strathspey Archive: Mairi's Wedding

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Mairi's Wedding

Message 5935 · Ron Mackey · 1 Jan 1997 20:31:57 · Top

> Date forwarded: Sat, 24 Aug 1996 18:17:07 +0200
> Forwarded by: strathspey-request@tm.informatik.uni-frankfurt.de
> Date sent: 24 Aug 96 11:50:52 EDT
> From: The_Healys <100535.3242@CompuServe.COM>
> To: Strathspey <strathspey@tm.informatik.uni-frankfurt.de>
> Subject: Re: Mairi's Wedding
> Send reply to: strathspey@tm.informatik.uni-frankfurt.de

> Ron's assertion, however, is that there is documentary proof of
> what the deviser actually wanted as opposed to what he was
> 'forced' to publish. Does anyone out there know which issue of
> 'The Reel' the reply was published in or, better, can anyone post
> the actual text. I would love to kill this once and for all
> but suspect that, no matter what, it won't be long before it
> returns :)
>
> Jim Healy
>
Hi : )
Andrew Kellett has managed to find the relevant copy of The
Reel from the London Branch archives, I think he must have been going
back through them one by one. This is taken from "page four" of
Issue No 59 for the period February - March 1961. I quote the
accompanying letter also for interest's sake. Plus ca change......
Quote> MAIRI'S WEDDING
It would be sad if this most happy event were to be marred by
discord: and to avoid any such possibility we recommend to our
readers' attention the two letters printed below. The first is from
the author of the dence.
To the Editor of "The Reel"
Dear Sir,
There appears to be some difference of opinion concerning
the shoulder in "Mairi's Wedding". I can only say that there can be
only one shoulder and that most definitely is the LEFT in any reel of
four.
I cannot agree that there is any more pleasure in passing
right shoulder in the centre and I have had many letters supporting
this view and deprecating any alteration from the original intention
of the dance.
I am
Yours Faithfully
JAMES B. COSH
Giffnock,
Renfrewshire.

To the Editor of "The Reel"
Dear Sir,
Some time ago I had a somewhat embarrassing
experience during the performance of this lovely dance. I had
obtained from the deviser (sic) of the dance, Mr Cosh, a supply of
copies of his booklet ( which is sold in aid of the National Fund for
Polio Research ) and distributed them among members of a group with
whom I have for over a year been practising Scottish country dances.
When some of us joined in a dance at another centre we found
ourselves colliding with other dancers who had apparently been
instructed to pass, in the centre, by the right shoulder contrary to
the instructions in Mr Cosh's book. I was almost rudely told that I
was doing the dance wrongly. I wrote at the time to Mr Cosh and his
reply not only made it clear that he had definitely intended the
dancing couple to pass in the centre by the Left shoulder ( as is, he
pointed out, the correct proceedure for reels of four ) *but had
emphasised the instruction by having it printed in italics in the
booklet.*
My point in raising the matter in The Reel is that as Mr Cosh
has obviously had this booklet distributed in thousands throuought
the world there is a real risk of similar confusion and embarrassment
if there are two styles of doing the dance.
This raises an important principle. When students of the
subject are looking through ancient records and thereby discover
matters of doubt and conflicting views, there may be some
justification in views gradually changing as more "facts" come to
light. But this dance of Mr Cosh's is not an ancient one, revived
after research; it is a new one devised by him and given to the world
of dancers in printed form, The "copy" for the printers having been
most carefully considered. The instructions are not in error, as far
as I can see. I am impelled, therefor, to ask why there should be
any doubt as to the proceedure and why anyone should wish to alter
what the deviser of the dance particularly wished. We have, as far
as I can see, no right to meddle with what he has produced.
I write this letter with much diffidence, as I have too much
respect for the various teachers from whom I have had such valuable
and delightful instruction, to wish to give any offence.
Yours Faithfully,
(DR.) CHARLES FORRESTER
Hampton Grove,
Ewell,
Surrey. <UnQuote
-------------------------------------
One could assume, I think, that Dr Forrester was a little
uptight, as we might put it today. I think Jimmy Cosh would have
every right to be.
Incidentally, the photo-copy also contains an advertisment for
The Festival of Scotland in London, and a Festival Ball to be held
in Derry & Toms'Rainbow Ballroom on Saturday, 20th May, 1961 at
7.30 p.m. with dancing to Jimmy Shand and his Band.
Tickets 12/6. (?65p?)

