strathspey Archive: ending with the first tune

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ending with the first tune

Message 6696 · Martin Sheffield · 17 Feb 1997 00:58:29 · Top

I wrote:

>>Another point about playing for SCD:
>>On the old records, the bands used to play the title tune at the beginning
>>of the dance, followed by alternative tunes, and then repeated the title
>>tune at the end. (...)
>>Has this practice gone out of fashion?

To which Don MacQ replied:

>Not to my knowledge.

I was surprised to get so littel reaction to this first-tune floater.
On most of the new CDs I have acquired, there is rarely a return to the
title tune to finish the dance.

It's quite unimportant, I suppose, but I just happened to like the old way
better.

(I hope I havn't transgressed netiket by quoting myself ...)

Yours,
Martin,
Grenoble, France.

ending with the first tune

Message 6703 · David Mostardi · 19 Feb 1997 03:32:51 · Top

Martin Sheffield wrote:
>>Another point about playing for SCD:
>>On the old records, the bands used to play the title tune at the beginning
>>of the dance, followed by alternative tunes, and then repeated the title
>>tune at the end. (...)
>>Has this practice gone out of fashion?

Don MacQueen replied:
>Not to my knowledge.

Martin replied:
> I was surprised to get so littel reaction to this first-tune floater.
> On most of the new CDs I have acquired, there is rarely a return to the
> title tune to finish the dance.
>
> It's quite unimportant, I suppose, but I just happened to like
> the old way better.

Well, in the San Francisco area it's usual to end
the arrangement with tune #1, although the internal
sequence varies. The most popular varieties are
123-123-21, 1234-2341 and 11223311.

Aside: years ago Barbara McOwen gave a pet name to the
123-123-21 sequence ("Harvey" or "Henry" or something
like that -- Barbara?) because it was so much easier
to say than "one two three one two three two one."

Occasionally I will do a 1234-1234 or 11223344
arrangement when I'm playing hammered dulcimer,
because I've never acquired the talent of reading
music while playing. The above sequences are easier
to memorize if I'm also memorizing the music.

Also occasionally, the band I play in (Fiddlesticks
& Ivory) will do e.g. 1234-2345 if a) the title tune
is so well known we really can't leave it out, and
b) the title tune is so silly we can't bear to play
it twice.

David

------------------------------------------------------------------------
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Unix Systems Manager Email: davidm@mdli.com
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14600 Catalina St., San Leandro CA 94577 FAX: (510) 352-2870

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ending with the first tune

Message 6706 · ERBRUNKEN · 19 Feb 1997 15:57:24 · Top

As a dancer I like to hear the 'name' tune at the end. It gives a feeling of
completeness. It also helps me to know, that we have reached the last rep.
This is especially helpful when teaching, and while making comments,
teaching points etc... you haven't been paying too much attention to the
number of times the dance has been done. I have trained my ear (okay...it
is a work in progress!!!!) to listen for the name tune. I am usually
caught by surprise whan it doesn't happen, and you usually don't get that
burst of energy that frequently comes with the return to the name tune for
the last rep! I am also somewhat 'confused' on the first rep of a dance
with a well known tune, when I don't get the tune I expect. It never ceases
to disappoint me and usually throws me off for a few bars, til I realize, I
am doing the correct dance.

As David Mostardi (hi David!) said, there are a few exceptions......where
the name tune is so bad it barely worth playing once. But imaginative
bands (like Fiddlesticks) can usually think of something to do, to make a bad
tune bareable.......even if it is blowing bubbles! I actually looked forward
to the return to the name tune (which shall remain nameless!) to see the band
dance and blow bubbles as they played.

E

ending with the first tune

Message 6708 · Hugh Goldie · 19 Feb 1997 21:10:51 · Top

As a dancer, even before I started to learn to play SCD music, I used to
get a lot of enjoyment from the music. For, example, I used try to line
up as third man (with my partner's agreement and only, if we could do it
unobtrusively), for Stan Hamilton's recording of the Lea Rig, so we could
dance to "My Love is Like a Red Red Rose". Similar plots were hatched to
dance to "The Black Bear" with a Bratach Bhana (spelling?) recording
(Andrew Rankine's?) and to "The Mucking of Geordie's Byre" or to "Cock of
the North" or to "The Steam Boats". The point is that some dancers pay a
good deal of attention to the music. I am generally disappointed or
even startled when the music does not end on tune #1.

