanks, Marjorie!

But that still leaves me puzzled about the last figure in Machine w/o
Horses --

Assume that the 1s are in first place on their own side at the end of bar
24. Then they cross and cast down one place (bars 25-28). That puts them
in second place on opposite sides. What sort of "right and left" figure
could they do in the remaining 4 bars to end in second place on own sides?

Could they have crossed, cast, and *crossed over to own sides* in bars
25-28?

Jim Healy, are you there? Did your paper (on interpreting old dances) cover
this point?

Well, as enjoyable as this sleuthing is, I fear I must return to my desk for
serious (paying) work....

Pat

Cross over one couple

Message 32658 · Jim Healy · 21 Nov 2002 16:03:29 · Top

Greetings!

Marjorie has confirmed that Wilson's meaning of cross over one couple is as
Pat understood it. Pat has come back with the question I asked in my talk -
how do the last eight bars work then? (Please, don't ask for a copy of the
paper, there wasn't one - I talked to a few overheads.)The only answer I
could and can offer is a hyothesis (which is fancy term for "here's one way
out of this"). Rutherford predates Wilson and may have had another meaning
for the terms. One of our problems is that (pace Marjorie), having
discovered Wilson, there is a danger of making too much of his version of
things. As I also said in my talk, you must keep in mind that when it came
to saying "this is how things are done", Thos. Wilson had an ego that would
have made Miss Milligan seem like a shrinking violet

Jim Healy
Perth, Scotland

>From: "Patricia Ruggiero" <ruggierop@earthlink.net>
>Reply-To: strathspey@strathspey.org
>To: <strathspey@strathspey.org>
>Subject: RE: Cross over one couple
>Date: Thu, 21 Nov 2002 09:49:10 -0500
>
>Marjorie wrote:
> >... the figure is essentially cross and cast off one place and would have
>taken one strain or 4 bars of music.
>
>Thanks, Marjorie!
>
>But that still leaves me puzzled about the last figure in Machine w/o
>Horses --
>
>Assume that the 1s are in first place on their own side at the end of bar
>24. Then they cross and cast down one place (bars 25-28). That puts them
>in second place on opposite sides. What sort of "right and left" figure
>could they do in the remaining 4 bars to end in second place on own sides?
>
>Could they have crossed, cast, and *crossed over to own sides* in bars
>25-28?
>
>Jim Healy, are you there? Did your paper (on interpreting old dances)
>cover
>this point?
>
>Well, as enjoyable as this sleuthing is, I fear I must return to my desk
>for
>serious (paying) work....
>
>Pat

_________________________________________________________________
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Cross over one couple

Message 32664 · marjoriem · 21 Nov 2002 18:38:16 · Top

I agree completely, Jim, about not making too much of Wilson's
interpretations. He, like all teachers and dancers, is a product of his age;
what he taught and how he interpreted/invented figures doesn't always
translate into contemporary styles and preferences. However, curiosity in
finding out how and why we differ from earlier versions is often piqued in
the likes of Pat, Jim, me and countless others. It's rarely a case of "we're
right, they were wrong" or vice versa (except for double triangles, of
course . . .) - Sorry, Jim, couldn't resist.

Marjorie McLaughlin
San Diego, CA

----- Original Message -----
From: "Jim Healy" <jimhealy@hotmail.com>
To: <strathspey@strathspey.org>
Sent: Thursday, November 21, 2002 7:03 AM
Subject: RE: Cross over one couple