Does that convince you Jim or would you like a copy of the copy?
This doesn't come from anybody's Auntie but good old London Branch!
Happy Dancing
Ron Mackey :)

Attachments:

+---------------------------------------------+
| EMail Ron Mackey via IVZ@newone.demon.co.uk | \0
+-----------------+---------------------------+--+ ;>
| or Ziggy@cix.compulink.co.uk | /#\
+------------------------------+ |>

Mairi's Wedding

Message 5936 · Ron Mackey · 1 Jan 1997 21:01:07 · Top

> Date forwarded: Sat, 24 Aug 1996 18:17:07 +0200
> Forwarded by: strathspey-request@tm.informatik.uni-frankfurt.de
> Date sent: 24 Aug 96 11:50:52 EDT
> From: The_Healys <100535.3242@CompuServe.COM>
> To: Strathspey <strathspey@tm.informatik.uni-frankfurt.de>
> Subject: Re: Mairi's Wedding
> Send reply to: strathspey@tm.informatik.uni-frankfurt.de

> Ron's assertion, however, is that there is documentary proof of
> what the deviser actually wanted as opposed to what he was
> 'forced' to publish. Does anyone out there know which issue of
> 'The Reel' the reply was published in or, better, can anyone post
> the actual text. I would love to kill this once and for all
> but suspect that, no matter what, it won't be long before it
> returns :)
>
> Jim Healy
>
Hi : )
Andrew Kellett has managed to find the relevant copy of The
Reel from the London Branch archives, I think he must have been going
back through them one by one. This is taken from "page four" of
Issue No 59 for the period February - March 1961. I quote the
accompanying letter also for interest's sake. Plus ca change......
Quote> MAIRI'S WEDDING
It would be sad if this most happy event were to be marred by
discord: and to avoid any such possibility we recommend to our
readers' attention the two letters printed below. The first is from
the author of the dence.
To the Editor of "The Reel"
Dear Sir,
There appears to be some difference of opinion concerning
the shoulder in "Mairi's Wedding". I can only say that there can be
only one shoulder and that most definitely is the LEFT in any reel of
four.
I cannot agree that there is any more pleasure in passing
right shoulder in the centre and I have had many letters supporting
this view and deprecating any alteration from the original intention
of the dance.
I am
Yours Faithfully
JAMES B. COSH
Giffnock,
Renfrewshire.

To the Editor of "The Reel"
Dear Sir,
Some time ago I had a somewhat embarrassing
experience during the performance of this lovely dance. I had
obtained from the deviser (sic) of the dance, Mr Cosh, a supply of
copies of his booklet ( which is sold in aid of the National Fund for
Polio Research ) and distributed them among members of a group with
whom I have for over a year been practising Scottish country dances.
When some of us joined in a dance at another centre we found
ourselves colliding with other dancers who had apparently been
instructed to pass, in the centre, by the right shoulder contrary to
the instructions in Mr Cosh's book. I was almost rudely told that I
was doing the dance wrongly. I wrote at the time to Mr Cosh and his
reply not only made it clear that he had definitely intended the
dancing couple to pass in the centre by the Left shoulder ( as is, he
pointed out, the correct proceedure for reels of four ) *but had
emphasised the instruction by having it printed in italics in the
booklet.*
My point in raising the matter in The Reel is that as Mr Cosh
has obviously had this booklet distributed in thousands throuought
the world there is a real risk of similar confusion and embarrassment
if there are two styles of doing the dance.
This raises an important principle. When students of the
subject are looking through ancient records and thereby discover
matters of doubt and conflicting views, there may be some
justification in views gradually changing as more "facts" come to
light. But this dance of Mr Cosh's is not an ancient one, revived
after research; it is a new one devised by him and given to the world
of dancers in printed form, The "copy" for the printers having been
most carefully considered. The instructions are not in error, as far
as I can see. I am impelled, therefor, to ask why there should be
any doubt as to the proceedure and why anyone should wish to alter
what the deviser of the dance particularly wished. We have, as far
as I can see, no right to meddle with what he has produced.
I write this letter with much diffidence, as I have too much
respect for the various teachers from whom I have had such valuable
and delightful instruction, to wish to give any offence.
Yours Faithfully,
(DR.) CHARLES FORRESTER
Hampton Grove,
Ewell,
Surrey. <UnQuote
-------------------------------------
One could assume, I think, that Dr Forrester was a little
uptight, as we might put it today. I think Jimmy Cosh would have
every right to be.
Incidentally, the photo-copy also contains an advertisment for
The Festival of Scotland in London, and a Festival Ball to be held
in Derry & Toms'Rainbow Ballroom on Saturday, 20th May, 1961 at
7.30 p.m. with dancing to Jimmy Shand and his Band.
Tickets 12/6. (?65p?)

