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Two chords - a question

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  • ...

    Audrey & Robin Emmett March 20, 2006, 8 a.m. (Message 44751)

    My local Branch (Western Australia) is in the process of having a Cd
    recorded to accompany a book of WA dances. Some of the dances are for
    four couple sets,  with third and fourth couples starting the dance on
    opposite sides. The issue of recording two chords for these dances has
    arisen. I would very much appreciate the opinion of Strathspey
    subscribers as to whether they are in favour of the inclusion of two
    chords, or not.
    
    We had heard from a UK visitor that RSCDS HQ was thinking of dropping
    the recording of two chords, but the Cd for Book 43 disproved that
    rumour!
    
    My thanks in anticipation...
    
    Audrey Emmett
    Perth, Western Australia
  • ...

    Martin March 20, 2006, 9:34 a.m. (Message 44752, in reply to message 44751)

    
          
        
  • ...

    Wouter Joubert March 20, 2006, 9:50 a.m. (Message 44753, in reply to message 44751)

    Dear Audrey
    
    This was discussed on Strathspey some time ago without any consensus
    being reached as far as I know.  The RSCDS also changed (I think in a
    letter by Jean Martin to the list) their decision about only one chord
    but have provided us with some "encore" tracks without the 2nd chord in
    resent CD releases (which I invariably prefer).
    
    It is quite possibly a question of personal preference with perhaps a
    traditional majority in favour of the 2 chord.
    
    Personally I find the two chords rather silly and think it spoils the
    start of the dance with a rush across the set for the couples who need
    to cross and a silly two times acknowledgement of partners for those who
    stay put.
    
    Wouter Joubert
    Pretoria
    South Africa
  • ...

    Iain Boyd March 20, 2006, 12:24 p.m. (Message 44755, in reply to message 44751)

    Dear Audrey,
       
      Personally, I would prefer only one chord unless two were required
      so that one could acknowledge more than one partner - such as in
      "The Dashing White Sergeant".
       
      Iain Boyd
    
    Send instant messages to your online friends http://au.messenger.yahoo.com
  • ...

    Helen Brown March 20, 2006, 4:56 p.m. (Message 44760, in reply to message 44751)

    Wouter said
    
    >It is quite possibly a question of personal preference with perhaps a
    >traditional majority in favour of the 2 chord.
    
    My preference is for the two chords.   For the less experienced dancer (1
    year to 18 months), I think it is more helpful as they can clarify their
    positions in the set.   It also shows them another quirky part of SCD!
    
    Helen
    
    Helen C N Brown
    York, UK
  • ...

    Mike Mudrey March 20, 2006, 5:05 p.m. (Message 44764, in reply to message 44760)

    I view the chords as a polite invitation from the band that dancing 
    is to begin.  To start right off can be disconcerting and a half 
    meassure delay in starting some dances makes them ragged and rushed.
    
    I vote always for introductory music...chords  are fine.
    
    mm
  • ...

    simon scott March 20, 2006, 5:57 p.m. (Message 44770, in reply to message 44760)

    Helen wrote
    
    My preference is for the two chords.   For the less experienced dancer
    (1
    year to 18 months), I think it is more helpful as they can clarify their
    positions in the set.
    
    	Surely it is better to make thing "simple" rather than to add an
    unneeded complication.
    
    It also shows them another quirky part of SCD!
    
    	Why do we need something "quirky" that detracts from the
    elegance of the dance, and for no good reason.   Start where the dance
    stats, as we do in a square set or a 3 or 5 couple set.
    
    Simon Vancouver
  • ...

    Eike Albert-Unt March 20, 2006, 5:01 p.m. (Message 44762, in reply to message 44751)

    Being a less experienced dancer i have a question (if i very humbly may) -
    what is meant by "two chords"? ;-)
    
    Regards from Estonia,
    Eike
  • ...

    Wouter Joubert March 20, 2006, 5:12 p.m. (Message 44763, in reply to message 44751)

    Hei Eike
    
    In some 4 couple dances the 3rd and 4th couple have to start on the
    opposite sides.  Tradition dictates that the set is formed with everyone
    on their own side and in stead if having just one chord of music during
    which you acknowledge your partner, you have two chords: on the first
    every acknowledges their partner and on the 2nd chord the 3rd and 4th
    couples cross over so that they are in the right place to begin the
    dance.
    
