strathspey Archive: Langholm Fair

Previous thread: More tunes wanted...
Next thread: Iowa Ball Weekend May 1-3, Terpsichore

Langholm Fair

Message 55336 · Martin Campoveja · 20 Mar 2009 13:01:21 · Top

2009/3/20 Margaret Lambourne wrote :

> Langholm Fair is also a 3 couple set dance, a strathspey, devised by Jean
> Attwood ...

I'm glad someone mentioned this nice little dance
Reading the previoous messages, I foiund it rather odd that the
tune, Langholm Fair, should be attributed to some other dance (appropriately
or not, I cannot say).

Indeed, I am alway surprised to read that some newly-written dance "should"
be danced to some already well-known tune, epscially if the tune is commonly
used ofr another better-known dance.

I can understand the desire of a deviser for a pleasant piece of music to be
used for his dance (if you try out a dance with poor music, the dance will
likely be rejected), but I feel it is quite presumptuous.

Martin

Borrowed tunes (and tune medleys) (was Langholm Fair)

Message 55337 · Mike Briggs · 20 Mar 2009 14:24:50 · Top

And, speaking as a musician, it bugs me when a deviser doesn't even
specify a tune but instead calls for his/her dance to be done to
recorded music for [insert name of other dance]. Not only, apparently,
do I need to have a pretty comprehensive collection of printed music
[thanks, John] but I also need a comprehensive collection of recorded
music [thank you for DanceData, Alan].

BTW -- does anyone know how the practice of playing 3 or 4 or 7 or 8
tunes for a single dance started?

Mike
Oregon WI USA

Borrowed tunes (and tune medleys) (was Langholm Fair)

Message 55340 · Steve Wyrick · 20 Mar 2009 17:12:12 · Top

Personally I don't have that much of a problem although (as I think I
said in an earlier discussion) I wish that if a recording was
specified rather than a tune, choreographers would then explain what
it was about that recording they liked, for example "Recorded music
for Langholm Fair by Ian Cruickshanks and his Band, or any good
flowing [driving, whatever] strathspey." Or maybe "Any suitable 3x32
strathspey recording such as Indian River Strathspey on the recording
Happy to Meet You by Ian Cruickshanks and His Band" if it really
doesn't matter and they just want to provide helpful guidance to other
groups...

When I encounter your situation I look up the recording on DD and use
the name tune or one of the supporting tunes if I have it or feel free
to make my own choice if I don't. I assume that if a choreographer
really cared about the music used, s/he would give more specific
guidance.

To your other question, I've been curious about this myself. I'm
betting this practice didn't start any earlier than the 1920s and have
a sense that it was somewhat later than that, but it's just a guess.
-Steve

On Fri, Mar 20, 2009 at 6:24 AM, Norma and Mike Briggs
<briggslaw@yahoo.com> wrote:
> And, speaking as a musician, it bugs me when a deviser doesn't even specify
> a tune but instead calls for his/her dance to be done to recorded music for
> [insert name of other dance].  Not only, apparently, do I need to have a
> pretty comprehensive collection of printed music [thanks, John] but I also
> need a comprehensive collection of recorded music  [thank you for DanceData,
> Alan].
>
> BTW -- does anyone know how the practice of playing 3 or 4 or 7 or 8 tunes
> for a single dance started?
>
> Mike
> Oregon WI USA
>

--
Steve Wyrick -- Walnut Creek, California

Number of Tunes in a Set & Specified Recordings

Message 55343 · Paula · 20 Mar 2009 17:49:47 · Top

I'm also interested in how and when the number of alternate tunes grew
in number. While re mastering several dance sets from 78 rpm recordings
of the Tim Wright Band and the Scottish Country Dance Players (circa
1949), I found that all were done with the name tune and one alternate.

Regarding choreographers referencing specific recordings, I consider
this a suggestion as to suitable type, and use whatever I think is
appropriate based on the suggestion given. I actually object to well
know tunes, strongly identified with their dances, being assigned to new
dances, e.g. Sleepy Maggie for The Black Leather Jig. An exception might
be Peat Fire Flame being used for the Fireside Reel (published in 1960)
and Drewry's dance of the same name (published in 1968).

Paula Jacobson.

BTW -- does anyone know how the practice of playing 3 or 4 or 7 or 8 tunes
for a single dance started?

