strathspey Archive: Two Chords

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Two Chords

Message 34533 · mlamontbrown · 21 Mar 2003 17:27:08 · Top

Perhaps if we had decided from the start that the first chord would be used
for crossing over, and the second chord for acknowledging our partners, it
wouldn't have seemed so awkward at the start?

(And those of us who have to use recorded music will continue to make
whatever arrangements needed to make it all work! - if you find a recording
that fits and has two chords, if the dance is repeated then of course you
have to remind the dancers - some standing on the "opposite" side - that
there are two chords! )

Malcolm

Malcolm & Helen Brown
York - UK

Two Chords

Message 34546 · Helen P. · 22 Mar 2003 01:38:26 · Top

From: Malcolm "mlamontbrown" <mlamontbrown@btopenworld.com>
Sent: Friday, March 21, 2003 11:27 AM

> (And those of us who have to use recorded music will continue to make
> whatever arrangements needed to make it all work! - if you find a
recording
> that fits and has two chords, if the dance is repeated then of course you

Has anyone considered that almost every recorded set has a built-in second
chord available?

Just cue up the final bow chord of the previous track. The empty space
between tracks might not have perfect timing (i.e., in tempo), but on most
CDs it's usually brief and of consistent length.

Saves a bit of fussing about, anyway. That is, unless you have a recording
machine that can't easily cue to that end of a track.

-- Helen

Two Chords

Message 34549 · Richard Goss · 22 Mar 2003 04:59:44 · Top

"...built-in second chord available? Just cue up the final bow chord of the
previous track. The empty space between tracks might not have perfect
timing ...."

That is just the problem, especially for beginners who we are trying to
teach to respond to the music without thinking about it. Because of the
variable spaceing between ultimate chord of one dance and the initial timing
of another, the teacher is actually "unlearning" what he should be teaching.

Much better to have the couple cross over during the organize of sets time
then bow from the correct places for that that dance.

If we can organize square sets, without a chord, why not all of the other
formations.

(i.e., in tempo), but on most
> CDs it's usually brief and of consistent length.
>
> Saves a bit of fussing about, anyway. That is, unless you have a
recording
> machine that can't easily cue to that end of a track.
>
> -- Helen
>

Two Chords

Message 34564 · Wouter Joubert · 24 Mar 2003 07:17:25 · Top

But different tracts on a recording seldom are in the same key!! It
would make me want to get off the dance floor if having to have two
cords resulted in two cords in different keys.

Wouter

-----Original Message-----
From: Helen P. [mailto:leap@mindspring.com]
Sent: 22 March 2003 02:30 AM
To: strathspey@strathspey.org
Subject: Re: Two Chords

From: Malcolm "mlamontbrown" <mlamontbrown@btopenworld.com>
Sent: Friday, March 21, 2003 11:27 AM

> (And those of us who have to use recorded music will continue to make
> whatever arrangements needed to make it all work! - if you find a
recording
> that fits and has two chords, if the dance is repeated then of course
you

Has anyone considered that almost every recorded set has a built-in
second
chord available?

Just cue up the final bow chord of the previous track. The empty space
between tracks might not have perfect timing (i.e., in tempo), but on
most
CDs it's usually brief and of consistent length.

Saves a bit of fussing about, anyway. That is, unless you have a
recording
machine that can't easily cue to that end of a track.

-- Helen

Two Chords

Message 34569 · Jean Martin · 24 Mar 2003 21:52:54 · Top

At the last RSCDS Publications Group meeting (15 March) a decision was taken to indicate, in the Foreword to Book 43, that the practice of having two chords would be discontinued in RSCDS publications. We are very much aware that in Book 42 in the instructions for both James Gray and James Senior of St Andrews two chords are recommended but from Book 43 onwards there will be no requirement for two chords even though some of the dancers are required to begin the dance on the opposite side of a longwise set.

Jean Martin

Two Chords

Message 34575 · Martin.Sheffield · 25 Mar 2003 10:21:32 · Top

At 21:53 24/03/03, you wrote:

>... that the practice of having two chords would be discontinued in RSCDS
>publications.

Three cheers !!!

