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Divided by a common language (was Reels and Hornpipes)

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  • ...

    John Chambers June 1, 2006, 5:15 p.m. (Message 45444)

    Jim Healy <xxxxxxxx@xxxxxxx.xxx> wrote:
    | John Chambers wrote:
    |
    | >For example, the terms "reel" and "jig" are used  by  both  musicians
    | >and  dancers,  but  with unrelated meanings.  And most of them aren't
    | >even aware of the problem.
    |
    | Until the dancer asks a piper to play a 'jig'
    
    Yeah. And over the years, I've played for a lot of Morris and related
    dance styles, where "jig" simply means a solo dance. The music can be
    just about any rhythm, though most that I've  heard  or  played  were
    hornpipes.   I've  read a couple of places that "jig" originated as a
    term for lively, bouncy dances, mostly of the sort where  the  dancer
    is  occasionally airborn.  How musicians came to use the term for one
    particular rhythm seems to be a bit of a historical mystery.
    
    The same things seems  to  happened  with  "reel",  which  apparently
    started  life as a term for the sort of dance figures where you weave
    or zig-zag among the other dancers. This is still how dancers use the
    term,  but somehow musicians decided to apply it to a particular sort
    of very busy duple rhythm. A reel can be done to music in any rhythm,
    so this was a nonsensical use of the word.
    
    My general theory is that most of these things happen through various
    sorts of misunderstandings. If you watch interactions between dancers
    who aren't musicians and musicians who aren't dancers, you'll see all
    sorts  of miscommunications.  It sometimes seems amazing that the two
    crowds manage to communicate at all, despite their obvious  symbiotic
    relationship throughout history.
    
    How little is actually known about all this is illustrated by the
    Oxford Dictionary, where the "jig" entry says "XVI. of unkn. orig."
    and the reel entry says "OE. hreol, of which no cogns. are known."
    
    One of my favorite anecdotes on the topic is the report a  couple  of
    years  back  from  some  astrophysicists, who had discovered that one
    stable solution to the Three Body  Problem  is  an  orbit  that  they
    called  the Scottish Reel (for 3).  In looking for stable orbits of N
    bodies, they had calculated that you  could  place  three  bodies  of
    roughly  equal mass in a straight line, and give them all a push that
    results in them following this familiar dance figure until an  outide
    force  disturbs them.  As far as I've read, no actual example of this
    orbit is known.  One likely place for it is at the  so-called  Trojan
    Points in a heavy planet's orbit around the sun.  There are groups of
    asteroids known to be at these points in the orbits  of  Jupiter  and
    Saturn,  so  it's  possible that some of them are doing a reel for 3.
    Studying them isn't easy, but this is on the To-Do lists of a  number
    of astronomers. Whether they'll be found to be dancing to any special
    rhythm in the Music of the Spheres is a topic for further research.
    
    
    --
       _,
       O   John Chambers
     <:#/> <xx@xxxxxxxx.xxx.xxx>
       +   <xxxxxx@xxxxx.xxx>
      /#\  in Waltham, Massachusetts, USA, Earth
      | |
      ' `
  • ...

    Steve Wyrick June 1, 2006, 5:53 p.m. (Message 45445, in reply to message 45444)

    On Thu, 01 Jun 2006 15:15:46 UTC
      John Chambers <xx@xxxxxxxx.xxx.xxx> wrote:
    
    > The same things seems  to  happened  with  "reel",  which  apparently
    > started  life as a term for the sort of dance figures where you weave
    > or zig-zag among the other dancers. This is still how dancers use the
    > term,  but somehow musicians decided to apply it to a particular sort
    > of very busy duple rhythm. A reel can be done to music in any rhythm,
    > so this was a nonsensical use of the word.
    > 
    > My general theory is that most of these things happen through various
    > sorts of misunderstandings. If you watch interactions between dancers
    > who aren't musicians and musicians who aren't dancers, you'll see all
    > sorts  of miscommunications.  It sometimes seems amazing that the two
    > crowds manage to communicate at all, despite their obvious  symbiotic
    > relationship throughout history.
    