Mike
Oregon WI USA

To your other question, I've been curious about this myself. I'm
> betting this practice didn't start any earlier than the 1920s and have
> a sense that it was somewhat later than that, but it's just a guess.
> -Steve
>
>
>
>
>
>
>

Number of Tunes in a Set & Specified Recordings

Message 55346 · hways · 21 Mar 2009 00:58:44 · Top

Most likely due to time constraints, which was limited to about 3 minutes on
a 10 inch 78 rpm disk.

Harry Ways

----- Original Message -----
From: "Paula" <pj1314@att.net>

> I'm also interested in how and when the number of alternate tunes grew
> in number. While re mastering several dance sets from 78 rpm recordings
> of the Tim Wright Band and the Scottish Country Dance Players (circa
> 1949), I found that all were done with the name tune and one alternate.
>

Number of Tunes in a Set & Specified Recordings

Message 55347 · Bruce Herbold · 21 Mar 2009 01:11:55 · Top

just a thought...

Perhaps the SCD tradition reflects more of a pipe band approach (let's show
you all these great tunes we know [and that we spend hours learning to play
perfectly together] and not spend 4 minutes playing the same thing) vs the
ECD tradition coming more from drawing room music and the assumption that
variations and improvisation was the expectation, so you pick a good tune
and take liberties with it.

But Harry's point is probably the best explanation for why the early SCD
recordings didn't use more tunes -- they jsut didn't fit on the wax.

Bruce Herbold
San Francisco

PS I actually like the idea of 12233441, so that you start and end with the
name tune, each dancing couple gets a variety of tunes, but the band gets to
insert some variety on the repetition of each tune. But I can't seem to get
much enthusiasm for that approach with the musicians I work with and there
are only a few recordings that use it.

On 3/20/09, Harry C. Ways <hways@ix.netcom.com> wrote:
>
> Most likely due to time constraints, which was limited to about 3 minutes
> on a 10 inch 78 rpm disk.
>
> Harry Ways
>
> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Paula" <pj1314@att.net>
>
>
> I'm also interested in how and when the number of alternate tunes grew
>> in number. While re mastering several dance sets from 78 rpm recordings
>> of the Tim Wright Band and the Scottish Country Dance Players (circa
>> 1949), I found that all were done with the name tune and one alternate.
>>
>>
>

--
Bruce Herbold

Number of Tunes in a Set & Specified Recordings

Message 55349 · Steve Wyrick · 21 Mar 2009 02:33:03 · Top

You don't find that 12233441 leads the dancers astray? That puts the
tune changes on the 2nd repetition, rather than when a new couple
starts. I'd be concerned about that myself. -Steve

On Fri, Mar 20, 2009 at 5:11 PM, Bruce Herbold <bherbold@gmail.com> wrote:

>
> PS I actually like the idea of 12233441, so that you start and end with the
> name tune, each dancing couple gets a variety of tunes, but the band gets to
> insert some variety on the repetition of each tune.  But I can't seem to get
> much enthusiasm for that approach with the musicians I work with and there
> are only a few recordings that use it.
>
>
>
> On 3/20/09, Harry C. Ways <hways@ix.netcom.com> wrote:
>>
>> Most likely due to time constraints, which was limited to about 3 minutes
>> on a 10 inch 78 rpm disk.
>>
>> Harry Ways
>>
>> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Paula" <pj1314@att.net>
>>
>>
>> I'm also interested in how and when the number of alternate tunes grew
>>> in number. While re mastering several dance sets from 78 rpm recordings
>>> of the Tim Wright Band and the Scottish Country Dance Players (circa
>>> 1949), I found that all were done with the name tune and one alternate.
>>>
>>>
>>
>
>
> --
> Bruce Herbold
>
>

--
Steve Wyrick -- Walnut Creek, California

Number of Tunes in a Set & Specified Recordings

Message 55359 · Peter McClure · 21 Mar 2009 23:00:30 · Top

>You don't find that 12233441 leads the dancers astray? That puts the
>tune changes on the 2nd repetition, rather than when a new couple
>starts. I'd be concerned about that myself. -Steve

Surely no more likely to lead astray than the 12342341 pattern, which
is quite common, and has the tune changing every time. I like the
12233441 pattern: a nice balance between variety and regularity for
the musicians, and going back to the "named" tune to signal the end
of the dance.

Peter McClure
Winnipeg, MB

Number of Tunes in a Set & Specified Recordings

Message 55360 · Pia Walker · 22 Mar 2009 00:32:26 · Top

I enjoy the variety of tunes - don't actually count in which order they come
as long as they are 'flowing' into each other. Being a kind of
non-tradtional traditional dancer - I don't really mind if the music do not
revert back to the origianl tune (sometimes the original tune is 'waste
material' and anything to finish on a high is much better. (usually the
musician knows better than me so leave it up to them).