Martin

Two Chords

Message 34576 · Marilynn Knight · 25 Mar 2003 13:52:47 · Top

Brilliant!!!! That sounds really lovely!!!!

-----Original Message-----
From: simon scott [mailto:simon.scott@telus.net]
Sent: Monday, March 24, 2003 4:30 PM
To: strathspey@strathspey.org
Subject: RE: Two Chords

> Perhaps if we had decided from the start that the first chord would be
> used
> for crossing over, and the second chord for acknowledging our
partners, it
> wouldn't have seemed so awkward at the start?

But why the necessity at all ??
Simon

> (And those of us who have to use recorded music will continue to make
> whatever arrangements needed to make it all work! - if you find a
> recording
> that fits and has two chords, if the dance is repeated then of course
you
> have to remind the dancers - some standing on the "opposite" side -
that
> there are two chords! )
>
> Malcolm
>
> Malcolm & Helen Brown
> York - UK

All this can be avoided with ONE elegant chord.
Simon

Two Chords

Message 34577 · SMiskoe · 25 Mar 2003 23:37:47 · Top

As a musician I always toyed with the idea of playing one chord as the
dominant 7th and the 2nd as the tonic. Or perhaps the sub-dominant into the
tonic to give an A-men sound. Two sequential tonics is pretty blah.
Cheers,
Sylvia Miskoe, Concord, NH USA

Two Chords

Message 34578 · Helen P. · 26 Mar 2003 00:12:23 · Top

From: Sylvia Miskoe <SMiskoe@aol.com>
Sent: Tuesday, March 25, 2003 5:37 PM
>
> As a musician I always toyed with the idea of playing one chord as the
> dominant 7th and the 2nd as the tonic. Or perhaps the sub-dominant into
the
> tonic to give an A-men sound. Two sequential tonics is pretty blah.

Oh, yes, two identical chords is deadly dull!
At a *minimum*, I'll play one an octave lower or higher.

During classes, I even vary the style of single chords, and also the way I
end the last measure (use different chords, drop or add a pulse, play only
treble or bass, hold the note and turn it into the bow chord, etc.).

For two chords, combining a diminished chord with the tonic might be a nice
effect, e.g., Cdim then G. More than one note in the diminished chord feel
so unsettled that the dancers don't mistake it -- they instinctively know
that a more "satisfied" chord must follow.

Seems like that final-sounding "Amen" chord might be best at the end of the
piece, just like in church. <g>

-- Helen
who dearly misses a dim' row on her 80 bass PA

Two Chords

Message 34588 · SallenNic · 27 Mar 2003 01:01:28 · Top

In a message dated 25/3/03 10:39:00 pm, SMiskoe@aol.com writes:

<< Or perhaps the sub-dominant into the
tonic to give an A-men sound. >>

Plagal cadence - like that!

Nicolas B., Lanark, Scotland
<A HREF="http://www.nicolasbroadbridge.com">http://www.nicolasbroadbridge.com
</A>

Two Chords

Message 34618 · Fran Smith · 29 Mar 2003 22:03:19 · Top

At most, if not all dances etc., the lines are counted by someone
(usually 1st man). Surely he/she could also remind 3s&4s( or 2s &4s
etc) that they need to cross to oposite sides before the music begins.

Fran
>
> ------- Original message -------
>
> FromSMiskoe@aol.com
> DateSat, 29 Mar 2003 15:16:53 EST
>
>In a longways contra dance the caller/prompter begins the walk
through with
>the instruction 'hands four from the top'. This means that everyone
down the
>line takes hands in 2 couple formation. then the next instruction
is 'ones
>cross over' and all the ones cross to the other side. Quick, easy,
>non-disruptive.
>Cheers,Sylvia Miskoe, Concord, NH USA
>
>
>

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Two Chords

Message 34620 · Steve Wyrick · 29 Mar 2003 22:51:21 · Top

Fran Smith wrote:

> At most, if not all dances etc., the lines are counted by someone
> (usually 1st man). Surely he/she could also remind 3s&4s( or 2s &4s
> etc) that they need to cross to oposite sides before the music begins.
>
> Fran

Why can't the MC just tell 3's and 4's to cross over after verifying the
sets are complete? Then at least everyone would be doing it more or less at
the same time. But I agree with Peter, I see no problem with 2 chords; it's
been working well all these years, no reason to change now, in my opinion!
--
Steve Wyrick -- Concord, California

Two Chords and Two Countries

Message 34622 · Peter Hastings · 30 Mar 2003 00:33:16 · Top

> Why can't the MC just tell 3's and 4's to cross over
> after verifying the sets are complete?
>
> Then at least everyone would be doing it more or
> less at the same time.