    Hope this helps.
    
    Hei hei
    Wouter
  • ...

    Wouter Joubert March 20, 2006, 5:17 p.m. (Message 44765, in reply to message 44751)

    The question was not Chord or no chord but one or two chords.
    
    Wouter
    Pretoria
    South Africa
  • ...

    Eike Albert-Unt March 20, 2006, 5:20 p.m. (Message 44766, in reply to message 44751)

    Thank you!
    That was helpful.
  • ...

    simon scott March 20, 2006, 5:36 p.m. (Message 44768, in reply to message 44751)

    ONE CHORD OR TWO
    
    One chord or two.  Which will it be?
    
    May I first say how much I have enjoyed, both dancing and teaching, many
    of the newer dances in which the third and fourth couples begin on the
    opposite side of the set. I say "opposite" side rather than "wrong"
    side.  The added variety, the altered progression and the mirror imaging
    are indeed a delight.  Many of them, of course, have been so cleverly
    written by our very accomplished and renowned John Drewry and I join you
    in thanking him for them, along with his many others. 
    
    I do however continue to be most concerned by what, I feel, is an
    "unnecessary" need for two beginning chords to allow those couples to
    change sides in order to start the dance.  I don't think that either the
    changing of places, or therefore, the second cord is at all needed.  May
    I explain my reasons why?
    
    To use, if in fact we do, as our example and or our reference, the very
    wonderful and very old strathspey "The Glasgow Highlanders" is, I think,
    not at all valid.  
    
    The Glasgow Highlanders is not only a most elegant and classic dance but
    it contains it's very own, and equally very unique, form of progression.
    This progression is an ongoing and integral part of the dance.  It is
    not just a change of sides in order to start dancing.  It is a special
    feature of that particular dance which carries on, making its needed
    adjustment, during each repetition, until the dance ends.
    
    I have never considered the two chords at the beginning of "The Glasgow
    Highlanders" to be for the purpose of changing positions.  I rather
    believe that the first chord is to acknowledge ones own partner, and
    then, 'having made the change' to acknowledge the person you now face,
    and with whom you are about to begin dancing the rights and lefts to
    start this magnificent dance. When these two chords are played, with
    sufficient time separation to properly make the second bow and curtsey,
    a most gracious start is experienced.  Most often these two chords are
    played without sufficient space and the enjoyment of this feature is
    sadly missed or maybe not even realized.
    
    However, this feature is not the case in these newer dances to which I
    refer.  There is no need at all to acknowledge the same person twice.
    Here, it is surely "only" a matter of a different "starting" position.
    Many of our dances have varied starting positions.  A square set for
    instance or sets with three or five couples or any number of other
    possible shapes that are not the standard set.  Those dances don't have
    two chords in order for us to adjust to a different shape, size or
    configuration, away from the conventional four couple longwise set.
    
    With the greatest respect for these new dances, and indeed for their
    composers, I feel that the beginning would be far more elegant and
    enjoyable with the dancers ready, in their appropriate starting place to
    begin the dance, and to have "one" chord only.  This would allow dancers
    time to execute and enjoy a gracious bow and curtsey as their
    acknowledgement to their chosen partner.  Our acknowledgement should be
    something that happens with 'meaningful grace' and with 'equal emphasis'
    at both the beginning and end of every dance that we take part in.
    
    I find it so unfortunately untidy and inelegant to quickly acknowledge
    ones partner and then to rush across the set, particularly in reels and
    jigs, in time for the first step of the dance. It has "no" worthwhile
    reason.  The second chord of music seems only to be a spacer and has no
    dance movement to accompany it whatsoever.
    
    At a social dance or at a ball, with live music, the band must be told
    if any of these dances are on the program.  The MC must then announce to
    the assembled dancers how many chords will be played.  THEN, as many of
    these dances are very popular and are likely to be encored, yet another
    decision and announcement must be made. Do the dancers stay where they
    have obviously finished the dance and are suitably ready to repeat or do
    they return to the other side to restart ?  If it is live music I'm very
    sure the MC will say "Stay where you are" and begin the encore with one
    chord.  If so, then why not the first time through, when the dance first
    began ?   
    