    Regarding the various meanings of "reel" this sort of evolution happens all 
    the time with laguage. [an aside: according to about.com, the English word 
    with the most definitions is "set", with 464 different definitions in the OED! 
     How many definitions for set in SCD? I can think of 3...]  I think the 
    confusion we have now is because (what I assume is) the original use of the 
    term--a Scottish dance containing a loopy figure--hasn't been totally 
    superseded by the more modern definitions (a specific figure for 3 or more 
    dancers; a quick-time dance done with steps having beats of equal length; a 
    specific tune type).  By the way, musicians in the various Celtic and American 
    folk traditions who DON'T play for dancers have no confusion about what's 
    meant by a "reel"; it's a type of tune!
    --
    Steve Wyrick - Concord, California
  • ...

    Bryan McAlister June 1, 2006, 8:28 p.m. (Message 45450, in reply to message 45445)

    Recently I was asked to write a tune for a 32 bar reel dance which the 
    devisor had called a "Rant", which I did, the week before it was to be 
    played and danced publicly, the dance was on the programme for "teaching 
    purposes" and standing in 4th place I set about running my tune through 
    in my head to check if it fitted.  To my horror it didn't fit at all and 
    bore absolutely no relationship to the rhythms of the tune being danced. 
    It took all of 4 times through before it dawned that a 6/8 tune was 
    being played and not a "Reel".  I afterwards discovered the Caller had 
    looked at the word "Rant" in the name of the dance, had found a 32 bar 
    tune with "Rant" in it's title on a CD which just happened to be a jig 
    and hadn't noticed the dance was supposed to be a reel..
    
    In message <xxx-xxxxxxxx@xxxxxxxxx.xxx>, Steve Wyrick 
    <xxxxxxxx@xx.xxxxxxx.xxx> writes
    >On Thu, 01 Jun 2006 15:15:46 UTC
    > John Chambers <xx@xxxxxxxx.xxx.xxx> wrote:
    >
    >> The same things seems  to  happened  with  "reel",  which  apparently
    >> started  life as a term for the sort of dance figures where you weave
    >> or zig-zag among the other dancers. This is still how dancers use the
    >> term,  but somehow musicians decided to apply it to a particular sort
    >> of very busy duple rhythm. A reel can be done to music in any rhythm,
    >> so this was a nonsensical use of the word.
    >>  My general theory is that most of these things happen through 
    >>various
    >> sorts of misunderstandings. If you watch interactions between dancers
    >> who aren't musicians and musicians who aren't dancers, you'll see all
    >> sorts  of miscommunications.  It sometimes seems amazing that the two
    >> crowds manage to communicate at all, despite their obvious  symbiotic
    >> relationship throughout history.
    >
    >Regarding the various meanings of "reel" this sort of evolution happens 
    >all the time with laguage. [an aside: according to about.com, the 
    >English word with the most definitions is "set", with 464 different 
    >definitions in the OED! How many definitions for set in SCD? I can 
    >think of 3...]  I think the confusion we have now is because (what I 
    >assume is) the original use of the term--a Scottish dance containing a 
    >loopy figure--hasn't been totally superseded by the more modern 
    >definitions (a specific figure for 3 or more dancers; a quick-time 
    >dance done with steps having beats of equal length; a specific tune 
    >type).  By the way, musicians in the various Celtic and American folk 
    >traditions who DON'T play for dancers have no confusion about what's 
    >meant by a "reel"; it's a type of tune!
    >--
    >Steve Wyrick - Concord, California
    >
    
    -- 
    Bryan McAlister
  • ...

    L. Friedman-Shedlov June 1, 2006, 6:07 p.m. (Message 45446, in reply to message 45444)

    Speaking of being "divided by a commone language" . . .
    
