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Our Eightsome Reel set

Will Fly 01 Feb 11 - 05:09 PM
GUEST,Ebor_Fiddler 01 Feb 11 - 05:35 PM
Jack Campin 01 Feb 11 - 06:09 PM
Dave MacKenzie 01 Feb 11 - 08:07 PM
Will Fly 02 Feb 11 - 04:32 AM
doc.tom 02 Feb 11 - 06:38 AM
Dave MacKenzie 02 Feb 11 - 06:44 AM
Will Fly 02 Feb 11 - 06:49 AM
Mr Red 02 Feb 11 - 06:53 AM
GUEST,strad 02 Feb 11 - 07:21 AM
Will Fly 02 Feb 11 - 07:38 AM
Jack Campin 02 Feb 11 - 08:06 AM
clueless don 02 Feb 11 - 08:22 AM
Will Fly 02 Feb 11 - 09:23 AM
Jack Campin 02 Feb 11 - 09:32 AM
Will Fly 02 Feb 11 - 09:38 AM
Banjo-Flower 02 Feb 11 - 11:01 AM
bruceCMR 02 Feb 11 - 02:55 PM
GUEST,strad 03 Feb 11 - 12:04 PM
Will Fly 03 Feb 11 - 12:31 PM
Old Grizzly 03 Feb 11 - 12:57 PM
Will Fly 03 Feb 11 - 01:12 PM
GUEST,strad 04 Feb 11 - 10:33 AM
GUEST,Maurice Mann 04 Feb 11 - 10:49 AM
Will Fly 04 Feb 11 - 12:28 PM
GUEST 04 Feb 11 - 02:08 PM
Tootler 04 Feb 11 - 03:04 PM
Will Fly 04 Feb 11 - 03:28 PM
Jack Campin 04 Feb 11 - 05:55 PM
Dave MacKenzie 04 Feb 11 - 06:23 PM
Desert Dancer 09 Feb 11 - 10:55 PM
doc.tom 10 Feb 11 - 02:00 AM
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Subject: Our Eightsome Reel set
From: Will Fly
Date: 01 Feb 11 - 05:09 PM

Our band is doing a dance with a vaguely Scottish theme on Saturday night, so we're polishing up our Eightsome Reel set, which is:

"Devil Among The Tailors" (key: A) - AABBB [Intro]
"The Soldier's Joy" (key: D) - ABB (twice)
"The Fairy Dance" (key: D) - ABB (twice)
"Staten Island" (key: D)- ABB (twice)
"Morpeth Rant" (key: D)- ABB (twice)
"Speed The Plough" (key: G)- ABB (twice)
"The Spoot O' Skerry" (key: G)- ABB (twice)
"Miss McLeod's" (key: A)- ABB (twice)
"The Devil Among The Tailors" (key: A)- ABB (twice)
"Miss McLeod's" (key: A) - AABBB [Outro]

We're always interested in other sets - any other Mudcatters indulge in the arcane art of the Eightsome?


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Subject: RE: Our Eightsome Reel set
From: GUEST,Ebor_Fiddler
Date: 01 Feb 11 - 05:35 PM

I would have thought that there were rather too many tunes for one dance for comfort. Doesn't it make life complicated for the dancers geting used to one tune only to find another one coming at them before they've settled? Every tune has a slightly different rhythm - two's all I use in one dance, simply changing when the first gets to boring. I write not only as a fiddler, but also as a dancer.

NB: This is only my personal opinion and not to be taken as Gospel!

Chris B.


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Subject: RE: Our Eightsome Reel set
From: Jack Campin
Date: 01 Feb 11 - 06:09 PM

That's the usual number of tunes you have in an eightsome. It's a very long dance.

Maybe a couple in minor keys to vary it a bit? The Ale Is Dear (Bmin) or Glenburnie Rant (Emin)?


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Subject: RE: Our Eightsome Reel set
From: Dave MacKenzie
Date: 01 Feb 11 - 08:07 PM

The only point I'd make is that starting and finishing on the same tune signals to the dancers that this is the last time through.