We have several dancers in our group who have expressed similar opinions.

Hugh Goldie, Saskatoon Scottish Country Dancers, Canada.

goldie@duke.usask.ca

Valley of the Moon Fiddle Camp

Message 6709 · Hugh Goldie · 19 Feb 1997 21:27:34 · Top

Would someone please send me e-mail about how to obtain info. for Valley
of the Moon Fiddle Camp? You could post it, if you prefer, since it may
be of general interest.

Hugh Goldie, Saskatoon Scottish Country Dancers, Canada
goldie@duke.usask.ca

Valley of the Moon Fiddle Camp

Message 6721 · M.J.Norman · 20 Feb 1997 17:09:25 · Top

Dear Hugh,
I bet you get multiple replies on this one. I can't believe I'm
the only one out here who knows about VOM. In fact, I know I'm not.
I post the following address with the disclaimer that I have been
living in the UK for over 3 years and I may be out of touch with who is
running things at VOM these days, but this is a long-standing address. Who
knows, maybe there's even an email address by now. As of 1993, the contact
address was;

VOM Scottish Fiddle School
T. Caswell
P.O. Box 1339
Forestville, CA 95436

I hesitate to post the phone number, but if you want it, you can email me
privately.

Monica Norman
mmnorman@macline.co.uk

Valley of the Moon Fiddle Camp

Message 6739 · John Pelmulder · 23 Feb 1997 02:37:14 · Top

You wrote:
>
>Would someone please send me e-mail about how to obtain info. for
Valley
>of the Moon Fiddle Camp? You could post it, if you prefer, since it
may
>be of general interest.
>
>Hugh Goldie, Saskatoon Scottish Country Dancers, Canada
>goldie@duke.usask.ca
>
>
>
>e-mail address for Valley of the Moon Fiddle Camp is - vom@monitor.net

or snail mail

VOM
C/O Terry Caswell
Box 1339
Forestville, CA 95436

Jan Pelmulder

ending with the first tune

Message 6710 · Trans Vector Technologies, Inc · 19 Feb 1997 21:28:17 · Top

Elaine Brunken writes

>As a dancer I like to hear the 'name' tune at the end. It gives a feeling of
>completeness...

I resonate very strongly with this and the rest of what Elaine said.
Although the final chord is an unmistakable statement of completion, it is
not the same as having a full repetition for resolution.

Cheers, Oberdan Otto.

Trans Vector Technologies, Inc, 184 Estaban Drive, Camarillo, CA 93010-1611
Phone: (805)484-2775, FAX: (805)484-2718, EMail: ootto@tvt.com

ending with the first tune

Message 6712 · Riteast · 20 Feb 1997 01:09:15 · Top

Because of the way tunes and dances were originally linked together, (and in
some places are still taught), the phrase " the music will tell you what to
do" has become part of our SD language. However because we spend more time
during a dance actually dancing to tunes which are not the "name" tune it has
in my experience been very rarely true. (The one exception being The
Robertson Rant, for the obvious reason that it is always danced to its own
music.) The reason I am writing is that so far no-one has suggested playing
the music 1213141?, ie giving everybody a turn with the name tune. Perhaps
then the music would eventually "Tell us what to do."

Perhaps something could also be done with the way the name tunes are played.
They are often of the form AB, and are usually arranged and played AABB. The
tune for Machine Without Horses is arranged in this way, and fits the dance.
Unfortunately many of our dances are of the form ABBC, eg Reel of the 51st,
Follow me Home, etc, yet the music is still arranged in the AABB form. I am
told that some tunes cannot be adjusted to reflect the dance structure, (but
if the tune can be played twice through then surely the structure becomes
AABBAABB, which could just as easily become ABBAABBA), but it might be nice
for some enterprising musician to try it with some dancers and see what it
feels like.