    Some of you may have seen the survey recently sent out by RSCDS 
    headquarters on "issues outwith Scotland."  It asks for feedback on ways 
    in which RSCDS can better serve overseas members, but ironically, many of 
    the members of our board (including one who is from the UK) did not have 
    any idea what "outwith" meant.  One person guessed it meant "in regards 
    to."  Personally I thought it was pretty easy to tell from the context 
    that "outwith" means "outside," but obviously, it wasn't that obvious for 
    everyone.  So, a survey meant to seek input from those outside Scotland 
    was unintelligible to (at least some of) the very audience it was aimed 
    at.  ;-)
    
    Lara Friedman-Shedlov
    Minneapolis, Minnesota
    USA
    
    
    ********************************
    Lara Friedman~Shedlov               "Librarians -- Like Google, but
    xxxx@xxxxxxx.xxx                       warm-blooded"
    ********************************
  • ...

    Jim Healy June 1, 2006, 7:51 p.m. (Message 45447, in reply to message 45446)

    Lara Friedman-Shedlov mentions the use in an RSCDS document of the good 
    Scots word - 'outwith'.
    
    Point taken, Lara, I will try harder when I know the intended audience is 
    furth of Scotland.
    
    Jim Healy
    Perth and Monaco
  • ...

    GOSS9@telefonica.net June 1, 2006, 8:20 p.m. (Message 45448, in reply to message 45444)

    While I agree with your "point taken" because the usage is not common, 
    I fail to understand why this should have been a problem. While the 
    expression is so common in Scotland today as not to be considered 
    "twee", it is from middle English, not Scots, and appears in American 
    dictionaries.
    
    I have heard it among older, non Scots in the U.S., mostly in the S.E. 
    The first time I heard it in the U.S. I assumed it had something to do 
    with either dating, or being more clever then someone.
  • ...

    L. Friedman-Shedlov June 1, 2006, 8:26 p.m. (Message 45449, in reply to message 45448)

    > While I agree with your "point taken" because the usage is not common,
    > I fail to understand why this should have been a problem. While the
    > expression is so common in Scotland today as not to be considered
    > "twee", it is from middle English, not Scots, and appears in American
    > dictionaries.
    
    Well, whether it makes sense to you or not, all I can tell you is that 
    people on our board (all of whom are reasonably well-educated) did not 
    understand it.  Perhaps they should have availed themselves of a 
    dictionary, but I guess it's one of those words that doesn't look quite
    strange enough to send you to a dictionary.  They assumed it was a 
    Scottish usage.
    
    / Lara
    
    
    ********************************
    Lara Friedman~Shedlov               "Librarians -- Like Google, but
    xxxx@xxxxxxx.xxx                       warm-blooded"
    ********************************
  • ...

    Ian Brockbank June 5, 2006, 3:27 p.m. (Message 45454, in reply to message 45449)

    Hi Lara,
    
    > They assumed it was a Scottish usage.
    
    It does indeed seem to be peculiar to us here north of the border.  It is
    even found strange by the English (for example my wife).  But it is a very
    useful construction, which has a slightly different sense to "outside" -
    it's the opposite of "within".
    
    Cheers,
    
    Ian Brockbank
    Edinburgh, Scotland
    xxx@xxxxxxxxxxxxx.xxx
    http://www.scottishdance.net/
  • ...

    L. Friedman-Shedlov June 5, 2006, 3:59 p.m. (Message 45455, in reply to message 45454)

    Ian, yes, although it really confused others, for some reason I didn't 
    have any trouble understanding it.  It was pretty clear to me that it is 
    related to "within." Maybe it's because I spent a fair amount of time in 
    Scotland ;-)
    
    Cheers,
    Lara
    
    
    ********************************
    Lara Friedman~Shedlov               "Librarians -- Like Google, but
    xxxx@xxxxxxx.xxx                       warm-blooded"
    ********************************
  • ...

    Alexandre Rafalovitch June 19, 2006, 2:52 p.m. (Message 45582, in reply to message 45455)

    Not to restart this discussion, but here is an interesting blog
    article doing some linguistic research around the 'outwith'.
    
    http://itre.cis.upenn.edu/~myl/languagelog/archives/003262.html
    
    Regards,
       Alex.
  • ...

