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AABBAB All together please

Mo the caller 27 Feb 08 - 09:05 AM
GUEST,leeneia 27 Feb 08 - 10:32 AM
manitas_at_work 27 Feb 08 - 11:46 AM
Peace 27 Feb 08 - 11:49 AM
Bert 27 Feb 08 - 12:01 PM
a gud ole bwoy 27 Feb 08 - 12:32 PM
Mo the caller 27 Feb 08 - 01:29 PM
treewind 27 Feb 08 - 03:11 PM
greg stephens 27 Feb 08 - 05:06 PM
treewind 28 Feb 08 - 03:10 AM
GUEST,doc.tom 28 Feb 08 - 05:59 AM
mattkeen 28 Feb 08 - 08:38 AM
GUEST,doc.tom 28 Feb 08 - 08:54 AM
Snuffy 28 Feb 08 - 09:05 AM
manitas_at_work 28 Feb 08 - 09:08 AM
mattkeen 28 Feb 08 - 09:54 AM
mattkeen 28 Feb 08 - 09:57 AM
GUEST,leeneia 28 Feb 08 - 09:58 AM
manitas_at_work 28 Feb 08 - 10:10 AM
Mo the caller 28 Feb 08 - 05:25 PM
GUEST,doc.tom 29 Feb 08 - 04:39 AM
Jess A 29 Feb 08 - 06:47 AM
Banjo-Flower 29 Feb 08 - 07:38 AM
GUEST,baz parkes 29 Feb 08 - 08:17 AM
Marje 29 Feb 08 - 08:32 AM
a gud ole bwoy 29 Feb 08 - 10:46 AM
Mo the caller 01 Mar 08 - 02:23 PM
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Subject: AABBAB All together please
From: Mo the caller
Date: 27 Feb 08 - 09:05 AM

Any tips for knowing where you are in a tune, e.g. the use of percussian .
When playing for dancers the caller may wnat the tune played AABBAB to give a 48 bar sequence, or some other unfamiliar way, and there are all the people prancing around out of time with the music to distract you.


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Subject: RE: AABBAB All together please
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 27 Feb 08 - 10:32 AM

Well, if the dancers are used to hearing AABB and then somebody demands an AB at the end, no wonder the dancers are getting confused.

Assuming that somebody else brings the music and you have no power over it, these tips might be helpful:

If the A part is major, then there's probably a couple measures of minor when the B part starts, or close to the start. Then the tune will return to major. Listen for that change.

Similarly, if the A part is minor, then there's probably a couple of major measures near the start of the B part.

An A part is usually more melodious than a B part. B parts tend to be more mechanical or march-like.

The highest notes are often in the first few measures of the B part.

These tips apply especially to so-called Celtic music.

===
At my house, we have plenty of power over the music. I can take my MIDI files and my Noteworthy Composer program and have my way with any tune!

If a tune is nothing but eighth notes,(something that's all too common) I change the timing of some of them so that there are identifiable long notes somewhere. This is a help in finding one's place.

We have a tradition that when it's time to repeat, I play a trill on my recorder. It's just a way of letting one musician help another out.

If it's an early tune, the greatest way to let people know where we are is to put on a 'Picardie ending.' This is where a tune that been using Am chord (for example) suddenly uses an A chord, usually at the end of a phrase. Nobody can miss that.

When things are falling apart, somebody hollers 'top!', meaning go to the start of the piece. It's important to distinguish 'Top!' from 'Hup!', however.

Hope this helps a little.


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Subject: RE: AABBAB All together please
From: manitas_at_work
Date: 27 Feb 08 - 11:46 AM

I thin the sort of dance Mo is talking about is the sort organised by a PTA or other social club where the dancers are not used to the music at all. They, naturally getting out of sequence, distract the band who are looking for some sort of clue.

If the dancers are getting out of sych then the caller should be giving some kind of signal to the band ( I know this doen't help you, Mo) as to when to restart the tune. Failing this it's up to the band leader to use their judgement and to count like buggery!

By far the best thing to do for 48 bar dances is to get 48 bar tunes. I know there aren't as many as 32 bar tunes but you'd be surprised just how many you can find with a little effort.