Does that convince you Jim or would you like a copy of the copy?
This doesn't come from anybody's Auntie but good old London Branch!
Happy Dancing
Ron Mackey :)

+---------------------------------------------+
| EMail Ron Mackey via IVZ@newone.demon.co.uk | \0
+-----------------+---------------------------+--+ ;>
| or Ziggy@cix.compulink.co.uk | /#\
+------------------------------+ |>

Braes of Atholl

Message 5941 · Liza Blaney · 2 Jan 1997 19:28:36 · Top

Book 8 without music seems to have a typo (it has the 1st woman casting up
to second place when the diagram and Book 8 with music has her casting up
to 1st place).

It then calls for reels of 3, 1st woman with second and third man, beginning
by passing between them, 1st man with 3rd and second woman, beginning by
passing between them; followed by reels of 3, 1st woman with the women, 1st man
with the men.

The Question: Is this a pair of right shoulder reels on the diagonal followed
by a pair of left shoulder reels on the diagonal?

Braes of Atholl

Message 5955 · Martin Sheffield · 4 Jan 1997 18:14:28 · Top

Liza wrote:
>
>The Question: Is this a pair of right shoulder reels on the diagonal followed
>by a pair of left shoulder reels on the diagonal?
>

The instructions seem to be quite clear to me -- reels of three on the
sides, nothing very unusual.
It might be interesting to try your suggestion --diagonal reels of three
that cross in the middle of the set -- but it wouldn't work in this dance
where both 1st man & 1st lady begin passing 2nd corner by L shoulder. If
they were doing a diagonal reel it would be a reel of four.
In fact, it would be hard to imagine diagonal reels of three working in any
dance!

Martin,
Grenoble, France

Braes of Atholl

Message 5958 · Priscilla M. Burrage · 5 Jan 1997 19:53:37 · Top

(snip)
> >The Question: Is this a pair of right shoulder reels on the diagonal followed
> >by a pair of left shoulder reels on the diagonal?

Reply:
(snip)
> The instructions seem to be quite clear to me -- reels of three on the
> sides, nothing very unusual.
> It might be interesting to try your suggestion --diagonal reels of three
> that cross in the middle of the set -- but it wouldn't work in this dance
> where both 1st man & 1st lady begin passing 2nd corner by L shoulder. If
> they were doing a diagonal reel it would be a reel of four.

I agree, but read on.

> In fact, it would be hard to imagine diagonal reels of three working in any
> dance!

They occur in one of my favorite dances -- Greenwich Hill by Hugh Foss.
Unfortunately, this figure in the dance is too difficult for most dancers,
and, therefore, the dance is taught or danced rarely.

How do you do the diagonal reels of three in Greenwich Hill? First couple
are in second place; they cross giving right hands, cast to third place,
dance up the center, cross at the top,, and cast into second place, where
they started. Third couple meet and dance up the center, allowing
first couple to cross in front of them. Second couple start by casting
up. (Third and second continue the diagonal reels by dancing the same
formations as the first.)

Try it!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Priscilla Burrage (priscilla.burrage@uvm.edu)
Vermont USA (pburrage@zoo.uvm.edu)
Please note my new "zoo" address and change your
files from the old "moose" address.

Braes of Atholl

Message 5964 · Martin Sheffield · 6 Jan 1997 01:44:41 · Top

>> In fact, it would be hard to imagine diagonal reels of three working in any
>> dance!
>
>They occur in one of my favorite dances -- Greenwich Hill by Hugh Foss.
>Unfortunately, this figure in the dance is too difficult for most dancers,
>and, therefore, the dance is taught or danced rarely.
>
>How do you do the diagonal reels of three in Greenwich Hill? First couple
>are in second place; they cross giving right hands, cast to third place,
>dance up the center .....
>

Thanks for the info, Priscilla, (pity you didn't give the preceeding and
following figures, we could have tried out the whole thing).
When I wrote, I had in mind reels that began with 1st cp passing their
corners, ie: non-symmetrical reels of 3. Bet you can't find me any like
that ... 8-).