    Andrew Buxton June 19, 2006, 5 p.m. (Message 45583, in reply to message 45582)

    Slightly off-topic (since I don't suppose they feature in dance
    refreshments) but another Scottish word that intrigues me is "supper"
    to mean "and chips", as in "fish supper" or "haggis supper".  I'm not
    sure if you can ask for "a supper" if you want only chips or if you
    can order them at lunchtime.
     
    -----
    Andrew Buxton
    Lewes, East Sussex, UK
  • ...

    redrose_solutions June 19, 2006, 6:27 p.m. (Message 45587, in reply to message 45582)

    And now that we all know what "outwith" means, the RSCDS working group that
    started this discussion ("Issues outwith Scotland") has been officially renamed
    "Issues outside Scotland". So you see - we do listen :-)
    
    Susi
    
    Susi Mayr
    (convenor, RSCDS working group "Issues outside Scotland")
    Vienna, Austria
    xxxx@xxxxxxx.xx.xx
    
    
    
    >-- Original Message --
    >Date: Mon, 19 Jun 2006 08:52:08 -0400
    >From: "Alexandre Rafalovitch" <xxxxxxxx@xxxxx.xxx>
    >To: "SCD news and discussion" <xxxxxxxxxx@xxxxxxxxxx.xxx>
    >Subject: Re: Divided by a common language (was Reels and Hornpipes)
    >Reply-To: SCD news and discussion <xxxxxxxxxx@xxxxxxxxxx.xxx>
    >
    >
    >Not to restart this discussion, but here is an interesting blog
    >article doing some linguistic research around the 'outwith'.
    >
    >http://itre.cis.upenn.edu/~myl/languagelog/archives/003262.html
    >
    >Regards,
    >   Alex.
    >
    >On 6/5/06, L. Friedman~Shedlov <xxxxxx@xxxxx.xxx> wrote:
    >> Ian, yes, although it really confused others, for some reason I didn't
    >> have any trouble understanding it.  It was pretty clear to me that it
    is
    >> related to "within." Maybe it's because I spent a fair amount of time
    in
  • ...

    GOSS9@telefonica.net June 1, 2006, 8:38 p.m. (Message 45451, in reply to message 45444)

    Assuming you are writing from a Scottish context. In ECD there is 
    actually a "rant" step, similar to a Polish two-step, that is used for 
    dancing "Moneymusk". Also when Strip-the-Willow is done south of the 
    border (High Level Ranters come to mind), they often change tempos one 
    of which is to play a "rant", another tune they uses is the "Blue Bell 
    Polka" (published by, but not written by Jimmy Shand), which is really 
    a schottische as written, and played much too slow for a polka or our 
    skip change of step - closer to a very fast Strathspey, which is what a 
    schottische is anyway.
  • ...

    Patricia Ruggiero June 1, 2006, 9:44 p.m. (Message 45452, in reply to message 45451)

    Goss wrote:. In ECD there is 
    > actually a "rant" step, similar to a Polish two-step, that is 
    > used for 
    > dancing "Moneymusk". 
    
    There is?  Maybe in England, but I've never seen it in the States.  In fact,
    I don't think I've ever done an ECD "Monymusk."  Contradance, yes, but not
    ECD.
    
    Pat
    Charlottesville, VA
    USA
  • ...

    John Cahill June 1, 2006, 11:33 p.m. (Message 45453, in reply to message 45444)

    At 08:15 AM 6/1/2006, you wrote:
    >Jim Healy <xxxxxxxx@xxxxxxx.xxx> wrote:
    >| John Chambers wrote:
    >|
    >| >For example, the terms "reel" and "jig" are used  by  both  musicians
    >| >and  dancers,  but  with unrelated meanings.  And most of them aren't
    >| >even aware of the problem.
    >|
    >| Until the dancer asks a piper to play a 'jig'
    
    FWIW, a tremendous number of pipe tunes used for SCD don't appear in 
    the "Reel" or "Jig" sections of the pipe tune books at all but in the 
    "March" sections.    "Bonnie Dundee", "White Cockade", "Blue 
    Bonnets", "Corn Rigs" and so on are all marches so far as pipers are 
    concerned.  I recall one very unfortunate incident in which the band 
    I was in at the time played a set we had not played in a while which 
    included "Mairi's Wedding", a 2/4 march in every pipe score on the 
    planet.  Your servant was not, shall we say, entirely focused.   I 
    had SCD reel tempo for MW pretty much in my bones.  The other ladies 
    and gentlemen, ahem, did not.  I was heading for the stretch and they 
    hadn't quite cleared the starting gate.  Pipe Majors hate it when you 
    do that.  They take it personally.
    
