The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #108997   Message #2275618
Posted By: Marje
29-Feb-08 - 08:32 AM
Thread Name: AABBAB All together please
Subject: RE: AABBAB All together please
The dancers do need to hear the tune, not just a beat.

Sometimes I've been dancing when the band has decided to do a section - say 16 bars - with only percussion. The dancers can follow the beat OK, but they soon start to get a bit anxious because the tune is what tells them how far on in the dance they are: if you have 4 bars to get back to your place, or 8 bars to carry out a certain move, a constant thwack of percussion is not much help. It can work for a short time, but the melody give the dancers the information they need to time their movements. And as every blundering ceilidh dancer knows, keeping your feet in time is not so important - what matters most is being in the right place at the right time.

But that's not the same thing as saying it has to be the same tune for every dance. There are certain dances where a particular tune is traditional and expected (Gay Gordons, Dorset 4-hand reel, etc) but many tunes are interchangeable, and most dancers enjoy the variety of different tunes.