    If recorded music is being used they either cross back again for the
    encore or they ignore one of the chords.  I'm not sure which one is
    best.  I only know that all this rather confusing and untidy mess can,
    and should, be avoided.
    
    When using recorded music for teaching, the dancers must be told by
    their teacher whether the music to be used will or will not have two
    chords.  On other occasions a good piece of recorded music with two
    chords may be difficult to use for an alternate dance that requires only
    one. 
    
    I would like us to avoid this kind of confusion and unnecessary "non
    dance" movement which, I think, is for no apparent reason or gain at the
    start of a wonderful dance.  
    
    
    "'Let's start the dance where the dance starts'
    
    As these and maybe more delightful dances are used, and as new recorded
    music comes out, now on DCs,  I would seriously encourage us to drop the
    two chords, both with live music and on any future recordings, in favour
    of a simpler and far more elegant beginning with the dancers taking
    their places on the floor where they will begin, and play music with one
    "wonderful" chord.
    
    By the use of two chords I feel we are setting an unfortunate precedent
    for an unnecessary and inappropriate need.  My comments, of course, are
    directed as much, if not more, to musicians and composers, as they are
    to the teachers and dancer.  However, we as dancers are the ones who are
    affected. Therefore, if you agree with me, we should be asking our
    musicians and dance composers to consider, that in the best interest of
    the dance, we start without this unnecessary changing of sides.  It
    will, I believe, add to the enjoyment as well as maintain the
    appropriate elegance, if we start from the dance's starting place. 
    
    As has been evident over centuries, The Glasgow Highlanders itself being
    an example, dance composers have and will continue to explore numerous
    and innovative variations of both old and new formations, within this
    ever living dance form.  We are therefore always likely to dance in any
    number of new and different patterns and shapes. Sometimes these may be
    from new and alternate starting positions.  It is very much my hope
    that, through this evolving process, we will always do everything we can
    to maintain the character of Scotland's national dance and music, to
    contribute to the rich social enjoyment, but also to display the
    wonderful elegance, poise and dignity that this fine dancing deserves.
    
    I "love" the full rich sound of the chord. I "love" the thrill that the
    bow and courtesy can have, as our mutual acknowledgement to one another
    as partners.  They both need and deserve our time and our attention to
    their execution and duration.  Don't let them be hurried because they
    signify, in such a grand and gracious way ...
    
    THE BEGINNING OF THE DANCE AND THE INVITATION TO TAKE PART.    
    
    
    I talked with John Drewry some time ago and you will note that he no
    longer suggest two chords in these type of dances.
    
    Simon Scott
    Vancouver.
  • ...

    Ron Mackey March 21, 2006, 12:09 a.m. (Message 44789, in reply to message 44768)

    > May I first say how much I have enjoyed, both dancing and teaching, many
    > of the newer dances in which the third and fourth couples begin on the
    > opposite side of the set. I say "opposite" side rather than "wrong"
    > side. 
    
    	The very early Books use 'wrong' side.  No great need to get 
    worked up about that.  It's quite useful to know that there is a, 
    normally, 'right' side and a 'wrong' one.    
    
     The added variety, the altered progression and the mirror imaging
    > are indeed a delight.  Many of them, of course, have been so cleverly
    > written by our very accomplished and renowned John Drewry and I join you
    > in thanking him for them, along with his many others. 
    
    	Not only John Drewry but Derek Haynes, John Mitchell, Bill 
    Forbes, and many others, not least one who is a regular contributer 
    here.
  • ...

    Steve Wyrick March 20, 2006, 5:33 p.m. (Message 44769, in reply to message 44751)

    On Mon, 20 Mar 2006 15:00:27 +0800
      "Audrey Emmett" <xxxxx@xxxxx.xxx.xx> wrote:
    > My local Branch (Western Australia) is in the process of having a Cd 
    >recorded to accompany a book of WA dances. Some of the dances are for four 
    >couple sets,  with third and fourth couples starting the dance on opposite 
    >sides. The issue of recording two chords for these dances has arisen. I would 
    >very much appreciate the opinion of Strathspey subscribers as to whether they 
    >are in favour of the inclusion of two chords, or not.  
    > 
    > We had heard from a UK visitor that RSCDS HQ was thinking of dropping the 
    >recording of two chords, but the Cd for Book 43 disproved that rumour!
    > 
    > My thanks in anticipation...
    > 
    