More or less is good enough - we wouldn't want it to
look choreographed now would we ?

For displays, a second chord is not needed since all
the corrections to the set can be taken care of in the
arranging of the dances for the display.

On the unrelated topic (off-topic ?) discussion of the
national identities of the various parts of the United
Kingdom and the numbering of its monarchs, the
sweeping generalisations made by some correspondents
should not blind all readers to the fact that some
Scots know enough of their own history to be able to
compare the condition of their country in 1593 to that
in 1613 (also between the 1690s and the 1790s).

For further reading on the subject I would recommend
"How the Scots Invented the Modern World" by Professor
Arthur Herman.

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Two Chords

Message 34667 · Lara D. Friedman~Shedlov · 1 Apr 2003 00:14:47 · Top

> Why can't the MC just tell 3's and 4's to cross over after verifying the
> sets are complete? Then at least everyone would be doing it more or less at
> the same time. But I agree with Peter, I see no problem with 2 chords; it's
> been working well all these years, no reason to change now, in my opinion!
> --
> Steve Wyrick -- Concord, California

I don't understand why it is important for all the couples to cross over
to the opposite side together. Usually there is a fair amount of
wandering and shuffling about during the period when the sets are forming
and being counted off, so I don't see why it's any more chaotic or
disruptive for the couple counting off to remind 3C and 4C to cross over
or for the MC to announce it. Even when there are two chords,
the crossing over rarely happens in a coordinated way, because half the
people forget whether they cross on the first chord and bow on the second
or vice versa. In my opinion, it *hasn't* "been working well all these
years," so I say good riddance and am quite pleased to see that RSCDS is
doing away with that instruction in future books.

My two cents, FWIW,

--Lara Friedman~Shedlov
Minneapolis, MN USA

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Lara Friedman~Shedlov "Thwart not the librarian!"
ldfs@bigfoot.com
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Two Chords

Message 34673 · simon scott · 1 Apr 2003 02:12:36 · Top

> I don't understand why it is important for all the couples to cross
over
> to the opposite side together. Usually there is a fair amount of
> wandering and shuffling about during the period when the sets are
forming
> and being counted off, so I don't see why it's any more chaotic or
> disruptive for the couple counting off to remind 3C and 4C to cross
over
> or for the MC to announce it. Even when there are two chords,
> the crossing over rarely happens in a coordinated way, because half
the
> people forget whether they cross on the first chord and bow on the
second
> or vice versa. In my opinion, it *hasn't* "been working well all
these
> years," so I say good riddance and am quite pleased to see that RSCDS
is
> doing away with that instruction in future books.
>
> My two cents, FWIW,
>
> --Lara Friedman~Shedlov
> Minneapolis, MN USA

I agree one hundred percent

Simon
Vancouver

Two Chords

Message 34698 · Peter Hastings · 1 Apr 2003 23:48:19 · Top

The point which needs to be made is simple.

The existence of two chords does not ensure that the
crossing over is tidy.

The absence of two chords ensures that it is not.

I believe that the Publications Committee has taken
too much notice of those who do not like two chords
(who have complained about the status quo) and not
enough of those who are happy with it and have not
realised they needed to speak up in its support.

Peter Hastings
Murieston

> Even when there are two chords,
> the crossing over rarely happens in a coordinated
> way, because half the
> people forget whether they cross on the first chord
> and bow on the second
> or vice versa.

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Two Chords

Message 34704 · Wouter Joubert · 2 Apr 2003 08:37:54 · Top

I think that is but one side of the coin. The reason I have always
disliked two cords is that it invariably sounds like a false start and
from a musical perspective does nothing to uplift. If you need to have
tidy crossings, have a four bar introduction that will provide
flow/continuity and the time to cross properly. We have those
introductions anyway in some dances with pipe music like "Pipers Glen"
or "Reel of the Royal Scots". Why not make use of it in other cases
where it might be helpful?