As a dancer - what I do hate is:

Music played because it has to be played.

Musicians looking as if they are going to their own funeral (yes I know you
are concentrating and in another world to the rest of us, but hey we are
trying to appreciate what you are doing too....) If we can learn to smile
tying ourselves into dancing knots, so can you....

And musicians - mostly if you have played well - dancers when they have
finished dancing, turn towards the band and start clapping to show their
appreciation for what has just be done - we are trying to tell the band that
we appreciate their efforts, and I think it really rude if the musicans do
not even look at the dancers and acknowledge the greeting, but instead dive
into their music to find the next set.
I know that you are thinking of the next set and where you put the music -
but to a dancer it looks as if you couldn't be bothered. It looks as if you
are not connected with the floor - and it makes you look bad. It is all
part of the entertainment business you are in.

Oh and by the way I have the same bugbear about dancers not smiling when
they 'are on stage'

Pia

-----Original Message-----
From: Peter McClure [mailto:joptmc@cc.umanitoba.ca]
Sent: 21 March 2009 22:01
To: strathspey@strathspey.org
Subject: Re: Number of Tunes in a Set & Specified Recordings

>You don't find that 12233441 leads the dancers astray? That puts the
>tune changes on the 2nd repetition, rather than when a new couple
>starts. I'd be concerned about that myself. -Steve

Surely no more likely to lead astray than the 12342341 pattern, which
is quite common, and has the tune changing every time. I like the
12233441 pattern: a nice balance between variety and regularity for
the musicians, and going back to the "named" tune to signal the end
of the dance.

Peter McClure
Winnipeg, MB

Number of Tunes in a Set & Specified Recordings

Message 55361 · Martin Campoveja · 22 Mar 2009 09:50:00 · Top

2009/3/22 Pia wrote

>
> (...) I think it really rude if the musicans do
> not even look at the dancers and acknowledge the [dancers' applause]

Perhaps that happens because many dancers look as if they are applauding
themselves for having danced so well. All to often I have seen sets
congratulating themselves without a glance for the band.

That is what I call rude.

Martin

Number of Tunes in a Set & Specified Recordings

Message 55362 · mlamontbrown · 22 Mar 2009 12:54:17 · Top

Martin wrote:

> Perhaps that happens because many dancers look as if they are applauding
> themselves for having danced so well. All too often I have seen sets
> congratulating themselves without a glance for the band.

Last night I was the MC at a dance using recorded music, (programme & music selected
by me) - I judged how well each item was liked by the amount of applause it received.

I think the applause is for the band when there is one, but the "thanks" go to the
others in the set, as well as one's partner - as both happen at the same time, I
think I can see what Martin says it looks like.

Malcolm

Malcolm L Brown
York (UK)

Number of Tunes in a Set & Specified Recordings

Message 55351 · John Chambers · 21 Mar 2009 14:57:53 · Top

Bruce Herbold wrote:
| PS I actually like the idea of 12233441, so that you start and end with the
| name tune, each dancing couple gets a variety of tunes, but the band gets to
| insert some variety on the repetition of each tune. But I can't seem to get
| much enthusiasm for that approach with the musicians I work with and there
| are only a few recordings that use it.

Some years ago, I played for Scottish dances with a gang that decided
that what they liked was to try to make every set have a different
order for the tunes. I think the idea was just to parody the general
idea of having complex arrangements of tunes. And I suspect that very
few (if any) of the dancers ever realized what we were doing.

--
_,
O John Chambers
<:#/> <jc@trillian.mit.edu>
+ <jc1742@gmail.com>
/#\ in Waltham, Massachusetts, USA, Earth
| |
' `

Number of Tunes in a Set & Specified Recordings

Message 55354 · Steve Wyrick · 21 Mar 2009 17:21:38 · Top

On Sat, Mar 21, 2009 at 7:57 AM, John Chambers <jc@trillian.mit.edu> wrote:
> Bruce Herbold wrote:
> | PS I actually like the idea of 12233441, so that you start and end with the
> | name tune, each dancing couple gets a variety of tunes, but the band gets to
> | insert some variety on the repetition of each tune.  But I can't seem to get
> | much enthusiasm for that approach with the musicians I work with and there
> | are only a few recordings that use it.
>
> Some years ago, I played for Scottish dances with a gang that decided
> that  what  they  liked was to try to make every set have a different
> order for the tunes.  I think the idea was just to parody the general
> idea of having complex arrangements of tunes. And I suspect that very
> few (if any) of the dancers ever realized what we were doing.
>

You're probably right that most dancers don't consciously notice
things like this. I try not to do anything that I think would mess ME
up when I dance! But probably I'm over-thinking it.