> Greetings!
>
> Marjorie has confirmed that Wilson's meaning of cross over one couple is
as
> Pat understood it. Pat has come back with the question I asked in my
talk -
> how do the last eight bars work then? (Please, don't ask for a copy of the
> paper, there wasn't one - I talked to a few overheads.)The only answer I
> could and can offer is a hyothesis (which is fancy term for "here's one
way
> out of this"). Rutherford predates Wilson and may have had another meaning
> for the terms. One of our problems is that (pace Marjorie), having
> discovered Wilson, there is a danger of making too much of his version of
> things. As I also said in my talk, you must keep in mind that when it came
> to saying "this is how things are done", Thos. Wilson had an ego that
would
> have made Miss Milligan seem like a shrinking violet
>
> Jim Healy
> Perth, Scotland
>
>
>
>
> >From: "Patricia Ruggiero" <ruggierop@earthlink.net>
> >Reply-To: strathspey@strathspey.org
> >To: <strathspey@strathspey.org>
> >Subject: RE: Cross over one couple
> >Date: Thu, 21 Nov 2002 09:49:10 -0500
> >
> >Marjorie wrote:
> > >... the figure is essentially cross and cast off one place and would
have
> >taken one strain or 4 bars of music.
> >
> >Thanks, Marjorie!
> >
> >But that still leaves me puzzled about the last figure in Machine w/o
> >Horses --
> >
> >Assume that the 1s are in first place on their own side at the end of bar
> >24. Then they cross and cast down one place (bars 25-28). That puts
them
> >in second place on opposite sides. What sort of "right and left" figure
> >could they do in the remaining 4 bars to end in second place on own
sides?
> >
> >Could they have crossed, cast, and *crossed over to own sides* in bars
> >25-28?
> >
> >Jim Healy, are you there? Did your paper (on interpreting old dances)
> >cover
> >this point?
> >
> >Well, as enjoyable as this sleuthing is, I fear I must return to my desk
> >for
> >serious (paying) work....
> >
> >Pat
>
>
> _________________________________________________________________
> Add photos to your messages with MSN 8. Get 2 months FREE*.
> http://join.msn.com/?page=features/featuredemail
>
>

Cross over one couple

Message 32665 · Patricia Ruggiero · 21 Nov 2002 19:13:53 · Top

Jim Healy wrote:

>Please, don't ask for a copy of the paper, there wasn't one -

Double drat.

> Rutherford predates Wilson and may have had another meaning for the terms.

Aarrgghhh! I know this -- but, being so focussed on the dance figures, I
completely overlooked this important point. (*smacks forehead*)

Let's see: Dukes is, I think, 1752, and there are some others before
Wilson....but it's as Marjorie pointed out, that not all of them are at that
LOC site.

Pat

Cross over one couple

Message 32666 · Jim Healy · 21 Nov 2002 19:19:26 · Top

Greetings!

Marjorie writes, inter alia:

>It's rarely a case of "we're right,
>they were wrong" or vice versa
>(except for double triangles, of
>course . . .) - Sorry, Jim, couldn't resist.

Which reminds me, Marjorie, you still owe me that article on double
triangles for our Branch Newsletter (or is TACTalk getting first bite now?)
80)>

Jim

_________________________________________________________________
Add photos to your e-mail with MSN 8. Get 2 months FREE*.
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an article by Marjorie

Message 32667 · Patricia Ruggiero · 21 Nov 2002 20:59:47 · Top

Jim wrote:

>Which reminds me, Marjorie, you still owe me that article on double
triangles for our Branch Newsletter (or is TACTalk getting first bite now?)

Will the insatiably curious among us be able to obtain a copy?

Pat

an article by Marjorie

Message 32668 · Marilynn Knight · 21 Nov 2002 21:03:00 · Top

Which probably includes all of us on 'strathspey.....?'

Marilynn
I love the anthropological implications of dance variations over time and
geographical space, etc....

-----Original Message-----
From: Patricia Ruggiero [mailto:ruggierop@earthlink.net]
Sent: Thursday, November 21, 2002 3:00 PM
To: strathspey@strathspey.org
Subject: an article by Marjorie

Jim wrote:

>Which reminds me, Marjorie, you still owe me that article on double
triangles for our Branch Newsletter (or is TACTalk getting first bite now?)

Will the insatiably curious among us be able to obtain a copy?

Pat

an article by Marjorie

Message 32672 · Patricia Ruggiero · 21 Nov 2002 22:20:55 · Top

Marilynn wrote:
>....the anthropological implications of dance variations over time and
geographical space, etc....