    I'd vote for including 2 chords; regardless of various objections, it still 
    seems to be standard practice to play them, and most dancers are used to them. 
     If anyone really objects to two chords they can simply copy the track and 
    chop the first chord off; easily done with various computer audio editing 
    programs. -Steve
    
    --
    Steve Wyrick - Concord, California
  • ...

    simon scott March 20, 2006, 6:23 p.m. (Message 44772, in reply to message 44769)

    Steve wrote
    
    I'd vote for including 2 chords; regardless of various objections, it
    still 
    seems to be standard practice to play them, and most dancers are used to
    them. 
    
    	It seems sad that we should either start or continue a "standard
    practice" that distracts rather than enhances.
    
     If anyone really objects to two chords they can simply copy the track
    and 
    chop the first chord off; easily done with various computer audio
    editing 
    programs. -Steve
    
    	Or, for the few dancers and musicians who wish, a duplicate
    chord can be added.
    
    	Can we hear from any strathspey musicians regarding their
    comments on the matter.
    
    Simon Vancouver
  • ...

    Steve Wyrick March 20, 2006, 6:52 p.m. (Message 44774, in reply to message 44772)

    On Mon, 20 Mar 2006 09:23:18 -0800
      "simon scott" <xxxxx.xxxxx@xxxxx.xxx> wrote:
    
    > 
    > 	Or, for the few dancers and musicians who wish, a duplicate
    > chord can be added.
    > 
    > 	Can we hear from any strathspey musicians regarding their
    > comments on the matter.
    > 
    > Simon Vancouver
    
    Yes, but it's somewhat easier to subtract than to add (BTW it can be done 
    "non-destructively" in iTunes for those who run their classes from laptops), 
    and in spite of your reasonable arguments for using only one chord, which I 
    agree with, I suspect that your viewpoint is probably a minority one when the 
    whole of the RSCDS (not just the correspondents on Strathspey) is considered! 
     At any rate, as a musician I have no problem with playing double chords when 
    asked to.  However I try to play the 2 chords differently so it sounds more 
    interesting and less like a mistake!
    --
    Steve Wyrick - Concord, California
  • ...

    Martin March 21, 2006, 9:01 a.m. (Message 44797, in reply to message 44774)

    
          
        
  • ...

    Ozorak March 20, 2006, 7:10 p.m. (Message 44775, in reply to message 44772)

    It's like coffee or tea:
    "Would you like one chord or two with your dance?"
    
    or else:
    "Two chords or not two chords, that is the question".
    
    Etienne Ozorak
    Meadville, PA  USA
  • ...

    Volleyballjerry March 20, 2006, 6:21 p.m. (Message 44771, in reply to message 44751)

    Yes, this was discussed at some length not too long ago, but since I already 
    see a mini-consensus buildling on this go-round, I'll add my vote to it with 
    an analogy which perhaps makes sense.  When it is time to form sets for a 
    square-formation dance, we don't form a (more common) longwise set, and then move 
    into a square on a second chord.  So why not always form the set according to 
    the needs for the outset of the actual dancing?  A number of factors go into 
    the formation of the set...is it longwise or square, perhaps even a triangle, 
    and how many couples per set?...so why not who's on which side as well?
    
    Robb Quint
    Thousand Oaks, CA, USA
  • ...

    simon scott March 20, 2006, 6:39 p.m. (Message 44773, in reply to message 44771)

    Yes, this was discussed at some length not too long ago, but since I
    already 
    see a mini-consensus buildling on this go-round, I'll add my vote to it
    with 
    an analogy which perhaps makes sense.  When it is time to form sets for
    a 
    square-formation dance, we don't form a (more common) longwise set, and
    then move 
    into a square on a second chord.  So why not always form the set
    according to 
    the needs for the outset of the actual dancing?  A number of factors go
    into 
    the formation of the set...is it longwise or square, perhaps even a
    triangle, 
    and how many couples per set?...so why not who's on which side as well?
    
    Robb Quint
    Thousand Oaks, CA, USA
    
    
    I agree ONE HUNDRED percent !
    