    Cheers,
    
    -John-
  • ...

    GOSS9@telefonica.net June 19, 2006, 5:49 p.m. (Message 45585, in reply to message 45444)

    You don´t, if you want fish, say "fush", for chips, say "chups", for 
    both say "fush suppa".
  • ...

    Pia Walker June 19, 2006, 6:25 p.m. (Message 45586, in reply to message 45585)

    It is called Single fish in this area for just the fish - mind you you
    have to be rich these days :>)
    
    and you can have it battered or crumbed
    
    and for the chips - remember the salt and/or vinegar.
    
    and if you really want to push the boat out - order a single fish and
    a chip-buttie - a lovely scottish roll, buttered and with chips
    sandwiched between the two halves.
    
    Ooohhh! Scottish cuisine at its best - and don't forget the deep-fried
    mars-bar for afters.
    
    If you don't like fish - you can always have a white or red pudding -
    I would not even hazard a guess on what the conten is - or what about
    my local which has deepfried pizza on the menu.
    
    Pia
    who is going out to prepare pot-roast oxtails with new potatoes for her tea
  • ...

    John Chambers June 21, 2006, 4:03 a.m. (Message 45599, in reply to message 45444)

    Susi said:
    | And now that we all know what "outwith" means, the RSCDS working group that
    | started this discussion ("Issues outwith Scotland") has been officially ren=
    | amed
    | "Issues outside Scotland". So you see - we do listen :-)
    
    But now that we all know what it means, there's no longer any
    reason to change it. ;-)
    
    
    
    --
       _,
       O   John Chambers
     <:#/> <xx@xxxxxxxx.xxx.xxx>
       +   <xxxxxx@xxxxx.xxx>
      /#\  in Waltham, Massachusetts, USA, Earth
      | |
      ' `
  • ...

    Andrew Smith June 21, 2006, 8:01 a.m. (Message 45600, in reply to message 45599)

    John Chambers wrote:
    > "But now that we all know what it means, there's no longer any
    > reason to change it. ;-)"
    but remember there is life beyond "Strathspey", John.
    Andrew,
    Bristol, UK.
  • ...

    John Chambers June 21, 2006, 3:11 p.m. (Message 45604, in reply to message 45599)

    Andrew Smith commented:
    | John Chambers wrote:
    | > "But now that we all know what it means, there's no longer any
    | > reason to change it. ;-)"
    |
    | but remember there is life beyond "Strathspey", John.
    
    What?  There are SCD dancers not on this list? ;-)
    
    In any case, I've seen  "outwith"  occasionally,  and  just
    considered  it  a  rare synonym for "outside".  I think I'd
    picked up that it had some UK association, but didn't think
    of it as especially Scottish.  I'm a bit surprised that, in
    this day of such easy  international  communication,  there
    are English-speaking people who don't know the word.
    
    We do have a minor problem in English, in that the opposite
    of "within" obviously should be "without", but that's taken
    for a rather different meaning.  That's typical for such  a
    poorly designed language, I guess.
    
    
    --
       _,
       O   John Chambers
     <:#/> <xx@xxxxxxxx.xxx.xxx>
       +   <xxxxxx@xxxxx.xxx>
      /#\  in Waltham, Massachusetts, USA, Earth
      | |
      ' `
  • ...

    Anselm Lingnau June 21, 2006, 3:29 p.m. (Message 45606, in reply to message 45604)

    John Chambers wrote:
    
    > We do have a minor problem in English, in that the opposite
    > of "within" obviously should be "without", [...]
    