--
Steve Wyrick -- Walnut Creek, California

Number of Tunes in a Set & Specified Recordings

Message 55357 · Miriam L. Mueller · 21 Mar 2009 18:10:18 · Top

The only time I have seen a tune change affect the dancing was at a ball
where the band threw in some Beatle tunes - it was so unexpected that
several sets actually paused momentarily - but it was great fun, and the
dance and music were encored by demand. It is also fairly common for a
band to give the drummer a solo when well into the dance, and the floor
(speaking as a dancer) loves it.

The only trouble with the suggested sequence is that, when I love the
signature tune and am 2nd or 3rd couple, I miss not dancing to it.

Mimi Mueller, San Francisco

On Fri, 20 Mar 2009 18:33:03 -0700 Steve Wyrick <sjwyrick@gmail.com>
writes:
> You don't find that 12233441 leads the dancers astray? That puts
> the
> tune changes on the 2nd repetition, rather than when a new couple
> starts. I'd be concerned about that myself. -Steve
>
> On Fri, Mar 20, 2009 at 5:11 PM, Bruce Herbold <bherbold@gmail.com>
> wrote:
>
> >
> > PS I actually like the idea of 12233441, so that you start and end
> with the
> > name tune, each dancing couple gets a variety of tunes, but the
> band gets to
> > insert some variety on the repetition of each tune. But I can't
> seem to get
> > much enthusiasm for that approach with the musicians I work with
> and there
> > are only a few recordings that use it.
> >
> The only
____________________________________________________________
Digital Photography - Click Now.
http://thirdpartyoffers.juno.com/TGL2141/fc/BLSrjpTDvmTunNmQGxEfI2HAQKyENELz23c9hm4hOc0nyXCgfcpWh2WUcNq/

Number of Tunes in a Set & Specified Recordings

Message 55358 · RODERICK JOHNSTON · 21 Mar 2009 19:27:11 · Top

As a musician and a dancer I would say that, as far as the dancers go, the majority don't really listen to the music.  Being primarily a musician I know that when I'm dancing I often start listening to the tune and it is easy to lose concentration on the dance.   I'm sure some will say that this is a man thing,  not being able to multi task, allegedly, though I;d say playing an accordion contradicts that. 
The change in tune or key helps the dancers keep in time especially when things go wrong,  Repeating the original tune at the end lets them know the dance is coming to an end.   Most dancers do enjoy the music but do not necessarily listen to it,   Good tunes also make the dancing easier and fun.   From a musician's point of view musician changing tunes in a regular pattern 1,2,3,4,2,3,4,1 or 1,22,33,44,1 is not only more interesting to play, but also helps ensure that the correct number of bars , 8x32 etc are played.  It is very easy to lose count if you are distracted.    Not only that, if the original tune is a pig to play, then you can quickly move on to something easier.

Rod
Fort William

----- Original Message ----
From: John Chambers <jc@trillian.mit.edu>
To: strathspey@strathspey.org; strathspey@strathspey.org
Sent: Saturday, 21 March, 2009 2:57:53 PM
Subject: Re: Number of Tunes in a Set & Specified Recordings

Bruce Herbold wrote:
| PS I actually like the idea of 12233441, so that you start and end with the
| name tune, each dancing couple gets a variety of tunes, but the band gets to
| insert some variety on the repetition of each tune.  But I can't seem to get
| much enthusiasm for that approach with the musicians I work with and there
| are only a few recordings that use it.

Some years ago, I played for Scottish dances with a gang that decided
that  what  they  liked was to try to make every set have a different
order for the tunes.  I think the idea was just to parody the general
idea of having complex arrangements of tunes. And I suspect that very
few (if any) of the dancers ever realized what we were doing.

--
  _,
  O  John Chambers
<:#/> <jc@trillian.mit.edu>
  +  <jc1742@gmail.com>
  /#\  in Waltham, Massachusetts, USA, Earth
  | |
  ' `

Borrowed tunes (and tune medleys) (was Langholm Fair)

Message 55344 · SMiskoe · 21 Mar 2009 00:23:11 · Top

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

Borrowed tunes (and tune medleys) (was Langholm Fair)

Message 55345 · Pia Walker · 21 Mar 2009 00:46:39 · Top

And changes makes for that added lift in the dancing.

