strathspey Archive: Oldest SCD dances

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Oldest SCD dances

Message 38986 · Victor Jason Raymond · 9 Sep 2004 05:47:22 · Top

Dear All,

I'm interested in finding a list of the oldest SCD dances, if such a thing
exists. I have access to some materials, but not all materials have dates
of when a particular dance was actually written down. If I'm missing
something obvious, please let me know. Thanks!

Victor

Victor J. Raymond, M.S.
Department of Sociology, ISU
vraymond@iastate.edu

Oldest SCD dances

Message 38987 · Richard Goss · 9 Sep 2004 06:26:39 · Top

Your question has several problems, the answers to which make your task easy or very difficult.
1. If you mean published by the RSCDS, easy, start with Book 1 and move foreward.
2. If you mean country dances, start with Playford and move foreward using publication dates (there are a few before but they are not currently done).

To be more specific.
3. SCOTTISH-COUNTRY-DANCING/DANCES was a term invented by the Society in the 1940s, Prior to that (check the RSCDS bylaws and publications) you will see that our dances were "country dances as danced in Scotland". With very vew exceptions, most of our dances and music sources were published in London.
4. If you mean our style and figures, these were invented, devised, or standardized after 1923 as prior to that time there was no border between Scottish and English country dancing. Besides inventing the strathspey steps for country dacing, we also invented the pousette, allemande, and double triangles.
5. If one compares the original notes to those published by the Society,I the only dance that is unambiguously the same is "Duke of Perth" (missing its coda).

So, it might help to know the motivation for your search, so as better to answer your question.

4.

Oldest SCD dances

Message 38988 · Victor Jason Raymond · 9 Sep 2004 07:09:01 · Top

At 09:26 PM 9/8/2004 -0700, you wrote:
>Your question has several problems, the answers to which make your task
>easy or very difficult.
>1. If you mean published by the RSCDS, easy, start with Book 1 and move
>foreward.

No, not quite what I meant, though I see what you mean. In reading some
materials, the dances have dates given for them, e.g. "1714, in a mss."

>2. If you mean country dances, start with Playford and move foreward using
>publication dates (there are a few before but they are not currently done).

All right.

>
>To be more specific.
>3. SCOTTISH-COUNTRY-DANCING/DANCES was a term invented by the Society in
>the 1940s, Prior to that (check the RSCDS bylaws and publications) you
>will see that our dances were "country dances as danced in Scotland". With
>very vew exceptions, most of our dances and music sources were published
>in London.

(nods)

>4. If you mean our style and figures, these were invented, devised, or
>standardized after 1923 as prior to that time there was no border between
>Scottish and English country dancing. Besides inventing the strathspey
>steps for country dacing, we also invented the pousette, allemande, and
>double triangles.

(nods) I have read about some of this.

>5. If one compares the original notes to those published by the Society,I
>the only dance that is unambiguously the same is "Duke of Perth" (missing
>its coda).
>
>So, it might help to know the motivation for your search, so as better to
>answer your question.

I'm looking for dances that were composed in the 17th Century, or early
18th C. - I understand that they may have been adjusted or updated in some
fashion, but the idea is to find dances with a very old historical provenience.

>
>4.

Victor J. Raymond, M.S.
Department of Sociology, ISU
vraymond@iastate.edu

Oldest SCD dances

Message 38989 · john.m.sturrock · 9 Sep 2004 09:10:20 · Top

Victor

The best source I know is "A Chronology of Scottish Country Dances"
compiled by Iain Goddard of Hamilton, Mass. in 1975. I have a copy, but
have never seen another one. It lists the manuscript in which each first
appeared. It also sets the dances in their historical context, with
references to the great events of each period.

The oldest dance listed is 'Cold and Raw' (1690), followed by 'Red House'
(1695) and 'Dainty Davy' (1701). The contents of the Drummond Castle
manuscript, the Bodleian manuscript, the Holmain manuscript, the Castle
Menzies manuscript, and so on, are all there. 297 dances prior to 1890 are
listed.

John M Sturrock

Cupar UK

> I'm interested in finding a list of the oldest SCD dances, if such a thing
> exists. I have access to some materials, but not all materials have dates
> of when a particular dance was actually written down. If I'm missing
> something obvious, please let me know. Thanks!
>
> Victor

Oldest SCD dances

Message 38990 · Richard Goss · 9 Sep 2004 23:47:43 · Top

Two ways to go about this.

1. Scan the RSCDS books starting with 1, and you will get the dates you want. NB: There used to be a note at the beginning of the books that said that the "reference" is not a citation, meaning that this was the oldest known reference to <<a>> dance or tune of that name (not necessarily the one in the RSCDS Book.

2. Read Emmerson´s Social History of Scottish Dancing. In spite of the fact that he wrote under the Milligan mistique, thus clouding his interpretation, it is quite comprehensive.

"may have been adjusted or updated in some ..."