Wouter Joubert
RSCDS Pretoria

-----Original Message-----
From: Peter Hastings [mailto:prhastings@yahoo.com]
Sent: 01 April 2003 11:48 PM
To: strathspey@strathspey.org; laradf@alumni.si.umich.edu
Subject: Re: Two Chords

The point which needs to be made is simple.

The existence of two chords does not ensure that the
crossing over is tidy.

The absence of two chords ensures that it is not.

I believe that the Publications Committee has taken
too much notice of those who do not like two chords
(who have complained about the status quo) and not
enough of those who are happy with it and have not
realised they needed to speak up in its support.

Peter Hastings
Murieston

> Even when there are two chords,
> the crossing over rarely happens in a coordinated
> way, because half the
> people forget whether they cross on the first chord
> and bow on the second
> or vice versa.

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Two Chords

Message 34738 · ron.mackey · 3 Apr 2003 01:04:03 · Top

> I think that is but one side of the coin. The reason I have always
> disliked two cords is that it invariably sounds like a false start and
> from a musical perspective does nothing to uplift. If you need to have
> tidy crossings, have a four bar introduction that will provide
> flow/continuity and the time to cross properly. We have those
> introductions anyway in some dances with pipe music like "Pipers Glen"
> or "Reel of the Royal Scots". Why not make use of it in other cases
> where it might be helpful?
>
> Wouter Joubert
> RSCDS Pretoria

Some time ago now, (which means I cannot recall how long!) I
attended a day school and the teacher of the afternoon session was
including ideas for dems. and one which we tried was for the chord to
be played followed after about two beats with four introductory bars
of music.
The idea was that we crossed over in time to the music
(six small steps to cross and two to turn into line). The last note
was sustained for a beat and was immediately followed by the first
bar of the dance.
The end result was something like :- Bow, &, cross giving
RH and turn into line, & up on the toes, - dance.
The end result was quite nice BUT we had a musician. Whether anyone
actually tried it in a dem. I don't know but someone might like to
try it and report back?
Re-reading this, it seems to be an amalgam of the various
suggestions already made?

Happy Dancing
Cheers :)
Ron

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

Two Chords

Message 34758 · ian.brockbank · 3 Apr 2003 11:46:15 · Top

Ron Mackey wrote:

> Some time ago now, (which means I cannot recall how long!) I
> attended a day school and the teacher of the afternoon session was
> including ideas for dems. and one which we tried was for the chord to
> be played followed after about two beats with four introductory bars
> of music.

And there have been various other people saying "2 chords are silly
in dems".

Absolutely! But it's a performance. I wouldn't do 8 times through
a dance for a dem, and similarly it makes sense to drop the 2nd chord
and just form up appropriately.

But I would say that's a completely different issue to the social
dance/class situation, and shouldn't affected by the conventions.

Cheers,

Ian
-- Please use ian@scottishdance.net for emails --
Ian Brockbank, Edinburgh, Scotland ian@scottishdance.net
Grand Chain: the Scottish Dance Resource - http://www.scottishdance.net
Feed the world: http://www.thehungersite.com/

Two Chords : A Summary

Message 34608 · Peter Hastings · 29 Mar 2003 15:49:17 · Top

In some longwise SC dances, some of the couples are
supposed to start the dance in the opposite
orientation to other couples in their set.

The sets are numbered, before dancing, from the top of
the hall.

It is unreasonable, particularly in a long or crowded
hall, to expect that dancers will form up in the
orientation in which the are supposed to start.

Some dancers will therefore have to cross from one
side of the set to the other before the dance starts.

This can be accomplished in two ways -

All the dancers involved cross over at a pre-arranged
signal

or

The dancers cross piecemeal, assuming that the
remember to do so.

Until recently and around the world, the first option
was preferred and two chords were played by the band.
The dancers honoured their partner on the first and
crossed over on the second.