    You mean as in
    
      Come all without, come all within,
      You'll not see nothing like the Mighty Quinn!
    
    Then again, the opposite of »outwith« should obviously be »inwith«!?
    
    Anselm
    -- 
    Anselm Lingnau, Frankfurt, Germany ..................... xxxxxx@xxxxxxxxxx.xxx
    Sometimes it pays to stay in bed on Monday, rather than spending the rest of
    the week debugging Monday's code.                               -- Dan Salomon
  • ...

    Bryan McAlister June 22, 2006, 1:19 a.m. (Message 45631, in reply to message 45606)

    There is also inby and outby
    
    In message <xxxxxxxxxxxx.xxxxx.xxxxxx@xxxxxxxxxx.xxx>, Anselm Lingnau 
    <xxxxxx@xxxxxxxxxx.xxx> writes
    >John Chambers wrote:
    >
    >> We do have a minor problem in English, in that the opposite
    >> of "within" obviously should be "without", [...]
    >
    >You mean as in
    >
    >  Come all without, come all within,
    >  You'll not see nothing like the Mighty Quinn!
    >
    >Then again, the opposite of ›outwith‹ should obviously be ›inwith‹!?
    >
    >Anselm
    
    -- 
    Bryan McAlister
  • ...

    Pia Walker June 21, 2006, 4:16 p.m. (Message 45612, in reply to message 45604)

    Being a foreigner, I haven't got a clue where I learnt wonderful words such
    as:
    outwith
    henceforth
    wherewith
    etc
    
    I guess, but am not sure, shakespearean language classes in high-school (6
    months of the stuff - mostly forgotten) - I only know I hear them in court
    quite a lot when I am interpreting there.
    
    I think they are wonderfully quirky - just like the Brits themselves :>)
    
    Pia
    Who hails from Denmark.
  • ...

    Ron Mackey June 21, 2006, 11:27 p.m. (Message 45626, in reply to message 45612)

    > wherewith
    > etc
    
    	I've always rather liked the sound of 'wherewithall'!
  • ...

    campbell June 22, 2006, 9:04 a.m. (Message 45634, in reply to message 45626)

    Ron Mackey wrote:
    > 	I've always rather liked the sound of 'wherewithall'!
    >
    >
    
    Ah yes, Ron, but where with all your writings do you live?
    
    Campbell Tyler
    Cape Town
    South Africa
  • ...

    simon scott June 21, 2006, 5:56 p.m. (Message 45614, in reply to message 45604)

    In any case, I've seen  "outwith"  occasionally,  and  just
    considered  it  a  rare synonym for "outside".  I think I'd
    picked up that it had some UK association, but didn't think
    of it as especially Scottish.  I'm a bit surprised that, in
    this day of such easy  international  communication,  there
    are English-speaking people who don't know the word.
    
    We do have a minor problem in English, in that the opposite
    of "within" obviously should be "without", but that's taken
    for a rather different meaning.  That's typical for such  a
    poorly designed language, I guess.
    
    
    --
       _,
       O   John Chambers
     <:#/> <xx@xxxxxxxx.xxx.xxx>
       +   <xxxxxx@xxxxx.xxx>
      /#\  in Waltham, Massachusetts, USA, Earth
      | |
      ' `
    
    In the old "English" hymnbook the first verse of the Easter Hymn was
    
    There is a green hill far away
    "Without" a city wall
    
    It did not mean that the city had no wall but rather that the hill was
    outside the city's wall.
    
    It has now been changed to "Outside"
    
    So both "outwith" and "without" can mean "outside"
    
    Simon
    Vancouver
  • ...

    Ron Mackey June 21, 2006, 11:27 p.m. (Message 45627, in reply to message 45614)

    > We do have a minor problem in English, in that the opposite
    > of "within" obviously should be "without", but that's taken
    > for a rather different meaning.  That's typical for such  a
    > poorly designed language, I guess.
    
    But 'without' can be used with the same meaning as 'outwith'.  Quite 
    possibly the latter was invented to avoid the confusion caused by the 
    two  meanings of the former ...   if you see what I mean?

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