My mother (who wasn't a musician) always used to refer to Mistress MacLeod of Raasay as 'The Eightsome Reel'


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Subject: RE: Our Eightsome Reel set
From: Will Fly
Date: 02 Feb 11 - 04:32 AM

Thanks for the comments - I'll certainly check out the minor keyed tunes, Jack.

As to length - an intro, an outro, and one tune per person comes to around 10 minutes at the reasonably rumbustious pace of 180...


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Subject: RE: Our Eightsome Reel set
From: doc.tom
Date: 02 Feb 11 - 06:38 AM

Well, lets face it - the point with a set this varied for the 8some, I assume, is that you get a new tune each time you get a new dancer in the middle - good logic! But it's the first time I ever heard it suggested that this was the 'usual' number of tunes for the dance! Most bands I've worked with use the same reel for intro and outro and perhaps two others - one for the women-in and the other for the men-in.


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Subject: RE: Our Eightsome Reel set
From: Dave MacKenzie
Date: 02 Feb 11 - 06:44 AM

We've only played it for RSCDS style dances, where that is the norm. Most dances will be as doc.tom says (same, for jigs, hornpipes etc)

The skill is in selecting tunes for the set which fit the dance movements, rather than just having the right number of bars and rhythm.


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Subject: RE: Our Eightsome Reel set
From: Will Fly
Date: 02 Feb 11 - 06:49 AM

I'm no expert - the two Scottish members of the band tell me that a tune per person is common enough where they come from.

We're based in Sussex and do mainly English dances with tunes from England, Scotland and Ireland, so the 8thsome is a comparative rarity for us. I'm sure if we had more Scottish reels in the repertoire, we'd populate the set accordingly!


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Subject: RE: Our Eightsome Reel set
From: Mr Red
Date: 02 Feb 11 - 06:53 AM

consider -

The last time I went to a "Scottish" Ceilidh (run by the Cheltenham Scottish Country Dance Club - but we didn't know that before we got there) - they announced a waltz.

It took half the dance of trying to fit as three-step until we gave up and did the schottische anyways. AFAIK Scots do not dance the French 4 time waltz - and I have only just got the hang (badly) of the 5-time valse. Don't ask!

Yea yea, it is all very logical, but my advice is have a schottische tune ready as well as a waltz just in case they throw that at you. Ask them which they mean.


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Subject: RE: Our Eightsome Reel set
From: GUEST,strad
Date: 02 Feb 11 - 07:21 AM

That's pretty much a normal selection of tunes for an Eightsome. Just one correction - the tune is Spootiskerry - the name of a chunk of rock in the sea between the village of Sullom and the town of Brae in the north mainland of Shetland.


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Subject: RE: Our Eightsome Reel set
From: Will Fly
Date: 02 Feb 11 - 07:38 AM

Indeed - I've got the original sheet music for this, and it has both "Spootiskerry" and "Spoot O' Skerry" as title information! :-)


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Subject: RE: Our Eightsome Reel set
From: Jack Campin
Date: 02 Feb 11 - 08:06 AM

One possible change, given where you are, would be to drop Speed the Plough and Morpeth Rant for something else, as both of those are English tunes which you might find used for English dances where you are - if so, those tunes might be telling the dancers' feet to do something different. (No such problem in Scotland, since most ceilidh-goers here don't know any English dances to get confused by).


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Subject: RE: Our Eightsome Reel set
From: clueless don
Date: 02 Feb 11 - 08:22 AM

Will Fly, When you say "The Fairy Dance", do you mean the tune I know as "The Fairy Reel"? Goes like this:

X: 1
T: the Fairy Reel
C: Nathaniel Gow
Z: John Chambers
L: 1/8
M: C|
K: D
de \
|: f2fd f2fd | f2fd cAeA | f2fd gfed | cABc defg :|
|: a2af b2ba | g2ge a2ag | f2fd gfed |1 cABc defg :|2 cABc d2 |]


Don


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Subject: RE: Our Eightsome Reel set
From: Will Fly
Date: 02 Feb 11 - 09:23 AM

Doh! Don - slip of the keyboard - of course it's "Fairy Reel"!