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Subject: RE: AABBAB All together please
From: Peace
Date: 27 Feb 08 - 11:49 AM

"By far the best thing to do for 48 bar dances is to get 48 bar tunes."

One drink in each and ya'd be plastered, imo.


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Subject: RE: AABBAB All together please
From: Bert
Date: 27 Feb 08 - 12:01 PM

Ya need to be doing American Square Dancing where it doesn't matter how many bars there are and you stop when the caller feels like it, or when he's got all the couples back home with their partners;-)


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Subject: RE: AABBAB All together please
From: a gud ole bwoy
Date: 27 Feb 08 - 12:32 PM

Whose kidding who here. Lets face it half the time the dancers don't listen to the tune, only the beat driven by the bass player and the drummer. If you've got a good caller they should keep the crowd under control. If the caller has asked for some weird concoction they should know when the time has come to get everyone back together with, for instance, "It's lines together, forward and back". It also helps if you've got a band that can speed up, slow down and add bits on to make it all come right. Like a lot of life it has to be a team effort.
Our drummer also lets us know where we are in a tune with little rifts and runs, or, for instance the 'B' part might have more bass drum .


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Subject: RE: AABBAB All together please
From: Mo the caller
Date: 27 Feb 08 - 01:29 PM

The band I was with on Monday had an egg player, who in the 48 bar tune shook it on the last 16 bars.
It can sound horrid when half of the band repeats a B and the rest go back to A! And it only takes a moment of enjoying the tune, or watching someone making a fool of himself to give me a 'where am I' moment. But I don't play for dancing.


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Subject: RE: AABBAB All together please
From: treewind
Date: 27 Feb 08 - 03:11 PM

Manitas is right about using proper 48 bar tunes. In fact some of the best jigs and polkas I know are 48 bar tunes - there's no excuse for doing the AABBAB thing.

The version of Four Seasons with the 1st part in G and the other 2/3 in D is a magnificent example - you certainly know when you've arrived back at the beginning of the tune!

Here's some cracking 48 jigs:
Cream Pot
Bang Upp (John Clare ms)
4 Seasons
The Feathers
The Valiant (Simon Ritchie)
Basquet of Oysters (as played by Old Swan Band)
When Daylight Shines
Morgan Rattler
(and that's before we scrape old warhorses like Sweets of May, Dingle Regatta, Blarney Pilgrim and Merrily Kiss The Quaker off the bottom of the barrel...)

Anahata


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Subject: RE: AABBAB All together please
From: greg stephens
Date: 27 Feb 08 - 05:06 PM

I'm with Manitas and Anahata. Any band that goes out and plays for dancing should know two or three 48 batr tunes tunes. You never need that many in an evening, after all.There are loads of good'uns. A particularly favourite of mine at the moment is "A Trip to the Lakes", and Anahata provides an excellent list as well. And really, what's wrong with the Dingle Regatta? It's an old warhorse for a good reason|: it's a great tune!
    By all means play shaky eggs, but only if you think they help the sound. Banging the cymbal is quite a good way to let musicians know when you've got to a certain point in atune, actually.


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Subject: RE: AABBAB All together please
From: treewind
Date: 28 Feb 08 - 03:10 AM

Oi, the shaky eggs thread is over there === >

Oh, and I forgot The Morgan Rattler, Paddy Carey and Sally Sloane's
[That's enough 48 bar jigs - Ed.]


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Subject: RE: AABBAB All together please
From: GUEST,doc.tom
Date: 28 Feb 08 - 05:59 AM

"It can sound horrid when half of the band repeats a B and the rest go back to A!"

If that's what you're getting Mo, don't call with that band again!

It's not clear who you want to find out wherte you are in the tune: - if it's you, you should be concious of it right through, if it's the dancers, the band should be playing FOR the dancing get them through almost unconciously - if it's the band, my previous comment stands!

TomB


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Subject: RE: AABBAB All together please
From: mattkeen
Date: 28 Feb 08 - 08:38 AM

I am newish to playing Morris tunes.

I don't understand what is meant by not doing the AAB... thing?

The tunes in the Lionel Bacon book I am learning are all written that way. Am I misunderstanding something?

Where are the 48 bar tunes to be found?