Malcolm Brown

ending with the first tune

Message 6713 · SMiskoe · 20 Feb 1997 02:42:57 · Top

Elaine writes that she really wants to hear the name tune even if it is a
real dog.
Elaine, when was the last time you danced Cadgers to the name tune? Is it
really better than Big John McNeil?
Seriously, occasionally there is a name tune that is very difficult for the
lead instrument and in that case I feel it is better to have a similar,
playable, tune which can be well done, than the 'proper' tune badly played.
Not every tune is equally suited to all instruments.
Cheers,
Sylvia Miskoe, Concord, NH

ending with the first tune

Message 6714 · ERBRUNKEN · 20 Feb 1997 03:52:51 · Top

In a message dated 97-02-19 19:45:16 EST, you write:

>Elaine writes that she really wants to hear the name tune even if it is a
>real dog.
>Elaine, when was the last time you danced Cadgers to the name tune? Is it
>really better than Big John McNeil?

Okay I stand corrected......What I meant was....
I want to hear the tune I expect to hear! The tune associated with the
dance.
Which of course for Cadgers would be Big John McNeil.

Here's a true story... I learned to dance in a little class in Scotland (my
mum was the teacher). A local man played the accordian for it. Mr
Mcfarlane, the accordianist could not read music, but could play a number of
tunes. Well, I learned all the standard society dances but didn't really
attend functions as I was just a wee girl. So I arrive in the States and
go to a dance . General Stuart is on the programme. (one of my favourite
dances, as I LOVE the music). Imagine my surprise when the band played the
WRONG tune....How could they do that??? So, not being shy, I asked the
pianist (Liz Donaldson, now a very good friend) why they played the wrong
tune? Puzzled, she explained it was the correct tune. " Well maybe in
America, but in Scotland (actually, to be accurate... in my mum's class in
Pumpherson in Scotland!) we do it to a different tune. " said I.

"Hum it" said Liz
So I did!

"AHA" said Liz. with a smirk.

What I was humming was the AIR, the Bonnie LAss of Bon Accord. hummed in
reel time. That was the tune Mr Mcfarlane always played for General Stuart.
It took me a long time to accept the real tune. I am STILL trying to get
Liz to play Bonnie lass of BA
for me in reel time.... after 13 years, she still won't do it.

SO even saying ..play the tune associated with the dance, may not please
everyone.....especially if they had Mr Mcfarlane as their class musician!

E

ending with the first tune

Message 6718 · SMiskoe · 20 Feb 1997 14:11:13 · Top

Malcolm asks why not play tunes ABBA?
Basically we don't play them that way because they don't fit. A totally off
the wall analogy is that you put on your shirt and then your sweater to get
warm. It's quite possible to put on the sweater and then the shirt and the
function would be the same, you'd be warm. It would feel backwards and
uncomfortable. Same with the tunes. The A music is the introduction or the
question. The B music is the body or the answer. Take a tune and hum it.
Then try humming it out of its original order. It won't feel right. There
are a very few tunes that are in the ABBA format. One good example is
Jennifer's Jig. And there are a few that are in 3 parts, ie Red House Reel.

Since there are hundreds of tunes available for use and more being written,
why don't the devisors pick nice tunes and write dances to fit them instead
of devising dances that are often very difficult to set to music.
Most musical phrases are divisible by 4 or 8 and dances that have movements
that encompass other combinations are hard to set to music and often not
satisfying to dance. (Or as satisfying as a dance that fits its tune well.)
There is no reason, other than custom, not to play the same tune all 8 times
for a dance. English dances are done to the same tune all the way through
and contra dances use the same tune 5-7 times before changing.
I recently made an 8 round arrangement using the same jig but created 7
variations for it.

Enough pontificating.
Cheers,
Sylvia Miskoe, Concord, NH

ending with the first tune

Message 6725 · Simon Scott · 20 Feb 1997 19:09:49 · Top

Our wonderful music.

I am glad to see such, personal felt, support for ending a dance with the
first or name tune. I too enjoy that feeling of comfort and familiarity
when a tune that one associates with that particular dance is repeated
again at the end. A thrill. Almost a feeling of coming home. Some
people have indicated a definite disappointment if this does not happen.
For me it's an extra lift and awareness when it happens, especially with
the more well known tunes and those with particular associations.