This is an understatement if I ever heard one as none of the dances in which you are interested were living dances in 1923. This means that they were all reconstructed from texts. The problem is that when the Society did not understand the terminology, they simply created a figure to solve the problem. This was a learning process, so as the Society learned, they were stuck with previously published dances (Cadgers with parallel reels, and Montgomrie´s with that strange entry into the last reel, for example), but they incorporated the new knowledge into later interps. So if you start with a given figure in the 18c and check the dances of the Society, you will find two different sets of modern choreography.

Oldest SCD dances

Message 38991 · Richard Goss · 9 Sep 2004 23:56:16 · Top

"Red House" is an example of the previous post´s "updated and adjusted".
Under "updated" the example is compressing the first 16 bars into 8. By the time the Society got around to this dance, a 4 bar set and 4 bar cast, repeat to place, was considered to slow, or at least not active enough.
The Society "adjustment" to accomodate the above, is the problem. As a 48 bar dance, the pattern is AABBCC for both music and the dance (s&c-rptr/chase-rpt/reel-rpt). When the Society compressed the first 16 bars (AA) into 8, this meant that the dance was only 40 bars long. Instead of compressing the music to fit the dance (ABBCC), they simply loped off the last 8 bars (AABBC). Choreographicly, this presents a problem in that on the repeat of the set and cast, one begins the chase, which pickes up its music on the chase repeat. Once you are used to this, the music stays "chase" when one starts the reel, only arriving on the real reel music on its repeat.

Oldest SCD dances

Message 38993 · SMiskoe · 10 Sep 2004 01:00:22 · Top

The Playford English Ctry Dance version of Red House is 48 bars, AABBCC, and
date 1721.
Sylvia Miskoe, Concord, NH USA

Oldest SCD dances

Message 38995 · Steve Wyrick · 10 Sep 2004 02:53:32 · Top

Ned Goss wrote:
> The Society "adjustment" to accomodate the above, is the problem. As a 48 bar
> dance, the pattern is AABBCC for both music and the dance
> (s&c-rptr/chase-rpt/reel-rpt). When the Society compressed the first 16 bars
> (AA) into 8, this meant that the dance was only 40 bars long. Instead of
> compressing the music to fit the dance (ABBCC), they simply loped off the last
> 8 bars (AABBC). Choreographicly, this presents a problem in that on the repeat
> of the set and cast, one begins the chase, which pickes up its music on the
> chase repeat. Once you are used to this, the music stays "chase" when one
> starts the reel, only arriving on the real reel music on its repeat.

Huh! Here we always play it ABBCC. Makes much more sense that way...
--
Steve Wyrick -- Concord, California

Oldest SCD dances

Message 38997 · John Chambers · 10 Sep 2004 05:33:23 · Top

Richard Goss writes:
|
| "Red House" is an example of the previous post«s "updated and adjusted".
| Under "updated" the example is compressing the first 16 bars into 8. By the
| time the Society got around to this dance, a 4 bar set and 4 bar cast,
| repeat to place, was considered to slow, or at least not active enough. The
| Society "adjustment" to accomodate the above, is the problem. As a 48 bar
| dance, the pattern is AABBCC for both music and the dance
| (s&c-rptr/chase-rpt/reel-rpt). When the Society compressed the first 16
| bars (AA) into 8, this meant that the dance was only 40 bars long. Instead
| of compressing the music to fit the dance (ABBCC), they simply loped off
| the last 8 bars (AABBC). Choreographicly, this presents a problem in that
| on the repeat of the set and cast, one begins the chase, which pickes up
| its music on the chase repeat. Once you are used to this, the music stays
| "chase" when one starts the reel, only arriving on the real reel music on
| its repeat.

Funny, my notes say to play it ABBCC. But I think the tune works better if
you play it AABBCC. So maybe we should revive the 48-bar version?

Oldest SCD dances

Message 38998 · Chris1Ronald · 10 Sep 2004 07:34:41 · Top

Victor,

About three years ago, under the heading 'Playford Compendium', Bruce
Hamilton mentioned on this list:

'Robert Keller has recently released a compendium of Playford's "Dancing
Master" at http://www.izaak.unh.edu/nhltmd/indexes/dancingmaster/ It gives
facsimilies of all the dances from all extant editions [of the Dancing Master]
(1651-1728), and is searchable by title, figure, formation, etc.'

This could be a useful resource for you,

Good luck,

Chris, New York.

Oldest SCD dances

Message 39000 · Richard Goss · 10 Sep 2004 08:48:14 · Top

OK, but what is the source of your notes. I complained about this in the 70´s, perhaps the Society has gotten around to correcting their error. The original publication, original RSCDS 78, and all of the recorded music until that time were AABBC.

Oldest SCD dances

Message 39001 · Richard Goss · 10 Sep 2004 08:56:45 · Top

Forgot to mention, that in the RSCDS approved film where our dances were done in costume in historical settings, also ABBCC.