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Subject: RE: AABBAB All together please
From: GUEST,doc.tom
Date: 28 Feb 08 - 08:54 AM

The AABB thing is the sequence of phrases - usually 8 bars, but sometimes 4 or 12 (and some peculiarities that belong to specific tunes or country dances - e.g. Robin the Og which a 14 bar dance!). A 2-phrase tune may, for example, be AB (16 bars), AAB (24 bars), AABB (32 bars), AABBAB (48 bars)etc. - variable according to the length AND structure of the dance. A 3-phrase dance may, for example, be ABC (24 bars), AABC (32 bars), AABBC or AABCC or ABBCC (40 bars), AABBCC (48 bars) etc. and so on. Then a 64 bar dance mnight be 2x32, or AABBCCDD of a 4-phrase tune (e.g. The Foxhunt - slipjig) etc.

All this is true whether we're taking about Country Dance, Morris (don't forget the once to yourself i.e. one phrase), of just tune sessions!

The art if for the band to know what it's doing, and for the band and caller to negotiate what is within the band's/caller's/dancers' capabilities.

Does that help?

Tom


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Subject: RE: AABBAB All together please
From: Snuffy
Date: 28 Feb 08 - 09:05 AM

Mattkeen,

people who play in sessions a lot can be almost brainwashed into thinking all tunes are 32 bars of AABB, so if you've just played BBA the next one must be another A.

But with dances that's not always the case, and you have to remain alert and dare not let the "autopilot" take over: a typical Cotswold morris tune would be played ABB, and Cock of the North would be played ABAB etc for the Gay Gordons, AAB etc for the Bromsberrow Heath stick dance, and ABABBABBBABB for Eynsham Figure of Eight - easy to lose track of what's next if you get distracted.


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Subject: RE: AABBAB All together please
From: manitas_at_work
Date: 28 Feb 08 - 09:08 AM

I dunno, Greg, I always found that three or more sets of 48 bar tunes were often needed although I thought nothing of repeating them if really pressed. What really got me, though, was 40 bar tunes (as per versions of the Virgina Reel) - I can only think of Johhny Get your Wife Back at the moment.

Doc.tom, I remember a story about a callers workshop where the question was asked of the tutor - "How do we know what tunes to ask the band for?". The student was told not to worry as the band would know. When it came to practice the lessons the student turned to the band and announced he would call Robin Ddiog - of course the band had no tunes to fit!


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Subject: RE: AABBAB All together please
From: mattkeen
Date: 28 Feb 08 - 09:54 AM

Got ya

All the tunes I have been playing (not to dancers I should add) have actually been relatively complicated in their make up
AB(AAB3)twice x4 (as a made up example


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Subject: RE: AABBAB All together please
From: mattkeen
Date: 28 Feb 08 - 09:57 AM

I do find it fascinating and many of the tunes are simply joyous and beautiful


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Subject: RE: AABBAB All together please
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 28 Feb 08 - 09:58 AM

'Whose kidding who here. Lets face it half the time the dancers don't listen to the tune, only the beat driven by the bass player and the drummer.'

I've done folk dancing, and in my opinion, that's baloney. We learned to do certain moves to a certain melody. Playing a B part where the repeat of A has alwsys been would lead to so much confusion the dance would fall apart.
===
Hey, Mo, I put time into my post above, trying to help you out. Did you even read it?


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Subject: RE: AABBAB All together please
From: manitas_at_work
Date: 28 Feb 08 - 10:10 AM

Dancing a set figure to a set part of the melody is all very well until you go to a dance in the next town where they do it differently (they say it's the "proper" tune but then they speak funny so let's just humour them). Dance to a rhythm or, even better, a beat and then you won't be distracted by the tune.


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Subject: RE: AABBAB All together please
From: Mo the caller
Date: 28 Feb 08 - 05:25 PM

Hey Leeneia, I'm reading it now.
Every band has to start somewhere, and any tips to make the transition from session musicians to a dance band smoother would be useful.