There are other times when a similar lift can happen. When a band changes
key with a new tune or when a specially happy or significant tune is
played as an alternate, then the same thrill can also be felt. Hugh Goldie
of Saskatoon mentioned some of his favorites including some on Stan
Hamilton recordings. (Still some of the best music we have. Thank you
Stan) I have always loved Stan's recorded third tune for The White
Cockade.

Music is such an integral part of our dancing and all of these bonuses,
whether expected or not, just lift us another few inches off the floor.

Simon Scott sscott@portal.ca

ending with the first tune

Message 6726 · Priscilla M. Burrage · 20 Feb 1997 19:59:13 · Top

On Thu, 20 Feb 1997, Simon Scott wrote:

> Our wonderful music.
>
> I am glad to see such, personal felt, support for ending a dance with the
> first or name tune. I too enjoy that feeling of comfort and familiarity
> when a tune that one associates with that particular dance is repeated
> again at the end. A thrill. Almost a feeling of coming home. Some
> people have indicated a definite disappointment if this does not happen.
> For me it's an extra lift and awareness when it happens, especially with
> the more well known tunes and those with particular associations.
>
> There are other times when a similar lift can happen. When a band changes
> key with a new tune or when a specially happy or significant tune is
> played as an alternate, then the same thrill can also be felt. Hugh Goldie
> of Saskatoon mentioned some of his favorites including some on Stan
> Hamilton recordings. (Still some of the best music we have. Thank you
> Stan) I have always loved Stan's recorded third tune for The White
> Cockade.
>
> Music is such an integral part of our dancing and all of these bonuses,
> whether expected or not, just lift us another few inches off the floor.

I agree whole heartedly!!

One of my favorite examples comes from a ball many years ago. One of the
dances two-thirds of the way through was in my mind a dull, interesting,
no-redeemining-qualities dance. (Obviously an exaggeration as no Scottish
dance fits this description. . ) The band leader, Don Bartlett, is also a
dancer knew that this dance had no recognized tune of its own and that it
could easily be a low in the program. He made an arrangement of Stephen
Foster songs that had the whole floor laughing and singing their way
through the eight times through. What a great experience to dance it!

happy 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.

ending with the first tune

Message 6728 · Courtney Cartwright · 20 Feb 1997 20:21:11 · Top

Malcolm Brown writes:
>The reason I am writing is that so far no-one has suggested playing
>the music 1213141?, ie giving everybody a turn with the name tune. Perhaps
>then the music would eventually "Tell us what to do."
>
>Perhaps something could also be done with the way the name tunes are played.
>They are often of the form AB, and are usually arranged and played AABB. The
>tune for Machine Without Horses is arranged in this way, and fits the dance.

I'll take a stab at explaining this... I'm not a Ceilidh band musician, but
I have played musical instruments in the dim and ancient past and I do actively
assist the local bands in arranging and selecting tunes.

One of the best reasons for not playing 1213141(1?) is that there is usually
limited space on the music stands as it is, so it's often easier to play the
first tune, second tune, flip the page for the third tune and flip back to the
first tune, repeat... In other words, there'd be too much flipping for tune
3 and tune 4. That's a logistics answer.

Another case, is that when arranging a piece of music for dance, it's often a
case of building from one tune to the next tune and so forth -- you can almost
feel the electricity built by a particularly good arrangement. This often
works best in a 12233441 arrangement or a 1232321 arrangement. The 1232321
arrangement often feels like building, building, building, retreating, building,
retreating and an energetic finish with the title tune... very effective with a
key change for the final tune. Your suggestion, which would be interesting
to try, might produce a flatter and less exciting arrangement, though not
necessarily so.

As to fitting the dance to the music, I also can feel the difference when a
dance and it's music are well matched. And it makes sense to me to start with
a good piece of music and choreograph to it. But in the SCD world, there are
far more dancers and teachers to write dances than there seem to be stalwart
musicians to write music so it's usually done this way. I'm amazed at how
well the RSCDS Publications committee, and Muriel Johnstone in particular,
are able
to match dances to music so well. When I first learned the Nursery Man, the
music seemed to fit so well together, as if they were written for each other.
I know it takes a lot of work and research to make arrangements work for the
dancers as well as the musicians.

--
Courtney Cartwright
Tucson, Arizona
ccartwri@primenet.com

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