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Subject: RE: Our Eightsome Reel set
From: Jack Campin
Date: 02 Feb 11 - 09:32 AM

Fairy Dance is the more usual name for it.


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Subject: RE: Our Eightsome Reel set
From: Will Fly
Date: 02 Feb 11 - 09:38 AM

Interesting how some tunes slip hither and thither, taking on alternative names as they go! I've been looking through the Fiddler's Companion website recently and - beside virtually every tune - there's the comment: "aka ....", aka "...." or "see also...."


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Subject: RE: Our Eightsome Reel set
From: Banjo-Flower
Date: 02 Feb 11 - 11:01 AM

Wiilafiord is usually played with Spootiskerry as a set in North Lincolnshire it a fine tune to replace one of the English ones

Gerry


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Subject: RE: Our Eightsome Reel set
From: bruceCMR
Date: 02 Feb 11 - 02:55 PM

Agree with most of what's been said so far. Don't have my RSCDS books handy, but the "original tune" for the dance is generally "the De'il Amang the Tailors".

The dance itself has 2 separate parts - basically

chorus (40 bars)
8x verse (48 bars)
chorus (40 bars)

Most bands would play "the De'il Amang the Tailors" for first and last tunes. with a selection of 8 similar ones for the 8x48. Try to keep adjacent tunes in different keys, have a few minors, and try to arrange for the change from 4th to 5th "verse" to be distinctive in some way - a "lift" either through key change, or familiar tune, or both. (That's the part of the dance where the "ladies in the middle" bit finishes and "men in the middle" starts)


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Subject: RE: Our Eightsome Reel set
From: GUEST,strad
Date: 03 Feb 11 - 12:04 PM

Will - Don't want to seem a pedantic old sod but in my copy of Ian Burns's book (that he kindly signed for me) Spootiskerry is the only spelling shown. Though he does mention an earlier spelling Spootskerry but always as one word. Damn good tune anyway and one I remember took no time to learn. Incidentally it can all be played on the black notes of the piano apart from one passing note in the second part.


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Subject: RE: Our Eightsome Reel set
From: Will Fly
Date: 03 Feb 11 - 12:31 PM

Strad - I'm visualising the sheet music from memory - and I've no doubt you're quite right! The Spoot O' Skerry title gets loads of hits on Google - so I'm not alone in my incorrectness! :-)


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Subject: RE: Our Eightsome Reel set
From: Old Grizzly
Date: 03 Feb 11 - 12:57 PM

Most tunes can be played 'all on the black notes' ... if you dare incur the wrath of the Anglo/Melodeon player :-)

Will, I quite appreciate you wishing to play this set as it would be 'north of the border' so no criticism there, but as a general rule, I much prefer to play far fewer tunes and really explore and work them a bit more.

It always seems a shame to me when you have got a crackin tune going on that really fits the dance, to have to leave off after only two or three times through to go on to another that does not fit quite as well.

Many tunes would 'do', but as has been said, the real skill is in selecting the 'right' tune to fit the dance

whatever you play ... enjoy!

Dave


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Subject: RE: Our Eightsome Reel set
From: Will Fly
Date: 03 Feb 11 - 01:12 PM

Dave - with two red-blooded Scotsmen in the band, I play the chords I'm told! (Mind you, I have ancestry from 17th century Edinburgh, so I'm actually with 'em...)


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Subject: RE: Our Eightsome Reel set
From: GUEST,strad
Date: 04 Feb 11 - 10:33 AM

Using different tunes can be a great help to the dancers. Playing twice through each tune (after an intro) means that each couple has their own bit of music to dance to and if they get left behind the next couple still know when their bit starts. This can also be a help to a caller if you have one.


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Subject: RE: Our Eightsome Reel set
From: GUEST,Maurice Mann
Date: 04 Feb 11 - 10:49 AM

Sounds like you are trying too hard. Most of the local ceilidhs I go to (not the posh RSCDS dances) in Scotland tend to have simple dances like the Gay Gordons, Canadian Barn Dance, Strip the Willow and Dashing White Sergeant, rarely called and usually repeated in the second half. Mind you we do give it some welly!