This well-understood procedure is now up for review
because

Peter Hastings
Murieston

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Two Chords : A Summary

Message 34609 · Eric Clyde · 29 Mar 2003 16:27:45 · Top

I fully agree with this position. My only quibble with the two chords
is that they are usually too close together, making the changing sides
something of a horse race!

Also, when the two chords occur in a square set dance, I like the idea
of bowing to both your partner and your corner.

Eric Clyde

----- Original Message -----
From: "Peter Hastings" <prhastings@yahoo.com>
To: <strathspey@strathspey.org>
Sent: Saturday, March 29, 2003 9:49 AM
Subject: Two Chords : A Summary

>
> In some longwise SC dances, some of the couples are
> supposed to start the dance in the opposite
> orientation to other couples in their set.
>
> The sets are numbered, before dancing, from the top of
> the hall.
>
> It is unreasonable, particularly in a long or crowded
> hall, to expect that dancers will form up in the
> orientation in which the are supposed to start.
>
> Some dancers will therefore have to cross from one
> side of the set to the other before the dance starts.
>
> This can be accomplished in two ways -
>
> All the dancers involved cross over at a pre-arranged
> signal
>
> or
>
> The dancers cross piecemeal, assuming that the
> remember to do so.
>
> Until recently and around the world, the first option
> was preferred and two chords were played by the band.
> The dancers honoured their partner on the first and
> crossed over on the second.
>
> This well-understood procedure is now up for review
> because
>
>
>
>
> Peter Hastings
> Murieston
>
> __________________________________________________
> Do you Yahoo!?
> Yahoo! Platinum - Watch CBS' NCAA March Madness, live on your desktop!
> http://platinum.yahoo.com
>

Two Chords : A Summary

Message 34664 · simon scott · 31 Mar 2003 21:12:24 · Top

>
> Also, when the two chords occur in a square set dance, I like the idea
> of bowing to both your partner and your corner.
>
> Eric Clyde
>

I see this as a different situation. There is reason for the second
chord if you are going to acknowledge a second person.

In the 3rd 4th couples change sides dances the chord is not being used
for its purpose, and, why not stand in the place where the dance will
start and make your bow and courtesy.

Simon
Vancouver

Two Chords : A Summary

Message 34610 · John Chambers · 29 Mar 2003 16:57:08 · Top

Hmmm ... In all my years of playing for contras and English dancing,
I've never seen or heard of this being done. This doesn't mean it's
never done there, of course, only that it's probably rather unusual.

Possibly the reason is that usually there's at least a talk-through
of each dance before it's done, and often a walk-through. This gives
the dancers plenty of opportunity to position themselves correctly
for the start of the dance, and there's no need of any special signal
to cross over. Such talk-throughs are also the norm at all SCD groups
that I've ever seen, so the same argument would apply. There are
usually few if any talk-throughs at formal balls, but then you have
the program, where the dance formations are normally given. Adding a
phrase like "Second couples cross over" is easy, so again the extra
chord is unnecessary.

The only reason for the double chord that I see is that it has been
included in some dance booklets and on some recordings. Is there any
evidence that this was ever done in Scotland before 1920? My guess
would be that it was made up by someone in the RSCDS within the past
century.

Not that there's anything wrong with it, of course. But it does seem
like a rather unnecessary pseudo-tradition. (Which could be said of
any sort of organized dancing, I suppose. I have seen SCD described
as a complicated set of motions about the floor, leaving you exactly
where you started, thus accomplishing nothing. ;-)

Eric Clyde writes:
| I fully agree with this position. My only quibble with the two chords
| is that they are usually too close together, making the changing sides
| something of a horse race!
|
| Also, when the two chords occur in a square set dance, I like the idea
| of bowing to both your partner and your corner.
|
| From: "Peter Hastings" <prhastings@yahoo.com>
| > In some longwise SC dances, some of the couples are
| > supposed to start the dance in the opposite
| > orientation to other couples in their set.
| >
| > The sets are numbered, before dancing, from the top of
| > the hall.
| >
| > It is unreasonable, particularly in a long or crowded
| > hall, to expect that dancers will form up in the
| > orientation in which the are supposed to start.
| >
| > Some dancers will therefore have to cross from one
| > side of the set to the other before the dance starts.
| >
| > This can be accomplished in two ways -
| >
| > All the dancers involved cross over at a pre-arranged
| > signal
| >
| > or
| >
| > The dancers cross piecemeal, assuming that the
| > remember to do so.
| >
| > Until recently and around the world, the first option
| > was preferred and two chords were played by the band.
| > The dancers honoured their partner on the first and
| > crossed over on the second.
| >
| > This well-understood procedure is now up for review
| > because
| >