Yes, I guess that does sum up the way I'm looking at historical dance,
although I might have added the word "sociological".....

Pat

Cross over one couple

Message 32670 · ron.mackey · 21 Nov 2002 22:03:26 · Top

> Which reminds me, Marjorie, you still owe me that article on double
> triangles for our Branch Newsletter (or is TACTalk getting first bite now?)
> 80)>
>
> Jim
>

That'll larn ye ! :))


Happy Dancing
Cheers :)
Ron

Ron Mackey. London Branch (and Croydon)
39, Grove Park Road,
Mottingham
London SE9 4NS

Machine without Horses

Message 32649 · Alan Paterson · 21 Nov 2002 08:05:28 · Top

Lydia Hedge wrote:
>
> Library of Congress URL is
>
> http://www.loc.gov/
>
> Then, following links to find Thomas Wilson, I got to this page:
>
> http://lcweb2.loc.gov/ammem/dihtml/dicatlg.html
>

What a tremendous resource! Thanks Lydia.

I admit to being thoroughly captivated by publications such as
"Immorality of Modern Dances". Lots of interesting ideas in there! I
wonder what they would have said about the Lambada?

Alan

Machine without Horses

Message 32645 · Patricia Ruggiero · 21 Nov 2002 04:28:36 · Top

Thanks, Jim, for your reply.

>Pity you didn't make it to my talk at Summer School on interpreting old
dances, Pat. I used exactly this example...

Drat, and I missed it.

>...and now that you have asked for it on Strathspey I'll need to find
another good example :(

I'm always available as an audience.

>A few comments. The (R)SCDS was never conceived as an academic institution.
The main function was simply to keep traditional style SCD going. Therefore,
dances have never been re-created but interpreted and adapted to the style
which has itself been interpreted and adapted and continues to evolve.

Yes, I knew that. My interest in historical dance springs from other
impulses. I'm curious as to what dance meant to people of the earlier
times, how they perceived the dancing experience, and what the particular
dance aesthetic says about those people at that time. What did the dances
look like, and how did it feel to dance them? What was the "figure du jour"
at any given time? So, for example, if "24 dances for the year 1772"
contains only 4-bar casts, what does that say about the dance style for that
year? Certainly the 4-bar cast looks and feels different from set and cast.
Does the 4-bar cast represent a more leisurely style of casting and, if so,
what does that say about folks' taste in casting that year?

This is more than an idle curiosity, I admit, but it's not so compelling
that I'm frantic to change RSCDS dances back to what they were. I find very
little to criticize in RSCDS interpretations, other than the occasional
oddball reconstruction (such as Hooper's Jig); even then I'm sympathetic,
understanding very well what it's like to be confronted with often
incomprehensible original instructions.

>3. Putting aside the research hat and speaking in a purely personal
capacity, I was taught, have always danced and still teach that second
couple "shadow" top couple's cast. I have never found it awkward...

I wasn't taught that version; I don't teach it; but I prefer to dance it
that way as long as my partner agrees.

>4. And, so to the nub of the matter:
Cross over one couple, right and left. This is not cross and cast.

Do you know what it is? One source I have, for Early American dances,
describes this as cross, cast, turn either half or one-and-a half to own
sides (8 bars). Hugh Thurston, in _Scotland's Dances_ talks about "cross
over two couples" as incorporating a cast, but he doesn't actually describe
the "cross over one couple," saying only that it is explained in Dukes,
Wilson, and Chivers.

>Neither is it right and left as we know it, Jim. Country dancing right and
left involved couples changing places diagonally and then back.

My Early American source shows the Wilson 1808 version of this, a 4-bar
figure. There is also a diagram of Welch's ca.1767 4-bar version, which is
quite different.

Right now I'm stuck on that last figure, not knowing how to interpret the
"cross over one couple." I assume the right and left was done from the
proper, progressed positions, but I can't figure out how to get the dancers
there in the first four bars of that last phrase.

>HTH

Indeed, yes. Thanks again.

Pat
Charlottesville, Virginia
USA

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