    Simon
    Vancouver
  • ...

    Phill Jones March 20, 2006, 8:39 p.m. (Message 44780, in reply to message 44751)

    From a musical point of view it does not make the slightest bit of
    difference when you are playing it.  However, when you are forming
    longwise sets in a crowded dance hall you are always relying on the 'top
    man' to count the sets for you.  How often do we see this counting go
    wrong?  Maybe because the man is still getting his shoes on and the
    counter misses that couple out, or maybe because the couple are not
    stood in position and do not get counted because they are chatting with
    the couple above or below them or even a couple in the set behind them.
    
    So, assuming the dancers have waited until they are counted to change to
    the opposite side they then have to change back before being recounted
    and then back again after the recount has been confirmed as correct.
    Or, do you wait until everyone is happy with the counting and change
    then, but the music is just about to start so that becomes just as
    rushed as changing on the second chord, which in itself only seems to
    become rushed by the couples who are not paying attention to where they
    are in the set or the dance they are about to share with the rest of the
    set.
    
    For my monies worth, leave two chords with the second chord used to
    change to the opposite side where necessary and ask the dancers to give
    the dance the attention it deserves!  This also means that the whole
    room will move together, which makes everything so much nicer and neater
    to watch.
    
    Phew, I'll get off my soap box now :-)
  • ...

    e.ferguson March 20, 2006, 10:48 p.m. (Message 44786, in reply to message 44780)

    You can just as well conclude the opposite.  If each 3C and 4C, as the 
    lines form from the top, at once take their places on the opposite side, 
    the sets will count and form themselves, and the counting can be skipped. 
    It would certainly speed up the Ball !
    
    I understand that in ECD, sets (3C or 4C as may be) are usually formed by 
    linking hands, with no counting.  Seems more practical.  But this was 
    already discussed a few years ago.
    
    Happy dancing,
    
    Eric
  • ...

    Ron Mackey March 21, 2006, 12:09 a.m. (Message 44788, in reply to message 44780)

    On 20 Mar 2006 at 19:39, Phill Jones wrote:
    
    > 
    > Phew, I'll get off my soap box now :-)
    > 
    
    	That ain't no soap box, Phill.   That would hardly be big 
    enough for a pair os kippers!   Now if you want to see a soap box --- 
    well, better not!! :))
  • ...

    Martin March 21, 2006, 9:29 a.m. (Message 44799, in reply to message 44780)

    The counting business is a bit reminiscent of primary school -- and as 
    mentioned, not always well performed.
    ECdancers and contra dancers manage pefectly well by forming "hands 4 (or 6, 
    or 8) from the top" and crossing over when required withiut further fuss. 
    Have SCDers become so used to quasi military regimentation that they are no 
    longer capable of thinking for themselves?
    
    There is a strange contradiction:
    On one hand, so much insistence on fun, socializing, relaxation ...
    On the other, "straighten up you lines", "clear the floor between dances", 
    just stand up straight and do as you are told.
    
    And is it not more important to find one's place on the dance floor quickly 
    (impossible to do in any military manner, I think), than to appease the gods 
    looking down from above by having every couple cross over simultaneously 
    ("tidily") on an ear-jarring chord?
    
    Perhaps one day we shall look back on military precision the way we now look 
    back on the days when the men all had to sweat the evening away in tight 
    black jackets!
    
    Down with the second chord !!!
    
    Martin,
    in Grenoble, France.
  • ...

    Ron Mackey March 22, 2006, 1:21 a.m. (Message 44828, in reply to message 44799)

    > Martin,
    > in Grenoble, France. wrote
    
    > > There is a strange contradiction:
    > On one hand, so much insistence on fun, socializing, relaxation ...
    > On the other, "straighten up you lines", "clear the floor between dances", 
    > just stand up straight and do as you are told.
    > 
    	It seems from some postings that we must be tidy while we 
    form up sets and count them.   !! ? ^^  Talk of militarisation ... !
    > Down with the second chord !!
    
    I think I'm firmly in favour of Crossing on the first and Bowing on the 
    second chord as being more sensible and a neater start to the 
    dance.  As for causing confusion - well it doesn't when something 
    (even very minor) is changed in the manual.  It seems that everyone 
    just snaps to attantion, salutes and it is done without fuss. 
    