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Subject: RE: AABBAB All together please
From: GUEST,doc.tom
Date: 29 Feb 08 - 04:39 AM

Hmmm. 'Dance to the beat',eh? I agree the dancers often don't listen to the tune - nor should they need to - the tunes should lift them through the figures and help them dance. Dear old Cecil# once collected a dance tune from one particular fiddler and then asked him what the figures for the dance were. The reply was was 'I've just played them to you.' Would we had that level of understanding, competence and finesse among a few more bands/morris musiciians nowadays!

TomB


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Subject: RE: AABBAB All together please
From: Jess A
Date: 29 Feb 08 - 06:47 AM

'I've done folk dancing, and in my opinion, that's baloney. We learned to do certain moves to a certain melody. Playing a B part where the repeat of A has alwsys been would lead to so much confusion the dance would fall apart.'

Hi Leenia - I wonder whether the type of folk dance that you are talking about may be rather different to the type of thing Mo is describing? I've a lot of experience of playing for and dancing at ceilidhs, and also of learning and performing morris. IMHO although to me as a dancer it upsets me greatly to dance across the music, lots of people seem totally unaware. Especially those who haven't ever done any folk dance at all before. They tend to follow the callers instructions and pretty much ignore the music or, as mentioned above, dance to the beats but ignore the phrases. To me, that is very different to learning dances for performance (morris, in my case, but the same probably applies for perfoming country country dances), where the dance and the tune are interlinked and it is much harder if not impossible to do the dance properly if the music doesn't fit. Not to mention the fact that for a lot of performance type dance, you'd learn a particular dance to a particular tune and would only ever do the two together, whereas at ceilidhs for many/most dances a caller will just ask for e.g. a 48 bar jig and the band will pick one from their repertoire, so the dance will happen to different tunes at different events depending on the band.


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Subject: RE: AABBAB All together please
From: Banjo-Flower
Date: 29 Feb 08 - 07:38 AM

" whereas at ceilidhs for many/most dances a caller will just ask for e.g. a 48 bar jig and the band will pick one from their repertoire, so the dance will happen to different tunes at different events depending on the band. "
exactly what happens in our bandand it works
plus it increases your repertoire instead of relying on the same tunes all the time
we have at least eight 48 bar jigs on call including the old warhorses(i'm with Greg on this one

Gerry


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Subject: RE: AABBAB All together please
From: GUEST,baz parkes
Date: 29 Feb 08 - 08:17 AM

Amy tips to make the transition from session musicians to a dance band ??

You know the answer Mo.....dance!

Baz


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Subject: RE: AABBAB All together please
From: Marje
Date: 29 Feb 08 - 08:32 AM

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.

Marje


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Subject: RE: AABBAB All together please
From: a gud ole bwoy
Date: 29 Feb 08 - 10:46 AM

Yes, good point from last few posts. If your playing for people that have done some folk dancing then they expect the band to get it right. Of course the band must always strive for perfection because that is what the band is paid to do. You can't get complacent just because you suspect that the dancers arn't listening too closely.
As for changing from a session musician to playing in a band, well the music needs a lot more lift, relevant to the dance, for a start and is normally played at a slower pace ( though not for Rapper obviously). At a session you can leave any old time but in a band you might well find that the dancers are having such a good time that they want to add a couple more dances on at the end of the evening. Even if your arms are dropping off and your back aches fit to bust you'll do it, seeing people dancing and having a great time.....carn't beat that.
What else, the obvious, if your just starting a band, practice a lot, and don't charge too much.


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Subject: RE: AABBAB All together please
From: Mo the caller
Date: 01 Mar 08 - 02:23 PM

"What else, the obvious, if your just starting a band, practice a lot, and don't charge too much"

Yes indeed, that's where it all started. I had a booking that couldn't afford a band (only expected 30 - 40 people) and asked for recorded music. I quoted them the price that I get from the band that pays me most, and said "if you can afford a little more I'll try to bring one or two musicians along". The musicians who sometimes come with me were busy, those who came out enjoyed themselves (and were enjoyed) and want to do it again. So we are discussing names, charges, website, and TUNES. Oh, and I've got to buy some mikes and a mixer.

I'm not sure about the 'slower pace' bit. At the rehersal I was speeding them up and saying "don't leave the dancers up in the air too long"

As for watching the dancers having a good time, yes we all enjoy that, it's the sitting around watching the interval games or waiting for the wedding speeches to finish, that gets tiring.


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