Two Chords : A Summary

Message 34615 · SMiskoe · 29 Mar 2003 21:16:56 · Top

In a longways contra dance the caller/prompter begins the walk through with
the instruction 'hands four from the top'. This means that everyone down the
line takes hands in 2 couple formation. then the next instruction is 'ones
cross over' and all the ones cross to the other side. Quick, easy,
non-disruptive.
Cheers,Sylvia Miskoe, Concord, NH USA

Two Chords : A Summary

Message 34624 · Helen P. · 30 Mar 2003 08:51:55 · Top

There's no functional difference between having a couple step up or down
during a dance versus switching sides during a chord.

So what's the all the fuss about?
Stop fretting about it, and just get on with the dancing. :-)

BTW, I just got home from a lovely English Country Dance evening. The
pianist only played two pickup notes -- that's not enough time to bow or
curtsey -- and no chord at the end. It was o.k., but the two ends of the
dances did feel a bit raggedy. Also, some folks launched into the dance
without even glancing at their partner. Combined with the absence of bows &
curtsies, this lent a certain lack of graciousness to the evening, despite
the elegant attire and fine music.

Nonetheless, it was a very enjoyable evening.

-- Helen (MD USA)

Two Chords : A Summary

Message 34627 · Alan Paterson · 30 Mar 2003 11:03:25 · Top

Peter Hastings wrote:
>
> <snip summary of argument which you have all read>
>
> This well-understood procedure is now up for review
> because

As the person who strated all this off (see message regarding Ian
Brockbanks new dance) I suppose I need answer this. My chief reason is
because, in my collection of recorded music, I have (for example) two
collections of 4 by 32 reels - one set with one chord and another with
two chords. Any given 4-couple reel will require music from one set only
and the other lot cannot be used.

I would prefer all to have only one chord and no requirement to set up
the sets other than the way the dance will start: thus giving me a wider
range to choose from.

Alan

Two Chords : A Summary

Message 34638 · simon scott · 31 Mar 2003 05:55:00 · Top

> -----Original Message-----
> From: John Chambers [mailto:jc@trillian.mit.edu]
> Sent: Saturday, March 29, 2003 7:57 AM
> To: strathspey@strathspey.org
> Subject: Re: Two Chords : A Summary
>

> The only reason for the double chord that I see is that it has been
> included in some dance booklets and on some recordings. Is there any
> evidence that this was ever done in Scotland before 1920? My guess
> would be that it was made up by someone in the RSCDS within the past
> century.

As far as I know, the Glasgow Highlanders is the only pre 1920 dance
where couples change sides to start, and, as mentioned in my article, I
feel the second chord should be used to bow and courtesy to the new
person that you face having made the change, in that particular dance.
There is no new person in the 3rd and 4th couple change dances.

I also don't think the two chords in the new dances came from the RSCDS.

John Drewry wrote a number of most wonderful dances with this starting
position and I think that is where it began. John no longer asks for
two chords, but only that the dancers start on the opposite sides.

Simon
Vancouver

Two Chords

Message 34571 · simon scott · 24 Mar 2003 22:28:59 · Top

> Perhaps if we had decided from the start that the first chord would be
> used
> for crossing over, and the second chord for acknowledging our
partners, it
> wouldn't have seemed so awkward at the start?

But why the necessity at all ??
Simon

> (And those of us who have to use recorded music will continue to make
> whatever arrangements needed to make it all work! - if you find a
> recording
> that fits and has two chords, if the dance is repeated then of course
you
> have to remind the dancers - some standing on the "opposite" side -
that
> there are two chords! )
>
> Malcolm
>
> Malcolm & Helen Brown
> York - UK

All this can be avoided with ONE elegant chord.
Simon

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