Also addiang, that when one checks the RSCDS dances of this period, one must actually check the reference. As I mentioned before, the "footnote" is the earliest known (at the time reference). Many of the historical dances in my data base, while having the same name and tune, have a choreography totally different from that of the Society and thus would not fall under the "updated and adjusted" comment."

Others, are older, in that our title is but one for a particular set of figures. On the other hand, there are dances such as "Gen Stuart" (Castle Menzies) that are the result of palemsests, where the actual name of the general was edited out, and then changed. Related to this, is the second title we used as "New Way of Gildon", which is an error or misunderstanding. Translated the alternative title is "Gildon, as done in a new way", meaning that there was an older dance "Gildon", which was edited into the version we now call Gen Stuart..

Oldest SCD dances

Message 39004 · mlamontbrown · 10 Sep 2004 10:37:41 · Top

As Richard says, the Society made a mistake with the music when it published
Red House, but this was recognised and put right in the 1986 edition, so
people who have only seen the newer editions will have been unaware of the
change.

Unfortunately Book 22 has not yet been reprinted, so the similar mistake in
the music for Last of the Lairds is still to be corrected. (Dance of an AABC
structure, music written ABAB) - this has resulted in the CD Old Masters Vol
1 using an AABB arrangement , which fits the dance, while the RSCDS CD
played by David Cunningham has followed the "official" score. I know which
recording I am going to use tomorrow!

Malcolm

Malcolm & Helen Brown
York - UK

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Richard Goss [mailto:goss9@sbcglobal.net]
> Sent: 09 September 2004 22:56
> To: strathspey@strathspey.org
> Subject: Re: Oldest SCD dances
>
> "Red House" is an example of the previous post«s "updated and adjusted".
> Under "updated" the example is compressing the first 16 bars into 8. By
the time
> the Society got around to this dance, a 4 bar set and 4 bar cast, repeat
to place,
> was considered to slow, or at least not active enough.
> The Society "adjustment" to accomodate the above, is the problem. As a 48
bar
> dance, the pattern is AABBCC for both music and the dance (s&c-rptr/chase-
> rpt/reel-rpt). When the Society compressed the first 16 bars (AA) into 8,
this meant
> that the dance was only 40 bars long. Instead of compressing the music to
fit the
> dance (ABBCC), they simply loped off the last 8 bars (AABBC).
Choreographicly,
> this presents a problem in that on the repeat of the set and cast, one
begins the
> chase, which pickes up its music on the chase repeat. Once you are used to
this,
> the music stays "chase" when one starts the reel, only arriving on the
real reel
> music on its repeat.

Oldest SCD dances

Message 39005 · SallenNic · 10 Sep 2004 11:25:34 · Top

The EFDSS published Red-House in 1929, taking it from The Dancing Master Vol
I 17th ed. 1721
I've had a look at Bob Keller's compendium and gleaned the following.
Red-House occurs in the 9th ed (1695) through to the 18th ed(17?28).
The instructions do actually indicate quite clearly that there are six
sections of music, so AABBCC.
Those for the AA music read as follows:

"The 1. cu. meet and sett and cast off into the 2. cu. place; then meet
and sett again and cast off into their own places: "

I don't have the skill to create the 1st and 2nd time symbols on
computer, but the ; represents the original dot with an underscore (Meaning first
time through the strain of music) and the : represents the two dots with an
underscore (meaning second time through the strain of music). For those who have
looked at C17th - C19th Country dance instructions, apologies for this para.!

These instructions were interpreted by the Kennedys as:
A1 1-4 First man and first woman meet and fall back a double.
5-8 They set to one another and cast off ointo second place, second
couple moving up.
A2 1-8 First couple repeat the movement to places.

At our groups in Glasgow and Edinburgh we have had a number of RSCDS dancers
and teachers over the years, and on the occasions I have done this dance they
have without exception come up afterwards and said that it made so much more
sense and was more enjoyable than the RSCDS version! ;-)

Nicolas B., Lanark, Scotland http://www.nicolasbroadbridge.com

Oldest SCD dances

Message 39006 · Richard Goss · 10 Sep 2004 12:31:55 · Top

I used to have an annual Q&A session with Miss M, and while this was on my list, I never got the chance to get to it.

Having said that, and putting some other things in context, I think I have a possible explanation. When the Society was founded, standardization was in chaos, and one of the problems was phrasing (traditional musicians phrase Strip the Willow, by watching the dancers, not the dancers by listening). If the Society had simply said set for 4 and cast into second place for 4, half the dancers would have gotten there early, and half of them would be already into the chase figure. It took the Society´s invention of the strathspey, and teaching of the concept of listening to the phrase as well as the beat, before they could (and they later did) introduce the long 4 bar cast, and have it excepted.

Remember the RSCDS culture is descended from years of discipline, but the country dancing of Scotland in 1923, was a descendant of years of chaos and anarchy..

Oldest SCD dances

Message 38999 · Richard Goss · 10 Sep 2004 08:46:12 · Top

I play it ABBCC also for the same reason. My point was that the RSCDS published it as ABBCC.

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