Left shoulder petronella--Arthur's Seat
Rosemary Coupe Jan. 9, 2004, 2:11 a.m. (Message 37481)
Pat wrote, > Arthur's Seat, in McConachie's 18th c. Book, comes from a 1740 manuscript in the Bodleian >Library. There are various things we need to know about the original dance and about figures >from that period: >1) is the last figure, bars 25-32, set to corners and partner with final turn? >2) if it is, how was that figure executed in 1740? >3) is the 1740 figure the same as Wilson's early 19th c. figure? >Interesting, isn't it, how "turn by the right" can have different interpretations? Yes, it certainly is interesting, and also interesting to see what a Fellow of The Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing Incorporated (as McConachie describes himself) can do to a historical dance which he claims to have "edited and adapted to conform with modern presentation." Here is "Arthur's Seat" in David Young's MS of 1740: 16. Arthur's Seat. RIGHT hands across with the first pair, and cast off; left hands across with the 2d pair, and sett a little. Lead up one pair, & cast off; lead down one pair and cast up. SETT cross partners. Lead out at both sides. The music is in 4/4 tempo and consists of four 4-bar phrases, all repeated. Young follows a consistent system of phrasing, with the start of the 1st and 3rd 8-bar phrases indicated by red upper-case words (RIGHT and SETT above) and the 2nd and 4th phrases indicated by red upper/lower case words (Lead and Lead above). So here each sentence represents 8 bars. So McConachie looks at these instructions, and decides that the first phrase would not easily fit within 8 bars. So he gives it 16. He also wants to give it more symmetry, so he has the 1st couple cast into 3rd place (thereby changing the 2nd phrase too) instead of the more spontaneous "sett a little." Then he decides that "sett cross partners" (= "set and turn corners")has become a bit boring, since it occurs in 31 of the 48 dances in this MS. So he substitutes "set to corners--set to partner." Then he has to get dancing couple back to their own sides, so he has them "turn by the right." And of course he now has to cut out Young's last phrase ("lead out at both sides"). He probably didn't consider that much of a loss, since 16 of the 48 dances in Young end with "set and turn corners" followed by "lead out sides" (probably the latest thing in 1740). But when two figures occur consecutively so often, the transition between them and first couple's return to the sidelines at the end must have been second nature to dancers at the time, like the standard transition in the RSCDS Manual between "set and turn corners" and "reel of three with corners." So--a more interesting dance? Maybe. A "country dance of the 18th century" as in McC's title? No. Rosemary Coupe
Patricia Ruggiero Jan. 9, 2004, 4:02 a.m. (Message 37484, in reply to message 37481)
Zounds! Rosemary, surely this means you have a copy of the 1740 manuscript? And from your clarification of "sett cross partners," I suppose you have at least one Wilson? I am cheerfully envious! Yours is a perfectly clear analysis of the differences between the original and the reconstruction. There's nothing I would add. Many thanks for taking the time to present this. Pat P.S. An amusing instruction: "sett a little."