Martin,
Grenoble, France

Braes of Atholl

Message 5967 · Peter M. Price · 6 Jan 1997 04:33:23 · Top

In reading the TAC Notes they specify DIAGONAL reels of three across flowing
into reels on the sides.
"...the ones at the top between first lady's and second man's
_position_, and the lower one between second lady's and third
man's _position_. They flow naturally into the reels on the sides
during the following 8 bars."

Braes of Atholl

Message 5969 · AaseHansen · 6 Jan 1997 12:02:14 · Top

Liza Blaney asks:
>Book 8 without music seems to have a typo (it has the 1st woman casting up
to second place when the diagram and Book 8 with music has her casting up
to 1st place).< Right, it is 1st place.

>It then calls for reels of 3, 1st woman with second and third man, beginning
by passing between them, 1st man with 3rd and second woman, beginning by
passing between them; followed by reels of 3, 1st woman with the women, 1st
man
with the men.

The Question: Is this a pair of right shoulder reels on the diagonal followed
by a pair of left shoulder reels on the diagonal?<

The Manual devotes nearly a page to explain this dance.

Bars 9-16 The reels are on the diagonal but they are left shoulder reels per
Scotland. Quote: "2nd man and 3rd woman enter the reel by dancing straight
across the set. All dancers finish this reel where they began it."
Technically, if you consider the 3rd woman as the person starting from the
'center' it would be right shoulder reels, however, Scotland must consider
the 1st man the person starting from the 'center' and therefore the left
shoulder to the 2nd woman is the one that counts.

Bars 17-24 The 2nd set of reels are right shoulder reels. " At the end of
these reels an extra loop is necessary to allow the 1st man to finish in the
centre of the dance and cross to his corner. 3rd man will finish in his
original place. The same is required for 1st and 2nd women."

There are diagrams for both sets of reels.

Aase Hansen

Braes of Atholl

Message 5970 · Tony Gibbons · 6 Jan 1997 12:18:50 · Top

If first couple took promenade hold they could dance 'Mairi's Wedding'
reels which would become four half diag reels of 3.

Tony Gibbons
Edinburgh

Braes of Atholl

Message 5973 · Andrew McNair · 6 Jan 1997 16:42:40 · Top

>
>Thanks for the info, Priscilla, (pity you didn't give the preceeding and
>following figures, we could have tried out the whole thing).
>When I wrote, I had in mind reels that began with 1st cp passing their
>corners, ie: non-symmetrical reels of 3. Bet you can't find me any like
>that ... 8-).
>
>Martin,
>Grenoble, France

Hello Martin.
Try this one for size!

WAITING FOR JOYCE::Jig
1s set, petronella into centre, set, M turning to face down, 1s dance down ::
1M with 4M,3W and 1W with 3M,2W dance R.Sh. reels then ::
1M with 3M,4W and 1W with 2M,3W dance R.Sh. reels ::
1s dance out M side, cast down, meet in middle and turn R.H. to 4th place

A little something I picked up in Australia, would you believe

Andy..............Paisley

andy@cqm.co.uk

Braes of Atholl

Message 5983 · Irene Van Maarseveen · 7 Jan 1997 10:49:57 · Top

Liza Blaney asked [2 Jan] about the reels of three in Braes of Atholl
(Book 8; strathspey). I can understand why the question was asked -
those reels evidently aren't what one might expect at first glance.
(I've never done the dance.)

Aase Hansen pointed out [6 Jan] that those reels are described in the
Manual. She said of the first pair of reels:

> Technically, if you consider the 3rd woman as the person
> starting from the 'centre' it would be right shoulder reels,
> however, Scotland must consider the 1st man the person starting
> from the 'centre' and therefore the left shoulder to the 2nd
> woman is the one that counts.

I would be inclined to agree with Aase's understanding of those as
right-shoulder reels:

/ 1M
3W /
2W
\
\
3M
/ 2M
1W /

Top

Note: 3M & 2W are actually in line across in 2nd place;
2M & 3W start by dancing straight across from sidelines.

Although I usually find Pilling's diagrams very useful in throwing
light on unclear descriptions, in this case the little green book
doesn't seem to have got it quite right. If I understand the Pilling
notation correctly, the direction of flow shown for the second pair
of reels is wrong.