And tongue in cheek - the question was when did this creep in - I suspect
when musicians learnt more than one or two tunes :>) :>)

Aaarrrggghhh!!! I know, I know - I'm going to be on someones hit list now.

Pia

-----Original Message-----
From: SMiskoe@aol.com [mailto:SMiskoe@aol.com]
Sent: 20 March 2009 23:23
To: strathspey@strathspey.org
Subject: Re: Borrowed tunes (and tune medleys) (was Langholm Fair)

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

Borrowed tunes (and tune medleys) (was Langholm Fair)

Message 55348 · SMiskoe · 21 Mar 2009 01:31:51 · Top


In a message dated 3/20/2009 7:46:57 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time,
pia@intamail.com writes:

And tongue in cheek - the question was when did this creep in - I suspect
when musicians learnt more than one or two tunes :>) :>)

If that's true, how do you explain the enthusiasm for English Country Dance
where the norm is to take the name tune and then devise, on the fly, various
ways to create variations between the 2 or 3 musicians who are playing?

Sylvia Miskoe, Concord, NH USA

Borrowed tunes (and tune medleys) (was Langholm Fair)

Message 55353 · John Chambers · 21 Mar 2009 15:45:22 · Top

Pia wrote:
| And tongue in cheek - the question was when did this creep in - I suspect
| when musicians learnt more than one or two tunes :>) :>)

It reminds me of another joke I've heard: Why do Scottish dance
musicians play so many tunes for a single dance? Because they can.

A theory I've heard was that this was unusual before dancers had
recorded music to dance to. The idea was that the musicians who made
the recordings started mixing together sets of tunes because this
made the music more interesting for people who were buying the
records for listening. The same tune 6 or 10 times in a row might be
boring to people who were actually listening to the music, and the
listening audience was a lot larger than the dancing audience.

But I suspect this is mostly mythology and guessing. Do we really
have any good evidence about such things? Do we actually have any
evidence other than occasional anecdotes for what the practice might
have been X hundred years ago? Do we have anything from people who
made the first recordings that explains why they did things the way
they did?

--
_,
O John Chambers
<:#/> <jc@trillian.mit.edu>
+ <jc1742@gmail.com>
/#\ in Waltham, Massachusetts, USA, Earth
| |
' `

Langholm Fair

Message 55339 · Steve Wyrick · 20 Mar 2009 16:56:50 · Top

Actually, I think there's some confusion on this and DanceData may be
incorrect. DanceData specifies a tune called "Langholm Fair" by Ian
Cruickshanks for Indian River Strathspey but looking at Ian's
recording for the dance he actually used Shy Anne, Cutty's Wedding and
Captain Home. I'm guessing that originally, the recorded music for
the dance Langholm Fair (which also does not use a tune named Langholm
Fair) was used for Indian River Strathspey--being that both are 3x32
strathspeys, and there aren't a lot of recordings for that
configuration, although maybe I'm all wrong! At any rate I did a
search for any tune called Langholm Fair a couple years ago and
couldn't turn anything up.

Indian River Strathspey was previously discussed on this list in 2004
(see here for instructions:
http://www.strathspey.org/list/strathspey/archive/msg/38271/ ) -Steve

On Fri, Mar 20, 2009 at 5:01 AM, Martin Sheffield <francoscot@gmail.com> wrote:
> 2009/3/20 Margaret Lambourne wrote :
>
>>  Langholm Fair is also a 3 couple set dance, a strathspey, devised by Jean
>> Attwood ...
>
>
> I'm glad someone mentioned this nice little dance
> Reading the previoous messages, I foiund it rather odd that the
> tune, Langholm Fair, should be attributed to some other dance (appropriately
> or not, I cannot say).
>
> Indeed, I am alway surprised to read that some newly-written dance "should"
> be danced to some already well-known tune, epscially if the tune is commonly
> used ofr another better-known dance.
>
> I can understand the desire of a deviser for a pleasant piece of music to be
> used for his dance (if you try out a dance with poor music, the dance will
> likely be rejected), but I feel it is quite presumptuous.
>
> Martin
>
>

--
Steve Wyrick -- Walnut Creek, California

Previous thread: More tunes wanted...
Next thread: Iowa Ball Weekend May 1-3, Terpsichore
A Django site.