    Perhaps just a few grumbles but then ---  :))
  • ...

    Volleyballjerry March 20, 2006, 8:53 p.m. (Message 44782, in reply to message 44751)

    Phill (or Phil L. or I.? ~ 'tis unsigned) makes a valid point, I must admit.
    
    Robb
    
    In a message dated 03/20/2006 11:44:07 AM Pacific Standard Time, 
    xxxxx@xxxxxxxxxxxx.xx.xx writes:
  • ...

    Fran Smith March 20, 2006, 9:15 p.m. (Message 44783, in reply to message 44751)

    The very point that occurred to me...
    Fran Smith  (herefordshire)
    	
    
    
    > From:: "simon scott" <xxxxx.xxxxx@xxxxx.xxx>
    > To: "'SCD news and discussion'" <xxxxxxxxxx@xxxxxxxxxx.xxx>
    > Subject: RE: Two chords - a question
    > Date: Mon, 20 Mar 2006 09:39:32 -0800
    
    > Yes, this was discussed at some length not too long ago, but since I
    > already 
    > see a mini-consensus buildling on this go-round, I'll add my vote to it
    > with 
    > an analogy which perhaps makes sense.  When it is time to form sets for
    > a 
    > square-formation dance, we don't form a (more common) longwise set, and
    > then move 
    > into a square on a second chord.  So why not always form the set
    > according to 
    > the needs for the outset of the actual dancing?  A number of factors go
    > into 
    > the formation of the set...is it longwise or square, perhaps even a
    > triangle, 
    > and how many couples per set?...so why not who's on which side as well?
    > 
    > Robb Quint
    > Thousand Oaks, CA, USA
    > 
    > 
    > I agree ONE HUNDRED percent !
    > 
    > Simon
    > Vancouver
    
    Lycos email has 300 Megabytes of free storage... Get it now at mail.lycos.co.uk
  • ...

    simon scott March 21, 2006, 4:46 a.m. (Message 44794, in reply to message 44751)

    Yes, as mentioned, many people beside John Drewry have written these
    opposite side beginning dances. I apologize that I should have mentioned
    that I wrote the chord article, that I just posted, in the mid 1990s
    when John had written a number of them.
    Simon
    Vancouver
  • ...

    mlamontbrown March 21, 2006, 9:43 a.m. (Message 44800, in reply to message 44751)

    Audrey wrote:
    
    > My local Branch (Western Australia) is in the process of having a CD recorded to
    accompany
    > a book of WA dances. Some of the dances are for four couple sets, with third and
    fourth
    > couples starting the dance on opposite sides. The issue of recording two chords for
    these
    > dances has arisen. I would very much appreciate the opinion of Strathspey
    subscribers as to
    > whether they are in favour of the inclusion of two chords, or not.
    
    One of the problems with two chords is to know when to start moving to cross over -
    in theory the start of the chord is the signal to start crossing, but if dancers wait
    until then, they usually aren't in position for the start of the dance - (assuming
    the set is of a reasonable width).
    
    I think this is because the gap between the chord and the leading note is not any
    longer than the bands usually play, and is why I wish it had originally been decided
    to the move on the first chord & acknowledge on the second.
    
    I teach my dancers to start crossing as soon as the first chord has finished, but
    this means they have to overcome a natural reluctance to stand still during silence.
    I wonder if you could get the band to give a slightly longer gap between the second
    chord and the leading note?
    
    There are a few RSCDS dances where the first couple are the only ones that change
    sides at the start of the dance Lady Mackintosh's Rant, The Menzies Rant, The Jimp
    Waist, My Love She's But a Lassie Yet (when danced in a longwise set), and Polka
    Country Dance.
    
    Malcolm
    
    
    Malcolm L Brown
    York
  • ...

    SMiskoe March 29, 2006, 11:37 p.m. (Message 44900, in reply to message 44751)

    If we are playing 2 chords we have to really mark up the music sheets so we  
    can remember.  Then there is a discussion of how to musically play each  
    chord.  Just the same, change the chord inversion, make the chord structure  
    different?  And then we just go ahead an play the same chord twice, very  
    uninteresting.
    Sylvia Miskoe, Concord, NH USA

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