Irene van Maarseveen
Pretoria, South Africa
ivmaarse@csir.co.za

Braes of Atholl

Message 5984 · Martin Sheffield · 7 Jan 1997 10:59:44 · Top

>Liza Blaney asks:
>>Book 8 without music seems to have a typo (it has the 1st woman casting up
>>to second place when the diagram and Book 8 with music has her casting up
>>to 1st place)
>>....
>>The Question: Is this a pair of right shoulder reels on the diagonal followed
>>by a pair of left shoulder reels on the diagonal?

>
>The Manual devotes nearly a page to explain this dance.

answered Aase Hansen.

proving once again that you have to check all sources.
I read [red] book 8 as meaning reels on the sides with corners (ie: opp
sides for 1st cp), and this was confirmed by Pilling's diagrams, which then
show the second reel as being on own sides.
I didn't even think of looking in the Manual, after all that was written
about it a few months ago.
I wonder just when these reels were interpreted as being diagonal rather
than the typical reels on the sides. Did Walsh's 1731 edition give more
precise instructions than those in RSDCDS book 8?

Martin,
Grenoble, France

Reels (was Braes of Atholl)

Message 6103 · Priscilla M. Burrage · 13 Jan 1997 05:53:36 · Top

I'd like to make two separate points on the discussion of reels: 1)
historical, i.e., which book the reel is in; and 2) my concept of reels
as an art form.

1) The original society book(s) were collected from people who were
dancing them, but soon they turned to old manuscripts. Unfortunately
they did not have a complete set of Wilson's books at first and were
missing the one in which he describes the direction of reels. Thus, up
until Book 14, most dances were interpreted as having only right shoulder
(parallel) reels. Dr. Thurston introduced them to the missing (to them)
Wilson book at the end of WW2 and, from Book 14 on, we find mirror reels.
Understanding that books 2-12 have right shoulders reel forced into the
dance does help in one's interpretation of the instructions (Someone is
always going the "wrong" way.)

Personally, I deplore that one or two of these dances have parallel reels,
not mirror reels; but I'm glad that a few others do have the right-shoulder
interpretation because it makes the dance more fun (Cadgers).

2) To me Scottish dancing is not only social, it is dancing and therefore
an art form. Think of poetry -- when is the maximum stress between the
words and the metre? (Or think of music.) Now transfer this concept of
maximum stress to SCD. Usually the first couple gets the extra joy of
not being were they "should be" at the being or the end of a figure.
It's the getting there that imparts so much of the joy of dancing.

I better give an example: In Strathglass House, bars 9-16, the first
couple lead down crossing, cast behind the 3's, lead up the center, and
cast to corners in 8 bars. To me, to dance this figure to the music is to
have finished casting at the END of bar 4, to urge forward to take hands with
my partner one beat 1 of bar 5 (with the phrase), and to feel -- here's the
'art' -- that I'm not going to make it on bar 7 (maximum stress). Then
when I do at the END of bar 8, I feel a rush of joy.

What has this do do with reels? Well, if the first couple gets the
pleasure of that extra distance to travel, then the axis of a reel must
be between the supporting dancers, thus ensuring that the first couple
have an extra distance to travel. (Obviously many reels have all the
dancers "where they belong,' and thus -- to me -- are not as interesting.)

Whoops, this means I disagree with the diagonal interpretation of the
reels in Braes of Atholl. That's right, I do. To me, in the first reel,
the first man or woman starts the reel from the side line, first man below
the third man, and first woman above the second woman. First man, for
example, cuts between the two women (taking a long step) and begins the
reel with the seond woman while the two women dance toward the inside of
the set to begin and dance standard, stereotypical, eight bars reels.
First man ends below the third woman, first woman above the second man;
and they dance the mirror of the first reel until the end when they have
the extra fun of reaching corner positions by the END of the last bar.

Of course, I have the advantage of having early versions of the books.
The word "diagonal" does not show up in explanations for about 30 years.

P.S. There is one common figure in which the maximum stress (joy,
whatever) for the first couple comes during bar 4. Your job, should
you chose to except it, is to tell me which one.

happy cogitating and joyous dancing,
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Priscilla Burrage (priscilla.burrage@uvm.edu)
Vermont USA (pburrage@zoo.uvm.edu)
Please note my new "zoo" address and change your
files from the old "moose" address.

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