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Subject: RE: Our Eightsome Reel set
From: Will Fly
Date: 04 Feb 11 - 12:28 PM

It's always difficult to know what we'll get asked for at a dance with a vaguely Scottish theme - but we're covering all angles. The Gay Gordons will almost certainly be one the menu, and the Dashing White Sergeant. Whether we'll call them or not will depend on what we find when we get there... We would certainly only do an 8some to dancers who know it already.


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Subject: RE: Our Eightsome Reel set
From: GUEST
Date: 04 Feb 11 - 02:08 PM

Speed the Plough has a long history in Scottish manuscripts - the Dashing White Sergeant started out I believe in England. These sort of tunes are so old and with coloured histories that any claim to sole origin authenticity is not going to stand up.

Without responding to anyone in particular. 'Your' source of 'your' music is important (style and content) but it's rather more complex than 'written down by someone who lived in the same geographical region as me 300 years ago'.

Think carefully about the ending in Miss Macleod of Raasay - it doesn't actually finish.. can be done, but tricky.


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Subject: RE: Our Eightsome Reel set
From: Tootler
Date: 04 Feb 11 - 03:04 PM

You might be interested in this set from "Kerr's Modern Dance Album" which dates from the last quarter of the nineteenth century:

There are eight tunes alternating between the keys of A and D

Speed the Plough (A, 5 times + first 8 bars)
The Wind that Shakes the Barley (D, 3 times)
Mrs McLeod's Reel (A, 3 times)
Fairy Dance (D. 3 times)
The De'il Amang the Tailors" (A, 3 times)
Clean Pea Strae (D, 3 times)
The Mason's Apron (A, 3 times)
Soldier's Joy (D, 5 times + first 8 bars)

I noticed that all the tunes were marked without repeats though there were double bar lines between the A and B parts. variant endings in some tunes (always marked "1st & 2nd times" then "3rd time") make it clear that the tunes are all to be played without repeats ie AB not AABB.


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Subject: RE: Our Eightsome Reel set
From: Will Fly
Date: 04 Feb 11 - 03:28 PM

Interesting, Tootler. The Intro and Outro we play are AABBB of the 1st and last tunes - so 40 bars each - whereas the Kerr Intro (88 bars) merges into the first 8th of the dance - i.e. 40+48. Similarly, the last 8th of the dance merges into the Outro - also 40+48.


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Subject: RE: Our Eightsome Reel set
From: Jack Campin
Date: 04 Feb 11 - 05:55 PM

It isn't a matter of origin, the issue is what the dancers expect.

Morpeth Rant is from Northumbria and has a specific kind of dance locally associated with it, which is not a Scottish reel. Speed the Plough certainly has been played in Scotland for 200 years, but the dances it's most commonly used for in England will be different. There are plenty of tunes that an English dancer will unambiguously identify as Scottish reels, so there's no need to risk muddling people up with tunes that have multiple associations.


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Subject: RE: Our Eightsome Reel set
From: Dave MacKenzie
Date: 04 Feb 11 - 06:23 PM

I understand your point of view, Old Grizzly, but as an occasional dancer I find it frustrating when the band are more interested in playing with the tune then playing for the dancers. A well thought out set will lead the dancers through the entire dance, while letting the band pursue interesting ideas can easily lead to the music ceasing to fit the dance. If I want to explore a tune through many variations I'd prefer to do it in a session.


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Subject: RE: Our Eightsome Reel set
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 09 Feb 11 - 10:55 PM

I have been poring through record catalogs from the gramaphone days (for the "Early commercial recordings of shanties" thread) and found this in the Vocalion Records catalog for 1921:

Archibald Joyce's Dance Orchestra
Eightsome Reel K.05009 includes:
Fairy Dance
Speed the Plough
The De'il amang the tailors
Clean Pea Strae
Mrs. McLeod
(Record to be played through twice to complete the reel.)

~ Becky in Long Beach


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Subject: RE: Our Eightsome Reel set
From: doc.tom
Date: 10 Feb 11 - 02:00 AM

Well said, Mr. MacKenzie!


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